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August 14, 2011

Don't Try This with Horses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a dog, Lolo. Lolo likes to mount me. It’s nothing personal, Lolo likes to mount everything. And it isn’t a dominance thing with him either. He’s just horny. The problem for him is if I’m standing up, there’s this angle thing that kind of prevents him from, shall we say, making contact. So he’ll walk around and try and grab from another angle. Still not quite there. And during all of this, I really don’t do much to dissuade him. After several tries at various angles and positions, Lolo finally gives up. And he sits there staring at me in canine contemplation trying to solve the problem. I know he’s thinking, “I’m so close.” And I look at him and say, “Lolo, I have dreams like that all the time.”

My friend Wendy may have served as a litmus test on the sanity of this. When she and her husband, Steve, came through the yard, she really caught Lolo’s eye, or whatever organ. Wendy spent something close to fifteen minutes sitting on the next platform just at the limits of Lolo’s reach as he tried to grab various of her limbs so that he might, “make contact. “ And she sat there neither moving away nor saying no, but laughing pretty hard at my poor boy.

Lolo is not the only dog in my yard who has a questionable behavior. Sybil sometimes just gets “overwhelmed” by hunger and takes a bite at the cup as I scoop food from the food bucket and throw it into her food bowl. Of course, my running the cup right under her nose probably doesn’t help. Anyway, her guilt is just enough for her to actually look repentant and feign, “I just couldn’t help myself.” And in Sybil’s case, I blurt out, “Sybil, what are you doing?” in a tone just harsh enough to maintain her guilt, but not harsh enough to actually make her stop. Kind of walking a disciplinary tight-rope.

The data show that this is not just my dogs either. When I’m on the phone with my sister, Carol, her standard poodle, Tovi, goes to work. Usually he’s grabbing something off of the kitchen table like a piece of paper or a tissue. As a good sized standard poodle who can look over the table, there are usually a good variety of things he can choose from. It’s nothing serious, but as we’re talking on the phone, my sister pipes in in an almost but not quite disciplinary tone, “Tovi, what are you doing?” And I know that little sister is not quite upset with whatever it is that Tovi is doing. And I’m pretty sure Tovi knows too. He’s a poodle, and this has got to be a great game in his little poodle mind.

I remember while I was in graduate school, a friend had commented on watching one of those programs with dog trainers helping “troubled” canine-human relationships. At the start of the program, the dog dragged the owner down the street while he held on for dear life. At the end of the program, the same dog was dutifully walking by his owner’ s left side and the owner was holding the dog’s leash at exactly the correct angle. And my friend noted that the smiles that had been on the dog’s and master’s faces as they first zipped down the street were gone.

I hope I never forget to have fun with my dogs. Hopefully, they have fun with me too. We and our dogs all deserve to smile. Of course, while smiles are important, it is also important to realize that nobody gets everything he wants. I’m not planning on letting Lolo actually make contact in the near future.

   
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