Curious Winter Behavior from a Maine Dog
Boy, it sure has been cold here in Mahoosuc Mills! Well, it is winter, after all. But once the temperature starts dipping into the teens or single digits, it makes the whole idea of getting out of bed kind of, well, uninspiring. This from a morning person, too. (Well, most of the year, anyways.)
See, we turn the heat down at night, and come morning, it’s darn chilly in this house. Plus, it’s still dark out. I tell Charlie I’m up; I’m just thinking. And I am. I’m thinking, What am I going to make for supper tonight? Oh, maybe I’ll do the meatballs in cream of mushroom soup with riced potatoes. Sugar! I forgot to pick up those navy slacks from the dry cleaners. I was going to wear those today. Why hasn’t Shirley called me back? Did I say something to tick her off? You know, I’m thinking about big, earth-shattering stuff. But mostly I’m thinking, It’s so nice and cozy in this bed, and it’s so cold outside. Give me five more minutes. Just five…and I doze off again.
I don’t start cashiering down to the A&P until 11 o’clock, but Charlie’s got no choice. He has to get up early for work. That’s why he’s got the morning shift walking Scamp, our little dog. Usually, the drill is as follows:
Around 6 o’clock, Charlie hauls his butt out of bed and heads off to the bathroom. Then, half-dressed, he pulls back the curtains over the kitchen sink, squints at the outdoor thermometer, and grunts. This is followed by much layering on of under- and outer-wear, punctuated by even more grunts and exhalations.
Even with the bedroom door closed, Scamp hears all this and usually positions himself at the door, staring attentively at the doorknob, patiently waiting. When Charlie opens the door, Scamp runs out of the bedroom, anxious to go for his morning constitutional.
Lately, though, I’ve sensed a mounting reluctance on Scamp’s part to leave the bedroom. It started a few weeks back, when all of a sudden, Scamp’s no longer waiting by the door. He just stays in bed. Charlie opens the door, calls for Scamp, and he doesn’t come.
“What the hell?” grumbles Charlie. “Scamp! Don’t you want to go for a walk?”
No movement. Finally, Charlie has to come in, pick Scamp up and haul him out of there.
Then beginning this last week, Charlie come into the room to get Scamp, and he’s not on his bed.
I’m laying there with my eyes closed, “thinking,” when I hear Charlie whispering, “Scamp! Come here, boy! Scamp? Where is he?”
I open my eyes a crack. “Did he sneak out of the room when you opened the door?”
“Nope,” says Charlie. “I heard his nails on the floor. I think he’s hiding.”
It’s 6:30 in the morning, and Charlie and me are searching the bedroom for Scamp. When there’s no place left to look, we peek under the bed, and there he is, shaking.
“Scamp! What are you carrying on about? Don’t you want to go for a walk?”
There’s Charlie in full winter gear, including them big Sorel boots and his hat with the ear flaps, and me in my nightgown, on the floor, trying to coax this little fourteen-pound drama queen into going outside for a walk! He’s a dog, for God’s sake!
After several mornings of this nonsense, we’ve come up with a solution. The technique that seems to work best is for me to pretend I’m leaving the bedroom. When Scamp follows, I scoop him up before he can head back under the bed, and hand him to Charlie. So much for my thinking time! By then, heck, I’m up and the day’s begun. That little bugger!
Of course, once Scamp’s outside, he isn’t cold. He just loves the snow, and Charlie can hardly keep up with him.
I must say it’s most curious, this new behavior of Scamp’s. What three-year-old dog on this planet is reluctant to go for a walk? Ours, apparently. I can’t imagine who he gets it from!
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
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