Living with a household of dogs is never dull. Their individual personalities have plenty of opportunities to claim the spotlight. Lately, my oldest mixed-breed, Jackie (14 years old), has been asking for more attention than normal. It might have something to do with his chronic aches and pains. Besides his daily medications, I give him massages and walk around through the house with him when he seems restless. We’ll position a space heater near him when he’s lying down for extra warmth. And there are plenty of quilts, throw rugs and towels on the floor for him to lie on in the rooms where the dogs like to sleep.
On a few occasions, we have noticed that his hind legs don’t appear to be working as they should. He demonstrates a fair amount of stiffness and appears to be uncomfortable. But the symptoms are transitory, because as a counterpoint, we also seem him trotting through the backyard and rolling about in the grass. And if someone knocks at the front door, stand back, because Jackie is first to lead the charge toward the door at top speed, tail held high, barking an alert for possible intruders.
Last week Cristy decided to conduct a little experiment. Since I leave for work in the morning first, she has the chore of rounding up the dogs and corralling them into their daytime designated dog play room. Sometimes they can be a little reluctant to get up from their morning naps to relocate. This particular morning, Jackie’s back legs seemed to be acting up, as they have in the past and he couldn’t quite get to a standing position. So he just lay down again to resume his nap. Perhaps he thought he might get an exemption from having to move to the play room.
As Cristy often reminds me, the dogs are clever, but we are the ones with the thumbs. So she executed a little ploy. She stepped around the corner and rapped sharply on one of the closet doors. In a flash, Jackie leapt to his feet, thinking it had been a knock at the front door. Of course the other dogs heard it too, and soon a chorus of barks sounded throughout the house.
The point however, is that as much as I hate to admit it, my sweet dog Jackie, might (just might) be a cunning manipulator, leveraging his aches and pains to try to get what he wants.
But, as they say, he had me at hello. So, I don’t mind playing along.