Secure in Her Dogness

Of our three girls, only Cali is truly secure and comfortable in her dogness. Alberta and Jana are quite sure that they are not dogs.

How do I know this?

  • Cali happily goes in and out the dog door, delighted with her independence and freedom to enjoy a large yard, from which she can survey the surrounding hills and valleys. Jana and Alberta go to the people door and bark. If their staff fails to appear in a timely fashion and let them in, they bark louder. They both will, if forced, use their keys to open the dog door and step disdainfully inside. But they really shouldn’t have to resort to that.
  • Cali is fine being left home, particularly if she can let herself out. She calmly accepts being banished to the porch with a visiting puppy to play. She’s perfectly content hanging out with other dogs, so long as she knows and likes these dogs. Alberta, rightly, assumes that Deni should take her along everywhere she goes. Jana just plain does not want to be left with the dogs. She does not want to be excluded from adult company, relegated to the puppies’ table (or porch), or treated like a dog. If left at a dog place — she has, on rare and very stressful occasions, been left at a groomer’s or a boarding facility — her facial expression, resistance, and loud protests all say: PLEASE don’t leave me with all these dogs!

I would say that Jana and Alberta are anomalies, shaped by our treatment of them to believe that they are somehow not quite dogs — but I have met so many other dogs who seem to be equally certain that they are not dogs. Molly, for example, whom I mentioned in a recent post. Of course, she’s a standard poodle, and I for one do not think that poodles are dogs. They are so close to being human. Molly clearly agrees.

IMG_2095IMG_2090When Molly was visiting, she would not — could not — eat in the laundry room with the other dogs. Excuse me. With the dogs. She dined solo, al fresco, with a white-jacketed server in attendance. OK, so maybe Deni wasn’t wearing a white jacket, but the rest is true. Not only did she dine in solitary patio splendor, she had special meals. Chunks of cheese, biscuit crackers, slices of deli meat … the only way that Molly would eat kibble was on a cracker (biscuit) or in a turkey roll-up. She prefers white wine, not too dry and not bubbly. (OK, OK, she didn’t actually get any wine, either. But the rest is true. Really.)

But back to Cali. It is nice to have at least one dog who actually is comfortable being a dog and is happy to fulfill her role as the family dog. She’s very cuddly, for example, and loves to be petted. She’s always enthusiastic about going for a walk or out to play. She enjoys doggy things, like chasing after a tennis ball and refusing to bring it back, barking at deer, licking all the hand lotion off of my fingers, and begging for treats. She wants to be near me most of the time, even when I am doing boring (to her) things, like writing a blog post (she’s at my feet) or grading papers. Like her ancestor Oriel, Cali embodies everything people  love about dogs. She’s sweet, affectionate, playful and goofy sometimes. She’s great company and very friendly. And secure in her dogness.


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