Sunday, December 14th, 2008 • 1 Comment on Just Call Him Prince
This is my dog Henry. He’s twelve and a half years old (going on two). I was told his parentage is Labrador and a Sheltie mix, but over the years different veterinarians have speculated he has everything from Corgi to Basset Hound in him. Who knows?
In this picture, Henry is outside. See how he’s looking inside from the other side of screen door? Henry does that a lot. Looking inside from the outside; looking outside from the inside. It seems Henry always wants to be opposite of where he is. Several times a day, he tells me he wants to go outside. To chase a squirrel (during the day) or chase a raccoon (at night) or just sniff the air and see what’s up (pretty much any hour of the day). Of course, being an over-indulgent parent, I let Henry out. I don’t like to leave him out there too long (he will dig up the dirt and get his paws all muddy or, if he’s feeling particularly feisty, he will eat the dirt and get his face all muddy) and he knows this. I will hang around the kitchen, keeping an eye on him, and when it seems like he’s been out there long enough—or I simply have something else to do—I will open the door and call for him.
Strange thing. Henry doesn’t seem to know his name is Henry. I’ve noticed that when he’s outside and I’m calling him inside, I can say his name a hundred times and he won’t respond. I know he’s not deaf as he will respond to the ringing of the doorbell or the bark of another dog with a ferocious bark of his own, so I can only assume he doesn’t know his name even after all these years. It’s sad, really. In the dog world, his real name is probably something like Shazaam, Prince of Short Blond Dogs and here I am calling him something dull like Henry. No wonder he doesn’t respond.
Of course if I get distracted by one of the four cats who live in the house (“the minions,” as Henry refers to them) or something else pulls me away from my vigil of watching over Henry’s outdoor activities, he seems to know. He has this uncanny ability to sense when I’m busy doing something important (going to the bathroom) and will—seriously and swiftly—notify me of my dereliction of duty. Within seconds of me leaving my post, Henry is at the back door, ready to be let in. However, unlike a normal dog (Henry says the word I’m looking for is primitive), Henry doesn’t bark to be let in. Oh no. He scratches the door. Which is fine if I have closed the sliding glass door—dog claws on glass cause no damage. However, as in this picture, sometimes I just close the screen door. Dog claws in screen? Damage.
There are a couple of holes in the screen door now. My fault, of course. If only I had been paying attention. I have tried to point out to Henry that if only he’d bark I would get to the door quicker and he would be inside quicker. Plus, the screen door wouldn’t have holes in it. He ignores my pleas, of course. That is his way.
Maybe I need to start calling him Shazaam, Prince of Short Blond Dogs, huh? Maybe he’d respond if I show him the proper respect his title deserves.