Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Daisy The Devious

"Who, me?"
In my two novels, the lead character has a dog named Boswell. I named the dog after James Boswell, the 18th-century biographer of the English literary figure Samuel Johnson. Boswell’s name has become a synonym for a constant companion and observer, which neatly defines the role that dogs play in our lives. If Dickens hadn’t already had a splendid literary name, I would have renamed him Boswell.

Daisy has certainly been observing Dickens since he arrived, and I’m worried that she’s picked up some of his bad habits. In this house it’s the policy that old dogs get privileges. After a certain age everyone, human or canine, earns the right to slack off a bit, so I don’t ask things of older dogs that I demand of younger ones. Before Dickens came, I offered Daisy the privilege of getting up on the furniture to sit with me; but a lifetime of conditioning was impossible to overcome, and she was never comfortable anywhere but the floor.

This morning, though, I walked into the living room and found Daisy curled up on the recliner as if she’d been sleeping there since the day she was born. I said, “Hey!” and she looked up as if to say, “What? He does it.” True, I’ve walked in the front door after a trip into town and found Dickens stretched out on the couch, but there’s no way my reaction could have been interpreted as anything but disapproval.

Dickens needed some energy burned off him this afternoon, and Daisy needed a break from him, so I left her home with a Kong full of treats while I took him to town. When I got home Daisy was at the door to meet me, but there was something about the look on her face that made me feel the recliner. It was warm.

I’ve never really known what went on here when the dogs were home alone, except for the times Dickens tried to deconstruct the couch. I assumed Daisy slept while Dickens contemplated violence against home furnishings, but I never gave much thought to where she slept. Now I know, and I’m tempted to blame Dickens for being a bad influence.

Or it could just be that Daisy is craftier and more observant than I’ve ever given her credit for. She’s been watching me for 11 years, and probably knows my habits better than I do. Oh, you’re leaving? Have a nice time. I’ll just sleep here on the floor like I’ve always done. Never on the recliner. Nope. Not me.

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