|Red Dog is patiently waiting to see if he has trained me to open the back door correctly.|
I have noticed that Red Dog is getting more and more accustomed to his indoor lifestyle. I can't really blame him for liking central air and heat, I am rather fond of it myself. But I never imagined that Red Dog, the lion hunter, would adapt so quickly. This is a dog who was bred to chase down the king of the jungle and who spent the first year of his life guarding livestock from packs of wild coyotes, but now he sleeps on carpeted floors and drinks cool filtered water out of a silver bowl (well sometimes he drinks out of the white porcelain water bowl in the bathroom). The contrast of lifestyles are so different I find myself singing the theme song to the "Beverly Hillbillies" as I am writing. I see Red Dog as the Jed Clampett of the dog world when it come to adapting to new surroundings. Still a hillbilly at heart but wise enough to know that indoor plumbing is a much better deal. So let me tell you how spoiled this guy has gotten lately.
When Red Dog first got here he wanted to stay outside and run the neighborhood. He was even chewing the wood pickets off of the backyard gate just so he could roam freely and check out his new town. I'm sure that after growing up on the ranch our little 3 acre placed seemed quite confining. The dog was so strong that once he chewed a hole big enough to fit his nose through he plowed the rest of his 85 pound body through the opening with the ease of an army tank destroying the gate one body width at a time. So I would jump in the pick up and go find where Red Dog was hanging out after each escape. After a few days he finally figured out that he now lived at the all you can eat dog food house and never escaped from the backyard ever again. I like a guy who makes decisions based on the available food supply.
So after Red Dog decided that the groceries were plentiful and a temperature controlled environment suited him nicely, it was time for him to turn his attention to his other bodily needs. Red Dog is a pretty sharp hombre, it didn't take him long to figure out that when he whines at the door he gets to go outside. Given the fact that he lives year around with a temperature of 70 degrees in his home; he only goes outside when nature calls nowadays. Red Dog is out then right back in. This guy has turned into an Olympic speed pooper at this point. Debbie is just hoping Red Dog never learns about indoor plumbing so he won't leave the bathroom in a mess. I figure that's my job around here anyway so he better not get any ideas. For the first few months each time he whined, we would rush to the door in hopes of preventing a major accident in the house (Debbie came across his first and only 3 car pile up in the dining room a few Sundays ago which caused her to miss church. She had to transform herself into a one woman HazMat team for the clean up. Glad I missed out on that one). For months we have had this system where Red Dog whines, I open the door, and he goes out. I thought it was working pretty well. I don't have to clean up a doggie disaster and nether one of us gets barked at by Debbie. After a while I realized that not all of Red Dogs whining was a warning call of impending disaster.
Lately Red Dog has started whining at three o'clock in the morning and waking me up. It's like he's on some kind of a schedule. He whines so I jump out of bed, dash for the back door praying I'm not too late and that I don't step into a early morning surprise. After doing this jumping out of bed thing for several weeks this routine started feeling very familiar to me and during one of my earlier morning sprints it hit me why this was so.
When we were first married Debbie was a bit of a night owl so I usually went to bed before she did. The house rule was that the last one to bed turned out all of the lights which usually was her. I would be half asleep when she finally got to bed. There I would be snuggled down in those toasty covers just drifting off into dreamland when I would feel her climb into bed. She would almost always forget to turn off a light or to turn on the ceiling fan after she got covered up. So after a few moments of silence I would hear this sweet voice lovingly say "Honey, would you turn off the light" or "Honey, would you turn on the fan" and I would drag myself across the room to do what she asked. I couldn't say no to the woman of my dreams (and for the record I always did it with a joyful heart and a smile on my face). Well after several years of doing this I finally asked her one night while stumbling toward the light switch, why she couldn't do this once in a while and here was her answer. "Why should I when I have you trained to do it" then she giggled. I said," WHA WHA WHA WHAT!!!" That's all I could get out was a bunch of WHA WHA's. I stood there in disbelief as she continued to giggle. She took advantage of my loyal devotion and suckered (i.e. trained) me into being the permanent light switch operator. I felt like the Andy Griffith character Will Stockdale in the old movie "No Time For Sergeants" when he was tricked into being the PLO (Permanent Latrine Officer) because no one else wanted to clean the bathrooms. So I guess that made me the DPTM (Debbie's Permanently Trained Monkey) around our place. Apparently Debbie is pretty good at training me because after thirty years I'm still doing it. And the other night I realized that Red Dog, my most favorite dog ever, is using a similar tactic on me as well. I found myself standing in the dark, in disbelief, and saying "WHA WHA WHAT" all over again. Now I can be known as Red Dog's Trained Monkey around here also. I think it's safe to say that Red Dog has made the transition to indoor living quite easily. He has also proven that his owner isn't the sharpest pencil in the box as well. I'm not sure what all Debbie and Red Dog are doing together while I am at work but I have a feeling she's been telling him light switch stories because this early morning door dash business feels exactly like the bed time shuffle my wife tricked me into doing years ago. My new claim to fame will be that I'm the guy who can be easily trained by both woman and beast. So if your dog needs some training tips I'm sure Red Dog or my wife will be willing to share so come on by but I won't come to your house to show off my skills. Until the next adventure, God bless you all.