Saturday, June 4, 2011

Jock and Strap enjoy secrets

Our border collies, Jock and Strap, are very well trained (thanks to Chris' discipline), and sit on command, eat their meals within a routine and command, and try not to jump on you when greeting you, (Strap still needs reinforcement there, while Jock would rather have you come to him if he is in lay-down mode - this lad will live forever!)

In the mornings the 'boys' get their treats, a Smacko and some Lucky Dog bone biscuits.  Chris gives them fresh water (something we have to keep an eye on here in Queensland as the irreverent cane toad is prone to sit in the dogs water dish and possibly emit some of their poison into the water, dirty little critters!) 

The boys then begin their day of guarding us from anything and everything - whatever it is, they will find it, and bark at it or chase it, or carry a soccer ball in hopes of  'it' playing with them, and or, in Jock's case, lay down eventually and tell it to just go away...

One of Chris' rules (to which we humans need to pay attention) is not to feed the boys treats without good reason.  They are very spoiled and one of them, I won't mention his name (Jock) is fairly lazy and overweight.  But the boys know I have a soft spot, when it comes to them, and they use their sweet, innocent dog faces and large black/brown eyes to work me whenever they can.  As they and I know Chris' rule about doggie treats, (not to give them any more treats during the day unless they are duly deserved), we sometimes cheat.  (I have actually made a game of it, and the boys love the intrigue and feeling that the three of us are being sneaky and naughty together!)

On certain days as I walk through the large hallway passage which in one area, leads down to the lower level at the back of the house, and out into the backyard, the dogs must hear me coming, and they stand at the back door preparing their looks of complete and utter need.  They make their faces look enticingly cute and endearing, and somehow make their doggie eyes (dangerously enticing things that they are) look even more pleading.  This all means to me - "Please!  We have been good boys and really would like another another Lucky Dog bone biscuit."  So, knowing that it is not a good thing to do, goes against doggie discipline, and yet it somewhat fun, I have developed a secret code with them.  It usually goes like this:

" Hello, Boys!  Do you want something?"

They usually respond by stepping even closer to the back screen door and pressing their noses against the screen.

"Is Dad around?" I will say, waiting for them to check.  They turn their heads and look in all directions, then stare back at me expectantly, starting to wag their bodies not just their tails.  The wag starts at the tail, but somehow travels up their body in such an expectant manner, that one can almost see and feel the drool that is going to appear at any time now.

"OK.....but this must be our secret" I whisper to them as if it is a conspiracy, and they stand as tall and correctly as they can.  I reach into their tall, 4 basket wicker doggie chest of drawers which holds their belongings and find two biscuits.  The anticipation of our 'naugtiness' is almost too much for them!

Turning to them I whisper, "OK. But you must eat them quickly and quietly, don't let Dad catch you!" They wiggle their bodies again and as I open the back screen door, Strap pushes forward for his biscuit closely followed by Jock.  Whispering to them, I add "Remember, this is our secret--don't blow it!"  They throw me a grin of understanding as I give each one their treat (without making them sit for it) and they quickly, but quietly retreat to enjoy their 'forbidden treasure'.  I love watching them join in on the intrigue, and delight as they scurry off to enjoy this treat knowing that at any time we could all be 'caught'!

Chris actually worked out a long time ago what I was doing, and just shakes his head at me.  I smile, and say that occasionally even we mere humans need to have some mischievous fun, and the boys get the benefit!  Makes me smile each time they 'share the secret' with me.

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