Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dog Smarts

Sirius has always been a little "off." Not unbelievably so, just enough to notice. For example, fireworks and thunder didn't bother him at all when he was a pup, but the shutting of a car door several houses away often triggered a round of fierce barking. Often we had no idea what it was that had him upset.

Occasionally, he heard noises at night. We'd be settled in and half-asleep when he would spring to full alert, loudly warning us of something dangerous beyond the bedroom door. We discovered that if we opened the door so he could go get whatever-it-was, he would run just a few steps into the hallway before looking back anxiously for us to follow, or maybe just hoping we'd get in front and take the lead. It was scary, after all. Rather than going it alone, he'd head back into the room and (eventually) go to sleep.

One night was different. When the dog went on alert late that night, I tried to shush him, and it worked about as poorly as usual. Finally I dragged my weary body out of bed to open the bedroom door... and the dog took off down the stairs.

I did not like this little development at all. Was Sirius chasing an intruder around the house? I wanted to know, but was decidedly unenthusiastic about actually going downstairs to find out.

When I heard the crackling in the kitchen, though, I knew where he had gone. Sirius had been eyeing a pile of leftover chocolate chip cookies since we'd brought them home earlier that day, and when he realized the opportunity, he bolted downstairs and grabbed the big plastic tray off the counter, scarfing cookies down as fast as he could before we caught on.

He looks like a Labrador retriever, but I'm pretty sure we've got an 85-pound weasel.

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