I have had four, large dogs in my home for more than three weeks. Two of them are my own, a ten year old Siberian Husky and a Belgian Tervuren barely more than a puppy. The other two are visitors, another long-haired Siberian and a Samoyed the same age as the Terv. I have long acknowledged that all four are beautiful and remarkable dogs. I have had and been around dogs all of my life. I wouldn’t want to live in a household without them, but I admit that four are almost more personality than one roof can cover.
Their presence certainly changes the environment. Examples? Answering the doorbell is a little like running the ball against Atkins, Peko, Dunlap, and Johnson. Frankly, the Bengals might be easier than navigating around sixteen legs moving in four directions. The dinner hour heats up as well—I’m not talking about <i>their</i> dinner hour, but the human one. Just picking up a fork triggers instant alert, and every lap at the table is personally warmed by a panting beggar. (What’s the old Portugese proverb? “The dog wags his tail not for you, but for your bread.”)
It’s even more interesting how each dog gains power by virtue of numbers. Every individual canine is well-behaved, but together they take on the same mentality my kids used to when they joined up with their friends. Manners and judgment seem to fly, unilaterally, out the window.
I recently read that the average dog has a vocabulary of 250 words, about the same as a two-year-old child. That level of intelligence times four is almost spooky. Translated, it could mean that currently I’m not only outnumbered in terms of species but possibly I.Q. Honestly I adore these pups and would swear in any courtroom that they each love me as well; still, the old adage that claims a perfect world is when every home has a dog does carefully designate “dog” in the singular. Truly, sometimes less is more.
I’m currently down two pair of shoes, a sweater, the page that recorded all of my account numbers, one back door and several hours of sleep. My visitors purportedly go home in six days. I’ll keep you posted on further losses, but, even as I’m writing this, I wonder… if I’m the one rising an hour earlier each a.m. to let them out, leaping to fill their bowls with food and water, spending extra dollars for chew toys they’ll like more than my shoes, could it be that I’m hosting creatures who know how to live life better than I? If these creatures refuse to be quiet, lie down or stay, it might not be that I am serving animals too stupid to obey, but too smart to bother. Perhaps I am entertaining geniuses unaware… geniuses who are manipulating the world (and me) to their happy advantage.