Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Frank and Nova
I'm used to a small dog.
This is something Frank and Nova aren't.
They are a breed you don't see too often in the US; Belgian Shepherds... large, long haired (some versions) faithful, bigass dogs. Big barks, big feet, long snouts, big teeth. I've gone from a small terrier to these dogs that are almost as tall as I am when they stand on their hind legs.
Frank and Nova are cousins, and totally different in personalities. Nova is a complete attention whore. She presses against you, loving in her manner, letting you believe you are her total world, the center of her universe. She lays against your legs, looking lovingly at you with her black eyes, wallowing in whatever bits of love you give her... rubbing your feet against her body, caressing her ears, scratching her head, she is there for you... your own dog, yours for life.
Until she sees someone else.
She sidles over to Loo, who is sitting on a stool from her position by me, glances over to see if I've noticed she has now abandoned me, and leans slightly foreward.
Loo lightly touches the ear closest to her.... presto, chango! Nova goes from an upright position to flat on her back, all legs in the air, with this, "Yes, do me, do me NOW!" look.
See? Total attention whore. Her affection is bought by the stroking of any part of her body by whomever is closest to her, and she will shoot a look of smugness to the person who has stopped petting her from her leaning-against-them-because-they-are-her-new-god place with the new person.
She has no real loyalty in the petting arena.
I do find comfort in knowing she'd protect all of us, forgoing a good scratch behind the ears or a rubbing of her belly from a stranger who was breaking in... still, you'd like to think she actually cared for you.
Nova is your basic dog, she's housebroken, well trained, her only peccadillo being she will not settle at night, therefore, she's locked in the kitchen area with the 30lb cat, Cat. Frank, on the other hand, is the Niles Crane of the dog world.
Frank has a short list of what he's not neurotic about.
We have to feed Frank in a plastic bowl--his tags hitting a metal one frighten him to the point of being anorexic. He will not go near shiny tile flooring. In the Old Parsnip, this was an issue...the kitchen had shiny tile floors, therefore, Frank never went into the kitchen. He'd cower on the edges of the room, his ears back, his eyes begging you to not make him go near the evil floor that was smooth and stuff. Here, in The Very, the tiles are dull--except in Frank's mind.
We coax him, cajole him, sternly command him to 'COME HERE, FRANK!". Frank is convinced those matte finish tiles will change the minute he steps on them, and therefore, he refuses. He'll moan deep in his throat, looking yearningly at everyone in the kitchen, Nova being caressed by one and all, his beloved Ev just beyond his reach. Oh, yes, this is a great trial for Frank, who could use some serious meds and couch time.
His plastic food bowl is set near the back door, with rugs near it to allow him to eat. Should the rugs be moved accidentally... or if I'm bored...Frank will stand will all four feet firmly placed on the rug, and lllllllleeeeeeeaaaaaaannnnnnn with his neck stretched out as far as possible, picking up his kibble with his lips, sighing in relief as he pulls his head back, retreating to the pretend wood floor in the hall to consume his meal, one bite at a time. If he's not fast enough, Nova (who has sucked down her food in record time) will finish it for him. Again, he will stand by, looking pained while she chomps away, moving to the lounge to slump down, sighing in defeat and hunger.
He will climb on your bed, shape shifting to leave it when caught, always with that pained look...
Fearful of the different flooring, he's trapped as to where he'll go... he will enter the front hall, but, not the hall to the office, even though they are connected, and contain the very same flooring material.
He's afraid of that hallway..... we don't know why.
Frank is also afraid of whatever lies beyond the doorway. He will attack the door when someone knocks or rings the bell... fierce bellowing barks, throwing his massive body at the wooden barrier that stands between him and the intruder. Open the door, and he is still the warrior, defending his home.
Try getting him to cross that doorway.
Ain't gonna happen.
He is also afraid of the vacuum, the broom, the mop, and fast movements, and yesterday, he became afraid of the clothes drying rack when it fell on him.
They shed, they bark, they leave piles of poo as big as Camden Town..they bark at the neighbors, people at the door, the wind, a leaf falling.... and when you have a putrid throat and cold, they are happy to keep you warm.
Posted by quin browne at 1:02 PM