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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Doggy personality quirks

by Terry McLaughlin

It's incredibly easy to anthropomorphize man's best friends. Those soulful, expressive eyes, those eager-to-please instincts. Those quirks and eccentricities that make them fit right in with the human tribe. I wrote about our current dogs two years ago (June 10, 2007). Hogan and Palmer are still with us, and still as naughty and neurotic as ever.

Our first dog, an Irish setter we named Cory, had an incurable sweet tooth. He'd ignore the meat on the kitchen counters, but if I forgot to put a cake out of reach, Cory would snatch it and smear frosting from one end of the room to the other. Cheese didn't interest him, but cookies would disappear. We never caught him in the act, but we knew he was the culprit behind the missing sweets–yet another vet bill would prove that our sucrose-intolerant dog had stolen yet another batch of pastries.

Cory was an amateur compared to the worst kleptomaniac we ever owned: our beagle, Kelly. Kelly was also an escape artist who could get over or under any fence we built, particularly on trash night, when she'd knock over the neighbors' cans and spread a mess in the street. One morning she scooted beneath the neighbors' garage door just as it closed and then spent a pleasant day devouring their supply of diet dinners. Other neighbors loved to tell the story of Kelly's casual appearance at a barbecue party and of her brazen exit with a bag of hot dog buns.

The second Cory, a Labrador retriever mix, was an easy-going fellow who liked to chase rocks. Not chewy throws or bouncy balls–only a rock would do. And only one thing could turn rock-loving Cory into a frenzied, foaming-at-the-mouth canine monster: house flies. He'd hunt them down and kill them no matter the time of day...or night. I lost count of the times he'd wake the family with his furious barking because he'd discovered a fly in the high staircase window, out of reach. One of us would have to climb from bed and coax the fly down into killer-dog range before we could all get back to sleep.

Some days I think life would be less complicated without my doggy friends. Some days like Saturday, when my daughter called from our ranch road to tell me dozens of buzzards were circling over one of our fields...and I noticed Hogan and Palmer had disappeared. Sure enough, when the dogs returned, they were streaked with filth and reeking of something rotten. Ever cooperative, they froze when I told them to, and then they waited patiently for my approach before shaking their coats and showering me with flecks of disgusting stuff.

What personality quirks or eccentric habits do your pets have?

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At 8:17 AM, Blogger Judy said...

LOL! What a fun way to start my day! Great memories.

My horse could be sneaky and underhanded, trying to unseat me by brushing close to trees, fences, bushes, etc, and "spooking" at nothing. I worried he might try one of his "tricks" when my folks brought an elderly friend (with a walker) to visit him. He was an absolute angle, standing perfectly still as she approached with her walker and even lowering his head so she could pet him.

My dog was incredibly shy. People would comment that she was a great bodyguard, with no clue that she was a marshmallow. She helped a number of children overcome their fear of dogs, even one who had been attacked by a dog. She was the consummate lady.

There's a reason for believing animals are humanlike. It only takes seeing them embarrassed, which has often been touted as a human trait because it requires a sense of right and wrong and self. My dog, and our family dog before, both had a habit when they were young to jump up and put their front paws on the sill to look out the kitchen window. (About 15 years apart) they jumped up to look out and had misjudged where they were and put their paws on the bulletin board next to the window. Both dogs realized their error, dropped down, head down and tail tucked. They never tried to look out the window again, even when I showed them the window was still there.

At 9:23 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Your tales of your beagle brought back memories of my family's beagle Chloe. Chloe ate a tray of crab stuffed mushrooms. The gas that followed was horrendous. Also, when the lights went out she polished off a tray of cheese and crackers my mom had offered to guests. She liked dried chameleons, too. Once she killed them, she laid them on the patio in lines so they could dry in the sun. Once dried, she ate what we called lizard jerky. Chloe was an escape artist as well, digging under the fence. The only thing that cured her was a fido wire.

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

One of my cats walks around the house in the middle of the night carrying a cat toy in his mouth and meowing and meowing and meowing....

We once had a cat who would come running if you opened a bag of Cheetos. It didn't matter how far away he was, he knew...

And we had a cat once who loved cantaloupe.

At 3:15 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Hi, Judy :-)! I enjoyed hearing about your devious horse and wonderful dogs--thank you for sharing :-). They all sound like very sweet animals, even if some occasionally had their moments ;-).

How sad, though, that after the bulletin board incident neither of the window-watching dogs would give that outside view another try.

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Hi, Mo :-)! What is it with beagles, anyway? I was so exasperated with our Kelly that I asked our vet--who also owned a beagle--whether there was something wrong with the breed. He said yes, there actually is, LOL! They're just so danged cute and sweet--and clever--that they sucker us into taking a chance on them.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

LOL on the Cheetos-loving cat, Diane :-)!

My mom used to feed cantaloupe to our cats, too. I was surprised the first time I saw her do it--cantaloupe doesn't seem like a "cat" food, does it?

At 5:28 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Hi Terry! I'm glad Palmer and Hogan are okay! I thought maybe the buzzards were after one of your dogs! Phew!

Love the pictures! And thanks for the word "anthropomorphize." Say that one three times fast! I have to look it up. :) My little Chihuahua has a sweet tooth too!

Thanks for sharing your sweet animal stories!

At 6:20 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Hi, Theresa :-)!

When Kate called about the buzzards, I immediately knew what was going on--my dogs had disturbed the birds' meal. Ughhh. Those two are always bringing home disgusting treasures, or rolling in cow pies, or wading in the stinky marshy muck.

Anthropomorphism is a word I picked up in one of my undergrad anthropology classes. It's a useful term--and something I'm guilty of just about every day ;-)!

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

I ended my day with this and I am so glad. TOO funny!

The thing I love the most about my pets is that each is so unique and they make me laugh all the time.

My chihuahua growls at EVERYONE. His favorite thing is to "talk" to my Mom on the phone. He will growl the entire time she talks to him.

My first deaf Great Dane, Gus, learned how to open the fridge and had a party one night with his fellow canines. I came home to find the entire contents of my fridge all over the house and the dogs. Imagine a white Dane COVERED with spaghetti sauce and mustard. And he ate an entire package of individually wrapped cheese slices and pooped plastic for a week.

The funniest thing is that the house dogs I have now each have their own spot on the bed next to me. If I roll over EVERYONE has to change position. And if I roll over too much they sigh and huff at me!

At 9:26 PM, Blogger Terry McLaughlin said...

Ah, Louisa, I love your description of sleeping with all your dogs. And I'm jealous--I miss sleeping with a dog. There's something so comforting about sharing a bed with a pooch.

When I was young, I had a Laddie mutt who snuggled with me every night (she loved to stretch out beneath the blankets), but since my marriage all our dogs have been too large. Kelly Beagle might have fit, but she was never invited because we were never able to completely housebreak her.

I can just picture your Great Dane covered with incriminating evidence, LOL! And the growling chihuahua--so funny :-).

At 12:19 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

cantaloupe for a cat, wow! Never thought of that. I'll have to try it.

Loved your sleeping with the dog story, Louise! I can picture everyone readjusting every time you move. ha!


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