The Midnight Caper

Cochise, on DST
Cochise tells the tale

It was just after 12:30 at night. We’d all been in bed long enough for the Peoples to be sound asleep. I was in my bed by the wall, across from the door to the hallway. Blondie’s bed is near Volt’s. Volt said, “Blondie, you awake?”

“I am now. What is it?”

“I’m hungry. You hungry?”

“I could be. What do you have in mind?”

“I have a plan to raid the kibble treasury. Want to come?”

Blondie Bear is not starving: pretty far from it, actually, but is not one to turn down a snack. Ever! I do. If I’m not hungry or if the snack is not up to my standards, I’ll pass. I was more interested in my warm snuggle-bed than in some goofy scheme that might or might not net some food. I laid still and watched.

None of this alerted the Peoples because dogs don’t always have to make sounds to talk. A lot of our communicating with each other is done with our brains, not our mouths.

Blondie said, “Okay, I’m in. What do you want me to do?”

Volt got out of bed and crept out of the bedroom, Blondie followed. They stopped at the hallway bathroom door: sometimes called The Kibble Treasury because that’s where the Peoples store the dog food.

Kibble Treasury 800x600When Volt first came inside the house, HairyFace had to keep that door closed because Volt was too excited by the possibilities a room containing almost 700 pounds of kibble offered. In time Volt learned to respect that room as off limits. Then the door started being left open again.

“Okay, Blondie, you stay here in the hallway as look-out. You let me know if anyone is coming. I’ll try to crack open one of these kibble vaults. Then we can both fill our bellies!”

Blondie looked at him kinda sideways, “I … I don’t know about this Volt. This is “bad dog” behavior. If we get caught …”

“That’s why you need to be look-out. You let me know if anyone gets up so I can get out.”

“And what happens in the morning when they find a bin busted open?”

“Easy: we blame it on the cat!”

“We don’t have a cat.”

“Oh, yeah … well … You really need to get a cat, you can blame it for so much stuff!”

“We don’t have a cat.”

“Let’s worry about that later. First we need to get a bin open.”

“I could use a snack.” Blondie thought about it for a moment, “Okay, I’ll keep watch.”

Volt ambled into the bathroom and started nosing around. “I’ve been watching HairyFace when he fills our bowls, our kibbles are in these bins on the floor. He just lifts the lids and scoops out kibbles …”

Volt pushed the lid of the red bin with his nose (I know this because Blondie told me all about it later). He tried several places, but could not get the lid to lift. He moved to the purple bin and tried that one. No luck there either. So he tried pawing at the lid, scratching at it with his claws. That didn’t work either.

He tried to dig under the bin by digging at the floor.

“Someone is getting out of bed! I think it’s Hairy! You’d better get out of there!”

HairyFace was indeed getting out of bed, awakened by the scratching. He probably thought one of us was at the back door asking to go outside. When he turned the corner into the hall, Blondie and Volt were bouncing around in the hallway.

“Do you two need to go outside?” He asked, still mostly asleep.

Blondie and Volt decided that was a great redirection and rushed into the laundry room. Hairy made his way through them to the door, undid the deadbolt, flipped on the porch light and opened the door. Both of them rushed out on the porch – and stood there.

“I don’t NEED to go out in the yard,” wailed Blondie to Volt, “and I don’t want to get my feet wet in the dew.”

“This could still work out.” schemed Volt. “The Peoples have been training me not to scratch on the screen. If I scratch gently, down low like you do, or if I call them, like Cochise does, or if I just sit there, being real good until someone notices me, I get a treat when they let me in. The treats are on top of the hot box thing NiceLady uses to heat our blankets. All we have to do is be good and wait for Hairy to let us back in!”

“Maybe. Hairy does not like it when we get him out of bed in the middle of the night.”

“Let’s try it.”

So they both sat there on the porch while HairyFace went to use the bathroom.

Peoples get to go potty inside the house, dogs have to go outside. I don’t understand how that’s fair at all, but it seems to have something to do with that big white water bowl thing. They only go in that, not wherever they want. Maybe one day they’ll train us to use that, then we can stay inside when the weather is bad.

“Okay, so what kind of funny game are you two playing at? Neither of you left the porch.”

He opened the door and let them inside. They both sat obediently in front of the drier and gazed expectantly up at the place where the treat bag stays. Volt even licked his lips.

“Oh, no!” Hairy said, “You two get me up so you can play games, hoping for treats? No … everyone back to bed.”

Blondie quickly slunk back to her bed and curled up. Volt thought about pressing the issue: he HAD refrained from scratching the screen, after all. But Blondie’s quick departure made him think again and he too returned to his bed.

HairyFace stopped in the hallway, thinking about what had gone on: the noise that woke him, the two dogs in the hallway acting odd, the refusal to leave the porch … he pulled the bathroom door closed, muttering, “Just to be sure.” before returning to his bed.

“I knew that wasn’t going to work,” Blondie said, “you almost got us both punished.”

“I almost got us both fed.”

“Humph! Hardly.”

Both closed their eyes and drifted off to sleep. Now that it was all over I did the same. But I couldn’t help chuckling at Volt. He’s come a long ways, but he’s still got a few things to learn. I’ll have a talk with him about trustworthiness in the morning. I’ll straighten him out. He’ll be okay. He’s a good dog at heart, as long as he doesn’t listen so much to his stomach.

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A Change of Plan

Cochise tells the tale

Each of us dogs has our own way of letting the peoples know when we need something. Take, for instance going in or out the door to the outside.

Blondie’s approach is the same whether she wants out or in: a light scratch on the metal panel in the bottom of the storm door. If the wooden door is closed, she’ll scratch that –but that’s discouraged.

For me, if I want outside I “talk” (gar-rar-rar-roof) and go to the door. Sometimes I forget and bark first, if the reason I want out is real exciting, but HairyFace won’t open the door until I settle down and speak my request instead of shouting it. When I want back in, it’s one loud BARK! This just lets them know I’m at the door and waiting.

The Usurper

Cochise tells the tale

One of the great things about being a dog is our social order. We do not have to guess about who is in charge, we always know. In our pack (home) HairyFace is the pack leader because he provides us with food. That earns him the right to boss us around (he calls it ‘training’) and we comply because there is generally food in it for us. And because we love him, but mostly because of the food.

I am Hairy’s second in command.  He calls me his Sergeant at Arms because keeping the pack secure is my primary job. I also mentor the fosters, and make sure the snuggle beds don’t escape (I suppose that too falls under security). It’s not that I’m a vicious dog.

When the Peoples take me out in public, I’m very friendly: encouraging people to scratch my head and pet me. For those who are truly deserving of such an honor I will even flop over and present my belly for a good rubbing. HairyFace calls me “a big moosh-baby”. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m pretty sure it indicates non-violence.

Out there.

Here at home, I am The Protector. It is my job to keep my pack safe from horrible threats like murderers, robbers, school buses (they eat children you know: I’ve seen them do it), loud cars, marauding stray cats, garden munching bunny rabbits, and the wind. Here at home, I am … intimidating (eye-brow waggle). And I do it well.

That’s why I was just aghast when I went off to deal with a heinous threat and upon my return I found this:

Would not you agree that this was totally unfair and demeaning? Imagine, sending me off to sleep in Volt’s bed so Volt could take my favorite place. SO unfair.

But, Hairy is the Leader, so … I hear and obey, because I’m a good dog. And I will be wanting dinner this evening (sigh).

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Working Like a Dog

Cochise tells the tale

I like to think of myself as a working breed dog. I don’t herd sheep, or guard a bunch of goats, or pull a plow, (oh, wait: do dogs do that? I guess they might somewhere. Anyhow … ) but I definitely have work to do. We all do. And we have to do it, rain, shine, or snow.

Today it’s snowing. And cold. But what must be done must be done…

Of course, our working is not all office work. My duties include facility security. That means I bark ferociously at anything that threatens to do harm to our property or Peoples: bears, moose, deer, panthers, stray dogs, cats, bunnies, falling leaves … you get the idea. I also alert the Peoples of vehicles in the road or anyone closing a car door within a half-mile of our property. These are serious threats!

I also serve as a roll-model for our foster dogs, like Volt. Blondie Bear shares this task with me.

Blondie is also HairyFace’s personal assistant, looking after him in all ways at all times, making sure he doesn’t get lonely. She rarely leaves his sight if not his side. She is also designated facility nurse: if anyone is sick, she will be there to offer sympathy and support until they are well.

Volt’s primary task is to learn how to be a good dog. That can be a confusing and trying assignment, but Blondie and I are here to help interpret what the Peoples tell him and coach him on house-dog etiquette. Since he’s sick, we don’t push him too hard; getting well so he can be adopted is part of his assignment too.

As you can see, all this is a big responsibility. But Blondie and I are up to it. We are, after all, working breed dogs!

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Dog Bed Upgrade

Cochise tells the tale

In our house the peoples have a rule about no dogs on the people furniture. It’s not much to ask since they only have a sofa, an easy chair and their bed (and some hard chairs that are too small for us to curl up on even if we wanted to – which we don’t). We each have a snuggly dog bed. In fact we have more furniture than they do.

First are a pair of thick pads in the living room in front of the fireplace. These used to be in HairyFace’s office over in the workshop, and that was nice when we spent most of our days over there with him. When he stopped spending his days there, he brought them home for use in the “heavy traffic” area.

We also have snuggle beds in the bedroom. These are nicer and when the weather is sloppy, Hairy closes the door to keep dirty feet off the carpet and the good beds. NiceLady recently bought us new dog beds: super-cush beds with memory foam pads. Hairy took one of the old beds into the den where his desk is. I like to lay on the carpet in front of the space heater, Blondie wanted a snuggle bed to lay in. Now we’re both happy. The other dog bed got put away in a closet.

Volt has been spending most of his time indoors with us. He has a polar fleece blanket folded up so it’s thick and soft. That’s in his crate. Volt has been exceptionally gentle with his blanket: he doesn’t even wad it up like Roger did. Roger liked to wrestle with it. He wasn’t being destructive, just amusing himself.

dog bedWhen all three dogs are in the living area there are only the two futon pads for us to lie on. Hairyface would pull Volts blanket out, but that’s still sub-par with our pads. And since no attempt is made to keep Volt from lounging on a futon, sometimes Blondie or I would get stuck on Volt’s blanket. So Hairy started bringing Blondie’s bed out of the spare room.

volt dog bedBut when Volt decided he wanted the snazzier bed, Blondie got bent out of shape! So did I for that matter. Here it is just three days since he arrived and not only is he in the house but he’s claiming our beds!

Because Volt is so gentle on his bedding, the Peoples decided to put the other older bed in his crate instead of the blanket — and it could be pulled out for use when he’s not being crated. Blondie thought that was pretty cush!

But Volt wasn’t ready to retire yet so Hairy pulled the bed out and Lady added a small blanket. When Volt gets to where he can resist invading other dogs dishes at meal time, this blue blanket will be put around the table with Blondie’s pink one and my brown one as our place markers for dining. By sleeping on it now, he will come to know it as his.

It was late by this time and Volt was ready for bed — once he had a chance to go outside for a potty break. Before that he was in his crate but barking and making SUCH a fuss! He knew he needed to go out. Once he got his request attended to he was fine and slept soundly all night.

In the morning Hairy pulled the bed out for Volt to rest on — but Blondie claimed it:

This was resolved once breakfast was ready and HairyFace put Volt back in his crate to eat.

dog bedsAfter breakfast we all saw NiceLady off to work and Hairy took Volts bed to the spare room where Blondie’s day bed is and he brought my night time bed in from the bedroom so we all had a snuggle bed to rest on while he wrote and made videos.

We spent the whole day either here with Hairy, in the living room playing with chewies, or outside enjoying the sunshine (when it came out). Volt has not been crated ALL DAY LONG! He’s being a very good boy.

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