Monday, January 11, 2010

I’ve Always Wanted to Catch Pneumonia

“I’ve never seen a dog more on his own schedule than Griffen,” Emily commented. It was the night after Thanksgiving, and we stayed up until roughly a million o’clock talking. Griffen was dozing on the dog bed, and I had to wake him up to get him to go upstairs to go to bed. I called to him and he lifted his head and stared. He wasn’t looking at me, more like he was looking through me. I knew he wasn’t awake. I tossed a throw pillow at him before I attempted to jostle him awake with my hands. He’s been known to snap at me when in that state—not intentionally, he’s just not fully awake.

But Emily’s right. Griffen lives on his own schedule, for the most part. When I put him out he will come back when he’s good and ready and not a second sooner. Never mind the fact that we call him over and over, and we wander through the woods to the neighbor’s compost pile to try to lure him home. When he’s done checking out the compost, he’ll come home. Obedience schmobedience.

Tonight I jogged on our treadmill for more than 4 miles. I was wearing a T-shirt and shorts and was slick with sweat. I put the dogs out and stood on the icy front steps while they did their business on the front lawn. Griffen got it in his head that he absolutely needed to go to the neighbor’s house at exactly that moment.

I stood on the steps as he crossed in front of me, and ran for the woods. “Griffen NO! NO NO NO!! COME!” I called after him. But he ran into the darkness down the trail through the woods to the neighbor’s house. I chased him, the sweat on my body turning icy cold as I followed. The snow penetrated my sneakers, I flailed at the branches that hung over the trail that, of course, I couldn’t see until they grazed and scratched at my face.

He finished his visit, and dopily returned to the trail between our house and the neighbor’s house. He stopped in his tracks and stared at me, frightened. He knew he was in trouble; he could hear the anger in my voice as I called out to him. He stopped just out of my reach, and we engaged in the age old dog/owner stand off. He doesn’t want to get punished, so he evades capture. I just want to catch him so I can drag his punk ass home. I lunge, he moves just a few inches out of reach, which only serves to make me even more infuriated and him more likely to avoid me. He finally relented, and I managed to grab his collar and drag him home, the whole way informing him that he’s a bad dog.

We arrived home, and Todd scolded Griff as well. Griffen skulked, dejected, into the living room. He passed the coffee table and flung his tongue onto the plate resting on the table. And then I had noticed that the butter dish, licked clean, was lying on the dog bed. The last time I’d seen it, it was on the counter in the kitchen near the toaster. With butter in it.

These aren’t puppy antics. Griffen will turn 8 on Thursday. Do Labradors go through a midlife crisis?

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Blogger la isla d'lisa said...

This is too funny! Being proudly owned by a couple 6yr old labs, I can't say they've outgrown lab-puppyhood yet. I came home from work today and all the dishes that had been in the sink were on the floor. Licked clean, but still. On. The. Floor. And the girls wagging their whole furry selves at me, waiting for the priase they were SURE they were due.

January 11, 2010 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger Ginny said...

Re: the butter dish. Change "8 year old lab" to "3 year old girl", and we're living the same life. Eerie.

January 12, 2010 at 12:44 AM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

Isla, thank you. Now I don't feel so alone. Griff can't be left unattended with free reign in the house. He's been known to grow thumbs, open the FRIDGE and help himself. Last night I was actually very annoyed over the fact that he's a few days shy of 8 years old and still behaves this badly. But now he's more blatantly bad in his advanced age.

Ginny, your girl sleeps on a dog bed? LOL. Though it's been said that dogs never progress beyond the mindset of a human toddler. At least your daughter will grow out of it. My furry son will not, however.

January 12, 2010 at 10:42 AM  

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