Friday, February 5, 2010

The Spot.

[Originally posted at Curtin's Corner, Jan 23]

When I moved into this apartment over three years ago and the Girl Dogs, Fergie & Di, were still alive, I could leave them alone here for hours with no fear of any problems. And when I"d return, I'd open the front door and find Fergie sitting roughly 15 feet in front of me in the center of the hall. Always.* Sometimes Di was right behind her, sometimes she was lying further back in the middle of the living room. Fergie was always the alpha dog of the pair and so it was not surprising that, after she left us, Di moved up and took over The Spot.

High Maintenance Buddy, on the other hand, earned those adjectives in large part because of his deep separation anxiety, a not unusual characteristic for a rescue dog. The result has been that I take him with me whenever the situation is right and leave him in a crate when I have to go without him, generally cutting things short to get back as soon as I can because he is given to constant barking and the last thing I need is trouble with the neighbors. To be honest, though, most of them, after they meet him, assure me that anything he wants to do is fine with them and isn't he so cute. Man, I haven't been able to pull that off myself in decades now.

Of late, when I've left him for brief stints, no more than 10-15 minutes, I've come back and heard no barking as I approached the door. There he was, in The Spot. Last night, with the apartment in front of me empty and the guy upstairs away, I took the big leap and left him here for a couple of hours while I did the Robbie Burns thing, the longest stretch ever. Damned if it didn't work. In the spot, on the spot, when I got back, smiling happily.

Whether this is a long-term breakthrough will be determined as we do it several more times, but I sure wish I knew what it was about that spot on the rug. If I could bottle and market it, I'd be a rich man.

* Requisite disclosure: once during Fergie's last year, I went out the front and snuck around the building and in the rear door and saw her up by the door I'd left through, standing and staring at it. I assume this was her behavior in the period right after I would leave and that she would then move back to The Spot, so there's some sort of timing factor involved in all this mysterious doggie lore.

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