Saturday, March 12, 2005

Once Around With Winston

I'm up and everyone's asleep but there's a lot on the agenda today, cleaning the house, mowing the forest - we at one time called that our lawn but it has now grown so tall some of the neighborhood children have been found daring each other to climb to highest limbs of some of the weeds - a hand bell rehearsal that Amy is leading and requires a lot of set up and hopefully lunch with some friends before I take another friend to the Spurs game tonight. Amid all this Lisa, our youngest daughter, may pop in as she shuffles between parents, step-parents and shopping centers on spring break...not necessarily in that order.

In any case I should start some of the housework but I only now did my morning dance with Winston. I suppose I write about Winston, our special needs dog, a lot. Amy and I are convinced his thinking is different than other dogs - Amy actually thinks he's autistic because of his almost irrevocable tendencies. He won't jump off a chair to his left for example...if something is below him on the right and he wants down he simply can't force himself to jump to his left. His fascination with socks is beyond explanation. I've written about that before but we've done pseudo scientific studies putting various items on the floor and with the exception of food, Winston will always grab the sock.

The morning dance is another one.

Each morning I let the dogs out since I am always the first person awake be it a weekday or the weekend. I let them inside a short time later (during the week right after I'm dressed for work, on the weekends when they start to bark and wake the neighbors). Winston and his sister Avery have crates they live in upstairs. They love their crates. They are their ultimate comfort zones. When we have them out running about the house playing invariably they will retreat to their crates. If they get caught doing something they know they shouldn't be doing (which is often) they high tail it for the crates. However during regular mornings Winston always makes a ritual of it. I'll order the dogs upstairs (where the crates are) and Avery will stop whatever she's doing and dart past Klondike who will always be sitting on the stairs in her way. Winston will be right behind her until he gets to the bottom stair...then he will look back at me and race around the house back into the kitchen. This happens EVERY morning, and really every time the dogs come inside. I will then stomp back around and point my finger at the stairwell and order Winston to bed. Most of the time he'll then comply although once in a while he'll make one more race to the kitchen.

This used to frustrate me, now I simply expect it. If Winston heads up the stairs on the first try I go up and check to make sure he's not looking sick - or that he hasn't smuggled a sock into his crate.

It's become our morning dance. I give an order, Winston disobeys, I give the order again, and Winston complies...wagging his tail all the while. I smile when I come upstairs and see him in his crate, happy we have danced together once again, even if it was brought about by his own disobedience.

I learn a lot about my relationship with God from my dogs.