Friday, July 17, 2009

Hide 'n' Seek

The first rule of having a dachshund, as opposed to any other dog breed, is to remember to look down. They are a long, long way down from an adult human’s standard field of vision, somewhere from four to seven feet off the ground. When Ginny was in her final years I didn’t have to worry too much about looking down. She didn’t move around very much or very often. When she did, it was very slow and with great deliberation. She knew where I was around the house, and I knew which one of her many beds she was curled up in at any given time. So there was no stumbling over someone only ankle high.

Along comes Miss Krispy Kreme, a young spring chicken, per se, and she moves like lightening – but silent. And unlike Quincy, who’s always had a nice clickety-clickety-clickety-click going on with his nails across the hardwood floor, Krispy seems to be in stealth mode. Her nails rarely make much noise. They’re not particularly short, but I never notice them when she walks or runs. The advantage of hearing those nails is that you don’t always have to look down to know where Quincy is in the room. Krispy, on the other hand, vanishes and appears (under your feet) like a magician! Presto! Ta-da! (Round of applause.)

Countless times I have looked around for her or called to her, only to be surprised moments later when I realize she’s been standing next to me the whole time. I’ll be sure she’s sitting across the room, or in the next room, and look back to see her or to call and there will be no one there. I will walk back to investigate only to find nothing. Then I’ll turn around and wham! There she is. Nearly underfoot. I didn’t hear or see a thing. How did she get there? Then I feel guilty for not having looked down in the first place. I must retrain myself. We don’t train them. They train us.

“Krispy?” I search. I check her crate. Empty. I check her favorite pillow under my bed. Unoccupied. I walk out to the living room. Silence. I look everywhere: kitchen, bathroom, guest room, office. Nada. I return to the bedroom. I hear a faint rustling. I look under the bed and see nothing. Another rustle. I bend down again and catch a movement in the corner of my eye in the darkness. My eyes dilate and adjust to the darkness under the bed. I begin to make out the outline of a distinctively dachshund head and ears…in the laundry basket.

Now, there’s only a few inches of clearance between the rim of the basket and the underside of the bed frame – barely enough room for me to reach my hand under the bed and throw a garment into the bin. That’s all. Tiny space. But there she is. Wallowing in the stinky clothes. Happy as a clam. (Do we know if clams can be happy?)

It’s forever a wonder at what makes a dog happy. It’s secluded. It’s her personal space. It’s safe. The dirty linen is soft and supple – an excellent bed for any four-legged pet. But, after all, they do have amazing noses. So many smells to consider…. Maybe it’s Chanel No. 5 to Krispy?
Krispy Kreme in the laundry basket under the bed

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