Friday, July 21, 2006
Sister Mary Katherine
Dog discipline at my house consists of rolling up a newspaper in one hand, slapping it in the palm of the other hand, and saying, with a stern voice and expression, “Do you want me to spank you with a paper?” That pretty much stops the unwanted behavior. And if I’m incapable of judging which behavior is unwanted, Kadi stands ready to help me.
Have I mentioned that Kadi is a card-carrying goody-two-shoes? Her mission in life is to be THE perfect dog, and if she sometimes falls short, it isn’t for lack of trying.
Early in John Grogan’s wonderful book, Marley and Me, he wrote about his childhood dog, Shaun, a/k/a Saint Shaun. That struck me really funny, because Kadi, a/k/a Kadi Marie (I’m in Catholic country; all kids have to have a saint name), has long been called Sister Mary Katherine, as well.
I love that her goals are so lofty except that she applies her high standards of behavior to all the rest of us. One example: My daughter was getting ready to do laundry here one day and I was in another room. I could hear her talking softly, then she called, “Mom, what’s the matter with Kadi?”
I hollered back, “What do you mean, ‘what’s the matter with Kadi?’ What’s she doing?”
My daughter said, “Well, she’s just acting weird. She’s sitting here with her head hanging down and her ears back, looking like she’s just lost her best friend.”
I walked back into the kitchen, where my washer and dryer are, and spotted the problem immediately. My daughter had dumped all the clothes out into the middle of the kitchen floor to sort them into loads. Kadi sat right next to them, and the expression on her long face said, “I cannot believe you’ve made this mess. I love you, but I’ve never been more disappointed in you than I am right now.”
When Butch was a puppy, Kadi ratted him out every chance she got. She’d come and find me, her ears laid back flat against her skull, and give me that “you’d-better-come-with-me-it’s-an-emergency" look, and, sure enough, I’d find a pile of poop or new chew marks on the furniture.
Recently, Kadi seems to have focused her behavior modification program on Lucy, my granddog. Granted, Lucy isn’t perfect. She’s a year old now, but she’s still a wild baby thing who likes to explore her every impulse. A couple of weeks ago Lucy’s impulse was to chew on the corner of my coffee table, and Kadi, thank goodness, came running in to get me. Kadi weighs five times as much as Lucy and probably could have stopped the chewing on her own if she’d wanted to (I’ve seen her head-butt Lucy on more than one occasion), but she apparently wanted me to see it for myself.
One of the not-so-endearing things Lucy has been doing a lot lately is frenzied scratching on the door. It doesn’t matter whether she’s inside or outside, she pretty much wants to be on the side where she isn’t, and she wants one of us to open the door for her. Now! The reason all this is on my mind is that Kadi just now demonstrated the new trick she's added to her tattling repertoire in the last couple of days.
Lucy scratches on the door, I yell at her to stop it, and Kadi runs up to me and shoves her big head under my armpit. She stays like that for a few seconds, her eyes covered by my arm, then she peeks out and rolls her eyes at me imploringly. “Oh, gawd, she’s doing it again,” she seems to be saying. “Do you think maybe you should roll up a newspaper?”