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?”


  1. Dogs are the best companions and I'm sure that my dog understands English very clearly and knows them meaning of lots of words. I think this might be a blog for me so I'll tell the story at another time. Got made dogs for humans to have best friends and vice versa. I love hearing your stories, Velvet!

  2. I really need to either learn how to spell or how to type! Sorry about those misspellied words.

  3. Great story. I am a believer that dogs make it clear what they want - it's just up to us to pay attention.

  4. what a sweetie! I love that "I'm so disappointed in you" look that you describe!

  5. It's great to hear I'm not the only one living this life! Pure and simple, I love dogs..especially mine. I have been doggy watching for four days now, (a wee little yorkie/silkie demon)so I have three in the home, and I am amazed how they tattle on each other. I agree with Nan, God made dogs for us, and us for them. I'm just not sure why, but I'll figure it out, maybe comic relief?

  6. Ha ha!

    Kadi's like Deputy Dawg - a canine law enforcer!

    That's cute.

  7. Oh, Velvet, your wonderful dog stories make me want to get another one! Kadi is too funny - just like kids, tattling - "Oh Mo-om! guess what Lucy did. . ."

    Our Tasha has been gone 4 years, next week. She was a sweetie. I may actually have to figure out how to blog just so I can tell some Tasha stories.

    tc, loved the Deputy Dawg reference - brought back memories!

  8. I just might need to borrow Sister Mary Katherine! I've decided to upset the balance here and foster another greyhound who is not yet two years old. In greyhound lives, still very much a puppy and only just discovering life in a home rather than a kennel. At least I'll have a lot to write about... ;) Carmon

  9. Kadi needs to come to my house! Mr. Guss seems to think he's the only one that can tell on any body or any thing!!! HE'S an angel???

  10. great story, wish i could borrow her for a while maybe she could do something about foxy. after penny died we got this pup and now i know what a GREAT dog penny was . my daughter keeps saying foxy is just a pup and she will grow out of all this. i say i would live that long.

  11. Kadi is such a treasure, so clever and funny too, I'm sure she'll soon get Lucy into line. :) Lovely story.
    My two labradors died eight years ago, miss them so much. Seems like you;ll have us all telling dog tales before long Velvet. :-)

  12. Loved your comments (Deputy Dawg, indeed, LOL), but then I've always known dog people are the greatest.

    Here's an example of where I think Kadi's "goodness" falls just short of the perfection to which she aspires:

    Lassie: "Come quick, Timmy's in the well!"

    Kadi: "Come quick, you'll never believe what Timmy's done now!"

  13. Like I always say to my daughters, "Are you tattling on your sister to get her OUT of trouble, OR are you tattling to get her in trouble, OR to make yourself look good?"

  14. OMG!!!!
    My name is Kadi and well i am not a dog.
    this is soooo crazy only one other person that i have ever known of had my name now there is two and one is a dog. hahaha this is great



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