Sunday, April 18, 2010

My purpose in life... least from the perspective of Butch and Kadi, has been made clear to me: I am their maid.

Judging from their recent behavior, it's a good thing I retired when I did. They adapted so quickly to my being home all the time that I suspect they may have had previous discussions about their need to hire additional staff. Part-time help just wouldn't cut it anymore.

For example, Kadi has always loved to have her belly scratched, and I've always loved to do that for her.  But she used to wait until I'd sit down on the sofa to roll over at my feet and expose her belly.  Now she's just as likely to race past me when I walk through the house, hurl her big body across my path, flop onto her back right in front of me and stretch all four legs into the air as if to demand, "Stop! Scratch me now."  I don't think this has as much to do with the itchiness of Kadi's abdomen as it has to do with my increased availability.

An issue that's bigger than the belly-scratch-tripping-hazard is the way they manipulate me for treats.  Especially Butch.  Years ago I thought it made sense to give each of them a treat when they came back in the house after taking care of their doggy business in the yard.  I wanted them to be happy to come in quickly when I called them.  This was especially important when I was working and their outside time was often a quick trip in the morning or sandwiched into a lunch hour.

Once I retired, though, Butch, began asking  to go outside many, many, many times a day.  He's always had a bladder like a bathtub.  Unlike Kadi, he still does.  So I've tried to ignore him when I know he's been out only a short time ago.  But he's persistent.  He'll stand at the door and scratch it every ten seconds or so for as long as it takes to wear me down.  My daughter suggested that if I let Butch stay outside longer, he might not ask to go out so frequently.  But for Butch it's not about being outside; he's an inside dog through and through.  The whole bunch of us can be outside, and Butch will ask to go in by himself. It's all about coming back in. It's about the treat.

It's hard to relax with all of the extra interruptions.  I mean, come on, Butch doesn't just pop outside and pop back in again.  He's blind.  It takes him a while to find the perfect spot to squeeze out two or three drops to prove he needed to pee and another little while to find the back door again.   I often have to stand in the door and clap my hands to help him navigate. I'm trying to figure out how to communicate to Butch that it would be easier on both of us if he'd just learn to ask for a treat and stop the whole fake in-and-out thing.

I know Butch is faking it because I can predict when he's going to do it.  Example:  Both dogs stand at my knees while I eat my meal, and usually, if it's something that isn't bad for them, I will give the last two bites to them.  Kadi considers her bite a treat.  Butch considers his an appetizer.  He'll wait about one minute before he goes to scratch on the back door.  Every. Single. Time.

But maybe Butch is getting tired of the charade, too.

The other morning I woke up about five-thirty and let the dogs outside. As soon as they came back in, I gave them each a dog biscuit, then went back to bed.  Usually, they'd go back to bed, too, and maybe they did, for a while.  All I know is that just before seven I heard a little whine and there they both were, tap-dancing eagerly beside my bed.  I knew they couldn't possibly need to go outside again so soon, but I stumbled out of bed and headed to the back door anyway. I opened the door and stood waiting, finally realizing I was alone.

I turned around and there were Butch and Kadi, twenty feet behind me, standing side-by-side with their noses stretched upward to the package of rawhide chews I'd left on the dining table. Because they did this together, I can only assume they had discussed their plan beforehand and agreed between themselves that it was perfectly fine to wake me up to to give them rawhide.

If I'm being honest, the unnecessary interruptions bother me, but it's the manipulation that bothers me more. It's the fact that Butch thinks he's so much smarter than I am.  And Kadi probably is smarter than I am, but it hurts my feelings that she uses that against me.

Seriously, although I've groused about some of their annoying habits here, I am loving spending more time with these two old dogs.  Butch turned twelve in March, Kadi will be thirteen in June, and I'm no spring chicken myself.  I consider it a privilege to grow old with these two sweet souls.

Even if they do take advantage of me.  


  1. I loved this story. Plain and simple.

  2. I love it! I learned long ago that Miss Mabel would manipulate for treats so ...she only gets them for coming in promptly at bed time.

    It is scary how manipulative they can be... and cute all at the same time.

  3. Our Nate has figured out the very same thing...if he goes outside he'll get a treat when he comes back in. Now, I get bothered constantly by the two dogs with their wanting to go out and come back in in about two minutes, usually not even going off the deck!

    I have stopped giving treats, but the two dogs live in hope and if I look happy to them, they will interpret that to mean I MAY be in the mood to give treats. They are both old, as well, and I love them. They get their treats.

  4. nan16, it's good to hear from you again. How're you doing?

    CreekHiker, I probably should do what you do and limit Butch and Kadi's treats. On the other hand, at least it gets Butch to exercise a little bit.

    Marion, it seems that our dogs are all thinking along the same lines. I was just thinking that I've known a couple of people who were very manipulative, and I would have gladly popped a little cookie into their mouths to get them to go away. Maybe I should remember that and cut my dogs some slack.

  5. Nothing like your doggie stories!Am thrilled to see you back to blogging,I'd almost given up.
    Congratulations on becoming a GGma!
    Billie in Missouri

  6. Thanks, Billie. I'd almost given up, too, but I'm glad I didn't throw in the towel.

  7. It has long been my assumption that our dog, Socks, really runs the house. We just think we do.

  8. Love this story! I'm glad I'm far away so Spot can't be corrupted by the bad influence of Kadi and Butch.

    He's no angel though-a couple of years ago I started giving him a treat when he came inside from the last potty before bed, and now he expects it and God help me if I ever run out of that certain treat.

    It shows how well-trained your dogs are when they wake you up for the rawhide treats instead of climbing on the table to get it themselves!

  9. Maria, welcome. I believe you about Socks running your house. Here, that would be Kadi. I'm nominally "the boss," but she's clearly the administrative assistant who lets the boss know what needs to be done next.

    Janet, thank you for putting a positive spin on Butch and Kadi's decision to wake me. The truth is I keep all the dining chairs pushed tight against the table just to prevent their helping themselves. I learned to do that several years ago after we caught Butch standing up against the kitchen counter and licking chocolate (CHOCOLATE!!!) off the top of a cooling dessert.


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