Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Naughty Sock Monster

As Lena and I approach the three month mark of our dog-person relationship, I am starting to notice that she is becoming a bit more bold in her home behavior. 

To be clear, her behavior at my home versus my parents' home has always been markedly distinct, but I fear that some of her sneaky (dare I say "naughty?") actions are leaching into our home life. 

Lena is not a free-range dog, no matter how much I would love for her to be one.  While there are no humans present in the house, she is confined to her kennel.  I know you may think this sounds cruel, but she doesn't hate it as much as I would have assumed to start.  Maybe that is because she is rewarded copiously with Charley Bear treats every time she kennels-up. 

The other night, as I was trying to work on my school assignments, Lena tried her best to distract me.  Lest you think that I am a negligent dog owner, please know that I had already taken her for a walk, fed her dinner, given her a Dingo chewie, played with her and laid out all her toys.  In a bold effort, I decided to do something I try never to do:  open my window shades. 

This actually proved to be a good idea.  I have a large chair positioned in my west-facing front window that not only affords a perfect view of passers-by but a sunny warm spot to relax for my obviously in need of relaxation pooch.

After this amazing discovery, I am afraid that it has released Lena's desire to be allowed more and more freedoms.

On the morning after the window shade opening, I awoke at 6 a.m. (as is my custom of late) and we started our usual morning routine.  Typically, Lena stays close to me and doesn't wander off on her own too much.  We made it through most of the morning to the point when I dry my hair in the bathroom.  Normally, she will play in the bathroom and watch me surreptitiously as she knows we are nearing the point in time when she must enter her kennel, which in her mind equals TREATS.

However, recently Lena has started to be a bit more brave and has found her way to my bed while I do my morning beauty regimen.  This is fine with me.  On this particular morning, her disappearance in the direction of my bedroom led me to believe that she was again sleeping on my bed, so I continued my process. 

About five minutes later, I spotted Miss Lena creeping around the corner of the bathroom door with something white in her mouth.  Immediately I ceased my makeup application and attended to this new development.  I extracted a small piece of tissue from her mouth and threw it away.  As I was well aware that this small piece of tissue must have come from a larger piece of tissue, I walked to my bedroom with trepidation.  Sure enough, there were about 20 pieces of tissue spread out all over my bedroom floor, pulled from my trash.

After cleaning this up, I attempted to resume my morning routine.  Lena, for some reason, decided to stretch out under my bed with her back end sticking out.  I shrugged this off for the moment, like the naive fool that I am.

When I finally finished in the bathroom, I came to the bedroom to retrieve Lena for her final trip outside to relieve herself to discover that she had one of my clean ankle socks dangling from her mouth.  Lena has a very strong addiction to socks of all kinds.  She doesn't chew on them so much as she just likes to carry them around.  She is aware that it is bad because usually when I see her with one and say her name sternly, she immediately drops it on the ground and leaves.

For some reason, on this particular morning, she decided to rebel.  Instead of dropping the evidence, she retreated to under the bed, possibly under the assumption that I could not reach her to retrieve her prize.  Unfortunately, she did not count on the fact that I have very long arms and am not afraid to use them.  Again, she didn't fight for the sock.  She was more than willing to drop it and let me put it away.  She didn't even seem sorry, sad or angry about it. 

Obviously, I am no dog psychologist.  Aside from the Kleenex (and a few plush toys and mechanical pencils) she is not destructive.  Actually, she has several plush toys that have made it three months without any signs of impending disembowelment.  My parents' dogs could never do this - they have a life mission to rip open and consume the innards of any and all stuffed toys.  This is why they no longer are given such presents. 

So what is Lena's criteria?  Darned if I know.  In a moment of stupidity I considered giving Lena her own pair of socks.  Well, really, an old pair of my socks that I have no intention of ever wearing again.  I figured that this would diminish her desire to pursue other socks.  Then I thought about it some more and came to the conclusion that this gift may only confuse her more.  I mean, how is she to know which socks are off-limits? 

To conclude, I would just like to say thank goodness that summer is almost here.  Not only because sunshine is nice and it's fun to be outside, but it also means that my sandals can come out to play.  Theoretically, I suppose there could be an argument made that sandals do not automatically negate the wearing of socks, but I am not of that fashion-challenged mindset.  For me, sandals = no socks.  My socks will go into temporary retirement for the summer and perhaps by the time they return, Lena will have lost interest or forgotten that she likes them.  Maybe.  We'll see.

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