|When Dogs Go Wild|
Eventually, every farm dog succumbs to the siren call of reeking trash. That cute little puppy, the Jake'N'Bake, has been working diligently at the cans and finally broke the code. This was the scene that assailed my senses when I stepped outside to enjoy the unexpected rain Saturday morning. Not surprisingly, there were no canines visible from the front porch, neither whisker nor tip of a tail. Everyone knew a serious dog crime had been committed.
No dog has ever been "disciplined" for this treasonous act mainly because it is discovered long after the fact. But the dogs all know exactly how happy I am when picking up stinking trash because I cuss and shout and give them the evil eye and repeat "Bad Dog!" They fully understand this is a transgression of magnitude.
I do not remember Duke ever knocking over trash cans. If I set a bag of trash on the porch (to carry to the cans later), Duke will not touch it as long as I am home. If I leave the premises, even for fifteen minutes, that trash bag is fair game in Duke's judgement. Even then, if I drive in and see trash strung from hell to breakfast, the Duke is conspicuously absent. He is suddenly too busy to greet me, his beloved master and benefactor and the supreme ruler of Spirit Creek Farm. There is no barking, no joyous whining, no jumping, no effusive greeting and enthusiastic tail wagging and sneezing. The guilty cur stays out of sight until I call him. Dutifully he answers my call, head down, and takes tiny little dog steps toward me, his guilt so great he cannot make eye contact. It is so pathetic and pitiful that I normally do not even yell at him any more. He is a dog after all, not a saint. Duke cannot pass up an unprotected bag of trash any more than I can pass up the treats in the break room at work. The spirit is willing...
As of Saturday morning, Jake had not been party to a trash raid nor had he witnessed Duke's shame and guilt demeanor. But Jake is no dummy. He was quiet and out of sight, too. It is normally impossible for me to open the front door without being swarmed by these two dogs. Stepping onto an empty porch was the first clue of a trash raid. When I was cleaning up the mess later, Duke stayed far away and thereby implicated himself. Jake could not help himself and came within ten feet of me, but laid submissively on the ground, following me with his eyes. Once all the shameful evidence of the trash had been removed, the cans set up and the lids tightly returned, those two dogs were immediately unburdened. Their pitiful guilt and shame fell away and they were born again into the innocence and happiness of a good dog's normal life. "We are happy! Are you happy? See how easy it is to be happy? Let's all be happy right now!" And why not?