Saturday, January 05, 2008

And the Forecast Calls for Rain All Weekend

Suzy-dawg (she is indeed a dog) always does a funny little tap dance when I pick up her leash each morning. She dances gleefully into the corner near the front door, lets me clip her leash to her harness, then shakes herself out. When I open the front door, she immediately dashes outside.

Except when it's raining.

When it's raining, she stops short at the threshold, stares blankly outside, then looks up at me as if to say, "You're kidding me with this, right?" At that point, I pretty much have to haul her outside and down the stairs to the ivy patch, which is soaked with rain, and into which she will not venture. At that point, I pretty much have to haul her into the ivy patch, where she steps gingerly (because she has completely forgotten that she's a DOG), casts rueful glances at me and, after about five minutes of our standing in the rain, will reluctantly pee. No poop, though; she's too dainty to poop in the rain.

When we come inside, I throw her pill* into her bowl; she usually eats it right away, although sometimes she only sniffs at it and politely asks for the next course, which she hopes will be cheese. (She is disappointed more often than not.) After she eats her pill, I throw food in her bowl and she eats a bit as long as I'm standing right there; usually she gobbles like a prisoner, furtively glancing back at me to make sure I haven't left the scene. If I move even a few feet, she stops eating and cheerfully follows me.

At times like these, Suzy is a lot like a very needy boyfriend: "Where are you going? What are you doing? Can I come over? But that was yesterday! Don't you love me? I don't need a life when I have you! You are my life! Call me, okaaaaay??"

Some people kindly call this "loyalty" or "love." I call it "a little bit obsessive."**

On rainy days like today, when Suzy's fur is still wet and she won't eat, I usually turn on the space heater and hope she discovers the joy of lying in front of it to warm up and dry like my sister's dog does (because he's oh-so-secure in his dogginess). Instead she prefers to follow me around the house, occasionally pushing the bathroom door open with her snout if I dare to sneak too many moments of privacy; if I take a shower, she paces the floor and whimpers. When I finally perch at my desk, the still-wet Suzy-dawg sniffs around and eventually decides to take a nap in the pile of papers on the floor next to my desk.

And the forecast calls for rain all weekend. ;^)


* Suzy is now on Clomic*lm for her anxiety. I'll let you know if it starts working.

** Lest you think me unkind, I do understand that Suzy's anxiety and obsessive behavior (she will lick your arm for an hour if you let her -- and my son usually lets her) likely comes from her past experiences/treatment. She's eight years old and was adopted from the shelter only about seven months ago by her owner, so it's anyone's guess what her first seven-odd years were like. I would suppose she was abandoned for a significant length of time, since she refuses to let me out of her sight, and I'm sad for her for going through whatever she went through. I hope that with time and consistently loving care, she'll eventually learn that she doesn't have to follow us everywhere, and that we will always come back. I hope she somehow learns over time that she will never be abandoned again, but I'm not terribly optimistic about this. Whatever she went through was clearly traumatizing and will be hard, or even impossible, to undo. Poor Suzy.