This is Rocky. He's a big lug of a dog. Kim loves him. I have a strained relationship with him, going back to his puppy days when he started eating my things. Rare books, fly tying materials, boots, jackets, furniture... Of course I tried to prevent it. But he always found a way. A trait he has continued to this day. Now he eats road kill, trash bags--full, firewood, and anything--shoes and socks, T shirts, water bottles, mail--that anyone inadvertently leaves outside for a second. Yes, we try to prevent it--let me count the ways--but he always finds a way. Some might say he's smart. I might say he's too dumb to learn better.
Did I mention the digging?
So yesterday here he is at my window. It's 5 degrees outside and dropping, the wind is howling, and snow is flying. There's a nice warm fire going inside. So would you let him in?
He's half Husky. He's slept outside all winter. He has a nice thick coat. He can get into the shed if he wants to where it's out of the wind, and there's even a nice doghouse for him. But he sleeps out beside the back door on a pad, curled up in a ball with his nose tucked under his tail. He gets up and howls at coyotes. He gets up and barks at deer. He gets up and barks at ghosts. He gets up and wanders off in the middle of the night to who knows where. He gets up when I go out to look at the sky and to get the last load of wood, and he wants to play.
So, would you let this dog in the house?
Don't be a sucker. He's not cold. He's just bored. He knows the boys are home from school. He wants to be where the action is. He knows the cats are inside. He wants to play with the cats. He loves to play with the cats. They hate it. He wants to eat their food. He wants to eat our food. He just...wants.
Kim did let him inside for awhile. Thanks a lot, Kim, said the cats. I was thinking it, as usual. She closes the cats in the bathroom when the dog is in the house. She puts the cat food up high where even he can't reach it. Then she tries to get him to lie down. He runs around, or snoops around, or stands on his hind legs at the kitchen counter. Kim keeps hopping up from the computer to head him off. Lie down, Rocky! she says. Over and over. Sometimes he does. Most times he just looks at her. With a happy smile on his face.
Finally last night she put him outside again. He ran around in the snow. He dragged his tattered deer skin around in the snow. He was on coyote patrol until late. He did end up sleeping in the shed. It was the coldest night of the winter so far. But not in the dog house. But in the shed, out of the wind, curled up on an old armchair that needs to go to the dump. I'm not stupid, Rocky says.
Tonight it's not so cold; only 10 degrees. So he's back out on his pad outside the back door. At least he was awhile ago. He may be on patrol again. A dog's work is never done.