Over Labor Day, my beloved Sheltie, Shani, raided the teenage girls’ bathroom and bedroom at our cabin. While she is usually sweet and shy, when left to her own devices her nose can get her in trouble. In this case, she destroyed a variety of feminine hygiene products. Five teenage girls and one bathroom provided a wild array of new scents and textures to explore. The pièce de ré·sis·tance of the crime was that when snorting through the bedroom clothing left on the floor, the only underwear Shani chose to destroy was my daughter’s very expensive Victoria Secret panties. My daughter, Kayla, does not like the word “panties” but one must call a spade a spade. In this case, Shani’s panty raid was restricted to her owner. Upon reflection “panty” as a descriptor of the little, tiny swaths of brightly colored lace, nylon, and spandex Kayla wears is generous. When I was a teenager, my mother would have described these itty, bitty pieces of fabric as “obscene” or cut them in half and used them as hankies, no wonder Shani put her nose in it. Victoria Secret has a new term for them “cheekies or cheeckini” presenting in seductive colors such as “purple rapture,””neon nectar” and “Bella Donna Pink.” Cheeky indeed! in all the many senses of the word.But I digress from the action in order that you might better understand the impulses of the perpetrator, just look at that long, soft nose and inquiring eyes designed to hunt out the single most tasteful, skimpiest, fragile, exquisitely expensive garment among many.
I was alerted to the crime when we all came home from dinner and I heard screaming and shouting upstairs. Over the balcony, reverberated, “GROSS!” “SHANI!” “Who left the doors open?” This query was from my daughter searching for the co-conspirator so she wouldn’t have to help clean up the mess. I, of course, was Shani’s defender and blamed the entire incident on the girls. Dogs will be dogs. Leaving attractive nuisances available for sniffing, thus enticing a dog’s olfactory lobe is bound to lead to chewing and wanton destruction.
I must admit that Shani once rooted around in my laundry basket. But I wear cheap cotton panties from ShopKo (the Bridget Jones memorialized as big panties, meaning full coverage in Bridget Jones Diary). One bite was all Shani could muster, though there was plenty of material, probably gave her that dry, cotton mouth taste.
I salute Shani for a valiant effort not to make me feel totally without appeal. The single bite suggests that one taste was all it took for her to take my cheap underwear off her list of chewable delights.
My daughter is always talking about how much better her dogs will be trained than ours when she leaves the house and gets a dog of her own. I am sure this is true.
My first dog when I was single was also a Sheltie, named Ginger Rogers because she loved to dance. I participated in a dog training class with my boss at the time, Dr. Cohen, who owned a big red setter. Ginger would prance gaily around the ring, sit, stand, lay and come when called. Dr. Cohen told me he’d never seen a better trained dog. But of course, since I was single, I had lots of time to work with the dog. We went everywhere together and had a very strong bond.
I have learned over the years that children change everything including dog training. Our next sheltie was Sparky. We got her when Kayla was little and Scott was in second grade. We all loved Sparky. But I remember eating dinner at the kitchen counter and saying to Kayla, “We don’t feed the dog at the table.” Kayla said, “Mommy, I don’t feed dog.” Just then Sparky ran under my feet with what looked like a cup of cooked spaghetti on her head. When I asked Kayla how the spaghetti got there. She said, “Fell off spoon. I don’t feed Sparky.”
Dogs are one of the great joys of my life. Unlike teenage girls, they thrive on your attention and don’t push you away. Shelties are bred to watch sheep, so they love their home and guard their yards, no demands of freedom from them. A homebody when Shani gets out of the back yard (infrequently), she runs around to the front door and waits for us to let us in. Unlike my daughter pushing hard to bust free of the confines of home, Shani is contented to stay with us always.
I don’t like to think of a time when I might not be able to care for a pet of my own. My dogs are not my whole life, but over the years and through a number of dog lives, dogs have certainly helped make my life whole.