Friday, July 9, 2010

Old dog, new tricks

We had a startling revelation about 10 days ago: Ben, our dog, is a year older than we thought he was. The Number One Son was insistent Ben was 9. . . the Wonderfully Patient Spouse and I, totally resistant, emphatically maintained he was only 8.

Sure nuff. We did in fact adopt him as a 10- or 11-week-old puppy in May 2001. Interesting side note: Ben's original name was "Bugsy." THAT was dropped like a hot rock.

I'll just say this straight out -- Ben is a great dog. One of the best. Smart, affectionate, sensitive, game for a good walk any time day or night. But like any dog, he has his canine quirks. I believe I've mentioned his aversion to wind, rubber bands and the laundry chute, but there are a couple more things to know about this dog of ours. For example, unlike most any other dog I've ever known, Ben refuses to push open doors.

Until now.

One morning, a couple of weeks ago, I was (please excuse my lack of delicacy here, but there really is no other way of saying this) comfortably perched on the family "throne," if you will, taking care of some much-needed business, when the bathroom door slowly started to swing open. I obviously had failed to completely close the door. Thinking it was the WPS innocently walking into, well you know, I prepared to sound the alarm. That is, until I noticed a wet, charcoal-black dog nose polking around the door. Nose grew into grey snout, snout morphed into two big brown eyes, eyes grew into a grey head, and pretty soon I had a whole Australian shepherd standing in front of me, looking faintly resigned.

"Are you going to much longer? And, oh, would you mind lighting a match when you're done?" he seemed to be saying.

Geez, can't a gal get some privacy around here?

Since then, if a door is askew and I'm behind it, Ben pushes his way in, softly but without hesitation, like he's been doing it all his life. Go figure.

Old dog, new trick.

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