Thursday, March 31, 2011

Old dogs, new tricks: The cone of silence

Ben's indoor aversion to windy days and nights is epic. When he's inside, he hates the low moan the wind makes coming off the bluff, the thumps and rattles, its mournful keening that penetrates the old windows in our house.

During a windy day, Ben will burrow deep under our computer desk or breakfast bar -- wherever we are parked -- and many a night the Wonderfully Patient Spouse or I have drifted down into the basement, stretched out on the futon with Ben at our side -- only after 20 to 30 minutes' pawing and nudging in the upstairs bedroom as the dog notifies us about the Imminent Danger Swirling around Outside.

So typical to Bermtopia at the end of March, it's been gusty. And for a chunk of that time, some of the gustiest days and nights occurred while we were on vacation.

Empty House + Gusty Winds = Unhappy Ben.

Herewith is a phone call we received from Mrs. Ben's Number 1 Fan toward the end of our vacation:

Mrs. BN1F: "Hi. Everything's ok, but. . . ."

This strikes fear into the heart of any dog owner on the road. As it turns out, Mrs. BN1F just wanted to share a funny story . . .

Seems she showed up at our house Tuesday morning to collect Ben for his morning walk. And there was no Ben.

Now, people, you need to understand Morning-Walk-Ben. This is a dog who, at the age of 10, still literally dashes down the stairs in anticipation of his morning walk, skitters across the hardwood floor snorting, sniffing and sneezing, makes a couple joyful laps around the living roon sofa, and finally deer hops into the kitchen, ready to go. He is not happy when we zombically head to the coffee pot first.


Ben not appearing at the top of the stairs was an immediate point of concern. Mrs. BN1F searched the main floor.

She searched the basement.

She searched upstairs.

No Ben.

Feeling a little panicky, she re-searched the house, and on the second pass through the upstairs, noticed the bath mat had been tossed out into the hallway and the bathroom door was closed.

Gingerly, she opened the door. There was Ben. Graciously wagging his tail as if to say, "I knew we'd connect sooner or later."

Benignly chuckling over Ben's apparent grace under fire while locked in the bathroom overnight, Mrs. BN1F and I concluded that somehow the night winds blew the bathroom door shut and trapped Ben there as he snatched a sip of water out of the toilet bowl (another Old Dog, New Trick behavior we've only seen in the last year or so). Case closed.

Or so we thought.

Last night, I called the BN1F Family to say "Thank you" for their loving care (translation: 3 walks a day!) of Ben while we were gone. The Mrs. shared this epilogue: After walking Ben Tuesday night, she firmly and conscientiously propped open the upstairs bathroom door with the bath mat so Ben would avoid nocturnal incarceration in the loo.

Ben seemed resigned, but somewhat serene to his fate of a yet another windy night alone in the house.

Fast forward to Wednesday morning. Mrs. BN1F appears for their morning walk.

No Ben bounding down the stairs.

Hmmmmm. She made her way upstairs.

Hmmmmmmmm. Bath mat tossed in the hallway.

Hmmmmmm. Bathroom door closed.

Gingerly, she once again opened the door: And there was Ben, graciously wagging his tail as if to say, "Nicely done this time around! I knew you were a quick study."

Welcome to Ben's Canine Cone of Silence.

What's not to love, people?
Two interior walls. One closed window.
And all the water a guy needs for the night.

1 comment:

  1. Makes perfect sense! For many people that's the one room in the house where they can get any peace and quiet!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and giving me the heads up on Maryhill Winery. I'm definitely putting it on my travel list. It's close enough for a day trip!
    -Chandra at Daley's Dog Years