Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cosmos on Guard Duty

Entrance to my condominium is gained - at least in theory - by my visitors contacting me on the security phone by the front gate and me buzzing them in. The fact that anyone can gain entrance just by standing by the front gate for a few minutes is a story for another day. Today we're going to talk about the people that I invite into the complex.

My dogs have long been aware of the English Language and what the implications of different words are. When I'm planning on taking them for a walk later in the day, for example, I cannot mention that word to a person that I'm talking to on the phone as they will hear it and react accordingly. Over the years, I've used the words walk, stroll, meander, sojourn, and countless others to describe the same activity of leashing up and getting out of the house. I don't know if they're so smart that their vocabulary is increasing, or I might have a certain inflection of tone when I say the word, but the boys always figure it out with only a little time applied. In fact, I need to come up with a new word shortly. They're just about on to 'picking up their pee-mail.'

When Sunny needs to go out, he stands by the door with a very specific bark emitted. Cosmos, however, is another matter. He whines - he whines for countless things - and I don't always understand what it is that he wants. When Sunny finally gets involved by standing by the door with the "I have to go out" bark for his brother, when it finally dawns on me what Cosmos is telling me, I usually say "Ah, so you want to go out!" Whereupon Cosmos gives me a bark of disgust like how could it have taken me so long?

With all of this interaction, it isn't a long leap to know that Cosmos understands the significance of the phone and the potential for visitors when it rings. And visitors mean a few things. Trespassers! The potential of being pet! The potential of being fed!!!!!

Don't misunderstand. Cozie does not approve of the phone under normal circumstances. That's Beth's fault. I was on one evening, talking to her over the speaker phone. I mentioned to her that Cosmos was in the room. And the phone started talking directly to Cosmos, saying his NAME. That was a big deal to him. He did not like the fact that the phone was suddenly addressing him directly and specifically picking him out of the crowd. And so he barks when the phone rings.

But nowhere near as much as when he thinks that the phone is sending company. The conversation goes as follows:

Phone rings. Cosmos barks in disapproval.
"Hi! Are you here?" Cosmos's hackles go up.
"Hold on. I'll let you in." And I push "9" on the receiver pad.

That's it. Cozie knows that somebody is coming and that is cause to go into full alert. Barking. Hackles up. Generalized frenzy by the front door.

Sometimes it's the UPS or Federal Express man. We've been seeing a lot of them lately with all of the medication deliveries. And that's always a disappointment because we have an agreement to do all of our business over the patio gate so that they don't need to interact directly with either of the dogs.

Sometimes it's Eric. That makes Cosmos happy as long as he stays out of the bed. Eric out of the bed means that there is a potential of food. But it's Sunny that really loves Eric, food or not, and is glad to see him.

Sometimes it's somebody else... like Adele and Ian or a nurse practitioner, or who knows who?

But all of it calls for a frenzy of barking, because that is Cosmos's job.

Then, there is the misconception on Cosmos's part that I might let somebody in. That misunderstanding usually happens when my conversation is short and to the point. Like with a pharmacy or a wrong number or such. When friends call and I am going to settle in for a real conversation, the dog knows it because I will put the phone on speaker, much to his dismay. "The phone is talking again." He knows that this situation is not one where somebody is likely to show up at his door.

The short conversation, though, is full of potential. He does not go immediately frantic as he does when I push "9" but he works himself up all the same. Slowly he pulls himself off of the floor. A few questionable barks. A few more barks in full throat. The neck hackles go up as does the tail. (This situation does not call for hackles all the way down his back, over his butt, and into the tail. That is reserved for the times that he is sure that somebody is coming.) And then he runs to the front door, barking and turning in small circles of anticipation.

I try to tell him that nobody is coming; he does not acknowledge that he might be wrong. He is a watch dog and a watch dog he will be.

But then comes the moment that he dreads. When he realizes that he has wasted his time. He could have been sleeping or eating or watching TV or eating or who-knows-what or eating! And he walks, stiff legged, into the kitchen to beg for a dog biscuit because we all know that his blood sugar is low with all this watching he has been doing.

And I appease him as a rule. Because that dastardly phone, the one who talks to him, has taken on a new role. That of the great deceiver.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

awwwww..poor's a ruf life he lives...he definately keeps it interesting.

KLAW for WALK..okay I know that was lame. what can I say..


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