Fur-larious

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Every night I come home to find Bosco standing at the top of the 2nd floor stairwell. Every so often, he stands in front of me with his head low, and his ears all tucked in and rounded, looking like teddy bear ears.

Like this:

photo

I’ve learned that these ears have a specific message:

Mistakes were made.

Let’s be clear – we’re not talking run of the mill accidents. Sometimes he can’t hold it, especially if I’ve been lolly gagging around the grocery debating what kind of apples to buy. Every living creature poops, and I’ve long since accepted that with dogs, you can’t always control when and where that happens.

I’m talking about the momentous and cataclysmic, confusing and logic-defying moment that leaves me standing slack-jawed and furious, and yet is so hilarious that I laugh until I can’t breathe.

Fur-larious.

On Bosco’s third day home, I awoke to the sound of him pushing something around with his nose, and flipping it up in the air. I can’t see squat without my glasses, and I thought he was playing with the skinny cow toy I’d bought for him.  I was glad he was playing, and congratulated myself on my intuitive toy buying skills. Then I heard crinkling. And I thought “crinkling is bad.” So I tracked down the sound, and found Bosco going to town on a sheath of papers. He was chowing down his adoption and medical records.

Bosco seemed to start bonding with me in October. I’d been home for a week’s vacation, then back at work for a week, and then Hurricane Sandy wiped out the electricity at the office, so I was home for another week. I was back at work the following Monday, much to Bosco’s dismay. The next morning I could not find the shoes I wanted to wear. My first thought was “oh crap, did I accidentally give them to the thrift store?” I will admit I have a history of mixing up the keep and give piles and having to go buy my own clothes back. But then I realized….I’d worn them the day before.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know what I did next. I looked under Bosco’s butt. Yep, shoes. And a big boy who pretended he had no idea how they got there.

I like vanilla yogurt, and I buy the big tubs of it. Bosco’s indicated that he would like it too, if he ever got to taste it. I’ve also been known to treat myself to a Sunday bacon and egg breakfast, and that’s how some eggshells and bacon grease wound up in a empty-ish yogurt tub in the kitchen wastebasket.

The next night I learned what it meant when a big dog rolls up his ears in a teddy bear shape. When I came in the door, my first thought was “what’s with the tiny bits of plastic on the floor?” Then I slipped, and I thought “what did I track in from outside?” Then I walked through the dining room, and things crunched under my feet, and I thought “wow, I need to vacuum.”

I’m a little thick sometimes.

Reality smacked me in the face when I walked in the kitchen. Every square inch of the room was covered in bits of trash bag, eggshells, bacon grease and yogurt. I cannot begin to describe the horror, or the time it took to clean up. I didn’t find the yogurt tub for four days.

I’m going to tell you right now that the absolute best product in the whole world is the Simple Human kitchen wastebasket with the pet-proof lid. This product prevents the above story from repeating. But it doesn’t stop Bosco from trying. He once managed to pull a nearly empty bag out of it, so that he could play with the yogurt lid liner.

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I recently decided to eliminate butter from my repertoire for health reasons – but not the ones you’d expect. About a month ago, I realized I was going through it very quickly, and I didn’t understand why. It wasn’t like I was slathering everything I ate in it, yet somehow I was going through a stick every two days or so.

It finally clicked when I came home and discovered some minor mischief – hand towels pulled down, the wastebasket had been repositioned, etc. While surveying the “damage,” I remembered that I’d set out a fresh stick of butter that morning. And now it was gone. If I hadn’t eaten it, there was only one other answer.

But he’s not talking. He’s just standing there with teddy bear ears.

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Jubilee

MUFFINS

Bosco has been home for six months. Today is our anniversary. I spent a lot of time this week reflecting on where we started, and where we are today.

It’s been an existentialist journey for Bosco. Laura pointed out that he’s spent his whole life just being. Now he’s in an open environment, and discovering that he has wants and choices. Now he’s learning how to express those wants, and make those choices.

That’s a lot of pressure. A few nights ago, Bosco really wanted me to sit on the sofa and pet him. I was sitting in a chair. He wanted my affection so much that he stood in front of me on his hind legs, poking at me with his front paws. He was so excited when I moved to the sofa, and flung himself up next to me. But of course I over-cuddled, which made him nervous, and he curled up in his “this is too much for me” position. So I went back to my chair. And Bosco came back and pawed at me again. This time I was careful and rubbed his heinie, which was apparently what he’d had in mind all along.

He’s also discovering things. The holidays were full of delicious baked goods, and he knew he could not live without peppernuts, or shortbread, or labor-intensive cookies. Bosco NEEEEEEEDED them. Even though he never knew they existed, he couldn’t live without them. So yeah, he’s learning to beg. But it ain’t working.

So far.

Decision-making is part of Bosco’s life now, and it’s fun seeing what he comes up with. He’s starting to be mischievous now, and I love it. I’ll tell you lots of stories soon, because his mischief deserves a full column. But here’s a story on how his mind works….

Every morning and evening, we walk eight blocks. Bosco uses two plastic bags on each walk – one a few yards after we start, and the other on the Nationwide Insurance lawn four blocks away. Nowhere else. It’s a little OCD.

The low temperatures meant we couldn’t do long walks, and that second bag never came into play. Of course that didn’t remove the need for it. On the days that I had to go to work, I’d put a towel down by the back door, and at some point, he’d use it. This worked just fine. Until last Monday, when I forgot to put the towel down.

When I came home, I found that Bosco had figured it out. He knew if a towel was down, he would not get in trouble. But there was no towel, and he had to go. What to do?

This is the moment I knew that Bosco is pretty smart. I walked to the back door, and discovered his solution. He saw the curtain by the back door, pulled it down, and pooped on it.

I love this dog.

Six months ago, we just getting to know each other. He was afraid of everything, and I was afraid I couldn’t help him, that I couldn’t show him there was more to life than waiting for things to happen to him. But with help, we’re getting there.

This would never have happened without the people below. My eternal gratitude to:

Bernadette Peters
Patty Saccente

Vinny
Rop
Betty K
Julie
Jay
Everyone at BARC

Robyn
Bill

Auntie Laura
and Emmy – who taught everyone she met that rescue dogs are the best