Let’s talk about communication. Bosco and I are working on how to better understand each other.
It’s been a challenge. Every dog I’ve known has been verbal about their desires. Especially my beagle, who would stand in front of me and yell when he perceived an insult to his dignity. But not Bosco. He doesn’t make noise. Unless you count snores. And farts.
We have a common language on the essentials, thanks to school. And some words came very quickly. Never any confusion about what “supper” means. “Cheese” came pretty fast too.
Just before the weather got awful, we figured out what “go outside” and “go potty” means. This is such a relief. Before this clicked, Bosco could only poop on a leash. And an awful lot of my neighbors don’t shovel their sidewalks, which left us walking an icy route, in the dark, in single digit temperatures. In other words, a disaster waiting to happen.
And I figured out how he tells me he has to go out. He realized that I’m pretty thick, and pacing and looking at me didn’t get through. Now he just puts his big face about 1/4″ from mine and stares at me.
Now Bosco’s not exactly thrilled that he’s getting his delicate parts cold, but he just needs perspective. I tell him he looks strong and brave as he hikes across the snowy yard. He gives me a big-eyed look that says “I don’t like this.” On really cold days I think it means “$%*^ you.”
We had a very cute moment this weekend when I came home from the post office with a box full of stuff for him. It was big and smelled like the outside world, so he was curious. When I told him, before I opened it, that everything in it was Bosco’s, he got excited and prancey. He took the stuffed toy out himself, and supervised the installation of a new blankie in his crate.
Every few days, I tell him a story – about how great he is, how strong and smart and brave. I tell him that most people cant do what he’s done, that people aren’t good at putting bad things behind them, starting again, trying again. I tell him that in his world now, everyone he knows loves him. In his world now, he is always safe, always loved.
I’m trying to teach him another word – forever.