It’s a month to the day since Laddie moved in…
…and we’re still getting used to each other. He’s not a youngster, he’s been through a lot of changes, and he’s not 100% comfortable with me. In fact – ironically, given where Ghost ended up living – he has made it very clear that if anybody cares about his opinion he’d much rather move in with that nice lady in the big house. Yes, he fell in love with Former Weekender Neighbor L. I assume that’s because she reminds him of ML, with whom he lived most of his life. Yeah, I took it a little personally.
Which is not that we’re having any serious personality clashes. He’s a sweetheart, genuinely pleasant to be around. If I have one real complaint it’s that outdoors he’s such an idiot. It’s easy to believe he spent his whole life in a house or a fenced yard, because he doesn’t know anything – even “sit” is a mystery to him. He doesn’t have the brain God gave a butterfly: Compared to him Little Bear was a paragon of focus. He will very cheerfully chase any wasp that flits past his nose, as often as not directly into that Prickly Pear he remains utterly unaware of as he miraculously escapes injury once again. I’m still waiting for our first snake encounter, hoping very much it’s a bull snake in case it happens while I don’t have my eye directly on him. He’s nowhere near coming off the leash.
His attitude toward me isn’t unfriendly, but still quite guarded. I don’t get many glimpses of that famous Corgi grin. He insists on getting his head nerfed first thing in the morning, but I think he believes that’s a life necessity and I’m just the only one around with hands. But we do seem to be making progress. Yesterday evening we had what I took to be our first really direct communication.
It was naturally enough a dialogue on the vital importance of dog biscuits. Yeah, he’s addicted to biscuits and convinced that every expedition outdoors must end with one. Late in the afternoon we went out to the wash for a pee. He came back in, got his biscuit, and then decided that it was dinnertime. He has this generic “hey, I need your attention” thing that leaves it up to me to figure out the problem. On this occasion I correctly guessed (based mostly on the time) that he wanted dinner, fed him, and then decided another walkie was probably wise given things I’ve noticed about his bowel habits. So on went the leash again and out we went to see if somebody needed a poop.
This was two walkies within fifteen minutes, and I didn’t figure two biscuits in the same period were required. Laddie disagreed so strongly that he really focused on communicating with me for the first time. I hung up the leash and sat down in the bedroom; he immediately recognized my error, dashed into the room, danced around my legs until he had my attention, then ran to the bedroom door aimed at the main room and looked back at me, gave me that big Corgi grin, tail stump wagging furiously. When I got up he ran into the main room and straight to the little tub where I keep the biscuits. Couldn’t have been clearer if he could talk. That’s the most direct conversation we’ve ever had.
So we’re getting there. I still miss LB and can’t help making with the invidious comparisons sometimes – LB was also a massive black hole of stupid but he was my idiot and we understood each other, and at least he knew the basic rules of outdoor survival. Sometimes I think it was too soon for me to be taking on another dog, especially one that’s been through three homes in three months and is not having a really easy time. But Laddie is pleasant and quiet and mostly undemanding: The frustrations all come from neither of us automatically knowing what the other expects. That will come with routine, I suppose.