in which she is defeated by the small shaggy dog

The shaggy dog has wiles. (Part dachshund, part silky terrior, he “has the biggest ego of any canine I’ve ever worked with,” a trainer once informed me at a kennel up in Malibu. “Good thing he isn’t any bigger or else you’d have a very interesting problem on your hands.” The spouse and I were inspired to change the young dog’s name to Leroy, after “bad bad Leroy Brown”.) When we first moved to this neighborhood in the hills of LA, he would disappear for hours from the backyard. One by one I tracked down his escape routes and blocked off small gaps in the gate — blocked off the little stone steps that lead down to a hillside balcony after I realized he was fearlessly leaping off the edge into the scrub and bush below. Hours later — sometimes hours and hours later — he would show up at our front door, waiting neatly on the porch, or slip in through the doggie door to hang out in the kitchen with his mates as if he’d never left, but I could imagine the day when he never showed up at all. Could imagine him, for all his courage and savvy, as a meal in search of a coyote.

So I got him neutered specifically to take some of that explore-and-conquer out of him. He still escapes from time to time, but his rangings are considerably shorter and closer to home. (Although who knows? Could be he takes off after the humans go to bed, and dog-parties down to Laguna Beach and back).

Tonight, however, he’s making his point, repeatedly, that he does not want to spend the night in the kitchen with his mates. He wants to come upstairs with me and burrow under the bedcovers (a trait he inherited from his dachshund mom). When I put him in the kitchen, several minutes later I’ll find him sitting at our front door. As soon as I open the front door he makes a highly calculated dash for the stairs. I collect him, deposit him in the kitchen, and we do it all over again.

So I could a) go outside and roam the yard looking for his latest escape route. I will not do this, because I’d rather watch 24 on DVD and nurse my little crush on the tormented tough guy protagonist. I could b) lock the doggie door and trap him in the kitchen, but I will not do this either. We have a great dane in the kitchen, and when a full-grown 150 pound dane needs to visit a patch of grass, you don’t want anything in his damn way. I could c) put him in his crate and latch the door, which many a sensible pet owner would do, but I am a softie and he knows it. So in order to save him from himself — and the coyotes — I will take him upstairs with me and let him sleep under the covers.

The little bastard wins again.


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