We've got an evening ritual around here.
I eat first. My house, My rules. That's fine because having a beta dog, my boy Rack wouldn't have it any other way.
After I finish or at least put a major dent into the plate, I call Rack over and start to feed him. He's always eaten slowly, painfully slowly. Rack the McNab SuperDog (TM) is afraid of his own shadow.
We describe it as he's aspiring to be at the edge of the pack, close enough that he can see it, but far enough away that he won't get snapped at by the alpha dog.
I may be that alpha dog here, he certainly treats me like it.
I have to shake the bowl at him, tap the bowl, make sure that the food is properly hydrated with hot water, and hope that he doesn't hear a thunderclap less than 10 miles away.
No, I am serious. No closer than 10 miles. If it is any closer, he shuts down, begins to shiver and walks off. It's not a pretty sight. He really is that fearful.
So while I'm prodding my dog to finish his dinner, I'm listening closely to the conditions, trying not to knock anything off the plate, and for crying out loud just don't sneeze!
Now that we've got food in both of us, I rinse the bowl and my plate off. It's a delaying tactic. The longer it takes, the more likely he's going to go do his business back in the yard.
He's getting ready since he's sniffing at the back door as I scrape the last bit of sauce from my fork or my spoon. Not alpha enough to dare staring me down, except in rare circumstances, I catch him looking at me through the corner of his eye.
I guess at this point he'd be doing the potty dance if he could.
"Gotta go?" I ask. "Back up!" to get him away from the door, I then remove the locking bar and the lock from the sliding door.
"Come on, Rack, Let's go!".
I step through and Rack darts past. Once the pressure is relieved we move onto the next step - the dance around the pool.
Assuming that it's quiet, there aren't any trash trucks over at the Shoppes, or thunder out over the Everglades or the Bahamas, we start charging around the pool.
Throwing my arms wide, I start to run around with him. He loves that. Figures that he's part of the pack. We both get winded eventually, although he's faster than I am.
At this point he starts sniffing again with a purpose.
Along the hedges on the East side of the property is a triple fence. The property line, the wooden fence on the far side, and hedges and ornamental fences on my side. It creates a couple dens, nooks, crannies, and small spaces that I can't get into.
On the other hand, Rack loves it. He walks through it regularly. If I don't watch, he's going to end up having a den behind my hibiscus and it won't be easy to get to him, let alone get him out if I need to. This being Florida, there could be all sorts of critters back there too. It's not exactly the best idea to let him go into the hedges since that is a prime location for nasty bite-y creatures.
But there he is. Before I can stop him. He squats. I catch him looking at me. Through a layer of wooden slats, a couple ruellia flowers, and the stand of hibiscus, I see one lone eye. Dark brown.
I am being accused of being a Peeping Tom. It as if to say "Can a Dog get a little privacy for a change?".
I follow after this dog for three miles a day. Stuff my pockets with plastic bags of questionable strength. Tested at home with pressurized air from my own breath, I make sure there are no leaks before I use it to pick up anything that I wouldn't want to touch. We walk all over town.
So why are you hiding behind the hibiscus and the fence to get privacy, Now?
He comes out of the fence looking all proud of himself. Chuffed.
We've got time to do a couple more laps around the pool. I throw my arms out and say "Play!" and we start running like crazy people.
I guess all is well with the dog world after all. He's running around two pounds lighter.
"Water?" Rack looks up and trots to the door. I guess all's done out there. What he did was to make the backyard safer for us and less of a habitat for wild creatures by leaving what he did by the fence.
Dog Logic. I'll leave that there. Keeps the iguanas away and it will fertilize the hibiscus.