Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Rack, You Don't Get Your Ice Cube Until The Second Mug Of Coffee

The deal with a McNab Dog is that if you can't train one, you can't train a dog.

They're "Gentle Souls", terrible picks for hunting dogs.  I've been told that about mine, and I have seen it born out on the McNab boards on Facebook and other places.  I may be wrong, but Rack being my second one, I don't think so.

Don't raise your voice, Don't yell, don't... you get the picture.  They like things fairly calm.

Think Border Collies that can Relax.  Mine is curled up in the corner next to me.  Flattened out like a pancake, yipping and running in his sleep like he does almost every day.  All the fun and none of the twitchiness you see in other smart breeds.

They watch what you do.  Intently.  If I get up and go to use the bathroom, he will walk over to the door and sit outside of it until he hears that I am finished.  I'll hear his tags chime as he walks away. 

If he could speak, he would be saying "Just checking in on you, Dad".

While he never quite got the "Show Me" behavior, he does have my routine down.  Show Me was where I would tell my old girl Lettie to show me what she wanted and she would go there and point at it with her snout.  It wasn't always food or water either.  Once I had something on my shoe and it bothered her so she made sure that I knew it before I went into the house.

A real Dog Of A Life Time.  Rack has big shoes to fill and he's doing pretty well to fill them at that.

Things have an order to him.  He's like a Business Analyst.  There is a process to things. Everything must be done in a certain way and at a certain time.  He has learned not to bark at the UPS Truck loudly.  Loud is reserved for people at the door.  He has a quiet "woof" to do the truck just to let me know.

We have our routine.  He waters the sign post near the house while I look up and stare at Mars near the Moon, or the clouds on the horizon over the Ocean in the predawn hours.  We have our route of about a mile and a half in the morning, and he holds me to it.  Every turn is mapped out and I have no doubt he could make it home on his own as long as he doesn't get spooked by the evil 50 Bus or a Diesel powered Cube Truck.

We come home, he gets fed, I get fed, I get online for my routine while sipping coffee. 

I have told him that he doesn't get an ice cube then so he wanders off and goes off duty for a while.  Herding Dogs need a job.  If they don't have one, they will make one for themselves.  Ranchers out west know this, and I certainly have become my own dog's job.

Later it is time for breakfast.  The sun has long since come up, we've gone out back and done a perimeter search and examined the Zone 3 Drip Feed Irrigation that is overwatering my plants.

I get all the ingredients out and make whatever it is that I choose to have, and this always varies.

Rack has not shown up yet to beg.  I've been in the refrigerator, the freezer, boiled water, poured cereal. He may have walked through, glanced up to see what I am doing, but it is more of a "Hi, I'm Here, I'm Doing My Job, I'll be back when you need me" thing.

Coffee is a ritual.  Boiling water hits 21 grams of espresso grind coffee beans.  If I roast them and they're not commercial coffee, it's always a Medium Light roast.  Three packets Sweet N Low, two and a half measured teaspoons of creamer.

Yes.  Two and a Half.  Not Three.

I have a 22 ounce French Press coffee mug, steep the grounds for five minutes.  I have added about 16 ounces of water, maybe less - it is a By Eye measurement.  Then I finish off the coffee.

Here is where I get Rack's attention.

Borrowed from Facebook
Open the freezer door.  I reach for the first ice cube and there is the chiming of the dog tags.  I get six cubes - five for me, one for Rack.

I try to be slick but we both know that won't work.

I start adding the cubes to the coffee to bring the temperature and levels to where I can just drink it and:

"Hi Rack, What do you want?"

Twin brown eyes staring intensely at my hands give away his desires.

I hand over the prize.  He gets his ice cube of the day.  Happy place for a dog to be.

As he walks away I say with a smile "Boy, you have a cushy life here!". 

He rounds the corner with a quick wag of the tail and goes back to crunching the cubes.

I swear this dog speaks English.

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