Wednesday, January 23, 2019
My Clock Has Four Legs and Fur or how Rack gets me to inspect the sprinklers
Oh sure, you leave the house five minutes this way or that, go a different direction once in a while. What I mean is that if you pull back and look at things at a "One Thousand Foot Level" instead of being specific, you do roughly the same things every day at about the same time daily.
This effect can be seen while looking at pollution levels at a city for example. Saturday and Sunday has cleaner air. Monday traffic is a little less than Tuesday because you and a couple hundred people in your city had a case of The Mondays that week.
That sort of thing.
I think that I'm in that sort of a relationship with my dog. A bit of a feedback loop.
In my pre-dawn haze, almost every single day, I look over at him when I open my eyes.
Rack is almost always looking right back at me.
Ok, so it's 5am, so let me sleep in. Dawn comes two hours from now in winter, ok?
Didn't think so.
If humans have a semi-rigid schedule, so do dogs.
We get out of bed and get prepared for a lap around town. Fifteen minutes later, like furry clockwork, we're on our way.
When we're back, he fiddles around doing those Dog Things that he does, but he knows that
Food, coffee, Spanish, online stuff, and all the sudden he's at my elbow again. I check the clock, it's just turned 7 and someone else is getting up.
"Go see 'em!" I say. It rarely works but I try anyway. Time for a little attention, and he's back in his corner.
I go back to my own routine and after a bit he's back at my elbow.
It's 7:31am. My sprinkler systems have kicked on for a quick watering of the pots. He's looking at me, he knows, it's time. I have to do the yard inspection. That's a pretty rigid time there even if the clock there needs to be adjusted.
We're in the yard, I dump my first mug's coffee grounds in the plants because "It's Gardener's Gold!" in this sandbox that we call soil here, plus it can reduce the number of mosquitoes and feral cats that wander through the property.
Dumping the pool scoop in the can, I'm being herded inside.
I think Rack manages my time as effectively as any cellphone, Palm Pilot, or Secretary ever could.
He does know not to ask for an ice cube on the second mug of coffee, he gets one and that is fine by him.
Similar things happen around lunch where he knows to check what I am making. I learned that if I tell him that it is chicken or "there's onions" he won't bother me.
I'll give him some homemade yogurt instead.
At 440, he gets up to wander into the kitchen for his dinner and our second yard inspection. Oh sure, I may be deeply involved in something, but if I am, he'll nudge me along.
Not at 4:35 nor 4:45, but promptly at 4:40.
"Dog? Can you read a clock?"
Brown eyes lasering a hole through my head.
When we get back inside, I try to reclaim my own schedule.
5PM on the dot he gets up and walks to the front door. The house is about to fill up again, I am having more holes sintered in to my head. Twin brown laser beams are telling me that someone is on the way.
I see the white SUV pull past, then back into the drive. Time once again to go for a walk.
Yep, dog walk time.
It's almost cause and effect. He knows what is going on, and has a good understanding of what he is being included in.
Rack, being a McNab Dog, is so intelligent that I have learned just to accept that he will understand what is going on. If I get up and move for the keys in a certain way that indicates that a car is being used, he tries to invite himself. If it is a Skate Day instead, when he sees me put my skates or pads by the door, he backs off.
Intense little black and white dogs can't run as far or as fast for as long as I can skate, although the ride would have him beyond excited.
But a herding dog, especially a McNab, is a special thing. They will manage you if they can, and will understand what you are saying even if you can't see the clock!