Monday, August 22, 2005

Of sweat and manipulation...

This weekend was truly physically demanding for my husband and I. We sweated, grunted, gasped, and heaved, and no, unfortunately I'm not talking about anything that could merit an X rating. It wasn't racy, but we sure did burn lots of calories.

On Saturday we helped my best friend and her roommate move into their new place. Everyone there had a good sense of humor, so we were trading jokes back and forth as we carried chairs and dressers and unruly mattress toppers. At one point my husband was carrying a rather heavy box that was labeled "Lisa's Photo Albums", and he shouted, "Hey Lisa, did you have to take so many pictures?" And as I struggled out the door with a second box I yelled, "Yeah! Thanks for the memories!"

Hee.

Hee?

Okay, well everyone in the vicinity laughed (and guess who laughed loudest? Check number 95. And yeah, now that I've typed it, I realize that it doesn't really seem that side-splitting. But in the moment! In the moment, it was!).

So we spent Saturday morning and afternoon working up a sweat, then we dashed home to take Alex to the groomers for his last summer cut. It was there that I discovered that my dog is a total manipulator. That cheeky monkey.

Perhaps because of his unknown past, Alex is usually terrified of the groomers (and other assorted things). He is wary around strangers anyhow (especially men), but the grooming experience usually resulted in projectile diarrhea, so great was his anxiety. And this resulted in us giving the groomers a very big tip each time, so as to make them rethink cussing us out and slashing our tires in the parking lot.

To help keep Alex calm, we would stand next to the groomer's table, or at least within view. Because, you know, we just have that AURA of amazing comfort. He'd still shake and shiver, try to pull his head out of the collar, and practically kill us with the huge, terrified brown eyes.

But this time the groomer suggested that we leave the store while they worked. She suggested that perhaps Alex was too "dependent" on us, and that he was "acting up" to evoke a "reassuring response". Ha!

But being agreeable people, we left the store and window-shopped in the sweltering heat. We kept looking over our shoulders, expecting the groomer to come running after us crying, "Wait! Wait! I was so wrong about EVERYTHING! This dog NEEDS YOU! And OH GOD, THE DIARRHEA!"

But strangely, we didn't hear a peep the entire time. When we returned an hour later, Alex ran to us all wiggly and excited and looking like a little shorn lamb.

"How was he?" we asked gravely. I surreptitiously checked for signs of ill-timed dog poo.

The groomer was ecstatic.

"AMAZING! He was like a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DOG when he didn't have an AUDIENCE! I would suggest that you guys NEVER SIT IN HERE AGAIN while he's getting groomed."

Ouch.

But I don't know. I looked into my dog's eyes while hubby paid the bill, and he seemed to be telling me that he kinda likes it when I'm around to protect him. You know, from the evil nail clippers.

6 Comments:

Blogger Lisa said...

My dog is the same way. Rowen is a total drama queen and when I give her a command in training class, she'll hang her head and give everyone these sad, confused eyes, like I'm asking her to run under a truck tire. Then the trainer takes the leash, and she's an entirely different dog: smiling, tail wagging, ready to obey any and all commands.

Our dogs know how to play us.

1:39 PM  
Anonymous jenny-bean said...

poor doggie. maybe he really is scared, but when you're gone he figures there's no point in struggling?

3:30 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I think dogs are kind of like kids in that

1. They sense our fears and react to that. Watch a kid fall down. He won't react for a moment or two but when he sees his parent looking worried, he gets scared and starts to cry. If the parent laughs, the child will laugh.

2. They quickly learn what gets their desired response and they will do that over and over because the humans will never learn.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

I patted a small fluffy dog today. It licked my nose and toes.

12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's funny - I usually suffer from projectile diarrhea in your presence as well.... hmmm rethinking thanksgiving. he he jk --

K

8:39 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

You would think that two clinically-trained social workers would be able to apply a little psychological theory to a dog, but... ;-)

10:54 AM  

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