February 27, 2016

Neurotic Animal

I've had Lexi for about two years now.  The most interesting of her behaviors is how she reacts to getting a new bone.  If I let her take the bones outside, I'm positive I would never see them again.  She has an impulse to bury.  I don't think she can bypass this impulse as other dogs can.  Here's how it goes:

I give Lexi a bone.  She spends the next 30 minutes to an hour running all over the house searching for a place to hide it.  She's succeeded a couple of times in losing bones this way.  I have absolutely NO IDEA where she's hidden at least half a dozen of these things.  Her former favorite spot was underneath a green tablecloth on an end table, which is why I have kept it standing where it is, because I sure as heck want to be able to find where she's putting these things.  There are a couple of rules that she follows most adamantly, though.  Rule 1, she cannot be seen burying the bone.  If I'm watching her, I have to pretend not to notice or she'll just pick it back up and hide it somewhere else.  I let her know I can see her if I know she's putting it somewhere that I don't want her to, because she will jump up as if she's been caught doing something she shouldn't be doing and run off with it.  Rule 2, she can't bury it somewhere if I've moved it from that location.  This only matters if she's seen me move it, so if I want her to have it while I'm gone, I have to move it while she's outside or she knows I did it.

So this week, I gave Lexi a new bone and she arbitrarily decided that she didn't want to bury it under the tablecloth, presumably because she must have seen me move it or figured it out finally.  I was trying to find her new hiding spot, which turned out to be under the first step going upstairs.  For some reason, I decided to antagonize her so I picked it up and gave it back to her, then told her that she would have to do better than that.  Later that evening, I was upstairs brushing my teeth when I heard a clattering noise.  At first, I thought that she was trying to hide the bone in our radiators, because our house is old.  I was not happy about this, because it's a marrow bone and all I could think of was how fast that was going to rot.  Instead, I came downstairs to find her acting as if nothing was amiss.  I discovered her bone tucked very neatly into the corner by front door.  She had painstakingly straightened it so that it was parallel against the back wall, and also flush with the corner wall.  In order to make sure that it was good and buried, she retrieved her duck toy and laid it very carefully over the top of the bone so that it was also parallel and against the wall.

I still wish I would have taken a picture to share because I couldn't stop laughing at how horribly it was "hidden" and yet how ingenious she was to go to such lengths to make sure that it was buried.  Kudos Lexi, kudos.

Today's prayer is for joy.

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