Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
Reminder: You can email a question to us, and one or both of us will answer it on a Friday. I've only received two questions, and strangely enough, they both had to do with sex. Doesn't anyone else have a question you're just burning to ask me?
Now, at long last, let's get started with today's post.
Here in Dogtown, communication skills have improved with one of the Z Boys.
Simple communication skills remain pretty much the same. It's 7 a.m. or 5 p.m., so the boys stare at me. Breakfast served at 7; supper served at 5.
When Harper stands outside and barks at the door, it means not that he wants to come inside, but that he wants Franklin to come outside and play. The bromance continues.
Scoutie hurls himself against the bathroom cabinet before bed because he's reminding me that he gets a biscuit at bedtime. So does everyone else, including me. Mmmmmm. I loves me a good Milk Bone.
All rightie, then. What's changed?
I'm about to tell you.
Faulkner the smooth collie (July 26, 1997 - July 27, 2010) was amazingly communicative. And it was pure instinct. If I dropped something, he wouldn't stop staring at it until I picked it up. He saved me from losing mail out in the driveway on the second day he lived with us because he refused to walk to the house when I didn't notice I had dropped an envelope. If one of the other dogs needed to go out during the night, Faulkner put his cold wet nose directly on my dry warm nose. If that actually failed to awaken me, he put his long collie nose under my head and lifted it off the pillow.
He also used the head jerk, pointing in the direction of the water bowls if H2O was lacking.
When Franklin came to live with me 1 1/2 years ago and learned three commands in the first 24 hours, I was pleased that he was so intelligent. But he didn't seem to have the instinctive intelligence that Faulkner had.
Franklin has become much more communicative, and he figured it out for himself. If I call Harper and he ignores me because he's playing in the yard or napping, Franklin runs to Harper, nudges Harper on the shoulder or forehead with his nose, and Harper comes running to me with Franklin. Harper might not obey me all the time (or any of the time), but Harper always obeys Franklin.
When someone he knows arrives in the driveway, Franklin fires off a brief warning bark and then comes to get me.
When someone he doesn't know arrives in the driveway, Franklin stands up at the front door and gives that person holy hell. He scared off some Jehovah's Witnesses recently.
So Franklin has the instinctive intelligence I thought he didn't have. He communicates with me, and with his fellow Z boys. If I needed him to herd sheep, or cattle, or cats, or whatever, I'm sure he could learn to do the job.
Well, maybe not cats. And definitely not cucarachas, though we haven't seen any.
But I'm thrilled that Franklin has turned out to be so intelligent. I don't know if he kept his instincts hidden for a time, or if they've gradually risen to the surface.
I do know he's one darn good dog.
Infinities of love,