I like alliteration almost as much as puns. My dog isn’t really a mutt. She’s a Yorkie Poo, so that makes her only a half-breed and not a Heinz 57. But I couldn’t resist the title.
When my dog wants something, she comes into the room and moans. I find this pretty entertaining. The first time she moans, the sound is low pitched, almost inaudible. If you don’t respond right away, the moans get higher until they reach a soulful whine. Even though I don’t understand dog language, but that dog makes it very clear what she wants.
There are two places she moans the most. In the kitchen and in my office. She can be in the furthest reaches of the house when I sit down at my computer, and just like she’s got computer chair radar, she’ll come on the fly, as if she’s saying to herself, “What? What? She’s snuck off to the computer room? I’d better leave the back bedroom closet and get right in there.” When she comes in, she moans until I put her in my lap.
What she’s doing in the back bedroom closet is burying cheese cubes that she gets from us when she starts moaning in the kitchen. She gets practically under your feet and then moans to remind you that she’s down there, starving to death, and you’re a selfish oaf if you don’t share something with her RIGHT NOW. These escalate in pitch and volume, and can accelerate right up to barks if left unattended. To hush her up, we give her little chunks of cheese.
Did you know that’s where the name hush puppy came from? In the South, from which I hail, people would be frying up the leftover corn meal mush from breakfast, because everything gets fried down there sooner or later, and the puppy dogs would hang around the kitchen barking and begging and making a nuisance of themselves, so the women would throw them a wad of that fried up mush and say, “Hush puppy, hush.” Being dogs, they’d snatch it into their mouths and have it swallowed before they realized it just came out of a scalding frying pan, and it would burn their whole insides as it went on it’s steaming way to their stomachs, and they’d let out a baying yelp that could be heard three farms away and race like cats with their tails on fire to the livestock pond and dive in, trying to lower their internal temperature by 20º as quick as possible. Back in the kitchen it would be real nice and quiet, and you can trust this story because it’s mostly a true piece of fictitious folklore from the south.
We trained our dog on cheese. We make her go through her whole routine – sit, bark, roll-over, shake, stand on her hind legs, turn in a circle, and stay. Then we give her a piece of cheese after each. That’s all the tricks she knows, and we feel it’s important for her development to practice them all, you know, the old “use it or lose it” theory. But that adds up to seven cubes of cheese. She only weighs nine pounds, so she fills up and sometimes takes the remaining cubes and buries them in the clothes on the floor in the back bedroom closet.
She goes back there a few times during the day, checking on her chunks, We’ll find her lurking around in there for no good reason, and if we look under a pair of jeans, we’ll find a hard orange cube. If she suspects we’re hunting for her dried up stash, she’ll take the cheese and go into another room and hide it.
My daughter has been reading in bed and the dog will slink in and walk around her bed slowly. There are plenty of clothes on the floor in there. “Mom, this dog’s acting weird,” she’ll yell. I’ll come in and see a little telltale orange color in her mouth – the dog’s, not my daughter. She looks up at you and the whites of her eyes show underneath like little hammocks, and she’ll mosey out of the room, looking back over her shoulder, as if to say, “I’m just having an innocent look around, don’t mind me.” She’ll go off and try to find another place to hide the cheese.
What’s odd is, she didn’t start moaning until the last year or two. She’d just look at you and you were supposed to know what she wanted. To get out so she could go piddle, she’d make eye contact with you and just stare. No bark, no standing by the door, no indication whatsoever that she needed to go outside. So you’d say, “What is it? What do you want?” and she’d continue to stare. “Are you hungry? Do you want some food?” Stare. “Do you need to go outside?” At the word “outside” she’d turn her head toward the door, and that’s how you found out she was going to wet the carpet any second if you didn’t get up quick.
I don’t mind the moaning. Or finding chunks of cheese whenever I lift anything off the floor. I think it’s cute. But I think everything this dog does is cute. She’s a nine pound black curly dust mop of cuteness, and I’m easily entertained.