Scout has tons of personality and has always had a dash or two of eccentricity, as well. The eccentricity? I believe you will find it in her mom and dad, too. I’m a great believer in eccentricity.
Since her brother died last summer, she has been more vulnerable, more needy. She misses Riley. And on top of that, Don and I have been gone for weeks at a time for our work. Much of the time since December, she has had only one parent around. This does not make her happy. Or feel secure.
She has this behavior that crops up occasionally. When she’s not all that thrilled about eating, she nudges her bowl with her nose, repeatedly, until she pushes it into a wall or a corner. Then she takes a few pieces of kibble and drops them on the floor. This used to happen only occasionally. Now, she does it most of the time. She will be eating like gangbusters and then, the next day, will want nothing to do with her food until much later in the day. This happened while Don was home and continued through Wednesday. Yesterday, she was suddenly ravenous for most of the day; in fact, after eating all her food and getting some carrots (she loves them) she was still hungry last night and kept coming up to me with a crazed look in her eyes – she wanted even more food. She’s a bit like the dog version of Sybil and I can’t tell which Scout is going to appear on a daily basis!
I can’t make sense of these patterns, try though I might. Is it because she’s older? She’s 14½ now. Is she like so many of our elderly citizens, whose habits (good and bad) get more and more pronounced as they age? She still does that nesting thing, too. She walks to the rug in the den and paws at it, like she does sometimes with the blanket that covers the loveseat in the living room. That habit of hers was at its peak right after Riley died. She pawed at the rug he slept on. She pawed at the rug in the den. The other day, I saw her pushing her bowl while pawing the rug in the kitchen.
It’s more and more difficult for her to lie down with the ease she once had. My agile Border Collie has some aches and pains. But she lopes back to the house after doing her business in the dog corral with ease. If I time opening the door just right, she can lope down the little hill and then jump up to clear the doorstep without missing a beat. She looks like a horse clearing a fence.
The fact is, she’s remarkably fit for a 14 year old dog, but she is changing. I wish I could protect her from all these dreadful separations that upset her. One of us is always with her, of course, but that’s not the same, is it? She doesn’t understand why her dad isn’t here. She won’t understand why I am not here when I leave for Hartford.
Bless her heart, she is a complicated little creature with sensitive feelings and a heart as big as all outdoors. I want nothing more than for our little family unit to be together for her sense of security and peace of mind. But that cannot be – at least until the end of September.
I worry about her. I’ll be gone for big chunks of time tomorrow and Sunday, as I do some text work in Manhattan. She won’t like that either. She’ll be cared for. But, it won’t be the same for my girl and I feel guilty every time I have to leave her.
Remember, no A Favorite Thing this week. We’ll get together again next Friday/Saturday.