Sunday, November 27, 2005

My Stupid Beloved Dog

As everybody knows, my Apolo, named after the Olympic Gold and Silver medal winning Seattle short track speedskater, is a Golden Retriever. Golden Retrievers are supposed to be right up there on the dog IQ scale. In my life, I have had six other Goldens and none of them have been quite as stupid as Apolo.

I read somewhere that if children are breastfed, their IQ's will be higher and the longer the better. I interpret this to mean that if a child isn't breasfed, then the child might be kind of dumb. Of course, this is not an absolute truth because my husband's mother thought breastfeeding was barbaric and sub-human so she refused. Yet, all three of her children turned out to be significantly smart.

But when it comes to dogs maybe this is true. Apolo was weaned earlier than puppies are supposed to be weaned. The owner of his mother explained it was a necessity because he wanted to bring the puppies over here to his sister's house where there was a bigger market than his small town in Eastern Washington. My theory is that the early weaning caused my Apolo to be not so bright. My husband has used the harsh word "retarded".

He is not retarded because he has figured out innumerable ways to outsmart me. He will go to the back door and asked to be let out if there is not room for him on the couch. If someone gets off of the couch to head to the back door, he will run back and hop onto the nice warm place where that someone was just sitting. He also refuses to come into the house unless he is offered a bite.

But the dumb things outnumber the smart things, I must admit. We have used a baby gate to keep him in the family room. I don't want him scratching up the wood floors in my entry and I do not want his dark golden hair all over my light living room carpet; and he still gets into things like our closets and garbage cans. My husband decided to buy a nicer and fancier pet gate out of an airline magazine. Rather than just a barrier, it actually has a little door that opens so we can walk through rather than climb over.

We discovered we could have avoided the expense of the new gate and probably used a string along the floor. With nothing in this doorway, Apolo does freely decide to explore the house usually ending up in Kaley's room to find one of her beloved stuffed bears. But, somehow, he hasn't figured out that if we leave the gate part of the new pet gate open, he could freely wander around and find shoes, socks, and slippers to his heart's content.

And you know what? I don't think he'll ever figure it out. So this is very handy for us--we can just leave it open and walk back and forth with no effort. I know he won't ever realize what he could do because after three and a half years, I have left his dog bisquits in an open box on the floor of the pantry. We don't close the pantry door unless we have company, but he has never figured out he could simply walk in there and help himself to as many doggie treats as he wanted if nobody was looking. Oh well, he is the most affectionate dog we have ever had even if he is not the sharpest crayon in the box.

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"Can I come in there, please please??"