We are busy people and so the front doorway in our house is a busy place. We ready ourselves for our outings in the entryway, finding wayward shoes, zipping up jackets, and putting on gloves. It is quite often the case that we are going somewhere where Dexter can not join us, a grocery store, physical therapy, or the post office. It is in these cases that we give Dexter a treat, usually a biscuit or a jerky snack, right before heading out the door. As he is being given his treat I will tell him to, “be a good boy”, “hold down the fort until we get back”, or “keep an eye on the place”. He happily wags his tail and takes both the responsibility and the treat.
Sometimes I don’t just leave it at that. If I have laundry going I will ask him to transfer the clothes from the washer to the dryer or to remove the clothes from the dryer when they are done and put them away. I have asked him to empty the dishwasher, vacuum the house, and mop the floors among other household chores. He wags his tail and takes the treat but he never agrees to the additional tasks asked of him. The boys and I laugh knowing full well that these things won’t get done while we are away and we all know why they won’t get done.
It has nothing to do with the fact that Dexter is a dog or that he lacks those rather handy digits we call the opposable thumbs. No, it is because Dexter is a dog of leisure who would rather have his friends come over and hang out and party with him than take out the trash. He is a wily one, our Dexter D Dog. By the time we get out of the car and back up to the house there is no evidence that a dog party has occurred. The balloons have been disposed of, the party hats neatly stowed away for the next time, the glasses and plates licked clean and put back in the cupboards. And of course there is neither hide nor hair of a guest to be seen.
How, then do we know that Dexter is a dog of such decadence and deceit? We know because he never denies it and quite often he wears a look of guilt or concern (at being caught, I imagine) across his furry brown and black German Shepherd face upon our arrival home. Perhaps the guilt stems from his nasty habit of snacking on his own feces in the backyard while he thinks he is alone and can’t be yelled at. I would rather think it is due to his secret canine social gatherings.
Now that he is older and arthritic I do not ask him as often to clean the bathrooms or pick up the kids’ toys when we are gone but I do expect him to have fewer of these parties. Does he? No he does not. He has in fact upped his game and level of sneakiness (who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks.) Quite often when we get back from running errands we will find him stretched out on the same patch of carpet we left him, eyes closed and breathing slow and calm. There is not a sign that just moments before he had been rushing around making sure all was in order and that the last of his friends have disappeared through the dog flap and into the woods.
The boys never tire of this game and honestly neither do I. Carter likes to think that Dexter’s dog friends are simply hiding in the bushes waiting for us to leave so the party can resume. Cody wonders what Dexter serves at his parties, cracking himself up when he thinks it might be hot dogs. Husband thinks we are all a little nuts.
I think it is just plain fun to think about the secret life of our dog Dexter.