Fourteen years ago this coming March, I gave my wife a little three-month-old Bichon-Poo puppy for her birthday. I assume the puppy got her color from, the poodle side of her family, as she is buff colored with a few white markings. The Bichon as you may know is all white. Now she is my home companion. Her tendency to stick to her habits and routines seem very important to her satisfaction and well being.
She is a short legged little 16-pound creature. She likes to nap in what was the chair of my wife, her mistress, but it is just high enough to the seat that she thinks she needs help to jump up to it.
When she wants to go up on it she will usually first get a run and try to jump up, but fail. Then she will stand there and look at me as though to say, "Hey buddy, how about giving a lady a hand." So I get out of my chair and stand by the targeted chair to boost her attempt. She will then, get a run or not, but make a successful attempt in jumping up clear onto the seat. She has never failed when I stand there, but I swear I have never given her the slightest amount of help. I have never touched her. I wonder how many of us are like that. All we really need is to know that help is there if we need it; but sadly how many of us fail, simply because no one responds to help, or back us up. As the song says, "people who need people." Some dogs are luckier than some people.
We have a ramp that a friend of ours built for her. It makes it easier for her to climb up on the bed. Yes, she often snuggles and sleeps with me. It is comforting to both of us. She won't let me sleep beyond about 7 a.m. Within 15 minutes of that time every morning, she climbs over me, and paws at me to tell me that it's morning, and she would like to go outside and greet the dawn, among other things. When I take her out, we go out the kitchen door into the garage. She always has to take a minute to sniff the wheel wells of the car to check on where I may have been, and/or if I have harvested any recent road kill, I'm sure.
As a short legged little thing, when she travels outside, her nose rarely leaves the ground. It's not far from the ground to begin with, but she seems extremely inquisitive to sniff everything. If there is a scrap of paper in the driveway that wasn't there last time we were out, you can be sure she will take note of it and detour her path enough to identify it with her nose. Hey, maybe it's something good to eat, you never know 'till you smell it!
I was amazed just today. I had bought her a couple of bags of treats, which I set on the floor of my office. They were little raw-hide ribbons laced with a bit of meat, and packaged in sealed heavy plastic bags. She gets one every night after her last outing, and eagerly looks forward to them. She found the bags and was trying to chew one of them open. I was amazed that she could tell through the heavy sealed plastic that there was something worthwhile inside.
The thing that surprises me the most about the scenting ability of any dog is, if that ability is so acute, why do they feel the need to stick their noses right into some of the more foul and smelly things they may encounter? Can't they identify them well enough from a respectable distance? Oh well, just another of the myriad things I may never understand. To each his own I guess. May God bless America.
Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org