That left me with Theodore. As you are aware, the challenge for me in a three-pack has been to establish my Number Two credentials. Some weeks go better than others. And he and Jon have been particularly tight, to the point that when Jon gets up at midnight to make a snack, Theodore leaps off the bed to follow. When Jon failed to return last Sunday, Theodore reprised his flying Wallenda, looked around the house in vain, and became disconsolent when it became clear that I was It. Nothing like a concert of mournful howls, sharp barks and little girl whining to defeat the sleep sheep. Finally about four in the morning, I simply grabbed him and held on, pulling the blankets up over the two of us with my teeth. That desperate gambit bought us both four hours of blessed sleep. We repeated the little routine with inventive variations until two nights ago, when he finally settled for The Back-up Beloved and simply went to sleep.
This would never have happened with Jewell. She not only loved us equally but she was cooperative to a fault. Typical female, come to think of it. The only time I ever heard her growl was when Maureen brought Molson, a sweet Aussie, over to play. Jewell wasn’t about to make any other dog feel at home and flashed white teeth at the poor boy, who after that wouldn’t even get out of the car if he suspected her presence. Other than that ten minutes of mau-mauing, she was placid by nature and incredibly easy to live with.
Jewell even played like a girl. After running after a ball and retrieving it once, she politely declined such a pointless game. The one she adored, though, was hiding. I taught her to crouch behind a bush and wait for me to call for her in a worried tone. After a suitable suspense, she would leap out; I would shout “There you are!!!!” and we would both run celebratory circles around the hydrangea bed. Neither Jon nor I have ever claimed that Skyes are bright, so no surprise when she continued to play with the same vigor after the the leaves she was hiding behind had dropped. Probably, she had concluded that I was the one, too dim to notice.
Theodore, on the other hand, prefers games which take place at high speed and which he controls. He’s the local James Dean. He runs like the wind but I have yet to capture a good shot of returning the ball because the distance between A and B is rarely a straight line. As he pelts down the driveway some scintilla of scent available only to a dog calls for an abrupt right turn and off he goes. Only after pleasuring his snout with something new* does Theodore remember that he was mid-retrieve and he saunters back to the ball and chews on it pensively. Eventually he notices me standing and waiting; if I’m lucky, he eventually returns the sopping prize.
By the way, Jewell came with the name and it suited her perfectly. "Theodore" is a bit grand for our scalliwag. We should have called him MacDuff — Mac because he’s Scottish, and Duff because he comes iin ten times a day festooned with spruce twigs and leaf fragments. By himself Theodore could play all of Birnham Wood advancing on Macbeth in Act V.
Okay, I admit it. He’s an entertainment. Just be warned if you are coming to visit. Pre-Theodore, the house used to be cleaner. And quieter. Moreover, because he takes guard duty seriously, he might swear at you full-bark when you enter. But the full-body-wagging-tail tells the real story. He’s all in, whatever the game. Theodore may be a tramp but he is thoroughly our tramp!
*I read recently that a glorious sunset to a human being was equivalent to the effect of a strong unfamiliar smell on a dog.