With three extremely spoiled dogs in this house, there are plenty of dog toys strewn about.
But, for some reason, our silky terrier, Bernie, always runs off to grab one particular fuzzy bone whenever she hears somebody come home. She returns to greet them at the door with this fuzzy bone in her mouth — we call it her “Baby” and she even knows it by this name — complete with her ears back and her tail wagging like crazy. She never actually drops it. She just presents it. When you pick her up, she keeps it in her mouth, grunting and coughing because she’s breathing hard from excitement — but she just won’t drop Baby from her mouth.
A couple of points to consider here:
- Our boys absolutely adore Bern and she adores them. Period. We got her as a puppy four years ago, so she has grown up with them — and we all know the lore of boys and their dogs.
- I’m not sure what doggy depression looks like, but when the oldest two left for college this past August, she sat in the chair by the window in my office so long that I could barely take it any more. She has learned the distinct “beep” sound their car makes when they hit the auto-lock button on their key fob, signifying they are home — so she always let out a yelp and went to find Baby. Of course, the kid next door drives the same car, so the first month the boys were gone, she’d hear that same beep, jump up to dash off and get Baby, and then wait by the front door with her tail wagging. But the boys never came in the door, so she’d eventually just drop Baby and return to the chair, looking out the window again. Nowadays, that beep gets a couple of ears flying forward, but she peers at the kid next door, watching to see which house he heads toward. I watch her watch him. We are both sad.
- You cannot say the names of any of my sons without her ears shooting up and her head turning slightly. Only the third son is at home now, and every weekday she waits in that same chair, by that same window, and watches for him to come walking down the sidewalk from school — just as she did with the other boys. The instant she sees him, she dashes off to get Baby, of course — just as she did with the other boys.
- Sometimes one of the college kids returns home for a quick visit, but they seldom are both home at the same time. This past weekend, however, both of them came home. I thought Bern’s head might explode. When they are home, she follows them everywhere throughout the house — even into the bathroom — and and sits next to them when they play video games or watch TV. When they finally shut the TV off and go to bed in the middle of the night, her head pops up from our bed, turns, and she hops off the bed to go sleep with one of them in their beds. The boys say she hops from bed to bed throughout the night.
This past Saturday night, Bern went to sleep with them. Only this time, she found their door closed. So she left a message, then crawled back into our bed.
That’s their door.
That’s her Baby.
And that’s why she and I will stand at the window when they leave again, awaiting the day they’ll be coming back.