Sunday, February 25, 2007

Privacy

I’m not sure that Rio fully ever grasped the concept of “privacy”. Perhaps it means something different to a dog, or maybe they just have no use for it. I mean, yeah, it was heartwarming that all he ever wanted to do was be right there with us, but there are just certain times when one likes to be alone. He’s always liked to accompany me to the bathroom, or at least pay a dutiful visit to make sure that I had not fallen in, and then he would leave. I guess I could have completely shut the door to prevent this, but I must have found some aspect of this behavior endearing since I allowed it to continue. I would get settled on the toilet, and he would stroll in, turn around so that his hind quarters were pressed against my legs, wait for me to pet him, pause for about 5 seconds until he heard the signs of progress, and then he would leave. It was very regular like that (no pun intended).

There was a variation on this theme which he would carry out when we went camping. Most of our forays into the wild were exactly that, and we camped in places where there were no facilities. A trip to the bathroom thus meant a short (or long, depending on your sense of urgency measured against your sense of modesty) hike to a suitable spot, some digging, and then some squatting, oftentimes precariously depending on the terrain. Apparently Rio thought that this was some grand game of hide-and-seek, for he would wait until you had been gone for about 5 minutes, and then come charging through the forest looking for you. Overjoyed to find you, he would express his delight with a Labrador body check, which posed a certain danger to the squatter, depending on the stage of their project. At the very least you could end up sprawled on the forest floor, pants at your ankles, covered in dog spit. I remember one time when he was quite young, he tracked me down when I was nearly finished, and decided to steal my toilet paper, as it was being buried. "Get out of here!!!" I yelled at him, to no avail. Victorious, he snatched the paper and ran off with it like some kind of prize. It took a few trips before I could send the message to him that just because I bury something doesn’t mean that he can dig it up.

Probably the most bizarre, yet hilarious instance in which he invaded our privacy was when I noticed during the middle of a romantic interlude with my husband that Rio was standing motionless at our bedside, chin planted firmly on the edge, watching with fascination our every move. What the hell was he thinking?? Needless to say, that sort of threw a wrench in things, as there was no ignoring that intense gaze. "Don't you have a bone in the other room?" I'd say, but he prefered the entertainment in our room. And they call the vizla the "velcro dog" - ha!

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