Do you ever get the feeling that your dog is laughing at you? I do. All too frequently.
Back when I still kept larger dogs, I had a Chow that liked to quietly sneak up behind me and let out one loud woof. It always made me jump out of my skin. When I would whirl around, he’d just be standing there, smirking at me.
My little dog Devo likes to play fetch with a twist. He’ll retrieve the ball, but stay just out of arm’s reach. He’ll then place the ball on the ground and back away a step or two. When I reach for the ball to throw it again, he’ll snatch it away and run a victory lap around the yard. Psych!
My dachshund, Quagmire, is quite the little clown. The other night I was trying to sleep but he kept fidgeting. After some time I decided to reach out in the dark and pat him on the head and tell him to settle down. That’s when I discovered he was trapped deep inside a pillow case and was wrestling with the pillow. I laughed so hard I gave up trying to sleep. (Another time my wake-up call was him sneezing decisively in my face. That makes for a harsh start to the day.)
I once had a dog that was a hound dog in every sense of the word. One time we were quietly standing in line at the vet’s office when he looked up at me, then gently peeled his lips away from his front teeth, and then reached out and nibbled the pantyhose of the woman in front of us. He pulled it, and then let it snap back into place without even causing a run, which I found fascinating. When she turned to us, he was gazing off in the middle distance, acting all innocent. I swear, if he could have whistled, he would have. All I could do was apologize.
My sheltie, Sugar, used to go in the back yard and howl whenever she heard a siren. For a while it broke my heart. I’d call her back inside and comfort her. Then one day I happened to be watching her out the kitchen window when an ambulance came by. She was howling, yes, but her tail was wagging and she was prancing around. She wasn’t crying. She was singing along!
The best dog I’ve ever had was an Australian Shepherd named Mocha. She was extremely intelligent and affectionate and very attuned to sound. She loved to dance to music, and she’d get very excited when you’d say particular words. Eventually I figured out that she loved any word with a hard k in it. Her favorite word was “infrastructure.” It still makes me giggle, thinking about how happy that word would make her.
So, when asked what qualities I look for in a dog, my first response will always be, “A sense of humor.” Most people are perplexed by this, but it makes perfect sense to me.