As prearranged, my sister, Sherri and her daughter, Samantha came to my door early in the morning two Fridays ago; Charlie, their Llasa Apso was leading the way from his red leash in Samantha’s hand. On their way out of town for some R & R in the Cumberland area in Tennessee, Charlie was to take up residence with me for the week they were to be away. Done up in his red collar and his “Late Summer Do,” he sashayed in, fluffy tail wagging excitedly. He’d been here before, you see – often when Sherri goes on vacation, Charlie hangs out with me.
At the click of the latch as Sherri and Samantha closed the door upon leaving, Charlie’s enthusiasm flagged and his face rose to mine, his upper lip curled into a snarl. “It’s okay, Charlie. See, here’s your red food bowl and your red water bowl (my sister color coordinates everything…she can’t help it…it’s in the family genes), and I’m putting them right here in their usual place,” I said to him reassuringly.
“Hrrmmph,” Charlie replied. Turning his tail-side to me, he took off in a trot through the rooms, his nose lowered and swaying back and forth against the floor like a mine sweeper. His investigation completed quite quickly, he returned to me, parked himself on my right foot, and looked up at me with a decided look of disgust on his face. “Hrrmmph,” he informed me again. In Charlie patois, “Hrrmmph” translates as “I’m mad at you.”
“I know, Charlie. You’re mad at me because I had that other dog here a couple of weeks ago…you can smell him, can’t you? But I couldn’t help it, Charlie, he’s my granddogger.”
“Hrrmmph,” Charlie rejoined, and he walked to his bowl that sat empty on the floor of the kitchen. “Mmmmmm,” he whined, which means “My belly is gnawing at my backbone!”
“Now Charlie, your mommy told me that you’ve already had your breakfast.”
“Hrmph!” he spat shortly, and lowered to his belly in front of his bowl, his mournful face resting on his front paws.
“I’m sorry, Charlie, but I have some computer work to do. So just make yourself at home, and we’ll talk later.”
“ERRRRRRRR!” Charlie growled. “I’m mad at you” had just escalated to “I HATE YOU!”
Repairing to my den, I sat before my laptop and logged onto my email. His toenails clipping on the planks of the wood floor in my hallway, Charlie made his grand entrance into the room, ears perked and red food bowl clutched in his jaws. Stopping abruptly in his tracks when I looked up at him, he dropped his bowl in the middle of the room and plopped to his belly again in front of it. “I told you, Charlie…no food now. Your reputation for finagling extra food from the uninitiated with your cute antics is notorious, but no deal this time. Will a treat get you off of my back for awhile, Charlie?” Springing to all fours again, he trotted to the kitchen and waited patiently for me to catch up. His big brown eyes sparkling with anticipation, he jumped up and caught his treat in his mouth when I tossed it to him. “Now, go back in the den and get your bowl. That’s right, go on now.” Taking a couple of tentative steps toward the hallway, he sat and turned to look at me defiantly over his shoulder. “I told you, Charlie. Go and get your bowl and put it back where it belongs.”
“Hrrmmph!” he responded and he walked slowly to my den. In a couple of minutes, he entered my kitchen with his bowl in his mouth. He dropped it on my right foot instead of putting it where it belonged, but that was good enough for me.
“Good boy, Charlie.” I returned to my work on my laptop. Charlie followed me. Charlie follows me everywhere when he stays with me. It’s in the breeding of Llasa Apsos to stick like glue to their masters and to protect them. When later in the evenings we watched television, Charlie’s protective instinct included dogs and other animals on the TV. Bolting from his favorite place on the back cushions of my sofa, he would charge the screen and bark and growl. One evening I thought he was going to eat my big screen TV. Then he would return to his place on the back of my sofa just behind my head and bury his nose in my hair. Llasa Apsos do this as a way of showing their affection.
Our tug of war over extra food vs a treat continued each morning, and each morning, only his treat would ensue. Despite his disappointment, he was a good sport about it, and he’d follow me to the sofa, where from his favorite perch, he’d bury his nose in my hair, and I’d know that Charlie and I were okay again.
What is your favorite breed of dog, and why?
Linda Lee Greene is the author of GUARDIANS AND OTHER ANGELS and co-author of Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams. To read excerpts of Linda's current, and future books, log onto www.booksbylindaleegreene.gallery-llgreene.com.
Linda's online art gallery can be viewed at www.gallery-llgreene.com