Our dog Waldo is one of the world’s greatest communicators. And he knows it.
In canine parlance, he can rival some of history’s best speakers – Sir Winston Churchill, President Abraham Lincoln, even Fidel Castro with his long-winded public oratories.
Simply put, Waldo has the doggie equivalent of “the gift of the gab” and he can get his point across faster than he can chase the neighbour’s cat right out of our backyard.
What I should tell you about Waldo is that he is slightly neurotic. Not only are his nerves a bit frayed from time to time, but he has a really bad case of chronic anxiety disorder.
And for good reason.
You see, Waldo was a rescue dog, meaning he was rescued from a bad situation by the kind folks at the local animal shelter. A Good Samaritan found him in a densely wooded area, badly mauled by some type of wildlife, bleeding and barely breathing. Luckily, he was nursed back to health in the offices of the SPCA until my husband George showed up to adopt him.
It took Waldo several years and untold hours of George’s patient love and attention before the wild look of fear in his eyes was replaced by a wide-eyed softness, indicating that he had at last regained some trust in and affection for, anyone or anything.
Today he ranks right up there as one of the best dogs we have ever owned. But if he doesn’t get out for his ritual evening walk, he takes it upon himself to tell us, quite plainly, that he is perturbed.
When he sees us settling into our easy chairs in front of the TV in the evening, after the dinner dishes are cleared away, he takes it as his cue for action.
Ears pricked, tail wagging, he paces back and forth at the front door. Then he plops his haunches right up against the door, all the while giving us the “death stare”.
If that doesn’t work, he sits directly in front of the TV facing us so we cannot mistake the fact that he wants our undivided attention (not to mention he really louses up our view of Peter Mansbridge trying to deliver the evening news on “The National”.)
Occasionally, George and I will ignore this bit of canine grandstanding – but we do this at our peril.
Ratcheting up his tactics, Waldo scampers over to us and begins what looks like an old fashioned minuet. He swiftly approaches, stops and goes down on his front paws in what I call his “begging stance”. Then he backs away a few feet towards the door, then down on his front paws again, rear end up, tail slowly waving back and forth.
His message is becoming increasingly clear.
Finally, in the face of impending defeat, he gets really adamant. He bounds right into my lap, front paws pinning me down at my shoulders, his tongue licking my face with the urgency of a paramedic performing CPR.
In a single leap, he’s back at the door, a look of expectancy and excitement in those little doggie peepers.
It’s enough to make anyone cave.