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More Tales Of The Red Baroness

Welcome to My Green Vermont - A Blog by Eulalia Benejam Cobb.
By Eulalia Benejam Cobb

Shall I bore you again with Bisou\’s exploits?

Here goes anyway.

She needs to lose a couple of pounds, so she\’s been on a diet.  Two pounds doesn\’t seem like a lot, but if at your plumpest you only weigh 21, it\’s close to ten percent of your total weight.  I\’ve put her on the house version of Weight Watchers and she\’s almost at her goal.  The weight loss has been aided by her perennial state of hunger, which revs up her desire for exercise.  Have you noticed how hyper a dog will get if you take him or her out for a walk just before feeding time?  My interpretation of this is that the stomach is screaming at the brain,  \”make the muscles hunt down something to fill up this dreadful emptiness!\”

Accordingly, my perennially hungry Bisou has set new records of physical exertion.  For example, it is impossible to wear her out throwing balls for her with the ball thrower.  She can retrieve at almost the speed of light for fifteen minutes straight, and when I beg for mercy she moans for more.  After one of these sessions, she was so outraged that I had stopped that she ran to the garage wall where I keep a bag of extra balls hanging from a high nail, jumped up, tore a hole in the bag and got herself a ball.

Then there was the day when we were walking with her brother Bear and his owner on a steep hill that rises behind Bear\’s house.  At the bottom of the hill there is a ditch with a little stream.  On the way back, Bisou  was running so hard that she left the ground halfway down the slope–legs splayed, ears fanned out like wings–flew over the stream, landed on the other side, and kept going.

The last time my dogs stayed at their B&B, Bisou\’s breeder told me that Bisou was acting more like a German Shepherd than a Cavalier.  There was a litter of toddling half siblings of hers in the house at the time, and she spent her days herding them around, pushing them into corners and making them stay, maintaining order.  This is not as far-fetched as it seems:  I read somewhere that a dog trainer who believed that you could train any dog, regardless of breed, to do any task, proved his point by training a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to herd sheep.

Like her mentor Wolfie, Bisou takes her guard dog responsibilities seriously.  When I let them out into the spooky darkness before bed time, and Wolfie charges out at top speed to kill whatever is there that shouldn\’t be, she\’s right on his heels.  This behavior does not manifest towards visiting humans, onto whose laps she leaps the minute she gets a chance.  (Wolfie would like to do the same, and is deeply envious.)

But Bisou has non-athletic talents as well.  She is an excellent bed-maker.  She sleeps on Lexi\’s discarded old bed, a big lumpy pillow that sits on the floor next to Wolfie\’s bed.  I have given her an extra-large bath towel  that she arranges to her taste, like a chimpanzee making its nightly nest as the sun sets over the jungle canopy.  The other night I folded Bisou\’s bed in half, thinking to make it more comfortable, and put the towel on top.  But she didn\’t like the new arrangement.  She grabbed the towel with her teeth and lugged it over to an empty corner of Wolfie\’s bed, right by his head.  With the corner of the towel in her mouth she turned around and around until she had made a perfect doughnut.  Then she dropped the towel, gave a couple more turns, plopped down inside the doughnut and went to sleep.

Sometimes on chilly nights, when I see Wolfie and Bisou sleeping blissfully on their beds next to mine, I am seriously tempted to join them.  But I feel that for my spouse\’s sake I must keep up the illusion of sanity, so I don\’t.

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