Tag Archives: Dexter

Dexter Takes the Lead

Unless I need to set the alarm very early, this is how I wake nearly every day.  He wants out.  He wants breakfast.  He wants a walk.  I don’t have a rug in my room and he shifts his weight, the click of his nails on the floor both polite and insistent.  If I don’t open my eyes he lets out long sighs, but stop shorts of a whine.

Dexter always wins.  His exuberance and good nature are difficult to deny.  In addition, Rosie has been at the vet for several days.  She has a hematoma in her ear that became infected.  (I am hoping she secretly has a trust fund that she has been too shy to tell me about as well.) We can tell that Dex is concerned, though he’s not depressed. We are being gentle with him.  We understand.  We miss her, too.

The dogs and I usually take long, fast walks in the morning in order to keep my heart rate, and backside, up. Dexter doesn’t mind fast, but is impatient with my unwillingness to let him stop and smell, well, everything. The weather this weekend has been beautiful.  Summer, still, but not too hot and little humidity.  So tonight, in order to enjoy the evening and please him, I took him on a slow walk and let him stop and smell as often and as long as he wanted. There were times, as he sniffed seemingly nothing for an inordinate amount of time, that I was reminded of my same resolve and resulting impatience fourteen years ago or so, on visits when I promised my oldest that we could stay at the train store as long as he wanted.

Dexter amuses me in his typically male behavior of marking all territory “mine,” and I indulged him in this, too.  I think he is ridiculous, but he’s quite focused on this task.  Rosie, when she’s with us, looks back over her shoulder at me as he does this very nearly rolling her eyes.  Again, typically, he takes our inability to understand in stride.

He enjoyed the stroll and my patience and the smells.  Even with our slower gait he collapsed, seemingly exhausted, and lay snoring beside me as I was working.  The walk was satisfying for me as well.  As we walked slower, my thoughts came slower.  I noticed houses and gardens that I hadn’t before, though I’ve walked by them dozens of times.  A different dog might be smug with this knowledge.  But not Dexter.  It’s simply not in his nature.

I did not intent to be away so long.  I went to Paris in June and have been distracted since.  More regular posts should follow.

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In our family everyone knows that Dexter loves us all, but we all agree he loves me best. Beyond me there is no descending order and the boys seem to take it in stride.  It’s not uncommon for him to drape himself across my lap, his long legs hanging almost to the floor as I scratch his chin or rub his ears.  Bill says this impossible behavior is my own fault as I held him there as a puppy while I worked.  It’s comic and endearing and I love him.

When we were away we had a lovely young woman, beautiful and smart and nice – an amazing combination – watch him while we were gone.  Coincidentally, her mother was vacationing in the same town that we were and we ran into her one afternoon.

“Oh, it’s so funny.  Ellie just sent me a picture of Dexter with his head on her shoulder.  She thinks he’s a riot.”

Everyone chuckled, including me, but my heart was in my throat.  His head was on her shoulder?   I was instantly struck that it is not me to whom he is so devoted, but anyone, it seems, who scratches behind his ear.  Or coos his name.  Or, worse, feeds him.

Jealous and indignant, I swore things would never be the same between us.  Oh, we could be friends, it would be fine, we are both grown-ups after all (technically he’s two, or fourteen depending on how you look at it, but in his world he’s an adult plain and simple), but it would not be like before.  I could never trust him again, not now that I knew he had so easily transferred his affections to another.

When we arrived home he skipped and pranced as always.  I was aloof.  He danced around me his big paws stepping on my feet, his nose nudging my hand.

The next morning when I awoke he was on the bed (where he is not supposed to be) and through the down of the comforter I could feel his chin resting on my leg.  I opened my eyes and found him looking at me from upraised brows.  I reached down and pulled his silky ear through my fingers.  He rolled over on his back so I could scratch under his chin, knowing all was forgiven.

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Hide and Seek

A friend, who was at our house picking up his son last week, watched in amusement as Dexter took a sloppy drink from his bowl.  “He’s certainly enthusiastic,” he noted, with that or a similar euphemism for “charming disaster.”

A few days ago a man whose training and business it is to observe and diagnose personalities in a very casual way deemed mine “big,” so my affinity for Dexter may be one of kindred spirit.  He springs to life every morning and bounds outside to greet the day.  When he is let back in he runs to the kitchen and stands by his bowl emitting short but persistant whines until I feed him.  One would assume he’s starving, but he’s not; he just likes the security of a full bowl.  Once it’s filled, however, he’s consumed by anxiety that someone else is going to take it, though no one else ever has.  (Rosie, always polite and well-mannered, wouldn’t.  Besides her pleasant nature I’m sure she wouldn’t see the point.  There’s been food in her bowl everyday; there always will be.)

After a bit of pacing he begins to push his bowl with this nose to a safer spot.  He usually leaves it under a kitchen chair, which causes us all to furrow our brows – it’s not hidden after all – but we don’t say anything because he has made such a terrific effort.  He has, accidentally I think, though Bill does not agree, pushed it down the basement stairs which made an impressive noise.  Sometimes I am reduced to all fours looking under the low shelf of the kitchen island, which, as far as hiding places go, is the best.  Last week it was behind the basket where we keep shoes and a few times he’s pushed it all the way across the kitchen and covered it with the rug by the back door.

Today I came home and could not find it in any of the usual, or unusual, spots.  The youngest helped for a while, but we finally gave up.  An hour or so later I found his bowl nestled in the corner of the powder room behind the door.  So, he had pushed it across the kitchen, down the hall, through the family room, into the powder room and around the door.  He followed me in as I went and looked at the bowl as I did and then back up into my face.  Then he sat, as he does, with enthusiasm and pride at his best (and only) trick.  I reached down and held his jaw in my hand, his jowls damp against the edges of my palm and said, “Someday you will be a noble beast.”  Someday, but not today.

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Dexter Undone

“What’s Dexter doing?” he asked, taking a break from shopping and cooking.

“He’s obsessed.  The neighbors’ daughter is home with her two daschunds.  When she lets them out they come charging toward our yard, then stop about two feet from the fence.”


“And, I don’t know.  For the last two days he’s been sitting at the fence for hours just looking at their backdoor.  I guess today it’s too cold, so he moved inside. He’s a dope.”

“It’s the equivalent of having two Playboy bunnies move in next door.”

“I suppose,” she said, with a slow blink.

Four days later his vigil continues, the desperation of his yearning so palpable she can’t help feeling sorry for him.  Occasionally he turns and looks at her and lets out a long whine, while she imagines his loves sound asleep by the hearth, their long silky ears laid flat against the floor.

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Progress Report

We are in flux.  I’m offering a quick update on Dexter.  He is big.  In fact, the boys are delighted as I call him a “big galoot” (“galute” is also an accepted spelling) and they think I have made up this word.  Dexter, in his current state, could inspire the creation of the word “galoot.”  He lumbers and lopes (when he is not running and leaping) and often bumps into things.  He is ten months and Bill keeps saying, “I think he’s finished growing,” but his feet still seem too large for his (big) body and his ears are overly floppy, often backwards as a result of exuberance.  I used to hold him while I worked and he doesn’t seem to realize that he’s rather outgrown this.  He drapes himself across my lap and rests his chin on my desk.   Remember, he was the runt.  I adore him.  He is soulful and I feel sure that he will be a noble beast.  Currently, in flux.

The chairs are back, but I have ordered a round table and now it needs a cloth.  Flux.

I’ve made progress on the hallway, but still have about half of this stretch to finish.  Flux.

And I am adding lamps here and there, though there is still a cavernous dark spot in the back of the living room.  Every time we entertain I drag lamps from the bedroom in there and think, “By the next dinner….”  These are for the hall and await their shades.  Flux.

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