BIG RED and the Oscar Winning Dog!
Today I found myself wondering what my dog might be thinking when I am vacuuming. She always looks at me with such a puzzled expression when that big, red, loud machine comes toward her, waking her up from a nap and forcing her to relocate to a safe place. I have never met a dog that isn’t apprehensive of a vacuum. Some run away whimpering while others seem more curious, but are there actually any dogs who stay in the room when there is a vacuum present?
… today I found myself wondering …
As I suck up the latest debris, I find myself glancing at her and I wonder what she could possibly be thinking as she hides under my desk. She tries to be casual as she glances furtively in my direction. She cocks her head to the right and looks at me with that curious expression. Inquisitive eyes follow me around the room, beseeching me to finish quickly. The weirdest thing is that this sweet, but stinky, old Labrador has watched me vacuum this rug at least one million times in her fifteen years. But yet, each time I pull Big Red out of the closet, I am met with the same shocked countenance.
This fact alone is fascinating unto itself. My bewildered dog gives an Oscar wining performance that she has never before seen the likes of such a machine, never, ever. And yet, this is the same silly pup who can hear the crinkle of the doggie biscuit bag from six rooms away! She doesn’t remember what the vacuum is? I call phoney-baloney on that nonsense!
The End of Tranquility
I suppose this all happens because the vacuum represents to her the end of tranquility. It is an interruption of naptime and, of course, who doesn’t hate that? Behind her denial I see the truth. Her curious expression says, “Really? !!!! Again? Didn’t you just do this… like, two weeks ago? !!!! Sheesh!” And so I find myself wishing that there was a way to explain to my beautiful precious canine that I do not wish to be vacuuming again either. Believe me, running the vacuum hardly makes the cut when I am list my top 10 favorite things to do! But, clearly, my hairy dog doesn’t make the connection between her shedding hair and my vacuuming burden. If I could I would assure her that if she would simply do her part by shedding less, I would indubitably vacuum less.
I suppose this is one of the hazards of having a dog in the first place but it is clear to me each time I insert a new vacuum bag into Big Red that I have collected enough dog hair every few months to weave a California king size comforter. I could seriously build an entirely new dog, another whole dog built from the hair collected.. Kind of Franken-weenie of sorts.
So what is she thinking as I drag this loud contraption around the room moving chairs and tables. Does it occur to her that cleanliness a ridiculous human trait? Are there other animals as meticulous and as picky as we are about keeping our nests?
Of course, there are several animals that are particular about keeping their bodies clean. Anyone who has watched a cat lick themselves for hours (and hours) knows this to be true. Apparently lemurs groom themselves for hours too, although I’ve never had the pleasure of witnessing that. (Madagascar is on our top-ten list of dream trips!) But what about hygienic animal homes? Apparently ducks keep their nests extremely clean and supposedly rabbits do the same. Both my dog and I can assure you that this simply is not true. We had a bunny hutch in the backyard for a spell.
Okay, so, if my dog isn’t wondering about the purpose of all this cleaning, perhaps she is wondering why I would waste my precious time. A day well spent is filled with a good breakfast, a nap, fetching, exploring the yard, a nap, a healthy lunch, begging for a treat, being patted on the head, scratching itchy spots and relaxing on the patio. All followed by another nap. This act of vacuuming certainly makes no sense. I think my doggie is right. Now go hug your family.