I love how Bender just instinctually knows how to be a dog. I don’t mean like he wags his tail when he’s happy and barks at strangers and wants to murder every moving thing that crosses his path (toys, spiders, squirrels, hummingbirds) although those things actually also fascinate me. It’s that he loves the things dogs are supposed to love. It’s one of those instances where all the stereotypes are true.
The first time he stuck his head out the car window you would have thought I’d presented him with a big slab of steak that he was allowed to eat off my plate while getting a tummy rub. His tail was wagging so hard that his butt was basically bending him in half. He almost fell off the car seat. His first few car trips were not so great, he either barfed or sat there whining until it was over. Then he discovered the window. It was a real game changer.
In other dogs will be dogs news, we started taking him for walks to the park now that he’s got most of his shots. Across the street from our house is dog’s best inanimate friend. A fire hydrant. He loves it so much. I’m kind of sad it isn’t bright red. At the beginning of a walk we leave the front door, he trots around the front yard for a second, chomps on a dead hydrangea flower for good measure, and then out of the corner of his eye he sees the hydrant and all distractions are forgotten. He bolts. (Waits for me to tell him it’s safe to cross the street like a good puppy) and then accosts the hydrant for a few minutes. He loves going for walks but I think if I let him, he’d just hang out at the hydrant all day. The layers of dog pee that have built up over the years on that thing are just too tantalizing.
And then yesterday he discovered bones and his little life was complete. Bender has a best friend, a mini australian shepherd named Leo who lives next door. Lucky for Leo the fence between our yard and his is only about three and a half feet tall. It took Leo about a week to master the art of jumping it, if I’m ever quick enough to get a photo of it I’ll put it up. Anyway, so now Leo visits pretty much all day, he’s a little older than Bender and every day Bender gets a little bigger than Leo. This seems to have cultivated a sort of napoleonic complex in young Leo’s head. Because, like a bully, he has started stealing Bender’s toys. He hops over the fence, grabs a toy and then bolts back over while we scold him and Bender wags his tail. He drops his prize on his side of the fence and then comes back over to play with Bender who, naturally, has no idea what has just happened to him. Every week I cross the fence (less gracefully than Leo) and retrieve five or six toys for an ecstatic Bender. Leo watches and plots his revenge which lately, has been the decision to only poop in our yard. He literally jumps over, does his business and then goes home. Our neighbors haven’t used a pooper scooper in weeks.
But I digress. A few days ago Leo must have been feeling very gregarious, or Bender must have let slip that he’s never gotten a bone to chew on, because Leo went home, picked up a huge femur bone and brought it over for Bender to check out. It was a very friendly move by the bully/bestfriend. Bender was stoked. He never chews on anything for long, but he went at that bone for like an hour.
Until of course Napoleon the Bully Next Door decided Bender was done, distracted him, stole back his bone and went home. Bender sat at the fence staring longingly late into the night. So now I’ll go ahead and spend a few hours scouring Amazon or the dirty empty shelves at Marshall’s till I find one good enough for Bender to call his own. Which, naturally, Leo will promptly steal.
P.S. You can follow Leo on Instagram too! @gordievantuna