Cody the wonder dog

Since my wife’s hospitalization in October, we have had a constant stream of guests in our house. Our son arrived the day that she was moved to the ICU. Her sister and my sister were not far behind him. Her other sister came. A week later our daughter and grandson came for a visit. I have joked with friends that the sisters don’t believe that I am competent. For most of the time since Susan’s hospitalization, there has been either my sister or one of Susan’s sisters in our home helping with every kind of care and household chore imaginable. Our freezer has filled up with delicious food. Grocery shopping, laundry and routine housekeeping have been done. Meals are prepared and dishes done with less participation from me than usual. It has all worked very smoothly and I am deeply grateful for the dedicated and generous support of family.

Among the guests in our home at present is Cody, my sister’s Australian Shepherd. He is a wonderfully smart and energetic dog, who loves to play. He has more patience for throwing and retrieving a ball than I. I throw the ball a dozen or more times and he remains eager to chase and retrieve after I’ve become bored with the game and am eager to move on to other tings. He is a polite guest, knowing his place to lie down and he sleeps through the night without waking us.

This morning when the snowplow made its way up our street there were two warning barks from Cody and that was it. He was quiet after he made sure we were aware that there was a truck working on our street. His response to the garbage and recycling trucks is quite different, however. Monday is our regular garbage day and Cody seems to be worked up all day long. Whenever there is a garbage truck in our subdivision, even if it is blocks away, Cody is at the window barking. If we let him out on his cable, he will run to the end of the cable and bark until he is hoarse.

When he is at his home there is a haul road at the top of the hill. The garbage truck makes several trips along that road on its way to and from the transfer station. Cody gets his exercise by running parallel to the road at the bottom of the hill, back and forth, barking at the garbage truck. It seems to be a regular part of his exercise and activity. Since my sister lives on a place with several acres, he has room to run and since he is at the bottom of the hill and the trucks are at the top, there is no danger to him for chasing them.

He also has a thing for the UPS and Fedex trucks. They get quite a vocal greeting from the dog whenever they drive up or down our street. And, on the rare occasion when they stop to deliver a package at our house, he gets very worked up.

It is hard to understand this beautiful, well-mannered dog, who responds to voice commands and seems to be well controlled, but who has no control whatsoever in the presence of garbage or package delivery trucks.

On Mondays we always get two rounds of pickups: one for garbage and another for recycling. During the late fall we also got a third truck for yard waste to be composted. This seems to be Cody’s main activity on Mondays.

When we had children at home, the pet of choice in our household were cats. The cats lived longer than our children lived at home, so we were happy pet owners until the end of their lives. In the early days of my journal writing, there were so many posts about the cats and their behavior that I made a conscious decision to stop writing about the cats. Time passes, however, and we have not sought other pets to replace those who have died. For a while we didn’t have pets of our own, but enjoyed the pets who lived in our children’s homes. The bonds that develop between humans and animals is a wonderful thing and over the years we have witnessed the value of pets in the lives of children and adults alike.

I like Cody and enjoy having him around. I take him with me in the pickup when I go to work at the woodpile. I play with him in the yard and go for walks with him. He is a very pleasant animal, except on Mondays when the garbage truck is around.

I have been saying to him that it is not OK for him to bark at my friends. I don’t currently have any friends who drive garbage trucks, but the drivers who serve our neighborhood seem like very nice people. I do, however, have a couple of friends who drive for UPS, so it makes sense to me to say that the people who provide these services in our neighborhood are our friends and we don’t want our dog to bark at our friends.

Of course Cody isn’t “our” dog at all. He is my sister’s dog and he is a guest in our home. But when you hang out with an animal, there is a sense that he is a member of the household and that he belongs not just to my sister but to all of us.

Our daughter will occasionally suggest that we ought to adopt another pet. Her suggestion usually is that we get a cat. I don’t have anything against cats. I enjoyed the ones who lived with us. On the other hand, I enjoy the freedom of not having to arrange for care of the cat when we travel. And our daughter is one of the reasons we travel so much and aspire to travel even more in years to come. I keep saying she should get the cat and we will visit as often as we are able.

For now, however, our household has a resident dog, and he seems to be enough pet for all of us. I’ve even found myself referring to him as “our” dog when talking to others. And most of my clothing has enough dog hairs on it to back up my claim.

Copyright (c) 2019 by Ted E. Huffman. I wrote this. If you would like to share it, please direct your friends to my web site. If you'd like permission to copy, please send me an email. Thanks!