We have never been accused of being fast learners. After the ‘plantscepade’ of 1997 you’d think we would have realized that this dog HATED to be left alone for any length of time. But no, we convinced ourselves that it wasn’t anything more than an overworked prey drive that had caused the death of our glorious philodendron. SURELY she had brushed by the offending plant, causing its leaves to dip and sway threateningly, which then resulted in its destruction. No one to blame but the plant, and an errant breeze, right?
We’d read all those doggy self help books, and had been completely suckered into believing that our dog was indeed completely indisposed to human companionship, while totally ignoring the truth right in front of us. Blue had become my constant shadow. I was home the better part of every day, and no matter where she was, there I also happened to be. Vacuuming the living room required stepping over the dog, dishes were licked clean before they were loaded into the dishwasher, no matter where I was or what I was doing, Blue was there and doing it with me. She was a constant snuggle buddy on the couch, and a play buddy in the backyard. She pulled me around the neighborhood on my rollerblades, and protected me from over-friendly utility workmen. I’ll never forget how quickly they backed off our property when I murmured the words “she bites”-she didn’t, just for the record, but I’m fairly sure she was about to.
Mr. Big Prize may have continued to try to rustle up some Timmy/Lassie dream relationship with that fuzz-ball, but it was me who really understood her. She and I were remarkably the same; longing for companionship and understanding, but completely unwilling to let anyone see our vulnerability or neediness. I suppose that is why her eventual loss tore at me in ways that no other yet has, nor do I think, will. But, we aren’t to that part of the story yet.
We are still at the part of the story where we hadn’t quite become ‘of one mind’ with the beastie. She hadn’t fully trained us yet. One night, one crazy errant night, we left her alone again. We again decided that going out to dinner and a movie might be a great idea, and as you know, these are activities where bringing your dog along is generally frowned upon. So, Blue stayed at home-alone-again. It had been a few months since the plant episode, and there’d been no sign of trouble since, so what harm could she possibly come to? Ahhh, but what we didn’t think of was what trouble we could actually cause. We could go off and leave all the lights in the house off, and that, apparently, is right out.
We came home, and came in through the front door, for some reason I don’t remember. There sat Blue, doing her now familiar Bludie ‘speak’. Malamusky’s don’t bark-they speak. They let out a series of guttural grumbles and half howls that sound remarkably like articulate sentences. She was speaking and speaking and speaking, tossing her head from side to side. I swear she was lecturing us about coming in so late. It was dark, and all around her, scattered on the entry way tile, there was some sort of white grainy debris. What on earth was this? I leaned down to pick some of the none-to-insubstantial pile up to feel the texture. It was wood-and painted wood at that…lots and lots and lots of painted wood?!?! That was the moment MBP flicked on the entry way light, and then the living room light as well. That pile of wood chips was all that was left of each and every window frame in the whole of the entry way and living room. Five windows. She’d chewed them down to the drywall. We were eye to eye-that dog and I-on the floor, surrounded by her handiwork. She looked me deep in the eye, threw her head back, and said ‘I Love you’. I swear she did. She said it a lot. We never left her truly alone again.