Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Dogs Are Stupid

toad 1
Originally uploaded by mygothlaundry
For years, I have been laboring under an incorrect supposition: namely, that my dogs are, if not Eal-ray Ight-bray, than at least no stupider than other members of canis domesticus. Well, that turns out to not be so true. All three of my dogs are challenged, bless their hearts. How do I know this? It's a simple question of doors.

My house has two levels. There is the upstairs level, which is elegantly decorated, immaculate - for, um, certain values of immaculate: basically, there's hardly any big chunks of rotting food around - charming and inhabited by me, the resident Middle Aged Person and the fish. Then there's downstairs, where the kids live, which is also nice. Nice as in we used to call it Teenage Wasteland when my son was the only person holding court down there but now that my daughter has moved downstairs as well, this name is no longer applicable. I refuse to give in and call it the Dungeon, as my daughter does: okay, it has certain dungeonesque qualities, namely, the lack of windows, the low ceiling, the slightly dank aroma and the overwhelming concrete but hey, it's lovely down there. Lovely, I say. The dogs and the cat move freely between levels for the most part: the dogs mostly like to sleep under my bed while the cat tries to alternate beds so as to maximize her chances of completely destroying some unwary sleepers ankles. She doesn't like it when people move in their sleep and she has ways of expressing her displeasure, oh yes.

Anyway, due to this two level construction, there are several sets of doors to my house, which is one of the reasons why we are all gonna be toast when the long anticipated zombie apocalypse comes. Is it weird that I worry about this? I actually contemplated not buying my house due to its very lack of defenseability - we are fresh out of escape tunnels, moats, barbed wire and enchanted swords, not to mention machine gun emplacements and while we may not have enough windows downstairs to bring in the desired amount of light, we have way too many to keep out your smarter run of zombies: the ones who have figured out that glass breaks.

However, I digress! The thing is that you can enter - or exit! Hail Janus! - my house any of four different ways. On the upper level, there is the front door, which comes in off the street and then there is the kitchen door which takes you out onto the porch, from which you can then descend via stairs to the backyard. Downstairs, there are two sliding glass doors on either side of the house that lead into that same backyard. There's also a door from Audrey's room to what might be called the driveway, although it isn't, really, one, but for the purposes of this narrative we'll forget about it. Anyway it's locked with a combination padlock on the outside and the combination has long since disappeared. Early in the morning it is our custom to blearily prop open one and sometimes two of these doors so that the dogs can get in and out, attend to their toilettes and keep a vigilant eye on the ever present danger of squirrel activity. The open doors also make sure that we maintain requisite levels of in house insect population - right now it's stink bugs, who are fucking everywhere, and I am using that as a verb.

The dogs cannot figure out that they can go out one door and in another.

No, seriously. They don't get it. They think that if they go out one door than that's the only door they can go back in. Or, conversely, they can't seem to grasp that if they are up on the porch and want to come in, it might be worth running down the steps to see if the downstairs door is open. They'll just lie there sorrowfully on the porch for hours even when the downstairs door is open. I have even tried leading them downstairs - there is very little, I find, that makes you feel stupider than earnestly attempting logical discourse with dogs - and explaining the whole thing to them and still, they Don't. Get. It. The cat, however, gets it just fine, which kind of reinforces those mean things that cat people on the internet are forever saying about dogs.