Our family has two dogs. One is a border -line psycho collie and the other is a tender shepherd and Bernese Mountain Dog mix. The former has a vocabulary of roughly 60 words and never relaxes as he awaits your very next command while the latter assumes every command is a request to be licked to death or to roll over and have his belly scratched. We acquired these beasts a year apart, some 6 years ago and despite their differing personalities and activity requirements, tend to get along very well.
When our cottage was finished about 3 years ago, it did not take long to discover that our mild mannered hairy mutt with separation anxiety issues was best left on the dock and not locked in the cottage when we went on boat rides. This lesson learned after replacing several window screens and expensive pine door trim as he maniacally tried to free himself of his detention to pursue us. So he became our dock beacon, our Brandy Wears a Braided Chain Made of the Finest Silver From The North of Spain patiently waiting for our excursion to end and his People to return safely to dry land.
While vacationing at the cottage this summer, one evening we decide to head off to the Lodge for dinner, a short boat-rode away. Without a mindful glance at the weather forecast, we soon realized upon our arrival that a storm was a-brewin’. Halfway through dinner, the skies unleashed their pent up emotion during an otherwise glorious summer and it rained hard for 20 minutes. I nervously mentioned that I hoped Koda had the sense to wait under the deck for us and not on the dock. As dinner ended, we dried off the boat as best we could and returned only to find that Koda has abandoned his post. A quick few whistles were not met with the usual bark replies and I concluded that he must have run away to the forest to be with his brethren. One of the kids bounded up the path (note: only kids can bound up our cottage path) and yelled from the top “He got in! He’s up here!” Koda had not only managed to find shelter from the storm, he managed to open the door to the cottage and find it with his brudda from anudda mudda in the warm, dry comfort of our cottage. Someone once suggested that perhaps our lever door handle was not exactly bear-proof and we now know with certainty it is not Koda-proof! I nervously scoured the entire cottage and perimeter making sure he hadn’t invited any other abandoned wildlife into our sanctuary. No harm no fowl – I mean – foul.
Koda was always one not to leave your side if you were lounging on the deck or dock – a habit which we chalked up to his separation anxieties brought on no doubt by his abandonment as a puppy. Since the Night That We Do Not Mention, things are a little touchier and Koda is a little extra anxious. Little whimpers signal his unease, torn between accompanying me to the dock for morning coffee time and my husband’s still sleeping body. Hopefully a few extra dog treats will ease him back to normal. A trip to the canine psychotherapist is not out of the question but perhaps a few extra tummy rubs are also in order. In any case, my husband has a new project: building Koda’s Kottage – a cozy shelter should we ever manage to stray from his sight for more than 5 minutes ever again!