Gus, my wonderful Australian Shepherd pup, is still learning the rules of my house. One of these rules is to stay out of the garbage. It is a concept that he has not fully grasped, and his trash diving has been the cause of some consternation for me. It has also resulted in one very funny morning.
The other day he jumped onto the bed around 6:30 a.m. to let me know that he needed to go and take care of his bodily functions. I learned in the first few day he was here that when he starts to poke you with his nose, or jumps onto the bed in the morning, you have about ten minutes to get him outside, otherwise you will be cleaning up inside. So he has become my morning alarm clock, and with the duly noted nose pokes and “kisses” on my face I climbed out of bed, stumbled to find my slippers and avoid the toys and bones he accumulates at the side of my bed. As we walked to the back door, I saw that he had engaged in another night of trash can diving, and several items were scattered about the kitchen. I picked them up tossing them back into the now up righted trash can, and headed out the back door with Gus.
Normally, first thing in the morning he plods about the back yard looking for the “perfect” spot to take care of his business, and then half way drags himself back to me and the door. But this particular morning he seemed more invigorated and energized. He dashed off to the back of yard, took care of things, and then proceeded to romp, run, and basically act like a fool for nearly fifteen minutes. I love to watch him run and play, and we have established a game where I hide behind the giant elm tree in the back yard and we play “find the fat guy.” I will peek out one side and then the other, all the while he darts and dashes back and forth, stirring up a cloud of dust that the Lone Ranger would be proud of. On this morning he didn’t even want to play around the tree, but rather found some of the varied balls that I have gotten for him, and batted and nosed them around the yard, growling and barking at them if they went the wrong way. Finally thirst overcame him, and since his outside water bowl was empty, he had flipped it in one of his mad dashed through the yard, he decided it was time to come inside.
After a few laps of water from his bowl, a dog treat and ice-cube, he pranced his way to the couch. By now the coffee maker had turned on, and finished making my morning infusion of caffeine. I poured myself a cup of the thick, hot liquid that has become my daily source of life and settled in front of the computer to catch up on the day’s news and information. I sat there for five or ten minutes when I felt a familiar cold nose on my thigh. Looking down there sat Gus with a tennis ball at his feet. “What, you want to play?” I asked him, picked up the ball and rolled it across the bare wooded floors that are my dining and living room. He dashed away chasing the greenish orb, sliding into the front door and grabbing the ball as he crashed. He brought the ball back and we repeated the game of roll and crash. Between trying to catch up on the Drudge Report, White House Dossier, and other news sources we played our little game of fetch. This went on for nearly half an hour, when suddenly Gus just flopped to the floor at my feet, let out a deep, exhausted sigh, and laid there. At first I was concerned, as I had never seen him get so worn out so suddenly. Normally when we play I can tell when he is getting tired, as he starts to slow down and not be so enthusiastic with his running. But this time it was as if he had been hit with a tranquilizing dart. I watched him breath for a few minutes, and all appeared normal, so it was back to the monitor and my news updates.
Gus laid there by me for the next hour or so, seemingly exhausted, with only enough energy to periodically look up at me with his soulful eyes. It was as if he was asking me, “What the hell happened?” I finished my morning pot of coffee, and all the news that was fit to read, and went to clean out the coffee pot. It was then that I had my epiphany. The turned over trash can and the empty coffee filter from the day before were the answer to Gus’ sudden burst of morning energy and his subsequent crash. The poor little guy had raided the trash shortly before waking me, and was primed with caffeine from the coffee grounds. He spent the rest of the day in that state of confusion most of us exist in, half asleep from the caffeine jolt wearing off yet still wanting to do something, anything.
That night he slept on the bed with me, moving only enough to let me know that I was taking up too much space. I am still trying to figure out how, in a king size bed, one person and a forty pound dog cannot peacefully coexist and sleep without the dog thinking he is being crowded. I guess that is a mystery to be solved at a later date. Gus is fine now, and I have gone back to taking the coffee grounds and dumping them into the garden. I think we both learned a valuable lesson the other day.