In which I discover that my cute, but rotten dogs are not stupid after all, but are in fact, geniuses.
(If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, you may want to start there).
Fortunately, our cute, but rotten dogs recovered from their nasty stomach issues. Friends and neighbors would be dogsitting for us while we were out of town for the holidays and we felt it was imperative that we caution them about our dogs’ penchant for mischief. I wrote a lengthy and detailed instruction manual for the boy who would be taking care of them first, which included the following warnings and exhortations:
“They cannot be left outside of their crates unattended as they are beyond stupid and WILL get into trouble of some sort…Chloe eats ROCKS!…In general, they really can’t ever be trusted to be by themselves outside of their crate…they’re exceedingly stupid!”
The boy’s mother sent me a follow-up email after Christmas that concluded with: “dogs were fine and very cute (and very bad as you said!)” The family left town for a vacation of their own as soon as we came back, so I haven’t yet been able to find out all the bad things the dogs did in our absence. The boy did email me to let me know that Chloe had eaten a Hershey’s Kiss, wrapper and all, before he could stop her. And we found rock hard pellets of poop on a little carpet by the door in the breakfast room that the boy must not have noticed. At least the dogs didn’t eat it. One must be grateful for small mercies.
The day before we left for our New Year’s trip to Arlington, our next set of neighbors came over to get the lowdown on the doggie schedule. I launched into my speech about how the dogs would need hyper-vigilant supervision with a recitation of the many acts of stupidity they had recently committed.
My very kindly neighbor gently interrupted my litany to suggest that the problem was not actually the dogs, but the low expectations I had for them.
“They’re hearing you say they’re stupid, so they feel like they have license to behave in stupid ways.”
That night when I typed up a new set of instructions, I concluded my note with:
“We expect them to have mastered Trigonometry, Molecular Biology, Greek, Latin, and Heideggerian Existentialism by the time we get back through the power of your more elevated expectations for them!”
When we returned home on New Year’s Day, imagine our surprise to see this:
Of course, I wrote a thank you to my neighbor, who had set me straight (click for larger view):