Living With Frodo

It’s been humid lately and Frodo hasn’t been eating much. Last night, the weather broke and it was blissfully cool. I was in the yard, reading a book and enjoying a glass of wine when Frodo returned from his puppy kindergarten class. He was running around like a puppy maniac and showing off the new skills he’d learned. Because we didn’t want to go inside, we brought his dinner out; he gobbled two full dishes of food! When it got dark, we went inside to watch a movie together and Frodo slept in his usual position, sprawled belly up on Susan’s lap. I took him outside twice during the movie, thinking he’d need to relieve himself after all of that running and eating. Nope! Then again before bed, I spent quite a bit of time waiting for Frodo to at least empty his bladder… He followed me around the lawn and kept looking up at me quizzically, as if asking “What the heck are we doing, guy?”

I was positive he’d wake me up in the middle of the night, wanting to go out. He didn’t – Frodo let me sleep until the stroke of 6 before he started yipping. I was grateful enough for the full night of sleep that I got my pants on in a hurry and went right to his crate to let him out. Sure enough, he sprinted out the door and onto the lawn, where he must have peed for a full minute. Then he did his comical dog dance, sniffing frantically in order to find the perfect place to poop; it was funnier this time because it looked like someone had sped up the film and he was doing everything in fast motion. We went back inside and he immediately jumped up against the water cooler, as if to ask for a drink. He’s never done that! I poured some fresh water, which he gulped down. I cautioned him against drinking too much too fast, because he’d only end up puking it back out. You know the Far Side cartoon, about what we say to dogs and what they hear? “Blah, blah, blah, blah, Frodo. Blah, blah, blah…”

Frodo was still moving at hyper speed, and he ran to the foot of the stairs, where he often waits for Susan to come down in the morning (he tends to wait for my say-so before sprinting up the stairs, which is odd because we’ve never trained that behavior.) Here was a dog sitting pretty as can be, wagging his tail so fast he was bouncing up and down on it like he was having a seizure. Then I heard the “URP!” and sure enough, he puked up at least half of the water he’d just had. Mortified, Frodo ran back into his crate. I got some paper towels and cleaned the puke, and as I did that Frodo sat next to me and licked my elbow.

I hadn’t yet used the bathroom, so that was a pretty urgent “next” on my own list at that point. Frodo followed me and sat and waited, much as I stand outside and wait for him while he goes. I don’t want to go into unnecessary detail, but it should be clear that I was sitting, with my pants around my ankles much as they tend to be when one uses the toilet. Frodo leaned a bit toward me and again there was that “URP!” and he puked all over my pants, getting rid of the rest of the water. Now imagine me trying to get my feet the rest of the way out of my pant legs… Once I did that, Frodo grabbed the pants and ran!

Luckily I had my running clothes already laid out in the bathroom, so I put those on. I retrieved my pants and took them down to the laundry room. I thought it was as good a time as any to give Frodo a chance to burn off some of his energy. We’ve already been walking him twice a day, and he often seems to have energy far beyond what 3-4 miles takes our of him. I never imagined that something with six-inch legs could keep up with me while I run, but Frodo proved me wrong. We went 1.7 miles around the block, and he was often out in front, trying to get me to run faster! It was his version of doggy trash talk, I guess – he’d keep looking back at me, as if to say “Can’t keep up, old man? I only have six-inch legs and I’m outrunning you!”

Now it’s 7:30 and he’s up in bed with Sarah, sound asleep.