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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Canine Capers

Our Scotties are playful pups. Give an approved chew bone to any other dog and he will gobble it down hook, line, and sinker. While that’s true with little Grisha, big Misha will have no part of it unless the treat can be tossed around a few times. Then he’ll pounce, and prance, and pretend he has no interest in it until pouncing again. He dances around on his back two legs, begging you to throw it a time or two, until finally feeling comfortable enough to settle down and chomp away.

Around here, there’s always some intrigue or drama, and often, the doggies are behind it.

We occasionally have to take them in to the office. This would not be our first choice. We tried bringing along their hard crates, but they howled like caged banshees when we had to leave the room. Not good.

Then we brought their soft travel crates, made from nylon and mesh. The little boys learned how to stick that powerful nose right at the point of the zipper and slooowly nose it down and escape.

Next, we tried leaving them with a hard rubber ball in the office, something to divert their attention and allow them to play if we had to step out. Problem was, the ball would roll behind a bookshelf, or near a computer printer, and they would practically topple all of the equipment in their crazed, frenzied effort to GET… THE… BALL.

Enough of this. I told Misha and Grisha that they could lay down and sleep, since they were so good at that, anyway. No more toys in the office. Just hush up and behave.

It lasted a couple of minutes. I should have invested in a nanny cam just to see what truly transpired. The Scottie cam would have told us what we learned quickly enough upon entering the office: we have no need to buy paper shredders. Puppy Grisha craves any non-food item as a between-meal snack and has now taken to tipping over office trash cans, ripping to shreds any paper, and scattering dozens of tiny bits all over the carpet. The two of them have teeth that could come close to any shark’s–long, hard, and vise-like, decimating anything approaching within a certain radius.

But they have their cuddly sides, too. One neighbor warned us when Misha first came home that, “Scotties are not lap dogs.” Well, nobody told him about that! He curls up with us on a couch, in the bed, on the plane, in the car. Grisha will actually cry and moan if he is left behind baby gates in the kitchen, he so wants to be near any action, and around human companionship.

In the car, usually on long, pre-dawn journeys when the kids are fast asleep, he starts moving up from the back second or third row, slowly inching toward the front seat like a Special Ops dog on a mission. Grisha eventually gives a little hop and perches precariously on the cup-holder console between driver and passenger, balancing like a trick seal on a pedestal. With Benedetto driving, I generally grab him and cuddle him in my lap. But if he had his way (which happens all too often), he would drive with his head extended outward, nose hooked on the bottom curve of the steering wheel. He is a dog, doubling as hood ornament.

Just about the time we’re thinking that this could be very Dangerous Driving Behavior, Misha also pushes his way up to the front, his tank-like body rolling over Grisha. He takes his place on my side of the console, insisting that I hold him like a baby. He puts his head on my shoulder and dozes off to doggy dreams, complete with muffled barks and twitches.

But probably the most interesting escapade of late involves my birthday this month. I had been out shopping for all of an hour or two. Returning home, the Scotties went out of their way to show their pleasure at my arrival. They jumped, and licked, and showered me with affection. Benedetto could not figure it out.

“It’s not like you’ve been gone all day,” he puzzled.

Little did I know that a conspiracy had been hatching while I was gone. My husband and sons had wrapped a small cache of gifts for my birthday. They placed them on top of an antique pie safe in the family room, a location I was not likely to notice.

Until Misha took matters into his own paws. He knew the hand that fed him.

After going ga-ga over my arrival, Misha ran a few feet and turned around. He barked and jogged a couple more steps. Lassie was beckoning me. I followed him.

“What’s up, Misha?” I asked.

Benedetto had no idea until Misha approached the pie safe. Then he sat down and motioned his head sideways, in a “Look over there” motion.

“What?!” my husband exclaimed. The motion was uncanny. He wanted to show me something. He jumped with his front paws partway up the pie safe, as if wanting to get something down.

“What is it, Misha?” I patted his head.

This time he stared upward, pointing the way, jerking his chin a couple of times. I followed his gaze to the top of the pie safe. There sat a small collection of beautifully-wrapped presents– for me!

Benedetto trailed behind us, taking in the entire scene. If he had not seen it for himself….

“Well, you little Benedict Arnold…” he chided my baby, to whom I gave a peanut butter treat and went off to cuddle some more.

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