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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…!

Scotties Who Sabotage

Have you ever had a dog that takes umbrage at the fact that you have a life of your own? For Misha and Grisha, our Scottish terriers, all must revolve around them… or it must cease to exist. They wish to sabotage my every effort to work, to sleep, to eat, and to exercise. This is their job– and they are very good at it.

For the New Year, I have certain goals and objectives. When I start to work, frequently from my home office, the moans and loud yawns commence.

“Misha, hush up! Can’t you yawn quietly?” I reprimand him when taking an international phone call.

This is followed by Grisha stretching like a yogic pilates professor, another protracted groan emanating with front paws outstretched, concave back, and bottom stretching upward to the sky. You would think that the weight of the world was upon them. Instead, their sole responsibilities are something along the lines of: get up, yawn, groan, stretch; go outside, bark at every rabbit, squirrel, bird and waving branch, do their business; come inside and get a reward, lick their private parts; dance for their breakfast, wolf it down in 30 seconds flat; lay down for a brief nap full of leg jitters, muffled yelps, and eye twitches, until they need to go out again. Repeat the process several times a day.

I sit at my computer and the boys hop up on a chair, facing me eye to pleading eye: they want a massage. Used to the finer things in life, Misha and Grisha feel that we run The Scottie Spa. Tickle their tummy and rub down their back, to the manor born. With their Russian names, soon they’ll be demanding a steam bath in the banya and being beaten with birch branches. At least mud masks are out of the question with their long, black beards, and cucumber slices on the eyes also a no-go, hindering their spying capabilities. The two dogs are now at the expert level of surveillance and sabotage.

When I eat, I must sneak my food. They know the hand that feeds them. The rest of the family can eat normally at the table and we refuse to feed them any scrap at that time. But when I carry my plate to the sink, they follow hot on my tail, nudging my leg repeatedly like sharks. It has happened where they will lay crosswise in the doorway from the dining room to the kitchen, blocking my movements unless they get a handout. It’s the same, first thing in the morning, when I emerge from a shower in the bathroom, and again, they lie in wait for their morning victuals.

This lying in wait has been taken to the extreme recently. There is a couch outside of my bedroom door. It is long and black, just like little Grisha who blends in all too well. While Misha stretches out on the floor, back against the couch, Grisha assumes a Cheshire cat pose, reclining on the couch’s high, narrow back. I pass by him a couple of times before my morning coffee takes effect, not even seeing him, as he observes me with his ever-moving eyes. It’s only when the tail starts its metronome-like rhythm that I glimpse him.

“Grisha!” My pats and kisses only serve to speed up the thumping tempo.

The two of them get plenty of exercise on our daily constitutionals, or when we let them tear out the back door of one house where the backyard is fenced. They dart this way and that, making a full circumnavigation of territories new and old, checking and rechecking for any perceived intruders. But should I pop in an exercise DVD for myself, look out, world! The dogs much prefer that I be a big, old, lazy couch potato like them.

As I step in time to the music, Misha begins to cry and whine. He jumps and prances, but can’t quite get the steps right. He knows that this is a play time, yet is unsure of who does what. At a key moment, he leaps in front of me and I lightly kick him square in the smacker.

“Misha! I’m sorry!” I hold his face, dropping to my knees. If I try to put them outside the room during my exercise, they howl and scratch at the door. The only thing I can do is take to my bathroom and pop the DVD into a computer there.

“Step, two, three, four!” I march and lift and twist on the sly.

The bathroom has become my bunker of choice. Much as in Soviet days when every hotel room light fixture held a listening device, I have swept the master bath and found it to be bug-free. I am safe from the Scotties’ ever-attentive probing gazes, and sabotaging efforts, though I have come to the conclusion that my little guys most likely work for the KGB, now known as the FSB.

My saboteurs willl not find me here. This is the one place where they give me a break… or I give them a bath! They provide me a wide berth in the bathroom, but it’s only a matter of time before they invade this last vestige of tranquility. And so I’ve taken to eating, or exercising, or working there upon occasion. Soon I’ll need to move in a desk. It’s the only place where I can get a minute of peace and quiet, and pursue my own life.

I imagine myself to have outsmarted the little whipper-snappers, but for all I know, they’re out raiding the refrigerator or watching international dog shows on TV, or doing Special Ops training exercises sliding on their bellies under the furniture or parachuting into the family room, rather than sprawled across the doorway, tails wagging, waiting for my exit. They have me just where they want me… especially at night.

Sleeping is almost impossible. For me, not for them. Both dogs insist on sleeping inbetween my legs. Listen, I grew up with a dog who loved to be behind the curve of the legs, but these Scotties could have a career in law enforcement:  Spread ’em!  Then they circle round and round and plunk down for a long winter’s nap. I never thought I had arthritis or other aches and pains, but currently, every morning, I’m starting to wonder as I must lie immobile for the entire night. Grisha will sometimes move to Benedetto’s head, climbing on top of the pillow, and doubling as a warm winter’s bedcap.

Difficult as it is with these little double-crossers who demand my undivided attention, whenever they reach out to nudge and kiss me, I am theirs. Mission accomplished.


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