The Panhandler

Our dog’s a panhandler. I didn’t realize it for a while, but then one day it was clear. She occupies the prime real estate in front of my chair. She gazes straight into my eyes trying to make eye contact. Her eyes are sorrowful. I’m not sure how she accomplishes it, but she does. She tilts her head to the side. I can see the sign, “Hungry, Little Ones at Home, Please Help, God Bless”. She should remember that I know she’s been spayed. Perhaps she’s forgotten. She leaves for a spell but then returns with a determined look and a new sign. “Will Work for Food” it reads. And then as if to prove the point she trots over to the back door showing her willingness to do something in return. Probably she thinks doing her business outside counts as work. I can see her point. She goes out and down the stairs—sometimes she pretends to get business done but it’s a ruse—not this time though, this time she does her job and I reward her with a treat.

She’s back again with the “Will Work for Food” sign but I’m not buying it so she changes signs to “Single Mom, Help Me Feed The Little Ones,” and then does the head tilt bit. I toughen up and ignore her, but then she starts whining and snorting, and then whining again. I lose my place in the book I’m reading, and I’ve had it. “Out of here,” I say, but she screws her little rear into the floor, and growls. I need a new plan. I get a treat and throw it into the hallway, she bounds out of the room, but before I can get up and shut the door she’s back with the treat in her mouth. She has this half-open mouth grin she does sometimes, she’s doing it now, bits of dog treat drop to the floor. I try again. I get another treat and throw it into the hall; I’m on my feet now and confident I’ll get to the door before she does. But she’s pretending she’s not hungry. She stares at me. She lies down and pretends to sleep, so I sit down and start to read. I look over at her, there she is lying on her side like a giant pork sausage.

I’m back to my book. Detective Wallander is working on a case that’s taken him to Latvia. He’s just discovered a bug hidden in the clock in his room, it’s then I notice the dog has done it again. While I was sleuthing with Kurt she was stealing the bait I left in the hall and was back again with her half-smile. I don’t have an answer. I’m certainly no match for this devious pooch. We should have trained her better. We should have stuck to our guns and not let her out-wait us. We shouldn’t have fallen for her well thought out plans and now we’ll just have to live with it.

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