Dith & Dred
December 6, 2011 | My Jottings
I’ve heard it said that the older people get, the weirder they get, and I’ve known a few elderly folks whose eccentricities would support that theory. (I think my daughters secretly believe I am proof of this.)
We have two miniature German schnauzers who are getting stranger and more eccentric with every passing day.
Edith and Mildred look alike in many ways, but the similarities stop there. A long time ago I wrote a fascinating post entitled “Indentured Schnauzitude” about their differences here. You do not want to miss that one, I assure you.
Sara has always given inexplicable nick-names to our animals. One prime example is when she decided our long-deceased schnauzer Winnie should be called Niffery Yoder. She also thought Beauteous Montoya fit Winnie well, which, er, might be a stretch. Lately Sara has taken to calling our dogs Dith and Dred, and occasionally Dithy and Dreddy. When Sara walks in the back door the dogs go nuts, barking happily and dancing around her legs. Mildred lifts her snout and sounds out a guttural greeting, “Rrroooo!” that I can imitate quite well. I actually think I sound so much like her when I’m doing my own guttural “Rrroooo!” that if you had your eyes closed you’d have a hard time telling which one was Millie and which one was me.
Both dogs have annoying and unhealthy fixations that seem to become more firmly entrenched as each year passes. For the last few weeks, Edith expectantly stares at Sara’s iPhone and/or my iPad any time she sees them, whether they’re in hand or sitting on a table. Sara has shown Edith this one too many times, and now Edith will sit and stare for up to 30 minutes, patiently waiting for it to come on again. Edith also loves the Christian comedian Tim Hawkins, and when she sees my iPad she begs for me to show her one of his videos. Here’s one she likes a lot. I’m completely serious.
And this is a recent picture of Edith, with her one ear sticking up in the air as it always does. She’s sitting on our living room window seat, waiting for any sign of movement outside. She gave up barking at falling leaves years ago, but is still on alert for any squirrel, deer, person walking their dog, or the postal carrier. No one will ever come near our house without their arrival being hysterically announced. We sometimes have to coax her away from the window because we want Dithy to have a normal schnauzer life, and we worry that her obsessions will completely take over.
But Edith is a good dog. At almost 10 years old, she is loyal and affectionate, fairly obedient, and amazingly patient with Mildred.
We are convinced that Millie has some developmental disabilities. She has Narcissistic Disorder, Kleptomania and a mild case of Paranoia thrown in for good measure. She’s been raised in the same balanced, exemplary and über-healthy home as Edith, but her deficits are numerous. When these doggy girls get their daily rawhide chew stick, Millie gobbles hers down and then lurks opportunistically at Edith’s shoulder, ready to pounce and steal hers. Edith sighs and lets her have it. When we see this happening, of course we pry the stick from Millie’s jaws and give it back to Edith, but the same thing happens again. Sometimes Edith goes into the office and asks me with her eyes to shut the door so she can enjoy her stick in peace.
Millie inhales her food. Edith savors. Millie paws at you incessantly and looks into your eyes with a pitiful and desperate longing that says, “Please notice me. Please pet me every minute of the day. Please bolster my sagging schnauzer esteem. Please. Pleeeeease. Pleeeeeeeaaasssee.” If you think there is no way a miniature German schnauzer can say all this with one paw and a set of brown eyes, you haven’t met Dred. That is exactly what she says, and more.
Edith is comfortable with herself. She loves to be petted and crooned to, but she’s content to curl up beside any of the humans in this house and just be. She has no gaping neediness that seeks to be filled. She’s at peace with herself and her world. (Unless her world happens to have a rodent scurry into view, then the schnauzer shrieking begins…)
Here’s a photo of five-year old Mildred sitting on “her” leather recliner in the den. If you click to enlarge the photo and study it carefully, you’ll see the marginally forlorn expression, the slightly hunched posture, the one side of her little black schnauzer lips drawn back in uncertainty.
Poor, poor pitiful Dred.
Do any of your pets have quirky psychological behaviors or grave diagnoses? Or do they have interesting facial expressions? How about their thoughts? Can you tell what they’re thinking sometimes?
Don’t answer that.
Dith and Dred might be a little out of the ordinary, but I’m willing to bet there are pet owners out there who could share some of their pet’s cute/unusual antics with us here. Or, do you have silly nick-names for your pets?
What is your animal like?