This is how Penny wakes me up in the morning:
Always about 15 minutes before the alarm goes off. We stumble downstairs—hopefully not literally, but that happens sometimes—and I undertake the First Challenge in The Housetraining Games: trying to get the leash untangled and on the dog before she can’t hold it anymore.
Then comes breakfast, which she inhales before I can get the coffee started, so I have to start the next challenge of the Housetraining Games without the advantage of caffeine. The Second state is a trial called the Hurry Up and Wait. This is where P-dog runs around in ever shrinking concentric circles. If she gets to the center before I can get her outside, I lose. That’s the Hurry Up part.
The Wait part comes when Penny Dreadful has done her first act, but I have to wait for the second act. The big finale. It’s an exercise in patience, walking up and down the grass wearing my pajamas, plastic bag over my hand.
There are usually several rounds of Hurry Up and Wait, because Penny is perfectly happy to sniff along the walk, checking her pee-mail, and I’m just not that patient.
Which is the other reason we’re still playing the Housetraining games at this stage of our relationship. Training a dog takes patience, discipline, and consistency. But at 6 a.m., I just want my coffee and bagel, so basically it goes like this: come in, set up the coffee, go back out; come in, put the bagel in the toaster, go back out; Smell bread burning, rush back in.
The Third and Final Challenge is a war of wills called Squat or Squat, I try and explain to Penny that she doesn’t get nothing if she doesn’t do nothing. (My grammar goes to the dogs.) At the same time, P-dog tries to annoy me into giving her what she wants.
This morning she pulled off a spectacular upset. I’m at my desk, eating while keeping one eye on the computer screen and one eye out for the Potty Dance, when right there at the office door is my dog, hunched over making dog biscuits. I’m out of my chair like a shot, and Penny takes off into the bedroom. Only I don’t find a thing. And I look, because I don’t want to find anything later with my foot. She hasn’t actually made a single biscuit.
What she HAD done, however, was gone through the bedroom, circled back around through the connecting bathroom, used the chair to jump up on the desk and steal my bagel.
That dog *pretended to poop*, right in my eye-line, so I would leave my breakfast unattended and she could get something for nothing and win the Final Challenge.
This is my curse. I’ve always had really smart dogs, and they’ve always been a lot of trouble. My mom’s dog was a sweetheart, but dumb as a rock.
And that’s the kicker. Because you know where Princess Penny headed after scarfing down my bagel? She ran straight down to curl up in bed with my mom, looking like this:
And Mom says to me: “Oh, let the little angel stay here with me. She’s not bothering anybody.”
This round goes to you, Penny Dreadful. But tomorrow is a new day.