My dog is smarter than, well, just about anything
I love our three dogs as though they are children, although owning them means a commitment to at least a decade of buying Febreze, deodorizing candles, antibacterial products of every format and about 2.3 extra hours of cleaning per week. Every few days, Dave and I can sweep or vacuum enough dog hair to create a wad roughly the size of a small dog. It also means that our vintage Ralph Lauren rug has had to be hosed down and machine washed twice in the past five days due to substances dispelled from each and every orifice of Sean Connery, our red border collie.
Despite his uber-sensitive, frequently backfiring digestive system, Sean is the family sweetheart, and bright in that kind of weird, quirky way typical of Border Collies. Sean is our listening dog. Every moment he is awake, his ears constantly swivel and pivot as though he is trying to pick up satellite signals from space. And he can spell. Sean lives for his twice-daily feedings, and is constantly tuned to hear anything resembling the happy sounds of "Who's hungry?," "Have the dogs been fed?,"or "Jack, did you F-E-E-D the D-O-Gs?" We can no longer casually utter ANY words that include the phonetic "ef" without Sean flying to the kitchen where he tap dances at his bowl, his tail swinging furiously while his licks his lips. If the food doesn't come right away, a puddle of drool will form at his feet, dripping from the cutest, most hopeful face you ever saw on a canine.
While I busy myself collecting the dog bowls to fill with expensive kibble, Sean's herding instincts kick in and he forms 1-3 large, perfect circles in our small kitchen, requiring him to trot under tables and chairs to maintain the neat roundness of the circle. We refer to these as his "Psycho-Circles" and out of respect for Sean's finely tuned mental state, the kids try to keep their backpacks and shoes clear from the path of this daily ritual. Usually Sean is satisfied with only one perfect loop, but on particularly stressful or hungry days, he makes up to three of the magic circles that he thinks will keep me on my feeding task.
Precisely half an hour after the meal (gobbled down in several huge, choking bites) Sean will tell me he must go outside by staring at me, then swiveling his head abruptly toward the door, as if to say, "Look, you inferior human, over THERE; the door, you idiot!" If this doesn't work right away, he adds a musical whine, much like the one Lassie used to do in the old TV series, when telling little Timmie that someone had fallen down a ravine and was lying unconscious in the dirt, with a rattlesnake coiled just inches away.
Anyhow, on the downside of living with such a crazy-brilliant animal, we've had to hide an extra key outside the house because Sean can work the dead bolt with his paw. He's locked us out three times.
If Sean had opposable thumbs, we might let him so take the SAT for Kate. But alas, he is a savant. Why can't he figure out that we don't enjoy his relieving himself on the Ralph Lauren rug?