Our family dog, Nittany, a Lhasa Apso – Bichon Frise mix, looked up at me with drowsy eyes from her perch on our bed. Before I got up and got a shower and got started with my work day, I rubbed behind Nittany’s ears and up and down her belly.
Nittany, who is now 11, normally loves to be rubbed, but not today. She looked like she had just woken up and was having none of it. She got up to move away and went to lie closer to my wife.
“Oh yea, look at the little sleepyhead, she doesn’t like her ears rubbed in the morning,” I said. “What a spoiled little brat.”
Out of the blue I heard, “No dumbass, I just like to sleep in like normal people and not wake up in the middle of the night like some crazy vampire.”
I instantly did a double-take. What, what just happened? No Nittany didn’t talk back to me, but she sure as heck gave me a look that could kill. I had woken her from her slumber and she was none too happy.
I let Nittany get back to her comfy sleep, but I got to thinking that it would be great if we knew what our pets were thinking or, better yet, if our pets could talk. Yes, I know that cats and dogs communicate with us all day long, and, whether we know it or not, we talk back to them through a variety of verbal and nonverbal cues.
I get that body language goes a long way, but I would love to know exactly what’s going on in Nittany’s little (or big) brain. Nittany could let us know when she has to go potty or when she needs to eat. Whether she likes the soft treats or the harder ones that cost $2 less at Costco? Why she sleeps in her bed on Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays, but won’t touch it any other day of the week.
I know exactly what she might say to our biggest questions:
–“Hey you, big guy, how about letting me outside or that brand, spanking new carpet isn’t going to look so snazzy.”
–“Yo chicken boy, hand over some of those chicken nuggets or your soft, cushy slippers are mine tonight.”
Oh, I’m sure the sarcasm is all mine. I’m sure Nittany would be more refined, maybe, even more loving.
–“Oh, you came home, thank God, don’t you ever leave again. I mean ever. We’re a pack, where the pack goes, we all go. You got it!”
–“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.”
Who knew my dog had her masters in English Literature and could quote Elizabeth Barrett Browning? I must admit that I feel so overmatched now. I guess that’s how she spent all her free time during the day. And to think, I thought she just spent it lying on the couch and growling at the UPS driver.
In any event, I know I’m dreaming, but I still think it would be great to know what Nittany was thinking. What do you think?