MacPhail – week 12

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It’s been a while since my wee dog Beastie has made it into the pages of the Oban Times but as I have just picked him up today and haven’t seen him since November, I am full of excitement and happiness to be reunited with my furry little four-legged ball of mischief!

It is just over two years since he ran off into the Hills of Lochaber prompting his press debut of March 2017 and I think another ponder on his ways is appropriate.

What humans can learn from the behaviour of Beastie is the general subject of this piece and I’m going to focus on two traits of his canine conduct – one bad and one good – from which we can all learn.

Beastie Lesson One – “Grrrrrrrr! You moved your foot!!”

Beastie absolutely loves getting to lie on the bed. It is very seldom that this is allowed, but at all times if he is in the vicinity of the bedroom, his number one aim in life is to be given permission to jump onto the bed.

He will utilise all psychological tools at his disposal to gain access to experience this ultimate realm of comfort, happiness and fulfilment.
He will try both sides of the bed for different weakness levels between the humans present, he will tentatively raise a paw and place it on the edge of the bed and then look at you longingly with beguiling brown eyes, and he will even whimper lightly and shake as if in freezing cold discomfort in order to breakdown the resolve of our barriers.

Very occasionally, if the sheets are due to be changed anyway or if he’s just had a bath, we will relent and let him jump up and make himself comfortable on top of the duvet.

His initial reaction always conveys the deepest love and gratitude and no matter where on the bed he is and what else might be happening, he is in heaven, he knows it and he is euphoric with his newly acquired luxury.

However, after he has become accustomed to his new place in life, this becomes his normality and he very quickly forgets that he has been given a privileged position. Invariably during this stage, which is usually after about 10 minutes, if one of the humans present moves a leg or a foot even slightly, Beastie will growl aggressively with a flurry of dog swear words in protest at the selfishness of a human to move and to disturb his peace and upset his comfort.

This of course results in him being immediately ordered off, downstairs and back to his dog bed, which he does with a look of “stuff your bed, I didn’t like it anyway!”.

Ten minutes later, he’s back saying “please let me on the bed, I love the bed, it’s so cold down here. I will be sooooooo grateful forever you let me on the bed!” It will be some months before we may relent again!

Many times I have seen this cycle of behaviour mirrored by humans, and as with Beastie, none of us should take what we have or what we are given for granted.

Beastie Lesson Two will come next next week!