That dog


CPT America had to go save the world early today. He tried to be quiet about it. He even put his phone on the mattress, so the alarm/vibrate app would be muffled. I know this because I distinctly heard and felt the alarm/vibrate app when it went off. And the dog heard it too.

That dog!

That dog began whining the minute he left the house did not stop until after lunch.

“Oh, that dog just loves and misses her master,” you say.

And that’s true. But what she really loves – even more than Captain America – is the idea of Family Togetherness. She got a huge dose of this last fall when she accompanied us on our three-week cross-country camping trip. For Ursa, that was heaven. Every person in the family neatly contained in a little rolling box – every person where she could watch over them day in, day out. It is only when we Smythes scatter that she becomes anxious.

This behavior extends to her daily walks. I’ve tried to take Ursa along with me in the morning or on a sunshiny Saturday afternoon, but if the rest of the family is hanging out at home, she drags her paws and looks over her shoulder and flat out refuses to go more than a few blocks with me. When this happens, I take her home, hand her over to CPT America with a disgusted look, and return to my walk, only to hear later that she pined for me the entire time I was gone.

If one of the girls is outside and the rest of us are inside watching a movie (which happened recently because Pepper thought Ben Hur was silly), Ursa will whine and pace back and forth between the back door and the TV. In Ursa’s mind, all Smythes need to be together all the time. It must be the shepherd in her.

Today, though, her whining was worse than ever, because, not only did CPT America leave, he disrupted The Schedule. Ursa is very aware of The Schedule. She knows that he leaves sometime after the smell of coffee and before the sounds of children stirring. But today, there was no coffee smell – just the aroma of toasted bread.  Captain America didn’t have time for anything else. And not only that – he placed a chair at the bottom of the stairs to prevent Ursa from returning to the bedroom to wake us.

So there was Ursa at the bottom of the stairs, confused and isolated and not at all pleased. CPT America left and her whining took on the tones of whale song.

And so, we Smythes will just have to figure out a way to stay together all day, every day. It’s either that or kill the dog.

(Of course I would never actually kill the dog. But, you know what I mean.)