Nellie has been with us for a few weeks now. She is getting used to our quirks and we are getting used to hers. We’ve had some bumps along the way, but it was mostly a matter of the language barrier and new household rules. We all had to adapt and Nellie probably did a better job than the rest of us. Now, meal times have been established and no one feeds her at any other time – though she may pick up the odd kernel of popcorn that drops on the floor. She will sit patiently on a floor mat as I prepare her food and then, when the food is ready, she will ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ on command until her bowl is on the floor and she is told that she can eat. She sleeps in her ‘indoor’ crate at night and goes into it easily when it is time. She often sleeps in the crate during the day, especially if I am gone and Mom is taking a nap.
Nellie has some endearing and astonishing qualities. She loves to sit close and snuggle up, but she is not obnoxious about demanding attention. For example, she is quite content to curl up on a towel or a mat on the floor while I am working on my computer. She sleeps on a towel by the front door while I study Thai, but knows instantly when we are taking a break and comes to over for a quick scratch behind the ears. If she is outside, she will sit patiently by the door when she is ready to come in – until she sees someone inside. Then, she scratches at the door or, if you take too long coming, she jumps into the air. And can she jump! She won’t jump on me, but will jump straight up in the air as high as my hips – about three times her height. Needless to say, if left to her own devices, she can get onto virtually any surface, but she has learned that all furniture is off limits, unless she is invited up by someone who is sitting there.
Nellie enjoys time outside as long as it is warm outside. She will sleep on the concrete driveway as long as the sun is shining to heat it up. She loves looking out of the gate and will bark at strangers who walk by, but once she knows someone, she no longer barks at him/her. She knows every corner of the yard and enjoys chasing creatures that she finds – like chinchooks, small lizards, frogs and other critters. She easily goes into her ‘outdoor’ crate if I need to open the gate to take the car out. She will sleep in there as well, if she gets tired of chasing things. She does not dig up the yard or the flowerbeds and is usually content with just sniffing things and exploring. Times have been established for excursions outdoors and we have learned that she is quite happy to go out – as long as the sun is up. Once it becomes dark, Nellie does not voluntarily go outside. In fact, once the sun goes down, Nellie curls up in the farthest corner of her ‘indoor’ crate and hopes I will forget to take her out for that last walk of the day. (I tried that once, but had to clean her crate the next day, so we don’t do that any more.) It does not help that fireworks are going off all week this week as we prepare for Loi Krathong. She is petrified of the noise they make and those fireworks make that last walk of the day an excruciating experience for both of us, for she is too stressed and distracted to take care of business.
Yes, as Mom has said, Nellie is my dog. I feed her. I take her for walks every day. I give her a bath each Saturday. I took her to the vet for shots and worm medicine. She runs to find me if something scares her. She will follow me wherever I go – unless Mom is in the kitchen, in which case, all bets are off. There is, after all, always that chance that Mom will accidentally drop something on the floor and that is more important than any relationship with another human being. Nellie also likes to curl up on Mom’s lap, because Mom will pet her for hours. The other day when Oi came over, Nellie was on Mom’s lap in the living room. Beyond opening up her eyes to check things out, Nellie didn’t move a muscle – and Mom never stopped petting her. I guess we are all family now.