When Lilac was first living with us, she discovered something that none of our other dogs ever did. The back of our couch is slightly curved, so when it sits by the wall, there’s a small sort of tunnel behind it. This was Lilac’s favorite place in the world. We called it her Fortress of Solitude. Most of the time we could find her curled up back there, sleeping away. She hid her favorite treasures back there, including a few bags of Easter candy. If something went missing, we learned to check her lair.
I thought Lilac was the only dog who had a secret hiding spot, but apparently I was wrong. Bunny has laid claim to the upstairs room and considers that her personal space. She really enjoys being up there and she knows that she’s the star in that arena. If a dog was ever born to be in front of a camera, Bunny certainly was. On a few occasions, she’s been known to go up there on her own and just enjoy her space. She’s not really secretive about it, though. Actually, she’s pretty insistent about letting everyone know that it’s her space.
However, we’ve started to notice that someone in our house has laid claim to a lair, but she only enjoys it in what she thinks is secrecy. We started to be suspicious a few months ago. Someone was leaving dog hair on the downstairs couch. Nothing was ever disturbed, but we knew somebody was going down there while we were gone. The list of suspects was pretty short. Morgan and Küster are both in crates while we’re gone. That leaves just Bunny and Blueberry.
At first, I suspected Bunny was the one making use of the downstairs. I didn’t really care that she was down there, the dogs just generally don’t show an interest in being down there. It tends to be cooler than they like and the floor is slick linoleum. The couch and love seat aren’t even overly comfortable. I figured she just wanted a place to be alone and dream of being an only dog.
In December, we were running errands like crazy and were in and out of the house at a ridiculous pace. One day we were getting ready to go somewhere and went out to the van. My husband got out there and realized that he’d forgotten something important back in the house. He went back in to get it. I think our neighbors heard him scream when he went in the back door. The steps going in the back of the house also go down into the basement. As Mr. Taleteller went in the back door, someone was surprised from her lair and came running up the back steps. He wasn’t expecting anything to run up the steps at him, but fortunately, he managed to maintain control of his bladder.
It turns out the Blueberry has laid claim to the basement, but it has to be in secret. Once, my husband came home at an odd time from work, in the work car and she didn’t hear him pull in. She reappeared upstairs again as he came in the house. There was definitely an air of “Oh, I wasn’t expecting you” as she greeted him. He laughed it off and told me about it later.
Now, it seems like she can’t wait for us to get out the door fast enough. Sometimes we come back in only to see her retreating to the basement before we’ve even pulled out of the driveway. And yet, she doesn’t want us to know she’s been down there. She takes great pains not to let us know that she’s been down in the basement. If we come in, she runs upstairs. Every evening when I go down to get their food, she stands at the top of the steps, watching in anticipation of yet another meal.
I’ll be honest, I’m not certain what the draw is. There are plenty of dog beds and the couch is big enough for Bunny and Blueberry together. All the creature comforts she loves are right upstairs in the living room. I’m not sure if she goes downstairs hoping my husband has spilled dog food on the floor when he scoops it for breakfast or if she likes the couch down there or if she just wants to be alone. Maybe it’s a combination of all three.
Blue has always been a funny dog. She has a wicked sense of humor. It’s hard for me to believe she will be thirteen next week. I can’t say that I blame her for her little sojourns in the basement, though. I remember distinctly wanting a secret lair of my own when I was a kid, and in a way, the attic room has become a lair of sorts for me, even though I share it with Bunny. I guess we all need our own private Idaho at times. Having the secret seems to make Blueberry happy, and maybe that’s what it’s really all about. Whatever it is, I will keep playing the game and pretending I don’t know she’s down there if it makes her happy.