Mr. Taleteller and I had a good laugh the other morning over his response of crickets from Küster. I’ve mentioned in the past that in the morning when I get close to leaving for work, Küster, who has his bachelor pad in the basement, starts barking. We aren’t sure how he knows when I’m actually getting ready to leave versus putting my things in the kitchen, eating breakfast or refilling the water bowl, but he starts his fanfare as soon as I head to the kitchen for the last time to start leaving the house. He barks like mad and will occasionally throw in a howl for punctuation, although that is rare. When I talk to him, his barking intensifies and we have funny little conversations. Every time I ask him a question or make a comment, he barks back to me, it’s not nonstop barking. When my husband leaves the house, he doesn’t make a peep.
Earlier this week, he was barking and I was on my way out the door. I asked him if Dad had been mean to him that morning and he barked a reply. Then my husband asked something to him and his reply was silence. I laughed and said crickets and Mr. Taleteller laughed and agreed. Then Küster heard me talking and barked another reply.
The funny thing is that I know that Küster is closer to my husband. They work together really closely and know each other well, but Küs has always had a deep and abiding affection for me. He also has a mischievous streak a mile wide and he knows that when he acts like he adores me, it drives my husband up the wall, especially when we’re out in public. I’ve been Küster’s reward giver since he was a puppy and I know that he associates good things with me. I also know that he loves to work down to the core of his being and that he loves his time working with my husband, too.
It’s just that we have a different relationship. The truth is, we each have different relationships with each of our dogs. Bunny is completely my girl and it really does make her mad when Mr. Taleteller comes home before I do. Flattery is an equal opportunity love bug, but she makes it clear that she loves going places with me and snuggling in the chair with my husband. Morgan loves to do work with Mr. Taleteller whether it’s obedience, scent games or practicing on Küster’s footwork equipment. As far as she is concerned, though, if a threat pops up, he’s on his own to defend himself while her job is to protect me. She loves me too, but she has it in her head that I need to be protected, even though she doesn’t mind me nearly as well as she does my husband.
I guess it does add credence to the idea that the right dog with the right person is a magical equation. I think I’d love any dog that we brought into our house, but there are some magic components that go into the mix that contribute to how well we click and what our relationship turns out to be. I think of some people I know who have gone through serious illnesses and how their dogs reacted to that situation. One friend’s young dog became fiercely protective of him to the point where he sometimes didn’t allow visitors. My grandpa’s young dog began bringing him his shoes and socks from the night before in the morning, one at a time, after my grandpa returned home after having a stroke. Yet I know lots of people whose dogs were plenty happy to have them return home and become healthy again, but who never became overly helpful or dedicated.
I’m not sure what it is that clicks in some dogs’ brains to make those extraordinary things happen that we read about like saving their lives in some way, but what often makes me smile is that most people think that if something did happen to them that their dog would do something heroic. Most of us won’t have to put it to the test, fortunately. Maybe it’s enough that we think they would save us if they could.
I know that I love that we have different relationships with each of our dogs and that it keeps life interesting. Thank goodness that there are enough different dogs and people out there that we can all find the right match for us. So, even if you ask your dog a question and all you hear is crickets, know that your relationship still works, too.