Little Girl’s body language makes her message clear

Published 1:53 am Saturday, October 6, 2018

Maybe you’ve noticed how showers seem to pop up with no warning these early fall days. One afternoon soon after a few darkening clouds passed over, my dog Little Girl bounced into the living room where my son and I were watching television. She has trained us to recognize what she wants. That time she gave us a signal meaning, “I want to go outside.” She led my son to the back porch. He let her out and returned to watch television. Sometime later, both of us were absorbed in a program when he glanced out the living room window. “Momma, the rain is really coming down out there,” he said. Instantly I jumped to my feet. “Little Girl is outside!” we said in unison, and dashed to the porch. I don’t know what direction she came from in the back yard. As soon as I called her name, she appeared in a flash and rushed up the steps. That majestic looking tail she sports as she walks was drooping. She was drenched.

I snatched a towel I keep on the porch to wipe off leaves and any other stuff that sticks to her heavy coat of hair. I directed her to stand on it. “Feet first,” I said and started the rub-down. She obediently endured it, proving what I always brag about her. She is the most obedient dog I have ever had.

My son rushed in with another towel. As we continued rubbing the rainwater away, we showered her with comforting words and apologies for leaving her in the rain. (“Poor baby, we’re sooo sorry.”) Realizing we had at least removed the top layer of rain water, we decided to finish up with a blow dryer. Again she stood still, not growling or snapping, just enduring.

We all needed rest after such a stressful experience. It was time to return to my recliner. Little Girl snuggled in my lap, wrapped in her favorite throw. I don’t know which of us dropped off to sleep first. When I woke up she had moved to her favorite spot next to my left side with her head on the arm of the chair. All that rubbing and sympathy we poured on her apparently rejuvenated her. When the hands of the clock approached 5 p.m., her supper time, she let me know by jumping into my lap. Then she bounced across the living room. With a leap she landed next to my son on the couch where he was napping. No doubt about that message. Little Girl was hungry.

As I write, dog feet run across my office carpet. Two little paws scrape against my legs. They slip back down to the floor. Little Girl bounces up and down, looking straight at me with her ears perked up. I hear a noise like a low half growl. It’s her way to tell me she has a message for me. I understand. Little Girl is ready for supper.



Nina Keenam is a former newspaper reporter.