Sometimes I talk to Lucy. Okay I admit it. I talk to her whenever I see her. What do we talk about? Anything, really. It might be about the weather, what the cats are doing, where she’d like to go for exercise today, or just whatever I’m thinking at that moment (whether it’s interesting or not).
I might compliment her striking black mask. Something along the lines of “Look at you! Look at your black mask and how pretty it is. Are you a real live Leonberger?”
No answer. No reaction. Just that familiar sideways glance at me.
That glance. There it is again. And speaking of dog expressions, sometimes I think it’s easy to confuse human and dog body language. As closely aligned as we are, human and dog language is vastly different. For example, we all know what it means when a person rolls their eyes. Sarcasm, disgust, annoyance, something like that. But if a dog appears to be rolling his eyes, it doesn’t quite mean the same thing. They might just be looking up to see if there’s food on the ceiling.
Why would there be food on the ceiling?? No idea, but smart dogs want to be ready just in case.
With our canine companions, it can be a challenge to read their unique body language correctly. And be able to translate it. There are times when I’m talking to Lucy while she’s trying to sleep. When I key on certain words she knows (walk, do-you-want, lake, treat, pretty puppy, etc.), an eye will open and look near but away from me. It always looks like she’s trying to give me the evil eye.
So I respond.
“Am I getting on your nerves, talking to you when you’re trying to sleep?”
Again, no answer.
“Hey you’re losing some of the black on your mask. I can see more brown and you’re getting some white around your muzzle as well. You promised me you’d be a gray muzzle, remember. That’s 12 years. Minimum.”
Nothing. So I might move onto picking stray hairs away from her eyes (there always seems to be one poking near her eyeball). She usually closes her eyes and drifts off whenever I do this. I always wonder if she’s faking asleep so I’ll just go away.
There I go again, personifying dogs.
But then, there are animals that fake dead to convince us to move on. Could Lucy be playing possum?
Now, while she’s out cold, I take the opportunity to examine her nails to see if they need trimming. At this, she opens an eye and looks directly at me. I’ve seen her snap at cats and dogs if they disturb her when sleeping, so I often wonder if I’m next.
“You’re going to bite me on the face one day for annoying you like this, aren’t you?”
“I mean, you are a dog after all. So you could snap. Think you might do that one day?”
She’s starting to breathe heavily now, asleep again.
“It would probably happen when you’re older and maybe a bit more moody. Not that you get moody, or anything. But you know…”
“Well…if I’m going to get bit on the face by a dog, I want it to be by you, Luce. Just make sure you sink those canines in hard, because I’m sure I’ll cherish the scars when you’re gone.”
Oh she’s out, now. My voice is just soothing gibberish. So I keep talking.