March 17, 2006

Let Them Eat Milk Bones

Every night it's my responsibility to put our dogs to bed.

This entails leaving the house, following the stone path to my parents' barn (read: shed that looks like a barn), and entering a space that has transformed since my childhood memories of it.

Our dogs were indoor dogs at our house. Kennel-trained, but indoor dogs. There was no way we could do that to my parents. 70-lb dog plus 50-lb dog totals potential damage that is truly greater than the sum of its parts. The dogs are therefore located in the shed and attached dog run in the back yard.

Iowa winters aren't as kind as Kansas ones. The phrase "I wouldn't put a dog out on a night like this" must have originated in Iowa. We have such nights. Even inside a shed, the dogs wouldn't be warm enough to last the winter. Late last fall, before the worst of the sub-zero weather, Trent insulated the barn and hooked up the electrical line we ran down there this summer. The dogs have heat and greater warmth than I ever remember experiencing when we kids used that building as a clubhouse.

The dogs express their gratitude by barking at passing cars outside, climbing the lumber stacked up on one side of the inside space, and (in Sugar's case) shredding any accessible insulation. There must be something about the taste of fiberglass...

Back to my original point: I put the dogs to bed. There's a routine - and go figure, that I, of all people, would have a routine. Pick up the food dish, slide the panel in to block the dog door (raccoons or rodents with caged dogs sounds interesting in theory, but the reality would be a mess), and give the dogs affection for a while. Usually Jasper (the black behemoth, the one we call Hellhound) loves this time. Sugar is too excited for her daily treat fix to want much attention. The last couple of nights, they've been too eager for the next step in the routine: once in their kennels, they each get a Milk Bone.

They don't want my love anymore; they'd rather have treats.

Hmph. Ungrateful beasts.

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