My nephew Ben is a very social little boy. As a general rule, he likes to constantly be talking and getting feedback from his audience, whoever that happens to be. Now, when the kids are over at my house when I’m home, there is always a lot of interaction with my dog Suzie. Not only is her cage right there in the dining room, but the kids all know where the treats are and there is a constant stream of treats coming her way whenever kids are over. This only enforces her notion that kids are the greatest things around (unlike Maggie, who is afraid of toddlers and usually spends her time in the basement when those scary little people are running around).
Anyway, Ben has a fond relationship with Suzie and he believes that Suzie talks to him… i might be responsible for this interesting belief, in fact, becasue whenever the kids give her a treat, I always narrate for her. And as you can imagine, Suzie says a lot of the same things over and over. “Oh hi Ben! I’m so happy to see you.” Or, “Oh thanks Ben, I love when you give me treats” and “oh boy oh boy, happy tail, i sure love tomatoes!” In my defense, i dont pretend that these things aren’t coming out of my mouth, in fact, i know sometimes Ben is looking right at me while I narrate for the Suze, nonetheless, he firmly believes it is actually Suzie talking to him. Also in my defense, I narrate the things that I’m sure Suzie would be saying if she could talk, so none of it is a stretch.
So, a couple weeks ago Kathleen was cleaning my house and the kids were playing (I was at work). Ben goes over to Suzie’s cage for his customary greeting and chat with the talking dog, Kathleen overhead the entire thing and was quite amused, although didn’t realize the basis for Ben’s beliefs.
Ben: “Hi Suzie” (suzie wags tail.)
“Arent you happy to see me Suzie?” (more wagging)
“Do you want me to read you a story Suzie?”
“Would you like a treat?” (more wagging)
He goes, gives her treat, no response other than wagging and chewing.
“Suzie, can you say, ‘thank you Ben’?”
Ben turns to Kathleen, “She’s a very quiet dog today Mom.”
Last week I came home for lunch while Kathleen was cleaning, and happened to walk in the door just as Ben gave Suzie a treat. Naturally she thanked him out loud this time “Oh thanks Ben, I sure love you!” His whole face lit up! She’s back!! My buddy Suze isn’t quiet today!! He then spent the next hour while I was home talking to Suzie about everything under the sun… just totally thrilled that Suzie is his friend and is on speaking terms again 🙂
This past Saturday the kids came over for cookie decorating, and once again, Ben was thrilled to find Suzie quite chatty once again.
Ben: Hi Suzie
Suzie: Hi Ben. happy tail, happy tail. I’m so happy you are here.
Ben: Do you like treats Suzie?
Suzie: Oh yes, I love treats.
Ben: Oh good, I’ll get you one!
Suzie (munching happily on treat): Oh thank you Ben!
Ben: Your welcome Suze. Do you like cookies Suze??
Suzie: (tail wagging) oh yes, i like cookies, but Reenie says cookies are just for kids, not for dogs.
Ben (leaning closer to the cage as if to keep it a secret): Maybe next time i come over…
Suzie was too busy giggling to respond to that one.