Our friends Aimee and Julien recently took care of Lucy, while we took a whirlwind vacation in Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland and France. We had warned Julien that Lucy speaks English, though I've worked to teach her a few French phrases, like "Assis!", "Donne-moi la patte," and "Non!" (Well, that one is pretty easy to translate, actually.) We made sure to leave them with lots of instructions as to her signals, so they would know exactly what Lucy was telling them. She can be quite particular about what she wants.
- "When she leans on you, she wants attention. Pet her, hug her, talk to her, give her kisses on the top of the head. She's very attention-demanding. Some would call it aggressive, actually."
"When she hops and sort of snaps at her butt, twisting and turning each way, it usually means she wants a walk, NOW. And if you don't take her, you'll become victim of an SBD that will melt your contact lenses."
"If she looks at you, pointedly, pushes into you with her nose, and keeps turning back to walk to the kitchen, she wants a cookie. Say, 'show me' and if she doesn't take you right to the cookie box, don't give her one."
"If her breath is bad, that means she wants fresher water. She'll stop drinking if it's not fresh enough for her. We usually change it at least twice a day, and announce, 'Fresh!' when we do. Otherwise, she won't check, and her breath will be awful."
"If her food is in the kitchen and you're in the living room, and she goes into the kitchen, brings out a mouthful of food, drops it on the floor and looks at you pointedly, that means 'I want to eat out here. Please go get my bowl.'"
We left for our vacation, secure in the knowledge that our friends could handle taking care of our baby. When we arrived home, Aimee told us stories of misunderstandings between herself and Lucy, and we all laughed when she told us we were "tri-lingual"--speaking English, French and Dog (I like to call it Chien-ois.)
In the last few weeks, the temperature started to rise, and we all began to suffer. Lucy was shaved to the skin with a tondeuse (clipper) that we bought at Darty, which actually worked as promised. (We had no choice--we were NOT going after her again with two scissors.) We took to drinking more liquids, wearing less clothing, sitting in front of the fan, and avoiding leaving the apartment during the hot hours of the day.
I started hoarding empty water and pop bottles to fill with tap water and chill in the fridge. Dr. B and I filled our glasses regularly, drinking at least one glass every hour, if not more.
Soon, we noticed that Lucy wasn't drinking. Despite the heat, she would avoid the dish, no matter how many times we refilled it and announced, "Fresh!" She would eat 2 or 3 ice cubes that were offerred, but the water was left to sit and get stale. We began to worry.
"What if she gets too dehydrated? She's not drinking enough! She isn't panting--she might be getting brain damaged or something!"
We didn't know what to do. Our vet had always told us to offer her lots of fresh water, but we were doing that, and she still wasn't drinking. We led the dog to the water, pushed her nose in it, but still we could not make her drink.
Then, as I went into the fridge to refill my own glass, I saw Lucy watching me, a disgusted look on her furry little face.
And it dawned on me.
I emptied her bowl, and called her over. I poured some cold water from the bottle into her dish.
She looked at me as if to say, "Finally!" and lapped up every drop.
This dog is too smart for her own good. I'm considering letting her run for Congress when we get back.