One thing I ask of all my dogs is that they let me do my work, as I let them do theirs. In my study, I need quiet to concentrate and write and I demand it and get it. Red and Fate lie down here, they barely move while I work. When I turn away from the computer and put it on sleep mode, they hop up and are ready to resume their lives.
It's a dignity thing, I give a lot, and ask a lot. I will not have my work dissed or interrupted. Dogs generally want to please, they become what we need them to be, given a chance.
Gus is a smart fellow and he has picked this up right away, I am surprised and impressed. In the morning, I get up and let him out and bring him upstairs and throw him on the bed to see his beloved Maria. In a minute, he is curled up in her arm and asleep. I love seeing this, he makes her happy.
Then I get back into bed and we doze for a while or talk.
After we get up, we all go outside to do the farm chores. Red and Fate will not play with Gus while they are working the sheep, and Red will not play with him at any time. Gus comes out to the pasture with us, and then when we are done, he and Fate go at it, sometimes in the house, and if they get noisy, out in the back fenced in yard.
Gus is not the kind of dog who runs off, he always wants to be with us or the dogs. He cares nothing for sheep, a novelty to me. Then we all have breakfast, the dogs lounging around or chewing on some rawhide twists, our favorite snack.
Usually we all take a walk. Gus comes along. Then it's time for creative work, some time around 8 a.m. When I come in to work, Gus rushes into my study, curls up on one of Red's begs, usually he sits by my feet or between my shoes (I have to be very careful not to roll my chair over him).
He goes in there without being told or asked, and sometimes I have a chew stick for him, sitting on my desk. I throw it on the bed. Red leaves it alone, he has already had his treat and he is Red. He doesn't steal stuff. (Fate would, in a heartbeat, but she is with Maria.)
Gus chews for a minute, goes to sleep and snores lightly (those short snouts).
He lies there for most of the morning, sleeping and resting. He doesn't move or disturb me in any way, and I love having dogs around me when I work and write. He seems to grasp this. He didn't need to be told or cajoled. Late in the morning, I let him out and he hangs out with Fate and Maria for much of the afternoon. Red, as always, stays with me, and in sight of me.
Another dog who has come for a purpose – not yet clear – and entered my life. This is their job, after all, to enter our lives and mark the passages of time and teach us things. Gus has listened to me, he senses my heart. He works with me now, and that has given definition and meaning to my life and my work.
It is sweet, he is a sweet creature. He listens. Maria has noticed this too.
Off now to buy some watercolor kits for Jane and for the Mansion, a good man named Howard sent me $100 for this purpose. I will use it wisely.