I played a trick on Belle last night, and I wound up feeling like a total heel.
Now both Murphy and Belle are generally pretty mellow dogs around the Lair, but one habit of Belle's that has progressed from funny to annoying is her routine of "objecting" any time that I walk down the basement stairs toward the door to the outside. Both dogs want nothing more than to accompany me to wherever it is that I might be going, even if it's just down to put the trash out, and while Murphy accepts my closing the door in his face stoically, Belle typically lets loose with a few seconds of barking, as if she's angry at me for daring to go without her and Murphy.
It was cute the first few times, but now it's just irritating.
Well last night, I had to go down the basement to do laundry. I wasn't even leaving the house, but of course the dogs don't know the difference. To them, down the stairs means out the door. Murphy happened to be right near me as I headed for the door, but Belle was upstairs napping in the guest room, her usual haunt. So I walked over to the door, and knowing full well that Belle would gallop downstairs as soon as she heard it open, I quickly opened it and ushered Murphy through it, then closed it again before Belle could get to it. Sure enough, Belle arrived at the other side of the door just a few seconds too late, and I waited to her her indignant, scolding bark again. But this time, she realized that I'd taken Murphy too, and for probably the first time since I'd taken her in, she was all alone in the Lair (in her mind, at least), left behind by her entire pack.
The mournful wailing cry that came from the top of those stairs was so filled with raw anguish that it was all that I could do not to rush right back up and open the door for her. It was probably the saddest sound that I ever heard come out of a dog, and even Murphy looked at me like I was a jerk.
It's ironic that I got Belle to help Murphy with his separation anxiety when I leave, but she's got it much worse than he ever did. Left home together, they may plot against me and my stuff, but they're obviously comfortable with each other. But take one and leave the other, and oh, man...
And in the Iditarod, where similar dogs actually earn their keep:
Aaron Burmeister is in the lead, followed by Dallas Seavey. Both are presently at the Husila checkpoint.
Martin Buser is in 6th place, also at Huslia, and Aliy Zirkle in in 12th, just a bit behind Mitch Seavey.
The Berington twins are 33rd and 34th at the Galena checkpoint, and Allen Moore is way back in 43rd, probably because Aliy sweet-talked him out of all the strongest dogs at their kennel.
In 52nd place, 27 year old Lisbet Norris is cute enough to root for. And she's got a blog and everything.
And down in 66th place, Marcelle Fressineau has already dropped six dogs. She's down to ten left. three more and she'll be out because race rules say that you've got to finish with at least eight.