Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Éowyn the Grooming Assistant

For as long as I have had Jasper, he has always greatly disliked getting brushed. In recent months, I've been forcing him to submit to it every few days, and he does submit, but very reluctantly, wearing an expression appropriate for the funeral of a close friend.

Tonight, to my delight, I learned that Éowyn has changed all this. After giving both dogs some cuddle time and play time after I returned from class, I grabbed the dog brushes from my dresser. Normally, Jasper slinks off to hide in another room or under the bed, waiting until I call him, then he slinks back as slowly as his desire to be obedient will allow. Not so tonight. He came right to me, slowly wagging his tail, then stood gazing at me with worship while I brushed his coat until that nice shine was restored. Then, when I went to brush Éowyn, Jasper actually came to me acting like he wanted more brushing. I gave him a bit more, plus a treat.

I'm pretty sure I know what's on that little boy's mind. He's accepted the new sister, but he misses having alone time with "Mummy" and recognizes the opportunity that brushing gives him. He just wants to still be the special boy, and I keep reassuring him that he is.

I also suspect that he was also taking the opportunity to once again prove that he's the "good one." I've noticed that Jasper has been even prompter to come when called, faster outdoors, and quicker at playing fetch . . . all since yesterday. Since Éowyn is still learning how to be a good dog, Jasper's making sure that everyone knows that HE is ALREADY trained.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"