By Linda Grupp Boutin
Kindu and I played tag today. On a rainy day, the dogs slept, bored on the couch; no sunshine, no sunbaths, no interesting comings and goings to watch on Flora Lane. So I decided to see what the two of them would do if I got down on all fours and started playing with their toys. Naps ceased as soon as I moved and curiosity finally compelled our basenji boy to come down and investigate what I was up to by his stuff.
As soon as he approached I batted one of his tennis balls at him. He reflexively pushed it back in my direction. Hoping for a game, I sent it back in his direction. And typical of his breed, now that he knew what I was doing, he chose to let the ball roll right past him. Meantime Star watched attentively, ears forward and eyes alert. She decided it was best to sit still and see what happened next. Kindu had decided the ball game was over though.
He retreated back up onto the couch and I gave up on the floor play and began to chase him, the one game Kindu has never been able to resist. At first, he ran around the dining table quickly getting away from my reach. Then he positioned himself at the opposite end of the table from where I stood. Now I moved just one foot slowly and he kept himself exactly opposite again.
We continued playing and Star could not help but sit up and take notice. She is still trying to figure out these human to dog games. They make no sense to her in her experience. She understands how to play dog to dog. She play bows to Kindu, but he doesn't seem to understand how she wants to play. In honesty, the only game she only seems to play is run as fast as possible around the house. He has longer legs, but she can turn faster corners. She almost always beats Kindu at chase. But on those occasions when he bests her, he grabs her by the scruff of the neck and she doesn't like that much. It motivates her to run faster the next time.
Usually dogs seem to communicate just fine with one another, but these two just don't seem to get each other. Kindu acts like a sulky little brother whose sister Star has cooties that he can't stand. Most of the time in the house it is reasonably peaceful between them. Out on the patio they actually seem to enjoy one another's company. All except when Gary comes home in the evening. Then basenji dervish craziness comes out. They tear around the house seeing who can beat whom to the garage door. When it doesn't open fast enough Star whimpers and Kindu chuffs his unhappiness, then they chase each other around the house and dining table circling back to the door hoping for it to open.
When Gary steps in, the rejoicing begins. Their "Pop" is home and his welcome makes them nearly burst with excitement. He greets them, trying to give them both some attention. But we all four know that Boo is his boy and best buddy. He crowds through their combined legs to set his stuff down on the counter to free up his hands. Petting their ears cements the deal and all are happy again.
Their unconditional love of their master and effusive pleasure at his appearance always makes me smile. They don't think twice or worry that someone will laugh at their antics. They have just one thing in mind, welcoming their master back into the pack. The joyous reunion makes their day and Gary's too. My more restrained greeting, all too human, can't compare no matter how much I missed my husband that day. But they have taught me to let the people that I care about know that I care about them. They remind me that no one's days are assured and we all better keep our relationships in order every day.
So how about you? Who do you need to run around the house and jump up and down to say hello to them and that you love them? Take a cue from your little basenji buddies and let those whom you love know that you love them. Go ahead, pick up the phone, give them a call and re-cement your relationship. You'll be surprised how much it will make you feel like wagging your curly tail.