As I have mentioned, Mylo and Koda formed a strong, brotherly bond from the very start. But, that doesn’t mean that they were, or are, anything alike. Upon obtaining a second dog, we were able to see and note their different personality traits easily.
At first, when we went to work, we left them have the run of the house. We would give them their Kongs (stuffed with some sort of delicious snack) and leave the music on. We tried that for a week, and every evening of that week ended with us exhausted from cleaning up whatever destruction they had created. Throughout the week we encountered everything from a demolished shoe collection, to a knocked over and torn apart garbage container. That wasn’t even the worst of it. They had decided that the walls and door frames were enemies—stalking them from the shadows, waiting to pounce. To rectify this feeling of animosity, they ate the walls. And the door frames. There was a divider wall between the kitchen and living room which they renovated to include a circular window. Straight through the drywall on both sides. They were less thorough with the door frames and let them stay on the walls, but with “improvements” such as great missing gouges and grooves. The worst part was that this particular house was a rental. After our week of “renovations” and “home improvements”, we decided to put them in their kennels during the day. It wasn’t what we wanted, but we also couldn’t afford to replace our shoes and walls every week. For comfort, we put their dog beds in the kennels for them to lay on. Bad idea. We came home to a kennel overflowing with fluff and pieces of fabric. Koda nestled in the midst of it like a polar bear in a snow drift. Mylo hadn’t touched his. It was at this point that we realized that Koda was the instigator. We replaced his bed, and got a dog blanket for his kennel instead of a bed. Mylo was left loose during the day, while Koda was stored lovingly in his kennel, or, as we have come to call it, his bucket. For some reason, the crazy beast loved, and still adores, his confined, locked space. He wags his tail and runs inside when you ask him about his “bucket”. He sleeps in there during the day when I am home, when he doesn’t have to. But alas, that was only one of Koda’s incidents.
Mylo has always been an obedient, loyal, and fairly polite dog. He doesn’t get into much trouble, and he doesn’t really do anything out of the ordinary. He has a personality like Eeyore in some ways, but is generally respectful. Koda is a different story altogether. After a few weeks of having him in our home, we realized that some household items were missing: the rug from in the kitchen, my belt, my husband’s hat, a leash, and a number of dog toys. Upon cleaning the entire house and performing a search, we came up empty. We were baffled. These things had disappeared out of thin air and we had no idea where they could have gone. Until, on one fateful day, I happened to be going into the bedroom at the same time as Koda. He was still fairly small at the time and stood somewhere below my knee. I watched as he sauntered into the bedroom with some sort of treasure in his mouth. I prepared to tell him to get off of the bed then realized he was crawling under it instead. Perplexed, I watched as he slid beneath the bedskirt and left only his baby-corn-sized-tail sticking out. I was worried that he was going to pee under there, so I quietly lowered myself onto my stomach and peeked under. My eyes were met with a pile of stuff. I started to pull out the items as Koda watched with his head angled to the side. You know the look, it makes them look like they are trying to figure out what you are doing. After making certain that there was nothing left but dust bunnies under there, I sifted through the pile. I was amazed to find everything that we had been missing. For some reason, Koda had decided that these were his treasures. He was like a little dragon with a treasure hoard. All I could do was sit there on the floor, amidst the various things, and chuckle. Koda sniffed at everything, tail wagging, tongue lolling, but didn’t try to pull any of it back into the dusty depths. His face was curious and quizzical. Sweet beyond description. I proceeded to find homes for everything that came from the pile. As far as we know, he never tried hoarding again, but that may only be because he soon grew to be 120 pounds and taller than our kitchen table. He couldn’t quite fit under the bed after that.
One of Mylo’s only strange and irritating behaviors was to eat underpants. I had noticed that some of mine were missing, and I was fairly certain that not that many pairs could be swallowed up by our old dryer. At one point I even thought of accusing the man downstairs of stealing them since we shared the laundry. Thankfully, I was too nervous to do so. Back then, we shared a yard with the downstairs man and we would take turns cleaning up the back yard. I hadn’t done it in a long time. I finally went out there, only to feel my stomach drop. I saw red piles all over the lawn. I immediately thought “blood” and threw a fit. I ran over to examine the pile (as many dog owners would do), with my heart pounding. It broke my heart to think that one of our dogs was ill. But, upon closer examination, I noticed that there was a defined shape to the red mass. It even had what looked like lines of material in it. Then it clicked. Mylo had been eating—and digesting—my underpants. Whole. In one piece. Lovely. I cleaned up the yard, and went into the house to secure the laundry basket. Since keeping the laundry in a closed closet, we have never experienced that problem again. Thankfully.
In living with my dogs and their strange tendencies, I have never felt the need to be angry over them. I have been frustrated, confused, and surprised, but every one of these occasions led to me and my husband having a good laugh. Dogs aren’t meant to think like people. They do what they think will be fun when they want to do it. They live in the moment, more so than we could ever comprehend. They are meant to be animals, with animal behaviors. Our society is nothing to them. They are simply alive and happy. Happiness and life seem to be one for them, and in those rare moments that you get a glimpse of their thoughts, don’t take in for granted. Enjoy it. Revel in the fact that they are so completely carefree. Let a little bit of that into yourself and take a moment to laugh at the absurdity of the situation. I guarantee that you will thank them for allowing you to be a part of a life that we don’t understand.