A few weeks ago, Paul, laden down with grocery shopping bags having done all of the week's shopping because, evidently, I "can’t be trusted to bring home anything else than cold beer and frozen pizza with the bounding enthusiasm of a Golden Retriever", became frustrated with trying to keep a hold of everything and turn the doorknob at the same time.
“That’s it!” he fumed, dumping what amounted to a shipping container of non GMO cereal and enough cheese to seize countless colons from his triumphant return from Costco. “I’m sick and tired of trying to open that damned door and not drop anything. I’m going to replace it with a handle.”
“How very continental!” I chirped, hauling away a year’s supply of toilet paper he’d brought on a dolly to the mud room. “I’ve always thought door handles look far more sophisticated.”
He was as good as his word. Not only did he remove and replace the door knob on the front door of our cabin, but also on the French doors that lead to the deck and his much cherished grill. “I can just pop in and out, carrying food and dishes by simply leaning on the handle,” he boasted, securing the final screw.
They’re quite handsome with that sort of faked distressed coppery bronze color and, yes, they are far more convenient than twisting a doorknob when trying to juggle several things at once.
Posey, in particular, found this to be true as she and Poppy, bounding up the front steps after having a wee, stood on their hind legs as they always do, pawing at the door until one of us, gritting our teeth at the damage being done by sharp claws, rushes to let them in. And on one particular occasion, as they pawed wildly at the front door, Posey managed to trip the handle and was as shocked as Poppy as the door swung open with all their weight against it, and granted them access.
“That’s so cute!” I cried, having witnessed the account to Paul, “Did you see that? Posey opened the door. I’ll bet I can teach her to do it whenever she wants to come back in.”
“Not a good idea,” Paul replied flatly.
“What harm could it do? There’s times when I’m in the other end of the house and this way, they can just let themselves in.”
“Not a good idea.”
Throwing caution to the wind, each time I was out with the dogs and we were coming back inside, I would take Posey’s paw and, not unlike Annie Sullivan repeatedly spelling “W-a-t-e-r” in Helen Keller’s hand under the water pump, I would place it on the handle and pull her paw down, repeating, “O—pen the door, Posey, O—pen!” She didn’t catch on until I asked her at breakfast or dinner time when she had a true incentive to come inside as we walked up the front steps. To my delight, she figured it out in a flash and has opened it for me upon command when I come home from the grocery store, laden down with cold beer and frozen pizza.
Dogs, being dogs, and in particular, being farm dogs, can do some truly disgusting things, one of which is to roll blissfully in a mound of fresh horse manure. I’ve heard different theories for this, the most common being that it disguises their own scent so they can sneak up on anything challenging their territory. Personally, I don’t think it’s that cunning or courageous. I just think they’re disgusting. And sure enough, as I was bringing the horses in out of the field for dinner I could see both of them leaping through the field towards the barn like deer. And as they got closer it was exceedingly clear that their color had changed from brown and black and white to globby green, all over their necks and chest.
“Don’t you DARE!!” I shrieked as they plunged towards me. ready to jump up and smear themselves across my bare legs. “Don’t you…wait a minute—where are you going?? Stop, STOP!!”
But it was too late. Slamming the stall door closed on a horse, I ran after them as fast as I could only to be outrun by Posey, her stomach confirming it was indeed dinner time, and bounded up the front steps. “Posey, NO!! Do NOT open that door, do NOT—“
In a flash, the handle was pulled down and both filthy, stinking, green hounds charged into the kitchen, bounced a few times over the couch and roared upstairs to roll over the freshly laundered bedspread.
Paul, ignoring the drama and with his back to me opened the fridge. “I told you, not a good idea,” he said, unhelpfully.
Clipping leads to their collars and dragging both dogs unwillingly to the utility sink, I glowered.
“Oh, shut up and bring me a cold beer."