Anyone who’s read Riddle from the Middle at all knows that our furry friends pop up a lot on here.  For someone who didn’t grow up a dog person I’m sure making up for lost time.


Phoebe is our cuddly free spirit.  Most of the time she’s searching for a lap to curl up in or hands free for scritches, though once in a while she’ll find her own spot for a quiet nap or antler gnawing.  She is sweet as honey, but she sounds like Cujo when a stranger comes to the door (and would be just as fierce should an actual need arise).


Gracie is our gigantic, fluffy, adorable troublemaker.  We’ve heard her play rough with Phoebe in the yard, making sounds I imagine are similar to wild dogs fighting to the death, only to come in tail wagging with tongue hanging out.  I’ve seen her climb up into BrightSide’s lap in the evening, wedging her 75 pound body onto the chair so she can snuggle with him.  Gracie is a red hot mess, but she’s our red hot mess.

Then there are the days when these two furry friends make me wonder…

What’s the deal with dog whiskers?  I mean, are they functional?  Decorative?  A leftover part like our appendix?  It’s moments like these – when I find myself cocking my head, staring curiously at a dog – that sends me to Google.  (Turns out it’s a tactile sensation thing.)

I know dogs are highly intuitive creatures.  They read people’s moods and personalities, and they know another dog’s life story with two sniffs.  I always considered this a real time skill, though, or I did until we watched the movie “Max.”  Gracie’s head kept popping up to watch the tv, which I wrote off to interest in the dog.  But then there was the scene that found her perched at attention beneath the television, staring intently up at the screen, head cocked slightly as she listened to him barking at a boy.  I would have given anything to be inside her head at that moment.

Part of me is convinced Gracie is just an overgrown toddler.  She sticks things in her mouth, takes off running when she gets the chance, and has no concept of personal space. But the thing Gracie does that most reminds me of our toddler days?  The way she smacks me with her enormous paws when she wants more loving.  (And by ‘enormous’ we’re talking the size of slightly flattened oranges.)  I can be lying in bed, trying to get sleepy, when along comes Gracie batting at my head to get attention.  Or I’ll be petting her while we watch tv and make the mistake of stopping before Her Highness would like.  Thump! Thump!  She’s impossible to ignore, that’s for sure.

Phoebe’s not a particularly bulky dog, so it’s hard for me to understand how she can make the noise she does at the back door.  When she’s ready to come inside (which is roughly 12.5 seconds after going out) Phoebe doesn’t try something as mundane as barking.  Oh no.  She slams herself into the door itself, producing a sound somewhere between a bear ramming tree trunks and a football tackle.  For such a sweet thing she sure does sound an awful lot like a rabid wolf breaking into the house…

Gracie’s penchant for devouring all things, edible and inedible, in and out of easy reach, has pretty much established a “crated while we’re away” policy.  Every once in a while I bend that rule to give her another chance only to return to chewed up Ziplock bags strewn about the house like rats have moved in.  I’m sure no one’s surprised to hear that Gracie spends most of that time hanging in her kennel, leaving me with a moral dilemma.  Is it wrong to stack laundry on top of that crate?  Do folded towels make Gracie feel more claustrophobic?  Can dogs even be claustrophobic?

Phoebe is the least food obsessed dog I’ve ever known.  I find this a pretty bizarre trait for a dog, maybe because the other one in our house scarfs down anything she can get her paws on.  Not Phoebe, though.  She’s been known to skip a meal here and there, but that’s not even the weirdest part.  The last time I gave the dogs a rawhide chew Phoebe walked around and around, just holding it in her mouth, dangling a string of drool behind her.  She did that for a solid ten minutes before even settling in one spot.  It was beyond odd.


As you can see, I’ve spent a good amount of brainpower thinking on assorted canine mysteries. Well, maybe not mysteries so much as my random musings and observations.

Thank God for Google.