Tallulah talks to me. She may not speak, but she's very clear in her communication. If she's hungry, she paws her food bowl. If she's thirsty, she paws her water bowl. If she wants outside, she stands at the door and barks. If I open the door and she doesn't want outside, she takes a giant step back. I'm pretty confident that I understand what she's trying to tell me most of the time.
Cotton, on the other hand, is not the best at communication. If he wants something, he stands and stares at me until I figure it out. The Stare can mean hunger, thirst, a need to go outside, boredom or pretty much anything else. His stare and my resulting guessing game have been what we've done his entire life.
On top of this, I suspect that Cotton's not 'all there' anymore. He's good when he's got his routines, but his mind wanders, he gets distracted easily and I get the distinct impression lately that he's not always quite sure what's going on.
This morning, for instance, Cotton came to stare at me. He generally gets a freeze dried chicken breast in the morning, so, I got up to get the dogs their chicken. Tallulah gets hers in the kitchen. She gobbles hers down in seconds and has been known to then steal from Cotton, so I take his chicken to his crate for him. Usually, he gnaws on it for about 10 minutes before it's gone.
This morning, I put Cotton's chicken in the back of his crate and then went into a different room. A moment later, I noticed him at my feet, staring at me again. I figured that I'd distracted him by leaving the room (his crate is behind my desk so he's used to me sitting there while he eats) so I finished what I needed to do and then brought him back to his crate. ... and found a certain poodle lying down with her head shoved inside, licking up crumbs.
My first reaction was to just let it go. If Cotton doesn't want his chicken taken from him, he shouldn't leave it unattended. But, the Dude stood at my feet for the next 20 minutes and stared at me. Clearly, since he stared at me that long, he must have needed/wanted something. I checked the food and water bowls and offered to let him out. None of that was what he wanted. I figured that he was upset about having his chicken stolen, and that he wanted me to replace it. So I eventually gave in to the puppy dog eyes and I got him another chicken.
This time, I closed the door to the room to lock Tallulah out. I tossed Cotton's chicken into the back of his crate, and watched him climb in to get it... and saw him inhale the whole thing in 30 seconds.
I think the little bugger conned me into giving him extra piece of chicken today.
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