Another thing Mom says about me is that I may be autistic. We don't even know if dogs can have autism, but Mom believes that if they can have it, I've definitely got it. One thing about some autistic people is that they like life to be always the same and very predictable, with everything in its place. I'm like this, because if anything looks wrong, I get all flustered. Like for example, if Mom hangs her coat on the stair railing, then the whole staircase looks different to me, and I don't know if it's safe to go up there or not. Or if there is a kitten on the stairs, I really can't possibly think about going up those steps, because who knows what might happen!
It's the same with coming in the back door from the yard. I have lots of trouble deciding if it's okay to come in, or if it's the right time to come in. When another dog is anywhere near the doorway, then I get very nervous about going through it -- especially if it's Barry, because sometimes he attacks me in doorways.
|Here's where Mean Old Barry bit me on the face last week,|
but Mom has started "managing" the situation,
and we hope it won't happen again!
While I'm trying to get up the nerve to come in the door, I always make circles, and I always go to the left, which is also called counterclockwise. I don't know why I go this direction. It just seems like the way I should go. If I went the other way, that would feel all wrong. But sometimes while I'm making circles on the patio, trying to decide whether to go in the house, Mom holds the door open so long for me that Jason runs out into the yard. Then Mom mutters bad words and goes out in the yard to try to catch him, which used to be easy when he was just a little kitten. But now he's a big kitten, and he knows lots more tricks to avoid being caught.
So in order to keep Jason from running out the door, Mom will pick him up and hold him while she's waiting for me to come in. But it looks strange for Mom to be standing at the door, holding a cat, and that makes me think maybe it's not safe to go in there. Or sometimes, just when I am about to go in the door, Mom makes a grab for Jason because he is about to run out the door. And that's very startling to me, so I have to go back to making circles for a while.
|This is such a great place to take a nap!|
Actually, there are a lot of times when I'd rather just stay out in the yard, especially if the temperature is nice, like in the 30s or 40s. I enjoy watching the squirrels in the trees, or digging holes, and I also find it pleasant to lie down in the sun and take a little nap. Mom gets frustrated sometimes if I won't come in when she thinks I should, but she's getting better about just leaving me outside for a while. One day she forgot I was out there, and she went away for several hours. I entertained myself by digging holes, howling at sirens, and snoozing. Luckily, it didn't rain or snow or even get very cold that day.
|I spend a lot of time contemplating the scariness of the kitchen floor.|
Anyway, once I do come back into the house, there is the matter of crossing the kitchen floor. The kitchen floor is a treacherous area because it has no carpeting or rugs. So before I can cross it, I usually have to work up my nerve by circling numerous times, and then I rush across to the living room, where there are some rugs. Mom says that there is a lot of texture in the kitchen floor tiles, so it shouldn't be all that slick. Also she says that if I would just walk across it in a normal way, like a regular dog, it wouldn't seem so scary. But I find it hard to believe a lot of the things that Mom says, and this is one of them.
|The landing is just big enough for me to do some serious circling.|
The stairs pose another huge problem for me because, let's face it, greyhounds are built for running, and not for climbing stairs. So whenever I decide to go upstairs, I usually have to do the circle process again. What I find to work best for me is to circle first at the bottom of the stairs, and then to go up the two steps to the landing and circle there for a while. Each time I come around to face the stairs, I have to decide whether I should go on up or not, and often I decide it's not quite the right moment. Sometimes it takes me five minutes or more of circling before I can finally go up the stairs.
The decision to go down the stairs is usually easier, although I find it helpful to stop dead in my tracks at the top of the steps before proceeding. This way, Mom can almost fall over me, then change her course to go around me and start down. That assures me that the plan really is for all of us to descend. I have to be careful not to go too fast, though, because a couple of times I have been known to trip and run head-first into the closet door at the bottom of the stairs.
My favorite place to sleep is on the big, round dog bed in Mom's bedroom. It's the kind of place where I can sprawl out in perfect comfort. If Mom has to go into the bedroom for some reason, like to answer the phone or to get ready for bed, I don't mind if she steps over me. Some dogs like to bite people who step over them, but I'm not that kind of guy. If Mom did what that silly obedience class instructor said to do, she would make me get up and move every single time instead of stepping over me, but she didn't like his methods, so she just steps right on over me.
|Mom says I make funny breathing noises when I sleep,|
but I wouldn't know about that because I don't stay awake to listen!
If Mom happens to be carrying something, though, like for instance, a laundry basket, I will jump up and run frantically out into the hallway. That's because I think it's very scary when Mom is carrying something. Who knows what she might drop on me? I could get killed! In general, I find that Mom is pretty klutzy, and she often drops things or bangs things around, all of which I find terribly unnerving. If she bangs a pan in the kitchen, for example, I will go scrambling up the stairs without even taking the time to circle first!
But getting back to the circling, it's not always about uncertainty and decision-making. Sometimes it's about being excited. Like if Mom is getting out my leash so she can take me for a walk, I go leaping around in circles because I'm so happy. And if it's dinnertime, and Mom is about to give me a nice bowl full of dog food, I will spin a whole bunch of circles in hungry anticipation. But I always circle to the left, as I said before, never to the right. Circling to the right would just be wrong.
|Here I am sleeping with my head propped against the bed frame.|
I think it makes an excellent pillow.
Well, I think I've gone on long enough about my charming idiosyncrasies. You can judge for yourself if you think I'm autistic or neurotic or if I just have a colorful personality. Mom says she still loves me, in spite of everything. And in the end, I'm glad that I'm not like other dogs, or even like other greyhounds, because what fun would that be?