Friday, January 6, 2012
The Bambi Look
How does your basenji react when caught doing something he shouldn’t? How does he deflect any angry words before they start or make you laugh over whatever it is that was destroyed? Friends tell me their non-basenji dogs hang their heads and look guilty if they’ve done something they shouldn’t.
Dasa is so sweet and well-behaved, there’s no occasion to reprimand her. Even if there was reason, I cannot imagine raising my voice to our timid little girl. She would be stricken, her little tail would go into the whippet position, I would feel like an ogre and spend the rest of the day apologizing. It would really not be helpful.
However, when I find Ivan destroying something, the scenario is quite different. Should I say in a reproachful tone, “Ivan, what are you doing?” he would look over his shoulder to see who I was talking to, because it certainly can’t be him. If there is blame to be had, someone else must be responsible. However, if it was a good idea after all, and praise and treats are to be handed out, then he’s definitely the one taking credit.
Also, I confess I find it difficult to be cross with Ivan; he’s a very sensitive boy. We’re both much happier if I’m gentle with him. When I find him in the midst of his latest shredding project, I hug him and console him for feeling so neglected that he had to resort to shredding things. My sweet boy usually allows me to give him snuggles before I pick up the pieces.
When we come home, Ivan shows up at the door, carrying a stuffed animal and peering at us with the most beautiful Bambi eyes. I’m always so taken with his irresistible Bambi expression that I consider destruction a minor inconvenience. Eric insists Ivan practices this look in the mirror when we’re not around. I look into Ivan’s lovely almond eyes and I’m sure he’s sincere.