What I didn't realise is that no hard work was actually necessary (for the basic skills at least). By the end of the first fortnight he had 'sit', 'stay', 'leave it', 'find it' and 'stand' to a T. Caesar continued to learn tricks at an amazing rate until I found myself teaching him things for sheer entertainment value. I felt blessed that he was so clever. What I didn't realise, of course, is that intelligence can be a curse in disguise.
Treat on nose balancing act - a trick we taught Caesar when we first got him.
I hope my uncle wouldn't have minded me saying that; while Heidi was a very beautiful and friendly dog, she wasn't exactly the brightest of the bunch. That's fine - she could be left in the kitchen all night long and would never so much as consider raiding the bin, opening the fridge or mooching in the cupboards. I hasten to add that these things are not a mark of unintelligence - in fact they are probably a mark of respect or at the very least; obedience. Caesar, on the other hand, would have done all of the above and probably more!
A bed Caesar constructed out of my 2 new cushions!
The award winning doorknob, at least, did prevent Caesar from raiding our main food supply. However, the remainder of our doors (aside from the lounge) are doorknob-less and offer nothing but a simple door handle - no match for Caesar. At first, I tried to prop furniture against these doors to prevent him from going in but, after a while, I realised that all he was usually doing was piling up my dirty laundry and lying on it. Plus, he was causing more damage to the doors and furniture by trying to navigate his way around them. Was it such a problem that I was going to damage furniture and doors to stop him? I couldn't see that it was really. If this is what was keeping him sane for the day, then why prevent it? I began to accept that, on arriving home from work, I would probably find him in the bedroom tucked up in a pile of yesterday's clothes and shoes. It was flattering really. No one else has ever showed much interest in my dirty washing...
The first night it was funny. At 5 o'clock in the morning I heard a noise. A sort of scratching and banging. I held my breath for a moment, panicking. Then, the door swung open and in trotted a wide awake Caesar looking very proud of himself. He hopped up onto the bed, nudged me out of the way and climbed under the covers, tucking up against my stomach. I wanted to get up and tell him to leave but he was right; it was freezing. Plus, Caesar is like a forever warm hot water bottle and I welcomed the heat against my stomach. I sighed and pulled the duvet snugly over us both.
Not loving being left alone, Caesar has never much
liked bed time (video)!
liked bed time (video)!
The next night it happened again. This time at two. I knew I could have him coming in all of the time so I took him back out. Then again at five the same thing happened. And again at seven! I took him back out but each time, he sat outside the door and wailed - clearly offended by being asked to leave. This was three nights ago and ever since we've had at least one late night visit. Will I ever sleep again?
Evidence of excessive and often imposed cuddling: