He was right. NO one could resist such optimism, such boundless glee. I picked up the squeaky and threw it across the room. Bandit wheeled after it as if he were chasing a particularly rebellious lamb, grabbed the toy before it hit the floor and was back at my feet in nano-seconds, eyes alight with the joy of the game. He dropped the toy at my feet, backed away, and waited for me to throw the squeaky again. His enthusiasm never wavered through endless repetition of the squeaky throw.
Bandit, an elderly border collie cross, belonged to my roommate Mary, although it was questionable as to who belonged to whom. The habits and quirks he had acquired over his fourteen-year lifespan clearly distinguished him from any other dog I knew, as witness this short list:
- Any time it was offered, Bandit gobbled down Italian or Chinese food with the most gusto.
- Mary rarely won an argument with Bandit because of his firm stance and immovable opinions.
- He loved playing with soft rubber dog toys that squeaked (aptly dubbed squeakies by Mary).
- After he had gone to bed for the night, if you said softly, “Goodnight, Bandit,” you only had to wait a few seconds for his low growl of displeasure at being disturbed at bedtime.
- Getting Christmas presents was Bandit’s special favorite. Mary would pile them under the tree by person, then make sure he knew which pile was his. She would also tell him firmly that he couldn’t open one until Christmas Eve.
Strangely, he understood her and would lie under the tree with his nose pressed against his little pile of gaily wrapped parcels. His wee body quivered with excitement, but he managed to keep himself from tearing into them.
On Christmas Eve, Mary would tell him, “Okay, Bandit, just one present.” The little dog would nip under the tree, pick out one present, and lodge it firmly between his paws. The gift-wrap came off like water off a Lab’s back as Bandit tore at it enthusiastically with his teeth. Once he freed the present, he would toss it (usually a squeaky or dog treat) up in the air triumphantly.
On Christmas Day, Mary would let him open the rest of his presents while we opened ours. He would dart in under the tree and grab one from his pile, tear off the wrapping, nose it briefly, then dash back again for the next one, until all his presents lay amid a pile of shredded wrapping paper. Watching him open the presents was so much fun that the following year, I got him extra presents to open.
- Bandit’s biggest sorrow in life was the fact that he was just that much too short to put his paws on the back-door window to look out. Unfortunately, this was the only place he could view the backyard from inside the house. Consequently, he had to jump numerous times in order to see anything out this window. After one such fruitless exercise, he would stalk off, stiff-legged and glaring, his body tense with at this state of affairs.
Next week, we will continue with “The Reincarnation of Bandit – Part 2.” This is a three-part story, so the last Part 3 will go live on August 31. In the meantime, note that the bulleted list above is important to the story. I’ll link it from Part 1 so you can review it for Part 2. Also, please note that this is a true story; the names have been changed to protect the privacy of the people involved.
Does your pet have habits that are uniquely his or hers?
How would you describe your pet’s character?
If you would like to share, please just
enter a comment at the bottom of this post
where it obligingly says, “Leave a Comment.”
(Next week watch for “The Reincarnation of Bandit – Part 2”)
Text copyright © 2004;
photos copyright © 1995
by Sandra Bell Kirchman.
All rights reserved.
August 17, 2014)