After twelve years of being pretty much the calmest, sweetest, most laid-back and loving dog in the world, Boscoe has decided it's time to be high maintenance. He seems to be modeling himself, God help us all, after Riley.
He's started barking at other dogs on the walks. Barking sometimes at people, too, though nobody takes him very seriously and then he lies down and wags his tail like mad and smiles at them and waits to be petted.
The latest manifestation of his Rileyism is a brand new almost pathological fear of fire. Now, if it were fire burning out of control in the walls or something, I'd appreciate that fear. I'd share it.
But no. He has decided, all of a sudden, this winter, to fear the fireplace. For years, when we built a fire, Boscoe lounged happily in his bed, or on the couch. He knew this meant we were hunkered down for a good long time, and he used the opportunity to hunker down with us. Fires always made Riley nervous. (What doesn't?) At the first snap or pop he'd leap down from his chair and flee. Doug would say, "See ya," and give the fire another poke, and Boscoe would groan a happy little groan and snuggle deeper into his bed.
Until this year. This year, he decided that fires are scary. But being an overachieving border collie, he is taking this fear much farther than Riley ever did. Riley would flee to the front hallway or maybe the dining room. But that's not far enough away for Boscoe. He wants to get completely out of the house.
This started a couple of weeks ago, and we have no idea why. Our fires are no noisier than they have ever been, nor any bigger or hotter. But the minute we light a fire, he runs into the kitchen and stands, quivering, at the back door. He'll stand at the back door for a half-hour, waiting for us to open it and let him out into the frigid night. Last night we did this, and he went out in the yard and lay down in the snow for an hour, until I begged him to come back in. He did (for a cookie), but then he hauled himself, laboriously, butt first, up the stairs and refused to come back down.
When Doug went up to check on him he was shaking--just lying in his bed quaking with fear.
Riley, meanwhile, was down in the living room with me, the fire snapping and crackling away, happily accepting Charlee Bears with every pop. (I've been working on allaying his fear.) So just as Riley is getting used to fires, Boscoe has decided to be traumatized by them. He wouldn't take a Charlee Bear; he wanted only to Get Away Fast.
We just had a load of firewood delivered last week. A whole winter's supply. So now what? Doug says he chooses the border collie over the fire. I am not entirely sure why we have to make this choice. I'd like to know what changed, what prompted this. Was it six years of Riley fleeing the pops and snaps? Did that suddenly change Boscoe's mind? Was it his pathological fear of the smoke alarm, which, admittedly, once went off when we had the flue closed? (But that was a long time ago; why would this just be kicking in now?)
All I know is that Boscoe doesn't do things by half, and we seem to be dealing with a sudden and full-blown trauma here. I am not prepared to give up without a fight. Doug is at the store right now, laying in a new supply of Charlee Bears, and I am going to see what I can do.
It's the stubbornness of Laurie vs the stubbornness of the border collie. Anyone care to place a bet?
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