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Today’s news brings an article about how smart dogs are. They begin by acknowledging that the research they describe will come as no surprise to dog people.   A dog’s vocabulary, researchers have found, can run to some 250 words, they understand gesture and inflection, can count a little, do simple mathematical calculations and open the refrigerator.

Okay, so I added that last one. That might be Crispin’s special skill.

Professor Stanley Coren at the University of British Columbia compares the intelligence of the dog to that of a 2 year old human child.

I, for one, am a believer.  Our two are a little (ahem) unruly, but one thing we have done properly  is to crate train them well. They love their crates. Dinah, for various and sundry reasons, no longer sleeps in her crate, though she will go there if we ask her to, but Crispin simply adores his. We chalk some of this up to the fact that we have never used the crates to punish the dogs, they really only go in them to sleep (or if, say, the plumber has to come here and would rather work without any canine assistance), and they always get a dog biscuit once they’re inside.

And some of it simply to smarts.

Crispin’s bedtime is around 10:00 at night, and if we let it slip, he comes and seeks us out and stares at us pointedly until we say, “Time for bed,” at which point he races to the crate. If it’s latched, he unlatches it and waits for us inside while we get a biscuit from the box. And that’s it–typically, we don’t hear from him again until he hears one of us getting up in the morning.

Lately I’ve been trying out substitutes for “time for bed.” The other night I asked him, “Are you tired now?” and off he ran to the crate.

Last night First Child was making himself a snack and I was hanging out in the kitchen with him. Crispin came in and assumed the “please let me go to bed now” pose.

I looked down at him and asked, “Would you like me to read you a story?”

Bang–you never saw a dog run so fast. He beat me to the crate, happily accepted his bisucuit, and settled down to sleep.

First Child was duly impressed.

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We’re 48 hours and counting since the bone-eating incident, and His Foodiness seems in every respect his same old charming, (very) active, affectionate, soccer-playing self.

I don’t think I’ll feel perfectly comfortable again until a couple of weeks go by without a problem, but tonight we may actually sleep. We’ve kept him under a close watch and haven’t left him home alone since he stole and ate the chicken wings (20 of them, for those of you just tuning in)  on Saturday night.

It’s funny (not in the ha-ha way) how, even when there’s nothing one can actually do in such a crisis, just watching, waiting, and worrying sucks the energy right out of you. We haven’t gotten much done around here in the past two days.

Thanks very much to everyone who asked about him (online and off). That means a lot.

So far, so good.  But it’s going to be a long time before I can look at a chicken wing again.

Don’t even ask how this stuff happens–it’s Crispin, and no matter how careful we are . . . this stuff happens.

The little boy-o managed to get into and eat roughly 20 chicken wings out of the fridge last night.  Cooked.

And thus dangerous. We did all the things you’re supposed to do. Fed him some white bread moistened with vegetable oil to cushion any sharp or scratchy bone pieces and to . . . um . . . move things along.

Watched him carefully, checking for signs of bloat, belly ache, or anxiety.

Worried.

The pack leader stayed up to keep an eye on him until about 2:30 this morning.   Crispin whimpered on and off for a while (if nothing else, he must have been uncomfortably full). I took a turn at about 3, let him out in the yard, then brought him back in but decided to let him sleep out of his crate. He was quiet for the rest of the night, though starting at dawn every bird I heard sounded like a dog crying and I finally got up with him.

Worried about what I’d find.

Huh. He greeted me with his standard full-body wag and happily ate the bowl of white rice I gave him for breakfast (and then thoroughly scouted Dinah’s breakfast bowl looking for any crumb of kibble she might have left–no luck).

We’re not going to leave him alone for about another 24 to 36 hours. Fingers crossed.

And the fridge locked.

Think good thoughts about a dumb dog. With dumb owners.