Tag Archives: lynn stacy-smith

The Napkin Thief

I'm not guilty at all!

I don’t know anything about a napkin…

Jackson is a really good dog. He is three and a half-year old, he is now neutered, so he’s in that wonderful stage of being a dog where he is young and energetic but has outgrown the crazy puppy years. We’ve worked together training since he was just eight weeks old, we can trust him in the house without worrying that he will get into something, and he is just generally a well-behaved member of dog society.

Until he sees a napkin.

Jackson is obsessed with paper napkins and paper towels. Aiding him in his quest to chew and consume napkins is his sharp memory and ability to associate my actions with opportunities for him to obtain a beloved napkin.

Take, for example, breakfast. Breakfast is a “everyone fend for yourself” meal in our house, and I typically have my morning coffee and a bowl of cold cereal while sitting on the sofa with my legs tucked under me and the morning news on TV. Jax knows that there is not usually a napkin involved in this meal.

There are some mornings, though, when I will choose to make oatmeal in the microwave. Because the bottom of the bowl stays hot for a long time my habit is to grab a napkin or two to keep my hand from burning on the hot bottom of the bowl.

With the first sniff of my standard Melaleuca brand cinnamon oatmeal wafting his way, Jax is ready. He enters the kitchen and watches me grab a napkin from the holder. “This is not for you” I tell him each time, “not for puppies.” Jax thinks otherwise.

As soon as I sit in my end spot on the soft, Jax is in front of me. He never begs for actual food. I could eat the most delicious smelling hunk of meat and he will not beg. He simply wants the napkin.

Jax, Professional Beggar

Jax, Professional Beggar

Most days he stares at me with his big beautiful but intense eyes, willing me to give him the napkin. Sometimes he gets brave and rushes up and grabs a nibble, although he has not done this since he got in trouble after dumping the entire bowl of hot oatmeal into my lap.

Other times he will go to the side table next to me and reach out to grab the remote control or a magazine, trying to distract me to get the napkin. I am onto him, though. He understands “Don’t you dare steal my stuff” as he is in mid bite trying to take my latest issue of In Style. He will gently open his mouth back up, release my magazine, and back away as if to say “What, I was just checking it and I have deemed it to be ok.”

This afternoon I had a sandwich and some chips for lunch, also consumed on the sofa instead of at the table. Because I am logging and counting every calorie I put the chips in a small container and weighed them on the scale, and that is what I kept them in to eat them. I made the sandwich on a napkin so as not to dirty a plate. Somehow Jax missed the fact that I had used a napkin.

I forgot that I had left the container on the side table with the crumpled up napkin inside of it as I worked from my sofa all day on a writing project. A few minutes ago I got up to pour a fresh glass of water and Jax took the opportunity to steal my seat from me, something he does quite regularly.

I turned and watched as he started to nestle into the soft cushions of the sofa but stopped in the middle as he either smelled or saw the napkin. I watched and suppressed a laugh as he very gingerly reached his mouth into the container, grabbed the napkin, lifted his head and looked me in the eye, white paper napkin hanging out from his teeth. He then spun around, jumped off the sofa, and back to his dog sofa to chew his prize.

Tinkerbell was immediately on the bed with him, checking out his ill gained loot, although she did not inherit the napkin loving gene from their line of ancestors. Jax’s full litter mate brother did, though.

I will never forget when the dogs were about a year old I met up with our friend/breeder to watch her show Jax’s brother in a conformation show. Since she is a professional dog trainer I marveled at the impeccable leash and social manners that Jax’s brother had, compared to my sweet boy who was still a work in progress with a less experienced trainer.

The day of the show it was pouring outside and our friend was soaking wet right before her time in the ring. She grabbed a handful of paper towels to dry herself off and was standing with them in her hand talking to me, with Jax’s brother on his lead. He stood there perfectly on his thin show lead waiting for her next command. I laughed as he reached his beautiful head, so identical to Jax’s, up to his owner and opened his mouth ever so slightly to grab a piece of the paper towel.

“He’s a paper thief too!!” I exclaimed, laughing! Jax is obsessed with paper towels and napkins!

So today as he began to tear off little pieces of his napkin I let him get in a few small bites before I went and took the rest away. After all, it was a great find for him, as happy of a moment as when we put on a coat at the start of cold weather and find a $20 bill in the pocket.


A Year of Tinkerbell

A few weeks ago we celebrated our “gotcha” date with our sweet female Labrador Tinkerbell. As she sleeps on the bed next to me right no, her bedtime toy “snakey” a few inches from her head, it seems like much longer since this crazy pup came into our world.

I did not realize how few blogs I’ve written since Tinkerbell came home. Although we had just gone through Jackson’s puppyhood a few years before Tink’s I had still forgotten just how much time a puppy takes. It is worth every second and I would not trade it for anything, but it also does not leave as much time for blogging about it as I always think.

I did not get to spend much time with Tinkerbell’s mother when we went to pick her out of the littler; after all, she had nine pups to watch over as they frolicked in a big grassy yard. However I read on her website that she is the type of dog who makes her owner and our breeder (her co-owner) laugh out loud one second melt their heart the next. Tinkerbell is most definitely her mother’s daughter.

On one hand, Tinkerbell is a little crazy. She is lean and strong and does everything full force, whether it is leaping off the deck to chase a bunny, racing zoomies around the yard, running up the stairs to chase the cat, or greeting us when we come in the door. Tinkerbell has one speed: full throttle.

She runs indoor zoomies with Jackson and hurls herself against the back of the sofa, she has jumped entirely over our loveseat, and body slammed the oversized chair. We have worked on stopping her jumping for months, using every technique that we can google. She has springs in her legs and we joke that she has to be part Jack Russell. She makes me understand what our breeder is talking about when she refers to dogs who like to be “busy” all the time. Tinkerbell is one of those dogs.

Then there is her tongue,which appears to be extra long as it lolls out the side of her mouth when she is hot and tired. With her bright brown eyes glistening and her red tongue hanging carelessly out of the side of her mouth we cannot help but wonder what is going on in her mind, what crazy antic she is plotting next.

When Tink is calm there is no sweeter dog. Her head is on the small side but with classic female Labrador beauty and beautiful lines. Just like Jax, it seems as if we can see her every emotion in that face. She is as loving and snuggly as she is energetic. She sleeps on the bed with us every night, something we’ve begged, bribed and tried every method to get Jax to do, yet he still prefers his travel crate that will likely be a permanent fixture in our bedroom. She has two favorite spots, both of which mean that either my husband or I cannot stretch out our legs fully; neither of us will make her move.

Tinkerbell was one of 9 puppies and one of the first ones to go to her forever home. Accustomed to being part of a big pile of snuggly pups, Tinkerbell immediately found her spot next to Jackson, choosing to lay next to him no matter where he was, usually mimicking his position. A non-snuggler, Jackson was clearly out of his comfort zone, having been a little separated from the pile o’ pups in his own litter because of his broken leg, but he seemed to indulge her, never moving even though he looked like someone on an empty beach who had just had their space invaded by another beachgoer.

A year later she still will lay nearly on top of him no matter what they are doing. We smile as he gives a huge doggie sigh and sniffs her as if he is asking her “really??” She turns and looks at him and gives him a lick as if to say “oh, you love me.” We often joke that she has no concept of personal space; this is just fine with me as I love it that she will lay across us, sprawled on her back and ready for tummy rubs and ear scratches.

As I write this she is snoring loudly and her beautiful black paws are twitching. I wonder what she’s dreaming about. Come morning she’ll be ready to go for the day, leaping up and down like a kangaroo as she shares her very enthusiastic “good morning” greetings. But for now she’s having her little doggie dreams, her tail wagging sometimes, licking her lips every now and then and sometimes even making little puppy nursing sounds with the tip of her tongue hanging out. I’ll never know what she’s dreaming but like any mom wishes for her babies, I hope it’s a good dream, inspired by a good life. Because that’s what Tinkerbell and Jackson give to us and what we will always strive to give to them.2014/07/20140720-004403-2643872.jpg”>20140720-004403-2643872.jpg