Puzzle Dog

Good working days have been happening lately. I’m almost afraid to inhale too deeply lest this great fortune be noticed by the world, which will certainly snatch it away. Or at least, that’s the feeling. I’m doing my level best not to look at the news cycle, and not to leave the bloody house–I know, that last bit is me anyway, but I’m turning it into a requirement instead of a preference. All I want is to be left alone to write my horrid little stories.

We’ve also found a job for Boxnoggin. Well, another job, since he’s already responsible for things like holding down the floor, yelling out the front window any time there’s activity on the street, “protecting” me during walkies, and being a giant doofus. (All of which, it must be said, he excels at.) But he wanted more, so I dug out one of Bailey’s old puzzle toys.

Now, Miss B was a smart dog. She only needed once with a toy to figure it out, and to remember. Max, of course, used pure brute force on anything puzzling, so anything with parts smaller than fist-size had to be whisked away from his gaping jaws. Boxnoggin, however, lies between these two poles. He isn’t as bright as Bailey, but he’s also not as dim as Max–gods love that bulldog, but his brain was so occupied with piloting his unwieldy corkscrew body through space, there was little to nothing left over for any complex cognitive task.

All of which means dear ol’ van der Sploot is at just about the perfect amount of mental horsepower to get a lot of fun out of this particular puzzle. He has to get an upside-down plastic cup out of its socket in order to turn the top disc of the thing and gain the other half of the kibble inside, and so far he’s accidentally solved it, occasionally deliberately solved it, and forgotten the trick to the solution each and every time. The half-hour of crunching, slobbering, nosing, and pawing wears him out so badly he naps for the rest of the day, and when he finally solves this toy reliably I’ll switch him to another puzzle until he forgets the first.

It’s good to have a plan.

We’re all amazed, frankly. The Princess can’t get over how quiet and well-behaved Boxnoggin is after a session spent dislodging kibble from the damn thing, and he apparently loves it, to judge by how hard he begs for it to be filled and set on the floor. The Prince is fascinated, watching Box try to figure the damn thing out. (And helping a bit when he gets frustrated, because in this house we don’t let people flounder if we can help them.) I’m just happy for the peace and quiet; I thought we were going to have to do four training sessions a day with Bailey gone.

She kept Box corralled, and while he was thinking of weird things for her to herd him out of, he wasn’t getting into trouble. Much.

I suppose I should finish my coffee and get him walked–another important component of keeping him out of mischief. There are bergenias to get planted as well today, since my writing partner was kind enough to break off a few clumps for me. They do well in Pacific Northwest conditions, and I might even have one inside since I’ve got the grow lights going and a little room on the coffee table. There’s wordcount to be done today, and some CEs landed too. Those are afternoon problems, and I’ve a whole morning to get through.

I will never be as happy with anything as Boxnoggin is with a handful of kibble in an elaborately designed plastic dish. Still, left to myself, I am content.

Now if I could just get the world to cooperate…