I don't sleep very well in the summer. You'd think that the nice weather, mellow breezes, beautiful days and relaxing walks in the evening would make for a great night's sleep. Well, they would, if it weren't for this guy:
He's cute, isn't he? He is, yes. Rascal is a very well-behaved boy. He doesn't pull on the leash, he obeys commands, and he's not much bother.
Except he's part shih tzu.
Shih tzus were bred to sit in the lap of the emperor and bark to alert the court that someone was approaching. They're like little sentries. Walk past, and they'll give a little bark. It's a very useful thing when you're out in the garden and someone comes to the door. They like walks, cuddles and the general company of people. They don't need much else. Most of the time, they snooze in the sun.
So, here's a summer day with our little sentry:
5:00am. We're fast asleep and the windows are open to let in some fresh air. The cats in the neighbourhood begin their morning brawl.
Cat 1: Yeeeeooowwwwl! Reooowwwwwww! I'm a cat, and I want you off my lawn, other cat!
Cat 2: Nooooooooooooo! I'm a cat, and I have to scream at the top of my lungs when I see you!
Rascal: Wha? Pah! Shocking! Someone is making a noise! Let me out immediately so I may deal with it!
Me: No, go to bed.
Rascal: But! Pah! They are making noises! This is unacceptable! Let me run around the room a few times to show my frustration!
Me: Go to bed.
Rascal: (After a few laps around the room) Ok, well, that solved it. I'm going back to bed.
Me: Man, now I'm awake.
Rascal: Not me, I'm bushed. Night night. *snore*
After work, I come home and decide to take a 20-minute nap to make up for my early morning. Two people walk past, having a conversation at normal volume.
Rascal: Wha! Pah! Shocking! People are moving around out there! Let me jump on the couch so I can growl and bark at them!
Me: No, chill out. I'm trying to have a nap.
Rascal: But! Pah! That's just not right! I have not given permission for people to walk past. I will get my squeaky toys and squeak them in frustration.
Me: Come back here! Rascal! Give me that toy!
Later that evening, I stay up a little later to finish some work or chat to a friend. Before I head for bed, I let Rascal out for his evening routine. A dog two blocks away barks.
Rascal: Wha! Pah! There is a doggy alert! I must investigate!
Me: No, come back in here. Come! Come!
Rascal: No! Let me run through the wet vegetable garden and race around the yard barking at full volume at 11:30 at night!
Me: Come back here! Rascal!
Rascal: I know you're wearing your pajamas, but I am not coming back until you come out here and chase me for a while! Pah!
Me: Ooooo! Where are my shoes....
It's a good thing he's cute.
This is why I am such an advocate of people walking their dogs daily. Rascal gets two walks a day for a minimum of 30 minutes each time. If the weather is extreme, he gets one walk and we play with him in the house and get him to chase his squeaky toys until he is tired. Can you imagine what he'd be like if we never exercised him?
I shudder at the thought.
In the end, I do love this little guy. He's been such a great companion and is really one of the family. He is always great at settling down nervous dogs, and he has a way of making people smile when they need it. It's just a lot easier to live with him in the winter time, when the windows are closed and there aren't as many noises at night. Still, it's good to know that if anyone were to try to intrude, he'd be right there, letting us know.
He's the cutest security guard I know.