Mango, my black mouth curr dog, has a staring problem. It’s hard to be stared at. It’s even worse when it’s a longer than average, full fledged, laser stare, the kind where every move you make is calculated and the pupils of the eyes follow you, anticipating every move you make. It gives a shiver down my spine!! A stare like that from a person or stranger can start a fight, and one like that in a dark alley is why there are concealed handgun laws.
On the other hand, even if it’s a stare full of hope, love and adoration, after the initial amusement, it can get almost spooky, to the point you want to close the curtains and hide.
Mango puts his paws up on the backyard window sill and stands there staring inside the house for what seems an eternity. At first, Nala, a big mastiff, will do the same, but she only looks over his shoulder for a minute before wandering off to bigger and better things.
Not Mango. No siree. He stares, and stares, and stares. He was staring at me the other day while I was eating a bowl of cereal. Each time I shoveled a spoon of fruit loops, he smacked his chops. Oh, come on, Mango!!
His constant stare weirded me out, like he was a serial killer was watching me eat cereal. And then it wore me down to the point I felt guilty, like I needed to go outside and pet him, or play fetch, take him for a walk, throw him a hunk of cheese — I don’t know, something!
I reached over and flipped the inside light off thinking that would do the trick. Nope! He just pushed his head closer to the window, like he was looking through a peep hole, and gave me a “you can run but you can’t hide” look.
To make matters worse, Mango stares even more when he sees Prince, a five pound, prissy, half Japanese Chin, half Chihuahua inside. Prince has a severe under bite and is like God’s practical joke on the dog species! Prince has a grand ole time inside the house, laying on his pillow in the air conditioning, looking all smirk and uppidity, while Mango just stares at him through the curtains. Prince will look at Mango and flip his head away, almost like telling Mango he was nothing more than canine riff raff.
One day the blinds were open and I reached down and wrestled with Prince for a second before tossing him a morsel of food. I felt like I was being watched. Sure enough, Mango was staring at the window wide eyed with an expression that seemed to ask, “Why can’t I be loved and wanted like that too?”
I spoke to Mango loud enough so he could hear me through the closed window using the voice people use when talking to puppies. It’s similar to the voice you use when you’re trying to explain something to someone who doesn’t understand English — you speak slower and a lot louder, like speaking louder magically causes them to understand English. In dog voice though, you also have to add enthusiasm and over exaggerate with long drawn out syllables.
It’s the same voice you use when talking to a newborn baby who’s staring at your eyes but can’t respond at all. Most people, even grown men, will talk in a funny voice to newborns. A newborn, however, just stares back blankly with no expression whatsoever, which is the same response a standup comedian would get doing a show on death row right before someone gets the needle. So with a baby, you just go with it, with or without a response. At least when you use that voice with a dog, he’ll get all excited, whine, wiggle and wag.
Anyway, I got up by the window and in my best dog voice said, “Heeey Mangooo! Hoooow are youuu big boooy?”. He didn’t whine, wiggle or wag. He just looked at me, like his feelings had been deeply hurt. He glanced to the side, turned around, and walked away!
I couldn’t believe it! In dog talk, he snubbed me! I wanted to say in people talk, “Hey! Dog dude! Don’t dis me like that and walk away!” He wandered out under a tree and laid down. He checked to see if I was still standing in the window looking at him, and then just rolled over like he was going to sleep! He acted like I’d just betrayed him beyond comprehension! Psft!
On the other hand, because of my dog voice, Prince was jumping at my ankles wiggling and wagging from side to side about to wet himself.
I went 0 for 2 in the batting order because I told Prince, in a dog-gone you, non-dog voice, “Go on you bag of fleas!” Prince quit wiggling with excitement, as if he completely understood me, tucked his tail like I’d just betrayed him beyond comprehension too and crawled in his crate.
I kept looking out the window at Mango, then down at Prince in the crate, and it occurred to me I was staring at them. Although, I wouldn’t call it staring, not really. I’d just call it, maybe, just intently looking. Yeah. Intently looking!
As I intently looked at them, Mango occasionally glanced over his shoulder from under the tree while Prince would peek out from inside his crate. Both looked away as soon as they saw me staring…I mean, intently looking at the them.
I finally did what they did. I went and laid down on the couch to watch the game on TV, but as I lay there, I felt a bit betrayed, almost beyond comprehension.
After a few minutes, I felt like I was being watched. Sure enough, Mango was back at the window staring at me! I looked down and Prince was on the edge of the carpet staring at me with his under bite looking like a freakish grin.
Hey, (or is it, hay?) I may be a lot of things, but stewpid isn’t one of them! I learn from my mistakes, and decided not to repeat the same ones I’d just made. So, I did what they did. I glanced at both dogs to make sure they were still staring at me, intentionally rolled over, and took a nap! That’ll show ‘em who’s training who!