You might think a dog who likes to eat socks would have no sense of propriety, but you would be wrong. Ferdinand the Corgi combines a photographic memory of how the planet looked yesterday with a joyful confidence that you should have left it that way. Generations of sheep-herding ancestors egg him on, and his soulful gaze and soft, stumpy paws make him a formidable opponent.
What surprised me, as he first began expressing his opinions, was how often his objections stemmed from his love of routine. Like the Navy, Ferdinand adheres strenuously to the precept that there is a place for everything and everything should BE in its place. No dog likes a thunderstorm, and neither does Ferdinand. But he is more likely to protest from outraged sensibility than fear. And even you, oh lovely reader, would struggle to predict what will outrage him.
- Trash bags. Wouldn’t you think a dog would be fascinated with a lumpy sack of kitchen smells? Not this corgi! The minute we heave it up from the trash bin to haul it to the garage, Ferdinand loses his fuzzy little mind. He braces his front paws, winds his ears up to full alert, and barks hysterically. Plainly, this kitchen necessity is far more dangerous than the vacuum cleaner.
- Helicopters. Also airplanes of every description. He races across the yard, barking the buzzy thing off the property. Does he think it hears him? One must admit that every time he chases a helicopter, it leaves and doesn’t come back.
- Lawn reindeer. They weren’t there yesterday. They do not respond to friendly greetings. Sometimes, they fall over. As a species, they have sunk themselves below reproach.
- Dishwasher detergent dispensers. You know the square opening on the door of your dishwasher? The one into which you pour the detergent and then shut the cover with a click? To be fair, this should be filed under Things We No Long Object To. Upon discovering that the dishwasher contains eggy plates and spoons decorated with peanut butter vestiges, Ferdinand found that he no longer objected to the detergent caddy.
- Heating vents. This objection can be filed with number 4. In the early days of his puppyhood, Ferdinand refused to pass any vent in the floor unaccompanied. He peered nervously into each one, sniffing with the veriest tip of his nose. But winter came, heat began to emanate from these gloomy abysses, and he decided that covering them with his furry belly and snoring was the best defense.
- Loaded laundry baskets. Is he wrong? Do you not also wish to flee headlong from the room at sight of one?
- You, leaving the house for any reason without him. You can have no possible reason for doing so. There is nothing more to be said.
Laughing at an adorable corgi is an irresistible temptation. His personality is so much larger than his stumpy small self, and his barking, squeaking, pleading little voice is almost human. How can outrage be taken seriously when it bounces?
But I suspect we are more like Ferdinand than we realize. Don’t we all object to the unexpected? How often do we race to control forces that, like helicopters passing overhead, are not truly under our control? And who can object to love that mourns every parting and rejoices with such sincerity over each reunion?