She is also a serious creature of habit. Dogs in general like to keep to a schedule, whether it be normal wakeup and bedtimes, walk times, dinner times, whatever. Our little Misaki in particular is adamant about schedule.
She didn't like it when we slept in while on vacation, because it meant breakfast was later. She doesn't like it when it rains so hard we opt to skip the morning walk. She doesn't like it when she doesn't get to go back to her crate for a post-breakfast nap without having to worry about being bothered by the kitties.
Misaki: No matter what, remember that this cute face is not capable of anything but sweetness! (By the way, Lilo is the lump under the blanket. She burrowed, Misaki didn't cover her - though I wouldn't put it past her.)
She's funny. If dinnertime comes and we aren't working towards putting food in front of her, she'll follow us everywhere and try herding us back towards the kitchen. If we are in the kitchen but doing something else - you know, like working on our own dinner - she will sit (out of the way) and stare holes into our skulls. As soon as we start working on her food, she relaxes, knowing food is on the way.
She's the same way with her bathroom habits. Extended use of the facilities - the facilities being the periwinkle vines in the backyard - happens in the evening. We take plastic bags with us on walks and hikes but just about never have to use them. Misaki has a schedule and sticks to it. She's trained us to this schedule, like a good Shiba training her humans, which of course are of lower intelligence than a Shiba. Everyone knows that, right? They need good training, consistent rules, or things get out of hand. Yes, apparently, humans and Shibas.
So last Saturday morning Wifey had a hair appointment. We took Misaki, drove over to the salon on E. Burnside, and Misaki and I went off for a walk while Wifey got a cut. Before the appointment we stopped at the Volkswaffle cart on 7th and Burnside for an original Belgian waffle (which, by the way, was excellent - almost like a doughnut!) for a snack. After eating that we had two extra napkins, which I stuffed in my pocket because I had nowhere else to put them.
I did not have any plastic bags with me, like I carry on morning walks - there were some in the car, but I never thought about grabbing them. Why would I? Misaki has trained me for only an evening need of them.
Misaki thinks she is very funny.
Misaki: Just thinking about what I could possibly do next...
About two-thirds of the way through our walk/Wifey's salon time, we came across a park with some green grass. Misaki loves green grass and since she doesn't currently have any at home - blame two months with no rain and my lack of desire to put out a sprinkler - I let her sniff around a bit. It's a typical city park, about a block in size with a small baseball field, green space, picnic area, some trees, and a basketball court.
I noticed Misaki had stopped walking with me, so I turned to see what she was doing. That prompted this email I sent to Wifey via my phone, for her viewing pleasure while getting her hair done:
Subject: Puppy is awesome.Sweet. The easy joke answer to this email is: "Well, at least you had napkins!" Ba-Dum-Ching.
Her = pooping
Me = Cleaning it up with two napkins in my pocket in the park while two, um, interesting chicks are having a bikini photo shoot.
Yes, this really happened....
First off, yes, there was a bikini photo shoot going on. I have no idea why. It was a 65-degree August morning in a lackluster public park in Portland. The background couldn't have been that great, unless they planned on editing out the sleeping homeless people. There is low budget and then there is this...perhaps it was the cover for a cheap porn video?
And frankly, whatever they were promoting for the shoot, it's not going to work on me. Yikes.
So this photo shoot is going on about 30 feet away. Misaki finishes her business and like normal is very proud of herself. I'm standing there looking around, wondering just what the hell am I going to do now.
Misaki: I have won! Wait, I mean, I'm super sweet and innocent.
Then I remember the napkins. Maybe I can pull this off.
I take the napkins out of my pocket and realize they are the cheapest quality possible napkins and not very big at all. Maybe I can't pull this off. There is no way they can do the job.
At this point I have to make a judgment call. Now, I think it's every dog owner's responsibility to clean up after their pup in public. I do it, and expect that others should as well. Sitting in this situation did not make me happy, especially since it's obviously not the dog's fault, it's mine. I'm not prepared.
I swear Misaki is grinning at me, with a look on her face that says: "What are you going to do now smart guy?"
Misaki: Hey, when you have to go you have to go. Love me?
She can be quite the smartass. I wonder where she gets it.
So I rationalize it. I could do nothing, just walk away. I don't live around there, no one is really that close to me...but I can't do that. That's pretty gross. I spy a garbage can a few feet away - closer to the bikini shoot, lucky me - so I decide to take the napkins, get as much as I can, walk purposefully towards the garbage can to toss it, then keep walking purposefully out the other side of the park.
I got over half of it and keep myself clean...which, considering the situation I think is pretty admirable. Still disgusting and illustrating how short-sighted I was, but admirable. Misaki would rather I cleaned up the whole thing - hey, that's my job, right? - but she seems to begrudgingly accept the fact I have done the best I could with the situation she created. (And yes, I am still convinced she knew exactly what she was doing and did it on purpose as a test.)
Misaki: Hopefully you learned something here today. And what would that be? That I am in control at all times. And super cute!
"Dad," she says to me, "You won't leave the car for a walk without bags to clean up after me, will you?"
No, dear puppy, I won't. Yes, your lesson has been learned and I will do my best to be better in the future, to take care of all your needs, desires, and whims.
"Good," she says, ignoring my dripping sarcasm.
So hey, I learned something I suppose - my puppy can be a little devious. Or, as other owners of this breed like to say, a Shiba.
But you know what I really don't understand? We walked past multiple instances of the tell-tale plastic bags - tied off and full, if you get my drift - just sitting on the sidewalk. Really? So you took the time to clean up after your dog, but then just left it on the sidewalk? You think someone else is going to pick THAT up? Holy schnikies.
Misaki: This face is nothing but pure innocence, no matter what Dad tries to say. I mean, who are you going to believe?
Don't let that innocent face fool you...Misaki, like all Shibas, is simply waiting for that next opportunity to show you how inadequate you are, both as a sentient being and a simple dog owner.
And we love them for that. :)