I wrote somewhere not too long ago (though of course can't find it now) that Minor reminded me of a houseguest who's made himself very much at home while causing no bother. He just wanders around doing his own thing.
For example, he just walked through on the way to his bed by the fireplace.
To put it perhaps even more accurately: he walks like a man on a mission. It's a perfect description.
Years ago I had two dogs for the few years that Hoover lived with Honey, his mother. I don't recall the little one being particularly independent. In fact, what I do remember is Hoover taking a ball (or any similar toy) and teasing the older dog till she got to her feet and followed him out the door.
While Minor and Major enjoy playing and Major seems the epitome of a patient big brother (with a heavy accent on "patient"), Minor has marched to a different drummer practically since the beginning.
Minor was born different. I knew that when I adopted him.
He had a left eye that was not expected to drop (but miraculously has fooled even his eye doctor) and a skin condition that results in a thin flaky coat.
Still, what he might once have lacked in beauty he more than made up for with a keen intelligence and deep devotion. He is also the most pliable dog I've ever known, eager to try anything and a terrifically quick learner of appreciated behavior. (Would you be surprised to also learn he has turned into as lovely a dog as any golden?)
But Minor has always marched to his own drummer. He wanders off to bed when he feels the time is right but also, regrettably, wakes me when he feels it should be morning even when that means breakfasting in total darkness. He scratches - and sits - to be let out and returns the same way though it often means Major (who will follow) is left on the other side of the glass. And, to my amusement, he scratches frantically while emitting a loud wail when the cat is ready to come in. He also, in spite of all my entreaties, loves to chase (and torment) her though every day I believe they're a little closer to declaring a truce.
It's the "mission" part which most sharply defines this pup.
He was definitely at home here by the time he reached four months and pretty well acquainted with my rules, wants and desires. In a house with seven doors (at last count) he quickly learned where to find me when he wants back in and, should he get no response there, knows which door to try next.
Still, the ins and outs are only a minor part of his "mission." What strikes one as so strange (and comical) is the way he'll walk right by you as he continues on to wherever he has decided he has to get to.
A toy in the back bedroom? A nap on the big doggy daybed? A drink of water (and, again, what determines which bowl he'll select for he uses Major's as often as his own)?
There's a funny circuit in his brain that says GO and off he does, completely oblivious to his surroundings.
And it is that complete obliviousness, his total dedication to the task at hand, that indeed makes Minor my little guy on a mission.
Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org