Thursday, July 07, 2005

Tick, tock, the BC clock


I opened my myopic eyes to a black nose.


A wet kiss followed.

It was still dark outside.

"Lay down, Roux," I said.


She bounded onto the bed and laid down, leaning on my legs. I'm not sure how a gangly, teen-aged border collie can take on enough air to make herself weigh a ton, but Roux's got it down. She might even weigh two tons some mornings.

Seconds later, the alarm went off. Roux and Gumbo started their morning pace, waiting for the daily games to begin.

Pad, pad, pad on the carpet. Pad, pad, pad.

If they pace long enough, bouncing on and off the bed intermittently, someone (usually Lindsey) will eventually get up and let them out. We try to let the snooze alarm go off once, but the border collies usually won't let us.

Get up! Let us out! Get the ball!

They are creatures of routine. They know there's a time to play, time to work, time to rest. They know reading the newspaper also means throwing the ball. They know when we're going to work and that Lindsey always leaves before I do. They know that when I brush my teeth, I'm about to leave. They know we don't play ball when we come home for lunch.

But I've never thought of animals as having a concept of time, and I've never known a dog as intuitive as these two are. They watch our movements and activities and act or react accordingly.

How do they know what time it is?

When we figure that out, we may be able to solve our other problem: Teaching the border collies who now awake at 5 a.m. daily how to sleep late on the weekends.


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