Pierre brings home some interesting habits

We’ve been home from Jekyll Island for several weeks. We brought some special things back from the southland — sea shells, pictures, some small garden statues.

Pierre also brought some things with him from our vacation — new habits he learned during our long stay.

Dogs are creatures of habit. I’ve found out the hard way that once a dog’s behavior becomes a habit it is set in cement, especially if whatever he has learned to do or to expect pleases him greatly. This is true with Pierre. He never was, nor will be a pleaser, but if he discovers something he enjoys doing, or something he feels compelled to do, he embraces that behavior completely.

It takes about 11 hours to drive to Jekyll Island. For this reason we make it a two-day trip, spending the night in a motel at the end of the first day of driving.

Rob and I accept motels for what they are, a convenient stop along the way. A good dinner out and a night’s rest in a comfy bed sets us up for the next day’s travel.

Pierre, on the other hand, loves motels. All kinds of unfamiliar smells and sounds and vistas out the motel window combine to make the overnight stop exciting and adventurous. I think for Pierre the best part of a motel stay is being able to hop up on one of the beds to spend the night. At home he sleeps downstairs on the family room couch. The stairs are gated and he is perfectly content to be relegated to the middle floor.

In the Jekyll house, where the rooms are all on one floor, it seemed easier to give him the run of the house and let him choose his sleeping place.

One night spent on a motel room bed does not a habit make. However, two months spent sleeping on our beds every night gave him a new outlook on night-time comfort.

When we arrived back in Morgantown, we soon discovered Pierre was not about to change his new-found sleeping accommodations. The family room couch was out; upstairs beds with cushy comforters were in. Every night when we climbed the stairs to bed a sad furry face would watch us over the gate that kept him from the stairs. Then came the pitiful whining and finally, a full-throated howl.

To keep up the pretense of being in charge of our own household we told each other it was prudent to let Pierre have his way, allowing him to spend the nights on one of the beds upstairs rather than disturb our sleep. Now, in this muddy season, Rob has the new chore of cleaning Pierre off before bedtime.

Another new behavior involves Pierre’s morning outing. On Jekyll I always took him to a wooded area surrounding the golf course for our first morning walk. There he could run free, chase the obliging deer for a couple of yards, run off some energy. He always returned to me with a stick in his mouth, which he carried back to the house.

Our back yard in Morgantown is fenced. When I let him out for his morning run he insists on carrying one of his squeaky toys, in lieu of a stick. Usually he leaves it outside, somewhere in the large back yard. Later I must search for the toy, especially if it’s a favorite, and return it to his overflowing toy basket.

We’ve accepted these new habits Pierre brought home, and think of them not as problems, but as reminders of the happy days we three spent on Jekyll.

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