Do NOT Mess with the Schedule

"Trust me, you and Hunter will never be sicker than the the first year your kid spends in day care," said my brother sagely when I told him we were enrolling Toddler in day care.

Sadly, he was right. Here we are, down with the flu yet again. Not so much fun for any of us, least of all Milton.

After a few days with a cold, curled up on the couch and lost in an Anthony Bourdain No Reservations marathon, I noticed something. Milton's developed a schedule and he's pretty serious about it.

He's got his usual morning routine: get woken up, eat some kibble, go outside and come back in to look for anything that may have gloriously fallen from the countertops during our breakfast, check under toddler's table for food and then settle down for a serious nap.

A couple of years ago, Milton was sent to sleep in the garage. He developed a habit of patrolling the house at night and would stop by three or four times to make sure we weren't dead in our sleep.

He was not content just knowing we were still breathing, he had to make sure we were responsive. He did this by huffing in our faces, poking us with his nose and if we ignored him, jumping up and nudging us until we woke up. We tried shutting the door to our bedroom but he would either body check it until it opened or scratch at it until we opened it. Ignoring him was not optional. After about a week of this, off to the garage he went. We built him a nice bed left him some toys to keep him occupied and that's been that.

So after his morning nap, it's time to get up and do some calisthenics. Milton is fond of stretching. He does it a lot. A dog behaviour book I once read identified stretching as a polite request for attention. I don't know, I think the dog likes to stretch. If he were human, he'd totally be into yoga. Either that or he'd be obnoxiously needy.

After stretching comes outside time. If you're otherwise occupied, he'll come get you and make his demand known. You know it's outside time when he stamps his paws, sighs and keeps himself purposefully underfoot. How dogs can stamp their paws on carpet, I don't know. Doesn't matter if you're in the midst of a Nyquil fueled supernap, he'll find a way to pester you into letting him out. After a 45 minute patrol of the 'hood, it's time to come inside for another nap. If he's longer than 45 minutes, he's up to something.

Another nap, another round of stretching and it's outside time just before we have lunch. This neighbourhood patrol lasts just until we sit down and take our first bite. That's when the "let me in" drama begins. He could win an Oscar for his portrayal of a down-trodden beast with his unending whine and his unbreakable stare. I hate the stare. There's no enjoying your PB&J he's staring at you. Having lunch in peace? He's up to something.

Milton, standing on the patio snowbank.
All this snow isn't helping, either. He's at eye level sitting on the snowbank on the patio and he stares straight at us when we're sitting at the kitchen table. What I wouldn't give for a bit of snow melt.

After he gets let in, he patrols the kitchen for fallen morsels and then settles down for another sleep. At around 3:42, he's up and stamping on the carpet again demanding to go outside. Time to meet the school bus. After properly greeting the neighbour kids and a little play with the local dogs, it's back to the house. If he's not home by 4:45, he's up to something.

Hunter gets off work anytime between five and seven. Milton starts his evening routine at exactly 5:08 p.m. That's when he trains his eyes on that front door. I guess in his mind, if he stares long and hard enough, that door will open.

Once Hunter walks through the door, it's time for the big greeting - lots of paw stamping, tail wagging and huffing. Then he follows Hunter's every move until kibble time. After kibble time comes lavish time. Oh, Milton loves lavish time - that's when Hunter sits down to pet him after a hard day's work.

A quick trip outside and then it's back in to patrol the kitchen for anything that might have fallen while dinner was made. Then comes watch us eat time, check for fallen table scraps time and then pass out on his dog bed time.

Around 10:30, Hunter will wake Milton up from his nap and move him to the garage. Half the time, Milton will get up and grudgingly walk to the garage and half the time Hunter has to pick up a corner of his dog bed and roll him off.

It's time to kick this cold so we can hit the snowshoe trails, get that dog some exercise and knock him off of this crazy schedule.