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day2: the old bait and switch

19 January 2011

The D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944 is often called The Longest Day. This day could be a close second.

Luna spent most of the day hanging out and getting comfortable with her new life as top and only dog in the household. She slowed her eating rate, and started celebrating her dogness through a routine of exploration, sleep and play.

Evening came and the opportunity for an English lesson.

Continual and continuous are two commonly misused words in the English language.

Continual means frequently repeated, usually with occasional interruptions. An example, “MW continually suggested that we’re dog people.”

Continuous refers to actions that are unceasing or uninterrupted. An example: “Our new dog cried continuously from 10:40 to 12:45 am. After resting, she whined continuously from 2:30 to 4:45 am.”

If the relatively uneventful first night lulled us into a “Staples: that was easy” frame of mind, the second night proved to be a classic bait and switch. With the success of night #1 fresh, we thought we’d enjoy a repeat. Sorry, it was time for Luna to become Willful Puppy.

Unfortunately, our new dog just didn’t want to sleep in a closed dog crate. She didn’t care how many times we took her outside (7-8, I lost count) between 10:30pm and 5:00am for potty breaks, exercise, or peace of mind. She decided to spend the night whining and crying.

She certainly doesn’t suffer from ADHD because she didn’t lose the plot once. She focused her energy on making noise.

If you’ve ever played the harmonica, you know you can play notes while both inhaling and exhaling. Luna was able to whine and cry doing the same thing. America’s Got Talent, anyone?

In music notation, a very long note of almost indefinite duration is called a longa. That’s basically what Luna produced from her mouth. It was as if we were sitting at a level crossing in Alabama, waiting for a freight train pulled by six locomotives to pass. It just went on and on and on. And when we thought she needed a mental break or her vocal chords (or whatever dogs use to produce sound) were tiring, she deflated our hopes and kept going.

It was also a little like listening to one person trying to sing all of the vocal parts of California Dreaming, the lead, the singing in round and the harmonies. I bet Luna could do everything, simultaneously covering John Phillips and Michelle Phillips and Cass Elliot. She effectively cried for over two hours. It was continuous – not continual. Interminable is another word that came to mind.

I remained awake. Not just because I couldn’t sleep but because I truly admired her ability to focus like that. As annoying as it was, this portends well for our future. If she can focus this attention on obedience training when she is older, that phase will be a breeze.

Sleep did come at last. With the sun not long to come over the horizon, Luna ended her longa. We fell asleep.

For 20 minutes.

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