Saturday, January 31, 2009


Did you ever have that feeling like you were being watched? The feeling where your spidey-senses tingle, and the hair stands up on the back of your neck? Did you ever have that same feeling while you were asleep? The feeling that is so strong, that your spidey-senses actually wake you up out of a stone-cold sleep? You are so convinced that someone is there, that you actually sit up in bed and look wildly around your room, fully expecting someone to be there. Well, this is how I wake up. EVERY MORNING. Sometimes in the dead of NIGHT:

Sometimes, it is just Heidi.

Sometimes, it is just Shelby.

Sometimes they double-team me.

And this is what they look like when it happens in the dead of night. (Night Vision)

People who are familiar with herding dogs (and dogs in general) are aware of something called the "eye". It is that very intense, unwavering stare that herding dogs give to stock to help bend them to their will. To the stock, it looks as if they were being stalked by a fearsome predator. This is how a 35 lb. Border Collie can move a flock of sheep numbering in the hundreds, or a steer that can weigh in the hundreds of pounds. Its amazing to see a dog with a lot of natural "eye" work; they hardly have to do anything at all besides look at the stock to get them moving along. Now, Border Collies are famous for their "eye". The other herding breeds, however, tend to be more "loose eyed". Sure, you can have a Sheltie or an Aussie with a hard eye, but mostly they use other means of their herding prowess to get the stock to do what they want. This is why so many of them (*cough* SHELTIES*COUGH*) bark so much. They use their loud (and annoying...) voices to get what they want.

And although Shelties are proficient herders
(though not my girls, which is proven by this picture of Heidi with sheep:)
Shelties are not known for their "herding eye". But they do have quite another talent. They have the "Sheltie MANIPULATION eye". This is the stare that they use to bend their HUMAN STOCK to their will. THIS is the reason that I wake up every morning the way that I do. Examples of the "Manipulation Eye" are:

The scenario usually goes like this:
I am sleeping. Usually deeply. I awake from a particularly nice dream where I have won the lottery because I have that "you're being watched" feeling. I jerk violently awake, and see EYES a few inches away from my face. Luckily, it has happened so often now that I no longer fall out of bed in a heap of tangled blankets, cursing my "angels" violently. I usually just close my eyes, or roll over and try to go back to sleep. But then, their OTHER ways of manipulation start:

Heavy breathing: there is NO WAY that it gets hot enough to have to start panting in the span of a few seconds. I KNOW that you are just panting so that I have to listen to you, and feel the bed moving up and down at a quickened pace.
Smacking Lips: You do not have peanut butter, or some other sticky substance suddenly stuck to the roof of your mouth, or on your lips. There is no need to sound like a couple of 13 year-old's making-out for the first time. I know that you have started to do this because the panting has not worked.
Yawning: I know that going through your bag of manipulation tricks is exhausting, but I do not think that you are so tired that it is necessary to yawn 7 times in a row. And, as an added note, when you make extra noise ("Arooooo") when you yawn, it doesn't make it more satisfying. Again, I know your just adding the sound effects because I am still ignoring you.
Licking: Now that you have figured out that I am still ignoring you, you are now going to try and ignore me. You are now trying to make it seem like you do not care that I am ignoring you, and that you are oblivious to the fact that I do not care. So, to try and keep yourself busy, your going to lick your feet. Or your whole leg. Or every part of your body that you can reach. And then when you're done that, you're going to lick your sister. Yes, I know that you are very dirty, but really? A full scale, self-service tongue-bath is just indecent.
Pawing: Finally, when you are fully bathed, you give the old-fashioned "paw you until you bleed" routine. Yes, its an oldie, and a form that even the simplest of dogs can employ, but you know that it is effective. Even if I put in ear plugs to drown out all of the noise that you make, I cannot ignore the RAKING of your nails along my skin. Or, (directed at Shelby) I cannot ignore the feeling of bruises growing on my skin because you are standing, full weight, on very delicate pressure points along my body.

By this time, I usually get up. Not only because it is impossible to get back to sleep without the aid of pharmaceuticals, but because I am usually laughing. Now, it bears being said that it is usually HEIDI who is the major culprit. I feel badly because I think I make it seem that it is really both...but alas, it is usually the demon dressed-like-an-angel, Heidi. However, Shelby isn't completely innocent. Once she realizes that I am awake, that's when she starts the "standing" on me (usually on my STOMACH or on my HIP), and then if the standing doesn't work, and Heidi is still working on waking me up, then she will start the "OHMYGODIHEARABURGLAR!!!" barking. She will sometimes, for dramatic effect, even jump off of the bed and run to the window insisting that there is someone in a ski-mask trying to break in. Give me a BREAK.

Now, some of you may be thinking "Oh, come on. That doesn't sound so bad. My dog(s) do/does MUCH worse!" Well, the Sheltie manipulation does not end with their desire to get me out of bed. Oh no sirree jim bob.

I am actually starting to think that I have little doggy-Jedi on my hands. They do not need to wave their hands to get me to suddenly (and amazingly) change my mind. They just need to give the "Sheltie eye" and my will immediately bends. Like how when I finally do get up (their doing) I have to pee so badly that it hurts. But mysteriously I find myself passing the human bathroom and walking to the door to outside to let them go first. Huh. Then, with my bladder finally empty I go into the kitchen to prepare breakfast. But no, I'm not going to turn on the kettle, I am going to the dog freezer, and am pulling out frozen patties. That's weird. And then later when my work is done and I am ready to curl up on the couch with a good book, miraculously I find myself instead with a tug-toy in my hand, and two Obi-wan Kenobi's tugging on the other ends. WHAT is going on? How did my dogs learn how to do this? Oh, wait. They're Shelties. Just like real Jedi, they are just BORN with these abilities. They have just spent the last 6 years perfecting their mind control. Well, Bravo girls. You've done it.
Just like with real Jedi, their path from Padawan Learner to Master was not an easy one. They not only needed to learn how to manipulate minds with superior skill, but they also need to show proficient skill with their weapons- "Mean Teeth", and physical agility to dodge hyper labs, chase rogue rabbits in the yard, and slalom through weave poles. My girls have now mastered all their skills. They can make me do just about anything that they want with just "the look", they can dispel even the largest rottweilers with a flash of their teeth and gums, and can even make it through an agility course to earn the first place title, while running with a completely incompetent handler. Congratulations my girls. Even though I will forever be sleep deprived, fed second, and have chronic bladder infections from being forced to hold it longer than usually acceptable, I am proud of you because I am your dog-mother. And I love your furry little manipulative heads.