Cody was our longest tenured dog. Santa brought him to a nearby Veterninarian the day after Christmas, a year after we had a really bad year for dogs (we had lost 3 dogs in one year – but that’s another story). We had gone 14 months without a dog, the longest period we’ve ever been without a dog. Our dogs have all been big dogs, favoring Labs and Shepherds, usually mixes.
Cody was a Lab-Shepherd-Greyhound mix, with a cool brindle coat, and the best disposition ever. He was a little over a year old when we got him. He immediately established his personality the first day he was home alone.
Jonathon (J.B.) was just turned 3 when we got Cody. After being away all day, we came home, and there was Cody in the middle of the living room, contentedly laying there, surrounded by about 10 of Jonathon’s stuffed animals, which were placed neatly all around him in a circle. Not a hair was out of place on any of the animals. Cody had gone into his room, and one by one carefully brought them out to the living room, to keep himself company and not feel alone. That was Cody!
We had a “pass-through” window from the living room to the kitchen. On the living room side of the window was a large sofa; on the kitchen side was the long kitchen counter, with the sink on one end (by the window) and the stove on the other. There was a set of wall cabinets above and to the left of the stove. While we did have "child locks" on the base cabinets, we never bothered putting them on the wall cabinet doors - why would you? Why, indeed!
One time, I came home to find a box of raisins sitting on a chair in the living room. Further investigation revealed how they’d gotten there. Cody had climbed, from the living room sofa, through the pass-through window onto the kitchen counter, walked the 10 feet or so along the counter to the stove end, reached up and opened the wall cabinet to the left of the stove with his paw, carefully pulled the raisins down from the 3rd shelf up, then taken his booty back down the counter, through the pass through, and over to his chair, that he wasn’t supposed to be on. His plan would have worked perfectly, had he not left the cabinet door open, and the half eaten box of raisins on the chair. He was busted! But, all I could do was laugh. Up until then, we’d thought he was kind of a dumb dog. Right. Dumb like a fox he was!
Cody had a long memory. Once, early in his long tenure with us, I had to give him some really nasty tasting medicine. I very nicely said, “Come here, Cody. Come on boy”, and he’d dutifully come over to me, and sat for whatever treat I might have for him. He was not amused when I gave him the nasty medicine. He kept shaking his head, really mad at me, and avoided me for awhile after that. From that day, to the day he died, anytime I said, in that nice tone of voice, “Come here, Cody”, his head went down, his tail went between his legs, he turned around and went the other way. It became the way to get rid of him, if I wanted him to go away and stop bothering me or others. I’d just say, very nicely, “Come here, Cody. Come on, boy”, and Cody was gone - out of the room and as far away from me as he could get! He never forgot.
When we moved to our place in Virginia, where we still live, we had an old sofa in the partially finished basement. Cody wasn’t allowed on the furniture, but we didn’t really care about him getting on that old ratty sofa down there. We knew he spent most of his time on it while we were gone. Cody knew he wasn’t supposed to be on the furniture, so he’d always be off it by the time we went downstairs after arriving home, looking guilty as sin.
So one time, when we were heading into town to run some errands, Jonathon and I set up a cam-corder, aimed at the sofa, and left it on, recording, when we left. The resulting video was one of the funniest things I ever saw. As we leave the house, Cody enters the picture, slowly making his way towards the sofa, head looking up towards the stairs and the door that we just left out of, then back over to the sofa, as he ever so stealthily tip-toes across the room, with one destination in mind. He slowly sidles up alongside the sofa, still looking up and back, then finally, he just kind of slides up onto it.
But, there is no comfort for the wary! He looks really nervous the entire time he's on that sofa. Every time he just starts to settle in and get comfortable, he hears a noise, his head jerks up, he looks around, then slowly starts to ease back into that sofa. This goes on for half an hour. Never once does he ever get completely comfortable. Then, finally, his head jerks up one time, he looks towards the stairs, you can almost hear him saying to himself "Oh, shit, they're home!", as he just kind of slithers back down off the sofa, and carefully makes his way to the other side of the room, looking very guilty with his tail between his legs, right before Jonathon and I come into the picture. Funniest video ever!
Our current dog, Cajun, a pure black lab, is one very cool dog in her own right - but Cody was the coolest dog ever. He holds a special place of honor on our living room mantle (after 13 good years, he died in my arms in 2005 – the box contains his cremains. All of our previous dogs lie buried in our old yard, under trees, on the lake in New Jersey).