Symmetry and the small dog

house kites fields dog 003I heard her, five minutes before the alarm was due to drag me from my bed. It is the first night in ages that I have woken there… I await a new mattress, having given in to the pressure of necessity and elderly springs. Most of the time, I end up on the sofa. Last night, however, I was tired. Having spent the whole day walking around the zoo and pushing the wheelchair in the rain, I went out like the proverbial light and stayed that way.

The small dog took advantage of the situation. I heard the clippity clop of her claws on the wooden flooring as she approached the door… the sniff to see if I was awake… then the unmistakable sound of a strategic retreat. She reverses by moonwalking.

house kites fields dog 005

The ball had been placed in front of the bedroom door where I could not fail to notice it. Moreover, on the offchance that I, in my somnolent state, did fail to notice it, it had been placed dead centre so that I would inevitably kick it and set the ball rolling for the morning play. Ani seems to delight in such rituals.

The next thing I saw was a hopeful small dog, crouched, poised and waiting in her new position by the front door. She has abandoned the couch in favour of her new bed, at least at night. When we moved, I bought her a nice big cushion to sleep on. She ignored it for several days before finding it was useful for hiding the ball. She dragged it around a bit, took it for a walk around the garden and eventually decided that it was good. I had positioned it for her near the big windows so that she could lookΒ  out, she has dragged it instead into place by the front door. Which does get her off the couch a bit… but means that opening the front door now involves getting past the small dog. No-one is coming in or escaping without her knowledge, consent and, if she can wangle it, company.

dog 002

My exit from the bathroom was greeted by another tennis ball positioned in the middle of the hall. A little while later and the ball took up a new position in the dead centre of the open french doors. I kid you not, had she brought ruler and set-square to the task, it couldn’t be more accurate. She is good at this. I have to wonder why this spherical symmetry matters so much to a dog for whom acceptable housekeeping involves every toy and sofa cushion being strewn about the room.

Housekeeping is a sore point at the moment. There was me thinking that nice, light wooden floors would be so easy to keep clean. Not with the lesser black-haired mud-wallower constantly running in and out apparently. After sweeping carefully twice a day, only to find that I’d missed half the hair as soon as I mopped, I gave in and went in search of a solution. My new gadget.. a kind of mini-hoover-on-a-stick… is wonderful and allows me to reach places hitherto unexplored by hoovering. Including the dog. Which is where it becomes a sore point.

I figured that if I hoovered the source, I wouldn’t have to do the floors so often. The small dog disagrees. And runs.

house kites fields dog 047

Perhaps that is what all this precision ball-placing is about… reminding me that the working relationship we have is well established. I throw balls on demand and provide walks, meals and cuddles. She protects me from postmen, pigeons and flies and keeps my toes warm with a nice hairy carpet… even when it is detached from its source. Nowhere in this arrangement does the wielding of a vacuum cleaner figure.

I suppose I wouldn’t be best pleased if someone shifted the rules without so much as a by-your-leave either. We all have our habits and comfort zones… and rebel against imposed changes. It is human nature.

And apparently canine nature too. She’s had a lot to put up with lately…

dog 011

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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46 Responses to Symmetry and the small dog

  1. reocochran says:

    Ani is a special, sweet and symmetrical dog, Sue. This ymtakes talent to place the ball precisely in the halfway mark. πŸ™‚
    Ani seems like she is obsessive or compulsive; but not both! My artist brother’s dog, long gone, was called Dingo and he was such a good dog but very preoccupied with his ball. πŸ™‚


  2. Dogs are amazing. Ours can tell time to the minute. They aren’t big on balls, but they love towels and socks. As for positioning, They know exactly how to lie so as to block any possible entry or exit from a room. Size doesn’t matter. Even a very small dog, properly positioned can completely block a room.

    I mop our fake wood floors almost every day. I vacuum every day, sometimes several times. This has been a very muddy year, too. It’s just amazing how much and how fast it accumulates.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      They are… and they do. Their notion of spatial awareness far surpasses physics πŸ˜‰

      These floors were supposed to make like easier… if they were dark wood, they might, but the pale beech hides nothing πŸ™‚


  3. You have to play ball! Ani has decreed it so! πŸ˜‰


  4. adeleulnais says:

    Dear Ani, they tried the vacuum thing with me too, not a chance. I ran under the table and stayed there doing the puppy eyes. Humans don`t know that dogs are clever and know physics he he keep the central ball going. I hopes that your new house is nice, it looks nice and is that a cow thing you have in the back garden? do you have to share your dinner with it? Much love and paw love to you Ani, from Dante the dawg. xxx


    • Sue Vincent says:

      They know so little, Dante, and think they know us so well… πŸ˜‰
      Yep, but not just ‘a’ cow… ’bout 20 of ’em. She says they give me the milk and cheese and stuff… so I guess I can put up with the ladies who munch’. They eat everything!
      She wants one for the lawn, she says…
      Much love, Ani xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Denis1950 says:

    Great story Sue and Ani. Perhaps some work experience with a surveyor may be what Ani needs then possibly becoming permanent leading to added family income?


  6. Sounds like you both have a sweet deal πŸ™‚


  7. socialbridge says:

    Love the sound of your new bed, Ani. I’m a couch guy myself.
    BTW, I’m dreaming of tennis balls these days cos of the tennis on telly and supporting the ‘Stan’ I was called after.
    Your advantage,
    Puppy Stan


  8. Mary Smith says:

    Sounds like Ani is settling in nicely.


  9. acflory says:

    Tweeted about the #smalldog. Love her to bits. πŸ™‚


  10. Helen Jones says:

    Lovely story about the small dog, Sue πŸ™‚ Glad to see she is finding her place in her new home, cows or no cows πŸ˜€ Our dearly departed Jack Russell was mad about balls too, and would place them everywhere he could. After he died, I kept seeing rubber balls in strange places, like on the path while out walking, or on one occasion by the road as I drove by. Felt as though he might have been trying to let me know he was okay.


  11. noelleg44 says:

    A new bed is always a curious thing – not surprised she tried dragging it around to see where it would go best. Ani is one smart cookie. As to the symmetry, maybe her mother took trig when Ani was in utero? I am as astounded as you by her mental antics. How’s she doing with that cow?


    • Sue Vincent says:

      She and the cows… there are a herd of them… appear to have agreed to a truce. At least for now. Though Ani keeps a watching brief from the sofa back.
      As to the bed-dragging thing, having bought a new mattress and swapped them last night, she has my sympathies. At least hers was lightweight… my new one weighs a ton and has no handles, while the old one has as much backbone as a dead ferret and wobbles all over… and both are much bigger than me πŸ™‚


  12. Oh bless her! Maggie tends to gently put her latest ‘baby’ in our lap and look hopeful. πŸ™‚


  13. Judy Martin says:

    What a clever girl Ani is! I am sure I wouldn’t like to be hoovered much either πŸ™‚


  14. dgkaye says:

    Sheesh, I have enough problems keeping up with my own hair shedding, lol. Glad Ani is liking her new home and bed. πŸ™‚


  15. Widdershins says:

    Perhaps she could be bribed … erm convinced, to indulge in eh occasional brush? Would that help with the sheddings?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Eliza Waters says:

    She’s clever, that one!


  17. KL Caley says:

    Hahaha! My dog likes to reposition the bed too, no idea why, clearly us humans have no idea of the correct doggy bed feng shui – lol. KL ❀


  18. macjam47 says:

    Haha. You might as well give in to Ani’s wishes, Sue. After all, she won’t stop till you’re properly trained.


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