Deaf or Dumb?

Remember this not-too long ago post about our hope to share great adventures from our visit to hospice and the hospital? Well, I’m here to tell you that “great’ might have been a bit of a stretch and over zealous on my part. Truth be told, I am more flummoxed than ever. Apparently getting even for the bath thing was on the agenda though I didn’t know it at the time.

I’m never quite sure which Sam will show up when we go off to the hospital. It could easily be ‘deaf Sam’ where he just doesn’t hear my commands. Granted, I am somewhat soft-spoken at the hospital. Personally, I think it’s important not to go inside sounding like a stevedore shouting out greetings and what-have-you on our shifts. But I suspect it’s more a case of selective hearing. ‘Yeah, I know you said to do “X” but I’m gonna act like I didn’t hear you and not do it.’

Then again it could be ‘Simple Sam’ (otherwise known as the dummy) who shows up. When I give a command for him to put his feet up on a bed, he’ll look at me as if I just spoken to him in Yugoslavian.

Lately though he’s done really well with the “Feet”command where he puts his front paws on a bed to let a patient pet him or to get a closer look at those sweet eyes. If I were to say “Up,” he’ll pogo-stick his entire body up on the bed and while it can be weird endearing sort of, it more often it startles patients, not exactly the kind of practice conducive to healing, now is it?

So after we checked in, I made my preliminary rounds which means stopping by the front desk and saying hello to our friend, Nicole. She’s super adorable, cute as a button with a million watt smile-just the kind of person you’d want greeting visitors at the hospital. Often times, there may be a student volunteer there as well helping out and I know they enjoy Sam’s visits and it gets him ready for the harder work with patients. We also swing by the Gift Shop too since it’s almost always manned by high school student volunteers and the girls absolutely LOVE Sam and he naturally loves their attention.

So imagine my surprise when I gave the “Feet” command and pointed to the counter and Sam popped up like a Jack-in-the-Box with all 4 feet landing on the counter looking quite innocently and pleased with himself. Sweet Nicole laughed and said “oh my, I sure wasn’t expected that!” Naturally, I was horrified by his broad interpretation complete disregard of the command. He’s actually done so well with it lately, it just never occurred to me that he’d completely blow me off, especially around someone he knows.

Yet he wasn’t quite finished being a toad. A few minutes later when we were up on a floor,  I gave the command again (could it be that I’m the numskull here since we’d already had an epic fail downstairs–what was I thinking?). I thought he’d actually put his feet up on the bed for a patient who was very excited to see us. What did that dog do?

IMG_1816You may not be able to tell from this photo but how about full on “Scoot over lady…INCOMING!!” He totally jumped in the middle of her lap. OMG, what is wrong with this doofus? While it’s not specifically against the rules when dogs are invited up onto beds with patients, the key word here is being ‘invited‘. As you can see, she was a very good sport about it, albeit surprised but I was completely embarrassed and horrified. We visited with her for a few more minutes, all the while she kept petting Sam and saying what a sweet face he has and, of course he was eating it up like crazy. No doubt in his smug mind pea sized brain, I’m pretty sure he was subconsciously sticking his tongue out at me and thinking “Ha, ha so there–give me a bath will you!” He pretty much did the same thing to a guy we visited shortly thereafter but that guy so missed his own dog, I don’t think he realized that Sam was being a brat. Course, he did casually mention that Sam was kind of nudging him over to the far edge of the bed (OH MY GOD, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THAT DOG?!). We joked about that (I tried desperately not to totally wig out choke the life out of that miscreant therapy dog) and then Sam and I left to visit with patients, visitors and Sam’s favorite nurses over at hospice. Ever since though, I’ve been trying to decide whether or not Sam is deaf…or dumb.

Then again after several days of reflection, I’m wondering if there isn’t a very fine line between being dumb and being stubborn. Now to just figure out which one that dingbat dog is because he clearly hears me open a package of cheese from the fridge no matter where he is at in the house, so we can probably rule out his being deaf! 😉

Live, love, bark! <3


30 thoughts on “Deaf or Dumb?

  1. Great post. Totally love the use of the strikeouts to give the reader an visual version of “oh, did I say that with my out loud voice?”… For what it’s worth, at least you’re trying and I’m sure Sam is too. Whether you and Sam stay the course or not I’m sure the patients appreciate your efforts and will always remember this wonderfully goofy dog named Sam.

  2. It’s called “selective hearing” — they hear what they want to hear, when they want to hear it. Callie is the same way. I even had the vet check her ears/hearing a few weeks ago to be sure. After all, she IS eleven years old now and a true senior. I didn’t want to accuse her unjustly of being like her father and grandfather (my Dad, not hubby’s). But, she is just like both of them.

    The problem with dogs is that they are smart enough to act dumb. 🙂

  3. Sounds like Sam is having a blast pushing boundaries again. That dog cracks me up but I imagine you were less than amused by the new therapy ‘technique’ he wanted to try. Better luck next time! 🙂

  4. It’s not that our favorite Muppet is deaf or dumb. He’s simply vindictive with a long memory of that bath experience. While bathing him, did you not look deeply into his eyes and see the clear message “I will remember this human, and you will pay. Not now, not tomorrow, but when it will embarrass you the most.”

    Paybacks’ a beech.

    1. I don’t know if Sam’s really smart enough to logically think the vindictiveness thing out, perhaps DNA & instinct kicked in and it came out…”maybe not now, not tomorrow, but…” I reckon Max is one not to trifle with either when it comes to baths. 😉

  5. Love dear Sam, he did brighten up the patients’ day, didn’t he? Loved the way you have written this piece. Laughed ao much….Sam is adorable. Big hugs to you both

  6. I think Sam is playing to his audience. Getting a laugh and attention is more important than obedience any day.

  7. Our pups always know how to put on a show when there are others around. I think we’ve all had our fair share of red-faced moments – comes with the territory. I’m sure the legend of Sam will spread plenty of smiles when the patients share the story, so that’s worth something.

  8. It could be that the smell of a hospital overwhelms his brain, it does mine.
    I think it’s good of him to at least step into the place. He likely knows what people need intuitively. Therapy dogs know when a seizure is coming…. he knows they needed a surprise to remember and focus on the rest of their boring pain filled day! Good for Sam! And I can feel his loving spirit from here, so he’s making decisions not just obeying… around here that’s the norm.
    Oh and Cole somehow the other night, heard me open the dried cherries bag, while Cole was out back on the porch with the sliding door closed. Bing, there he was looking in and wagging!

    Really?? When I say no! you can’t hear me? When I say stop pulling the leash?
    LEeAnna at not afraid of color

  9. I’ve always had dogs who could develop convenient cloth ears….but I hadn’t connected it with revenge until reading this post!

    The older dogs are taking the puppies in hand…their idea being that if they can’t do it they are blowed if the puppies can.
    So we have the spectacle of the poodle hassling the pair to the back door to be pushed out for a pee; Black Tot barging them away from our feet at mealtimes….

  10. I can tell you know if was the patient i would be thrilled however i can see where not everyone would be 🙂 bless him..he sure does dance ti his own tune..and i must confess i kinda like that 😉 hugs to you both for making me smile 🙂 Bev xx

  11. Our Ray most certainly has selective hearing so perhaps it is a canine trait (perhaps learned over the years from humans?). We have often explained it away with “he was focused on that squirrel” which may/may not have been a reasonable conclusion. I am however now thinking that our be loved Ray has “selective focusing” skills………… so it appears convincing when he chooses not to hear us!

  12. Monika, I can so relate to what you write. A week ago, I Googled dogs with learning difficulties (or somehting less politically correct) and that mentioned stubborn dogs and also I guess dogs who think they’re the boss.
    Our Lady has been quite a slow learner. She is half Border Collie and half Cavalier and I have no doubt which half populated her brain and personality. It’s taken us 6 months to train her to chase the ball. She no longer jumps up on the kitchen table pinching food but she has “trained” Bilbo to be more audacious.
    I also have similar concerns about our kids…especially with selective deafness as well as getting those neuropathways switched over.

  13. Deaf or Dumb? I think Sam is secretly brilliant! He knows you won’t reprimand him in front of patients. That dog is crazy smart 🙂

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