12.

Mr Bear and I had become even closer after Sarah
died. After I retired and moved to my son's house
Mr Bear and I were together all day every day.
Being this close, day and night, I found that Mr Bear
had a lot more strange behaviors than even I knew
about.

I bought a big pillow for him to sleep on and I
positioned it near my bed. Then I placed a soft
blanket beside the pillow and a scratching mat
next to that. He immediately accepted the new
bed as his own space. The scratching mat was
something new and he immediately began to
use it.

I know that many dogs 'scratch up' their bed
when they are going to lie down but Mr Bear
takes it to the extreme and he's very vocal while
doing it. He jumps in the middle of his bed
and begins scratching with his front paws while
girrring until he is finished. I've watched him
at home, in motels, when visiting friends
overnight, in the van - anywhere he is going
to make his bed, and it's always the same. He
attacks it like he's mad at it and scratches and
girrrs until it's suitable.

Mr Bear does something else that I think is so
cute. At night when it's bedtime and I call him
in, he goes to his bed to lie down. I always leave
my shoes on the floor beside my bed because
when I turn off the light, he leaves his bed and
lies down on the floor beside my bed and uses
my shoes for a pillow. If I move his bed to that
location, he won't sleep on it. He wants to go
to bed on his own bed, in its own location,
then move to my bedside when its time to go
to sleep.

Ever since he was a little puppy he has
had some strange habits including scratching
and making strange sounds while doing it. He
lies belly up with his legs reaching skyward
and beats his rump on the ground
while wiggling his whole body and making
strange growling sounds. It causes people to
stop and watch. When he first started doing this
I thought he might be having some kind of
spasms. But if I call, "Mr Bear" he immediately
stops and stands up so I know it's not some
sort of mad dog fit. He just scratches his back
that way. He also scratches his chin and head by
rubbing them on a carpet. He hums, 'ummmm,
ummmm, ummmm, ummmm,' while rubbing
his whole head on the carpet from side to side
and all around his chin back and forth. He also
lies on his stomach with his back feet spread out
and with his front paws be pulls forward and
then he bounces back to his original position;
this scratches his stomach and all the while, he
makes 'wrowow, wrowow, wrowow,' noises.

Usually when we visit someone, he enters the house,
goes to the center of the room and does some
sort of dance while chasing his tail around
and around and around first in one direction
then in reverse direction. This always brings
smiles and comments from anyone who sees it.

Once, I had an appointment with my MD at
1:30 PM. The weather forecast predicted 93
degrees for the afternoon and I knew I couldn't
take Mr Bear with me in the van. I hate to leave
him home alone and I know he expects to be in
the van whenever it moves. I also knew the van
would be as hot as an oven in just a few minutes
after I turned off the air-conditioning. What to do?
I decided to slip away from him.

Early in the morning while he was sleeping, I
slipped outside and moved the van from it's
parking area near my door to a place near the
street. This was fifty feet or more away from
my door. When I came back to my room, he was
standing there, looking out the door, which
faces away from the driveway. I acted as if
nothing had happened and to change the subject,
I gave him a couple of dog bones and I sat
down at my computer as usual. Later in the
morning I laid out my street clothes, then I
sat down at my computer again as if nothing
unusual was happening. Next, I got my shower,
put on some of my street clothes, and again,
I pretended to work at my computer. Each time
I got up to do something, Mr Bear would raise
his head and look around and then relax and
go back to sleep. I quietly took my billfold
and checkbook from their drawer and slipped
them in my back pockets. Then I quietly took
the pocket change from its resting place and put
it in my pocket. I had three or four more tasks
to quietly perform before I could leave so I
laid out my plans.

I had to walk across the room to get my van keys.
Mr Bear knows the jingle of keys means "go" so
I knew this would be a critical event. I pocketed
my keys without even the slightest jingle.
Mr Bear continued to sleep. I decided to make
my exit through another door which I never use
when going outside. I placed my briefcase
outside that door, then my coffee thermos and
my cellphone. Mr Bear continued to sleep. I set
the TV on CNN and adjusted the volume to a
comfortable level. At last, all was ready for
me to make my exit. I sat down at the computer
and wrote a couple of Emails just to make things
sound normal to a sleeping dog who had his radar
ears turned up on high detect. Ok. Time to go.

I slipped through my exit door, gathered up my
cache of traveling stuff, and quietly made
my way outside.
I got my van moving and it quietly rolled over
the gravel driveway and up the street. When I
was about half a block from the house, I began
my normal driving routine. Whew! I made it.
Now Mr Bear would be comfortable and sleep all
afternoon with the sound of CNN assuring him
that all was normal. It turned out that I was
gone six hours. The waiting room was full and
it was four hours before the MD even saw me. When
I went back to the van it was 126 degrees inside,
parked in the shade, under a tree. Wow! Mr Bear
wouldn't have survived in that heat. When I
returned home, Mr Bear greeted me at the door
with a question: Where have you been without me?
I stooped down, gave him a big hug and gently
stroked his fur as I told him,
"Mr Bear, you just wouldn't understand."

12.
============================

Mr Bear helping me study.
He didn't like a bath but loved the grooming.
Waiting for warm air.
They found me!
Mr Bear and Mac loved to ride.
Bath time! They won't find me here.
It wasn't serious.
A favorite picture. My sweet old Mr Bear.
Mr Bear, always the center of attention.
This is Page 12.
aaaaaaaaaaaaiii