Two years ago I wrote a post about Festus entitled “My boy turns 8: 8 things you didn’t know about him”, here is the link if you want to read it.
Today I’m sharing 10 more things about him. He is so precious to me and I was so happy to celebrate his birthday, singing happy birthday to him (a few times, he loves that, sits and wags his tail).
1. Festus loves party poppers.
Before the NYE last year we got some party poppers. We knew he was not bothered at all by loud noises like fireworks and that he tries to steel the cork each time my husband opens a bottle of Champagne or Prosseco. I popped one to see if he gets scared and he was indifferent. So, on NYE we popped them, without anticipating how excited Festus will get. He was running around the house trying to catch the paper confetti. He was hilarious. So, for his birthday, I got two packs for him. We played with one the day before his birthday and with the other one on his birthday. We left the grass uncut so we would see the paper easily and pick it afterwards. After that we played with him and he loved it.
Enjoy a couple more pictures of him with the party poppers. He was interested in eating them, and I managed to snatch all of them from his mouth, before he could, accidentally, ingest one.
2. He remembers what face cream I’m using.
I noticed this when I was trying lots of cream samples. On the days I opened a new one, he would sniff my face very curious. This happened again and again for those two weeks when I was going through all the samples I had. After that I’ve paid attention to him, to see if he knows if I used a new cream. He knows. On the first day I apply a new cream, he will sniff my face. He doesn’t do that the next day.
3. He recognizes the voices of Tony Horton and David Attenborough.
Why he does that is easy to explain. When my husband and I were exercising at home instead of at the gym like we did this year, Festus learned what he had to do when Tony was on TV. He had to stay in his place, on his doggie bed and relax. Soon he was snoring 5 minutes into our workout.
With David Attenborough it was different. Festus realized quite fast that after he starts to speak a lot of interesting animals appear on the screen. It doesn’t matter if the documentary is about insects, wolfs, or dolphins, he is just as excited to see them. Remember the pictures with him from last month?
4. Festus likes watching TV.
He was watching dog shows since we was a 3 months old puppy, when we got him from the breeder. Because he sees so many animal related documentaries, he understands that the things that move are animals even though they don’t smell like an animal does. Festus distinguishes between predator and prey and gets angry at the predator, barking at TV if the situation gets too serious. He, obviously, doesn’t like big cats. In a TV show he was paying attention to bark exactly at the lion, and that can be difficult for him with a running animal on the screen. But it is entertaining for us.
5. He figured out what mirrors do.
When he was a puppy he was puzzled by the mirrors, thinking there was another dog hidden on the other side of it. He soon discovered that we are not in the mirror, but that is a reflection of us. I’m not sure how he managed to understand this because I’m pretty surprised by this myself. Anyway, he knows to look in the mirror when he is downstairs to see me when I talk with him from the upstairs landing, he is not trying to look up because he knows he will not see me. Or, when we are in the bedroom he will look at us in the full-length mirror.
Few animals can recognize themselves in the mirror and dogs aren’t on that list (our cousins the chimpanzees, dolphins, elephants, and magpies can). It is fascinating, especially for someone with my background.
6. The cats are on the fence.
In the last five years of us living here, Festus has seen lots of cats, actually only a handful of cats, but lots of times, on the fences between us and our neighbours. Without expecting him to remember, we asked him once if he remembers Chubbchubbs*, our cat from Romania. He has not seen Chubbchubbs in 8 years more or less, so we didn’t think he would remember. But he did, he looked at us focused before checking for a long time if, by chance, Chubbchubbs is on the fence. He also remembers Schrödinger, our guest. He looks for the cat in the kitchen and on the sofa in the conservatory.
*Curious to know why we named the cat Chubbchubbs? After seeing this cartoon on youtube we had to name our cat that name.
7. He sleeps in the bedroom.
When he is home alone he picks the place he is going to sleep in based on how tired he is. Kitchen if is hot and he is not too tired. Living room if the temperature is ok for him and, again, if he is not too tired. But, if he is tired after a long morning growling at the postmen and barking at delivery guys, he will treat himself with a nap in the bedroom. There he doesn’t have to guard the house and he gets his beauty sleep. If he is very tired and we get home, he will look at us from the upstairs landing, wagging his tail, hopping probably that we will decide to join him and sleep all together.
8. Guarding is in his nature.
When we got him he was 3 months old. The following week we had him on the back seats of the car when we went to pick up a friend. Festus barked at him, surprising all of us. He was a silly pup, who would have imagined he can guard. Considering his size (15kg at 3 months, going up to 30kg at 5 months), we never had the opportunity to teach him that everybody who is invited in the car should be accepted. As you can easily imagine, our friends weren’t exactly keen on volunteering to be barked at. Instead he had to be the last one in the car. He was not bothered by people and dogs which were already in the car, but would bark at anybody wanting to get in afterwards.
Once he barked his breeder because he was in the car and the breeder besides the car, but was very happy to see him when he was out of the car. He licked him and wanted to play with him. The car is a different thing though, needs protection even from people you happen to know.
9. Postman/delivery guy means going into the kitchen.
Continuing on the same theme of guarding, I’m going to share some funny thing he does at home. Festus growls or barks at anybody that comes near the front door, but, if that person stays there he will continue to bark while, at the same time, going into the kitchen. He knows that we close the kitchen door before opening the front door to get the package. It’s hilarious and also very useful. This way I don’t have to go to pick up the mail from the porch exactly when the postman brings it, and so I can finish to do what I’m doing before seeing what we received.
On top of that, if is not a delivery guy, but the person checking our metre readings, Festus is already in the kitchen and the person can come in feeling safe. That’s another funny thing, because Festus barks at people coming to our door, but the situation changes if we let them in. Some tradesmen don’t feel very keen in entering the house when they hear his deep voice.
10. One is never too old to play.
He is still as excited about play as he was 9 and a half years ago, as you could see from the pictures dotted around the post. He would play as many times as he can and gets excited if we say something to him about playing.