"Just Luke" I said and her ears dropped. Yay, she completely understands now. I was going through my normal morning routine which Elsa has known for eons. She figures out routine way too fast for her own good. But this morning was one of the "different" mornings. I really wanted to take Luke out on his own. He is slowing down and taking his time; making it more difficult to walk both Elsa and Luke together. It is good for both of them and me as well. I get to enjoy everything about each one as an individual; not that I don't enjoy them as a pair. They are after all a pretty adorable pair. Any hoo, it was one of those "just Luke," days.
Every second of the day Elsa watches me like a hawk; morning time is walk time, especially in the summer. She watches my every move; constantly anticipating the sock move. She knows whats coming and doesn't leave my side. When I reach the top of the stairs, her eyes are glued on mine. As I take the first step down the steps she is already at the bottom spinning. So I tell her then; before she gets too excited "just Luke." Every molecule of her being sinks. Her ears go down and she gets her "did I hear you correctly?" face on. I tell her again so that she is perfectly clear, "just Luke." The degree of her understanding is amazing. Her whole reaction is complete realization.
Luke also understands and his ears perk up. I've been using the "just" term for years and years. It always precedes someone's name. I use to use it much more often when there were three and then four dogs in the house. Now that there are only two I don't use it quite as often. But even using it very infrequently; Elsa has got it like everything else she gets. She clearly knew what I said this morning and when I went to the garage door she was not chomping at the bit. She knew she wasn't going and stood to the side; allowing Luke to go out the door without any hindrance.
Not only does she understand what "just Luke," means; she is much better with the whole idea of "just Luke." She use to come quite unglued being left at home. Of course she'd rather not be left but she is fine with it which is so very important. We had a few life issues in her first year with us that sort of put the, being left at home alone on the back burner. With the loss of Jessie and then Tilley just three weeks later Luke suffered from some separation issues in Connecticut and then again when we returned to California. When we arrived back home in Southern California and to our old house; I am sure that Luke thought they'd be here. When they were nowhere in sight he had a few issues to deal with once again. Sad but part of life and we got through it.
So not only is Elsa good with being left alone; Luke can also be left alone now. It is so very important. If you have multiple dogs and are not doing alone time, you need to start.