Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Double decker dogs

Did you ever love someone so much that you just couldn't get close enough to them?
I don't know who's more adorable in this photo, Miss Polly with her anxious little head stacked on top of Georgie, or Georgie with his block head tilted to the side so that a slice of sunshine falls on it.

False Alert

Early this morning, as I was stumbling around trying to assemble myself for the day, the dogs went into Red Alert mode. This happens maybe a dozen times a day, so I didn't pay much attention at first, but the leaping and hollering went on and on. When questioned, the dogs claimed that the front yard was teeming with 16 English Setters, 41 cats, 312 rabbits, 4003 moles, and 3 fire-breathing dragons. So I went out on the front porch to investigate the source of all the noise and commotion. Nothing. Not even a single hummingbird. Jinx says that it was his comrades' loud warning that drove the invaders off, but I'm thinking these dogs have vivid imaginations.

Mr. Happy

Jinx is recovering after a long, hard day of Border Patrol duty.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Busy, busy, busy

Now that spring is well-entrenched, we’ve had long, exhausting days (illustrated here) filled with gardening (Mr. P.), digging (dogs), mouse-catching (Mr. Smoky), butterfly-catching (Miss Kitty), and bra-fitting (Miss Jean). The once velvety green of our small back yard is now a barren wasteland of mud, dust, sticks, and leaves. This stuff gets tracked into the house endlessly, where it mixes with dog hair into an endless sea of ordure. I put the dogs out, do a blitz of dust/sweep/mop and enjoy the relative cleanliness for about 3 minutes or until the dogs insist on coming in again, whichever comes first.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The 4 P's

As posted earlier, Tuesday begins with T, and therefore it's Teddy Day. But much of our life with the dogs consists of P's. The Four P's are:

1. Poop
2. Piddle
3. Puke
4. Pets

Tuesday is Teddy Day

I grew up in New England, where Wednesday was Prince Spaghetti Day. This week I issued a royal proclamation: Tuesday is Teddy Day.

Teddy was very timid and anxious as a small pup. When I put him on the floor to exercise with his brothers and sisters, he howled pitifully until I put him back in the dog bed. The other pups wanted to explore their world. Not Teddy. Meg would climb the walls of the bed and escape to make mischief, with Jinx and Berry at her heels. Not Teddy. No, he said, I don't want to leave my bed. I don't want to go to school. I don't want to leave home, ever.

Eventually we noticed that Patch (the mom) was picking on Teddy a lot, nipping his butt, growling at him, and generally giving him rough treatment compared to the way she treated the other 3 pups. Mr. P., who is a very wise man, told me not to worry about it, that this was Patch's way of "bringing Teddy along."
I guess it worked, because Teddy is a fearless fellow now, but his early behavior haunts him. We call him Teddy the Dweeb as well as awful names I won't repeat here (always in a loving tone, mind you - my mom used to be able to get her dachsunds wagging their tails by lovingly reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to them). All the dogs pester us for attention and affection, but when Teddy is pesting me, I tell him, "It's a good thing Grammy loves you, because no one else does. The kids at school laugh at you and steal your lunch money. No one likes you because you're homely and your feet stink and your breath smells like poop." Teddy regards me seriously while I tell him this, occasionally wagging his tail as if to indicate that he's paying close attention.
Yesterday during one of these conversations, I heard myself saying, "Teddy gets extra love and attention today, because it's Tuesday, and Tuesday is Teddy Day." And this afternoon when he put his front paws on my leg and nosed my arm (while I was trying to type), I said, "Go away, Teddy. This is Wednesday. Today is not Teddy Day. You'll have to wait until next week."
You won't be surprised to hear that Teddy wasn't put off by that at all.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Don't Forget...

Last week I had minor surgery (although it sure didn't seem minor at the time, or even now, come to think of it), so I didn't work. I earned a $10 advance on a custom art collage project, and that was it. This past weekend the weather here started getting hot and after a day or two we realized that our 7-yr-old central air conditioning was just not working. Bad news, especially in hot weather, but the good news is that the unit came with a 10-year parts warranty. The A/C guy finally came out to look at it, said the motor had seized up, but it's an unusual size so they'd have to order it. After a lot of nagging, he came back with a new motor, but it was the wrong size.

Today I went back to work, thankful to be earning a few bucks in an airconditioned store. When I got home, I called the A/C place. Bad news. They had a hard time finding the correct motor and it won't be in until early next week. Then Mr. P. came home with the mail, which included a magazine from Reelfoot Animal Hospital with a photo of Cloris Leachman and a little fluffy dog wearing a hairstyle like hers. I loved Cloris Leachman back in her Mary Tyler Moore Days, but I'm way, way past little fluffy dogs. And I was not happy to see the reminder note on the outer wrap: "Don't forget, Jinx is due for the following:" (long list of vaccinations and exams - ka ching, ka ching, ka ching) and "Berry, Meg and Teddy are also due for a visit. Please contact our office for details." The only detail that concerns me is getting enough tranquilizers for Meg and me.

Where are we going to find the money for all this, I ask you? The pups are old enough now to get jobs, a paper route or lifeguarding job or delivering burgers to the drive-up customers at Sonic. But no, they lounge around all day long, eating us out of house and home, while Cloris Leachman shops for fluffy dog hair bows on Rodeo Drive. Or somewhere like that.

Another article in this magazine is entitled: Living with Multiple Pets. To quote: "Sharing a home with more than one pet comes with certain challenges. Here are the solutions you need."
Can't wait to read that one.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hi, my name is Polly!

If you've ever been to a conference, whether related to your job, or your hobby, or your church, you've had to wear an ID badge that says: HI! MY NAME IS (fill in the blank)!
I once saw a cartoon in the New Yorker that showed a conference of dogs, all wearing little signs on their tails that said, HI! MY NAME IS TAFFY! and HI! MY NAME IS SPOT! and so on.
The idea of dogs sniffing each others' butts in order to say hello and catch up on the gossip is hilarious to humans who go through a similar ritual with air-kisses and finger-squeezes. Now that we have so many dogs, we can observe this sniffed greeting dozens of times throughout the day. It doesn't matter if the dog has been separated from the pack for 5 minutes or 5 hours, they go through the sniff ritual.
Except for Polly. Maybe it's because she's so short (I can sympathize with that) and just can't reach the bigger dogs' butts, or maybe because she has found a different vocation. Polly checks ears, not butts. While the other dogs stuff their snouts into each others' anus, Polly waits patiently until they plop down on the floor, giving her access to their more fascinating appendages...their ears. Then she sticks her little snout into the ears and thoroughly licks them. It may be that she somehow gets the gossip this way, or it may be that she just likes the taste of ear wax (hard to imagine). A side benefit of this ritual is that the dog whose ear is being licked (the lickee) is soothed almost into a coma by the licking. His eyes close, his mouth forms a dreamy smile, he leans a bit closer towards Polly...aaah! It's heaven on earth!