Tag Archives: dogs

Another Visit With Yard Guy

To refresh my readers, and introduce him to my new readers, Yard Guy (aka Tom) is a recurring character in my world, and is the subject of my post “Redneck Environmentalism”.

Tom works for a body shop, but has a lawn mowing business on the side.  His mother lives around the corner from me, and here is how we first became acquainted:  On several visits to his mother to mow her lawn, he noticed I had a Camaro sitting in my driveway for about two months.  And he wanted it.  So over the fence in the back yard one day, his mother asked me what what I was asking for it.  I told her the engine was dead, and he really might want to rethink the whole idea.

At that point I would have been happy to have someone pay to tow it out of my driveway.  Well, not happy, exactly.  I loved that car.  Hard to explain how you can have such an attachment to a mechanical object.  Especially a dead one.  But the fact was that coming home every day to see it dead in the driveway was prolonging the misery.  Still, I was very honest with my neighbor.  And other than the engine, ha ha, there was nothing else wrong with it other than that it was 14 years old.  It had a new clutch, a new windshield, a new radiator, and relatively new tires.  It had a few cosmetic issues–like the edge of the driver’s side seat was frayed, the passenger side visor had snapped off, the cigarette lighter didn’t work, and the backup lights didn’t work.  All things you could live with–there was just that one small annoying problem with the engine.

But Tom came to see me anyway, and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  He said he would take care of my lawn for the entire summer season (March through October), if I would give him the car.  That’s about an $800 value, which is the pretty much the maximum I could have gotten for the car IF it was running.  No brainer–I was definitely coming out on top in that deal.  Since that time, which began in March 2009, I’ve gotten to know Tom fairly well.  And Tom leads and has led an interesting life.  And because he has a quirky family, he somehow always ends up in the middle of some drama not of his own making.

So this morning, he arrived early to mow his mother’s lawn, while it was still cool and hadn’t started raining yet.  No sooner does he unload the mower than his mother says, I need you to take a ride with me across town to pick up “Mary” (his sister’s son’s wife).  “She’s having a panic attack in the parking lot of Target and her two kids are with her”.  Tom is just rolling his eyes, but he goes.

I learned that since the last time I saw him, his little dog Patches died.  I kind of guessed that, because the last time he was here, although we didn’t talk, I saw that Patches wasn’t with him, and had she been able, she would have been.  Patches was a white Chihuahua with apricot patches.  She was 19, and mostly blind and mostly deaf.  He would try to leave her in the truck, but that didn’t ever work.  She would become hysterical.

Tom had to be within Patches’ sight or hearing at all times.  So he would let her out of the truck and she would follow him around.  She was always smart enough to stay out of the way of the mower.  But as her sight and hearing worsened (and probably her cognitive abilites), she would wander off and get lost.  So it has always been a neighborhood effort to keep track of Patches when Tom is around.  No more.

Finally, I caught Tom this morning while he was still in my front yard to say that if he was going to do the back yard too (sometimes he has to split it up), to be careful, because there was a turtle out there.  I happened to look out my kitchen window this morning to see it creeping along on its mysterious mission.  Tom said, “Don’t worry.  It will be fine until I run over it with the mower”.  We both laughed heartily at that.  (Remember Redneck Environmentalism.)  Tom would never hurt a turtle on purpose–which is why I wanted him to know it was out there.

I suggested that when he left he could put it in his truck and take it to the lake nearby.  Oh no, he said.  I think we should leave it where it lives, and let it find its own way in life.  See why I like Tom?

Pippin the Beast

These days, Pippin is a lot less beastly than he used to be.  I don’t know if it’s that he’s just gotten older (he’s a little older than 11), or if it’s just finally dawned on him that it’s in his best interests to do what he’s told.  That took long enough.  Whatever qualities you may see in a Basenji (or in his case, a Basenji mix), learning quickly is not one of them.

I’ve posted about this before, but according to the great book The Intelligence of Dogs, Basenjis rank second only to Chows, if I recall correctly, as the “least trainable dog”.

Wikipedia has a great article about Basenjis.  Even if I didn’t know Pippin was a Basenji mix, I could have figured it out just from this article.  Basenjis “dislike wet weather”, “like to climb and can easily get over chain wire fences”, and groom themselves like cats.  They can stand on their hind legs, like Meerkats.  You couldn’t come up with a better description of Pippin if you painted a picture.  On the disliking wet weather part, Pippin will absolutely not go outside if the grass is wet, since he might get his precious little paws wet.  Meanwhile, as long as it isn’t thundering, the Doberman will barrel out, even if it’s pouring rain.

The occasion is that this morning, I needed to get something from my car.  Pippin was right there at the gate to the fence, and I said “Stay”.  And he did.  When I came back, he was still there, and I said “Get back”.  And he did.  It’s hard to explain what a miracle that was.  Two miracles in a row, even.

It used to be that Pippin was a darter.  Given any tiny window of escape, he was off and running.  (Not that he couldn’t have climbed the fence if he really wanted to).

My favorite story about Pippin is, many years ago, I took him and my then-Rottweiler with me to visit a friend in Jacksonville.  We stopped at a rest stop somewhere near Lake City.  A large and very beautiful one, as rest stops go.  I let them roam for a while (on a leash of course) and then went to buy a bottle of water from a machine.  I was holding the leashes in my left hand while I put my dollar in the machine, when suddenly the weight on my left hand seemed lighter.  I looked down, and I’m holding one Rottweiler, and an empty collar.  I never even felt him wriggle out of the collar.  They are quite stealthy.

Pippin was nowhere to be seen.  I was deathly afraid that he would run out in front of one of the semi trucks in the parking lot.  So I walked the Rottweiler around some more, and eventually Pippin showed up out of nowhere and started trotting along beside us.  But every move I made in his direction caused him to dart away again. I was stumped.  What to do?

I finally decided I would leave him, and continue to Jacksonville.  Then I would call the authorities to go and find him and capture him.  As soon as I opened the car door, Pippin again appeared like a flash of lightning from nowhere and jumped in the back seat.  Happily grinning and panting, like This was fun, can we do it again?  Somehow I managed to keep from killing him.

I don’t think he would do that these days. But I’m not taking any chances.

Reading With Fakename: White Fang

Recently, I reread Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild”, which I first read at about 12 years old, and this week I reread “White Fang”, which I first read at about the same age.  They are more or less companion pieces.  In the introduction to the copy of the combined books I got from  the library, Abraham Rothberg says that White Fang could be called “The Call of the Tame”.  The first book is about a dog named Buck, who is stolen from his comfortable home in California and sent to the Yukon, where, after a series of unfortunate experiences, he reverts to the wild and runs with a wolf pack. 

In White Fang, Fang is a wolf/dog mix…3/4 wolf and 1/4 dog, who is born in the wild.  After a series of…you guessed it…unfortunate experiences, he settles down with the man who rescued him on a big spread…in California.  Fang has a lot to learn there, such as Don’t Eat The Chickens.    Who knew that was wrong? 

As interesting as the books  are, Jack London himself is quite a story.  He was born in 1876 and died in 1916 at the age of 40, possibly by suicide but that is in great dispute now.  Among other things, he was, as the Eagles’ song says, brutally handsome.  In his day, he was considered a great adventurer and a great adventure writer.  I wonder what he would think about the fact that in the library, you can only find his books in the “Youth” section, not in “Adult Fiction”.

“Call” was first published in 1903, and “Fang” in 1906.  They are both very depressing and full of savagery and misunderstandings.  I am amused by the fact, however, that they are considered “suitable” for young readers.  White Fang is beaten half to death, and must fight every minute to survive.  But.  At the end, White Fang is installed in California where a female sheepdog named Collie, already a resident, is his chief torturer.  Only one day, Collie suddenly becomes friendly and draws him into the woods, where they frolic as friends.  Miraculously, Collie ends up with puppies.  (Note to Self:  Spend more time in the woods.)

Where are we going wrong in terms of what we let children read?

It’s astonishing to realize that “Call” was published 107 years ago, and “Fang” 103 years ago.  And yet those books are still mesmerizing and don’t seem outdated at all.  Maybe only to some extent in how more of us treat dogs.  But conditions in that part of the world are much the same, and the lives of men and dogs are still primitive.  All you have to do to recognize that is watch an episode of Ice Road Truckers.

In White Fang, London does an amazing job of speculating what is going on in White Fang’s head as he learns first to protect himself, then to protect his “master”, as well as himself.  He learns that you Do Not Eat The Chickens, which he initially takes as Don’t Eat Things That Are Alive.  Then he learns that jackrabbits don’t count, so he adjusts.  He learns to make subtle distinctions. 

Here is a biography of Jack London on Wiki.  I sort of wish I had known him, then again, I am sort of glad I didn’t.  But I for sure would have liked to know the imaginary White Fang.  I leave you with the brutally handsome and doomed Jack London: 

Reading With Fakename: The Summer Guest

Last weekend I was entirely too quick to dismiss this novel by Justin Cronin, although I did give him credit for a great quote.  When describing the camp in Maine where the action takes place, one of the main characters says, “It has the pure beauty of having been forgotten”.

It was a hard book to warm to, because Cronin bit off somewhat more than most writers can chew.  Not that he was any worse at it than anyone else.  The deal is, there is a cast of characters, and each chapter tells a part of the story from that person’s viewpoint.  In the end, Cronin did a remarkable job of that.  Too often, the “other” characters are anemic versions of, and lack separation from the main character–and you can always tell which one that is, even if the writer tries to fool you by starting with someone else first. 

It’s an artifice I’m not fond of, and I feel the same way about books told in letters, such as The Color Purple.  In the beginning, it’s very distracting.  I hate having to switch mental gears, and trying to keep track of characters I don’t even “know” yet. 

Shortly after the quote I mentioned, Harry talks about the loss of his infant son Sam.  He says that it’s said that most marriages don’t survive the loss of a child, but in his case, he and his wife Meredith continued to love each other, it’s just that they did so with broken hearts.  That one sentence could have been a book in itself.  That was great writing.  But immediately after that, and not by accident, Harry talks about his dog Ritzy. 

“I had a dog once–what a dog he was!  A retriever with something else mixed in, a breed that liked to work and herd:  Australian shepherd, maybe, or collie.  I named him Mauritz.  Hal [Harry’s younger son] called him Ritzy, and it stuck.  Ritzy the dog.  A steadfast member of the team, as relentless as a metronome:  Meredith joked that he would have taken a job bagging groceries at the corner market if only he’d had hands.  I loved him, as one can only love such a dog; but I also knew what he was.  Behind his eyes, twin chestnuts of the most tender soulfulness, lay, encased in its suitcase of bone, a brain that knew nothing at all of time or sorrow or even the true joy that sorrow makes possible–only its own desire to please, an aching, needful love that could achieve its fullest commitment with the most meager offering:  a stale biscuit, a walk around the block to do his business, a pat on his golden head.  His own existence, its nature and finitude, was a mystery to him; he might have thought he was a person, or else I was a dog.  The day I took him the vet to have him put down–he was thirteen, his hips so bad he could barely walk to his bowl–I could think of only this to say:  ‘You have been a good dog, and a great comfort to me, and I thank you.’  It was all he wanted to hear.  I’d never wished so badly to be the dog he thought I was.”

It’s a convenient story we tell ourselves, that animals have no consciousness of mortality and I completely dispute that.  They may not waste their healthy youths arguing about existentialism, but when it gets down to that time, they know.  The point of this passage was not really the death of Harry’s dog.  It was about all he could think of to say in the end.  That was the takeaway.

Famous People In History: Ivan Pavlov

There’s a certain logic to why I’ve chosen this particular person to highlight, but I would not recommend you try to follow that logic since it exposes you to the danger of thinking like Fakename does.

However, it started with my thinking about eating dogs, which I posted about yesterday, and progressed to thinking about dog behavior, particularly my own, whom I will never eat.  Well, unless I find myself in some post-apocalyptic situation, then all bets are off.  I was thinking about the concept of what I call “accidental learning”, where dogs learn stuff you wish they hadn’t. 

In my case, the dogs have learned to associate my shutting down the computer with food.  First, the computer makes that Windows sound…”Dah dah dah…dah dah” (fade….).  This means that I will likely be standing up, and if I’m standing up, there is a greater chance that I will be somewhere near the food container, and that some of that food will end up in their bowls.  Thus, when they hear the Windows sound, they start dancing.  Very, very annoying. 

This led me to think about Pavlov and his bell.  See?  I warned you not to try to follow this. 

I admit that the only thing I could remember about Pavlov had to do with bells and dogs, but there is so much more to him, as I learned from the Wikipedia entry about Pavlov’s life.

First, it seems there was some controversy about whether or not he actually ever used a bell.  (And you thought Fakename spends too much time contemplating subjects from the Who Cares? category.) 

So the judgement of history is this:  Yes, he did use a bell, but he also used a variety of stimuli including “electric shocks, whistles, metronomes, tuning forks, and a variety of visual stimuli”.  If only Pavlov had had Windows.  It would have saved him a lot of time. 

Pavlov won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1904 for his work on how the digestive system functions.  This came from his observation that dogs begin to salivate before they actually have access to food.  This “reflexive” response led him to further experiments, such as an investigation into the response to stress and pain.  I guess I don’t have to tell you how you study that.  The answer is, you have to induce it. 

Which brings us at last to the larger philosophical question, which is, Is this something we really needed to know?  And was it worth causing suffering to helpless creatures to find it out?  Fakename says no, because we already knew it.  Even in Pavlov’s lifetime, anybody with a dog could have told you about that reflexive response thing, even without Windows.  But there was (and possibly still is) a mindset among certain scientists, who believe that a phenomenon isn’t “true” unless it’s described under “controlled conditions”.

There was a time when cosmetics were routinely tested on rabbits, followed by a time when cosmetic companies prominently noted that their products were never tested on animals.  Now you never see those disclaimers, because it’s understood that it doesn’t happen.  If there is a value to inducing pain and stress in other animals, what would that value be? 

Fakename thinks that Pavlov would be perfectly comfortable in today’s world, where we can have an apparently serious national debate about the effectivenes of waterboarding, without regard to its moral implications.

Edgar Sawtelle and The Call of the Wild

I finished The Story of Edgar Sawtelle eight days ago.  When I was done, I was…mad.  I was mad at the characters, mad at the writer.  You know how when you watch those teen slasher movies, and the couple are in this big lonely castle and they just HAVE to go investigate that strange noise in the basement?  And you, in the audience, are screaming, “NO!  Don’t go down there!  How stupid can you be?  Didn’t you see “Rocky Horror Picture Show”?”

Well, Edgar Sawtelle is a lot more subtle than that, but it seems like every time the characters have a choice to make between one course of action and another, they always choose the wrong one.  You can see it, but they can’t.  Remember the classic Greek tragedies?  It’s always either some character flaw (hubris comes to mind) or Fate, which takes them down a road they were destined to travel regardless.  Fate, by the way, is a much scarier concept than character flaws. 

It turns out that it was the writer’s plan to write a tragedy.  In fact, it is almost a retelling of a certain famous play I won’t name, although you can find out which with some diligent Internet searching.  I wouldn’t recommend it if you intend to read the book, since much of the joy in a book is the surprise.  I may in fact have already told you too much, since the characters and events in the book will remind you of something if you remember anything about high school or college literature.  Trust me, you did read this play.   

But in spite of making me mad, the book is a jewel.  It’s well written, and what made me connect to it was the dogs.  The dogs are basically equal characters in the book, and it reminded me of why we humans are so connected to dogs.  In particular there is the family’s one and only “house dog”,  Almondine.  Almondine is the first one to discover that Edgar can’t talk.  She hears a difference in his breathing when he is a baby and alerts Edgar’s mother.  (Edgar is trying to cry, but can’t make a sound.)  From that moment on, she knows that it is her job to protect him, and she is happy to have a job. 

Skip forward to when Almondine is 14 and arthritic.  Edgar has to flee his home (makes the wrong choice, is urged by his mother, has a character flaw, Fate has intervened…you choose)  and doesn’t take his best friend and guardian with him.  Not that she would have survived his punishing travels.  But there is nothing in the book more poignant than Almondine, having searched high and low for him–on the bed, under the bed, behind the refrigerator–and having asked all the objects on their farm where he is, deciding that she must roam a bit herself and ask new objects where he is.  The ones on their farm either don’t know, or aren’t saying. 

The end of the book is…volcanic.  Let’s just say, that for reasons I won’t explain, it made me want to reread Jack London’s The Call of the Wild.  I had to find that in the “junior fiction” section of the library.  I doubt that’s what what Jack London had in mind when he wrote it.  However, I first read the book when I was 11 years old.   Now, re-reading it, I wonder how I could stand it at that age.   It’s brutal.

I’ve read several books in the days since I finished The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, but it haunts me still.

Smart Dogs

I pretty much think “smart dogs” is an oxymoron, like the two most famous ones George Carlin made popular:  “military intelligence” and “jumbo shrimp”.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have three dogs and I love them all, but there are other qualities I love them for.   What those are, I have yet to figure out, but intelligence is not one of them.  Let me tell you how smart my dogs are:  if they were people, they would still be sending money to Bernie Madoff, c/o Federal Penitentiary, USA.  Especially if he had ever patted them on the head once and said, “Good doggie”.

It amazes me that dog owners want to brag about how smart their dogs are.  I mean, the dog does something completely doggish, like stand at the door and bark to go out, and the owners are ready to enroll him in Yale.  It never ceases to amaze me how much people are invested in the intelligence of their dogs, like it’s a reflection on them.  Tying your worth to the intelligence of your dog makes the same kind of sense Grandpa uses to convince himself his manliness is restored by buying a candy-apple red sports car. 

People mistakenly think dogs are smarter than cats, because dogs, allegedly, can be trained.  So let me get this straight.  Why is it such a big accomplishment for a dog to sit on command?  The only thing dogs like better than sitting is lying down.  I picture the cat watching this display of dog “intelligence” and saying to itself, “Would you look at that fool.  He still thinks he’s going to get a treat for that, even though the last time that happened was Tuesday, November 3rd, 1996.”

In the dog v. cat intelligence contest, I submit the following example.  I first caught on to who was smartest when this happened:  in one of the places I used to live, I had a sunroom (aka, “Florida room”, in these parts) where I kept the water bowl that was shared by the dogs and the cats.  When the bowl ran out of water, I would take it to the sink to fill it up.  All the dogs would follow me and stand around panting and salivating, sometimes jumping up to put their front paws on the edge of the sink.  Meanwhile, the cats parked themselves in the Florida room in the exact spot they knew the bowl would be returning to.  I rest my case. 

Just this week I dropped a microscopic piece of chicken on the floor, which was instantly snarfed up by my dog The Beast.  He spent the next hour scouring every corner of the house, growling the whole time at the other two dogs to stay away from the chicken that absolutely must be there somewhere. 

There actually are some “smart” dogs, which I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t actually had one in the past, but even that was relative.  There was a certain absence of creativity in his approach to problem-solving.  His idea of solving a problem was to eat it.  Thankfully, I don’t measure my own intelligence by that of my dogs, which is very fortunate given the dogs I have now.  If I were only as smart as they were, I’d have to sign myself up for Barack Obama’s bowling team. 


Never Ever Wear Fur

PETA has long been on an anti-fur campaign, and some of their ads are rather dumb.  In my case, I used to have a rabbit-fur jacket, and I once borrowed a friend’s mink jacket…which looked really hip with jeans.  But that was in the days before my consciousness was raised, so to speak.  These days, I like my fur to be on the animal that grew it. 

I still get occasional emails from members of the dog rescue group I used to volunteer for, and today’s email included a link to PETA’s website, which talks about Chinese fur farms.  There is a video embedded in the article.  I’m about to post a link to it here, but before I do so, I want to give the strongest warning I can ever give.  The video made me physically ill.  If you click on the link it will not automatically take you to the video.  You’ll still have to click again to see it.  The friend who sent it to me was unable to view it, as the text was horrific enough.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this video must be worth ten thousand. 

Before today, the picture I thought I would never get out of my head, that would haunt me for the rest of my life, was the one in the New York Times of people holding hands and jumping from the World Trade Center on 911.  The photos of the planes hitting the building did not affect me like the ones of the people jumping. 

Who knew, but the Chinese apparently raise dogs for fur, along with minks and rabbits and other of what you would think of as traditional fur animals.  The video is of dogs being skinned alive. 

When I used to live in Iowa, there was always a sheep-shearing contest at the Iowa State Fair, and it was great fun.  The competitors were graded on speed, but also on how cleanly the wool came off.  In other words, you wanted a complete piece, the whole coat of wool, not bits here and there.  They were disqualified if they nicked the penis of a male sheep, which I thought was only fair.  Once it was done, the sheep looked pathetically naked, but they still had their skin.  They can grow new wool.  Watching this video was like watching a sheep-shearing contest in Hell. 

The first dog skinned in this video will be in my nightmares for the rest of my life.  His suffering is finally over.  May he rest in peace…and be reincarnated as a psycho killer who wipes out every person who owns or is employed in the Chinese fur trade.  Sign me up as an accomplice.   

Here’s the link:  http://www.peta.org/feat/ChineseFurFarms/index.asp

Puppy Mills…One Dog’s Tale

Finally.  The Humane Society of the U.S. has finally linked Petland to the sale of puppies bred in puppy mills, like anybody with a shred of sense didn’t know that already.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27822309?GT1=43001

As a former volunteer for a dog rescue group, I’ve seen some horrific things.  Bitches with one eye–and the good eye bleeding and infected and on the way to going blind–but still able to conceive and drop puppies.  The msnbc.com article references another article describing mills where dogs are stacked in wire cages on top of one another, so that the dogs on top are urinating and defecating on top of the dogs (and puppies) below, and into their food. 

The dog I want to remember is Solomon, who was a purebred male Sheltie.  My friend Mark bought him from a “breeder” (read:  puppy mill) when he was 5 years old.  Apparently Solly, as we called him, was losing his oomph.  Solly had lived his entire five years in a cage, let out only into another cage to breed with a female.  He had been debarked–that is a whole other discussion.  I had a problem with it.  Solly could make a sort of whispery sound, but he couldn’t bark like a real dog and summon help if he needed it. 

But once the “breeder” let him go, at a tidy price, Solly was never a happy dog.  He had thyroid issues.  He was terrified of open spaces…not surprising when you’ve lived your whole life in a cage.  Although he could live with them, he was terrified of other dogs, he never had a friend…except for Mark, whom he worshipped.  Also not surprising.  Talk about your knight in shining armor. 

The important thing is, never, ever buy a dog from a pet store.  I’m still thinking about how I feel about buying hamsters and rats and gerbils and guinea pigs from pet stores.  And parrots and parakeets and lizards. 

And while I’m on the subject, I’d like to point out that I’m not the perfect pet owner.  I think I’ve kllled an animal or two or five from neglect and ignorance.  I’m just trying to get better.  My current pack consists of two rescued dogs, a rescued cat, and a dog who is sort of rescued…more like inherited.  Circling around my planet, they’ve had to form a peaceful group, because I insist.  It seems it really isn’t that hard to do.  You have to want that peaceful planet, and not look for a dog or cat because it matches your furniture.  Go forth and find a dog you are truly saving, like my friend Mark saved Solomon.

Weekend Wrapup–Early Edition

Dateline:  Saturday, November 15, 2008. 

Normally the Fakefamily household waits until Sunday evening to report on the events of the week, since as the song says, What A Difference A Day Makes.

Last weekend, things seemed to be going swimmingly until Sunday afternoon when Fakedog the Doberman turned up with a gaping wound in his side.  As I predicted, Fakedog had surgery on Monday to stitch up the wound.  As it turned out, the vet said it was not a cut, it was an abcess that burst.  It wasn’t visible until it burst, and while I could have felt it if I’d been feeling in the right place, it wasn’t in an area you would normally feel while petting him. 

Abcesses are usually caused by puncture wounds, as I understand it, and my guess is that a puncture wound was caused by a bite from the Beast.  The Beast becomes very agitated when unauthorized beings cross his path.  These beings include neighbor dogs, neighbor cats, people walking dogs, people riding bicycles, and UPS trucks.  Fakedog is always right beside him, but merely as an observer.  He saves his breath for barking at the important stuff, namely, squirrels. 

The Beast can see the unauthorized beings through the chain-link fence in the back yard, but he can’t get to them.  So sometimes he turns in frustration to Fakedog and snaps at him.  I’m guessing he connected.  The wound is about at Beast-face height.  The Beast is a third the size and height of Fakedog.  When the Beast snaps at him, Fakedog always acts completely shocked and yelps.  I think that’s for my benefit.  Like I will go save him.  Not.  Finally I have learned not to interfere unless it’s an obvious life and death situation.  Work it out, guys. 

Now just in case you were planning to blame the Beast for Fakedog’s injury, it’s important to know that at times when no outside agitators are interfering, Fakedog teases the Beast unmercifully and scares him.  He pokes his long Doberman nose into the Beast’s body and taunts him.  Sigh.  It’s all about dominance.

Regardless of the underlying issues, it was Fakedog who ended up being injured this week.  (I think that means he lost.)  So instead of The English Patient, our house had the German (dog) Patient.  In addition to his usual thyroid medication, he had to get antibiotics twice a day, and they sent him home with pain medication too.  Good for them.  He was clearly in pain, and he was scared by having to wear an Elizabethan collar.  The pleading looks he gave me…you would have had to be there. 

Today he is good as new, better than new.  He had the drain removed from his wound, and he celebrated by bouncing all over the place like a puppy, jumping from the benches to the floor in the vet’s waiting room, poking his nose between the legs of the female vet tech, and coming home to poke his nose at his little measly dog rival.   

I wanted to restrain him, sort of, but I also wanted him to have this unrestrained joy.  I wanted him to be free and to be a happy guy dog.  He was feeling better.  It seems like that works with dogs as well as it does with people.  Like when you have the flu and you don’t realize how much better you feel until it’s over.  I think that’s where he was.