Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year

A few pictures to elicit joy at the end of the year:

This is Speck, 3.6 pounds of old soul. He was adopted by a client, and I had to have him take home a hat from Tiny Dog, that fit him famously. He is not thrilled. We were though.

A birthday card from my family. It about sums things up about Tiny Dog's idea of outdoor bathroom time. 

A gift from my boss, who knows how I feel about the world and chihuahuas.

Here's to a wondrous, small dog filled year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The tale of the limber tail

I am scratching my head how my toy breed dog has come down with a hunting dog problem. We got up north on Wednesday, and as I put Tiny Dog on the ground after our drive, I noticed her tail was limp, that she could not lift it. She didn’t cry when I touched it, but it had a patch of raised fur an inch down from the base.

This is my lap in the car.

I have seen this before in another of my dogs, a lab cross, after he swam in a cold creek. His tail presented similarly: non-painful, but almost paralyzed. His tail resumed its upright wagging self in a week or so, the same as before. It’s called limber tail, cold tail, dead tail, rudder tail and broken tail for its appearance, from an injury to the coccygeal, or tail muscles.

So how did this happen to Tiny Dog: muscle soreness? reaction to cold weather? It only troubled her outside when she could not lift her tail to poop. She looked confused and made tight circles in the grass. 

I suppose it does not matter how it happened, as long as she recovers. She’s known at work for her constant cheer, that tail vertical and ticking back and forth. At the cabin she continued to wrestle Wrennie in the open space of the living room, joyful in the extra square footage of carpet, each taking turns at bowing and tackling. 

No snow, no snowshoes. But that wind off the lake will chill ya.

After a few days, she had more of an upright appendage, with a slow and droopy wag, less forlorn but floppy, and still befuddling her in the yard.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The winter sky

It takes a little bit of patience to get out the door with three small dogs on a walk. First, there is Georgie barking the entire time. Then the coats: two on Tiny Dog, plus her hat, plus a coat each for George and Wren. The leashes to untangle and attach. The headphones and phone in my coat. My coat, hat, scarf, mittens. Shoes. Continued barking: now now nownow!

Then out we go, out the back, through the gate, onto the sidewalk. Tiny Dog takes a pee on the others’ spots then insists I pick her up. In my coat she goes. I start my songs, and we are off, the two clambering forward, in all their untrained-ness, nails to the pavement, pulling against their harnesses.

Today it was a balmy 25 degrees, so we took a longer walk, along the creek. Tiny Dog was tucked in, but still shivering. I was listening to Glasser, and she sang a series of songs about windows. Her words had me looking up at the grey sky, thinking of my friends’ ailing elderly dog, rough in breath, anxious at the ER. Their dog’s name kept coming to mind on my walk. I had told them I would keep her in my thoughts throughout the day. I found myself saying repeatedly, internally, but looking up to the sky: May you be free, little one, from pain, from fear. There were no distinct clouds, just an overcast low winter cover, and scant small flakes falling.

We moved forward, me trying to slow this moment down, my breath and my dogs. My tiny one tucked against my chest. May we all be free from pain, from fear, little ones. Look up to the sky—

Winter. Light snow. The trio.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ice and night

I had a moment last night where time stretched out, past what felt like a few seconds. I had gone outside at the end of a work day to take Tiny Dog out for a pee, and I stepped on the parking lot to avoid the mud-snow from recent construction on the grassy area.

Well. Black ice. You can’t see it.

I had Tiny Dog in my left arm and as I slipped, the darkness around me expanded as I tried to figure out how not to crush my small dog or throw her. Usually when I fall, I catch myself with my arm or hand, hence the busted wrist this summer off my longboard. But with six pounds of fragility literally in my hands, I panicked. I couldn’t figure a way out, how we both weren’t going to be hurt.

Somehow, somehow, the seconds pulled against true time lapse, elongated, and despite my overall poor balance from a virus that settled havoc on my inner vestibular system nine years ago, despite the ice, despite the cool air distracting me and the dark making it hard to decide where to land (there was a cement parking stopper to my right, ouch), I somehow got closer to the ground in a few milliseconds, was able land on my right knee, upright (I did not skin it!), and only tossed Tiny Dog a few feet forward and down.

She landed on her four feet, perplexed for a moment, then shook it off, went to piddle. She is of strong emotional constitution. I just stared, relieved. 

Yep, she says. It was no big deal.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Working hard

Tiny Dog goes to work with me. Every day. She didn’t used to insist, but now she does, even on Saturdays, though how would she know it was the weekend?

She sees me put on my shoes and coat, and starts to trail me, hopping up on her back legs for attention: HEY you! Pick me UP!

Blurry since I am walking. This is outside, where she is refusing to walk.
 But you get the gist.

She's close to my left heel as I gather my lunch and coffee and purse and hat and mittens. Still dancing for attention.

So I put two coats on her, and her new hat. And she goes in my coat like this:

Two-headed 1/2 dog, 1/2 human monster.

The Walgreens checkout person asked me last week, with Tiny Dog tucked in my coat, Do you seatbelt her in too?  I do, I said, snug like this.

And when we get to work, she greets all the techs, making sure none has snacks. She dances and sneezes and play-bows for cookies. She twirls, she smiles. Treats fall from the sky, well, the techs. (You should see how ruthless her begging is at lunchtime as everyone rotates through their breaks.)

Most of the time she is like this:

A very kind pair of clients, who lost their dear old cat, gave me his bed. It plugs in, and the heater is activated by pressure. So Tiny Dog warms up, safely in a cage, out of harm’s way of feet and dogs coming through the treatment area.

It’s a pretty good dog time for her, going to work. I see why she insists.