Friday, October 24, 2014

You are not meant to sleep in

Try to sleep in on your day off and you will wake up with a dog on your head.

I had gotten up earlier to feed them and let them outside, and then went back to lie down.

A few hours passed. They got restless. They were confused. What is this atypical behavior she’s doing? They were bored. So one sat on my head.

This is what they are meant to do. Get me out of bed. Get me out for a walk. I had gotten my first dog in my early twenties, ignoring the advice of a pragmatic friend: Don’t get a dog when depressed. Well, the depression wasn’t going anywhere—it was prolonged, tacky-sticky to my heart and heavy. I got a dog.

I went to the pound twice. The first time, a long haired black and white 50 pound boy dog almost came home with me but then I panicked, left. I went back. There were three I wanted: the tiny foxy-like one, the one with blue eyes scared out of her mind, head in a corner, and this mellow yellow young fellow. I took home the latter, but my heart still hurts 20 years later leaving the terrified one there.

I named my new blond guy Ouzel, after the water dipper bird I saw swimming in the winter streams of Montana. I was strawberry blond, he was strawberry blond. He was a young adult, I was almost an adult. He was quiet, I was quiet. He tensed getting into the cab of my truck and then stared out the window at the airplane landing at the nearby airport. 

Always handsome, always eliciting a swoon, Ouzel.

He was my companion in Pennsylvania, in grad school, my first time moving alone somewhere, at 24. He helped me with my move to Wisconsin, another time really knowing no one, but getting me out each Sunday to a new state park. On the frozen Devil’s Lake, he scuttled between each snow island, across the ice, wind blowing ferocious through the hills.

And so. Each dog I have lived with: Ouzel, Fiona, Taiko, Gracie, Wren, Murray, George, Atticus, Tiny Dog—each has been my guide, my light on the trail, urging me forward, out under the trees, sky and birds.

Fiona, top, with lovely friend, Circe.

Dashing Murray, never without a toy.

Gracie making noise with Taiko.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Of all four, Wren is the most doggish of the dogs, the grossest of the quartet. 

For example:
Q: What is Wrennie’s perfect activity?
A: Hike in the woods + rolling in wild animal poop + eating a carcass.

The carcass was a maggoty skeleton, likely a squirrel (but I did not look that closely), with spine intact, skull nearby, each which fit nicely in her mouth. And she got two attempts at hoovering the bones because we had to pass them on the way back. Two times for me to yell: drop it! DROP IT!

Her pooch perfume was horrid: thick, black, on her neck ruff and collar and sweater. She rolled early on in the hike and you could smell it right away. She was very proud. Very.

Back at the car, Sue had baby wipes and hand sanitizer to take the first layer off. Then at home, lo, a sad bath for her. But now she is fluffy and clean, and honestly, she seems a bit disappointed. But one could not, no never, be near that smell all night long. It might just kill the sleeping human as she likes to slumber in the crook of your arm. 

Clean clean clean clean clean.

No worries, it will happen again. That pretty white fur is deficient in eau de turds. One cannot deny her this, her putrid joy.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Drive thru feed bag

This angle makes her butt look big.

This is Tiny Dog, waiting at the bank window for her cookie. We are one row over, where the tube shoots the money back at you, and the teller cannot see I have a dog in car, though Tiny Dog waits and waits and waits, hopeful.

Thankfully, I keep spares in the glove compartment, since most drive thru cookies are too big for all at once, for such a small mouth with most rear teeth extracted over the years.

Tiny Dog is also fond of the coffee drive-thru and Taco Bell (oh I cannot help it, this fast food failing). Last month, she charmed the cashier at TB, so that he gave us a whole, steamed flour tortilla, just for her, that was large enough that I could’ve wrapped her in it.  Boy!, how she wanted me just to drop that entire tortilla in her lap.

On Friday we went through the drive-up up window of the dry cleaner, and she stood there, perplexed. The build emitted no food smells, there were no treats in the vicinity, and the staff member did not acknowledge the mini mammal’s presence. It made no sense to her, I could tell, and she went back the passenger seat with a little sigh.

Most of the time Tiny Dog is a small ambassador of joy. The barista leans in to tell me about her five pound Yorkie cross and how naughty the critter is. The Taco Bell guy yells to the back of the kitchen, Come look at this little dog! And get me a tortilla! And the bank teller talks directly to Tiny Dog with a hello, how are you today?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Girl likes to roll

Human thrill > dog thrill at this fashion choice.

Fall is here, the hint of yellow in everything, foliage spinning in the wind. I got back on the longboard, two months post wrist-bending, pavement digger. It was blustery but sunny, and I found a quiet path, out of the way. I got some speed up with the land paddle, except for the stretch covered in fallen cottonwood leaves. But. I. Did. Not. Fall. (new wrist guards, and all—)

The path had a city sign that said NO DOGS, bah. Not sure why this half mile stretch of suburban commuter bike thru-way needed to be dog free. I saw no one. But the chihuas were home anyhow, post walk-bliss being off leash in an overgrown urban field, complete with city mulch piles to climb, a black vulture overhead, and plenty of sticky-pokey burrs stuck to the harnesses.

And the sun continues to shine, stinging our brains with happy wavelengths. Yeah, it gets dark at six now, and we will lose a minute of light each day until the winter solstice, so I am grabbing all the UV I can get, cast at an autumn angle, just warm enough to go out in a fleecy vest.

On our dog walk, I had to take the sweaters off two of three of the chis, their bodies heating up by the pulling. When off leash, Wren got her cartoon run going, almost rising up on her back legs as she passed me again and again. The girl was happy.

Tiny Dog insisted I carry her for most of it. She was wearing a turtleneck sweater in cream, with a squirrel holding a nut that Nana got for her last summer on sale. I think it looks fetching, but gets sullied easily. The beast loves to roll. 

Mother-daughter lattes the same trip Nana bought Tiny Dog the sweater.