Tag Archives: dogs

The Dog Did It

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The Dog Did It

I’ve had the pleasure of bringing four dogs into my life. Each has been unique, and although I gave them each a home and family, they have all given me so much in return. Dogs have the ability to enjoy the moment with wild abandon. To get down and dirty when necessary. To lie spread eagle in mixed company. To lick the body parts we humans won’t even name aloud.

They can change your mood in the swipe of a tail. Make you feel it’s all going to be all right with a chin on your knee. Shake up an awkward silence in a room full of stuffy people. Abort an ugly argument by bringing you a wet toy. Get you up and going when you desperately need to move but want to stay plastered to the sofa with that “I must go for a walk” look. Dogs can look right into your heart and melt it. They can listen intently to your problems and solve them with a few blinks. And who among us has not had a serious conversation with the dog at some point?

They rely on us as much as we rely on them, giving us a sense of purpose. They are not judgmental or ashamed of us. They are filled with unconditional love, and set a wonderful example for us humans.

Let Barking Dogs Lie

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My dog, Polly, is standing in the middle of the den, barking. On and on. At nothing. A couple of months ago, she started barking in various spots in the house. Up until this time, she wasn’t much of a barker, so this struck me as rather odd. It has gotten to the point where she does this little routine every day…several times every day. Sometimes it’s in the living room, sometimes the den, sometimes the dining room, and sometimes the kitchen. It only happens downstairs…once she goes up to bed at night, no more barking.

At first, I thought she had to go outside, so when she started barking, I’d let her out. But I quickly realized that wasn’t the case. She would start barking just a few minutes after coming back inside from a romp in the back yard. Then I thought she was hearing something in the basement, because sometimes she would bark looking down at one of the floor vents. But not long ago, we went into the basement, and there was nothing amiss down there…no monsters, no mice, no homeless person taking up residence…all was quiet down there. Then I thought it might have something to do with something outside the house. Perhaps a cat or dog was out there. But, no, that wasn’t it either.

I’ve tried talking to her about this. I’ve asked her what’s wrong, and asked her to show me. Nothing. She has assured me that Timmy is not in the well, but she won’t say what’s up. I’ve barked back at her. Doesn’t work. I’ve yelled, I’ve pleaded, I’ve almost cried. I’ve tried to get a toy to distract her. Nothing will stop her. It usually lasts 5 minutes or so, and then she gives up. She’s also started laying on the floor once in a while, right after these barking jags, which she’s never done before. She’s a couch and bed dog…no hard, cold floors for her. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with the barking, though. And sometimes she’ll come up on the couch and lay down after a barking jag, but keep her eyes open for a while and look around, like she’s looking for something to show up. Then she’ll finally drift off into nap number nine for the day.

So, I did what all good parents do…I Googled dogs barking for no apparent reason to see if I could diagnose her problem. The overwhelming results were dogs seeing ghosts. Now, I’ll admit, I’m totally open to the idea of ghosts, spirits, etc., visiting us here on Earth. And I know animals are in tune with things we humans don’t notice. But I have to wonder, how did these people sharing stories about their spirit-seeing dogs know that their dogs were seeing spirits? Did they see them, too? Did the dogs tell them what they were seeing? Most of these people were absolutely certain that’s what was happening for their pooches. How could they be so sure?

If my Polly is seeing ghosts, I want to know who it is. Is it our Golden Retriever, Jack, that left us a little over a year ago? Is it one of the cats that has gone on to the great litter box in the sky? Or is it some human spirit that I don’t even know about? Or some past resident pet from a previous family? And what is the ghost doing to cause Polly to bark for so long? And what is the key to her stopping after 5 minutes? And do these ghosts not come upstairs? This is one of those times I really wish dogs could talk.  

Just Talkin’ To The Dog

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My dog, Polly, has never been much of a barker. But in the last few weeks, she’s done more barking than usual. Sometimes, she just stands in a room and barks. Today, she has been particularly bothered by something, and has been barking on and off all afternoon and evening. Since she’s not normally this vocal, I know something is up with her, but I just don’t know what. Now you can say dogs can’t talk, and you’d be correct. But dogs can communicate just fine. We humans just have to learn how to read them. And the best part about dogs is that they don’t judge, they don’t ignore you, and they don’t monopolize the conversation.

 

When Polly barks, I run through the usual questions with her. Is Timmy in the well? Is there an intruder in the house? Is a burglar stealing the Scooby Doo treats? Has someone violated the perimeter? Just asking these questions and petting her little head usually calms her down.

 

Our conversations are not limited to when she is barking. We talk all the time. Every morning, we have the time to get up talk. She loves to sleep, and when I get up to take a shower, she sometimes assumes my position, usually with at least one cat cuddling by her side. Sometimes she even gets under the covers and lays her head on my pillow. It’s adorable. It’s tough to have to break it to her that we have to get up and go downstairs. Time for her to go outside and then have some breakfast. She always looks a little sad at the getting up part, but the promise of breakfast puts a spring in her step.

 

When I get home from work, we spend some quality time together on the couch. She climbs into my lap, and puts her paws up on my shoulders, and lays down on top of me. It’s the best hug in the world. She looks to me for the day’s news. I tell her how my day went, and she listens intently. Her eyes and head tilts tell me what she’s thinking, and how her day was. I ask her the typical questions. Did you have a good nap? Did you play with the kitties? Did you play with your toys? If she’s been outside, I ask if she saw any bunnies. Squirrels? Doggies? Kitties? People?

 

If I’ve had a bad day, she seems to know it. She’s always at the ready with extra attention, just when I need it. If I’m sick, she cuddles up next to me and rides it out with me. And she seems to know when she has to back off a little. After I had surgery, she kept a little distance, but still was there to check on me and comfort me throughout my recovery. And when I was going through chemo, she understood I was just out of commission sometimes, and couldn’t give her much of my attention. But she was always there when I felt up to company.

 

We also talk when it’s bedtime. She knows the routine…when I get up off the couch, she goes out for one last romp before bed. On the way to the door, I tell her it’s time for bed, and how tired we are. She agrees, and trots out for a quick one. We climb the stairs together, commiserating over our aching joints, and she jumps up to warm up the bed. I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful companion. Sweet dreams, little Polly!Image

Polly

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Polly

This is my little Polly dog. Polly Wolly Doodle. Sweet Polly Purebred. Polly Pocket. We went to the vet today because she has some loose teeth. Next week she has to have a cleaning, and will lose a few teeth. She’s the sweetest little thing, and has always had the most crooked front teeth. I know it’s best to take care of tooth problems before they cause pain and infection, but I will miss her crooked little smile. Of course, she will still have a cute little smile…just different. And her breath will improve, I’m sure! I wanted you to meet her, as I’m sure she will be the subject of many of my future posts. Good night, sweet Polly!

The Cat Lady

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I have always been an animal lover, and over the years, have rescued or obtained many a dog or cat. All of my animals have either come from animal shelters, or have shown up at my house, or the homes of friends. Recently, I’ve even had friends come to me with animals they’ve had show up, and I’ve tried to help them find homes for them. I’m starting to worry that I’ll become one of those cat ladies you see on the news. I’ve even considered moving to the country where I could have room to provide foster care, boarding, or even start a shelter.

 

Speaking of moving to the country, I want to tell you the story of pets in my little town. I live in a small town where there are, I’m sure, many ordinances that have been on the books way too long. Several years ago, I came to be familiar with one of those ordinances in a very unfriendly way. We moved here with many pets. We loved all of them dearly. We took good care of them…regular vet visits, kept them current on their vaccinations, kept our dogs on leashes or in a fenced yard, kept our kitties indoors at all times…they were a part of our family. We were law-abiding citizens in every way.

 

One day, we received a not-so-friendly letter in the mail from our city clerk, informing us of one of those ordinances I mentioned. Apparently, through a bio I’d been asked to provide for the local newspaper, I’d mentioned how many pets I had. Apparently, our city clerk reads the paper very carefully, and believes everything in it. The letter, without first establishing that the information in the newspaper was correct, informed us that we were in violation of the pet ordinance. It went on to say that the city would allow us to keep our pets, since we were likely not aware of the ordinance, but we would need to license all of them properly, and that in the future, we could not obtain any more pets when these were gone, to exceed the limit of 3 cats and 2 dogs.

 

After the initial shock, several very interesting questions sprang into my mind. If they had decided that I could only keep 3 of the cats, just how would they have decided which ones I could keep, and what plans would they have had for those I couldn’t keep? Would they take the cats from me, and take them back to the shelter from which I rescued them? Would they take them down to the river and put them in a bag and dispose of them? Would they make me decide which ones had to go? Would it go down like the accounting practice of last in/first out? Russian roulette? Eenie, meenie, minie, mo?

 

And as far as enforcing this ordinance, did they plan to go door to door, inspecting homes for inside pets in violation of the ordinance? Would they have the right to enter our homes on a regular basis for pet searches? If the cats were hiding under the bed, would we need to extract them, or would the city officials do that? Sounds reminiscent of what Hitler was doing. And what about other pets that might be inside pets, such as turtles, fish, geckos, snakes, etc.?

 

As I said, we were law-abiding citizens, and I have no problem with licensing my pets, if it is required. I do, however, have a huge problem with the city being able to regulate how many pets I have that live inside my home. I also have a problem with the concept of them assuming the power to allow me to keep my pets, or to enforce this ordinance. And how were we to know of this ordinance in the first place?

 

My cats never go outside. They are healthy and well cared-for. They are not roaming the streets, damaging property or terrorizing small children. We, however, had been assumed guilty and deemed “offenders”, providing hideouts for several fugitive cats! Every year when I visit City Hall to purchase my pet licenses, I half expect the clerk to demand to see death certificates for those of my sweet kitties that have since passed on to that big litter box in the great beyond. I guess the lessons learned are: be careful what you say about your personal life that might end up in the newspaper, and when you move to a new town, go directly to the city clerk’s office and ask for a copy of ALL the laws and ordinances. Oh…and keep your house clean, as you never know when the city officials might stop in to see what’s in your closet!