Tag Archive | Dogs

“Ah, Interesting”

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During the cold snap, we didn’t take Lila outside for a walk, except for one day when the temperature got to be ten degrees above zero. A couple of days before, we went shopping for dog booties. Lila’s paws weren’t used to the subzero temperatures. Arctic blasts never used to bother her but now that she’s almost 12-years-old, the cold took its toll on her. After her outdoor potty breaks, she had a hard time walking back to the house. Her rear paw couldn’t bare the bite of the cold any longer. She held her back paw high to keep it off the crunchy snow. We found a small pet store not far from our house, which had a large selection of booties.

”Hello. What’s your return policy?” I asked the man who worked there. “In case these boots don’t fit our dog.”

”Since it’s nearing the end of the season, we’d like to get them back within the week. We’d like them back without any scuff marks.”

”Ok, thanks. These should work,” I said.

”Make sure to wrap them snug, so they don’t slip off. Have your dog walk close to you. It’s best if they don’t run.” I nodded yes while I thought about the times our other dog lost one bootie here and then another bootie there while we were on our walks. “Try to keep your dog out of snow banks too, because they fall off and then there’s no way you can find it.” Been there and done that too, I thought. Where was this guy 20 years ago, when I bought booties for our dog, Music?

We purchased the boots, which practically cost more than what I paid for mine, and went home. The next morning, with the temperature still hovering below zero, I fastened them onto Lila. I wrapped the Velcro as tightly as I could. Lila pranced about trying to get used to the feeling and probably wondered how to get them off. Each step was a quick jaunt of touching the floor then lifting her paw back up again. I sent her outside where she continued her prancing style. At times, she reminded me of a bucking bronco. One of the booties fell off and landed on top of the snow, which sent me out in my parka to retrieve it.

Lila didn’t feel much better about the booties when I put them on her before our walk that afternoon. After we got outside, she ran and hopped in every snow bank on the way. When we got to the trail, Lila excitedly ran up to a chocolate lab and a yellow lab. Lila usually doesn’t get close to other dogs. It was like she wanted one of them to get the strange things off. The other dogs didn’t wear booties and their owner didn’t have them on leashes. The labs were being walked by a young man who asked, “Do you feed your dog that corn?” My husband had a plastic bag of corn from Gag Gift Gone Good. My husband didn’t hear him, with all the commotion of trying to settle Lila down.

”We feed the squirrels,” I said. Since it was quite cold, I didn’t tell him the story of Gag Gift Gone Good.

”It’s really bad for dogs’ digestive systems,” he said. “They’ve been finding it over there by those trees,” he pointed the way.

”Oh, sorry. We won’t put it out there any more,” my husband and I chimed as we continued on our way. I thought how if he had his dogs on leashes, he could prevent them from going over by the corn, but I didn’t say anything. Maybe he didn’t see the sign that says dogs must be leashed. We said we’d dump the corn in the marsh, but we ended up throwing it in the garbage.

”Oops,” I said to my husband. Oh well. At least the booties stayed on. 🙂

Never say, “oops.” Always say, “Ah, interesting.” ~Author unknown

Expression of Smugness

While Staying with the Dogs, Bauer, a beagle and blue heeler mix that belongs to my son, seemed upset when I went outside without him one night. During that day, we got about an inch of snow – the feathery kind that floats away on a breeze. I kept the front door open, so we could peak through the storm window at each other. Bauer usually doesn’t like to be left alone but has been known to wander around the house by himself. Ever since we found him on top of the dining room table pawing at a tray of Christmas cookies one year, we make sure to keep an eye on him.

I waved and talked to him between each shovel of snow. When I looked up without seeing him there, it caused a flutter in my gut. By the time I dumped my next shovelful of snow, he reappeared with paws up against the window, his eyes pointed my way. Could it be that Bauer had a smug look on his face? It was as if he was happy with himself for some reason. After I finished clearing the snow, I went back into the house. Next, I got my boots, coat, hat, and mittens off and went into the family room.

Since we’ve always had female dogs, I was shocked to see a big wet spot on the table cloth where it falls down the side of the table. A little puddle was underneath. There was no way Lila, our lab, could have accomplished that feat. She’s too reserved and not equipped to do such a thing.

I wondered what Bauer was trying to tell me with his expression of smugness. I let him out the back just before I started shoveling. Perhaps he was upset because I didn’t let him join me out front. I thought I was doing him a favor by letting him stay in the warm house, since he’s not one that enjoys being out in the snow.

What could I do but throw the table cloth in the wash and clean up the mess? Maybe it’ll be best to have him join me in the snow piles next time.

There are as many ways of expression as there are moments in a day. ~Rose Wilder Lane

Staying with the Dogs

Whenever I see the little torn patch in the blue and white comforter, it makes me think of my grand dog, Bauer. Bauer is a beagle and blue heeler mix and lives with my son. I watched Bauer for five days during one of the coldest Januarys about seven years ago while my husband and son went on a trip to Florida. After the rush of the holidays, I didn’t think I would mind staying with the dogs. I took a lot of time off for Christmas and felt guilty about taking off more, so I stayed in Minnesota.

While at work, I thought about how I wouldn’t have to cook when I got home, because no humans would be there. I went to one of my favorite downtown lunch spots, which makes homemade Italian food. I rarely ordered the lasagna, because it’s quite large, but I thought how great it would be to eat half for lunch and go home and eat the rest for dinner. When I arrived home, two dog tails wagged wide while they jumped up to greet me. After I took off my outer layers, I carefully pulled out the white styrofoam container from my work bag and put it on the kitchen counter. The dogs took a quick trip outside, and I fed them both at the same time, in opposite corners of the kitchen. They have learned to respect each other’s space, so long as they get their food or treats at the same time, or more so when Bauer gets his food or treats first. Even though Lila, our lab, outweighs Bauer by at least 50 pounds, Bauer has a stance that lets others know who’s in charge.

As they munched away at their food, while eyeing each other closely, I opened up and looked through the mail. While walking over to the kitchen counter, where the delicious lasagna sat, Bauer raced ahead of me, jumped up, clawed the container, which caused it to fall to the floor. Since it fell so far, the container couldn’t help but open, and Bauer stood over the scrumptious feast, slurping up every last bite. ☹️ I stood there in awe and wondered how a little dog could jump so high and what would I get to eat for dinner.

Any other dog would have chucked it all back up, but Bauer has an iron gut. He’s gotten into my son’s refrigerator and eaten raw steak without any problems arising afterwards. Bauer likes to sleep in people beds, so I knew we’d be bunking together. I prayed he wouldn’t get sick. I slept pretty good even though I worried Bauer would suffocate since he likes to be under all the blankets. As far as I could tell, Bauer’s nose didn’t pop out once to get a good whiff of air. Lila was the smart one; she slept in the family room. Thankfully, the rest of the night went well, with only a few tears to the comforter, which happened when Bauer tried to get comfortable.

Staying with the dogs is a fun memory, but next time, I’m going along on the trip!

The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread. ~Portuguese Proverb

Best Greeting Committee Ever!

I slowly drove down the bumpy alley on the way to my daughter and her family’s house. Kona’s barks echoed throughout the neighborhood the moment I turned into their driveway. Kona is their beautiful German Shepherd with a multicolored coat. Kona’s loud woof caused Jimmy and Jack, the dogs next door, to join along in the canine chorus.

“Hi, Kona,” I said, even though I didn’t have the door opened yet. In the distance, at the patio door, I saw my grandson opening and closing the door and jumping up and down at varying intervals. His arm briefly swung out the door in a wave. His little sister did her hopping up and down motion, while her mother tried to hang onto her in her arms. I’ve discovered that holding Granddaughter while she is jumping is not an easy task. Next time I looked, Granddaughter was mimicking Grandson’s hop, except her hop was from bended knees. It looked like her mom couldn’t hold onto her any more.

I opened the car door to see Kona by my side. She backed away and pointed her front legs towards me in a little jump. I got my stuff out, closed the door and headed towards the house. Usually, during this time of year, there would be lots of snow on the ground, but there wasn’t any. Kona did a little duty on the lawn, which she always does after company arrives. It’s good when the duty is on the lawn and not on the rugs in the house!

Kona escorted me towards the door, where I was hugged by Grandson. It was a grab at the knees sort of hug. I put down my stuff so I could give him a proper hug, as Granddaughter waited her turn. I gave my daughter a quick peck on the cheek and reached down to pick up Granddaughter. Granddaughter reached up to me with a little jump, both arms and hands pointed up. I picked her up and held her close as we smiled at each other.

I kissed her little cheek, and she said, “Grandma,” as soft as could be. I’ve heard her say Grandma two other times. How could my heart not jump for joy?

Best Greeting Committee Ever. ❤️

Jumping for joy is good exercise. ~Author unknown

Another Mile…

While on a walk the other day, our dog, Lila, acted like a puppy with the way she jumped about after my husband found a stick for her to fetch. A tiny thought came to me of how agile Lila is for her age of 11 years and that maybe we shouldn’t be playing fetch any more. As we watched her run happily through melting tufts of snow, I chased the thought from my mind. She looks great, I thought. That expensive dog food must be working its magic on her.

Not too much longer after that run, my husband and Lila came home after a quick jaunt, with Lila limping. It looked like something was bothering her front paw. No whines escaped from her during the incident where she was running and suddenly came to a stop. The quick halt must have been too jarring for her. We didn’t find any swelling or bumps on her legs, paws, or ankles. Since it was Sunday, we called the vet the next day. Betsy said to watch Lila for a day and call if it got worse. We waited until that evening and made an appointment for the following day. Even though Lila could climb up and down steps okay, it seemed her limp was getting worse, or we were imagining it was getting worse. Plus, we didn’t want to delay any repairs, if there was something that needed to be fixed.

Lila was excited to go for a car ride the next day. Lila’s tail slammed against the back of the car seat on the way to the vet. When we arrived, we saw this silly sign.

We called the office, and one of the techs came out to our car to get Lila. It felt strange because it was the first time we let Lila see the doctor by herself. People are not allowed in the office, due to the coronavirus.

A short time later, the doctor called to let us know Lila seemed all right, but he thought it was some sort of soft tissue issue and that perhaps arthritis was the cause of the limping. “She is getting older,” he said.

“How long do you think we need to wait before we take her out for a walk?” I asked.

“Why don’t you wait until Saturday, and take it slow,” Doc told us. We were told to only give Lila leash walks for the time being. The tech delivered our girl back to us, all wags and smiles. She got two treats and a bottle of pain killers, which have been helping her.

Lila and I took a very small walk the next day. Lila looked up at me when we got back to our front door. She gave me a look like, You’ve got to be kidding me. Is this all the further we’re going to go? I dropped her off at home, and continued on for a longer walk by myself. Not holding onto a leash with a dog at the other end felt awkward, when I walked without my faithful companion. It was a straight walk, with no stops, no sniffing, no pointing at squirrels or chipmunks, no head tosses to show me the birds, no picking up messes.

The next day, we went for a little longer walk – about a mile – because the limp was gone and has stayed away. Today we will go about another mile. Maybe next week we can go three. Every mile together is a gift. 🙂

Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

The Door is Open

Our First Selfie

On occasion, Lila, our dog, seems to think that going in and out of doors is a form of entertainment.  There are times when she likes to slumber next to a tree or inside some hole she’s dug but other times, as soon as we let her out, she wants to come back in again.  

Warm weather going ins and outs are different from cold weather going ins and outs.  In the summer, when we let Lila out in the backyard, we hook her up to the leash that’s tied with rope around the big oak tree.  We end up leaving the patio door open, so we can run in and out quickly.  When Lila is ready to come back in, we’d unhook the clasp, and she’d run lickety-split into the house. 

One early September night, I got back into the cold weather going ins and outs habit.  I closed the patio door on my way out to get her. We decided to turn the heat on because the temperature inside got down to a cool 64 degrees.  Over the months, Lila forgot about the cold weather habit of mine.  After I unhooked Lila, I heard a thump, as Lila fell, when she tried to go through the door. 😭 Thankfully, the door did not break.

Lila was stunned.  I immediately thought of stories about people running through glass doors, so I was concerned.  I opened the door, and Lila walked in.  Yes, she was definitely stunned. When I sat on the floor with her, apologizing several times, petting her fur while hugging her close, she sat still taking it all in, which is unusual.  Lila is not one to cuddle.  That night was the most she ever let me cuddle her.  She even let me look into her mouth.  She showed me her straight bite. All of her teeth were evenly laid out, as usual.  Her face felt fine. No bumps.  I had no idea how she was holding her head when she hit the door.  Her head might have been pointing downward, but there were no bumps anywhere on her head.  Lila is one who likes to cry and moan when she’s not feeling well, and we were relieved she didn’t cry or moan that night.  

The next morning, I mixed half a can of dog food with half of her dry food.  Lila was so happy to have a different meal.  She went back to visit her food bowl several times to make sure she didn’t leave any crumbs behind.  Lila ate canned food mixed with the dry for a couple of days. Everything else worked fine from head to toe. 🙂

Now, when she gets ready to come back into the house, she stops to make sure the door is open.  Sometimes she lets us go through first, just to be sure.  We’ve been leaving it open now, during comings and goings, no matter how cold the days or nights get.  

A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of. ~Ogden Nash  

Elvis’s Mom

adolescent adult black and white casual

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When we first moved into our neighborhood, many years ago, we would often see a lady either walking through our yard or along the street yelling “Elvis.”  Elvis was a black lab retriever mix with spots of gray.  Lila, our dog, is beginning to turn a little gray around her mouth and has longer legs than Elvis, but she is starting to make me feel like our neighbor, Elvis’s mom, who moved away a long time ago.  

The other day, when we brought Lila home from the kennel, and when we were about to grab ahold of her by her collar, she took off running in a southerly direction.  I grabbed her leash, headed in that direction, calling her name every so often, but I didn’t get a response.  I headed home to find that a different neighbor, who recognized Lila, and who lives in a northerly direction, brought her back to our house.

Today, a little storm was brewing, so I delayed our walk.  I brushed Lila before letting her back in the house.  Just as I was going to open the door, she took off running in a southerly direction again.  I yelled to her, as sweetly as I could, in my sudden bad mood, but it didn’t coax her back, as usual.  This time, since I was home by myself, I went on with my chores and hoped someone would come knocking or calling.

About 15 minutes later, our phone rang.

“Are you missing a dog?” the lady asked.

“Yes, she got away from me,” I said. 

“We have her here.  She’s so friendly.  We gave her some water.”

“Thank you.  Where are you?”

The lady gave me her address, which is not very far from the southerly direction Lila headed.

“I’ll be right over.”  I grabbed Lila’s leash and drove to the neighbor’s house, because the raindrops were getting quite large.  I wondered why Lila kept running away lately.  It is a common trend for her, which lessened the last couple of years.  Maybe she misses her three mile walks.  Since it’s been warm with high humidity, we whittled our walks down to a mile.  If only Lila could understand the risks of heat stroke. When it’s cooler out, Lila likes to sit under the ash tree in our front yard and is the neighborhood greeter.  She might be missing the delivery people and mailman who all give her treats.  Maybe she misses our friends who used to come over.  Not many other visitors have been stopping by, because of the pandemic. 

When I got closer to the address, I spotted Lila in the neighbor’s front yard on a leash.  The nice lady was there waiting with Lila.  A little poodle watched from behind the glass storm door, jumping and wagging its tail. Congratulations 2020 High School Graduate signs spotted the yard.

“Thank you.  Thank you,” I said.  Lila jumped up high and acted like she hadn’t seen me in months!  The lady unhooked her from their leash, and I got Lila hooked on mine.  

Lila has been getting us to socialize with our many nice neighbors.  I can’t help but feel like Elvis’s mom whenever I run around the neighborhood in search of our girl. Maybe we were meant to keep up with that silly neighborhood tradition that Elvis created.

No matter what was meant to be, have you ever met a dog named Elvis? 🙂

The Big Commotion

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Lila, our dog, has the habit of sticking around the kitchen during cleanup, in case scraps of any sort of morsel end up on the floor.  Lila doesn’t like to see anything get wasted and polishes it up immediately.  One Sunday, a few months ago, my daughter and son-in-law offered to tidy up after dinner.  Papa and I went into the family room with our grandson to connect wooden toy train tracks.  From the kitchen, we could hear conversing but couldn’t make out the words.

As the three of us were concentrating on getting train cars in line, a large bang came from the direction of the kitchen.  The three of us looked at each other trying to imagine what the noise could have been.  It was a noise we’ve never heard.  It was much more than the sound of a drinking glass shattering on the floor. Loud laughter and a small squeal came from the same direction.  I got up to see what was the matter.  When I got to the scene of the commotion, I discovered that Lila’s dog tag clasp had gotten attached to one of the brackets in the dishwasher.  She must have gotten spooked when she noticed she couldn’t move very easily and tried to run away.  When she attempted to run, the entire bottom rack of the dishwasher went along with her.  I went over to Lila, who was in the dining room by that time and unhooked her collar to free her.  Lila’s tail was down and stuck between her legs letting us know her very sad mood.  Amazingly, even though the entire rack was full, not one dish broke, and all living beings were left unharmed.  Ever since that day, Lila has never put her nose or collar inside the dishwasher again.

That’s not to say she hasn’t been tempted to lick some plates.  Sometimes she will walk by the dishwasher, when I’m loading it, with her eyes suspiciously looking in the direction of the dishes.  She decides against licking any plates.  Obviously, Lila doesn’t want to experience the big commotion again.

No matter how often I chided her before that day, she would never stop licking those plates.  Now, when I’m loading the dishwasher, I give her a little nod to remind her about what happened the time her collar got stuck to the bracket.

It wasn’t the best way to train our dog, but it seemed to have worked.  Do you have any stories of how you accidentally trained your dog to do or not do something? 

A dog can express more with his tail in seconds than his owner can
express with his tongue in hours.
~Author Unknown

Leave a Trail

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A couple of Saturdays ago, it snowed about six inches, and the thought of walking the dog on Sunday seemed like a challenge. I knew the sidewalk to the park was not plowed yet, but I put on my boots with the yak tracks and set off with Lila by my side.  As we walked along the snowy path, there was only one set of people tracks made by a person with smaller boots than mine.  It looked like the person marched through the snow lifting their knees with each step.  I tried to follow the footsteps because it would be easier than making my own.  The person who had gone this way before me did not appear to drag their feet.  I tried to do the same.

Lila didn’t worry about following someone else’s tracks. She walked and ran along and made her own path and didn’t care about ruining the blanket of pristine snow with her scattered trail.  Every so often, she stopped and put her nose straight in the snow in search of whatever had caught her attention.  When her snout was out from underneath the pile, her face was speckled with white flakes, and I wondered how she could tolerate that cold up her nostrils.  It didn’t bother her because she continued to do that all along the way.

Traveling was easier when we finally got to the plowed part of the park. Lila stayed to the side to walk on a tiny path of snow.  A lot of people were walking that afternoon enjoying how the fresh snow made everything spotless.  The clouds were light and fluffy too, drifting by like a summer day.

Lila was excited when we got back to the snowy path leading us on our way home. The path I’d followed about 45 minutes earlier was still there, but someone had walked over the tracks I made.  Even though we walked farther along the same way, I did not see the crisscross pattern of my yak tracks.  Every step was covered by someone else’s, but Lila’s tracks were where she left them.

Even if a path has already been made, we don’t have to follow it, even though it might be easier. Sometimes we have to make our own new tracks.  Be like Lila, and make your own trail.

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where
there is no path and leave a trail.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Kept Me on My Toes

Bauer 11-20-15
Bauer

Bauer’s nose was causing trouble when he stayed with us a few weeks ago. That nose was pointed up high in the air and steered him to a couple of adventures. Bauer has stayed with us before while his master was away, and those times went pretty well, but this time, Bauer seemed more hyper than usual. I just thought he was hungry, but I later found out that wasn’t the case.

We’ve known Bauer for about three and a half years now. The first time my husband and I met Bauer, we were visiting our son Matt at his apartment. Our son found Bauer at an animal shelter in a small town in northern Minnesota. Bauer was very happy to meet us. He wagged his tail and jumped up to greet us, but there were times when he growled at us too. The first time he growled at me was during our visit when he was sitting on my lap. I tried to change the way he was sitting because it was getting uncomfortable. He growled when I held his front legs and put them in a different position. I growled back, but that didn’t scare him like his growl scared me!

As the years passed, we’ve found that the more Bauer gets used to us, the less he growls. Now, Bauer only growls at our dog Lila when Lila gets too close to Matt or me. I guess he likes to have us to himself. Lila has slowly gotten more used to Bauer too. Lila just moseys along like she didn’t hear anything. She doesn’t hide in other rooms when Bauer’s around anymore and doesn’t lose lots of fur like she did when Bauer first started visiting us.

Bauer is very attentive when I cook. As I worked to get things ready during this last visit, he patiently sat close just waiting for some morsel to drop. When dinner was over and the dishes removed from the table, Bauer hopped up on a chair and onto the table to help make sure no messes were left behind. While the dishes were being cleaned off and placed into the dishwasher, Bauer watched carefully to see if anything fell where it shouldn’t. Just as everything was cleaned up and I thought I could sit down to relax, I heard Bauer clawing away at the cupboards where the garbage can is stored. That’s when I figured out that Bauer could break the rubber bands that held the cupboard closed and that the chopstick that I placed in between the handles didn’t work too well either.  The next day, I bought a childproof lock that worked so well I didn’t want to bother with it every time I had to throw something away. Instead, I used a temporary garbage can in the garage, and Bauer found out how to get into the Tupperware cupboard instead.

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Bauer is a Beagle and Blue Heeler mix.

One night, Bauer was going crazy after our daughter Katie came home from work. Katie brings home lots of bags with papers and books and things to help her prepare for her next day as a teacher. Bauer kept sniffing at one of those bags. Katie said there wasn’t any food there, so I believed her. When I was getting ready for bed, I looked to see if Bauer was where I last saw him.  He wasn’t, and I heard funny noises coming from the dining room.  When I found Bauer, he was clawing and chewing away at a granola bar. Half of the granola bar was gone by the time I got there, and I sat and watched him enjoy the rest of it. I learned from previous experience not to get in the way of a dog and his food – especially Bauer’s.

Thankfully there was no chocolate in the granola bar, and Bauer seemed so happy to go to bed after he found that treat. Except his stomach told a different story the next morning when I found a puddle of something dark had soaked into my comforter. (No other dog has been allowed to sleep in our bed, except this one!)  Bauer threw up the following morning too, right on the sheets. All the bedding got a good washing those two days. I think the second mishap occurred because I fed him too much the day before. I thought with his nose going 60 miles an hour everyday trying to find more food meant he was hungry, but I was wrong. Too many treats from me caused that last unexpected outburst.

After those two unfortunate incidents, Bauer wasn’t so hyper any more. I was happy about that because if he was going to keep up those shenanigans, it was going to drive me crazy with the way he kept me on my toes all the time. It seemed like we were getting used to each other until the next day in the kitchen. Bauer gave me another surprise when he jumped up and grabbed onto a white container with his paws. The container dropped to the floor. Inside was a piece of lasagna that was supposed to be my dinner. I watched as he gobbled it down, licking the container clean. I wondered if lasagna would cause another upset stomach, but it didn’t. The only one who was upset was me because I didn’t get to enjoy the lasagna.

We’ll never know why Bauer seemed so out of sorts at the beginning of his visit, but it might have been because he had a little separation anxiety.  When Matt came back from his trip, and I told him about our adventures, Matt just said, “He’s smart.” Matt and Bauer spent another day with us, and the next day, the two of them got ready to head back to their home.  I watched the car back out of the driveway like I always do. Matt waved good-bye, and Bauer stood on the front passenger’s seat with his front paws leaning by the bottom of the window. He waved his farewell by swinging his tail back and forth while looking my way, and I thanked God we all survived!

Even though that little creature and his nose kept me on my toes, I think it’s funny how I can’t wait for both of them to come back for another visit. I hope it’s soon.  🙂