Dog Tales

There haven't been many entries in the Family category recently, so I'll take a few moments to tell you about some recent Dusti moments.

We've had Dusti, our Norwich terrier "mix" for about 2 ½ years now. As I've mentioned, she is my first dog although my wife Lynea grew up with a family mutt. Sometimes it's not always obvious (to me) exactly what's going on in her little doggie mind. There is a distinct failure to communicate.

One evening, Dusti was very excited. Continually bouncing up at us. Continually wanting to "play". We just wanted to do other things. It wasn't until we were about to go to bed that I realized that I'd blocked off the small dog door to the outside. She needed to go. Bad! I opened the door and she charged through and had a ten second pee. Dog owners will note that ten seconds of continuous peeing is a lot for a little doggy. Poor thing. I'd closed off the dog flap about lunch time because the gardeners had been that day and it's impossible to train them to keep the garden gate closed and Dusti would just escape. It's easier to just stop the dog going into the back yard. Now I need to train myself to remember to open it again. And to think, "is the dog flap open?" when she's overly excited.

Every school morning there is a ritual. Dusti wants to go with Lynea and Duncan in the mini-van, even though it's only a five to ten minute trip to drop our son off at school, and she doesn't actually get a chance to get out of the vehicle. She'll jump up and down continuously. No need to check the dog flap this time. Dusti just wants to go on "an adventure!"

She has to be properly "dressed" to go outside. This involves putting on her collar, small harness and lead. (She pulls too much to allow the lead to be directly attached to the collar around her neck).

One day, Lynea called her over to do this, and she bounded over as fast as she could. She obviously hadn't correctly calculated just how fast she was going (or how slippery wood floors can be) and for the last few yards, she just slid straight into Lynea. All I can say is, I'm glad we don't have a large dog. Lynea would have been completely bowled over.

A few days ago, at the same time of the day, and during the same morning ritual, something far worst happened. We finally got the collar, harness and lead on her and Lynea and Duncan were heading out the door when Dusti just sat down and started whimpering. At first we thought that Duncan had run over her with his school back pack on wheels. Anyway, I picked her up and bought her back in and Duncan and Lynea left for school.

That day was one of the rare occurances nowadays where I had to go into the Sun campus for a set of meetings, so I was unable to stay with Dusti. While I was away, and as Dusti wasn't getting any better, Lynea took her into the vet to try to find out what was wrong. Because Dusti was hardly moving, there was worry that this might be the doggie equivalent of a stroke. The vet reassured her that dogs don't have strokes and the most likely thing was that Dusti had just cricked her neck. She got a prescription for a muscle relaxant. Applying that (in tablet form) should fix up the problems in 2-3 days. As you probably know, muscle relaxants in this form, relax all muscles. I noticed this when I got home that evening and was greeted by what looked like little piles of brown toothpaste on the path in the back yard.

It was funny to watch Dusti for the first day after she did this. She couldn't look left. If she needed to look left, she turned to the right the equivalent amount. (As we all know, two rights don't make a wrong but three rights make a left.) We had no problem giving her the pills (wrapped in small cheese balls -- cus she's a cheese hound). After about 36 hours, she was almost back to her normal self, and she's just fine now. It was worrying at the time, but we will know what to expect if it happens again.

Here's something that happened a couple nights ago. I've mentioned before, that Dusti likes a greenie. After dinner that night, and after Duncan was in bed, I bought one into the room where we were sitting with the dog and just put it on the table. I intended to give it to her in a few minutes. She initially appear to be fast asleep. Then her nose twitched and she started sniffing intensely in the direction of the greenie even though she couldn't see it. I had no idea they "stank" so much. Okay, okay. You can have it right away. It was devoured in about five minutes.

And finally, we have been able to get Dusti to sleep at the bottom of the bed at night. On a blanket on top of the blanket chest at the end of the bed to be precise. Now she'll only come up and wedge herself between us in the middle of the night when it's really cold. I don't know why we didn't think of this before. I for one, am getting a much better nights sleep.

These little incidents give me hope. Within another two or three years, I reckon we'll have completely mastered doggie-speak.

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