E(mesis) Pluribus Unum

Or…Whatever you want to do you have to do something else first.

One from the many–interruptions, distractions, diversions and alteration of so-called plans.

Source: various. But largely and lately, Scout the dog.

Moral: do not take on a year old dog as a new member of your household unless you are prepared to be interrupted at every turn.

  • No, you cannot chew up another roll of toilet paper.
  • My razor is not a chew toy.
  • HEY! It’s just an inch-long millipede that somehow crossed the threshold, not a pit viper for goodness sake!
  • And no my slippers are not imaginary rabbits for you to chase.

And this morning, the emesis—full of freshly-munched grass; and also the expensive Interceptor pill he had just taken with a smidge of peanut butter. Oy.

And we just passed the One Month mark with the boy.

And if you’ve read this far and bothered to look at the image and are at all nature-aware, you may have noticed the picture is NOT of dog puke at all. So WHAT IS IT?  [Answered as a comment to this post on facebook later today. ]

Now Who Gets My Last Corn Flake?

There goes the daily squirrel, passing under the window beyond my desk. He was always at such risk, and knew it: tentative, uncertain, hesitant. Gandy was always watching.

But this morning, as if he knew he no longer had to fear the eyes tracking him from the house, he is casual. He stops on the walkway below the bell post to preen; twitches his tail defiantly; and without fear, covers the distance to the walnut tree for another meal. He will grow older and fatter, after all.

And I have to wonder if the word has spread among the moles—at even greatest risk of discovery that the squirrels–in that uncanny way G-dog always employed to determine where and when to dig.

It had something to do with the ears, but not entirely. A cock of the head, the weight shift onto the trembling hind quarters, and then the pounce. How did she know, running at full clip; sudden change of direction, then another thirty yards, and prepare to pounce and spike the landing on front paws alone.

I will miss that. The moles will not. I will miss—am missing so many very small details of interaction now missing. Ann and I have both remarked the countless subtle ways we accommodated the dog’s movements, her needs, her noises, her habits. Her be-ing not different from our be-ing.

And so, as with other just-past pawed friends, I will discipline myself to remember before I forget all those subtleties. I have a list of prompts, with others surely to come, that I can flesh out—sometimes in paragraphs, other times in single words or phrases that only Ann and I would understand.

Time heals all wounds. And I don’t know quite how I feel about the balm of forgetting. I want to forget the loss but remember the lost.

*****
Memories of Gandy
• On the loveseat
• In the woods
• With food and treats
• With other dogs
• With other people
• Through the years
• With other creatures
• Through the seasons
• Her intelligence
• Her appearance
• Her personality
• Her places
• Our names for her
• The things she knew

Gandy, Going, Gone

Gandy is gone as of an hour ago, after seven years and four months. That’s a lot of dog years, and they were good ones. She had an enchanted life on Goose Creek after being a rescue puppy that could have ended up anywhere, and in not such expansive wilderness with two creeks! Think trailer park tied to a tree.

Three days ago she was chasing squirrels on the ridge. Then she went into a rapid decline, and was having difficulty standing, breathing, moving. The end was near. We found a vet from FloydCo who makes house calls. She came right away. Gandy did not suffer.

She is buried out the kitchen window where we could never get a pear tree to grow. And that was one of the most difficult things we have done together in 47 years of marriage—in sickness and in health. We never buried a dog together before.

It will take some while before we stop expecting her to greet us in the morning and run ahead of us on the pasture loop. I just glanced up to see a copper colored flash go past the window and thought “there she is” but it was one of the red chickens.

It is a good exercise just now to think of our friends and family and those that knew us, and knew us with Gandy, through all the ups and downs; through the Feather years. Feather left the story a year ago January 23rd and Gandy never stopped missing her, I feel sure. Maybe there are dogs in heaven after all.

We never had a smarter companion, or more faithful or more helpful–bringing in wood, doing anything in the truck, she was involved in all family activities. And so her absence, all the more the loss.

And life goes on.

There are a lot of reasons why Gandy should be our LAST dog. But the “heart has reasons that reason does not know” Pascal said. And I expect he is on to something.

Two to Tango

Got that nice motion blur as I walk briskly along behind and snap the shutter on the iPhone.

They have their moments, even though mostly on our round-abouts we’re either keeping Dingo at some distance from Gandy or, when they are at a distance, watching Gandy dominate the confrontations by soundly boxing his ears or sending him tumbling. He finally gets the message.

And when they have come to terms, it’s gratifying to see them walking happily side by side–a token of what might lie ahead for these two dogs. Gandy turns 7 in mid-October, so can still keep up and hopefully, will be able to teach some good manners and household etiquette.

Back at the house, Dingo is feeling the urge again, but in the end, can only bark in frustration. If he could write a love song with more words than what he’s come up with so far.

Tutoring is scheduled for next Wednesday morning, after which maybe he’ll sing an octave higher?

Doglemma

We don’t know what we want. We don’t know what’s best. We don’t know what’s possible. Other than that, our future of dog ownership is perfectly clear.

We have been fated to cross paths with a fully worthy young stray (dropoff?) dog who has entered our lives unbidden, perhaps at random, perhaps ordained by the powers that both torment and reward. The rain—and feral dogs—fall on the godly and the ungodly alike.

And so we face another full week until we can take Dingo to Christiansburg to be tutored. (Remember the Gary Larsen cartoon?) And yes, I know the perils of giving up a dog you’ve named or eating a chicken named Rosy. But there you have it.

If you do Facebook and find me there, you know the story, but for both blog readers, a bit of background (and foreground, unseen and unseeable this morning.)

This dog first showed up in a burst of chicken terror, though the racket was not so much that he was after them as that they wanted no part of him. And Ann, mistaking him at first glance for a small bear, panicked; and I reflexively burst out the door in my underwear waving my arms and hollering, as Gandy chased the not-a-bear down the road at high speed.

Said gray-black but otherwise vaguely-observed dog reappeared a few days later on the edge of the pasture, and then a few days after that. Each time I protected the free-range hens by firing the .22 into the ground. And yet the dog persisted, returning a day or two later.

And cutting out all the in-between, last Thursday, when we concluded that we could get him to the animal shelter if we could pen him. We used Gandy as bait inside the chain-link enclosure under the shed roof. Within a few hours, the year-old blue heeler was himself inside the pen. So we called Animal Control to come fetch him to town, problem solved. What a relief!

But no. We learned, to our dismay, that the facility is closed for repairs until at least Sept 11. No, there are no other places that will take him. And we do not need another dog. We can barely tolerate this temporary dog whose Little Brain so dominates his behavior any time our six year old (spayed) female is outdoors or visible inside the house. She keeps telling him in no uncertain terms that she is NOT that kind of girl!

So we will try to endure this dysfunctional sorting of dog, chicken and people needs until Sept 4 when Dingo can get a shuttle from Floyd to Christiansburg to the Spay-Neuter clinic for de-balling. That SHOULD do wonders for his ability to concentrate on people and their instructions. He, however, will still be a puppy. This morning he carried both my Timberland boots out into the rain.

He is a bright dog and wants to please, though he probably has had no training and little human affection, if any. He will “sit” for a puppy treat. He is faithful, staying very close in our walks around the pasture and sleeping on the back porch for five nights now. He has shown no aggression towards us or Gandy, though he was not sold on the large FedEx van yesterday, but gave the driver a pass when he tossed out a dog biscuit.

But what are we going to do here? What is the best way forward for all?

The cost (of shots, boarding, health issues); the hassle (of going through maybe another year of puppy-hood and training from scratch a year old dog; the inconvenience (of two dogs inside all winter long, wet feet and dog aroma for six months)—taking on any of this makes no sense.

But then, dog ownership is not necessarily a rational choice. And we have not made a final choice yet, mind you. But I can read the writing on the wall. And I would be very surprised if Gandy doesn’t have a new best friend—if he can just keep his paws to himself.