Things that go bump in the night

I mean, honestly…is it a dog or a four-legged ninja. Sometimes I wonder. Or maybe it’s one of those ghosts from Paranormal Activity that shows up with a sheet over its “head,” but when the sheet is removed, lo and behold, there’s nothing there, and that’s when everyone watching loses their sh…well, you know. I’ll admit, I wasn’t brave enough to go that far to see if that would happen in this case. Seriously, who wants to piss off demons when you don’t have to?And considering that the blanket made its way back to its bed after getting a drink left me thinking that whatever was underneath was too sleepy to cause any real ghostly damage. I can’t say that’s a bad thing.

Hide-and-seek skill level: expert

 

 

Canine Symphony in C

Back in the day, I had a wonderful dog, a Shih Tzu named Boopers. I loved her to pieces. Among her many attributes (not least of which, was just being a smart, loyal, loving companion), she was a great watch dog. She might not have physically been able to do anything about a person breaking in, like attack anything except his ankles and maybe his calves, but she was phenomenal about alerting us to possible Ninja intruders. Which, when you think about it, was really her job…the job of any small dog, actually. They’re the alarm system and either the larger dog, or you, as the human of the house, are supposed to do the rest.

Boopers was especially good at her job. She could tell the difference in cat noises permeating the darkness throughout the inner sanctum of the house…of which there were many in the night due to our own personal zoo. She could tell if the noises outside were “normal” noises, like an owl on the roof, or a squirrel scurrying across the deck, or maybe the neighbors coughing a bit too loudly out on their own back porch. Hey, what can I say? Sound travels here. So, when she barked, or worse, growled deep in her throat, you knew…you just knew…you had to get up to look to see what was going on to cause a disturbance in the force. She was trustworthy and reliable, and an amazing alarm system.

The dogs I have now? Not so much. If so much as a leaf blows across the yard three doors down, they bark. If the neighbor next door sneezes deep within the realm of her kitchen, they bark. If they hear a car that’s just a tad bit too loud in the exhaust system somewhere out there in the neighborhood, they bark. Maybe the couple two streets over slam a door in the midst of their argument debate over “Star Wars vs Star Trek.” Yep, you guessed it. They bark.

Sometimes, I think these dogs bark just to hear themselves bark. And once one loses it, the other one loses it, and then the cacophony is truly a thing to behold.

“What are you barking at!? What’s going on!? Where’s the danger? Let me at it!” 

“I don’t know, I just thought maybe I heard something but then I started barking and it sounded cool, so I kept doing it!”

“Oh wow, that’s a fantastic idea, I think I’ll bark too and then we’ll both be barking!? How cool is that??”

“Hey, that’s awesome! We can get into sync so there’s absolutely no lag time and all the human will hear is constant ear-splitting yaps in completely different timbres!”

“Why do you think she’s holding her ears and looking fierce?”

“I don’t know…maybe she just can’t stand the symphony that is our high-pitched barking because it’s simply too awe-inducing and lovely beyond words. We should bark louder!”

I love Petra and Rufus beyond belief, of that, there is no doubt in the world. But when these 2:00 a.m. concerts come around to awaken me from a dead-sleep, I sure do miss my Boopers.

Hello Karma – Nice to Meet You

The other day my dog, Rufus, took a little spill off the bottom step that goes out my back door. It was such a short distance that I knew right away he was okay. Still, bless his heart, I think he was upset that I didn’t help him up quicker (not from lack of effort on my part, trust me).  Seriously, he fell all of a little bit and even then, he landed on a bag of soft potting soil, you know, the good kind that is mostly air and fluff anyway. I’ll admit, a quickly stifled giggle did escape when I saw him lying there on my gardening supplies gazing up at me with his big, brown eyes. Despite knowing there was just no way he could be hurt, and further knowing that had he wanted to, he could have simply gotten up on his own, I nonetheless dropped my end of the leash that was hooked to his harness and rushed over to placate his pride.

Despite my loving assistance, I guess he was offended by how long it still took me to get there, because he gave me a stricken look me as if to say, “Are you seriously moving that slow? Oh, the betrayal.” I picked him up, brushed him off, snuggled with him, and then he was off doing whatever it is he wanted to do in the yard as if nothing happened. I even gave him an unexpected snack when we went back into the house. No harm, no foul.

Or so I thought.

On Monday, I fell face-first from the TOP step of a 4-step staircase right onto a concrete patio. No rhyme. No reason. No one pushed me. I didn’t trip. My feet just didn’t work. Go figure. I didn’t land on my face, thank the gods that be, but I definitely messed up my hands, wrists, and knees. So yeah. Hello there, karma. Nice to meet you. My bad for not taking Rufus’ misstep a bit more seriously.

I thought the fall was the worst part, but there’s been a ripple effect of delayed pain that’s been even worse. The day after the fall my back decided to get into the game too. Maybe I twisted it funny. Although really, whoever thought it was funny should have their head examined.

To top it all off, guess who was walking around the yard without a care in the world while I was trying (and failing) to get back up on my feet. You guessed it…Rufus. There I am, flailing around on the ground, unable to get up, and after a while, starting to give serious thought to, “Gee, maybe I should just stay outside for today,” and there’s Rufus idly traipsing around, sniffing the grass, and looking for squirrels, leash dragging behind. Not one ounce of concern for his ailing mom, no sir. I’m not going to say I deserved his cold shoulder, but damn, that was a reality check. Thankfully I still had Petra, who stayed glued by my side worried about me and whining. Guess who got a snack that day when we finally made it back in the house!?

There’s always a silver lining, regardless of how bad a situation is. The blessing in all of this was ultimately my laziness. Yes, you read that right. Laziness. You see, all of this happened on Monday. Well, on Sunday, I never finished the laundry, so I was out of shorts. Hey, don’t roll your eyes at me. It was just one of those weekends. So, anyway, even though it was certainly hot enough outside to warrant shorts, I was in fact wearing pants. It was a good thing too or my knees, which took the brunt of the fall, would be scraped to hell in addition to being just swollen. Fun science fact: concrete is hard. Who knew? Another fun fact: old concrete is jagged and crumbly. Even worse.

The lesson I’ve learned here is that laziness is not always a bad thing after all. But not being able to move as fast as The Flash to grab your pet when he missteps to save his pride? That can be a serious problem.

Distractions

Admittedly, I do most of my best writing while lazing in bed with a cup of coffee on the side table and a Midsomer Murders marathon flowing on the tube. But this office of sorts does come with distractions, as even the best of work stations do. Mine just happens to be four-legged, furry, and impossibly cute. So if I miss a day or two or three of blogging, it’s likely because some little someone has decided I have better things to do during my allotted “me” time. And if I’m being honest here, a rousing game of “who stole my sock!?” or a walk in the cool night air is not always an unwelcome interruption. What can I say? I’m a sucker for adoring brown eyes.

 

 

Invasion of the Morning Dog

I hate mornings.  I really do.  This whole “having to get up and be an adult” gig is just not my thing.

Enter Petra, my adorable morning loving dog. She has an almost annoyingly happy morning persona.  If she was human, I’d avoid her until noon. Or drown her in a cup of coffee, lock her in the supply closet, duct tape her mouth shut; you get the point.  I hate perky, annoying morning people.

Petra wasn’t always a shot of energy in the morning. When I rescued her two and a half years ago from our local shelter, she had been abused and neglected.  At age six, she was terrified of everything and everyone.  She was painfully thin, and afraid of loud sounds or even sudden movements; it was as if she was always waiting for the worst to happen to her.  My heart breaks to think what she went through before becoming comfortably ensconced in our household.

After showing this little Chihuahua the love and respect she deserves, she now knows she is safe.  No longer afraid, this tiny giant of a lovebug is comfortable in her surroundings and loves us as much as we love her.  Petra has blossomed under our care and is a completely different dog.  Every day finds her happy to be alive and with us, safe and warm. I know how this must sound and believe me, I’m not trying to “toot my own horn” in the animal care department so much as adequately describe just how annoyingly adorable this dog truly is. She really is just happy to wake up each morning, still here, and shows it.

Now, every couple has their differences.  I get it.  I really do.  But Petra is my polar opposite in the morning.  While I groggily throw shoes at the alarm clock, this petite dynamo seems to just pop out of the covers, every hair in place, with a big welcoming smile on her doggie face. Apart from her morning breath (which is also her afternoon and evening breath, but I digress), she is ready to face the world.  Her little tail wags a mile a minute, and seriously, I have tried to figure out a way to use that wagging tail to stir my coffee.  So far, my only reward for that invention is a coffee cup full of hair.  I don’t think I’ve ever met a human that is so happy to be alive and so eager to greet the day. But this dog has got it covered.

I guess she can’t read my “I Hate Mornings” coffee mug, although I have tried to translate it for her. In sooo many ways I’ve tried to translate it for her.  I suspect she just doesn’t care.  Petra doesn’t wake me up, she is way too smart for that. She doesn’t try to push me out of bed either. If I stay in bed, she stays in bed. She just stays burrowed under the covers next to me until she feels me stir in that “okay, fine, I can’t avoid it any longer and I have to get up now even though I don’t want to” kind of way.  Then, all bets are off.

Bouncing out of bed as if it were a trampoline, my tiny giant is a circle in motion, enthusiastic, tail wagging, smiling bundle of boundless energy.  She is that annoying barista at Starbucks who insists you must pay attention to her as she writes your name on your cup.  “How is your morning?”  Ms. Barista breezes at you, smile plastered on her face as you blink at her in confusion.  “Nice weather, isn’t it?”  Your brain screams “Shut up! Just make the coffee!” but your mouth freezes into the fake smile as you nod and snatch your cup from her overly eager hands.

Petra could be that barista, hands down.  Except for one thing.

No barista was ever this cute.  And engaging.  And infectiously happy.  I can’t help it; I want to be annoyed, I try to be annoyed, but I just can’t.  Instead, her exuberance rubs off on me and I end up smiling myself, like the fool I am.

I’d be a millionaire if I could figure out how to bottle that energy and sell it.  Or, I’d selfishly keep it and sip on it when the cable guy says he’ll be there “between 7am and 8pm.”  One sip, and I’d have the laundry and the housework done in half an hour.

Still, as I brew my coffee and look at my petite dynamo of a dog, I’m glad that her happiness is contagious. I’m glad she’s happy, period. I can’t help but smile at her, no matter how early it is.

The amazing thing is, she always, always smiles back.

 

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