When the dog bites, When the bee stings, When I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad.
And when I’m feeling sad …
Because a carousel always cheers me up!
We have four dogs, one of whom has a drinking problem. It’s not medical. We’ve checked it out with any number of veterinarians and there is nothing physically wrong with Bishop. He merely drinks a lot of water. Actually, he probably drinks a normal amount of water, but he drinks it all at once. When he begins drinking, he goes on for what seems forever.
Not surprisingly, when he has to pee, he releases an ocean. It’s absolutely tidal.
Now, the mystery.
With four dogs, we have two water bowls. A big blue-green plastic one that’s bigger than some dogs, and a somewhat smaller stainless steel bowl. They sit side by side on the floor in the kitchen. The stainless bowl used to be on the left, the plastic bowl on the right. For reasons of convenience (mine), I switched them a while ago, so now the big plastic bowl is on the left, and the stainless steel bowl on the right. No big deal, right?
Bishop used to drink entirely from the stainless steel bowl. We assumed he preferred the taste of water from the steel bowl, but when I switched the position of the bowls, Bishop began drinking exclusively from the plastic bowl. Apparently he will only drink from the left-hand bowl.
I was just in the kitchen and Bishop was standing over the empty plastic bowl, obviously sad because there was no water. Directly next to it, the stainless bowl was full. But he wouldn’t drink from it. He will only drink from the bowl on the left.
All the other dogs will drink from either bowl, apparently without preference.
This picture comes with a back story.
We have four dogs. Technically, Garry and I have two and the other two belong to my son. Ours are the two terriers, Bonnie, the Scottie, and Nan, the Norwich. Owen has the big Australian Hairball — I mean, Shepherd — and Amber, the odd-eyed Miniature Dachshund. Amber is a Velcro dog and only puts in an upstairs appearance if there’s a biscuit in it or when dinner is served.
Bishop, on the other hand, is upstairs more than he is downstairs. He’s big, hairy, and friendly. The only dog in a houseful of bitches. (Well, they are bitches. Dogs are male, bitches are female. Get used to it.)
On this day, the two terriers had just come home from the groomer. Looking good. Time to get a few pictures before they went outside to roll in the dirt, or dig a tunnel to Australia. I had cajoled Garry into putting on a nice pair of jeans, and posing with The Girls.
Neither terrier will let me take a picture unless they are physically restrained … or sleeping. Why not? No idea. I don’t even use a flash. Nonetheless, the moment I take a camera out of the bag, they head for the doggy door and all I get is a picture of their furry butts as they make their escape.
I had them lined up. Garry was smiling. I think the girls were smiling, but it can be hard to tell. And suddenly, Bishop decided he was not going to be left out.
I could have shot around him, but he clearly felt he was being unreasonably excluded. Even though Bishop is usually no more eager to be a photo subject than the other canines. This time, though, he was going to participate. One way or the other.
For our final trio prompt of the year, write about any topic you wish, but make sure your post features a bookcase, something cracked, and a song you love.
Today is December 20 and Christmas is just 5 days away.
There’s something alarming about that statement. Actually, there is a lot of alarming in that statement. First of all, there’s got to be some kind of serious error because the day before yesterday, it was Thanksgiving and I’m pretty sure I’ve still got some leftovers in my refrigerator. Probably I should deal with that before they grow legs and try to make a run for it.
The house is appropriately Christmasy, from the bookcase full of sentimental seasonal films, to the cracked glass ornaments we hang anyway. I don’t throw away things I love because they are imperfect. If I had to be perfect, I’d have long since been sent to the dustbin.
Saturday morning, less than a week from Christmas. I ought to be bustling about, wrapping and cleaning and arranging. Maybe not. It’s not such a huge event this year. No need to rent extra chairs or extend the table. Just some wrapping, run the vacuum over the dusty rug. Rearrange the cards and flowers on the table. Our lives are much neater than they used to be. Without kids in the house, we only need to contend with the disorder created by three small doggies — plus one giant hairy heap of dog.
Of all our canine packs, this is the best mannered. Never mind that Bonnie has determined to prove she can bark more than any dog in history. She goes outside and doesn’t shut up for hours. We finally locked her — locked all of them — in the house last night in the hopes that she would forget about whatever it was that was setting her off. There are probably deer hanging around the house. We’ve seen a lot of them lately. Our dogs don’t bark at people. In their reckoning, people are fine. They have to protect us from other animals, especially other dogs.
Our friendly neighborhood bobcat really sets them on their collective ears. He stands right outside the fence and taunts them. I’ve read all the handouts from the wildlife people who say the bobcats are very shy and run away at the first sign of human activity, but not our bobcat. He isn’t afraid of us OR the dogs and is smart enough to realize the dogs can’t get out of the fenced yard. So he sits there, like any household feline, casually washing his paws and ears while the dogs go berserk. As do the neighbors.
Bonnie doesn’t need any special reason to bark. She is highly communicative. Not so much conversational as given to loud monologues. Maybe she is singing carols for the other dogs? If so, they are mostly not picking up her cue. With a little luck, she will finally go hoarse.
In the spirit of both Christmas and a night of one silent night of No Barking, Garry’s favorite Christmas song.
Here’s a sequel I didn’t see coming. Not so soon, at least. And, after all our recent trials and tribulations, it’s nice to write this piece. Remember, it’s day by day. We were just trying to figure out how to say goodbye to Bishop aka Bubba, our beloved Australian Shepherd. That was two days ago.
In our last piece, Bubba was struggling to move around and clearly in lots of pain. We figured it was a combination of muscle damage and arthritis. He was staying downstairs to avoid the stairs which obviously were too much for him. The vet didn’t have much to say except try to make Bubba as comfortable as possible. It didn’t look good.
Bubba has been getting slow walks outside, to get some air and do his business. He didn’t seem interested in joining the other three dogs in our front yard which is reserved for them. I cajoled and enticed him to no avail. I even got down on my knees and barked at him. Nothing! He just didn’t want to hang with the other furry kids and bark at things, real and imagined. That was yesterday.
Today, so far, is bright, sunny and warm. A good day to be outside for folks, two and four-legged. I sent the three little kids, Bonnie, Nan and Amber outside to play and closed the doggie door. Marilyn suggested Bubba might be interested. I didn’t think so based on the past two days. But, what the heck, give it a shot, right?
I led Bubba out the downstairs door and out to the driveway. Didn’t expect much. I turned around and he was right on my heels. Wow! I opened the gate to the front yard and, before I could say anything, Bubba raced by me and joined his pals. I couldn’t believe it. The little ones greeted Bubba with cheery barks and they began looping the yard with fresh energy.
I’m not sure how the day will end for Bubba. Marilyn has just suggested I bring him in so he doesn’t overdo things. I’ll do that. But, at least, for one bright April afternoon, our Bubba is doing okay. We’ll take that, One day at a time!
There was a very poignant post on Facebook today showing police officers bidding farewell to one of their own, a K-9 partner. You could see the sadness in the eyes of the otherwise stoic law officers. It struck home.
One of our furry kids is in a bad place. The big dog, the affable enforcer in our canine family which includes a Scottie, a Norwich Terrier and a mini Dachshund. We call him Bubba because of his lovable personality. He’s our big, huggable Australian Shepherd.
Painfully shy when he came to live with us, he has gradually become part of our family, both human and 4-legged. Bubba used to be afraid of his shadow, but Bonnie, our unflappable Scottie — ring-leader of the fur people, took Bubba under her wing. Bonnie made it clear shyness doesn’t get you anywhere in our family. It certainly doesn’t get you attention. More importantly, it doesn’t get you those extra biscuits.
Bubba learned. He learned so well he began showing up in my office as I worked on my first cup of coffee in the morning. Not my best time of day.
Bubba’s finest moment came recently when Marilyn was taking pictures. Bubba wasn’t in the shot, but decided he wanted to be included. He just poked his head into the shot making it clear he wasn’t going to be left out of the festivities. Bubba had arrived!
We have a lot of strong personalities in the house. We’re not camera-shy or modest. Bubba made it clear he wanted billing above the title in our family soap drama.
Something went wrong in the last couple of weeks. Bubba, not the most agile of dogs, has taken several tumbles on the stairs. We thought he had shaken them off but we were wrong. Bubba sustained a back injury while simultaneously has been developing his own serious case of arthritis. Arthritis is something of a plague in this household. Quite literally, everyone’s got it.
Now he’s dragging his rear end. The stairs are impossible for him. It’s painful to watch our big guy struggle to move around. Marilyn says big dogs are more prone to this kind of injury than small ones.The vet says there’s nothing to be done for him but to give him pain-killers and make him as comfortable as possible. Maybe he’ll get better. We can hope.
Bubba is now living downstairs with the junior members of our family. He is actually their dog even though we feel he belongs to all of us. Bubba is still eating well and responds quickly to offers of biscuits. But something is different. It’s clear his energy is sapped. He moves slowly. Hard to believe, but we miss his baying at the moon and those furtive three o’clock in the morning shadows.
It’s about quality of life. Some family members are hoping for a miracle. We’ve all been down this road before. It’s not about us or our feelings. Saying goodbye will be difficult and we’ll hold off on it as long as we can. But, in the end, it’s about Bubba.
Bishop, our Australian Shepherd is possibly the most beautiful Aussie I’ve ever seen. From nose to rump (he has no tail) he’s magnificent. Okay, he isn’t necessarily the smartest of his breed but he may be the sweetest. He’s loving. Passionate even.
If you look him in the eyes, all sixty pounds of gigantically furry pooch will be in your lap and licking you to death before you can say “No, Bishop, you’re too BIG!”
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