CEE’S ODDBALLS ON A STEAMY SUMMER AFTERNOON

 Cees’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2016 Week 32


After weeks of no rain at all, suddenly we’ve been getting thunderstorms in the afternoon. It’s probably because of the heat and humidity. I remember, when I was a kid, when the weather got like this — before we had weather channels or 24 hours news or the internet — we expected thunderstorms. When you got a lot of heat and steamy air, you expected thunder and lightning to follow.

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We’d head for Mary’s house because she had a covered porch. There, we could play monopoly and watch the rain. Rainy afternoons are full of memories.

I am glad we’re finally getting some rain. It will take a lot of days like this to make up for the weeks of drought.

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HOW COME THINGS GET SO COMPLICATED?

We were supposed to be going away for a few days to visit friends in Connecticut. We started planning the little jaunt back in May. Each time the appointed day got close, someone had a problem — and we had to reschedule. One of us (me or Garry) was not feeling well. Garry’s shoulder was out, I had a stomach thing.  It’s one of the perils of aging, I guess, that the likelihood of one of us not feeling up to snuff will occur.

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And then, there are the dogs. They have dogs. We have dogs. Once, our dog sitter wasn’t available. Another time, their son was away on business. Then, there are unexpected visits. His brother. Garry’s brother. Friends.

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We began the process with our first scheduled date set for June. Delayed and I don’t remember why, but I think it was a dog sitting issue. We each canceled once in July, and between us, three times in August (them, us, them). We were supposed to go last week, but I wasn’t up to it. Today was our “rain date,” but our host is feeling poorly.

I said “Tell you what. I know you guys are going away next week for a couple of weeks. When you get back, if you see some time, give a call. We aren’t far away and after August, the calendar is wide open.”

“Yes,” he said. “And maybe by September it will have cooled down a bit.”

And that’s where we left it. He said “It shouldn’t be this hard.”

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It shouldn’t be this complicated. But there’s some malevolent Murphy’s Law operating in our universes. It makes simple plans into a Byzantine maze. Before Tom called, we were already grappling with an unexpected hit on Owen’s schedule which required him to be down on the Cape Monday. That would leave the dogs almost entirely alone  for close to 24 hours. I’m sure they’d survive as long as they have food, water, and the doggy door, but they are unused to being alone at all, much less for an extended period. Gibbs gets anxious when Garry is in the bathroom.

That’s the other problem. We only have two dogs now. Bonnie and Gibbs, the two black Scotties. Bonnie is fine with anyone who can hold a biscuit. She is a bright, happy, little girl. This is not necessarily typical of Scottish Terriers. As a breed, they can be quite stand-offish. And they are never “just anyone’s” dog. They like who they like … which is sometimes quite quirky.

Gibbs has a long history of being a kennel dog. In the past 4 months, he has bonded tightly to Garry and I. He has not accepted anyone else. Maybe if someone else was around more than a few hours at a time, he would begin to accept them but not necessarily. Even when friends were here for a week, he never warmed up. He stopped barking at them all the time, but he was still suspicious.

It’s possible he will never cotton to anyone but us. Scotties are often one or two-person dogs, not friendly to anyone outside a small family circle. Bonnie is outgoing, but that’s Bonnie, not Scotties in general. Gibbs is more like my first Scottie — Mac-A-Dog. He was wary of anyone who didn’t live in the house … and we’d raised him from pup.

That said, there is a limit to how much the dogs can run our lives. We spoil them. We indulge them. But we aren’t willing to be stuck in the house all the time, forever. Gibbs will have to cope with occasional absences and substitute humans coming by to feed, water, and provide companionship.

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This latest snafu has delayed that fateful day, but it will come again. Owen thought maybe he could leave food out for Gibbs. That would probably be okay, assuming Bonnie doesn’t eat all of it. She doesn’t eat as much as she used to, so it would probably be okay. I should get one of those timed feeding things for this kind of situation. I’ll think about it.

Meanwhile, what originally was a simple three-day visit to friends who live a mere 75 miles away morphed into a wildly complex event that didn’t happen at all.

Why do things get this complicated? It was easier packing up and going to Arizona than driving a couple of hours to an adjacent state. Talk about the universe sending a message!

THE DAILY POST | COMPLICATED

TUBBING GIBBS

Having bought the tub, aka “swimming hole for small dogs,” and what with both dogs more or less ignoring it, there came a moment when Garry felt it was time the introduce Gibbs to the tub. Why Gibbs not Bonnie?

(1) Gibbs likes paddling in the water bowl.

(2) Bonnie holds grudges.

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Gibbs was not terrified. He was, in fact, surprisingly under-whelmed. Both Gibbs and Bonnie apparently regard the tub as an over-sized drinking trough.

I’m beginning to look at it as a planter for my fall chrysanthemums. Apparently Gibbs prefers paddling in the water bowl and drinking from the “pool.”

THAT WAS THE DAY THAT WAS

The day before yesterday was a day and a half. Maybe more.

I knew my son was coming to mow the lawn, but I didn’t know he was coming with a new (to us, but not “new” new) dishwasher. I didn’t expect UPS to deliver a stack of items that have been hanging fire. Jam for my morning muffins. A new mat for the shower (the old one has turned a funky orange). Shower cleanser and mold removing spray, both of which (my preferred brands, that is) are not available in the local store.

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These days, I order it from Walmart central and it gets delivered for free … a great improvement over hunting the aisles of our local Walmart in person.

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After the installation, I had to wash the kitchen floor again. Two days in a row is a lot of floor scrubbing. It’s impossible to install an appliance without needing a complete floor wash afterwards. Then I vacuumed again too. Because hauling stuff in and out hauled in a lot of lawn and leaf debris.

Bonnie

Bonnie

Then, realizing it was now or never, I put dinner up in the slow cooker because I had the distinct feeling once I sat down, I would not quickly rise again.

I was right.

I did manage to take a few pictures in the midst of the chaos. For reasons I can’t explain, suddenly my dogs are cooperating and hold still while I take their picture. Gibbs and I had a little disagreement about him marking furniture in the living room. He felt a need to hide. Not very effectively, but pretty funny.

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Gibbs in hiding

I apologize (again) for not visiting all your blogs. I fell behind and then slipped even further today. It was obvious to me I’d never get through the email, much less the blogs. It wasn’t lack of love. I ran out of time. I think tomorrow will be more or less normal. I hope.

BUSY AND A-MUSE-ING

It has a been a busy and a-muse-ing day. My son showed up simultaneously with the UPS delivery guy. Then the garden crew arrived too and all kinds of stuff began happening. The front “lawn” got mowed. A new dishwasher is installed. Really, it’s not new, but rather my son’s old dishwasher. It’s new to us and it works, which wasn’t true of the one just removed. And the Turf Tech people are out there spraying for everything.

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This sort of thing makes dogs go crazy, barking and running in and out. Any one of these activities is enough to set them off, but all at the same time? Wow.

Bonnie and Gibbs got a little crazy. Okay, actually Bonnie got a little crazy and somewhere in there, she knocked Garry’s 16 oz. cup of fresh coffee … which went flying. It baptized the new area rug. Fortunately, coffee is a good color match and lots worse things have found their way into our carpets.

What with all the cleaning up, Garry figured he might as well run a load of towels. They’re in the dryer. From the loud roaring coming from the basement, I think a new clothes dryer is in our future. I don’t remember when we got this one, but it’s at least 10-years old. It never roared before. Not a good sound for an appliance. Sounds more like a helicopter than a dryer.

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Table from Wikipedia – Nine Muses

So our muse, the one that live in the middle of a-muse-ment has been a busy little goddess. I wonder which muse she is … the one that keeps life from getting dull? I’m betting on Thalia, the comedy muse.

THE DAILY POST | MUSE

LET THE GAMES BEGIN

I came back out of the bedroom last night to collect the folded clothing Garry had earlier washed and put on the coffee table for appropriate distribution. Gibbs and Bonnie were standing four-square on the end table next to where I normally sit. They were rooting for crumbs — or anything I might have left they could eat.

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They are not, despite the lies they tell about it, starving. Gibbs has lost the lean and hungry look he had when he arrived here. Bonnie’s belly tells its own story. No starving dogs in this house. Garry would never allow it. Yet they beg, dig, and search for food constantly as if whatever meal they most recently consumed will be their last.

NOT. True. They lie like dogs.

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Consider the water-bowl thing. We use a stainless steel stock pot as a water bowl. This was necessary for Bishop who drank a huge amount of water. Sometimes, we wondered if he was part camel and we always said he had a drinking problem

Now, with just the two smaller dogs, we could use a smaller bowl for the Scotties. But they’re used to the big one — and so are we. I bet a smaller container would end up knocked over with the floor flooded.

Regardless, no matter what we do, there’s always water on the floor. I bought a special tray to put under the water. We recently added a bath towel under the tray to sop some of the overflow. But still, there’s always pools of water here, there, elsewhere.

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I could not figure out why. These are not jowly dogs. They don’t drool buckets after a taking a drink. Okay, they have beards, but seriously … how much water can a Scottie’s beard dump on the floor?

Came the day I found Gibbs in the water pot. Not all four legs. Just his two front paws. He was paddling happily with merriment and lots of splashing. A nice little swim.

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Terriers in general and Scotties in particular are not known for aquatic enthusiasm, though my first Scottie — MacADog — liked to wallow in shallow water along the shore at the beach. As long as he could keep his feet on the ground, water was okay. Apparently Gibbs likes a bit of cool water on a hot summer’s day.

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Garry and I went into a huddle? Should we buy him a pool? That seemed a bit of overkill. Especially given the drought conditions we’re having. But something perhaps to give him a bit of water playtime not in the water bowl. Nothing inflatable. A dogs claws can merely rake lightly on the surface of an inflatable and it is thence forward a deflatable.

We compromised. I bought a washtub. A big, 18-gallon metal tub. I’ve got pictures of me and my brother chilling out on warm summer days in tubs just like this.

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Garry’s shoulder has been very sore, so the tub remained empty until this morning when Garry decided he could carry some water down if he carried the buckets in his left hand. And he did.

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Of course, the dogs have no idea what to make of it. They’ve been sniffing all around it and poking their heads over the side.

I’m counting on natural curiosity to get one or both of them wet. If that doesn’t work, you can bet I’ll drop them in, then enjoy the show. And the mopping up as our wet dogs come galloping homeward.

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It’s summer here on Rancho Kachingerosa. Let our mini-Olympics begin!

DOG TRAINING VERSUS PEOPLE TRAINING by ELLIN CURLEY

Our otherwise well-behaved younger dog, Lexi barks at everything when I’m around (not so much when I’m not). We can live with that. However, she has also started growling at our 15 ½ year old dog. She has even gone after him once or twice. This is unacceptable behavior so we called in a dog trainer.

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After meeting with the trainer, it turns out that I am the problem and I am the one who has to be trained! Apparently our actions can be interpreted by canine brains in ways we can not always predict or understand. I’ve always thought it was love and devotion that made Lexi follow me around. It turns out I’ve let her feel that she has to protect me 24/7.

She thinks that’s her job – and because of many of her Heinz 57 strains of DNA, she takes her job very seriously. I also thought it was love and affection that made her drape herself over me when we sit together. Wrong again. She is being possessive and asserting that I am her “property”. This exacerbates her desire to “protect” me from anyone else, particularly from our other dog.

So, I have to make some changes in the way I relate to her.

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I know that dog people often have strong ideas about the “right” way to train dogs and their humans. I personally believe that different things work for different people and different dogs. Also, some behaviors come more easily to some people. For example, I am not a disciplined person and I have a poor attention span. So I do not do well with rigid rules or strict practice schedules. I need behaviors that I can adapt into my not very structured day-to-day life.

So here’s what the trainer worked out for me and Lexi.

I will keep her from spending all her time next to me. That should let her know that she doesn’t own me or need to protect me. She already knows how to sit, lie down, stay, and come. While I watch TV, she has to sit on her dog bed across the room from me. And stay there until I release her which also tells her I’m the alpha, not her.

She has to look to me to determine where she should be and what she should be doing, at least sometimes. If this isn’t enough to alter her behavior towards our second dog, I will extend the “give me space” scenario to other times of the day until she “gets it”.

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I didn’t realize that I had inadvertently put Lexi on “guard duty,” thus creating stress for her. I feel terrible that I did that to an already anxious dog. Hopefully, this old dog can learn new tricks and I can release her from her “job” with me. Making some new rules will let her know that I’ve got things covered and don’t need her help.

I never want to change the cuddly, fun part of our relationship. But if I can eliminate the stress for her, maybe we can just be a loving human and her dog BFF.