INGENUITY: PLANNING A TRIP WITH THREE DOGS – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Thursday – INGENUITY

We have been blessed with the opportunity to take a real vacation — relatively locally but in a rich and wonderful part of the country.

I have always loved Pennsylvania, especially this area — the foothills of the Poconos.  It would be a real joy to get to know these people personally, too. Online is lovely … but person-to-person can’t is the best.

Garry and I really need a time out. It has been more than three years since the last time we were away for more than a day or two.

The problem is dogs.

We have three. That we have three makes little difference because really, the problem is our two Scottish Terriers, both of whom are now 13 and beginning to show their years. They are small, so they don’t age as fast as bigger dogs, but Bonnie’s eyesight is diminishing and Gibbs is getting a bit deaf. He used to come running for treats as soon as he heard the lid lifted from the treat box. Now, he falls into a sleep so deep it takes several loud calls for him to first wake up and then to realize he’s being called and why.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Duke and Gibbs

Gibbs isn’t the problem. Neither is wacko Duke. Yelling a little louder is not a big deal and Duke has calmed down to a point where while he’s a bit too crazy to take visiting, he’s good around the house. And he’s clean. He has never made a mess in the house from the day we got him.

Bonnie and Gibbs are a different story. Because both of them were trained to go out whenever they wanted to via the doggy door, they don’t tell you when they need to go out. They simply go. They don’t give us any indication of what they want. They are self-trained — which is fine in this house but not so fine in other people’s houses.

Gibbs

We have been trying to find some ingenious way to get Bonnie’s eyes properly taken care of while we are away. Owen will always make sure they are fed, spend at least an hour or so with them to keep them for getting too lonesome … and manage to squeeze two visits a day into their lives (and do Bonnie’s eyes while he is there). This is quite a trick considering he works a lot of hours.

We had been thinking about just taking Bonnie with us. That way, we’d know her eyes were getting the care they need. But if we take her with us, she will have me or Garry up by dawn. She requires an early morning cookie and a trip outside. Then she’ll have me up a couple of hours later again.

She is nearly blind, we would have to keep her on a lead — which she does NOT like because unlike home, she can’t feel her way around the house. In her mind, she has never lived anywhere else. From 9 weeks to thirteen years is a complete life for a dog. She knows every inch of the house, where all the furniture is, even where the step stool she uses to get up on the sofa stands.

In another house, she would need to find everything for the first time. Since she has always felt that leashes were something for Other Dogs, she is unlikely to take kindly to being led around.

First I figured we would take her with us. Now I’m rethinking it. If we are going to get any rest and relaxation, taking her will make that impossible.

Not taking her is also worrisome.

I’ve been trying to figure out some ingenious way of making this work for her and us. I’m coming up empty.

Taking her with us will guarantee her eyes are tended to properly and frequently, but it will enormously limit our freedom. Talk about a rock and a hard place. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t

The only place we could board her — assuming we could afford to do that at all — would be the veterinarian because her eyes need care. Owen will do the best he can, but he does work a full week and there’s only so much we can expect from him.

So here’s where I ask for ideas. No “dog walking” service in Uxbridge and Kaity is finally attending college — a commuter school — so she already has her hands full.

If Bonnie’s eyes were only cleaned and lubricated twice a day instead of three times a day for a week, would that be catastrophic? I know none of the dogs like when we are away, but much as I love them. sometimes we need to be elsewhere and this is one of those times.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I’m not sure there is a right answer, but if anyone has a creative thought, I’m listening!

BASE BEAST IN A SMALLISH TOWN – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Base

Another week has run away. Left me in the dust.

Maybe it’s just me, but time seems to have sped up and each time I look up, a week, two weeks, a month is gone.

Garry is running errands and I’m at home. With the dogs who obviously wish Big Daddy Doglegs would come back.

Because mom isn’t nearly as much fun.

I got some interesting portraits of Gibbs this morning. He’s fuzzy. A bit grubby. A bit matted if you look closely, but he is 100% cute with a weird factor of 9 out of 10.

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And today, for some reason, he reminds me of “poor Larry Talbot,” the Wolfman.

He’s got a werewolf face, doesn’t he?

Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, the Wolfman

Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, the Wolfman

But, to be fair, Gibbs doesn’t bite so no one will catch his terrible illness. He’s even delicate about dog biscuits. I think he will keep his monthly moon mania to himself.

Still, he really DOES resemble poor Larry Talbot.

ONE SCOTTIE AGAINST THE WORLD

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Abandoned or Alone

What could be more abandoned than a Scottish Terrier facing the terror of getting clipped without someone to hold his paw? Poor Gibbs! He has been face-to-face with dreadful things during the year and a half he has been our furkid. He has had his ears treated! Oh, the horror!

We have cleaned his eyes, clipped his claws … and sent him to the groomers where they (OMG!) bathe him with soap! Clip his coat! Trim his eyebrows and beard! No explanation can alleviate his gloom.

This is why Gibbs always manages to look depressed. The expression “hangdog” was designed to describe Mr. Gibbs.

No matter how good he is, people are always doing stuff to him. He cannot help but take it personally. He is alone, one brave Scottie against the world.

EXPECTATIONS, DOGS, AND TOO MUCH EMAIL

I fully expected to write this post this morning, but somehow, I forgot. Just … forgot. I got involved in trying to catch up with comments and email and somehow lost the thread of the morning. And now, it’s after dinner and I’m throwing this together because …

Gibbs and The Duke

I never caught up with my email. Not even close. There are at least 80 new emails in there and I’m not going to finish them today. It’s will be another mass delete because the eighty I don’t finish today will become 200 tomorrow and 500 by Monday. Moreover, I spent the afternoon researching the price of cameras. Canon DSLR cameras. My granddaughter still has the camera I gave her five years ago. She needs a new one, but she does not want a new one. She likes the old one. In fact, she LOVES this one. Unfortunately, the new lenses she wants are not going to work on the older camera body. So …

Gibbs

We’ll thrash it out tomorrow. I can’t afford it anyway, so if she’s really determined to keep it, well, okay. Keep it … but new lenses are going to be hard to come by as auto-focus and other camera functions keeps changing.

The Duke

Meanwhile, the dogs were doing something really cute. They did it yesterday, but by the time I got to my camera, they were suspicious that “you know who is going to take our picture,” so they headed for the out-of-doors. They have an apparent deathly fear of my taking their picture.

Gibbs and the great out-of-doors

They were doing the same adorable thing today, so I tiptoed to my camera. I had the right lens on it, so I grabbed it and just shot a bunch of pictures. Many are blurry, but I didn’t think this was the moment to try and take perfect shots. I actually got better pictures than I had any right to expect. Some are even sharp.

Instead of glorious autumn foliage, today you are getting cute pictures of my dogs.

At play, in the out-of-doors

And an apology for my failure to live up to expectations. I didn’t get to your posts and I didn’t even nearly finish my email. It turns out I can’t finish my email, get to everyone’s posts, write a piece or two, take pictures, process pictures, and also have a conversation with my granddaughter in a single day.

The truth is, I probably won’t succeed tomorrow, either. I love you all, but reality bites and it’s telling me I need to slow down.

This is me. Slowing down.

BONNIE – THE DAY AFTER HER SPA

Usually we take pictures of Bonnie and Gibbs at the groomers, but their new place is much smaller and doesn’t have that big front room. So we waited until we got home … and then we waited until the next day when hopefully, we’d have better light.

We had good light. Too much light — with a lot of very sharp shadows that make it hard to take pictures at all, much less pictures of a black dog with dark eyes and a black nose. I got a few more in the house, later. I took about 30 pictures  outside, of which 4 (maybe?) were sharp and the rest were various shades of blurry. A few more of the 40 more pictures I took in the living room came out, too.

Also, a great truth has come to me: it’s a lot easier to shoot the Scotties in black & white. Duh. I know. Obvious. But I wanted to get Garry in the pictures (I didn’t) and he looks good in color. No matter. We have a gallery of Bonnie, the short, plump, and entirely cute. Also, note that Bonnie has developed the best beard I’ve ever seen on a Scottie. It’s bigger and fully than Gibbs’ — and he’s a boy!

SCAMPERING DOGGY BRATS

It’s the beginning of the month and we dog owners know what that means.


Time to give them their heartworm medication! The stuff these guys get comes as a “delicious meaty treat” that all dogs love. And as a rule, they do. They eat them right up like treats and as they are rather small, they wait around for a chaser.

Treats are given in the kitchen. We hand them their treats, then hear their little paws clicking madly over the pseudo-wood floors. It is such a funny sound since Scotties don’t bound or gallop but rather trot or, as the prompt suggests, scamper. I laugh whenever I hear it.

Gibbs refused to eat his meaty treaty because … are you ready? I handed over the pieces in the living room rather than the kitchen. Uh huh. He would not eat it because I delivered it in the wrong room. He put it in his mouth, looked at me, and dropped it behind the computer table.

After moving the table and finding it on the floor, I dusted it off and looked at him. These little meaty treats run about $10 a pop (and that’s on sale), so you don’t drop it then look me in the eye with that “And what are you going to do about it?” attitude. I told him to eat it or else. I’m not sure what else might be, but I would have thought of something. Eventually.

He got the point. He ate it. Very slowly, staring at me the whole time. What a brat!

I used to think he was “like this” because he had a deprived and abandoned puppyhood. Clearly, I failed to realize he is a proper Scottish Terrier and therefore has attitude problems. He joined our home and in just a little more than a year, he’s spoiled. Rotten.

It must be us. Whatever dog we get, they all turn out rotten. They treat us like slaves and worse, we act like slaves. I yelled at him. Garry said it had upset him, so he took him to the kitchen for another treat.

“He doesn’t like it when you yell at him,” he explained.

Right.

RAINY DAY DAWGZ

We’ve had a run of gray, wet days. For Garry and I, that means we take a lot of medication that’s supposed to tell our arthritic bodies to shut up and stop complaining. Mostly, it doesn’t work very well, so these are slow-moving days.

We are listening to an audiobook by day, and deeply absorbed in the heart of post-Victorian British crime stories as the evening draws on. The dogs? They beg for whatever they think they have a chance of scoring … which is anything and everything that might be construed as edible … and sleeping. They are very good at both.

The mid morning rest. It will be followed by the early afternoon rest, segue into the mid-afternoon rest. Which will be interrupted by DINNER, the central event of the every day.

The mid morning rest. It will be followed by the early afternoon rest, segue into the mid-afternoon rest. Which will be interrupted by DINNER, the central event of the every day.

Gibbs looks thoughtful. He is thinking about lying down and taking a nap, so rudely interrupted by that Person With the Camera.

Gibbs looks thoughtful. He is thinking about lying down and taking a nap, so rudely interrupted by that Person With the Camera.

This is Bonnie's favorite daytime place. She can sleep, occasionally opening an eye to catch an overview of her domain.

This is Bonnie’s favorite daytime place. She can sleep, occasionally opening an eye to catch an overview of her domain.

Still hoping I'll go away and take the camera with me.

Still hoping I’ll go away and take the camera with me.

GIBBS’ SUPERPOWER

THE SCOTTISH SUPERPOWER!


I used to be Super Woman. I have written about it several times, in a variety of ways. Here is a link — BYE, BYE SUPERWOMAN — in case you are interested. It’s one of my better small pieces about life, and barking ones shins while attempting to leap tall buildings at a single bound.

Gibbs - Super Scottie!

Gibbs – Super Scottie!

For this challenge, I’d like to talk about Gibbs, the Scottish Terrier. He joined our family last March. He had never had a real home before in his life, but once he worked out the biscuit and petting connection, he took to family life with a vengeance. He took to the sofa with love, passion, and a quiet determination to never again be without a soft place to sleep.

Which is when we realized that Gibbs has a superpower. A real one. No kidding.

Gibbs can alter his specific gravity. Under non-super conditions, Gibbs weighs about 27 pounds. A normal, big boy Scottie. But if Gibbs has found his “spot” and has decided he is in need of A Long Rest, he can increase his weight and became an immovable object. Garry and I together can barely move him, much less lift him. It is as if he has a powerful magnetism that ties him firmly to the earth’s core — the sofa being only the intervening platform.

Note the open eye. He does not sleep. He is waiting.

Note the open eye. He does not sleep. He is waiting.

It’s pretty funny watching two grown adult humans struggling to rearrange or relocate one relatively small Scottish Terrier. I have no idea how he does it, but it’s definitely a superpower and a pretty impressive one at that.

What’s different and special about Batgirl and Supergirl and Wonder Woman is that they do all of this through female bodies. They demonstrate that heroism and intelligence and strength and leadership are not male traits. Rather, they are human traits that can be performed by anyone. — Carolyn Cocca

I’m here to tell you this is not only not necessarily a male human trait, or a female human trait. It is a basic animal trait. They shall not be moved!

We have a dog. He has The Superpower. Drop by sometime. We will demonstrate!

TUESDAY’S TEXTURE ON A WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON

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Before the grooming

This morning, we took two blacks heaps of dirty rags to the groomer and emerged two hours later with surprisingly attractive Scottish Terriers. Texture? Soft and fuzzy!

Bonnie has a better beard than Gibbs! A very proud Scottie beard. I got the pictures before we left the groomer. It was raining out and who knew how long they’d look good. Note the two piles of “dirty black rags” have gone and both dogs … (trumpet flourish!) … have eyes!

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TUESDAYS OF TEXTURE | WEEK 50 OF 2016

GIBBS: THE WEREWOLF OF UXBRIDGE – BASE BEAST IN A SMALL TOWN

Another week has run away. Left me in the dust.

Maybe it’s just me, but time seems to have sped up and each time I look up, a week, two weeks, a month is gone. Now, it’s November. So soon. And the election is next Tuesday. Garry is in New York. I’m here in the house. With the dogs who obviously wish Big Daddy Doglegs would come home. Because mom isn’t nearly as much fun.

I got some interesting portraits of Gibbs this morning. He’s fuzzy. A bit grubby. A trifle matted if you look really closely, but he is 100% cute, with a weird factor of 9 out of 10.

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And today, for some reason, he reminds me of “poor Larry Talbot … “the Wolfman.” He’s got a werewolf face, doesn’t he?

Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, the Wolfman

Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, the Wolfman

BASE | THE DAILY POST

DOGGISH HOUSEKEEPING

Bonnie is a dog with her own nest. The big wire crate near the fireplace is her place. The door is always open, It’s a huge crate, big enough for three dogs at least. Inside, it’s piled with old blankets, towels, one of my worn-out flannel nightgowns. I don’t remember what else, but whenever something soft is at the point where we would usually throw it away, it becomes part of Bonnie’s’ Big Bed and Living Room Suite.

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Several times a week, she’s in there, moving all the stuff around. Digging. Dragging various pieces to a new locations in the crate. Sometimes she drags each piece out of the crate, eyes the space critically, then drags each item back in. It looks the same to us, but apparently not to her more discerning eye.

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A couple of weeks ago, we dragged everything out. Garry washed and dried it, then put it neatly back into the crate. After which Bonnie tore it apart and rearranged everything.

Humans never get it right.

Did I mention that’s Gibbs’ nest is our sofa? He will let Bonnie sleep with him on the sofa, but she will not let him into her crate. I’m sure that means something.

REARRANGE | THE DAILY POST

MR. GIBBS AND THE BIG TUB: A BLACK & WHITE PHOTO STORY

STORY TO TELL: THURSDAY’S SPECIAL CHALLENGE

It was August. Gibbs, our rescued boy Scottish Terrier had been with us a scant 5 months, but he seemed to be fitting in well. We were happy with him. He seemed happy with us.

Gibbs is quirky. Funny quirky. Among his more amusing idiosyncrasies was how much he loves his water bowl. It’s a big bowl, probably 5 or 6 quarts. He drinks and when he’s finished quaffing, he puts his front paws in the bowl and paddles.

Garry and I though he might have an unfulfilled desire to spend time in water. Most terriers aren’t big on water, but our first Scottie, Mac-a-Dog liked to wallow in shallow water. He couldn’t swim. Too short-legged and long-bodied, but wherever the water was shallow, he liked to cool down on a warm summer’s day.

So I thought we could get Gibbs (Bonnie is not interested in water except as a drink between snakes) a little doggy wading pool. But they turned out to be too expensive and too big. Overkill. Finally, I thought … how about a tub? When my brother and I were toddlers, my mother used to give us tubs of cool water to play in. I have pictures (somewhere) of Matthew and me in our tubs. Chilling in the summer heat. I found a nice tub at a modest price. It looks exactly like the tubs in the pictures from my childhood.

Garry put about three inches of water in it and set it out on the front stoop for Gibbs to discover.

After a couple of weeks, it was obvious he was not going to discover it on his own. Garry decided to introduce Gibbs to the tub. Although he didn’t freak out, he also was obviously expecting, as someone so well stated it, “a follow-up soap event.” He stood there with that patient, put-upon look dogs get when their people are making them do stuff.

Gibbs has never wanted anything to do with the tub, but he still likes to paddle in the water bowl. Another great idea gone awry.

DOUBLE TROUBLE – THURSDAY SPECIAL

Thursday’s Special: Double


When you have two black Scottish Terriers that you, yourself have trouble telling apart at a quick glance, double is what you see. The two pups together are more obviously different. Gibbs is bigger, longer, and lower. He’s more “doggy” and Bonnie is more “bitchy” which is as it should be. Gibbs is stronger and more gracefully athletic. Bonnie is bouncy, cheerful, the happiest dog in this best of all possible worlds, the Candide of small dogs.

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And then there are the swans and the geese. Both mate for life and you will rarely see one bird without the other nearby.

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swan 93

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