Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

“I’m a pup again!”

My ten year old Buddy, who has lately been acting so much like an old man that i’ve been concerned that his arthritic hip is hurting him (which i do think it is), decided yesterday afternoon that he was a pup again.  He chased the extraordinarily fast three year old, long-legged Lucy in big circles around the yard in a way that was obviously thrilling for both of them – and thrilling for me to watch.  It lasted probably no more than two minutes, but it was amazing.  Buddy was plenty out of breath when he finally stopped chasing Lucy.  (She was not – god knows how much longer she could have gone.)  But he seemed really happy and excited.

When i go out to visit him for our goodnight cuddle, he usually gets crazy-ecstatic.  Last night, from his spot back in the bushes, he rolled his eyes in my direction, but did not even lift his head.  I mostly rested easy in the assumption that he was just flat-out exhausted, but i honestly did have a moment of anxiety that maybe  his hip was now really in pain or that he was somehow paying a serious price from all this exertion.  Neurotic doggie daddy.  He was so relatively unresponsive to being petted that i also thought for a moment that he didn’t need, but then i thought that in his exhausted state he might need it more than ever, so i hung in until I was falling asleep.

I was reassured when he finally let out a big letting-down sigh – the way he does when he is really settling in.  And even more reassured when, a few minutes later, he popped his head and torso up, all alert, in response to some sound he had heard in the night.  I briefly considered that maybe this was a night when i really should make him come in the house.  But he so much loves being outside at night – and he seemed completely content in one of his favorite spots.  And i decided that a night of laying on mother earth might be just what the doctor ordered for recharging his spent batteries.  (I’m sure it would be so for me, except that my old bones react very poorly from sleeping on the hard earth.)

Today he was fine: not chasing around much, but obviously happy and really moving pretty well.  He’s a wonder.

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I was venting to my neighbor this morning about some bites on my legs.  He asked me if Buddy’s flea medicine was up-to-date.  (He had found fleas on his dog, Buddy’s daily playmate.) Oops!

Now it’s the whole drill: bath and Frontline for Buddy, wash all his bedding – and mine.

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Doggie vision

Tonight, when i went into the backyard to give Buddy his bedtime love, i decided – even though the hour was late and i wanted to get to bed – to first take him for a little walk, thinking this might help his old bones and arthritic hip not tighten up too much in the damp night air.

When we did come back and sit on the ground together, he indulged himself in an exceptional number of little moans – i think as expressions of just how good it felt to have me there beside him, giving him love and attention.

As we walked, i thought of a piece i recently read, saying that dogs really do not have great vision – and cannot actually see clearly beyond about 20 yards.  This had shocked me: i had assumed, i guess in part because Buddy seems to have much better night vision than i, that dogs had great vision.  It was a real comeuppance for me, reminding me of the ways that i do not really know and understand the world of my little Budster (or other dogs, for that matter).

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I’ve identified several different tail wags on Buddy.

  • When Buddy is happy that I’ve come home, his tail strays straight out behind him and wags back and forth real fast.
  • When he’s happy to be going for a walk and is loping down the road or through a field, he tail goes almost straight up and makes big circles that i call “helicopter tail.”
  • When he’s lying on his side on the our wooden or tile floors and thinks i may be coming over to give him attention, his tail goes up to his side, kind of halfway between up and straight back and makes a drumbeat on the floor.
  • when i’m straddling him, standing back by his butt, his tail bangs back and forth against the inside of my legs – this always cracks me up.

Is it true of all dog owners that these signs of our dog being happy make us also happy?  I think so, for all of us who are paying attention.

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Lucy is ours for the week, while tom takes his daughter off to college for her freshman year at college.  (Probably more exciting that scary for her – and 50-50 for him.)  Tom usually takes her to the kennel, but jumped at the chance to leave her at home, just 40 yards out our back door.  When Tom gone for the day or part of it, I let her in and out all day anyway (out when i come home, back in if i leave or at night – when it’s late enough that her baying could disturb even the neighbors 200 yards down the road and through a row of trees).

The notion was that i would again let her in Tom’s and her house at night and that she would be fine sleeping there.  Right.  There are several problems with this idea:

  • I think she’s too lonely.
  • probably because she’s lonely, she cries and howls unceasingly.  (Or at least i can’t bring myself – or sacrifice the sleep – to see if she ever ceases.)
  • We have had several bear visitations lately – a couple on my front porch, but mostly on Tom’s patio or out in his back yard.  For her to be home alone if a bear is right outside would, i think, just be too disturbing
  • It’s actually a little fun – or funny, at least – to have her stay at our house.

At first Buddy was not so sure it was fun – and i don’t think he ever actually finds things humorous, though i’m convinced that he enjoys making me laugh.  The couple of times i have tried boarding dogs at our house that Buddy does not know, he has become hopelessly neurotic: clingy, watching sadly if i give the other dog any attention, giving them the total cold shoulder like the intruder that for him they are.

I usually never allow Lucy in our house – and if she slips in when i’ve got the door open to bring in groceries, etc., Buddy’s food (which sits there all day because he only eats at night and lightly even then) is gone in about 30 seconds. Despite how much Buddy likes Lucy and how much fun they otherwise have, as soon as he realized – on Sunday evening – that she was staying in our house for the night, his neuroses set in.

Now Lucy is pushy at the best of times.  If she’s around when i am petting Buddy – or when he comes up to the car to greet me – she always tries to insert herself between us.  (If I were Buddy, this would get me very upset, but he pretty much rolls with it – partly because i, maybe a little unkindly, push Lucy away to give Buddy his rightful spot.  I would also reach out to pet her behind Buddy, but this only encourages her and she pushes in again.)

So, with Lucy in the house:

  • Buddy wants to be in the house, too – something he almost never wants in the warm weather.
  • He sticks to me like glue.  When he does come in the house, his usual fav spot is on the nice cushy area rug under the kitchen table.  With Dorie there, he wants to be right by me.  If i’m working at my desk, he wants to be right under the desk.  He almost never sleeps in my room, unless he has been scared by thunder, but now he only wants to sleep at the foot of my bed.

(Someone trained him never to get on furniture and he will not.  When if first got him and thought it might be nice for him to sleep on the bed with me, he got really uncomfortable and in a minute or so hoppped down.  When i tried to get him to sit on the sofa while i watched a video, he didn’t like that either.  Both were probably lousy ideas anyway, with a dog that spends so much time outside and tracks in mud and wet.)

But that same first night Lucy was here, i brought them both out on the darkened front porch to sit on the floor with me.  When i pushed Lucy away so that Buddy could have his usual spot between my legs, she flopped on the floor a few feet away.  But i think that Buddy was less threatened by Lucy being on our front porch than by her being in our house, because – after charging his love batteries for a few minutes on the floor close to me – when Lucy walked by, he started to playfully bite at her leg, like when he wants her to play.

Out on the porch, they did not get up for their outdoor wrestle and chase games, but just laid on the floor and rolled around, chewing on each other’s ears, necks and legs.  It was really very cute.  After that, Buddy seemed more relaxed about her being in our house.  i fantasize that some of the sweet side of having a sibling started to kick in.

Last night when i was working at my desk, Lucy immediately flopped down underneath me, under the desk.  I tried at first to get her to move, but she was obviously thinking “Down and heavy”, because she was almost immovable.  But then Buddy came over, managed to wedge himself beside her under the desk – and seemed completely content.

I think this might turn out to be good for Buddy.  And also good for me and Lucy: outside i mostly don’t give her any encouragement to push between me and Buddy.  With Tom gone, Lucy has imprinted herself on me like our last two missing-their-parents overnight guests.  She is wanting to come in and out during the day, which Buddy has no interest in doing.  Today, when at one point she was inside and Buddy outside, i actually felt free to give her some love.  She sucked it up hungrily – and naturally needed it, with Tom gone and her regular rhytms so thrown off.

And i liked it too.  Spending more time with her – and seeing her as genuinely needy, not just pushy and greedy – i’m starting to like her more, and even find her kinda sweet.

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Several of us pet sitters were in a seminar with a local vet who practices acupuncture with dogs (Erin Husted at the Charlotte St. Animal Hospital).

I had mentioned a story on the radio where they described reserach showing that people respond better to acupuncture when they expect it to help.  They called this a “placebo effect”, but not to say that the positive response was all in the person’s mind – just that a positive physical reaction was more likely when you expected it.

One of the other sitters said, “Well at least dogs can’t be cynical about whether something will help.  I said (thinking about my Buddy), “No, but there is such a thing as a ‘discouraged’ dog.”  The others looked puzzled and I said, “When a dog has consistently not had their needs met – maybe for attention and affection – they can kind of give up on getting these needs met.  They get discouraged.”

The very experienced sitter who had just made the comment about “not cynical” ruefully nodded her head up and down: “I guess you do see this.”

I’ve seen it – plenty.  When Buddy first came to me, he was a discouraged dog.  He didn’t look for attention or affection, because he didn’t expect to get it.  Within the first couple of months of starting to share space with me, this started to shift – he began, tentatively, to believe that he might actually get love and attention in greater measure.

I would say that Buddy is no longer a discouraged dog – discouragement is no longer the baseline from which he comes.  But I also would say that he still is “easily discouraged”.  He still spends some significant time moping – seeming, as I see it, kind of sad from being left alone.  Lucy, our neighbor dog, even though she gets much less attention than Buddy – and even when she also seems a little mopey – still seems (as I imagine what is going on inside that little doggie brain of hers) more positively expectant that something good may at any moment happen.

I would call her more resilient – less likely to move into discouragement.

When I come out the back door to take the dogs for a walk, I often bring out  my walking shoes and flop them down on the back step, a sure cue that I am getting ready for a walk. (I’ve even taken to changing my shoes around the corner in the living room, out of sight, when I am getting ready to leave, not take them for a walk – so as to not to give them false hopes.)  Or, when I am taking them for a walk, I may even use the magic phrase, “Let’s go for a walk.”

But I’m often kind of scattered and untogether – and at these times I’m prone to forgetting things.  So I may go back into the house to get somethingIi have forgotten – my little spiral writing pad, which i carry with me everywhere, or my cell phone if i am expecting a call.  Lucy stays expectant – she doesn’t start to give up hope about the cherished walk.  Buddy easily gives up.  I’ve learned to keep calling to him, things like, “I’m coming…stay there, I’m coming.”  This may help him hang in, but usually not for more than a minute.  Then he is likely to go to one of his favorite moping places, like back behind the bushes next to the house, flop down and kind of give up.

So Buddy is no longer a discouraged dog, but still is kind of easily discouraged.  I see this still gradually shifting – and hope sometimes that his tendency towards discouragement will eventually go away, but I think it may not.  That wounding from his early years of not getting what he needed from the people in his life just runs too deep.

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Sometimes, when Buddy is out in the yard (or even inside), he clearly is resting.  He looks content.  Other times he looks mopey.  I project on this look that he is a little sad, discouraged.  Maybe sad that he is alone, not getting attention from me.  I think that he has gone back into discouragement.

I see this also sometimes in Lucy, our neighbor dog, especially now that she comes down the hill from her yard all the time looking for me to take them for a walk.  She may see me moving around in the kitchen, or somehow know (as does Buddy sometimes) that i have roused myself from the bed and am up and about.  She gets all hopeful, but then – when i make no movement to come out the back door – gives up and mopes.

When Buddy first came to me, about 17 months ago, he moped all the time – almost literally all the time.  He does this a lot less these days – spends more time looking content, simply resting.  But he still goes there kind of a lot – and way less than Lucy.

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I knew it – I’ve known it since i first started getting to know Lucy.  But there is a part of me that doesn’t really like  it that i’m more like our speedy, intrusive, often slightly out of control neighbor hound dog than i am like my own sweet, laid back, mellow dog – so I’ve never paid attention to it.

Just about a half-hour ago, Buddy and i were walking back down the hill from Hal’s yard towards our house, and i was thinking about our bear encounters over the last couple of days.  (See my 8/11 post.)  Specifically i was thinking about how, two nights before, i had followed my usual late-night routine of sitting with Buddy out in our backyard (the last few nights in the beautiful moonlight) – even though bears had been in relatively close proximity to that very spot twice in the last 24 hours, the last time being just three hours earlier.

“Wasn’t that kind of reckless on my part?”, I asked myself.  That’s what caused the click.  i had, in that same post, described Lucy as “reckless-tending”.  “Oh shit, i thought – I’m Lucy, not Buddy.”  I’ve said many times over the last 17 months that Buddy is the perfect dog for me because his laid-back, mellow energy balances out my own more intense energy (different from my previous dog Bobbie, whose Border Collie intensity was just too much like my own intensity).

No wonder Lucy so often irritates me: she mirrors a part of me with which i have a love-hate relationship.  I guess i was more ready to recognize this fact at that particular moment because i had just been rehearsing/memorizing a poem which is about how my own headlong poor judgment has sometimes gotten me in trouble – a poem which itself, intentionally, has that same kind of risky, barely-under-control momentum.

(I very often, especially when i am preparing for a poetry performance, spend my walks with Buddy similarly rehearsing a poem – often out loud, when i think there are no neighbors in earshot.  Hey, so I suck at Zen – so sue me.)

I have often, over many years, described myself as counterphobic.  i see that i have reallybeen that way since childhood.  When something is scary to me, i am almost compelled to move towards it.  When, a few weeks ago, i thought i heard a bear in the woods, i just could not stop myself from (slowly, yes) moving in that direction.  I identify a lot with the movie character Poppie (in the wonderful recent movie Happy Go Lucky) who, in her commitment to helping people be happy, sometimes moves towards an unhappy person even when she knows that she placing herself at risk.  Moving towards the thing i fear somehow makes that fear more manageable.

So Lucy, i salute you.  You ain’t so much “goofy”, as i so often describe you, as you are intense and sometimes mindless of your own safety (and, ok, sometimes just kind of mindless – even, doggie that you are, more often so than me).  It’s not a bad way to be, nor even necessarily a good way to be – it’s just what we are.

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When i moved into my little country cabin, out on Avery Creek Rd. in Arden, I was told that there had been a number of bear sightings on this property over the years – the most recent about two weeks before i moved in.  But there have been no sightings in the 11 months i have lived here.  I have eagerly awaited my first.  The last two nights i almost got it.

But i slept through both bear visitations!  Tom, my neighbor – 40 yards out my back door – has seen them both nights.  But the bears were on his deck, knocking over the garbage can in which he keeps his bird seed.  Each night they woke him up right around 1:30 in the morning.  Each night i had gone to bed about 1 a.m. and slept through all the excitement.

Before you lay some judgments on Tom for keeping his bird seed out on the deck, you’ve got to realize that Tom loves having bears come to visit.  Even after many such visits over about ten years, he still finds it thrilling to see these magnificent creatures so close up – and kind of magical to live in a location where they do come to visit.

So yesterday morning Tom hustled down to my place, all tingly excitement, to say that i had better keep Buddy – who almost always, on these warm nights, wants to sleep outside – inside tonight.  And then he showed me his two pictures of the bear that had come to visit the previous evening.  The photos were dark, but the shape of the bear was unmistakable.  I agreed that keeping my dog inside that night was a good idea.

When i have told people that our little property has had bear visits over the years, they have often asked if i didn’t worry for Buddy’s safety.  My standard answer has been that i feel pretty sure that Buddy would give a bear a wide berth.  That got confirmed last night.

About 8:30 p.m., when there was just a little bit of waning light, Buddy and Tom’s hound dog Lucy charged off from my backyard where i had been visiting with them towards the little strip of woods behind Tom’s house, barking their heads off.  I heard the sudden low, resonant grumble – and they heard it more close-up.  They each – my timid-tending Buddy and Tom’s reckless-tending Lucy – ran like hell back to their respective houses, only wanting to get inside.

Well, it was quite the bear watch last night – me periodically stepping out onto my back stoop to train my powerful mag flashight towards those woods and Tom aiming his newly-recharged super-lantern out his kitchen window, with his son Corey’s sophisticated digital camera at the ready.

About 9:30, Tom called me to say that he saw the bear, just up out of the woods and down a little slope behind his house – down where i had no angle to see him.  If i had walked a little further back in the yard, I could have had the right angle.  I considered this for about a microsecond.

On one of my checks outside, my flashlight – peering through the bushes on the side of my doorway – threw big shadows out in the yard.  I jumped about a foot.  Tom called later to say that, although it was garbage night, he had no plans to roll his big garbage can down to my house, where i weekly load in my garbage and then roll the big plastic container down to the road.

By about 11:45, i decided that the bear was gone for the night.  Buddy was wanting to go back out, which i took as confirmation that there were no bears around.  So i took Buddy for our usual walk down the driveway (away from Tom’s house) and then up the other fork in the drive toward Hal’s house way up the hill.

After our 15-minute walk, i decided to give Buddy a little more time outside before bringing him in for the night.  So we sat out in the backyard in the bright moonlight, having our usual late-night cuddle fest.  We came in the house about 12:30.  Then, about 1:30 a.m., the bear came back – back up on Tom’s deck, about thirty yards from where Buddy and i had an hour ago been sitting.   This morning Tom had a couple of pretty good-quality photos of the mama bear – and two cubs!

Bears (aug 11,09) 012Bears (aug 11,09) 011

Bears (aug 11,09) 010

Tom said that the cubs were so cute and their coat such a rich black that he wished he could just reach out and pet them, which he did not consider.

Once again, i had gone to bed about one o’clock and slept through the whole thing.  Tom told me earlier today that, if he has another sighting tonight, he’ll call me.  I’ll keep my phone close to the bed, but I’m so excited at just about midnight that i probably will still be up.  If there’s no action by about 2 a.m., I’ll probably give up and go to bed.

Bears!  Even if all i get was to hear her, it was a pretty amazing sound – and pretty wonder-full to live somewhere that bears come to visit.  We’re not in Chicago anymore.

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When i first got Buddy, it took a month for him to look me in the eye.  I was, at first, a complete stranger to him – he came to live with me about two hours after we first met.  He had been with his previous person for eight years – and she had a philosophy that Buddy did better if you didn’t give him too much attention.

Over the last 17 months, Buddy has progressively sought out my eyes more often and for longer duration.  I believe that he is trying to create a more intimate relationship with me: to know that i am really there for him, that i love him, that i am not going to go away.

And it only occurred to me today – goofball that I am – that at these times i need to take my glasses off, to let him better see my eyes.  When i did so today, Buddy went on a little binge of eye contact.  In between these bursts of looking deeply in my eyes, he didn’t just lean against me – he pushed himself against me.  He laid his head on my chest.  He gave my hand and leg little love bites.  He sighed deeply.  Sometimes it takes me forever to figure something out that is really kind of self-evident: if you’re gonna make eye contact, make your eyes available!  Goof.

A guy told me once that, as he was driving his 13 year old dog – riddled with cancer – to the animal hospital to be put to sleep, his beloved doggie friend sought out his eyes the entire drive.  He felt sure that it was his long-time companion’s way of saying goodbye.

For Buddy with me, it’s his way of saying hello.

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“Be that way!”

This morning i spent an hour and a half on the phone with my good friend and pet sitting mentor Lauren, talking about the biz.  Lauren is so bright and creative and generous with her thoughts and ideas that by the time i got off the phone my head was swimming – awash with wonderful, interesting thoughts.  And my body was completely jangly and overstimulated.  I needed a walk.

When i am home for the day or for most of the day, Buddy and i walk up the pretty hill behind our house several times a day.  We both love it.  But sometimes lately, in the middle of a bright, sunny, warm summer day, my Buddy – nine year old dog that he is – prefers to just lay in the shade.  And today i just could not coax him out of one of his fav shady places, behind the bushes on the back side of the house.

i tried all manner of sweet talk, coaxing and upbeat cheerleading.  Nothing.

i was on the verge of punting on the walk and just going back onto my frnt porch to organize the dozens of notes i had scratched out while talking to Lauren.  But then i realized, “I need a walk.  i need, for a few minutes at least, to get out of my head and exercise my body – to help it chill back a little bit.  i need to ground all that energy by feeling my feet on the ground.”

And so i took myself for a walk.

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“He’s a leaner!”

IMG_1987Shortly after Buddy came to live with me, a dog-savvy friend who was hanging out on our front porch with us exclaimed, “He’s a leaner!”  She was really happy for me – and for good reason.

Ya see, there’s this thing Buddy does (and has since very shortly after i got him) where he sits next to where i’m sitting – on the floor, top stair, ground, etc. – then shifts his weight in order to lean into me.

Not all dogs do this, but those of us with dogs who do it are lucky folk.

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Born to hunt…

Lucy – our neighbor dog and Buddy’s best doggie friend – was born to hunt.  She’s a hunting machine.

Nobody knows any details of Lucy’s breeding – they just call her a hound.  Her long legs make her fast like a bullet – not always well aimed (she’s likely to crash full speed into me or Buddy), but fast.  Her sense of smell is extraordinary: Buddy can pretty well follow a scent on the ground, but Lucy can follow a scent in the air like a clothesline.  And she wants to hunt.

Oh, Lord, does that dog want to hunt.

I told Tom a few weeks ago that i thought Lucy (who loves to walk up the hill behind the house with Buddy and I) might have gotten injured back in the woods, based on the yelps she suddenly let out back in there.  I couldn’t find any particular wounds on her – nor could Tom later.  I imagined that i saw her favoring one hind leg – but then i am a hypochondriac with myself and with dogs, and i’m sure now that i was making this up.  I’ve realized since that Lucy yelps like that when she’s hot on a scent.  It sounds like pain – and maybe it is, along with excitement, if not being able to find the source of that fresh scent is maybe somehow painful for her.

Tom is not a hunter – and I’m not a big fan of hunting – but i almost wish for Lucy’s sake that he was.  It would just be so thrilling for her.

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For a long time, i used to say that Buddy was “well-behaved, if not obedient”.  I imagine that he has a little Airedale in him and i read in a book that they can be very strong-willed.  They said that if you want to train an Airedale, you had better catch them young – and Buddy came to me at age eight.

But i have been realizing that Buddy is actually very obedient in almost all respects.  If we are walking down the road and i see him headed for the road or towards roadkill or towards anything else i don’t want him to get into, it takes nothing more than a not-very-loud “Uh-uh-uh!” to immediately redirect him.  If Lucy is running with us and similarly heads for the road or other trouble, me calling her immediately brings Buddy towards me – even when he was doing nothing wrong and even when Lucy completely ignores me.  And in so many other ways, Buddy is tremendously and immediately responsive to my commands or even wishes.

He just won’t “come” if he really doesn’t want to or sees no point in it.

One day we were hiking near a deep river gorge.  Buddy is, in general, pretty careful about such hazards, but i couldn’t see him and started to get nervous – and when he didn’t reply to my progressively more insistent calls, i got significantly nervous.  At times i almost thought i heard him back in the 20 feet or so of bushes between me and the gorge, but when he didn’t come i figured i was imagining this.  I finally spotted him: about 15 feet from me, chilling back in the high weeds right next to the path, watching me and wondering what i was getting worked up over: “Hey, i can see you, i know where you are, so what’s the problem?”

This obstinacy around coming mostly manifests when i want him to come in the house.  He comes quickly in if he has some reason to: thunder (or other loud noises), heavy rain, cold, hunger – even sometimes, i think, loneliness…like he just wants to be with me more than he wants to be outside.  But, absent any of these factors, he is liable to just look at me like I’m cracked.IMG_2095

A lot of the time, i end up deciding that he knows better than i.  I may think that it’s just too damp or cold for him to spend the night outside, but there’s just no way that i can calculate just how much instinctive recharge he gets from spending the night outside – i think that probably i do err sometimes on the side of being overprotective.

Other times, i do trust my instincts (thoughts, really) more than his.  He doesn’t have a concept of “arthritic hip that needs some protection from damp nights outside”, nor access to radio forecasts of thunderstorms during the night.  But, short of grabbing him by the collar and dragging 45 pounds of inert dog out of the doghouse, what works is simply attaching the leash to his collar.  He knows at this point that he has no options and no longer resists.

(When he as new to me and had figured out that the sight of this collar meant that our walk in the woods was over, he would absolutely run away from me – i had to apply it earlier and earlier before we got near the car.  These days he would never defy me that way, anywhere but in our back yard.  And even this just doesn’t seem like defiance so much as simple non-agreement.)

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buddy blanket 002IMG_1931“Thanks for the offer dad… but the thunder just isn’t scaring me that much yet.”

When Buddy first came to me, he was absolutely traumatized by any sound of thunder – he only wanted to hide back in my bedroom (where he otherwise never went).  He would hyperventilate and stare vacantly into space, completely unresponsive to my presence if i tried to comfort him.  These days he almost never gets that freaked by thunder.  (I do sometimes lay a little “security blanket” over him – a trick i got out of some dog magazine and fantasize to be helpful.  It’s one of those times that we sure wish our dogs or very young children had words, so we could know what actually helps and what doesn’t.)

But a really interesting thing these days about Buddy and thunder is how much thunder it takes to scare him.  Used to be that any amount was too much.  But these days Buddy is both braver and more confident in general – and he really loves his new doghouse that i got for him a few months ago.  When thunder starts, i will go to the back door and call, “You wanna come in?”  Sometimes he immediately presents himself and other times there is no response.  I may even go around to the door of his doghouse and ask, “Do you wanna come in now?”  He may look at me, completely unperturbed.  That little outside home of his is all the security he needs these days from relatively distant thunder or even for relatively heavy rain.

So i say, “OK” and trot back to the front porch, where i have my laptop and am happily writing – and from which vantage point i personally enjoy a good thunderstorm.  Then there is a sharp, close crack of thunder and i say, “That’ll do it” – and find him right at the back door, more than ready to come in.

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