Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bunny's Adventures in Babysitting

Last night we were asked to babysit my husband's new nephew, Emery. If you look at that little face, you can see why it would be difficult to turn down the opportunity. Husband has a bit of a rivalry with his next oldest sister, and Emery is the first child of his second sister. So, the fact that he was asked to watch him instead of his sister sent him into a fit of near rapture. He's pretty fond of the little guy anyway, and honestly, he is a very happy, mellow little fellow. So, of course we agreed to go over and watch him while his mom and dad were out. Since we'd both been at work, we decided that it might be a good idea to take Bunny along. Emery has a dog at his house, Suzie, a young black lab who has a lot of energy, and we figured Bunny would have fun playing with her in the fenced in back yard. So, I stayed in town and Husband went home let the dogs out and fed them, and packed up Bunny.

Suzie was a wonderful and gracious canine hostess. However, she is used to playing with Husband's other sister's lab, which is a bit rough and tumble for Bunny. Lily, the other lab, was there during the day to play with Suzie, so she was feeling rather mellow. We went out to the back yard so the girls could play while Emery enjoyed his bottle in the shade with us. Bunny likes to play chase, but she insists that the other dog run first so that she can follow and then streak past into the lead, leaving the dog in her dust. Suzie prefers to chase her tennis ball and retrive it so that it can be tossed again. First, however, the girls had to have a poop fest so that they could run with streamlined grace. I don't know why being around a dog who doesn't live with them creates this need in dogs, but I know that it's true. I could put Bunny out in the pen at the same time at home and she might produce one little sample, but take her to somebody else's yard and she can produce more than an elephant! I don't understand how so much can come out of one little dog. However, I digress. The girls played a bit in the backyard, but it was a half-hearted effort. Neither really burned off too much steam.

Next, the instigated border patrol, sniffing the perimeter of the fence quite thoroughly. I'm not sure what they were sniffing for, but I am quite certain that they could not possibly have missed a single blade of grass back there. After they were satisfied with their investigation, they decided that they would retire back inside the house. This was where the real fun began. Bunny was shocked, delighted and amazed to learn that Suzie had the best toy ever -- a REAL, LIVE CAT! Scooters is a yellow striped little gal who delights in teasing dogs and children alike by staying just out of reach, as felines are often known to do. She also proved to be quite elusive when the camera was around as well. Once Bunny knew that the cat was there, she was beside herself with anticipation. She wanted to sniff her and play with her in the worst way. Of course, Scooters rebuffed all attempts by the cute little hound at becoming playmates. Suzie was somewhat mystified by the whole situation, no doubt wondering if Bunny had lost her mind. I believe their conversation went somewhat as follows.

Bunny: Oh, Scooooooooooters! Come out and plaaaaaaay!

Suzie (wagging her tail in a sort of confused but happy way): You do know she's a cat, don't you?

Bunny: Oh yes, but she's so soft and fuzzy! She looks like a great toy!

Suzie: Her claws are sharp! Trust me on this.

Bunny: But I'll bet she squeaks!

Suzie: Hisses is more like it!

Bunny: I just want a good sniff...

Suzie (squeaking a toy): I can think of better things to squeak!

Bunny (turning to look): Oh, that sounds like fun!

Suzie: After that, I'll show you my boy! He makes great sounds, too, and sometimes delicious things come out of his mouth.
Bunny: Now you have my attention!
For a while, the girls did do a good job of entertaining the baby. He did spit up once, and Suzie had his face clean so fast that if I had blinked, I would have missed the entire clean up moment. She has obviously figured out that he's like a mobile treat jar. Bunny really enjoys being around young children, and she is fascinated by Emery's scent. She really had fun playing with him for a while. But then, he began to rub his little eyes and his head began to droop. It was bedtime for the baby.

Of course, after he went to bed, the cat resumed her game of teasing Bunny, but she got tired of it and went to take a nap on her bed. Suzie went to bed as well. Apparently babysitting can really wear a puppy out

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday 8/26 -- Family Resemblance

Do you notice a resemblance? The top picture is the ever-adorable Bunny. The bottom picture is her littermate, Andy, who's waiting for a home at Quad Cities Greyhound Adoption. In case you're looking for a new greyhound, we just thought we'd mention it. He's related to Bunny, he has to be great!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Just Tell Me What You Want

Well, I've started to notice a new trend here in our house. You may remember that Lilac has had a lot to say recently. Typically, her main reasons for barking at me are to get the prime piece of real estate that she wants (translation, the best dog bed) or to let us know that she needs to go out. However, she's taken on a new routine, typically on days when I am off work and here at home in the afternoon.
It begins innocently enough. I am sitting on the couch, watching television or working on the computer. Lilac walks up to me and give me The Stare. This is not the typical look of adoration a dog gives to her master. Oh no! This is a look heavy with expectation. Usually, it motivates me to look at the clock to see what routine she is expecting me to begin. A conversation generally ensues.
Me: It's not time to go out yet. What do you want?

Lilac (staring intently): I say different.

Me: I'm busy writing here. I think you'll be fine for another half hour.

Lilac (sighing): Well, it's your carpet, as you so often like to remind us!

Me: Don't you dare! Go lay down!

Lilac (walking in a circle by the door, sniffing intently): Did you say something?

Me: You do not have to go that bad! You were just out a couple of hours ago! What is it you really want?

Lilac: I'm STARVING! Take us out so we can eat!
Me: If you wouldn't be so finicky about eating in the morning, you wouldn't be hungry now.

Lilac: That was a long time ago! I'm old, dammit! Take me out and feed me!

Me: If I take you, I have to take everybody.

Hawk (leaping off the bed and running in circles): Oh yes! Take me! Take me! I've gotta pee RIGHT NOW!

Me: You planned it like this on purpose!

Lilac (licking her toes): Who me? Well, now that you mention it, I am obviously the brains of this operation...

Me: Both of you -- lay down! It's too early!

Bunny (jumping up to steal Lilac's toy from her mouth): Oh, it's the time of day when Lilac will play! Let's see who wins today!

Lilac (glaring at me while she fights for the rabbit): I will get you for this! Turn loose, whippersnapper!

Me: That should keep you busy until it's time to go out!

Blueberry (still asleep on her artfully fluffed bed): Zzzzzzz! Wake me when it's really time to go out!

So, Bunny entertains herself with Lilac for a short while. It doesn't take long for Lilac to wear out and she goes to the cushy foam bed and rests her old lady bones for a while. Time passes and I look at the clock. It's usually passed time for them to go out, so I stand up.

Me: Who has to go out?

Hawk (immediately leaping off his bed): Me! Me! Me!

Bunny (running over beside him): What's going on? Don't leave me out! Will there be petting?

Blueberry (cracking an eye open and lifting an ear): Are we really going out this time?

Me: Come on guys, let's go!

So, we get to the back door and I have three eager hounds with me. I call for Lilac. I begin attaching leashes to collars. I call for Lilac again. I open the back door and take three hounds out to the pens. I come back in the house. I call for Lilac. I walk into the kitchen. Lilac finally looks up at me from the cushy dog bed.

Me: Lilac, let's go! It's time to go outside so we can come in and eat!

Lilac (yawning): It's time to go out? Eh, I'm not really in the mood.

Me: You were all over my case a while ago! Now's the time!

Lilac (picking up her rabbit): I'll let you take me outside, but it's hot out there, and I'm not going to do anything...

Me: Yeah, yeah! Let's go.

So, we walk out to the pen, and she looks them both over. She looks up at me. I open a door and unclip her leash. She stands there. I grumble. Blueberry barks her displeasure over being outside for so long. Like mother, like daugher, I fear. I open the other pen door and she tiptoes in, like a dainty maid tiptoeing through the tulips. I come back in the house, get their food ready, and go back outside to bring them in.

Hawk beelines for his dinner bowl. Bunny heads for hers after sniffing to see what's in Blueberry's bowl first. Blueberry comes in, grabs a mouthful of food and takes it to a dog bed to eat it. Lilac walks in, does not even sniff the food, and finds her bed to lay down.

I'm not even sure that she knows what she wants at this point.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Off to the Shih Tzu Races

Last night my husband was feeling a bit under the weather. It had been a bit warm during the day, but as the sun went down, it became very nice, so I decided that it would be a good idea to take Bunny for a walk, since a tired puppy equals a family getting to sleep until their alarm clocks actually go off. Sometimes we do go for our walks alone and Bunny seems to enjoy this the most. I know, hard to believe!

Anyhow, as we began our evening constitutional, I realized that it was still a bit warmer than I'd earlier thought. Add to that the fact that they recently spread peagravel on some of our streets here in town and Bunny was beginning to slow down a bit by the time we got to our halfway point, High Street, which has some very lovely homes and landscaping. It's the street that nearly everyone in town seems to stroll down, so it can be busy with pedestrians at times. Of course, that is more than fine with Miss Bunny. I think half the reason she goes on walks with me is the supplemental petting she encounters while we are out and about in the world.

Perhaps it was because of the heat, or maybe we were just out at the wrong time, but there really weren't any other people walking along the street as we were. Bunny was prancing along, tail wagging and nose sniffing when she could. I was listening to some new music on my iPod. Suddenly, however, Bunny began to act strangely. She was in a huge hurry to get down the street. She'd run ahead, then turn around, wag and wiggle and think about darting behind me, then take off going ahead again. I looked around, trying to figure out what was in front of us that she found so fascinating. There was nothing there.

Me: Bunny, what are you doing?

Bunny: Oh, what to do, what to do!

Me: You have totally lost me here! What has gotten into you?

Bunny: It's so EXCITING! (She turns and looks behind us, wagging furiously, then looks at me quite pointedly.) How can you not see it!

Me (turning around nonchalantly): Oh! Now I get it!

Approaching us from behind were a couple with a small fuzzy shih tzu. The little dog looked like a wind up toy, dragging the man who held her leash ahead as quickly as she could. I paused, removing my earphones as they walked up to us. Bunny wagged her tail enthusiastically. I could see the debate being waged inside her pointy little head. Sniff the shih tzu or try to get petted. The shih tzu made the decision for her, forcing herself up to Bunny and sniffing her feet as Bunny breathed in a nosefull of silky fur in her less than subtle sniff over. After satisfying her olfactory curiosity and deciding that the dog was not going to play after a playbow that elicited no results, she turned her attention to the humans. She wiggled up against the woman, not so subtly demanding some scratches. The woman was happy to oblige her as we people exchanged pleasantries. After a few minutes, it was time to get back to walking.

The shih tzu was determined to win the race down the street, her little toenails digging into the pavement as she tried to outdistance Bunny, who is no giant of a greyhound by any stretch, but is darned fast, if I do say so. She never raced, but I don't believe it was due to lack of speed. More likely she was too busy finding the lead outs to get petted when the gate opened. Still, she gave the little hairball and head start and then gave me a look that clearly said "It's on!"

So, down the street we went, Bunny gaining rapidly on the tiny dog without even really having to exert herself. She just had to regain the front. She pulled me along with a great deal of enthusiasm. All pee mail sniffing and rabbit trails were forgotten as we clipped down the street. Bunny was making great gains, finally just passing them and then, the shih tzu turned and headed off down a different street as we turned into the park. Bunny's tail fell and she huffed, her head going down to the grass in a feigned sniff which was really a reconnaisance mission to see if she could make a run for it and show the little dog who was the racing queen once and for all.

I told her maybe she'd have better luck next time, since this one was a draw!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bunny's Perfect Morning

I had an appointment Friday at the eye doctor, so I was off work that day. It wasn't particularly early in the morning, so I had the luxury of sleeping in. As my husband was getting ready to leave for work, he asked Bunny if she wanted to come back to bed. This is one of her all time favorite activities. If she could come back to bed with me every morning after turn out and breakfast, her world would be darned near perfect. So, of course, he only had to ask her the question once. Bunny leaped on the opportunity, literally. There's nothing subtle or sneaky about her return to the bed. Cessnas have quieter, softer landings than Bunny lands on the bed. It's amazing that such a little dog can pack so much of a punch. She takes off from the living room doorway, launches herself into full flight mode and then circles as she lands on the bed cum runway with a run that ends in tiptoes by the time she reaches the area near my head. Still, it was a rainy Friday morning and I was exhausted from the return to school. It was not difficult to nod back off to sleep as the puppy settled in and curled up by my side.
Soon, however, she began to want just a little more. It wasn't enough that we were touching. She wanted it to be a certain kind of touching. I heard her little whisper in my ear as she blew air through her nose to see if I was really asleep.
Bunny: Mom, are you asleep?
Me: Yes, I am. That's why my eyes are closed.
Bunny (wiggling a little closer): Could you just, maybe, put your hand on me?
Me: Sure! Now go to sleep.
Bunny (a few minutes later, rubbing her head along my arm, which has become her pillow) : Do you think you could just rub my neck for a minute? It's my favorite spot and it's so itchy right now!
Me: I'm trying to sleep!
Bunny: I'll do most of the work, just put your hand right here on my neck.
Me: Whatever! Now let me sleep...
Bunny (wiggling and rolling to her back): Oh, this is the life! You know what would be even better? It would be better if your hand was resting on my tummy.
Me: I'm tired! I don't want to scratch your tummy right now.
Bunny (sticking her nose up beside my ear): I love you!
Me: You're lucky you're so cute! (I begin to rub her tummy, but drift back off to sleep.)
Bunny: Why are you stopping?
Me: I wasn't stopping, I was just resting my hand for a minute.
Bunny: It's been a minute already!
Me: Pushiness really isn't so cute, you know!
Bunny: You've left me no other options!
Me: Can't we just snuggle and rest for a while?
Bunny: I am!
Me: I meant both of us resting -- at the same time.
Bunny: Have I mentioned that being here alone, just the two of us, is my very favorite?
Me: Yes, I think you might have...
Bunny (rolling over again): This is the life!
Me: Yes it is!
Half an hour later, the neighbor kids begin slamming the door and yelling at the top of their voices outside the bedroom window and I give up getting any more sleep. I give Bunny one last belly scratch and a kiss on the nose. Then I roll out of bed.
Bunny: Where are you going? What are you doing? Can't you just come back to bed?
Me: I have to get up sometime.
Bunny: Oh, look, the couch is empty! Let's curl up there with some yogurt!

That's nice, too, but nothing beats an extra hour of sleep on a rainy Friday morning!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I want it NOW!

If you follow this blog regularly, you may recall that recently Lilac discovered she had something she wanted to tell me. It seems that now she's decided she has a lot to say. Not only does she feel the need to say it at 4:00 in the morning, or when another dog is laying on the bed that she decides she wants, now it seems that she just feels the need to tell us off over any random thing that offends her sensibilities.
It started innocently enough. Blueberry and Bunny didn't respect her aged old lady status, and she feels she needs a sufficiently soft place to rest her old bones. I quickly discovered what it was she wanted at that time. I'm not heartless, I do realize she needs a bit of coddling in her old age. Apparently, however, I did such a good job with her over the bed situation that she's decided she has a lot more to say. Several conversations from the last week or so come to mind.
Lilac: (one loud bark) Hey you! Human!
Me: Did you say something? What do you want?
Lilac: (bark, bark, roo) Isn't it obvious?! Get up and get me what I want!
Me: Look, there are empty dog beds, even the one that's your favorite. Why don't you lay down?
Lilac: (bark, stare) How can you be so dense? It's obvious!
Me: (looking confused, no doubt) You're going to have to help me out a little here. I'm pretty sure Timmy's not in the well. We don't have a Timmy or a well...
Lilac: (snort) I'm not getting any younger here, you know!
Me: Do you need to go outside?
Lilac: (sigh) I'd have peed on the floor by now if that were the problem.
Hawk: (leaping off his bed and turning in circles) I have to go! I have to go!
Me: We were just out! You're fine! I saw you go out there several times.
Hawk: I'm old! My prostrate feels like it has a watermelon sitting on it.
Lilac: (BARK) This is about me! Go lay down, old man!
Me: I already put your food down. Go in the kitchen and eat.
Lilac: (sigh) I ate already. How can you not see it?
Me: (standing and moving over to pet the agitated dog) What is the matter? There are no storms, you've been out, you've been fed, there are free dog beds, too. What else can you want?
Lilac: (scrunching up her eyes in contentment) Just keep petting me and I won't have to scold you anymore!
I love her, but it really is a guessing game figuring out what she wants. It could be access to the bedroom, food, a trip outside for a bathroom break, a toy or bed that she wants or anything else she takes into mind that she wants. No doubt in greyhoundese it sounds quite distinct, but to me the requests all sound the same -- like loud staccato barks! I'm trying to learn the language, but in the meantime, I am glad the old lady is still with us and in good health and spirits. It's perfectly fine with me if she does have a lot to say!

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