Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Who's That Sleeping In My Bed?

Our bedtime routine lately has become a comedy of epic proportions. Every night, we make sure all four dogs are in the bedroom with us and the baby gate is up before we turn out the lights and everyone drifts off to dreamland. Lilac is usually the easiest. As soon as last turn out is finished, she slips into the bedroom and curls up in the princess bed, resting her old lady bones so that she can get up early and get our day started. This week she broke another toenail, so she is again sporting her nifty pink bandage, which I'm sure is another reason she's turning in early this week. In any event, she is never a problem about going to bed. Getting up early is her gig. She usually doesn't even notice when the rest of us head to bed.

Her daughter, Blueberry, also likes to turn in a little early. Soon after Lilac heads to bed, Blueberry saunters into the bedroom and makes herself comfortable. On occasion she will lay on our bed, but she really prefers not to be touched while she's sleeping and to stretch out, so she usually finds a dog bed and sacks out.

Here is where the problem begins. There is only one bed that Hawk will lay down on to sleep. What can I say? He's has some Monk tendencies. It's obvious that he gets tired before Husband and I are ready to go to bed, and he certainly could go in the bedroom and lay down on the bed that he believes should be his sole property, but he has to stay in the living room with us. He also has to have everyone in the bedroom when it's time to go to sleep, hence, part of the reason we usher them all in and put up the baby gate at bedtime. He will pace until it becomes a bathroom emergency if everyone is not in the bedroom when it's time to go to sleep. This week, Blueberry has decided to make a power play. She likes the big green bed, too. She has also discovered that old man Hawk is not going to make her move if she gets the spot first, so she has been going to bed early so she can have the cushy bed. So, we go to bed, and then Hawk realizes Blueberry has his bed. He stands and stares at her. He walks around her and the bed in a circle. He walks to the other bed where she usually sleeps and pretends he's going to lay down on that bed, as if she will jump up and run over there to prevent him from getting it. Still, Blueberry snores on -- well, she pretends to, anyway. Hawk begins to pace rather frantically. This results in the dreaded tail lift and now Husband leaps out of bed, grumbling as he leads Hawk outside yet again.
A few minutes later, my husband and Hawk return. At this point, Husband is disgruntled and cranky and he tells Blueberry to move so that Hawk can lay down. Blue goes to the other bed and shrugs it off, knowing that tomorrow is another day. Hawk lies down theatrically, giving a large sigh and huff as his old body settles down on HIS bed.
Finally, my husband returns to bed, only to find that Bunny has gotten herself very comfortable in the bed. He tells her to move and she snuggles down into the pillow a little deeper. Husband raises his voice, tugging on the pillow a little and she buries her nose in the blanket with a tiny sigh. He tries tugging on the blanket and our tiny puppy has suddenly become a five hundred pound dog.

At this point, Husband has finally lost his cool and yells at her to MOVE OVER! She lifts her tiny head as if to say, "You're disturbing my beauty sleep! I have to be cute if people are going to want to pet me all the time!" Finally, after a bit of laughter, I call her over to my side of the bed to snuggle, where she settles in with a sigh.

Finally, everybody got to sleep!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday 6/23

(No, she isn't for sale, no matter how much Husband tries!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I said, "I'm on vacation!"

As of Thursday morning, I am officially on summer break, thanks to the fact that I work in a year round school. I have five and a half glorious weeks to do whatever I'd like at a nice, leisurely pace. No longer do I have to rise at 5:30 to get ready for work. Sleeping in is truly one of the great pleasures of being on summer break. That is, unless you live with an old lady greyhound. Lilac has gotten it into her head that she now needs to rise every morning at 5:00. It would be one thing if she just woke up, but no, that's not how it is. This seems to have become our typical morning routine now that I'm on break and looking forward to sleeping in and staying up late to watch the Tonight Show.

Lilac: I need to go out!

Me: It's too early, go back to bed!

Lilac: It's an emergency! Let me out!

Me: I'm not falling for it! Nobody needs to go anywhere at this hour.

Lilac: Let me out or I'll pee in your shoe and shoot you with my laser eyes!

Husband: Dammit, dog! We are not doing this! Go back to sleep!

Me: Would you stop yelling? I'm trying to sleep!

Lilac: I have to go out! I swear to you, bad things will happen if you don't let me out!

Husband: I said go back to sleep! We are not going out now!

Lilac: Alright hounds! It's time to go! Roust the general to lead the troops outside!

Husband: I said no!

Bunny: Oh, wake up and pet me!

Hawk: I have a hair trigger! Take me out!

Blueberry: Zzzzzzzz! (She's not an early riser, either, God bless her!)

(At this point, I should remind you that I moved away from the edge of the bed when these shenanigans all started)

Lilac: Just remember, you've left me with no choice!

Then my husband screams as she touches her nose to some exposed skin on his body, whether it be his back, his leg, his arm or anything else she can find that will get his attention. If I didn't know that it was impossible, I'd swear that she stuck her nose in the freezer for an hour before touching it to the bare skin of her poor, unsuspecting victims. Yes, I have experienced it, and I take measures to avoid a repeat experience. My husband, however, thanks to Bunny's enjoyment of stretching out when she sleeps, sleeps on the edge of his side of the bed. If only he'd get up earlier when she starts, but alas, I digress.

After the cold nose poke, Husband gets up and begins slowly making his way through the dark bedroom while dodging three excited dogs to the door. After he gets to the back door, he calls Blueberry, loud enough to wake the dead, and she gets up, stretches slowly and heads to the back door. He takes them all out, comes back inside to visit the bathroom, gets their food and ambles out to bring them back in, taking his time so everybody can get done with their business. Lilac, inevitably, is standing at the door of the pen. She will watch him take Blueberry and Bunny out of their pen, hook on their leashes and head to her pen. Then she will turn, wander back out into the pen, and finally take care of business. Some emergency!

So, they come back inside to eat, and Husband lays down to sleep for another hour or so on the couch. Lilac sniffs at her food, wanders about and makes herself comfortable on a dog bed so she can take her morning nap. Apparently, we're all just supposed to spend a little time together in the morning! Sweet Morning Dreams, Lilac!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

One Wonderful Year

Two and a half years ago, a litter of puppies was born on November 10 that was very special. You may notice the lighter colored puppy next to her darker brother there in the puppy pen. She would grow up to be one remarkable little hound. By now you may be wondering how I know that. Well, that little puppy grew up and came to live with me one year ago. I have to say, I think she grew up quite spectacularly. She didn't get very big, Bunny could nearly fit in your pocket, but she did grow up to have one giant personality. One year ago today, we brought her home to help heal our hearts after Treat died. I hoped to keep doing therapy work, and to do that, I needed just the right hound. We went to the kennel with Blueberry to have a look, and met quite a few dogs. None of them seemed to be quite right, though. I wanted a greyhound who was really interested in me and wanted to be with us. After meeting a considerable number of dogs, I was feeling very discouraged. Finally, the volunteer there said they had one new little girl in, but they didn't know much about her. I asked to meet her, just out of curiosity. She walked in, leaned her body against mine with her head against my lap, and I was completely smitten. I worried a lot over the two weeks we had to wait to bring her home so she could be spayed and be ready to come home. Still, the day we went back to pick her up, the clouds of doubt parted and I knew I'd made the right call.
Bunny came in our house and promptly made herself at home. I was amazed by how well she behaved for being an eighteen month old puppy. I thought she might be a little wild, but after an inspection of the castle, the little princess decided that she was going to rule over us with her sweetness and charm. She visits the nursing home like a pro. Today she went to work with me and spent the last day of school for the kids with me and them, enjoying every minute of the attention she got. Our morning started with me getting ready for work like usual.
Me: Bunny, how would you like to go with me today?
Bunny: Is this a trick question?
Me: No, it's a special day! Today is one year since you came to live with us and I thought you'd like to do something special. It's the last day for the kids at school to come to class and they've been asking about you.
Bunny: Oh! Will they pet me? Just let me go fetch my collar!
One of the things I love about her is that even though we spoil the daylights out of her, she is still just as sweet as the day we brought her home, and just as happy to be with us as we are with her. She doesn't hide it behind the usual greyhound aloofness, either. Bunny lets everyone know that she is happy about everything. So, Bunny, here's looking forward to many more years together!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Paging Dr. Hound... Calling Nurse Grey...

Last weekend I had a rather scary incident happen to me. My husband and sister love riding bicycles. For me, a bike ride is a nice, leisurely trip where you can admire the scenery along the way and the breeze on your face. However, my husband and sister ride like they're in an Iron Man marathon. I don't find that particularly fun. For people who enjoy it, it's great, but for me personally, it's just not my thing. My husband rides during most of his free time on the weekends and my sister goes out quite often as well. Often they try to get me to go, but I decline. Last Sunday, some foolish part of me asked if I could go if there was going to be a short trail and not a lot of riding on hills. My husband assured me that he knew a great trail close to home that would be less than two miles. We could ride out to a local pizza restaurant, eat dinner and ride back. He also assured me that it was relatively flat. We called my sister and invited her to go for the ride. I should have known better.

When we arrived at the starting point, my husband enthusiastically told me that he wanted me to enjoy the ride so that I would want to go riding with him every weekend. It all sounded like such fun. My sister arrived and we started off on the trail. I never took into account that my husband and sister could go on a ride where they didn't go at it like masochists. The first part of the trail was okay and I kept up with them without any trouble. Then we got to the second part of the trail. I swear that it was all uphill. As we kept riding, I started to feel nauseous, but I pressed on, thinking it couldn't be that much further. As we approached the last part and I saw the final hill I felt like throttling both of them. It wasn't an enjoyable recreation for me at all. I confess that the things in my head weren't particularly favorable.

We arrived at the restaurant and parked our bikes. As we went inside, I was really not feeling well at all. I decided I would head to the bathroom. I thought if I could just throw up, I'd be okay. Only when I got in there, I couldn't throw up. It was the handicapped stall, so I went to the sink, thinking a little cold water on my wrists and face would help, because by that point I was really not feeling good. I got to the sink and stared at my reflection in the mirror. It occurred to me that I had passed the point where women "glisten" to full out sweating like a butcher. I remember looking down at the sink and the next thing I was aware of what that my mouth hurt as if I'd bitten something too hard and I felt like I was waking up in the middle of a dream. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom. As I sat there, slowly my vision began to clear. I realized that I couldn't sit there forever. I got up somehow and made my way out of the bathroom. My husband was waiting for me in the hallway outside the bathroom. I have no idea how long I was in there. He asked if I was okay and I think I nodded or something and he said that we had a booth, so I could sit down there and rest. We started toward it. The next thing I knew, I was on the floor and strangers were looking down at me and talking to me. After a while, I sat up against the wall while we waited for the paramedics to come, and I passed out again. So, I got to spend the rest of the evening in the emergency room at a local hospital. As far as I know, everything is okay, it was just overexertion. Still, it was scary. I had to wear a halter monitor for twenty four hours to make sure I didn't have something wrong with my heart after lots of prodding and poking revealed nothing else wrong.

After all the excitement was over, we headed for home, where we were greeted at the back door by Blueberry first. She had to give me a thorough sniff over and a curious tail wag. She figured that something was wrong with me, but she also seemed to determine that it wasn't serious. She took it in stride, but did seem to have an eye on me when I wasn't looking. She was even kind enough to curl up on the other end of the couch so that I could stretch out and be comfortable. She seemed to just give me some space and keep an eye on me from a distance.

Hawk resisted sniffing me altogether the night I got home. I imagine I smelled too much like the vet's office for him to be too comfortable being too close. The next morning he decided I needed close supervision, however. He followed me into the bathroom as I stood brushing my teeth and leaned his frail old body against mine for support. He rarely ventures into the bathroom for long, because baths can happen in there, but he was willing to take the risk to keep his eye on me. He pretty much made sure he was in the same room with me the entire next day, when I stayed home to rest. I found it sweet and funny that he would take such risks for me. He's always been protective of me, but he hasn't shown it like that in quite some time. He often came over during the day to look at me and sniff, then went off to his bed, content that all was still okay in his world.

Lilac remained her sweet self. She wasn't fazed by my entrance at all the night I got back from the hospital with all the wires and funny smells. Her only concerns seemed to be that she'd still get taken outside, we would remember to feed her and her scritching schedule would not be interrupted. Our old lady is a creature of habit. You can change the clocks in the house, but you won't alter Lilac's internal clock, which will always say that it's time to go out thirty minutes before your alarm clock goes off. Her concerns are small ones. Keep her routine the same and keep the fireworks and thunderstorms at bay, and Lilac is happy. So, she was completely unimpressed by the fact that I smelled funny or seemed to have been through any kind of ordeal.

Bunny was her sweet self, of course. She pushed through Blueberry and Lilac and then her little eyes bugged out as she smelled the olfactory smorgasboard that was attached to me. She leaped around me, her tail twirling, just happy that I'd returned yet again. She dutifully went outside to take care of business, then quickly returned to my side as I rested on the couch. As I crawled into bed, she clambored in, curling herself up against my side and offering herself up for any kind of therapeutic puppy petting that I might need. The next day she alternated between keeping my feet warm at the end of the couch, curling up against me in a little ball and sleeping on the floor beside the couch where she could watch me. She spent a great deal of time licking my feet, making sure that the hospital smell would come off me.

I found it funny that for the most part, they all seemed to sense that I wasn't feeling my best and they all had their own ways of trying to take care of me. I doubt anyone else could have watched over me as closely as those four sighthounds. It really is true that the best therapist in the world is a puppy. Spending the day recovering with them definitely made me feel much better.

Greyhound Home Wanted!

I came into the living room yesterday to find one sad looking little greyhound lying on the couch. I heard her give a little sigh. Even the promise of some nice pets didn't seem to do much to lift her spirits. It was a bit unlike my usual happy go lucky little puppy girl. I began to be suspicious. I looked her over and so no injuries. Her little forehead didn't feel hot. Curiosity got the better of me.

Me: Bunny, what's the matter?

Bunny: I was just looking at the Quad Cities website when you left the computer on.

Me: And what did you see?

Bunny: My brother Buddha is still there. It's been almost a year since I came home and our mom and our brother Bloke, but Buddha is still there. It makes me sad to think nobody is petting him or taking him for walks to explore the world.

Me: It is sad. If we had room, I'd offer to let him come here, but we don't have the space. That and I'm afraid Hawk would have a heart attack and Lilac would pack her stuffed bunnies and leave.

Bunny: I know, but what can we do? I wish we could help him.

Me: Well, we can mention that he's been waiting a long time, and that any hound related to you must be absolutely wonderful. Maybe someone will give him a try.

Bunny: I think my tail may wag again after all. Will you pet me to make sure the theory works?

Me: Of course!

Well, here it is. Buddha is one of Bunny's littermates and from what I hear, a very handsome and sweet boy. Bunny is a tiny little thing, but I hear that Buddha is a bit bigger, although not huge. His racing name is Bank on Buddha and he was born November 10, 2006. He'll be three years old this fall. If he has any of the personality traits of our sweet Bunny girl, he will make an awesome and amazing pet. He is waiting for his home at Quad Cities Greyhound Adoption and their link is on the sidebar of the blog. We'd love to see him get a good home and maybe keep in touch with us.

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