Bitches Be Bitches

Pound for pound, Fae is the biggest bitch in the house.

She looks cute, and everyone is always waxing poetic about her “sweet face” but she’ll take on anyone, with gusto.  She muscles other dogs out of their breakfast bowls, she’ll deliver a nip to the nose of a dog who tries to so much as look at her favourite toy, and she’s an absolute c*nt when meeting new dogs, especially big ones – she scares the bejesus out of every dog she meets at work.  One day, something large and angry is going to eat her in two swallows.

But she is the best puppy raiser in the bunch.  She is awesomely patient with puppies, and actively engages them in play, encouraging them by running slowly enough to keep their interest and sharing her toys with them.

Toys / grass stem / whatever.

Toys / cloth I used to wipe out the dog pool and left on the fence to dry / whatever.

Anything’s a toy if you’ve got a fertile enough imagination!

Some of you are wondering if I got a puppy, obviously.  I did not.  But I am fostering one from work.  Cuz I have a vacancy :(

This Gavin, some kind of mysterious terrier blend, about 12 weeks old.  He is HELLA cute.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything cuter in my whole lifetime.  And I’m OLD.

I’ve never had a more shut-down puppy … the first few days he was a zombie.  He froze when you reached for him, went to his happy place when you tried to wrestle with him and spent a lot of time laying on a dog bed staring at nothing.  When I watched his previous “owner” pick him up BY THE COLLAR (to snuzzle him and cry about how much she loved him) it kind of all made sense to me. (Yes I snatched him away from her and yes I gave her shit for picking up a dog like that.  No, I have no patience for … some people).

He learned a trick though – when I ask him “Where’s the magic?” he sits for a cookie.  Because he’s magically fantastic!

My gang kick started his inner terrier in no time.

Now he’s like a real puppy, getting into shit and generally being carefree.

Thanks in no small part to FaeFae.

Addy’s no slouch in the pup-and-at-’em department either.  She may be funny looking, and kind of a pain in the ass (she is, as I type, “hunting for monsters” in the water bucket and systematically emptying it onto the kitchen floor), but she is wonderful because she is chock full of the sillies, and she’s infectious enough that anyone will join her.

Gavin is getting neutered next week and then he will be available for adoption.  He is a VERY easy puppy – a little alert-barky (terrier) and AAAAHHHHHHH  ADDY NO!!

(Addy just got her ID tag caught on the bucket and dumped 5 gallons of water all over the floor.  BRB)

Ahem – anyway.  He is mostly housebroken, sleeps quietly in his crate at night, and has no stranger danger except at a distance.  He also can amuse himself very easily.   He’s pretty much a dream to have around. If I were in the market for another terrier, I’d be all over him.  But I really want a border collie puppy.  Except I don’t really want another dog until my pack is a little smaller, and should really stop looking at puppies on the internet.  Like this one.  WHICH IS IN WALES.

new favourite puppy

But maybe YOU want Gavin.  If so, contact me to find out how you can adopt him.  I think he’d make a super agility dog!

It is ridiculously hot here; we are having a heat wave and every day is like living on the surface of the sun.  We go out for short exercise breaks only, because I am afraid if we stay out for too long I will end up with a big hairy dog puddle in the grass and no four legged friends to play with.  Also, because something has randomly spooked Dexter, and outside has been terrifying him for a few days.

Monsters, monsters everywhere.

Dexter is not a spooky dog by nature, so I’m not sure what’s up with this brand new weirdness.  I admit, it’s times like these that I wonder about the wisdom of getting another border collie.

I wonder if maybe he stung by something, though he has been stung in the past.  And also, I am surprised there is anything left out there to sting him.  Any bug that has not been fried to a crisp has been hunted into oblivion by TWooie, who HATES THINGS THAT BUZZ.  HATES THEM ALL!

(for the more observant of you, especially those of you who might like to start internet rumours, NO I do not live in a junkyard full of crushed cars.  The landlord is tearing down the old barn (how will TWooie stand on the roof and survey his kingdom now?) because it’s pretty decrepit and a little dangerous, and there were some old cars stored in there by a relative who no longer lives in the province,  So they got dragged outside and, because boys will be boys, even when they are supposed to be grown men, they may have used their bobcat toy to crush ‘em a little, just for fun)

And speaking of landlords, and heat waves …  the other night when I took the dogs out in the evening, one of the landlord brothers was over unloading some stuff from his truck, parked in the middle of the upper pasture. My dogs ran over to say hello and Wootie started randomly crying, and wearing his very distinctive I’m confused and sad face. When he came back to me, his paws and pad fur on his back feet were scorched. I could see smoke coming up from the grass near the truck and assumed dude had been burning something. I was kind of pissed off, as he could have, you know, warned me before I let my dogs go say hello. (Sometimes he is nice about the dogs, sometimes pissy, and since I was grouchy about Wootie, I decided not to say anything to him about it, because he has a black belt in Tai Kwon Do).

I mentioned it to my landlord yesterday and he said no, his brother wasn’t burning anything, just unloading crap. I pointed out the patch of scorched grass which we could see from the porch and he was perplexed. He went out there to see what was what, and discovered that the peat moss under the grass – like under the DIRT – was doing a slow burn. Who knows how long it’s been on fire? He dumped two of the giant recycling bins of water on it and the ground sucked it up like crazy, so he dug it all up and watered it again!  It seems to be out now.  We have no idea how it started as we have not burned anything during the heat wave. Scary!

Wootie’s fine, just  a little singed.

It just now occurs to me that maybe Dex walked on the burning earth and got all afeared.  Because I am quick like that.

The chickens believe it’s feeding time.

and the dogs really want to go outside, so don’t forget:

YOU WANT GAVIN.

So contact me about him!

Look, A Butterfly!

Today I bought myself a metal chicken at the dollar store.

IMG_5227

It’s nothing special, just a cheap little ornament for the garden and given my affinity for chickens, it seemed like an appropriate and inexpensive pick-me-up on a day I’m feeling a little low.  I stuck it in the box where my runner beans are trying to grow as slowly as possible.  And it’s the weirdest thing … the metal chicken keeps disappearing and showing up somewhere on the lawn.  In this respect, it’s not unlike a real live chicken.  However, it can’t move on its own … this means either it’s MAGIC, or somethievingorangedog keeps stealing it from its roost.

While at the dollar store, I also bought the dogs a giant soft flying disk with a big butterfly on it.  It’s didn’t last very long, because it was cheap.  But the BEST thing about it was how pissed off it made every single dog, because it was awkward and nearly impossible for them to carry, which you can totally tell in the photos.

Seriously?

You like seeing me suffer, don’t you?

This is the only time I’m retrieving it.  After this one, you can suck it.

I try and I try to be a good boy, and you repay me with this bullshit.

I am SO over The Food Lady.  Her and her stupid metal chicken can blow me.

There was an even bigger one; I think I’m going to go back and get that one and torment my dogs some more :)

Greeeeaaaaat.  Thanks.

I was looking through old photos of Tweedles as a puppy, because I am having an acute attack of Want-A-Puppy-Real-Bad-isis.  Currently I am obsessed with this working bred cutie who is, of course, located in Serbia, of all places:

serbia puppy

(The Internetz tells me that it will cost between “$70 and $1000″ to ship a puppy from Serbia, which is less than helpful)

He was *the* cutest puppy in the world.  I wish I had a DSLR back then (did they even exist yet?) because I have only a handful of photos of him that I am pretty sure I scanned into the computer, and he presented so many opportunities for adorable photos.  This one was from the first time he went to the beach, when he was just 7 weeks old.  He walked right into the water because he thought it was a solid surface, and he was right pissed off when he sank.

Playing with a giant ferret!  I had really ugly furniture back then!

But this is one of my favourite pictures of Red Dog “eating” Tweed.  This was shortly after Briggs decided he didn’t want to murder Tweed and that he was fun to play with.  Considering Briggs spent much of his life on a mission to destroy other dogs, the fact that he played with this itty bitty vulnerable puppy belly so sweetly is an amazing memory to have.

I expected it to feel weirder without him around, but it doesn’t feel all that different.  Maybe it’s because there are so many other little faces popping up and down for attention, but I’m not looking for him, or forgetting he’s not here any more or any of those sorts of post-loss experiences that I thought would happen.  When I think about him, I’m often sad, but its not hitting me in the gut over and over again on a regular basis.

This in turn makes me feel bad.  I worry I’m grieving *wrong* – shouldn’t this be so much worse?  The problem is I’m a “thinky” person – even in the middle of feeling sad, I think about it instead of giving into it.  A friend of mine, upon hearing from her vet that her beloved dog had terminal cancer and had very little time left, SLUGGED HER VET!  She screamed at her and then punched her.  I LOVE this story – not because I think we should go about assaulting our veterinarians when they give us terrible news (don’t worry Dr. Jeff, I won’t ever pop you one!), but because I love how much passion she had for her dog, and how thoroughly she could give into those emotions.  It’s just not in me to do that.  It was hard enough to cry in front of the clinic staff and my friends.

So that’s why, when yesterday I received this amazing gift in the mail at work, I was so very surprised.

necklace

 

This is from one of my readers, Fay, and came along with a lovely card expressing her condolences for Tweed’s passing, and it looks just like him, ears and smile and all.  An ACO dropped off the package, so I opened it rather idly, thinking it was something I had ordered for work.  And when I opened the little box and saw what was inside, I burst into tears.

As I was in the middle of completing the adoption of a dog to a woman (she was doing some paperwork when I opened the box), it was a bit of a shocker for everyone.  I told her I had just lost my 15 year old dog, and she started crying too, and gave me a big hug.  And all my staff stood around with their mouths agape like I had just started singing an aria from Carmen or something.

My friends have been amazing, and have surrounded me with lots of love around the loss of my boy.  And you readers have sent so many wonderful condolences and memories of Tweed stories that stuck with you.  Work paid for Tweed’s cremation so I could keep him with me.  Aldergrove Animal Hospital gave me a clay paw print they made right after he died.

pawprint

The Sadist, and my Bestie Fiona, and Auntie Corey all paid for Dexter to enter the pre-qualifier for Nationals because he had to miss Regionals and I’m broke (vet bills).  I am lucky.  I am blessed.

But this was the most amazing gift, Fay, not only because it’s beautiful and it means I get to keep Tweed close to my heart at all times, but because it gave me the gift of raw, honest emotion.  I cannot thank you enough for this amazing present.  Thank you so much!

Life After Tweed

My family seems so small now.

I’m sure to those of you with one or two dogs I sound like a crazy person, but I can’t begin to tell you how pervasive the thought “where did everyone go?” is right now in my household.  First Rhumba got adopted, two weeks ago, and though she wasn’t mine, she was with us long enough to notice her missing.  Then I lost Tweed and I can’t begin to tell you what a gaping hole he leaves in his wake.  God but I miss him.  Nobody attacked the vacuum cleaner this week.  I didn’t have to tell anyone to “get out of the shot!!”  What am I going to do with the cardboard paper towel tubes now?

I thought Tweed was going to live forever.

But now my pack is divided into perfect duos; two border collies, two whatever-WooTWoo-ares, two terriers and two Littles.  No odd man out, no compact fluffy red beast huffing at me, making his own path through the world.  Last Thursday morning he got the zoomies in the yard and cavorted around all over the place like a puppy.  And on Monday he was gone.  It beggars belief.

Although this doesn’t make a whole lot sense either.

And really, this never did.

(As I forced him to wake up from his nap in the sun and pose for a family portrait, he stole the Chuck-It as revenge)

Regionals was, as you can imagine, ruined for me.  I couldn’t run Spring with my best boy dying.  I am sure she felt the stress – first run on the line and she did two obstacles and then peed in the ring (automatic elimination).  We simply left the event after that, as neither of us were having any fun.

Clearly, she’s over it now.

I went back the next day to get all my stuff, and brought Tweed with me so he could say goodbye to his friends.  I had a bucket list planned for him for my vacation – swimming at a real beach, playing at agility class one more time, an ice cream cone all for him, with a cheeseburger chaser … I didn’t know he had only one more day.  We didn’t get to do any of those things.  On his last day, he didn’t want the ice cream.  And there were so many tears.  Many of my friends have known Tweed his whole life, or near enough to make no matter.  Many of you have “known” him for a decade or more.  And he was just that kind of dog; you couldn’t not like Tweed.  You couldn’t not be sad when he died.

Unless you are my other dogs, none of whom seem to notice he’s missing.  I brought his body back for them to see, and only Piper seemed concerned. The rest of the assholes just seemed grossed out, and Addy walked all over him – something she desperately wanted to do when he was alive, but he’d have eaten her for her trouble.  I have heard some dogs grieve for their fallen comrades. I apparently do not know any of those dogs.

For them, bless ‘em, life just keeps pushing irrepressibly forward.

I’m carried along in the wake of their enthusiasm for just about everything.  And I’m glad of it.  Tweed didn’t understand sad.  We did his bucket list for him this week – we went real swimming.  We went to agility practice.  We did NOT all get individual ice cream cones because that’s too many ice cream cones, but I ate a sundae in his honor.

And now vacation is over and I go back to work, and every day gets just a little bit easier to bear.

jP7b7uq

Thank you for all your condolences.  I read every one.

My friend Keryn owns a knitting store called Farm Fairy Fibre in Pitt Meadows.  She has taken to dying her own yarn, and came up with a lovely dark red/burgundy colour that she asked if she could name “Tweedles.”

yarn

Knitting is not one of the skills I possess, but if you do, buy a length of it and make something whimsical.  Tweedles would have loved it :)

I miss you, buddy.