Wimp.

You will note two things in this photo: a (completely adorable) wimpy dog, and a dog bed that, despite being laundered just one week ago, is comprised mostly of dog fur and stink.

Karmann had a 6 month checkup today, and I was glad because her presumed arthritis has notably worsened in the interim months. She often picks up her right front leg, and her rear legs occasionally shake after a long walk, or going up steps.

Right off the bat, she was a complete weirdo: hiding behind my legs, plopping herself down into tiny, shy bean and refusing to get up, generally behaving like a dog at the vet and not at all like Karmann at the vet. Most dogs realize, “Vet. Crap.” Karmann thinks it’s an afternoon social hour thrown in her honor by those minions she seldom sees. Or, at least, she did. Until today. Even the vet was confused.

So I immediately began explaining her leg anomalies, assuming that chronic discomfort was to blame for her bizarro behavior, and a check revealed pretty severely restricted range of motion in both back legs. The vet assumed arthritis, but suggested getting films “to rule out any other bad stuff.” When I asked her what other bad stuff, she lowered her voice and said, “bad stuff that we don’t want to talk about if we don’t have to.”

Take ALL THE FILMS, doc. All of them.

Vet soon returned and immediately said there was no bad stuff. She wanted to show me the pictures, so she pulled them up on the screen and said, reaffirming my very great affinity for her, “The first thing we notice, is that she really, REALLY has to poop. *points to poop* That’s a lot of poop. I’d take two bags. Beyond that, we see some arthritis but not as much as I expected, given her discomfort and range of motion sooooooo . . .  she might be a wimp.”

That is her official diagnosis: midly arthritic wimp.

I immediately recalled the time she (also mildly) strained her ACL, as a bombastic 2 year old, and limp-ran as though her leg was partially detached. So there is precedent for this diagnosis, in hindsight.

The leg shaking could be a result of her discomfort, thought it is mostly likely some nerve/muscular degeneration as a result of her age. When I asked if it was the little old lady dog version of what happens to little old lady people, I was told yes, basically.

So we are getting back on the acupuncture train for the, er, palsy, as well as the arthritis. Medicating for the arthritis is tricky, given her Addison’s, as she can’t take NSAIDs. She’s been on a level 2 joint supplement, and we will increase to level 3, add Curcumin twice daily, and she has Tramadol for days that she seems particularly uncomfortable. Actually, we’re giving her Tramadol for a day or two, to see how she does, so that I can (hopefully) see a baseline of comfort that I’ll then aim for with supplements and acupuncture and, possibly, chiropractic.

In other news, I will be selling blood plasma to pay for my dog’s holistic therapies. I suppose it’s a good thing I’m not wimpy about needles.

Advertisements

Sadpants Puppies and the People Who Take Them Out to Pee Every Ten Minutes

IMG_3742

Solitary Convalescence

We had a pretty decent snow storm on Saturday: snow, ice, everything freezing, nobody clearing the roads because Saturday. It was a good day to stay inside, and that’s exactly what we did at Chez Critter. In fact, it was such a good day to stay inside that my dear beagle-ish, who is way beyond his threshold of tolerance for cold white crap between his toes, decided to do his part to render the outdoors entirely unnecessary. He peed and pooped as soon as he hit the basement enroute to morning outside time and, once finished, looked at me (wearing one snow boot and a look of great consternation) like, “No worries. I took care of everything. Back upstairs?”

There was one post-breakfast puke incident, in which it appeared a dog–I surmised it was Karmann, as she looked a bit sad–apparently exploded in the hallway, right where the gaps between the floor boards are greatest. But, emesis aside, we were all able to slide into a nice, cozy, “so glad we don’t need to go out there!” Saturday routine pretty easily. Dogs and cats napped, people vegged, all was well.

You’d think, by now, that I’d know that warm, safe, comfortable feeling to be a harbinger of critter doom, but I am apparently the eternal optimist. So instead of quaking in fear of what unnamed horror lay before me, I just chilled, unsuspecting, until around 8pm, when Karmann became agitated.

I assumed it was her now-requisite post dinner pee, so I took her outside where she squatted quickly and for a very long time. I felt happy that this was clearly a need met, and we returned to the house. Karmann laid down. I settled in. Schmoop and I continued the movie we had paused.

And then, five minutes later, Karmann was back at it, grumbling and shouting in a manner that typically suggests she needs to poop. This would be the third poop of the day, which is weird for her,  but sure, whatever, pup. Let’s go for a walk.

We went for a walk.

And Karmann squatted.

And she squatted some more.

And I gently jogged her around the baseball field in half a foot of snow because, usually, all that squatting means her hips are bugging her and she can’t comfortably assume poop position.

And she pooped, and we carried on.

And she squatted.

And squatted.

And she waddle-squatted.

And I realized something was very wrong indeed.

So, if any of my neighbors are reading this, here is the explanation I’m sure you’ve been waiting for: I was sticking my head under my squatting dog to see what, if anything, was happening. As it turns out, nothing was happening. Which was good for my under-dog head location, but bad for my dog. So we hustled home, with Karmann tugging and sniffing and squatting and, now, whimpering, and me thinking about that post-breakfast puke and the fact that Karmann had actually been pretty subdued all day and, come to think of it, she did drink a lot of water.

By the time we got home, I was pretty sure she had a UTI. I took her inside, told Schmoop I thought something was up, then went out with a flashlight to inspect the site of the epic post-dinner pee. There was no pee. Note: I’d just like to give a little shout-out to snow for making my life easier and being quite helpful in this one, very limited, context.

I told Schmoop she needed to go to the vet, and we set out to shovel and de-ice the driveway. Because snowstorm. Note: I kinda sorta rescind that shout-out, snow, because you were a pain in my ass in this other, much larger, context.

I took her to the emergency vet that I don’t particularly like but had the advantage of proximity, because I figured a probable UTI was straightforward enough that it didn’t warrant risking life and limb to spend twenty minutes on frozen highways to get to my preference. By the time we got there, she was a hot little mess: shaking, panting, whining, tugging to go outside. She hid from anyone who came to pet her.

They got us into the exam room and she immediately peed on the floor. As the tech filled a syringe from the puddle, I could see that it was bright pink. The vet came in several minutes later and informed me that their urine wouldn’t be picked up until Monday, though they were pretty sure it was a UTI so let’s start her on Clavamox. I explained that she’d had UTI’s before, but never this acute, and he suggested x-rays to make sure there were no issues with stones, since the urinalysis would take forever. I agreed, eager for peace of mind because oh my god, I do not do critters peeing blood very well at all, as it turns out.

No stones, but $125 well-spent, given the behavior I was about to go home to.

Karmann spent the better part of the night needing to go out every five to ten minutes to leave little dribbles of what looked like pure blood. If you’re wondering, no. No, there is no real point in coming inside when you’re operating at those intervals. Because as soon as you remove your coat and soggy boots, you are putting them back on. I do not recall having ever seen Karmann so agitated and clearly uncomfortable.

Because I had to do a nine mile run on Sunday, and because we weren’t sure how long this was going to last and he would not be able to do it Sunday night before work, Schmoop volunteered to stay downstairs with Karm so that I could go to bed and get some sleep. All the brownie points are become his.

I may have laid in a bed, but quality sleep was not a thing that happened for either Cal or I. He would get up at intervals and tap his way over to the gate at the top of the stairs, disrupting whatever level of dozing I’d accomplished. And I could hear the door going all night. Eventually, when we traded shifts Sunday morning, so that Schmoop could go to bed, he said the intervals could be expanded to about thirty minutes, so long as she was being scritched.

The wildcard, as it turned out, was Cal. He had been crazy excited to get downstairs to her, only to be greeted with curmudgeonly indifference. He took the bed she wanted, so she would pace and beg to go out every ten minutes. And the staring. Oh, the staring. Eventually, stupid human got the gist and I sent Cal upstairs to sleep with Schmoop, so that Karmann could convalesce in peace and solitude. She sacked out pretty quickly after that, and napped for a couple hours before she needed to go out.

Antibiotics are on board and clearly working, though she’s still snoozy and in no mood to have second choice of beds. Cal seems to have caught on and is waiting for her to settle before selecting his own resting spot. I’m hanging out with them and staring at Karmann to make sure she’s still breathing and seems comfortable, because I’m a lunatic.

But I’m a lunatic who accomplished a nine mile run in laces-high slush after minimal sleep and a night of a blood-peeing dog, so I’ve got that going for me, at least. Running for Critters stops for no horrifying medical events, human or canine.

Opinions. We have a surplus.

IMG_3640.JPG

“If I am not allowed on the bed, then you, Calvin, are FOR DAMN SURE NOT ALLOWED ON THE BED GET OFF.”

When I adopted Karmann, I was living by myself in Savannah and I had a particularly strong opinion that she should be able to howl. I have no idea why I wanted this, and I was well aware that not all dogs howled and this was not really something I could teach her. Nevertheless, when we got a particularly lovely night we would go out late and stand in the middle of the street, and I would attempt to recreate the scene from Moonstruck where grandpa is encouraging his own tiny mutt herd to howl.

GUARDE DE LA LUNA KARMANN!!! AAAAA-OOOOOOOOOOOOO!

In the middle of the street. In a quiet neighborhood. And honestly, I don’t even think those are the right Italian words. I was probably yelling at her to lettuce on the moon. But it felt right, you know? So I did it. Occasionally, my upstairs neighbor would come out with his dog and laugh hysterically at us. It was good times. Very Savannah-y.

I think about those balmy, sort of insane southern nights often. Usually when Karmann is bitching incessantly and doing her best “howl”, which comes out as a protracted grumble and sounds quite ornery for a dog who is wagging her whole body. And I think, “Hey! I maybe did that! [bitch bitch bitch] I . . . did that.”

Karmann has a lot of opinions and, thanks to our 1am howling sessions, she expresses them vocally. Moreso as she ages and her filter, apparently, diminishes.

She has opinions on when she should be fed: “arrrrrruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuruuuuuuuruuuuuuuugh!”

She has opinions about how quickly I prepare her food: “Grrrrrrruuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

She has opinions about when she should be taken outside just because she wants to go outside and not, necessarily, because she has to do anything out there other than monitor the tree kittens: “rrrrrrruh.rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrugh.”

She has opinions about when humans should get out of bed: *silence* . . . *taptaptap over to bedside* *silence* . . . *positions snout next to sleeping human ear* . . . “RORK! RORK! RORK! RORKROROKRORK!”

She has opinions about when she needs to be taken out LIKE RIGHT NOW AND IT’S AN EMERGENCY EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS SLEEPING UNTIL RIGHT THIS SECOND HURRY!!!: “auuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrORKORKORKORK . . . *wagglebutt tapdance* ORKORKORKORKORKORKORKORKORKORKORK!!!”

She does not bark at things. Or people. She doesn’t bark at other dogs. She only vocalizes when she has opinions about things her closely-associated humans are–or should be–doing.

Well. Her humans . . . and Cal. She has a whole crapload of opinions about Cal: what smells he can smell (none of the smells), when he can rest (when she is resting), when he should play (whenever she wants to play), what things are his (none of the things), etc. We run interference on La Diva, so that Cal isn’t endlessly harassed, but that never stops her from trying and sometimes the opinions reach critical mass before we realize she’s ready to unleash them. See also: Christmas.

For Christmas, we got the pups the bobbly little turtle toys with stuffable bellies. Karmann’s opinion on treat toys has generally been that any not in her possession would be considered a declaration of war, so we had avoided them. But hope springs eternal around here, for some reason, and we decided that maybe it could be ok now. So we stuffed the turtles and made happy chirpy sounds and gave Karmann the green turtle and Calvin the blue turtle. Karmann snatched hers and ran, but Cal does not take things, so I carried his turtle for him and placed it in his bed. He seemed suspicious. Possibly nefarious turtle takeover of his bed: quel horreur.

So of course Karmann helped to soothe his fears by looking up, realizing there was a turtle that wasn’t in her bed, and launching herself, while shouting, at Cal who, if he were a human in pants, would have wet said pants. There was shrieking and angry faces and scared faces, and the dog equivalent of “THAT IS MY TURTLE!!!!” and “GET THIS AWFUL TURTLE OUT OF MY BED OH MY GOD” and “IT’S MINE!!!” and “FINE!!!” and “MINEMINEMINE” and “I DIDN’T EVEN ASK FOR THIS!!!”–and that was just in the three seconds it took for humans to realize what was happening and intervene.

We separated them and then tried to re-introduce the turtles at some additional distance, which pleased Karmann but horrified Cal, because for him the turtle is just a thing that takes his bed and gets him yelled at.

I feel like I should apologize to Cal, for all those evenings spent encouraging Karmann to voice her opinions. And I would do that, except that I can’t get a word in edgewise around here.

At least I taught her something?

Tis the Season!

IMG_3538.JPG

Swatting ornaments is tiring work

Time to get a tree from the outside, with outdoor (and possibly squirrel) smells still clinging to it, bring it into the house, make a loud production of getting it into a stand and moving the stand into place, festoon it with lights and dangling things–many of which are fragile, old, of extreme sentimental value, and/or glass–held in place by sharp, bite-sized pieces of pointy metal.

Time to drape the mantle in curiously-scented faux-pine garland of unknown substance, wrap it with lights and hang sparkly balls from it.

Time to suspend knit, human foot-shaped objects above the fireplace so that they can gently sway in the breeze created as you run past them to prevent a dog from eating one of the ornaments you naively handmade out of cinnamon and applesauce many years ago and which retain no discernible fragrance for human noses, but apparently still smell like snack time to canines.

Time for critterless friends and family to absently wonder why you’ve only hung ornaments on the top 2/3 of your tree before they are bowled over by Karmann on her way to employ her Tail of Doom as a tree clearing cudgel.

You know. Tis the season for the longest chapter in The House Critter’s Guide to Total Anarchy.

Tis the Holidays!

Since we celebrate secular Christmas, this season continues through the Ceremonial Attacking of Paper and All Things on December 25th, past the Symbolic Burial of the Kittens’ Numerous Indignities under mountains of wrapping paper, and right on through the Hoarding of All New Things by Karmann. Speaking of, she got an early start this year, having spent last evening lying on Calvin’s antler while she chewed happily on her own, much larger, antler. Calvin was too busy looking fearfully at the tree to much care.

IMG_3539.JPG

teetering precariously on the verge of another Anarchical Season, centering his strength through nap

These are hard times for critters. Sandwiched between the cheer and goodwill of festive, treat-dispensing humans, and the tiring work of putting up trees and lights and garlands are many, many naps. Why, the critters were so exhausted from watching Schmoopie and I wrestle with indoor nature, swear, thrash about on the floor in puddles of sap and needles, and dash from the house on an emergency trip to spend $80 on a new marriage-saving tree stand, that they have barely moved since Saturday. Poor dears.

The promise of new treats and toys to gobble, steal, and fight over looms large and oppressive over their innocent, slumbering heads.

***

Ed. Note: There have been no running for critters updates because there has been no running. Not for critters or otherwise. I tweaked (not to be confused with twerked) my knee while running the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and have been banned from running until I have an MRI this week or next. Hopefully I will have an update that consists of, “I am back to running and it still sucks! Yay!” by the end of the month. As of now, Running for Critters is still on, and will remain A Thing, though I may have to ratchet my goals back down to the half, depending on the outcome of the MRI.

No, Seriously, I Really Mean it This Time.

Teetering precariously on the edge of the step. Just like me. Except replace "step" with "sanity."

Tiger teetering precariously on the edge of the step. Just like me. Except replace “step” with “sanity.”

It’s been almost two months. My goodness. I actually feel slightly awkward about this because if you did get any kind of kick out of my blog then you know that two months could not possibly have elapsed without incident.

Nay.

The past two months have included the following (just to catch you up):

  • A Calvin/Karmann near escape on Halloween, which resulted in me unleashing a torrent of questionable language while trying to shove bouncing puppies back into the house as legions of six year olds and their horrified parents gawped. I gave them extra candy.
  • A Karmann poopstrike.
  • Suggestions that Karmann may be developing Canine Cognitive Dysfunction.
  • Denial.
  • Barking. A lot of barking.
  • Running for Critters hustle.
  • Extreme Nighttime Naughtiness.
  • PLAGUE OH MY GOD.
  • Knee injury.
  • Mort parachuting from the kitchen counter onto Karmann’s back, in the middle of a dog snit that started because Calvin had the gumption to smell a smell that should have been her smell ENTIRELY.
  • Nigel being pretty benign.

Continue reading

Doga = NOga

this is not the face of a canine yogi

this is not the face of a canine yogi

 

This afternoon, I took Karmann to a local fall-themed dog event. It included a session of “doga,” which is, of course, dog yoga. It’s the reason we went. In addition to whatever the hell a dog yoga class could be, it promised dog massage, which I thought would be helpful for Karmann’s arthritis.

Allow me, then, to explain it for you.

Doga = gathering 20-30 mostly-oblivious dog stewards into a room, and then making them do things that further direct their attention away from their dogs, in the name of presence and dog-bonding. There is barking.

In other words, doga is a horrible idea.

Since I had no idea what to expect, I wore, well, yoga pants. I realized that it was DOGa, however I also felt reasonably assured that I was not going to look at Karmann, be all, “Yo, puppy, Trikonasana.” and watch in amazement as she executed a perfect Triangle Pose. Whatever the hell doga would be, I figured, would require some flexibility and dog manipulation on my part, and I therefore did not wear low-rise superskinnies with my knee high motorcycle boots.

Lesson 1: not everybody is logical.

I walked into a room including around five pup-moms in skinny jeans and boots, one of whom immediately said, because I am invisible and/or presumed deaf, “It’s dog yoga, I didn’t think *I* would be doing yoga. What’s with the people in yoga pants?” To which another superskinny warrior responded, “People wear those things EVERYWHERE. To work, even.”

Lesson 2: I am absolutely right in my assumption that all people are asshats until they prove otherwise. Yoga notwithstanding.

Prior to doga, I spent an hour and a half walking Karmie around, trying to blow off some steam and prepare her for the mindlfullness that would surely be required of a canine yogi. And it worked, more or less. Until all the other people started coming in with their dogs, barking and freaking the hell out and dressed like tacos and  batman princesses because there was a costume contest immediately preceding over at the tent area (which had six swag tents, two of which were booze samples–yay puppies!) In other words, it was pretty much like every other dog-specific novelty gathering that counts for the one time each year that people venture off their home turf with their dogs and without their brains.

Lesson 3: refer to lesson 2.

Finally, yoga starts and I am THRILLED because what, even, is doga?!?? We are told that we are going to learn to be mindful WITH our dogs, which seems weird, and proceed to do a basic breathing exercise while 25 or so dogs on leashes vibrate around the nuclei of our persons, trying to interact with someone, ANYONE. Human, dog, they don’t care, they do not know what is happening and all the people have their eyes closed, hyperventilating.

Lesson 4: Doga confuses actual dogs.

And then we start a circular walking meditation, for which some kindly people very thoughtfully put out water bowls. Which means that our aware, present, relaxing, centering circumambulation is punctuated by four dog pile ups, puppies lunging for water, and bowl-guarding snit fits. Breathe in to the count of four left foot strikes, hold it for two, breathe out for the PLEASE STOP LETTING YOUR DOG SNAP AT THAT AGING BEAGLE WHO WOULD JUST LIKE WATER.

Lesson 5: Doga is not relaxing. For anyone.

After the circumambulation-cum-water fights, we are told to pull out our treats to begin working on gaze with our dogs.

Treats?

I was not told to bring treats. In fact, I very specifically do not bring treats to group dog events because I don’t want to start a brawl by whipping out liver jerky in a room full of stressed, over-stimulated, poorly-minded strangedogs. We are treatless. Poor Karmann. This is really not working out for her at all.

The exercise we’re doing, however, is one that Karmie owns like the fuzzbutt little bawss she is: eye contact and following. She knows this as “watch,” so we rock it out sans treats, substituting pets and nose kisses for liver. After a couple minutes, she has come back to earth. Whew.

Which is when we are told to stand on our leashes, our feet hip width apart.

Ok. Um. Three problems:

1. When I take Karmann into densely populated urban areas, I use a 4 foot leash. That’s so I don’t have 3 feet of looping leash flopping against my leg while I leave a foot or so free to guide her through people/stupid kids/stupid parents/other dogs/old people.

2. “hip-width” is about two feet, give or take, and my dog is not a dachshund. Her neck is not at floor level when she is standing. So minus 2 feet to keep Karm comfey, I’m left with 2 feet of “ground leash” on which to spread my feet apart, which puts one foot in the loop, rather awkwardly. From the looks of it, several other pet parents were encountering a similar issue, because this instruction led to a lot of dogs with their heads pulled down to the floor while they fought to continue standing.

3. I am specifically uncomfortable in a room full of stressed, over-stimulated dogs whose heads are being forcibly pulled toward the ground while also not under any sort of manual control by their people. Because standing on your leash gives you pretty much none controls in that situation. One slip of your foot, or a dog that REALLY wants to meet his neighbor, like, NOW, and said dog is born free and flying out the door. Or into the face of someone else’s dog who does not wish to have a dog in their face.

I realize some may think I’m over-thinking this. Maybe I am. But taking care of Cal has made me much more sensitive to the stress levels of dogs, as well as the  bullshit people put their dogs through in the name of “fun.” This was not fun. I was not having fun, Karmann was not having fun, most of the other dogs in that room were not having fun, and all the not-fun we were having made it pretty clear to me that it was not worth the risk of something stupid happening. So I grabbed our bag and we split.

We had about a 3/4 mile walk to the car and, within maybe two minutes of leaving that room, Karmann relaxed, flopped her ears back, and happily sniffed her way back to the parking lot.

THAT was fun.

Lesson 7: My doggie is awesome (pre-existing knowledge.)

 

It Begins.

IMG_3252.JPG

Karmann illustrating my post-race consumption of ALL THE WATERS.

This past weekend, I ran the Great Race — a 37 year old 10K founded by beloved Pittsburgh Mayor Richard S. Caliguiri in 1977 — for which I had made absolutely no preparations. First-ever major distance runs, like the half marathon I did in May, should come with disclaimers about registering for every conceivable race in their immediate, euphoric aftermath. But because they do not, I found myself wrenched from bed on a Sunday morning at who-the-hell-does-this? o’ clock to both run the race as a punishment and lesson to myself, and also to kick off official Running for Critters mileage escalation in preparation for actual marathon training.

I am, like, the slowest runner on earth. What I measure as personal, gazelle-like swiftness is probably a moderately strenuous walk for most other runners. Despite this fact, I PR’d (set personal records for) both 5K and 10K distances yesterday, leading me — NATURALLY. — to conclude that my best bet for marathon training would actually be to sit on my ass for the next six months and then show up so the Kenyans can hand me my first place trophy and purse. What could possibly go wrong?

Schmoopie assures me that this will not work, however, and in addition to being (apparently) an inveterate spoilsport, he was also a high school cross country runner, so I suspect he knows from running success. So, ok, I’ll train. Which means it’s official: I am now in prep mode. First step is just to log a month or so of steady 20-30 mile weeks (Ugh.) and re-establish my Bikram yoga regimen. Then I’ll use the Women’s Running training plan, with the first couple weeks of the 24 week program repeated, to gradually ease me into actual training while using Bikram as my cross training. I used the Women’s Running plan for the half marathon last year and I’m still alive, so, I might as well not switch cheetahs in mid watering hole. Or something.

IMG_3256.JPG

Karmann illustrating my post-race positioning: flat out, and possibly asleep with my eyes open.

In addition to owning some feats of strength LIKE A BAWSS, I also took Karmann to “work” on Sunday. That would be her work, not mine. I have always, always, always wanted to have my girlpup certified as a therapy dog. I think she is perfectly suited for this in every conceivable way–especially the intangibles, like making it impossible for people to not smile in her presence–save one: she is the Tigger of dogs. So bouncy. The bounce cannot be reined in. And obviously the last thing anyone needs is for an adorable Karmann to launch herself directly into the face of some frail (smiling!) senior, taking them down and shattering their hip(s) in the process. I enjoy being a social pariah due to relative misanthropy and introversion; I do not wish to expand into elder abuse territory.

So that has been mildly frustrating, as I really want to do something with her. She likes to do things, organized things. But she’s not huge on agility, and any gathering of dogs becomes Karmann Social Hour, so I’ve been at a loss.

Enter Awesome Debby.

Awesome Debby is a dog trainer friend, who is awesome, and for whom I occasionally serve as Sacrificial Stranger for people-reactive puppies. But occasionally, doggies are dog-reactive. And Karmann has very few shits to give about dogs who think they don’t like her. What a silly notion. So, Karmann makes a very decent Sacrificial Stranger Dog, who can take direction while Awesome Debby works with the reactive pups. It’s fun for me, because I have a focused thing to do with Karmann. It’s fun for Karmann because everything is fun for Karmann and also Awesome Debby = extra treats. And some pups rather like Cal get some behavioral assistance which, of course, is super. So even if she can’t be a Therapy Dog, Karmie can still do something helpful and useful and moderately structured from time to time.

Anyway, all of that explanation is to say that she had a gig this weekend. And here is how my ostensibly well-behaved and distinguished middle-aged certified Canine Good Citizen handled that:

  • She spent the entire 20 minute ride to Awesome Debby’s client trying to worm (over, under, and around) onto Awesome Debby the Dog Trainer’s lap, thereby exposing the complete lack of training I manage to maintain in Awesome Debby’s absence.
  • She pooped on the job, like it was her job. Because basically, as a dog, she is the CEO and Board Chairpuppy of pooping. “just walk her past the door!” = *walk walk walk POOOOOP walk*
  • As soon as she heard Awesome Debby working on “find it!” with the client pups, Karmann assumed she was the one for whom the treats (several feet above her head, on a balcony, no less) were intended, and she nearly dragged me down trying to locomote her way toward Awesome Debby’s voice.
  • She did so much desperate pulling in the direction of Awesome Debby’s voice, in warm-for-Karmann weather, that she became foamy. Requiring her to drink all of Awesome Debby’s personal water, because I am a horribly neglectful dog mom who did not bring her any water of her own.

That’s mah dog, y’all! So proud . . . so proud.

But seriously? So *squish*

Auuuuuuggghhhhh: A Play in One Act

IMG_3197-0.JPG

Kelley walks dogs into back yard for routine pee break, paying little attention to the grass until Karmann flops happily into a playful down and begins nose-poking something in the grass

KELLEY: Karmann–no–don’t . . . What are you . . . KARMANN!

KARMANN: gazes up, benignly

KELLEY: scrutinizes grass and discovers, with great horror, a small, pale, heaving feathered bosom OH MY GOD IS THAT A BIRD DID YOU HALF KILL A BIRD IN LIKE TWO SECONDS WHILE I WATCHED THE NEIGHBORS START A BONFIRE IN THEIR GRILL IS IT DEAD OH MY GOD!!!

KARMANN: blink

KELLEY: (to nobody) Uh . . . Oh god . . . Schmoopie! SCHMOOPIE! Um . . . Not equipped . . . I AM NOT EQUIPPED TO DEAL WITH THIS HELP? Great. Two murderers in the family. I cannot . . . SCHMOOPIE?!? (to dogs) do you need to–can you just pee? I have to . . . Do . . . Something.

dogs pee, KELLEY returns them to the house where SCHMOOPIE is busy preparing spaghetti

KELLEY: (letting Karmann through baby gate into kitchen) She has blood on her paws. BLOOD ON HER PAWS!!!

SCHMOOPIE: blink

KELLEY: there’s a bird–it’s belly up and breathing heavily, I think–I think it may have been pre-maimed! It’s just lying there and I don’t want to look. I don’t know what I’ll find but I have to go back out and what am I supposed to do with the bird?!?? What if it’s half dead?

SCHMOOPIE: just watch the pasta–where is it?

KELLEY: I have to come with you! You won’t find it! I don’t want to see! I’m coming with you!

SCHMOOPIE: watch. the. pasta.

Two minutes elapse. KELLEY paces and stares at pasta. She goes out onto the balcony to see what is happening, and discovers SCHMOOPIE exiting the basement wearing work gloves.

KELLEY: Oh no. Did you find it? Is it dead?

SCHMOOPIE: No. Just stunned. Leans over, picks up bird.

KELLEY: Aw. What kind of bird is it?

SCHMOOPIE: Chick-mumblemumble

KELLEY: A chicken?!

SCHMOOPIE: A chicken. A TINY CHICKEN WHERE WOULD A TINY CHICKEN COME FROM? I don’t know, it’s, like, a chickadee.

KELLEY: Oh they’re very cute. I like them–little fat birdies. (shouts to bird) I’m so sorry! I didn’t raise her to maim birds! (shouts to SCHMOOPIE) We have to keep him safe! Put him in the tomato planter! Or a box! Do you need a box?

SCHMOOPIE strides over toward small, shrubby tree

KELLEY: Yes! Put him in the brush! Is he looking around? Maybe he’ll sit on a branch!

SCHMOOPIE places bird in small tree. Bird immediately flips upside down while clinging to branch.

KELLEY: Is that bird upside down?

SCHMOOPIE: He’s hanging on.

KELLEY: IS THAT BIRD UPSIDE DOWN??!

SCHMOOPIE: Well, he’s hanging on! I don’t know what you want me to do!

KELLEY: Flip him right side up! He can’t hang upside down!

SCHMOOPIE: He’s hanging onto the branch! How should I detach him??

Bird falls from branch, Plinko-style, bounces off lower branches enroute to the ground. A small kerfuffle is seen at ground level

KELLEY: DID THAT BIRD JUST FALL OUT OF THE TREE?! HE FELL OUT OF THE TREE. IS HE OK???

SCHMOOPIE: (leans in for close look) I think–

KELLEY: IS HE RIGHT SIDE UP???

SCHMOOPIE: He’s–

KELLEY: IS THE BIRD RIGHT SIDE UP???!????

SCHMOOPIE: YES! He’s right side up! He’s on a branch. All of his bits are working HE IS FINE! Will you go deal with the pasta!

KELLEY: (under breath, to nobody) Bird is having a worse fucking day than me, anyway . . .

KELLEY proceeds into kitchen, directly to wine. She is joined by SCHMOOPIE after he makes his way up from the basement. They drink.

Fin.

The Lunatic is On the Grass

DSC_0131

“FLOWERS ON MY HEAD!”

So it’s Autumn. Karmann is pleased.

Because this is how Karmann feels about the coming of cooler weather:

DSC_0136

She can dance if she wants to; she can leave her friends behind

She hates the hot heaty-ness of the summer, and is generally unimpressed with polar vortexcalypses. Cooler weather means frolicking, and walking FOR DAYS, and she’s heard a persistent rumor that her mum and dad are going to take her CAMPING. In the WOODS. Where OTHER CRITTERS live. ZOMG.

She’s feeling very all-caps, lately.

“ALL CAPS COLD WEATHER YAY!” -Karmann. All the time.

Because of her predisposition towards the cool air crazies, I didn’t initially think much of her, shall we call it, newfound zest for life. But then her zest turned into lunacy and I started to wonder if maybe she wasn’t taking things a bit far. But, you know, we had a pretty hot/humid summer.

By the time lunacy devolved into googling “can dogs actually have bipolar disorder?” I figured it was time for a call to the vet. Because doing a crazy circular dance while ass-herding Calvin into the corner is all fun and games, but frantically licking the floor and chugging water and peeing twelve times an hour in two hour bursts of insanity is, well, troubling. To say the very least.

I am under vet orders not to freak out (yet) and the first move is to take them some pee, to rule out–or, really, to hopefully confirm–UTI. A UTI would be FABULOUS. I feel very all-caps about a UTI.

“ALL CAPS UTI HOORAY WOOOOP WOOOOP!” -Me. Right now.

Because a UTI is treatable and relatively easy and does not involve the contemplation that Karmann’s Addison’s was perhaps only very briefly well-managed and we must now go back down the rabbit hole to find better dosages/medications/schedules/etc. We should know tomorrow. In the meantime, I will spend a little over 24 hours freaking out, staring at my puppy, and possibly bursting into tears if she does anything even remotely weird.

GO UTI!!!

When I am not ugly crying over my girl’s epic weirdness, I will be silently weeping in the bathroom, so as not to get caught, because . . .

IT’S TIME TO RUN FOR CRITTERS!

I feel very all-caps about that, too, apparently.

Ok, well, it’s not actually time to run for critters. It’s time to register to run for critters. Which means it’s time to go to a website, register to run the 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon for the Animal Rescue League, and commit to run the full 26.2 miles ON MY 35th BIRTHDAY.

I lost two toenails running the half this year, and their replacements still aren’t quite normal. I fear for both my life, and any future pedicures.

The half was fun. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately came home and registered for two other races for which I utterly failed to prepare (Great Race, I’m looking at you.) Yay commitment! But I promised myself, and I wrote on the wrap-up blog that in 2015, since the race was on my birthday, I would do the full.

And so I shall.

Or, at least, I will do as much of the full as possible before I inevitably perish on the course and make my mother very sad.

So let this serve as a reminder warning that solicitations will be forthcoming! Change your email now if you do not wish to be heckled to hand over your hard earned cash in the interest of helping critters in need. I probably won’t send out the donation beg until sometime in the bleak midwinter (improves sympathy donations) so you have some time to switch over all your contacts and stuff.

Until then, may my tendons be strong and my puppy’s bladder be treat-ably infected.

Nictating Lids, Success!

IMG_3149.JPG

Lest anyone think that my days with puppies are always a disaster, I am pleased to report that Schmoop and both pups and I made a very successful repeat trip out to the site I’m working on. Sure, Cal got a little frisky with the rangers as they drove by on their four wheeler. Twice. And at one point he had dogs on the other side of the river barking in response. But it was otherwise a fun day of putzing around the woods, smelling things and then peeing all over them.

The dogs, that is. I just took photographs and recorded coordinates.

And now, I am even more pleased to report, I have two pooped puppies.