Friday, October 23, 2009

Dog Daze

3:30 - 4 pm is always an exciting time in my work day, looking for a distraction from the rigmarole, I patiently anticipate that a number of people in the Land of Milk and Honey will soon be at their desk, looking for someone to chat to, and let's face it, who better than ME?! I might be making this sound more grand than it is, as if a million users log onto their favorite chat channel: MSN Messenger, Skype, gchat (to all of which I subscribe) and request an audience with yours truly. I have to cut people short or ask them hold because the little door bell noises and flashing boxes are appearing on my computer screen in droves. While I'm sure someday I will achieve such stardom, for now my momma is usually the only one willing to read my blabber. If I'm lucky, a very busy, important and wonderful Katherine Ann pops up to say hi, and if I'm really lucky, she's not in a rush and amuses me with tales of her adventures from the weekend. The most noteworthy of late being an afternoon spent in a chicken suit (!).

When I'm not so fortunate, and there is no momma and no Katherine Ann, but still fortunate enough that Phil is not flying and is at the desk in his office, I pester him with my usual cache of queries such as, "What do you want for dinner?" "How's about we walk dem dogs when you come home?" or "Whatcha up to?" Phil is a master of ignoring bells, whistles, and flashing boxes and usually his only response, to my dismay, is "hi" followed by silence. I try to pout over the cyber galactic, but the virtual pouts never seem to get through (why don’t they have a pouting emoticon?), or I’m just sure he’d react. He's a very busy boy, you must understand.

There is yet another scenario that is rare and treasured in my afternoon chatcapades: my mom is at home and not on the computer, so I get to chat with Dad. Although it is no secret that my dad has not mastered today's technology - he prefers to leave his cell phone in the car rather than answer the dang thing, he can't tell you what a text is, it only took him 5 years to conquer sending and receiving email, and he's been known to cuss at the remote control - he can type on the Skype chat when it's set up for him, and for this, I'm very grateful.

In a recent chat with the D-A-D, he told me about a pet blessing they had at church. My response, assumingly similar to many of yours', was WTF is a pet blessing? And how silly can you guys be? He made some good points about pets being important to people. He explained that besides family, there’s no one people are closer to or spend more time with than their pets. Then we started chatting about baseball or Cottontail and I hadn’t thought about pet blessings since.

Given that I work from home, I have the privilege of spending countless hours with Tuna and Sahara, my dogs. Most of the day they nap around the house or on the veranda, occasionally they chase a bird that dares land in their kingdom. Somehow during this tiresome schedule they find time to frequently check in on me to see how the work is going, nudging me gently on the leg or the arm for pat on the head, their looks saying, “Don’t work too hard” or “Hang in there,” or so I like to think. Tuna did this just moments ago, which made me think about the pet blessing and how she deserved one, and why not throw in one for Sahara as well?

Sahara is stoic and kind. She's smart, too. Rolling over and giving high 10 on command. She's the best snuggler, partly because she's so big and sturdy. I comfortably put the weight of my head on her back while draping my arms around her for relaxing naps on the couch. When you throw food for her to catch midair, she makes an amazing smack with her oversized chops and drooly tounge, but usually still manages to get the treat in her sticky gob. When the suction of the mouth is too great, delaying the opening, the treat hits her square in the face, which I find equally amusing and endearing. Sahara is also the 'pretty one.' When we go on walks, locals often say, "You give me one!" I jokingly offer the handle of Tuna's leash to which they laugh and say, "The other one." Luckily, Tuney does not understand and even if they were willing take our little, local mutt, I wouldn't sell her for a million dollars (do not make this offer to Phil, as I fear he is not nearly as attached).

There is much to be said for the Tuna Tot, the baby of the bunch. Although she’s never caught any delicious dish you toss in her direction, you've never seen a sweeter face. She came with the name Bisou which is French for kiss. It is very appropriate as her explorative little tongue is always finding your feet, especially unsuspecting visitors’, right between the toes! She's slightly meek and shy, but her presents makes me feel at ease, and she's first-rate for making me feel needed on days when I wonder what the heck I'm doing in this world.

They do the cutest things like paw at their noses when they itch, make a squeaky sound when they yawn, pretend they don't even notice when they stink up the entire room with disgusting farts, and they move their legs in their sleep as if chasing the gardener in their little puppy dreams. Most importantly, even when I've only been gone 15 minutes, Sahara and Tuna are at the gate, wagging their tails off, kissing, greeting, and squealing with delight that I am home. Every girl can use that kind of affirmation on a daily basis. Trust me, it does wonders for my self esteem, especially when I’ve struck out two consecutive days in the chatting field.

So, bless the pets! They are certainly a blessing to me, and life would not be so sweet without them.

The above was written yesterday afternoon and then, wouldn’t you know it, as this world has a tendency to do, it turned things right around, and now I’m forced to question all the nice things I’ve said about Killer (Sahara) and Mini-Meat Eater (Tuna).

After finishing my work for the day, I grabbed the leashes and set out for a little stroll with my doggie companions. (Phillium, who was working late, was not present) We were not but one block from the house, when Killer spots a tasty treat tied by the rear hoof to a patch of grass on the side of the road. Goats are often a temptation for ‘the pretty one,’ but a tug on the leash and a ‘ah-ah’ can usually keep the bitch in check. However, yesterday, this was not the case. Sahara had her eye on the scrumptious morsel and was not taking no for an answer. TT (Tuna Tot) being the little sister who follows Killer with cult-like loyalty, decided she would also like a bite of the unsuspecting goat. Together, with a force unmatched by a bullet train, the pooches promptly pulled me down to my bum on the very steep, loose gravel road and into the drainage ditch, which can be compared to castle moats around these parts. The ditch was then filled with Angela, bawling goat, Killer, TT, trash, and dirt. Sahara’s jaw was firmly locked on the goat, leashes were tangled around our mob, and Tuna was taking a bite of Billy every chance she got. I was screaming, the goat howling, and Killer WOULD NOT LET GO! After an eternity of being bound in this position, unable to move but for punching Sahara in the head, Sahara released the goat. This was not the end, she just needed to re-grip her dinner, but I intervened and pinned Killer down with all my might. The saga was not over yet, as the goat could not run away since Tuna now had it captive in her chops by the head! TT does not have the drive of her sister and let go when I told her to, at which point, I was able to tighten the slack on her leash. Still the goat was not free due to a piece of wire wrapped around its leg, which was now wound around me, and the blood sucking mutts. With the goat only 3 feet away and still in Sahara sights, I was in a constant battle to keep Killer pinned. Her strength could be compared to that of lion. After screaming for help, the goat was finally freed by a very scared school child who led it to safety within the compound walls. Alas, I was able to crawl out of the ditch, untangle myself from the wire, dog leashes and vines that were dragging me down. I must have been quite the spectacle walking home, my hair a mess, covered with goat blood, scratches and scraps, dirt and grass from head to toe. Not speaking to, barely looking at my 4 legged brood as I marched them home with little march and mostly limp in my step. They knew they were in trouble.

I held it together until I called my mate to tell him the tale of Kujo meets Billy, at which point I could hardly speak through the tears. I showered, smeared by body with Doctor Burts Res-Q, and curled up for a night on the couch with Arrested Development, Killer and the Mini-Meat Eater banished to the outdoors.

This morning after a breakfast of Philly’s homemade vanilla bean and lemon cheesecake, I’ve decided that I’ll live and that this is even a little funny. I’ve forgiven the culprits, although I will no longer walk them alone.

Blessings shmlessings.

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