Mama played this video of a doggie named Happy who was missing his people. I didn’t know she was doing it, and when I heard the howling, I perked my head right up, concerned that there might be a nearby doggie in trouble.
A little while ago I mentioned my furry cousin, Abby, in fleeting. Let me tell you a little more about her.
Abby is owned by Mama’s sister. She is called Abby-da-Puppy, as when Mama’s sister brought her in, she was, well, a puppy. We don’t know a whole lot about Abby’s background before she came to live with Mama’s sister and her family. We know that she was owned by one family, then another, and then eventually found her Forever Home. For a lot of doggies, this would make them anxious and uncertain (I think I’d have trouble adjusting), however Abby is pretty happy-go-lucky and settled in just fine.
That was years ago – I wasn’t rescued yet. Now Abby is about four years old, but she is still very much a puppy at heart. She has crazy energy and loves it when people or dogs come to see her. Whenever she gets company she jumps on the humans non-stop and tries to play with the dogs. Mama was kind of nervous at how hyper Abby gets because Mama’s sister just had a baby; she was worried that Abby might accidentally hurt the baby without meaning to just from being so excited. Thankfully, while she remains exuberant as ever, Abby is actually very protective of her human-boy.
Don’t let that calm facade fool you. I have no doubt that before this picture was taken Abby was bouncing all around off the furniture and people in the room. That’s just how she rolls. I don’t remember having anywhere near that level of energy when I was four, but then, she and I were in different situations. Any time I have seen her she has started pouncing on me almost instantly – not in an aggressive way, but sort of the doggie equivalent of shouting “oh-my-God-hi-I-like-you-will-you-be-my-friend-you’re-my-friend-let’s-play-let’s-play-let’s-play-let’s-play!” I don’t mind playing a little, but I’m too old for that kind of rambunctiousness.
The past few weeks Abby’s family has been having a rough time. Abby’s dad had two deaths in the family in two weeks time. A few days ago Abby’s mom, my Mama’s sister, joined her husband at a funeral out of state while Mama’s mother watched the baby and Abby. When Abby’s mom came back, Abby was throwing up non-stop and pooping blood. Like they needed something else on their plate. Abby is now at a doggie hospital getting IV fluids (she felt so icky she couldn’t even keep water down) and treatment. The vets say she should be OK, but she’ll need to spend the weekend in the hospital.
I feel bad for Abby. Even though she’s four, I can’t help but think of her as a puppy given her high spirits. I’m glad she is getting the help she needs. To kind of relive her more high-spirited times, here is a video from when I met Abby-da-Puppy for the first time:
As you might imagine, I was pretty beat from that play-fest. I had fun, but play like that wipes me out.
Here’s hoping Abby-da-Puppy is back on all four paws in no time.
Update 8/13/11: Abby is home from the hospital and recovering. Way to bounce back, cuz!
Mama has been out of work for over three months now. That’s kind of like the doggie equivalent of a year and nine months – so that makes me happy that Mama has been around home for so long. I know she feels bad because if she was working she would be bringing in income, like Daddy is, but I can’t help but feel lucky that she is home to spend time with me. She and Daddy are trying to make the best of the situation, and both joke that since they can’t dwell on misfortune, this will just have to be Mama’s “Summer of Funemployment” – attitude is everything, after all.
I don’t know about unemployment – like I’ve said before, I’m not a working dog – but I do know about undies.
Now why, you ask, would I know about undies? After all, I am a dog and I have talked before about how I don’t like getting dressed up. Well, that is true, but I am not talking about undies for me to wear – that would just be silly. I’m talking about undies to play with.
I don’t remember exactly how it started. I think it was one time that Daddy and Mama weren’t in the bedroom, and I noticed a pair of undies that had missed the hamper where they put their dirty laundry. I thought they looked fun, and since they had been worn, they smelled like My People. Please don’t think I mean that in an icky way or that I am saying My People stink: We dogs can pick up on a whole lot more scents than you humans can, and anything that smells remotely like My People (any clothes that might have gotten sweaty – like underpants) is nice to me. I liked those undies, and I brought them up on the bed with me to lick at and cuddle. Eventually I got bored (I don’t play with toys very long) and left them there to go do something else. This happened a few times, and Mama started to figure out what was going on. She never actually caught me with them, but she would find these discarded undies on the bed and quickly came to realize how they got there. Her suspicions were confirmed when one time she got out of the shower and found a pair of her undies and a pair of Daddy’s undies laying side by side crumpled on the bed. She informed Daddy of this discovery.
“Well you know what this means,” he replied, “It means that Piper is playing Barbies with our underwear.”
I don’t know what Barbies are, but I really don’t care that they know about my underwear escapades. Humans talk a lot about having “guilty pleasures,” but we dogs don’t really get the concept of that. Why should something you enjoy make you feel bad? If it is a pleasure, you should enjoy it – and who cares what anyone else thinks?
This was the beginning of my love affair with underpants. I don’t play with a whole lot of toys, but I will almost always happily nose through underpants that missed the hamper. One night I came downstairs to check on Mama, who was still awake – but, not wanting to leave my makeshift toy, I brought a pair of undies in my mouth. She laughed and took it away from me and put it in her bathrobe pocket, which I found baffling – she doesn’t take away any of my other toys! Another time Mama did a load of laundry, and she tossed her clean undies in a pile on the couch as she folded other items. Even though I much prefer undies that have already been worn, I was ready to accept these too. I jumped on the couch and curled up on the pile of undies.
Mama thought this was funny, so she added to this tableau. As I was starting to doze, I didn’t mind much.
Although this was a nice snoozing place for a while, as a whole undies are best when already worn and used as a toy, not bedding. In fact, a few times after I have had my fill of playing, I have left pairs next to my other toys:
But I should warn you, as much as I love playing with undies, it’s not always fun and games. One time while Mama was showering, I thought I’d have some fun – and ended up in a predicament I couldn’t get myself out of. I had to wait till she was done with her shower for her to help.
Both Daddy and Mama seem to think my affinity for underpants (funderpants!) is silly and perhaps even weird, but as I’ve never destroyed any undies, they regard it as a relatively harmless pastime. Do any of your animals have any odd pastimes?
A lot of people already know that doggies are helpful with a lot of different jobs over the years. They have been used to help with herding, sniffing down bad guys, keeping away predators, and hunting. My ancestors, the silky terrier and the Yorkshire terrier, were originally bred to root out pests – specifically snakes and rats! Traces of this hunting instinct can be seen in me when I try to chase after flying birds. Or golf carts.
Anyway, these days doggies get to help humans with a whole lot of other things on top of the jobs listed above. We don’t just sniff out bad guys, but also bombs, drugs – and even people that have gone missing or are trapped in disaster situations. They help people with blindness or visual impairments navigate the world. They are able to help people with physical disabilities or limitations do day-to-day tasks like getting the phone or turning on the lights. Some people who have mental illness even find it helpful to have doggies around as therapy dogs: Mama attended an event where a woman from the local chapter of NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) spoke about how keeping a therapy dog (a rescued greyhound that had been a racedog – not the typical breed for a therapy dog, but the lady trained him well) helped her manage hallucinations that she had; having the doggie around helped remind her that the hallucinations were not real.
Mama showed me this article on our local paper: A human mother wrote about how getting a dog helped her son in his development. As a dog myself, I would argue that having a dog around is going to be beneficial to anybody – but her son had some additional challenges a lot of other people don’t. Apparently, he had a rare neurological condition that was making it really difficult for him to speak and even made him really scared around strangers. Since he liked animals, his doctor encouraged the family to get a pet. After getting a poodle named Hattie, her son started to thrive, both developmentally and socially. Keep in mind that Hattie is not even a trained therapy dog. These positive changes just came about when she was brought into the family.
He says his best friend is Hattie. How sweet is that?
I am no therapy dog, and I am not sure that I have the temperament to qualify as one (there are all these tests and stuff you need to go through, and I’ve talked before about how I am no good with tests). But when Daddy is bored, I climb next to him and he plays with me. When Mama is sad, I curl up next to her, and she cuddles me and tells me I’m a good girl. I may not root out vermin or have a slip from an official calling me legit, but I’d like to think I help My People just as much as any working dog. Maybe not as much as Hattie, but in my own small way.
It’s no secret that I love My People. Even though I might complain that they sometimes dress me up funny or make me take baths or won’t let me nose through the garbage I really love them and know they love me too. I totally lucked out on the People lottery.
Sadly, there are a lot of people out there who treat their dogs – and other animals too – poorly. I know I’ve talked before about having been in a puppy mill, where I had puppies that got taken away from me and my health was seriously neglected. As bad as that was, there are animals out there that have it even worse. Some owners hurt their animals on purpose, venting their anger or frustration (or meanness) on an animal that can’t defend itself. There are even some people who train dogs to fight other dogs, usually to the death. Can you believe that some awful people actually find watching those fights entertaining?! Most dogs are naturally happy-go-lucky, but when they get put into a situation where their life is on the line, some of them become killers – and some of them become casualties. They aren’t born that way – and it doesn’t matter what breed that dog is: Bad people made them into bad dogs… Or dead dogs.
Animal fighting is already a felony (the worst kind of crime there is here in the US) in all 50 states – as well it should be! But up until now those people in New York State who watch these bloodbaths have only faced minor fines – the legal equivalent of a slap on the wrist. Now the governor has signed into law a bill that makes watching animal fights punishable by up to a $500 fine and up to three months in jail. Needless to say, My People and I completely support this coming to pass. While I definitely think the people who run the animal fights and turn innocent doggies into killers should be punished severely, I think those people who support such a cruel “sport” are equally as guilty, so I am glad that this is happening. It’s not the first time I have seen my home state support doggies in a bad spot; it makes me happy to know that I live someplace that places value on its furry citizens too.
As an aside, remember that doggies that have been trained to fight are not all bad. Like I said, they did what they did because they had to, and given some time to rehabilitate with kind and patient humans, some (most?) can be friendly again. Although there are some doggies that are born nasty, the majority are good.
Kind of like people.
Recently, Mama found a pet-friendly website called Pawesome. It is super-cute – and funny too! Not that long ago, they posted this comic on doggie sleeping positions (with a cameo by a kitty):
I don’t do all of these (when I start to look like “the ambiguous, e.g., I just lay down to get more comfy), but I do a lot of them… But Mama has different names for some of them.
What they call “the donut hole,” Mama calls “the cinnamon bun…”
…and what they call “the twister,” Mama calls “sleep yoga.”
But I have also been known to do “the doormat…”
Though I do tend to prefer to make a little nest out of blankets and/or pillows, nestling on top of them or around them.
But my favorite thing of all time is to sleep with My People.
Do you or your pets have any funny ways of sleeping? Let me know!
Mama found this essay by Penny Eims here.
I am not a thing. If I am hit – I will bruise, I will bleed, I will break. I will feel pain. I am not a thing.
I am a dog. I enjoy playtime, walk time, but more than anything, I enjoy time with my pack – my family – my people. I want nothing more than to be by the side of my human. I want to sleep where you sleep and walk where you walk. I am a dog and I feel love…I crave companionship.
I enjoy the touch of a kind hand and the softness of a good bed. I want to be inside of the home with my family, not stuck on the end of a chain or alone in a kennel or fenced yard for hours on end. I was born to be a companion, not to live a life of solitude.
I get too cold and I get too hot. I experience hunger and thirst. I am a living creature, not a thing.
When you leave, I want to go with you. If I stay behind, I will eagerly await your return. I long for the sound of your voice. I will do most anything to please you. I live to be your treasured companion.
I am a dog. My actions are not dictated by money, greed, or hatred. I do not know prejudice. I live in the moment and am ruled by love and loyalty.
Do not mistake me for a mindless object. I can feel and I can think. I can experience more than physical pain, I can feel fear and joy. I can feel love and confusion. I have emotions. I understand perhaps more than you do. I am able to comprehend the words you speak to me, but you are not always able to understand me.
I am a dog. I am not able to care for myself without your help. If you choose to tie me up and refuse to feed me, I will starve. If you abandon me on a rural road, I will experience fear and loneliness. I will search for you and wonder why I have been left behind. I am not a piece of property to be dumped and forgotten.
If you choose to leave me at a shelter, I will be frightened and bewildered. I will watch for your return with every footfall that approaches my kennel run.
I am a dog – a living, breathing creature. If you choose to take me home, please provide me with the things that I need to keep me healthy and happy.
Provide me with good food, clean water, warm shelter and your love. Do not abandon me. Do not kick me. Do not dump me when your life gets too busy. Make a commitment to me for the entirety of my life, or do not take me home in the first place.
If you desert me, I do not have the means to care for myself. I am at the mercy of the kindness of people – if I fall into the wrong hands, my life will be ruined.
I will experience pain, fear and loneliness. If I wind up in an animal shelter, I have only my eyes to implore someone to save me, and my tail to show you that I am a friend. If that is not good enough, I will die.
I am a dog. I want to give and receive love. I want to live. I am not a thing. I am not a piece of property. Please do not discard me. Please treat me with kindness, love and respect. I promise to repay you with unconditional love for as long as I live.