Thursday, December 14, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
How It All Started
When my adored 15 year old poodle, Lucy, died recently, I found myself in an unfamiliar predicament. For the first time in over 25 years, I only had one pet; a sweet tempered, dainty little Chihuahua named Rosie.
My house seemed so quiet, and Rosie seemed even lonelier than I was. It didn't take long for the idea to begin festering in my head that I needed a new puppy. Someone to brighten up the house again; someone to play with Rosie and snuggle behind my knees at bedtime. (Rosie already had dibs on the small of my back). My first step in getting the ball rolling was to enlist my grown son and tell him I needed a new puppy. My son takes good care of me and was an easy mark. I didn't purposely set out for him to buy me a puppy, but I certainly didn't turn him down when he told me to investigate which breed I would like and find a puppy and he would buy her for me. He told me, "Mom, don't settle for some breed you don't really love just because you want a puppy right away. Figure out what you would love and we will get it." WHAT A KID I HAVE!! Within hours, I had a notebook ready for taking notes and set out on the internet to research dog breeds. I had standards, after all. I wanted a no-shed or light-shed breed. I wanted a dog small enough to be friends with Rosie and not dwarf her. I wanted a female, who had no aggression, was fairly quiet, intelligent and eager to please. I wanted a perfect dog. I figured that shouldn't be too difficult.
For the next several weeks, I spent hours every day on the internet looking at article after article about dog breeds. I had made a list of breeds I was most interested in and day by day scratched breeds off my list as I discovered some trait I wasn't thrilled about. I had narrowed my choices down to French Bulldog, English Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Brussels Griffon and Italian Greyhound. As I surveyed my list, I realized I really favored the uglier breeds. You know the trouble with ugly breeds, though, don't you? They are more expensive than most cars I have owned. I am not rolling in money, and while my son is generous to a fault, I could not possibly call him up and say, "Hey, honey, I found the breed for me. I called a breeder in Timbuktu who has a pup ready for only $2,800 plus $500 shipping. But it's a really good deal, because the pup comes with a collar and a Purina puppy starter pack". So with a heavy heart I scratched both the French Bulldog and the English Bulldog from my list. (If I ever come into BIG BUCKS, just try to stop me from getting a Frenchie, though!) In the squishy-faced-flat-nosed-breeds, that left Boston Terrier.
I went to every Boston web site I could find, read books from the library and contacted several breeders in my area. We might have to drive a few hours, but there would be no shipping costs involved!! We were on the right track!! I dragged my son, Jacob, to a local pet shop to see what a Boston looked like in person. I wouldn't want to buy from a pet shop and I only wanted a female, but the little boy pup the salesman handed me was the softest thing I had ever felt. It was an indescribable softness; kind of a combination of clouds and velvet. Regretfully l handed the little guy back to the salesman, who was telling me about a special discount on this puppy ($100 off his usual price of $1100) because he was already 12 weeks old. Jacob and I high tailed it out of there before I signed away my future first grandchild as a down payment. I couldn't stop thinking about that softness, though...I have had a good number of breeds in my life, from poodles to goldens to greyhounds to mutts, and I have never felt anything like it. Ok. I was hooked. Boston Terrier it is!! I told Jacob the good news and set about finding a reputable breeder who didn't expect me to get a second mortgage on my house to pay for a puppy..
Stay tuned for THE PUP WHO STOLE MY HEART, coming soon!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
The Pup Who Stole My Heart
Jacob came to pick me up on a Sunday morning in February to take me to meet my perfect-puppy-to-be. I had contacted many breeders, some of whom I really liked and some of whom I thought were in the game only to make money off the backs of poorly bred puppies. The breeder I decided to meet with had both parents on site and seemed to love his dogs.
Settling in for the trip, I was filled with anticipation, endlessly chattering to Jacob about how I wouldn't let emotion rule me, how pleasant the breeder had seemed on the phone, and how I had thoroughly researched this breed and I would only accept a perfect specimen that I would look over meticulously for faults.
Then we backed out of the driveway and began our journey to the breeder's, who lived about 90 miles from my home. I continued to fill Jacob in on all things Boston. Once we got on the road, I did notice when I glanced over at him a few times during the drive that he looked a little shell-shocked. His eyes were slightly glazed over (Was he wearing a new brand of contact lenses? I wondered, making a mental note to ask him about it when I finished talking about how Boston females sometimes never bark at all, according to an online expert) and he had an odd, frozen half-grin, half-grimace on his face. His knuckles seemed slightly white as he gripped the steering wheel more tightly than he usually did. Jacob usually drives with one or no hand on the steering wheel and the other typing out a text message on his cell phone. Sometimes it seems he actually has a third hand involved in his driving...the one he uses to punch the buttons on the remote to his satellite radio. The person with white knuckles is usually me, holding on for dear life in anticipation of the deafening sound of the car being smashed into a road kill pancake. I made another mental note to self: ask Jacob if anything is stressing him out; AFTER I tell him about the corkscrew tails on Bostons that add so much character and charm. "Some people get kind of cheated by accepting a short-tailed Boston,” I explained, “because they don't know it should have a corkscrew shape. At least I am going prepared!!"
A few times during the trip I took a moment to catch my breath and I noticed Jacob would immediately grab his remote and turn up the volume on his radio. If I didn't know him so well, and if I hadn't raised him to have impeccable manners, I might have thought he was trying to let me know he was tired of listening to me talk. But, since that was obviously not the case, I told him, "If I pick out this puppy and we come back next week to get her, I will bring a good CD to listen to so you won't have to fidget with that silly radio so much." For some reason, his half-grin sort of dissipated into a full grimace.
We finally arrived at the breeder's house and I saw two adult Boston Terriers frolicking in the cyclone-fenced side yard. Man, were they ugly! All bug-eyed and flat faced, tall and lanky and seemingly unstoppable in their hyperkinetic enjoyment. Just what I wanted! I figured the high energy level was because we were company. All dogs get a little excited at the prospect of sniffing a new friend, right? After all, the online information I had found had assured me that Bostons were calm, somewhat docile, and had a moderate energy level. The breeder came to the door to greet us, without our even knocking. He may have been alerted to our presence by the incessant barking and howling of the forlorn souls in the side yard. I quickly noted that the female seemed to be barking louder and more mournfully than the male; and I just as quickly dismissed the thought. She was probably just anxious, I reasoned, because strangers were headed into the house to handle her babies. I am a mom, I get that! Plus, and this is key, I told myself, the online expert didn't say ALL Boston females never bark.
What happened next still has me in a bit of a tizzy. The breeder took us back to the puppy room. Four squirmy, fat, waddling little pups were huddled together in a clean cage, playing and making those amazing growls and squeals of puppyhood. My heart nearly stopped as I was handed the only black and white female in the litter.
"I'LL TAKE HER!" I nearly shouted and told Jacob, "Quick, honey, take a picture!!" My son obliged, and then he and the breeder went into the other room to discuss money, while I nuzzled and cuddled and smelled the sweet puppy breath of my new little girl, Daisy. I had had her name picked out for weeks. What a great name for a comedic little ugly girl! It wouldn't be her full name, of course. I would need to spend some time with her to figure out her special moniker. It was hard for me to hand Daisy back to the breeder after all the business of the day was taken care of, but she was still a little young and needed one more week with her mother. Jacob and I made arrangements to come back the following Sunday to take her home.
The trip home was quite a lot quieter. I was beat from all the excitement of the day and just lay my head back in contentment. After a few miles, Jacob looked at me out of the corner of his eye and said, "Way to go on not being overcome by emotion, Mom. You really stayed strong!" Then he laughed a little and said, "Does she have a corkscrew tail?"
"Well," I replied quietly, "I'm not sure."
Watch for the next fun episode: A PERFECT ANGEL FOR ONE WHOLE DAY~~coming soon!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
A Perfect Angel For One Whole Day
On Sunday morning, one week to the day since I had met Daisy, I got a call from her breeder. Of course, a feeling of dread washed over me as I recognized his name and number on my caller ID. Oh my god, I thought, why would he be calling?? Something must have happened to Daisy! With a bit of trepidation, I answered the phone in an artificially calm voice. The breeder barely took the time to identify himself (which you and I know was unnecessary because of the caller ID--but he didn't know) before he asked, "When are you planning to pick up this puppy?" His voice was harsh, and I sensed, slightly angry. "Well," I told him, "we were planning on leaving here around noon. Will that be ok?" Imagine my shock when he replied, "The sooner the better, as far as I am concerned! The rest of the litter is gone, and this puppy is driving me nuts!" I decided that we would leave a little earlier because my poor little girl needed a quick rescue. "We'll be there around noon. See you then." I hung up the phone with a bit of aggression and began talking to myself. Geez, that was rude. What could a sweet little puppy like that possibly do to drive someone nuts?? AND, I continued to rant to no one, he kept calling her 'this puppy'! I told him last week to start calling her Daisy!
After a frantic call from me, Jacob arrived in plenty of time for us to reach the breeder's house by noon. I had everything ready to pack in the car: kennel, puppy food, water, toys, collar, lead, and a washcloth, soaked in water and sealed inside a ziploc baggie; in case she wasn't perfectly clean, I could give her a "sponge bath" during the ride home. I put the baggie on the dashboard to soak up the warm sun through the windshield, so if I had to use the washcloth, it would be warm. Puppies can easily get a chill.
The ride seemed very long, of course, because I was so filled with the maternal instinct to go save that poor puppy before that breeder said or did something to her that might damage her self-esteem.
The two adult dogs weren't in the side yard when we arrived at the breeder's, and yet he still answered the door without us knocking, which made me slightly suspicious that he must sit around spying out the window for intruders all day. Talk about paranoid!
As we stepped into the house I was surprised that the breeder seemed as pleasant as I had remembered from the week before. He was sighing a lot, like he was relieved about something. I wanted to get out of there with my little angel and not hang around for niceties, so we tied up all the business and headed for the door. The mother dog looked exhausted and didn't seem even slightly interested that we were stealing her last baby, and I noticed the dad dog sniffing the mother dog a little too insistently for my taste. As we walked over to the car, the breeder waved goodbye and called to us, "Good luck! That puppy sure likes attention!" I smiled and waved back and as soon as I got into the car and shut the door, I said to Jacob, "Don't you think it's a little odd that the mother almost seemed glad to see her go??"
As was our usual practice, we had plans to spend the rest of Sunday at my mom's house, which was about 2/3 of the way home. I carried my pride and joy into the family room, and attempted to shove the new puppy into my mother's arms. Mom said she would rather look at her from a bit of a distance, so I stepped back and showed her off proudly. You will be happy to know that she DOES have a corkscrew tail! My mom, who has an eagle eye for detail, noticed that Daisy had a perfect little heart shaped black marking covering her nose and we discussed if we could fit her 'heart nose' into her full name somehow. We all ooohed and aaahed over her for the rest of the afternoon, and were decidedly amazed at how well behaved the perfect little angel was. She didn't utter a sound, she piddled on the grass the minute Jacob set her down in it, she cuddled and she slept and when it was time for us to eat dinner, she didn't even complain when I put her in her kennel next to the dining table while we ate.
After dinner, I was so exhausted from all the excitement of the day, that I sat down on the love seat with Daisy asleep across my chest, and dozed off. Jacob, having inherited a wicked sense of humor from my side of the family, recognized the opportunity to take a scandalous photograph of Daisy and me; she asleep and adorable, me with my head back and my mouth wide open with the tiniest bit of drool hanging out of the side of it. The flash of the camera woke me up and I opened my eyes just as Jacob tried to scurry away. Evil kid...!! And damn whoever invented camera cell phones. Needless to say, that picture was so unflattering I have only shown it to my mother, my son and my sister, and it will most certainly never see the light of day in my memoirs!
Don't forget to stop in again for DAISY, DID THAT SMELL COME FROM YOU? coming soon.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
DAISY! Did That Smell Come From You?!
Introducing Daisy to my sweet little Chihuahua Rosie had to be organized and planned and practiced before I would even consider letting them meet in person. Rosie, in keeping with Chihuahua tradition, is a bit shy and easily frightened. She can be a tough cookie, too, but when it comes to new people or pets she tends to revert to more insecure behavior like slinking away or barking.
Rosie, who I most frequently call by her nickname "Pup", had gotten used to having me to herself for the few months since Lucy's death. I wanted to make sure she would know she was still loved and important and about as special as
a dog can be, even with a new puppy in the house. So when it was time to take Daisy home after spending the day at my Mom's house, Jacob carefully held her while Pup was given the opportunity to sniff and investigate this new interloper into our home. Well, that was the plan anyway. Pup just wasn't having it. As we sat on my couch, Pup cowered and climbed up on the back of it while Miss Daisy happily explored the whole couch and would definitely have explored Pup if she had been big enough to climb up onto the back of it, too. Pup growled and tried to get away, and really wasn't even interested in letting me pet or reassure her.
We used Pup's name every time we said Daisy's name, as in: Daisy is Pup's new friend, Pup is Daisy's special girl. I admit, my voice was dripping in falsetto when I said such things, but Jacob just couldn't bring himself to speak in soprano tones. His voice was more deadpan in style...and I am sure it was that monotonous tone that made Daisy contentedly curl up in the crook of Jacob's arm and take a nap. The big introductions would have to wait awhile.
While we waited for her to wake up, we did some brainstorming on what her full name should be. I wanted something to do with the word daisy or days or daze...something I could finagle into a fun phrase from which I could pull the nickname Daisy. Over the years, my dogs have had some pretty interesting names that were plays on words. My comical black toy poodle was named "Heartchacer's Chloes Call"; I called her Chloe. And Rosie is actually named "Everything's Comin' Up Roses" because she was a gift from Jacob for my college graduation 2 years ago.
So Daisy needed a name just as special. But all we could come up with were things like Lazy Days of Summer (but she was born on Christmas day); Dazed and Confused (just plain ugly) and Driving Miss Daisy. That is until Daisy woke up from her nap and after bringing her back inside after a visit to the lawn, she began playing around on the floor. She banged her head on the leg of the coffee table, she knocked herself over when she ran into the couch, she slid across the hardwood floor when she tried to stop short, and she fell on her back when she attempted to get those little squat legs to propel her onto the couch with us. When she did that, I laughed and said without thinking, "Oops-a-daisy! You better be careful or you will hurt yourself, little girl" and scooped her up. It took a moment for the light to dawn on what I had just said. Oops-A-Daisy became her name in that instant. For good measure, I threw in the word Mistletoe at the end in remembrance of her birth date. Oops-A-Daisy Mistletoe! I suppose it's not nearly as ingenious a name as some of the other girls of my life have had, especially the awkward Mistletoe part, but the Oops-A-Daisy reference is eerily fitting of her even now.
You may have noticed by now that the title of this chapter seems to have nothing at all to do with the contents. Well, hang on tight, because we are about to explore a truly special trait of the Boston terrier breed: odiferous gas expulsion. This is a sensitive subject, one that civilized people of fine breeding really shouldn't be discussing. But let me tell you this: there is no ignoring this subject if you are talking about Boston terriers! We first got wind of the situation on the ride home from the breeder's. The car quickly filled up with a mind-numbing-eye-burning-throat-closing stench. I hurriedly explained it away as nervousness over going to a new home as Jacob turned up the plug-in air freshener and frantically opened the windows! About half way through the trip, I got wise and grabbed the towel from the floor of the kennel and wrapped it snuggly around Daisy's pudgy little lower half, and held her firmly like that for the rest of the trip. It was a super thick, highly absorbent towel, mercifully.
A day or so after we were settled in at home, I got back on the computer to investigate the problem. This time I googled: Boston terrier gas. A wealth of information appeared before me on the screen and I was flabbergasted to find that this is a very common problem in the breed. Why hadn't I found this information BEFORE I fell in love with this little girl? Well, probably because I had never googled the word 'gas' in correlation with Boston terrier before. Apparently there is some silent conspiracy of information hoarders who protect you from knowing the whole truth, right up until you are so enamored with your new friend you could never let her go, gaseous or not.
Since my first whiff of this dilemma, through research and forgiveness, I have discovered that the problem has nothing to do with nervousness on Daisy's part. I have come to believe that she is sending out wafts of love. And boy, does she love me!!
Saturday, November 18, 2006
There's No Escaping the Truth
Daisy discovered her voice about two days after she moved in. I was sound asleep at one morning, when I was violently jolted into wakefulness by the shattering sound of a freight train bearing down on my head, with its warning whistle screaming. I sat up in a panic, expecting the last thing I would ever see to be the headlight of the train as it obliterated me and left only miniscule DNA behind on the tracks. Instead, what I found was Daisy, with her head thrown back in a full-fledged wail. She stood scratching frantically at the front of her small kennel, which I positioned on my bed right next to my head each night, just in case she needed comforting or a quick scritch under the chin. She continued to scream. Scream is actually an understatement. It is more like...well…have you ever climbed up on a stepstool, placed your ear firmly against your smoke detector and pressed the ‘test’ button? Well, neither have I. But I can guarantee you it doesn’t take testing out the theory to know that is Daisy’s voice.
I knew enough about training dogs to know I had to wait for her to stop her shrill vocalizations before I could let her out of her kennel. Otherwise, I knew, if I opened the door while she was still shattering my eardrums with her screaming, she would connect wailing with a good reward and she would think she should scream whenever she wanted anything! So there I sat on my bed, with Pup, who had also been happily sleeping when all hell broke loose, hysterically running in circles around the kennel, barking and trying to understand what was happening. I shushed Pup, to no avail, and I talked to Daisy, trying to cajole her into calming down so I could open the kennel door. And believe me, what I wanted more than anything…more than Christmas, and a million bucks, and world peace all wrapped up in one, was for Daisy to SHUT UP so I could open the door of the kennel to let her out.
I think you are probably ahead of me on what happened next. Yes, I let Daisy out of the kennel while she was still screeching. I just couldn’t take it for one more second. I thought I might suffer permanent hearing loss and since I am getting on in years, I didn’t want to risk my good hearing before old age just naturally robbed me of my faculties. So sue me, I caved. I let her out, and the silence was almost painful. My ears throbbed and I felt a bit loopy, like I was in a dream. Daisy squirmed all around, her fat little butt going one way while the rest of her body went the other. She did her best to jump on me, kiss me, and cuddle with me. Is she trying to make up to me? I wondered for just the most fleeting of moments, and then my head cleared and I knew as sure as I know the sun will rise, she wasn’t trying to make up to me. She was trying to give herself pleasure. And at that moment I realized that the whole world was meant to revolve around Daisy. Those of us who fall along the wayside are simply here to entertain her. My life was irreversibly changed. I was the prisoner of a Boston terrier.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Daisy Goes On an Outing
One morning, I opened my front door to get my mail and Daisy decided to dart out the door. She ran across the front porch and I followed her, hoping to grab her up before she got a chance to escape the yard. Off the porch she jumped, however, and as I held on to the old pillar on the porch to steady myself while I tried to grab her, the pillar gave way and I fell off the porch into the ground cover plants and what I would discover about 30 seconds later was a colony of ants, with the 60 year old pillar following and landing on top of me.
Since I was in my nightgown, and my hair was a mess and I looked like absolute hell, my first instinct was to look around and see if anyone had witnessed this most embarrassing of events. Feeling fairly sure that I had not been seen, I managed to stick my butt up in the air and get on all fours in a most appealing position and try to pull myself up onto the porch, all the while trying to keep an eye on Daisy, who was still cavorting around the front yard like all was right with the world. It is an understatement to say that I am not a limber person, I am far from thin and I am getting old. The combination of my body having betrayed me years ago and the fact that a colony of, of course, red ants was swarming all over me, made getting up very, very difficult. I would probably say that by the time I was on two feet instead of all fours, I was not feeling all that tickled with Daisy. I had ants crawling all over me, I felt bruised and battered and now I had to go catch Daisy. I knew I couldn’t run in the house and get dressed. By the time I had finished, Daisy could be blocks away. So I was forced to chase Daisy, who had discovered how much fun it is to run away from me, down the street, through neighbors’ yards, in my nightgown and bare feet. Keep in mind, there were leaves and ants in my disheveled hair and I was angry. I must have looked like a demented psychopath to anyone who might have looked out their window or driven by and seen me. Daisy just kept running away from me. But she had a special way of doing it. She would stop and wait for me to almost be able to reach out and grab her. She had a sadistic smile in her eyes and I would get close enough to see it…and then she would dart away again. I could have killed her. I finally decided I would never be able to catch her and I remembered my sister Pat’s advice (she is the family dog expert and dog trainer) that I should run AWAY from Daisy and she would probably follow. Running is no longer my forte, so the best I could do was to yell a few choice words (further evidence of my psychotic personality to any witnesses) at her and walk away from her. And she actually followed. If I turned and looked at her or started toward her, even one step, she would laugh and run in the opposite direction. She is no fool.
We finally made it home. I opened the door and she pranced in like she had quite the story to tell Pup, who was sniffing her and encouraging her misbehavior by cheering her on like a hero come home.
I got out of my dirty nightgown and surveyed the damage. 2 skinned knees, a few ant bites, a huge bruise forming on my chest, and dirt in my right ear. Not too bad for an old chick. And Daisy, of course, was unscathed. She just thought it was a pretty fun outing. I heard her telling Pup that as I turned on the shower…
Monday, November 13, 2006
Bedtime at the Asylum
B.D. (Before Daisy), Pup and I had our routine. I would shut down the house, turning all the lights off and checking that the front door was locked. Pup would follow me around as I did my patrol, accompany me to the bathroom for a final visit, and hop up onto the bed as I settled in for the night. She would instantly nose her way under the Vellux blanket and snuggle up to the small of my back. Within just moments, Pup would be sound asleep, while I watched some TV. Around the time I was ready to turn off the TV, Pup would sense it and slither up my back, out from under the blanket, with her beautiful, big, normally erect Chihuahua ears flopped down and pink from the warmth she had been in under the covers. Seeing those droopy ears has become one of my favorite things in
life. She looks so sweet and content, like a baby who just awoke from a nap. Then for a few minutes, Pup would lick my hand or the inside of my elbow, apparently for security or comfort or because she thought I would like it. Pup is generous that way. I would turn off the TV, and in the dark Pup would find her way back to the small of my back, and we would drift off to restful sleep.
Daisy had other plans for bedtime. Once she felt she had the house under martial law, she completely took over our routine and fairly condescendingly reshaped the evening. First of all, on our patrol of the house, Daisy would run around wildly, darting between and around my feet like a canine agility champion doing the weave poles. I would trip over her, cuss at her and yell “leave me alone.” She quite possibly misinterpreted what I was saying as “weave", the command most agility-dog handlers use when asking their charges to triumph over the difficult task.
After stumbling over Daisy, I would make my way to the bathroom as usual. Only now Pup would be hiding in utter terror from Daisy’s rowdy antics, and Daisy would be tugging on the back of my nightgown as I brushed my teeth, or jumping at my legs as I, um, how can I put this delicately, used the facilities. All the more fun if she was able to steal a slipper from one of my feet and run away with it. Then we could all spend the next half hour looking for it. Or better yet, if she could snatch the toilet paper out of my hand as I pulled it from the holder in the wall and run like hell with it; that was an especially amusing trick. By the time I could grab the toilet paper and tear it at its perforated squares, Daisy would have the paper in one million and thirty-two little pieces. Little wet, sticky specks of white saliva covered papier-mache hanging from the walls and stuck to the couch and tables like the aftermath of the blast of a weapon of mass destruction. Keep in mind, I was held hostage in the bathroom, because I knew if I came out I would be swooped down on before my foot touched the hardwood of the hallway. And now, for the first time in my life, my bathroom door is kept closed, and locked (don’t ask…another story, another day) at all times.
After cleaning up any messes Daisy gifted me with, we, the happy trio, would head for bed. Pup would try to snuggle in, but Daisy would take that as a sign of delinquent activity and mete out swift punishment. She would flop straight down on Pup and the yelping and squealing would begin. You may think Pup would be the one doing the yelping and squealing because she was the one under attack…but like me, you would be wrong. Daisy loves to vocalize. She has an octave range that makes Mariah Carey sound flat, and she has the enthusiasm to express herself freely. Daisy has never met a thought she hasn’t shared. She has orations that sound like a snotty teenager sighing and clucking and doing the head-bob thing when she is displeased. She squeals in delight, grumbles in anger, whines like a two year old child and barks at the slightest change in the atmosphere. She screeches when she yawns and moans and groans when she sleeps. She just can’t stand silence. So, poor old Pup would sneak out from under Daisy and go hide under the bed. After awhile things would calm down and Pup would find her way back up onto the bed, but not up to my arm for her nightly comfort of licking me. She would have to be satisfied with sleeping on top of the blanket at my feet. Daisy, you see, was standing guard at my head.
Daisy is never still. Even asleep, she moves, makes sounds and stretches her long legs out to poke me with her razor sharp nails in the most inappropriate places. Apparently she needs comfort in the night, too. I would wake up with Daisy sleeping on my head. Her burning hot belly would be on my neck, her huge and unpleasantly moist tongue would either be in my ear or in my nose or she would lick my eyeballs as my lids flew open in panic at the realization I was being suffocated by my dog. “DON’T LICK MY EYEBALLS, DAISY! YOU KNOW THAT CREEPS ME OUT!!” I would yell at her in a voice already hoarse from the Jihad she had wrought upon my home at bedtime. And the three of us would try again to settle in.
I gave it the old college try for several nights and then weakened and surrendered to the very primal need for a true night’s sleep. I realized two things: Pup needed some time away from Daisy and I could use a stiff drink.
I decided Daisy should have her own room. A space where she could sleep where she wanted, where she could watch TV all night and where she was the queen of the world! Considering the fact that I have a small two bedroom house, and that I most definitely did NOT want Daisy having free run of the whole place, I had the choice of either setting her up in the bathroom or the second bedroom, which I use as my office. Looking over my list of pros and cons for each room, I came to the conclusion that the bathroom wouldn’t work, mainly because I don’t have a cable hook-up in there and because I do occasionally have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The last thing I would want would be to have to fight my way past Daisy as I tried to make it to the toilet without wetting my pants. So that was that, and we set “Miss Thing” up in her own room, my office. It was an improvement for all of us, but not a perfect solution, since I could still hear her banging around in her room, complete with vocal soundtrack. I am not positive she ever actually sleeps at all…if she does, she must also talk in her sleep and sleepwalk. Daisy has a recliner to sleep on, plenty of paper to shred and the TV on for her, with the volume very low, all night. She prefers Animal Planet and CSPAN. She is a well rounded girl.
We have returned to our routine, putting Daisy to bed in her room before Pup and I shut down the house for the night. Pup seems to be very happy with our sleeping arrangements and her “quiet time” with me all to herself, and I have recaptured the joy of seeing her with her warm, sleepy ears, as she licks my hand and drifts into a peaceful sleep...
Monday, October 30, 2006
Mr. President, search no further…
I am not able to leave things on tables, take off my shoes, have cushions on my couch or loveseat, or leave any room open to the rest of the house. I have had to put a lock on my bedroom door, because Daisy has figured out how to open it and invade my room in a whirlwind of annihilation of all belongings I hold dear. I have to be constantly on the look out for contraband.
(some items found in the couch)
Out of the corner of my eye one morning, I glimpsed something shiny sticking up between the cushions on my couch. A steak knife!!! Sharp point up. Thank goodness I am a loner and never have anyone to my home! Someone might have had a fairly embarrassing visit to the local emergency room. At least on that morning, the cushions were still on the couch. Most of the time, Daisy pulls them off and drags them around the house to use as step stools to get up on other furniture. She is very adept at fashioning tools.
She has broken into the locked bathroom somehow, and stolen my Lady Schick electric razor, which I found on the couch cushion on the floor in the dining room, chewed into several pieces and spit out, apparently in favor of some more enticing morsel at the moment.
I had to take my glasses in a baggie to Jacob (he is an optician and my eye guy…) to have repaired because Daisy had devoured them and left only one lens and a bit of one arm. I have since been informed they are far beyond repair and will need to be replaced. Now I am afraid to tell Jacob that she snuck into my room the other night while I was cooking dinner—I thought the kitchen seemed strangely easy to maneuver, but it didn’t dawn on me it was because Daisy was not underfoot---and ate the arm off my reading glasses. Maybe he will read this and take sympathy on his poor old mom and offer to repair them without a lecture. Speaking of lectures, my mother constantly tells me I need to give Daisy something to chew on. She suggests a towel tied in knots. A smart suggestion if we were dealing with the everyday, generic model of dog. But we are dealing with a Boston terrier. So I explain that I buy a box of rawhide chews every week, I have thrown away several chewed and shredded towels, socks, underpants and a blouse and Daisy has so many “toys” I can barely navigate around my house. The only toy I have found to date that Daisy is incapable of destroying is an empty 2 liter bottle, with about one half the air squeezed out and the cap on. It is loud and bounces away from her, keeping her happily occupied right up until she spots something of great sentimental value to me. Then it is “screw the bottle, I’m gonna obliterate mom’s favorite picture…” I have also found that empty 2 liter bottles are a joy to step on in the middle of the night. They have centrifugal force and absolutely no “give” and can send even a hefty human being flying.
I now have a box in my living room for shoes. When I take off my in-the-house-shoes, I have to get them into the box instantly and get the shoes I am going to wear on my feet just as quickly or they will be lost into the black hole of Daisy’s hippo sized mouth. My once comfortable shoes now have no insoles. I walk on a woody feeling shoe base thanks to my dear hooligan.
Pup and Daisy are both trained to Piddle Pads. Pup took to them happily and has rarely missed the mark. She prances over to the nearest pad and quite daintily does her business, then looks around for applause and saunters off. Daisy, on the other hand, thinks used Piddle Pads are much more useful for throwing up into the air to watch the “contents” scatter. After which, we all know what happens to things between the air and hitting the ground…
Any semblance of home decoration has given way to a plethora of boxes, locks and shelves to protect my few salvageable treasures from Daisy’s wrath. What can’t be packed away or put out of reach has been chewed up and spat out like so much trash. When Jacob was a baby, I proudly told people I didn’t need to child proof my house; that I had taught him what he was allowed to touch and what was off limits. And it was true. Jacob was a wonderful kid who learned quickly and was eager to please. Nothing like Miss Daisy. She is insistent upon teaching me that nothing I have has any value to her except as a means to ease the nagging throb of gums that need exercising.
I felt a surge of hysteria when I noticed a few days ago that the back of my dining room chair was chewed up. My beautiful pristine solid pine furniture was a mangled shell of its former self. I may have to take the table and four chairs apart and store them in a box…why have furniture when I can have a Boston terrier? Seems like a fair trade.
So, Mr. President, search no further, the Weapon of Mass Destruction that continues to elude you is right here...
Thursday, July 27, 2006
have been up to!!
They are Bostons through and through!
You even get to vote,
decide who's guilty and who's a scapegoat!