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This Day in My History


Routine is the god of every social system; it is the seventh heaven of business, the essential component in the success of every factory, the ideal of every statesman. The social machine should run like clockwork.

--- Alfred Whitehead

Yesterday's Entries

2000: Touchspace or Cyberspace?
 The Law of the Land
2002:  Making Molehills out of Mountains
2003:  Judy and Ethel Together Again


A Walk in the Woods
Bill Bryson


West Wing Marathon

Buy my stuff at Lulu!



BuddyGoodBye.jpg (39438 bytes)

This is Buddy.  He and I had a good time playing, but he had to leave.  I don't know why.

Sheila Video 1 ("See Sheila Run")
Sheila Video 2 ("Meet Barkley")
Sheila Video 3 ("Play time")



3 August 2004

We’ve settled into a routine, Ms. Sheila and I. It’s become more blatant to me how "routinized" we’ve become this week because Walt has been in Boston visiting Jeri and it’s just been me and the dogs around here.

The day begins around 6 a.m. for Sheila. It matters not what time the previous night ended for me. At or around 6 a.m., if I’m not already awake, she begins to subtly wake me up. She’s very polite about it. A nudge. A lick. If I open one eye a crack, she’s watching me. I finally admit I’m awake and start petting her. She rolls over on her back and lets me rub her tummy for awhile while I’m waking up fully.

Then we get up and come downstairs. She runs outside to check and make sure everything is still there from the night before, to bark at any dogs that are barking in the neighborhood, and to relieve herself.

I check e-mail.

If I spend too much time at the computer, she begins to get antsy. What’s this? We’re supposed to be at the park! There are dogs waiting for her! Again, she is very polite, but very insistent. She puts her nose under my elbow and just nudges it. Over and over again. I finally give up and get up.

When I begin to put on my shoes is when she knows that we’re really going. She can hardly stand it and she used to try to grab my sox out of my hand because it’s now officially play time and there are things just dangling there begging to be grabbed. But long ago I made her sit when I put on my shoes and sox and if she doesn’t, then I turn away from her, sit back in the chair and wait until she sits before I continue. She knows that until the shoes are on, she’s not leaving, so, quivering all over because she can hardly bear it, she sits and waits. Sometimes she plays with Kimba while I’m getting my shoes on.

Once the shoes are on, the time is really here and she leaps in the air and runs to the door. It must drive her nuts that I have to gather my wallet and, if we’re driving, my car keys. It kills her but she knows she has to sit before I’ll put her choke collar on so she sits. And then she knows she has to sit again before I’ll open the door. She desperately wants to grab the leash and just go, but her person has these weird rules that must be followed.

We go outside and she stands at the door of the car, always surprised if it turns out this is a walking day. If it’s a driving day, she hops in the back seat--she never tries to jump from back to front, as the lab puppy did, for which I am grateful. She stands in the back seat, waiting for me to roll the window down for her. I only roll it enough for her to get her nose out, but that’s enough. She rides to the park with her nose out the window, sniffing at the air.

If we’re lucky there will be a dog at the park. Today there was a young collie, who is about the same age as Sheila. Her owner is not the sociable type, so the two of us circle the field, on opposite sides, giving each other space, each watching our dogs cavort. He throws a ball and the two dogs take off in hot pursuit. Both reach the ball at the same time, both look at it and come trotting back.

"She’s a collie; she doesn’t fetch, she chases," he explains. Sheila too. She loves having things thrown for her, but fetch? Pulleeze. So the other owner and I get our exercise walking around the park, picking up balls and throwing them for the dogs that will chase at top speed and then gambol back to where we are standing, without a ball.

Sometimes, if we’re lucky, other dogs come. Sheila is the park greeter, always running to the gate as soon as she sees a dog, and if the dog doesn’t come in, very disappointed, barking a "come play with us!" bark.

She’s like a little kid on Christmas. There aren’t enough dogs for her. One day we had seven dogs running around the park, and Sheila was still looking out the fence as if to say "is that all?"

If there are no dogs, as there aren’t at 7:30 on a Sunday morning, she finds other things to amuse herself. She’s started chasing birds, cyclists passing on the bike path, skateboarders practicing in the adjacent skateboard park. The dog must run and she finds reasons to get her running in. I always apologize to her for not being a jogger.

When she’s had enough, she trots to the gate and sits down, telling me that it’s OK to leave now (I am well trained). She waits patiently for me to put her leash on and then we head on up the Path from Whence Dogs Come. When we get to the fork in the road, one road leads down to the parking lot, the other fork leads to the Overpass Formerly Known as Dreaded. Sheila gazes wistfully at the dreaded overpass, knowing that dogs come from there and dogs disappear there, and wanting desperately to go chase them, but she gives a sigh and follows me down the hill to the car. It’s time for breakfast.

We come home and she runs to the kitchen and sits to have her collar removed and waits patiently while I get the dog biscuits. She gets two small biscuits and Kimba gets one. Sheila is very polite. Even if Kimba drops part of her biscuit on the ground, Sheila does not take it. But she waits for her breakfast, because she gets 3/4 cup of kibble in the morning.

I fill her bowl from a big garbage can sitting in the kitchen. She runs to her crate, because that’s where I feed her. She sits and waits for me to put the food down, then she scarfs it up in 10 seconds.

When breakfast is over, Sheila plays quietly with toys or naps for the rest of the day. Somewhere around 5 p.m., she begins to get antsy again, not sure if we’re going out for an evening run or not. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t (it generally depends on whether I have a show to review or not). If it begins to get late and we haven’t gone out, she begins to sniff around the garbage can where the food is--if she’s not going to get a run, at least she needs her dinner.

Both dogs get fed at night (Kimba doesn't eat if I feed her in the morning).   Kimba gets her dinner first, on one side of the room and Sheila gets fed second in her crate.  She is surprisingly polite and never tries to grab Kimba's food, as all of our other dogs have done. 

After dinner, when I settle in to watch some TV, she brings me toys over and over again to toss for her. She would rather play tug-of-war with them than retrieve them, and so sometimes we play tug of war. Eventually she settles down to sleep.

I usually spend a lot of time in my office at night and while I’m there, she has finally chosen to sleep in the crate. Oddly, she never sleeps in it during the daytime, but at night that’s her place of choice. Sometimes when I go off to bed, she stays in the crate until sometime after I’m in bed, then I’ll hear her feet tapping on the floor as she comes in to hop up on the bed with me.

She rolls over on her back for a tummy rub, and as I begin to get drowsy, she moves away, crawling down to the end of the bed to curl up there until 6 a.m. rolls around.

And that’s how life is with Ms. Sheila. She’s really a very good dog, overall, and we seem to be learning each other’s biorhythms pretty well.


CommunityDogParksm.jpg (29186 bytes)

This is Sheila's domain--the dog park.  The Path From Whence Dogs Come is on the left.
(Sheila is the black speck to the left of the tree, waiting for a playmate to join her)

For more photos, please visit My Fotolog and My FoodLog

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