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This Day in My History


Do not make the mistake of treating your dogs like humans or they will treat you like dogs.

~ Martha Scott

Yesterday's Entries

2000: Party Time 
 Glow, Little Glo-Worm
2002:  Officer, There's a Dead Body in My Freezer
2003:  Good News, Bad News


Breakfast:  Special K and Toast
Lunch:  Salami Sandwich
Dinner:  "Something with chicken in it"


A Walk in the Woods
Bill Bryson

(I'm still reading at Clinton's book, but I'll just post when/if I finish it rather than keep it on here every day!)


Far from Heaven

Buy my stuff at Lulu!



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Awww.....how can they resist a face like this?  (I definitely know who's in charge in this house, and it ain't my "people.")

Check a Sheila Video
("See Sheila run--Run, Sheila, Run!")



16 July 2004

Remind me again why it was I wanted a dog.

Oh don’t get me wrong. I really love this dog. But there are days when I long for the quiet and the simplicity of life with Kimba alone.

The longer Sheila is here, the more secure she becomes, the more boundless her energy becomes. I am desperately longing for the city's promised dog park. She is frantic to play with other dogs, and I’ve found, when walking her (the daily "drag") that other owners are not nearly as frantic to have their dogs play with Sheila. They pull them away so there is no chance to sniff butts and Sheila just goes out of her mind trying to chase after the other dog.

I’ve been trying to use some of the obedience training methods I’ve been studying, but this is a dog with a very definite mind of her own. She will obey when she’s darn good and ready and there is no tone of voice firm enough, no treat yummy enough to distract her from what she wants to do when she has her mind set.

This morning she dragged me off to the park. She reminds me of those hot shots on the freeway who, when in bumper to bumper traffic will put everyone’s life at risk zipping in and out between cars just so they can get wherever they are going 30 seconds faster than everyone else.

Sheila isn’t content to get to the next tree in 10 seconds, she wants to get there NOW.

One technique for getting a dog to walk with you, not drag you, is to make them sit and then move out and if they pull, make them sit again.

Well, "sit" is a command Sheila knows very well. But when we’re outside, I might as well be a tree at the end of her leash for all she notices me. A "sit" command elicits a "yeah--and who’s gonna make me?" response. If I push on her hindquarters and make her sit, she still keeps her butt off the ground so that the second my hand is removed from her backside, she can leap into the air once again.

I made the mistake of cutting across a large grassy area at the park the other day. Where Sheila had only dragged me down the concrete sidewalk on the way to the park, once she saw this huge empty grassy area, she got absolutely frantic. She leaped, she chewed on the leash, she twisted her body. She so desperately wanted to run. I’ve had to tighten her collar before taking her out, to a tightness I’m not comfortable with (I loosen it as soon as we get home) because she’s discovered that with the right twisting move she can get out of it.

It makes me want to risk the drainage channel again, just to let her get rid of some of this energy.

At home she has her cycles. Fortunately she does have periods of sleep during the day, but when she’s awake, she refuses to be ignored.  Her favorite toys are plush squeak toys. She’ll get one of them, stand behind my desk chair and just bump me over and over and over again, making the toy squeak each time.  She absolutely will not give up.  The dog has strong powers of concentration when she sets her mind to it.    She's like a toddler who wanders around, hanging on to my leg whining "Mommy?  Mommy?  Mommy?"

If I finally decide to play with her, which is what she wants, then she refuses to give the toy up so I can throw it for her. She doesn’t really want me to play with the toy with her, she just doesn’t want me turning my back on her.

She has not (yet) attempted to take anything off the kitchen counter or kitchen table, though she could easily do that. I’ve been diligent never feeding her any people food, strictly because I don’t want her to get the idea that people food is even an option, but whereas she used to just stay out of the kitchen when I was cooking, now she’s there with Kimba (who, I swear, taught her about begging), hoping for a treat.

Today, a 100 degree day, I walked out to the kitchen in my bare feet and discovered I was walking through a pool of water.  Why was I walking through a pool of water?  Because Sheila had decided to carry the water bowl out to the back yard, spilling the water that was in it onto the floor along the way.  It joined the "herd" this herding dog keeps rounding up, of stuffed toys, bowls, cubes of wood from the crumbling shed, bits of paper she's torn up, and a number of balls, all circled together in the middle of the yard.

She’s wise to tricks. I can’t lock her out of a room. If my intent is to get her outside the door and close it, she refuses to budge. Just sits on her haunches and won’t move for anything.  (She has, I'm happy to say, finally agreed to sit on the floor while I make the bed, which has made life MUCH more pleasant.)

She used to sit back when I went outside. Now she stands between me and the door and refuses to move, just waiting for the opportunity to leave the house.  I tried Peggy's trick of giving her a nice bone to gnaw on while I'm gone, but she's on to that trick.  She knows the bone will be there when she gets back to it, but in the meantime she might miss the chance to slip out the front door.

grass.gif (3572 bytes)She definitely has her likes and dislikes. She doesn’t like noise. She immediately goes outside if I take the vacuum cleaner out, or start grinding coffee beans. The other day she started barking and barking and barking at the floor and even began to make digging motions in the rug. When I checked the spot where she was freaking out I found the thing at the left (slightly, but not much, smaller than life size). I don’t know if she’d brought it in on her coat or what. When I picked it up, she looked frightened and ran away from me. As long as I was holding it, she wouldn’t go anywhere near me. When I put it on the table next to my chair, she would make a wide berth around my chair. Why she was so terrified, I don’t have a clue. But I decided to try using it to my advantage and put it on the chair she’s been gnawing. She hasn’t chewed on the chair since, but that could be just coincidence.

So there are definitely moments when I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into. That "calm, obedient, mild dispositioned" dog we adopted disappeared somewhere in the past month and a half.

But then at night she leaps up into bed with me, crawls up next to my face and lies there for 5 minutes or so, on her back so I can rub her tummy. Then she gets up, walks to the foot of the bed, curls up and sleeps there for the night. In the morning when I wake up, she does a belly crawl back up to the top of the bed and rolls over on her back again. She practically sighs in bliss when I rub her chest and she knows that she has me wrapped around her devious little paw.

There are things, however, that make me very grateful.  Before Sheila came, David Gerrold told me he had a dog he was trying to find a home for.  Binky was the fourth dog in his house and that was just too much.  She was, I was told, a lovely, loving, very sweet dog who needed her own person.   David had previously given us Benjy, a Lhasa Apso/Tibetan Terrier mix who was a wonderful dog, who, unfortunately, died of cancer much too young.  I was hoping Binky would be another Benjy. 

When I wrote and told him we'd decided to adopt Sheila (since he and his son hadn't managed, yet, to find a time to drive up here with the new dog), he told me that was just as well, because his son had decided he wanted to keep the dog after all.

Yesterday, I was looking at his journal and read the following (the entry itself is talking about his 4th of July and neighborhood fireworks):

the German shepherd/pit bull (don't ask) is terrified out of her wits and has chewed a hole in the back door big enough that we won't need a doggy door for the terriers. She's desperate to come in the house, which I will not allow because she's a bulldozer with a tongue. She's an affectionate animal, but she's headstrong and stubborn and won't take no for an answer -- not during July. So all day and all night, there's this steady banging and gnawing at the back door. I've shoved a small boulder into the hole and if necessary I'm going to stake out the door with a super-soaker. Her name is Binky, she's 8 years old, she's really a big sweetheart, and she needs a home where someone appreciates her more than I do right now.

Somehow Sheila doesn't look so bad today.  It's all a matter of perspective!

Must read journal entry of the day:




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Another heron Sheila and I encountered on one of our walks.

For more photos, please visit My Fotolog and My FoodLog

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