48th: Wherein you reprove another be unblameable yourself, for example is more prevalent than precepts.
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I THOUGHT I WAS FINISHED WITH TODDLERS
11 October 2004
After I gave blood the other day, I found myself feeling sleepy mid morning. I don't usually feel sleepy after giving blood, so I think it was more a function of the fact that I'd stayed up until 1 a.m. the night before to see Carolyn Kepcher, "The Donald's" lovely assistant, on Conan O'Brien.
I decided that I'd take a catnap for an hour or so, giving myself permission to vegetate for a bit.
I never did fall asleep because there was too much activity going on around me.
Getting into my recliner is an immediate sign to Sheila that it's PLAY TIME. She immediately got her obnoxiously loud squeak toy and brought it over and began banging it gently against my arm. This makes it squeak and it also is supposed to signal to me that it's time to have a tug-of-war with her with the toy, and then toss it for her.
It's like a little kid hitting you on the arm when you're in the middle of doing something and saying "mom? mom? mom? MOM!!!!"
I decided that I would play when I was ready, and not because some four legged pipsqueak decided that I was going to play with her. So I kept my eyes closed, my breathing steady, and ignored her.
Pretty soon I could feel her drop the toy on my arm. Then she backed up and sat down, which she is supposed to do before I throw a toy for her.
I continued to ignore her.
Next I feel licking on my elbow. "MOM!!!"
I continued to ignore her.
Next, I heard her go away from me (leaving the toy resting on my arm). Then I felt one of her stuffed animals being hit up against me over and over again. Then the stuffed toy was dropped on my arm next to the squeak toy and she began to lick my arm again.
This was one determined dog.
She did finally give up and when I eventually opened my eyes, she was on the floor tearing up a stuffed animal, surrounded by a sea of cotton stuffing.
This is a really smart dog, smart enough to know how to run the house. She's doing a good job of it. She knows how to respond to commands. She also knows how NOT to respond to commands. She'll come when she's darn good and ready. She'll sit when she's darn good and ready and she doesn't really care how much you praise her or how delicious the treats are. She's on to your tricks and she's only going to buy into them when she's darn good and ready.
Yesterday we had a "play date" with Tavo and his owner, Sherry. Tavo is a German Shorthair Pointer and makes me miss Chippa when I watch him racing around the park with that characteristic GSP gait, ears flapping along behind him. Tavo and Sheila used to play together, until Sheila found out about the purple ball.
The purple ball is Tavo's favorite toy. It's just your plain ordinary soft rubber ball that used to squeak, but to Sheila (and to Tavo) it's the doggie equivalent of some sort of drug. Any dog who gets hold of the purple ball is not going to give it back.
The day before our play date, Sheila managed to get the purple ball away from Tavo and immediately lay down, eyes rolled black in bliss, just rolling the ball around in her mouth and squeezing it (even tho the ball no longer squeaks), oblivious to the world around her. She would not let anybody come near her. She wasn't so territorial that she would growl at anybody with 2 or 4 feet, but if you started toward her, she would just casually get up and walk away.
She's a herding dog with lightning flash reflexes and if she doesn't want to be touched, you can. not. touch. her. I tried everything, including the usually irresistable Liver Biscotti, which I had in my pocket and which she had literally salivated over in the kitchen as I filled my pocket to go to the park. But the purple ball apparently tastes much better than liver biscotti.
I finally was actually able to trick her with a blue ball about the same size as the purple one, which none of the dogs like but, when I threw it near her, looked enough like the purple ball that she was curious enough to drop the purple ball long enough to check out the blue ball. I was able to grab the purple ball and gave it to Sherry, who immediately put it in her backpack.
But she felt sorry for Sheila, who was so sad at losing the purple ball and she gave her a rubber panda, which Sheila had also played with at some previous time. Sheila then was content to lie on the grass and chew the panda until time to leave. She carried the thing to the car and on the ride home, she gave up looking out the window, which she loves to do, and instead lay on the backseat with the panda in her mouth.
When we met Sherry and Tavo for the arranged play date the next day, Sheila got all excited when she saw them coming and as soon as they walked through the gate, all she wanted to do was get into Sherry's backpack.
We agreed that bringing out the purple ball would be a mistake, so we didn't. Sheila eventually played with the other dogs, but every so often she'd go back to the backpack as if to ask why all the fun toys were going to stay hidden.
There's one big difference between having a human toddler and having an adolescent dog. You can put the toddler's toys away when you need to have a clean house and insure that they stay away. Sheila's crate has become a $100 toy box, and even at that, as soon as I put the toys away, she takes them out again, so the house once again looks like a daycare center.
She's such a silly, fun little dog. I've never had a dog that was just mine before, or a dog that I spent most of every day with, a dog that doesn't just fade into the woodwork, like Kimba has done for so many years. It's fun watching her little quirks and trying to figure out ways to outsmart her and to make myself top dog, in spite of the fact that we are both very much aware that she is the more intelligent of the two of us!
Website of the Day
Have questions/concerns about Bush's stance on stem cell research? Read this excellent commentary by Pandionna.
Good New York Times column.
And on the lighter side, now they're arresting squirrels.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Saturday is Soccer Day at the park. These