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THE MANICURIST MAKES HOUSE CALLS
18 August 2006
As I have mentioned before, there is a big problem having puppies in the summer. Summer is a time for sandals or bare feet, for shorts and bare legs. Not a good mix with puppy toenails and those sharp teeth.
The last two days haven't been too bad because I've been wearing long pants, but they really, really need to have their nails cut. I decided that I would give it a try with these wiggily balls of motion.
I decided to start with Darcy, who is the most mellow of the group. I got my dog nail clippers and picked her up. As usual, she went limp, happy that somebody had a lap for her. This was going to be easy.
Black puppy on black pants with black nails and me with aging eyes. Not a good mix. I managed to cut one (count 'em) nail. Encouraged, I moved on to the next toe. With my total lack of depth perception, I missed the nail entirely. Twice. Undaunted, I persisted. I struck pay dirt with the third try. In fact, I cut the nail so thoroughly, that Darcy yelped I'd cut too far up the nail started to bleed.
That was it for me. There were only three choices: get used to painful scratches, continue to wear long pants even when the temperatures rise back into the 100s, or call in the cavalry.
I sent off a note to Ashley asking if she, or someone, could come out, at their convenience, and cut the puppies' toenails.
My saviors arrived at the door around 9 p.m., when the puppies were soundly asleep, somewhat groggy, and not ready to put up much of a fight.
I handed Darcy over, saying that they might as well start with the easy one and work up to Zack, my bundle of energy, my wiggle worm who can't stay still for two seconds.
The nail cutting went very well, Darcy, as I knew she would, remained limp, only yelping if the nail was cut too close. When it was finished she got down and walked over to Kimba's bed to curl up again.
But wait. There was something wrong. Darcy had... was that? ...yes, it was a penis. The limp little puppy who so docilly let his nails be cut was none other than the livewire, Zack. That's one sleepy puppy, lemme tell you!
In short order, all three puppies had nicely clipped nails and presumably at least THAT problem will be solved for awhile. I guess there's not much they can do to dull the sharp teeth...
Seconds before I took this photo, all three of them were on top of the door to the dishwasher. They are now into everything and I am locking them outside for longer and longer periods of time...well their cage is in the family room, but the door only opens to the yard, so they are free to come and go but not to come into the house. I try to give them "inside time" when I can be here to police them, and then it looks like a bunch of kindergarteners at recess when I open the cage door to let them in. They gallop into the house together at top speed, branch out in three different directions, each looking for something to investigate. They devoured my newspaper column yesterday. Literally.
Unfortunately, their very favorite playtoy is Kimba. They are now taller than she is, slightly, and they haven't figured out that she is a grumpy old woman. Watching the three of them suddenly attack her (in play like a stuffed toy), is like watching ants swarming on a leftover piece of chicken. You can hardly find Kimba under all the wiggling happy bodies who want to play with her.
They are learning that a booming "NO!!!!!" from me means "get off" but the lesson only lasts seconds and then they are happily back on top of her again.
Now, in fairness, this isn't entirely their fault. Kimba, bless her, long ago decided that it was her job to be with me all. the. time. She won't look at me, wag her tail, respond when I talk to her, or be particularly interested in being petted, but she must. be. with. me. If I am in the office, she is safely in her little cage under my desk. If I get up, she gets up. I might only be going to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, but she'll heave a heavy sigh, pull herself up, hobble across the floor, plop at my feet while I pour my coffee and then, do it all over again when I return to my office.
So when the puppies attack her in my office and I try to create a DIVERSION and lure them out of my office into the family room, Kimba gets up and follows us, which the puppies interpret as her admitting that she really does want to play and in seconds they are on top of her again. That usually ends them up back out in the yard again.
When I feel guilty about how much time they spend outside, Ashley assures me that some of the puppies this age in foster care never get inside at all and that what they need now is love and human and canine contact, and they are definitely getting lots of that. It's fun to sit and watch them chase each other around the yard...they seem to be growing on a daily basis. (They are all eating like horses.) It's also fun to watch them "hanging out" with Sheila, who seems to love to just lie on the patio and watch them play.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Luna (formerly "Annie")
and Darcy the girls hangin' out in the kitchen.