Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category
I’m away from home and from Tasha for more than two weeks. I miss my girl! I’ve only heard stories about her not coming when called, pulling on her leash, and sleeping on the floor downstairs instead of on the bed as she usually does with me.
I’m sure that Tasha is fine, and is enjoying the people taking care of her, but I’m sure she misses the spoiling I do and our time together.
Tasha doesn’t normally get enough exercise with me, so perhaps she’s getting more playtime now that her pal Leo is with her. I’d like to think she’s a happy girl, as I’ve heard she is.
I’ll be home soon, and I’ll not worry about her anymore.
It’s the rainy season in Seattle (for the next nine months or so), and Tasha loves to be outside in the cool and damp weather. Often, she comes in the house soaking wet and stinky. As a necessity and a reward, I rub her down thoroughly with a towel, and she wiggles and squirms with pleasure. All the time that I’m drying her off, I tell her that she’s a “Wet Dog!” I think it makes her feel special.
After coming in the house wet a number of times in a row, I realize that it’s in Tasha’s Golden Retriever character that she actually loves to be wet. As a Golden, her coat is designed to have an oily undercoat, with which she actually dries off in a short amount of time.
But I know that Tasha often comes in the house as a wet dog, just so she can get dried off. It’s a ritual of ours, and of course she gets a biscuit after her rub down. She expects the whole treatment.
Sam is my nephew, and Eli is his horse. They are quite an impressive team, as you can see in the picture. They live with my brother and sister-in-law in Davis, California.
The family used to have a horse named Jack, but Sam got so good at riding and jumping, that he needed a spunkier horse. Now he and Eli are best buddies.
Sam goes to the stable at least once a day, spending hours cleaning the stable, brushing Eli, and of course, riding. The two of them have won many prizes, and they continue to go throughout the state entering contests.
Before Eli, Jack was my niece’s horse. Amy was the rider in the family, but as she got older and more involved in other pursuits, Sam took over. Now he’s the main guy, and the family is lucky to have such a very special horse.
Tasha sleeps on my bed. For awhile, and for a number of reasons, I’ve been thinking of training her to sleep in her doggie bed instead. It’s not going to be easy. Tasha has claimed her half of the bed almost since I brought her home as a rescue. She might have been used to sleeping on a bed, although she was in an abusive household before I got her.
There have been plenty of mornings where I find Tasha’s paws in my face. Or, better yet, her head next to me on the pillow. Many people think that this is unacceptable behavior, and it’s time for me to get onboard.
For a short while, I tried to get Tasha to sleep elsewhere–any place but crowded next to me. It didn’t work, though, and I spent many sleepless nights telling her sternly to get OFF, OFF the bed!
Thinking back, I have always allowed my dogs up on the bed. When my husband and I had three dogs, it was crowded, but cozy. The dogs didn’t actually sleep on the bed, but they settled on the comforter whenever they could–especially if there was food involved.
I just got back Tasha’s dog bed from friends of mine. I loaned it to them when they were petsitting Tasha, assuming that she would find it vaguely familiar and would sleep in it. It didn’t work even then. Tasha snuck her way onto their bed. I was embarrassed about her behavior.
When I took it home, I thought that the bed would smell strong enough from their dogs that Tasha would be motivated enough to curl up in it. For a few minutes she sniffed, and, intrigued, she lay down in the bed, her chin on its side. I thought that if I could make her time in the dog bed stretch out longer and longer, she would feel comfortable enough to actually sleep in it through the night.
It’s going to be a long process to train Tasha not to jump up on my bed and claim it as her own. I’ve thought of putting my sleep shirt in the dog bed, along with some treats and her toys. I’ve thought about getting a dog trainer’s opinion. I’ve thought about staying up all night to keep her from jumping up. All of these ideas sound good on paper, but she’s spoiled and not likely to give up soon. My bed is hers, but it’s time to reverse the situation, if I can watch her disappointment and confusion, and not feel guilty in the process.
They told me at the shelter that the big black Lab’s name was Reggie. I’d only been in the area for six months, but something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life. I thought about getting a dog. I had just seen Reggie’s advertisement on the local news.
At first, I thought that the shelter had misjudged me in giving me Reggie, along with this things, which consisted of a pad, a bag of toys (almost all of which were brand new tennis balls), his bowls, and a sealed letter from his previous owner.
I tried the commands that the shelter told me he knew, like “sit” and “stay” and “come” and “heel,” and he’d follow them–when he felt like it.
Reggie and I didn’t really hit it off . When I started to call the shelter, I quickly hung up as I saw the sealed envelope that came with his things from the shelter. I had completely forgotten about it. “Okay, Reggie,” I said out loud, “let’s see if your previous owner has any advice.”
It read like this:
To Whoever Gets My Dog:
If you’re reading this letter, it means that I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter.
Reggie loves tennis balls–the more the merrier. He usually has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Doesn’t matter where you throw them, he’ll get it.
Reggie knows the obvious commands, “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel.” “Shake” for shaking water off, and “paw” for a high-five. He also knows “ball” and “food” and “bone” and “treat.”
Give him some time. It’s only been Reggie and me for his whole six years. He just loves to be around people, especially me. Which means that this transition is going to be hard for him. And that’s why I need to share one more bit of information with you. His name is not Reggie. I felt like the new owner should have his real name. It would help you bond with him.
His real name is Tank. That is what I drive in the Army. I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me. Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight– every night–from me. Thank you.
End of letter.
“Hey, Tank,” I said quietly. He was instantly on his feet, sitting in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn’t heard in months.”Tank,” I whispered. His tail swished.
“It’s me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me.” Tank reached up and licked my cheek, and when he left to go out of the room, he came back with three tennis balls in his mouth.
Posted from an anonymous source
I’ve tried not to give my dog people food–ever. No dog-food recipes, no table scraps, and no giving Tasha leftovers that would otherwise go into the garbage disposal. I do give her real bones, but in my mind it doesn’t count as people food.
The other day I dropped a basket of strawberries on the kitchen floor. I thought I picked up all of them. That evening, Tasha came to me with something suspicious in her mouth. She was giving me the “I did something bad” look. At closer examination, I saw that she had a whole strawberry tucked away in the side of her cheek.
It wasn’t hard for me to pry open her mouth and see what was in there. She cooperated. I plucked out the strawberry intact, and told her again, as I have in the past, “No people food!” I think she understood. The stawberry was saved, and Tasha continued to eat only the dog food I put in front of her.