Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cute Dogs Who Eat Frogs

     Although the high casualty rate has lessened considerably with the cooler fall weather, the mortality rate among frogs in our neighborhood was shocking during the summer months. Quite frequently, poor frogs became flattened frog jerky on our streets. Tiegan and Miles thought this was the best. They lunged for the former frogs with enthusiasm one might find among ravenous beasts tucking into their first meal in weeks. It could not possibly be good for my children to eat frog jerky. The good news is that both Tiegan and Miles allow me to thrust my hand in their mouths to grab and fling away the offending amphibians. We stop and wave whenever a car goes by, so I would find myself flinging a flat pliable frog and then straightening up to wave and smile at my neighbors driving past.
     Starving orphan dogs

    This frog inhalation occurred on our morning and evening walks, and Tiegan and Miles never seemed to hold a grudge or be dissuaded from gobbling up the next frog they happened upon. One August morning shortly after school started, a backpack laden young boy met us and remarked how cute our dogs are. We thanked him and minutes later had to stop so I could retrieve a frog from a doggy mouth. “Yes,” we mumbled to each other, “cute dogs who eat frogs.”  Some of the people driving by stop to remark on how pretty/handsome/beautiful Tiegan and Miles are. Miles has a lovely gait and prances down the street and Tiegan is the most delightful little pixie so we are proud parents indeed. We are grateful, however, that no one has stopped while I’m pulling frogs from my dogs’ mouths. 
    And for our next trick....  


Friday, October 7, 2016

Blessing of the Animals

   We took Tiegan and Miles to a Blessing of the Animals service in a little outdoor chapel in a grove of pine trees. This was one of those hope-overrides-reality situations.

    When we got out of the car, Eric took Miles. I took Tiegan, two lawn chairs, a blanket, and a bag containing treats and another blanket. If I had also balanced a large basket of fruit on my head, it would have been a fairly equitable distribution of labor. I set up our chairs, folded one blanket into a neat square between them and settled into a chair with Tiegan lying on my lap, wrapped in a blanket, serenely taking in the scene around us. 
    Although Miles was somewhat over stimulated, he was actually quite well behaved, especially compared to the handsome but fretful dog near us who emitted the whine of a bad engine belt throughout the entire service. Miles occasionally voiced sotto voce protests, but did not do his baby dragon imitation. Hallelujah!
     Eric did a masterful job, no pun intended, of keeping our boy under control, at least to our standards. Since Miles decided sitting on Eric’s lap was too simple, he put all four feet against Eric and pushed so he was standing sideways. A couple of times, Eric and Miles took short walks, which seemed to help.Thanks to a firm grip on his harness, and with a minimum of thrashing about, Miles stayed close to us and received lots of praise, treats, and reassurance. Both Tiegan and Miles were given multiple compliments and opportunities to sniff friendly humans.
    Fortunately, this was a dog-savvy crowd in that no one brought their dogs charging up within inches of other dogs to say “Hi!!” Miles was happy to receive human attention, even if other dogs were cause for concern. He is doing well with new and potentially worrisome situations.
    The service focused on the care and compassion our wonderful animals deserve and on living gently alongside other creatures and with the whole creation. Tiegan and Miles received little medallions and blessings: “May God, who created you in beauty and variety, now bless the companionship you share with people in your journey through life.”
  Tiegan and Miles are such treasures. We feel very blessed indeed.

  Tired little wild animals.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Bringing Up Babies

Tiegan and Miles each have their specialties.  We have childproof locks on the cabinets and a yard stick through the handles of the chest of drawers by the bed so Tiegan can’t open them and help herself.

Miles, what a sweet boy, and oh how busy and inquisitive. As I got out of the shower after aerobics one day a couple of weeks ago, I heard something that sounded entirely too much like ripping fabric to be a good thing. I found him industriously chewing a sheet that was hanging over the side of the bed. Upon further inspection, I was dismayed to discover a substantial section was missing. Perhaps I could be more sanguine about such incidents if memories of Ivan’s bowel surgery did not still spark breath seizing panic. Off we went to our wonderful vet who had just a few days earlier met Miles at a wellness exam and pronounced him healthy and handsome, albeit anxious about being in this new scary place.  (We took Tiegan along on the wellness exam so our vet could see how nice she looked now that she has gained a couple of pounds and her tiny hip bones are no longer visible. Tiegan waited patiently curled up on my lap. She knows she’s the princess, and we are her doting people. We hope Miles will soon learn he is our baby boy and has no worries.)

Miles is fine, and did not require surgery.  Eric and I are very relieved, and the babies are now banned from the bedroom during the day. However, another morning, just as I was groggily staggering about minutes after I got out of bed, Miles crawled out from under the covers and chewed a pair of my glasses into multiple pieces. Nothing was ingested so instead of feeling alarmed, I just admired his speed and stealth. He is our sixth basenji, but the first one who decided he needed to chew my spectacles. I took them to the optometrist in a plastic bag, and the amused staff ordered another pair. At bedtime my glasses go into one of the drawers that has been secured with the yardstick though the handles.

While at the vet due to the sheet eating incident, a vet tech sheepishly showed us where Miles chewed nearly through his leash. She said, “it was just a second,” which, of course, is all it takes with a basenji. All those cool knots Eric learned to tie while sailing came in handy because he was able to tie a secure knot in the leash until we could order yet another coupler to have the shoe repair guy sew on yet another leash. I ordered some spare leashes and couplers to keep for future chewing incidents.  We walk Tiegan and Miles with leashes that have couplers sewn onto them. We attach the leash to both the harness and the collar so if one comes unhooked, there is a backup. They keep us on our toes, but they make life so much fun.