I like to think that I understand dogs, Max and Lulu especially. I want to believe that the hours spent watching Animal Planet, and reading dog training advice (not to mention talking to the Trainers) during my breaks when I was working at PetSmart weren’t for nothing. I’m quietly smug when I see other people struggling with doggy issues that I know all about. I want to think of myself as a competent dog owner.
The past three years with Max and Lulu, though, have showed me that for all that I though I knew, there’s a million things that I didn’t know. And just when I think that I’m getting the hang of things, they throw me for a loop, and I’m left struggling in the dark.
For instance, a couple of nights ago I was going to bed at about 2 am. This isn’t as bad as it sounds–I had fallen asleep while reading earlier, and this just happened to be when I woke up, and had time to brush my teeth and put on pajamas and do all of those other little annoying things that a decent person does before going to bed.
As I was settling down, Max started looking for a toy. This isn’t unusual, because you never know, but I might just wake up in the middle of the night and decide to play with him. Plus, it gives Max a distraction if he’s awake and I’m not. The problem was where he was looking for the toy. He kept pawing at the wall next to the bed, like the toy he wanted had fallen between the bed and the wall.
I thought this was a little strange, but gamely moved the bed away from the wall to try and find the toy he wanted–shih tzu‘s are stubborn, and it’s hard to distract Max from a toy he wants. The problem was, there was nothing there. Max crawled under the bed and looked around, all the while growling and chuffing at me like he wanted to play, and I was hiding a toy from him. He got back up on the bed, and started digging at the bedding–that was really odd, because when I made the bed in the morning I make sure that any toys that spent the night with the dogs end up on the floor. Still, I pulled back the blankets and sheets, examining each layer to see if I’d somehow missed a thin toy or something.
I hadn’t, so I put the bed back together, and pushed it back up against the wall, and tried to settle down again, but Max was having none of that–he still kept digging at the wall. I wondered if a walk would distract him from whatever it was he was looking for. Upon putting on shoes–the universally recognized symbol that Cori is about to go outside at our house–Lulu perked up and followed me to the front door. Max kept digging at the mattress and wall. I was able to call him to go on the walk, and we were able to get things taken care of, and we headed back upstairs. Upon re-entering the house, Max, my velcro dog, the one who doesn’t like to be more than 10 feet away from me at any given time, made a beeline for the bed, and started digging and growling and huffing again–still playfully, though with a tinge of irritation.
It had been about forty-five minutes since this whole thing started, and I wanted to go to sleep–and it obviously wasn’t going to happen until Max had figured out that there was nothing there, so I grabbed a blanket and pillow, and went to sleep on the couch–cussing all the time. Here I’m supposed to be at least a quasi dog expert, and I just let my dog chase me out of my bed. As I lay on the couch, I pondered what could have caused Max to behave in such a manner–did we have mice? Possible, but we live on a third floor, and the wall he was digging at is an inside wall–it didn’t face the exterior and isn’t connected to a neighbor’s wall at all. Besides, it would be a weird place for mice to show up, I’d expect them in the kitchen or the bathroom, not the bedroom where the dogs spend most of their day. Something from the utilities, perhaps? We-e-e-l-l…that wall has electricity, and I THINK it’s where the dryer vent exits, but there isn’t gas or water running through that wall. And as for the dryer vent–we have had starlings nesting in it, but there nest had been cleared out, and a cage put over the exterior hole so they couldn’t build a new one there. And besides, even where there were birds living inside that wall, Max never showed them any interest.
Finally, I convinced myself that it was something from downstairs that Max was smelling, that it just happened to come up along that wall. I wasn’t terribly satisfied with that explanation, but it was an explanation. Explanations are important. Especially when it’s nearing 3am and I want to sleep.
I heard Max in the bedroom for perhaps another 15 minutes, then he decided that whatever it was he wasn’t finding wasn’t worth spending the night away from his person, so he came out to join me on the couch. I took that as a sign that it was okay to move back into the bedroom, and did so with the resolve that if Max’s adventure were to continue, he’d spend the rest of the night locked in the crate.
Fortunately, he had calmed down to the point where his half-hearted growls could be quieted with a heavy hand on the shoulders, and I was able to get some sleep, and even make it to class on time the next day, throughly puzzled about what had happened, and why it had happened.
The next night, I went to bed at a much more decent time, and Max settled down quickly, the way he normally does. While I was going to sleep, I was thinking about the dream I had had the night before, trying to figure out if I could frame it into a story (the answer is no, at least not at this time) and I wondered if what Max was did the night before was the result of being woken up from a dream.
The way I figure it, Max sees me opening up parts of the wall all day long, in the form of doors, windows, cupboards and drawers. If he had been dreaming that I (or someone else) opened up the wall by the bed and hid something there, then I woke him up by coming to bed, would he know the difference between dreams and reality? And, if in his dream, it was a really good toy or treat or whatever, than of course he’d keep going after it.
I don’t know if the dream explanation makes any sense, after all, I can’t exactly ask Max what he dreams about (well, I can, I just don’t get an answer). As long as it means that I don’t have mice.
I hate to complain about the weather, mostly because it’s been consistently 5-10° cooler than average this summer, and all y’all on the east coast are in the midst of a heat wave. Seriously guys? Thanks for taking the worst of our weather this year.
So, there’s a new gorilla at Hogle Zoo, and, as gorilla’s happen to be G’s favorite animal, Sis suggested taking a trip to the zoo to see it. The zoo was fun. Afterwards…
I love my nephews, I really do. And I’m glad that I can do fun activities like go to the zoo with them. The problem is, activities like the zoo wear out little boys, to the point of orneriness, but not necessarily sleep. So, while wedged in the back with a 3-year-old going back and forth between throwing a tantrum and stealing his brother’s pacifier, and a 9 month old who wanted to go to sleep but couldn’t because his pacifier kept getting stolen, I started to feel sick.
Like,”Oh, crap, I’m going to puke.” sick.
I get car sick, and know that I can’t, say, read while in a car, but usually just driving, even if I’m in the backseat isn’t enough to make me sick. Especially on paved roads.
The B-I-L mentioned that it was a warm, if not super-hot day, and it might have been brought on by heat exhaustion and dehydration. Which actually makes sense to me. I had full-on heatstroke as a kid, and, like I said in the title, you don’t ever really recover from heatstroke. Once you’ve had it, your sensitive to heat for the rest of your life.
Of course, the extra weight I’m hauling around isn’t helping anything.
I did make sure to bring some water, but, G liked my stainless-steel water bottle, and ended up drinking most of it.
Anyway, I ended up staying at Sis’s house for longer than I meant to, trying to recover before heading home–I would have stayed the night except I didn’t take the dogs.
So I’m home, alive, and still feeling whatever this is.
The good news is, I’m tired enough that I’m actually going to get to bed at a decent time tonight.
Lulu just came up to me, looked at me with her big, doe eyes, scratched my knee to get my attention, and then, oh so delicately, farted. All with a look of perfect dignity on her face.
I think she thinks the laughter is a sign of affection.
I was doing some digital housecleaning, and decided to upload some of my favorite pictures that were on my camera. They range from me trying to be artsy fartsy, to nature, to Max and Lulu, and even a trip to the aquarium and zoo.
I wish there was some sort of chronological order to these picture, but my camera thought some of these pictures were taken before I was born. You can click on the individual pictures to see a larger image.