Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Monthly Diary for January (Start of Year 10)

The end of December/beginning of January is always a big time for me. First there is Christmas. Mommy brings a tree in the house that you are NOT supposed to pee on and then she puts presents under the tree that you are NOT supposed to open even though you can smell that they are for you and yummy. This year was no exception. I KNEW there was a new antler for me and a bag of walnuts under the tree and I really wanted them, but I was good and didn't take them, except once when Mommy was on the phone and even then I didn't open the present, I just carried it off to my bed. Finally after waiting forever Christmas came. Grandma, Grandpa and Mommy's youngest brother came to our house for dinner and Mommy was very careful so I didn't get any people food. She said she didn't want me to blow up and end up at the emergency vet again. Mommy and I slept in the next day and then I got to open all my presents EXCEPT THE ANTLER AND THE WALNUTS!! Mommy told me I could open them at Grandma and Grandpa's house. We got in the car and drove to their house and when we got there I jumped out of the car and discovered that I was very stiff. I walked towards the house in a C shape. Mommy said if I were an old man I'd have been bent double and walking sideways. Mommy took me for a short walk down the block and I loosened up again. It seems that the deep snow we'd been walking in the past few days tired me out more than I knew. Mommy and her youngest brother hung around a bit and then Missy and her family came! I wanted to play, but Missy has become a bit of an old grump (even though she is younger than I am). We got to open our presents when the humans were opening theirs. I was very excited to have the new antler and settled down to chew it. Mommy gave Missy one too and she chewed on hers a bit, but then saw how much I was enjoying mine and she decided mine was better. We spent the whole rest of the time with her waiting for me to put down my antler and turn my back so she could rush in and grab it and run away. Then I'd take hers and chew it until Mommy got mine back and we'd start over again. Missy can be goofy at times.

After Christmas Mommy and I went up to the family house in Wisconsin. Grandma and Grandpa went up too and Missy and her family went up and stayed with Mommy's oldest brother and his family at their house. I don't like Walter, Mommy's oldest brother's dog, so we have always had an agreement that I don't go to Walter's house in Wisconsin and he doesn't come to the family house when I am there, but Missy's dad wasn't very bright and on his first night there, after Mommy and I had gone to bed, he came over with the kids and Missy AND WALTER! I heard them downstairs and ran down to say hi and was really pissed off that Walter had come. I ran up to Walter and stood over him all stiff and said, "What are you a wimp? Come on. Just try something." Walter hunkered down as low as he could and whispered, "Please don't kill me. Please don't kill me." and Missy ran off to the far corner of the kitchen and pretended to be invisible (she does that very well). Mommy sensed bad doggedness and came downstairs calling, "Is Walter here?!" and Grandma said, "Yes they are getting along great! Merlin is wagging his tail." Mommy tore down the stairs and saw what was happening and said quietly, "Everyone step away from the dogs. Do not look at them. Do not talk to them." The humans all thought she was nuts, but Mommy could hear what I was saying and yes, my tail was wagging, but it was curled into a very tight spiral and was wagging in quick jerky movements, which is never good. Missy saw Mommy was there and RAN to the back door. Mommy let her out and managed to get me away from Walter long enough for Walter to get outside too. I then ran to the window and whined my, "Come back I just want to play" whine and the humans, except Mommy, believed me and insisted that Walter get to come back in. Another few very tense moments ensued, but Walter eventually got to go home uneaten. Mommy told Missy's daddy that Missy could come back the next day, but Walter needed to stay home.

The next day everyone came over and I ran out to play with Missy and then realized that WALTER HAD COME BACK AGAIN!! I ran downstairs to tell him to stay away from my house, but he came upstairs anyway and tried to get me to play. I looked at him and ran up like I wanted to play and then, without warning, I jumped him and tried to eat him. Missy's daddy tried to get Walter away by pulling on his leash, but the leash broke. Mommy was at us by that time and she pulled me off Walter by the scruff of the neck and base of the tail and forced me into the house and up to my room for a time out. I knew I was in trouble, but frankly, Missy's daddy was in more trouble as far as Mommy was concerned. Walter and Missy decided to go home with Missy's mom and everyone, including me, went sledding. Grandma said I shouldn't have gotten to go sledding because I'd attacked Walter, but Mommy pointed out that sledding and Walter have nothing to do with each other in my mind and leaving me home would do no good. It was a good thing she didn't leave me home because while we were gone Walter and his daddy came back over to the house. Mommy wonders how so many humans can be so dog stupid and then go around telling her she is the stupid one. Anyway after that Walter stayed home, so maybe they did learn, and Mommy and I decided to leave that vacation earlier than planned and have some quiet time at home instead. We had a good time taking walks and sleeping in and just having a "staycation".

Also this month we had some nice weather and Mommy and I took a long hike which was fun. We were out for three hours, but only got 3 1/2 miles because I had to sniff EVERYTHING we passed since it had been a long time since we had been able to get out onto the trails. I also almost caught another squirrel this month. He was on top of the stockade fence and I jumped up after him, but he jumped down the other side. Mommy was shocked to see me hanging for a brief moment by my armpits on the top of the fence (it is 6 feet tall) and she said I was lucky the boxer wasn't out on the other side or we'd have had a problem, since he can jump high enough that she can see his whole face over the fence.

Finally I celebrated my Adoption Day this month and am now starting my 10th year with Mommy! You can read my adoption story in the previous blog.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Happy Adoption Day to Me!!

Today is my Adoption Day. I've been with Mommy for nine years now. That isn't bad considering how I started in life. For those of you who tuned in late, I'll tell you about how Mommy and I found each other.

You see, back in the summer of 2000 Mommy's old dog Boo finally lost his battle with mouth cancer and somewhere in Wisconsin I was born. About five weeks later Mommy sent in applications to Labrador retriever rescue groups and around the same time somebody threw me over the fence of a rural Wisconsin kill pound in the middle of the night. Mommy said on her applications that she couldn't take a dog until February because she had a family reunion to attend and she had to buy all new furniture and repair her floors and walls. That was because mouth cancer causes a lot of bleeding and Boo had been allowed to have full run of the house while he was sick and he bled on EVERYTHING.

L.E.A.R.N. contacted Mommy and wanted to do a home visit a couple days before the floor guys were coming to refinish all the hardwood floors in the house. Every piece of furniture that could be salvaged was either in the basement or stuffed floor to ceiling in the kitchen. Mommy took the interview lady through the blood splattered living room and down to the basement where they sat on the slightly less blood splatted couch and talked. Mommy thinks that volunteer was very brave.

Mommy thought they would think she was nuts and not give her a dog, but, while they may have thought she was nuts they knew they could find a dog that was just as crazy as her, and that was ME! I've never been quite normal, but that is due to the fact that I grew up in what must have been the worst of the worst pounds. Hoses scared me, brooms scared me, barking dogs scared me. I didn't get any good human contact because I was destined to die after I'd been there for four months, but luckily for me L.E.A.R.N. was contacted right before I was to go to that final vet visit and they pulled me out of the pound.

Mommy was at the family reunion at the time I was rescued. Mommy's vacation lasted longer than my first foster home. I was there for only a few days when my foster mom called the people in charge of fosters and said that I was untrainable and someone needed to come get me THAT DAY or she would take me back to the pound herself. I got picked up a few hours later and was taken to my second foster home. That foster mom was a professional trainer and she checked me out and decided I could be trained, but I was going to need a very special forever home. She turned down one person who thought he might want me because she knew it wasn't the right fit (they wanted a dog who could be trained as a gun dog). The people who arranged the adoptions then went through all their applications and found Mommy's with its great big red SUCKER! stamped on it (this is Mommy's theory of what her application looked like). They called Mommy and said, "We know it is a month early, but we think we have the perfect dog for you! Would you please go look at him?" Mommy looked at the house and decided that she could delay repairing the kitchen an bathroom and said yes.

We met at my second foster home and I was super charming. I brought her all kinds of good things while she was talking to my foster mom, like the kid's toys and shoes and socks and a video tape and a remote control. Mommy fell in love right away and, even though she was a little concerned that I lost all interest in her when we took a "test walk" and she couldn't get me to look at her face no matter how many weird noises she made, she said she wanted me! The foster lady said she thought Mommy was a perfect fit for me too, but we had to wait 48 hours before the deal was set. It was a very long two days for both of us and then it extended into two weeks because my foster mom noticed I had an odd way of walking and wanted my hips x-rayed and Mommy said as long as I was going to be knocked out for that they might as well fix me then so she couldn't take me until I had mostly recovered from that. But finally she came to take me to my forever home.

I let her put my seat belt on without complaint and hopped right in the car without looking back. I knew I was going some place good. When we got on the highway I managed to tangle myself up in my seat belt so badly that I was stuck upside down dangling over the foot well of the car. Mommy had to pull onto the shoulder and untangle me and I helped by licking her face and wiggling the whole time. Then when we got home I went potty in the yard and she let me into the house where I immediately found the toy box and picked up every toy and ran one lap through the house with each one. When I had emptied the toy box I squatted down on the newly refinished living room's hardwood floor and peed about a gallon of pee in two seconds and Mommy saw just how charming I really was.

But despite everything Mommy kept me and so I got to celebrate my Adoption Day today with a new toy, a big bone and promises of chicken nuggets tonight.

Happy Adoption Day to Me!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year all! Mommy doesn't celebrate her new year at this time, but we still like to wish you all a happy one. What Mommy does do is calculate how many miles we walked during the previous year. We did 997.15 miles in 2009. This isn't too bad if you consider that I broke a vertebra in June and was on the disabled list until August with no walks longer than 1 mile allowed all that time. For the fun of it Mommy started keeping track in 2007 of how many miles we walked each year and we started an imaginary trip to Alaska and beyond. We are almost there! If there were roads in the Southeastern part of the state we would be there, but we are just past Whitehorse, YT in Canada now. You can see my Google Map of our Imaginary Walk Around America if you want to. Hope 2010 is a good one for you all!