Sunday, August 4, 2013

Kneel Before the Grand Pasha!

This should be my monthly update for July, but frankly, other than me getting a life vest  which I posted about already, and starting to swim again (and starting to develop what my vet calls "pond funk" again) not much happened in July.  My laser treatments are not working as well as they used to and my back right leg especially acts ups.  This makes walking not much fun so I haven't been doing as much.  The vet told Mommy that she needed to accept the fact that my world is going to become smaller and she'll have to consider when it is too small.  We were walking so little that when I did take a walk to the lake so I could swim (well wade because I didn't have my life vest yet) earlier this month when we passed my departed friend Ozzie's house on our way home his daddy was very happy to see me.  He came over to scratch me even though I was wet and he told Mommy that he was worried about me because he hadn't seen me for so long.  He said he was planning to walk his new dog to our house and stop to ask if everything was okay.  Wasn't that nice?

Anyway, I love swimming with my new vest, but it tires me out for a few days afterwards.  Mommy took this video of me which she calls, "When Floppy Lipped Dogs Dream"

But what is this Grand Pasha stuff I'm talking about in the title of this post you ask...

I am the Grand Pasha! You see, Mommy has been brooding about accepting the fact that my world is going to become smaller for quite a while now and then one day when I stopped a hike at 1/3 of a mile she said, "F*** that s*** and f*** aging gracefully!"  So, for my official 13th birthday Mommy bought me a great present.  Here it is:

Yes, it is a large dog dog stroller, or, as my friends Emme and Charley dubbed it, and I prefer to think of it, my royal carriage.

I'm neophobic and I hate crates so Mommy was  concerned when she bought  it for me that I was going to freak out and refuse to get in it.  She had this two week plan for making me comfortable.  First I was to sit in it with no wheels, then with wheels but not moving, then some short jaunts up and down the driveway, then a few longer trips in town, then we'd hit the trails.  Well, I didn't need two weeks for that at all.  It arrived last Wednesday and I got in it without wheels right away and napped in it for about 15 minutes.  The next day I got right in it and took another nap. 

 Yesterday Mommy put the wheels on it and I hopped right in and took another nap.

That afternoon Mommy put it in the car and we drove to town and then Mommy pushed me in it to the Dog n Suds where I got to have an order of cheese fries. Yum! Lots of people stared at us and some laughed and all the servers came out to bring people extra ketchup and things just so they could look at us. One group asked Mommy about why I was in the stroller and Mommy explained about me not being able to hike for more than a mile or so and how she didn't want me to not hike anymore.  They thought it was a very good idea.  After the fries we strolled back to the car and Mommy got me out and said, "Let's practice walking beside the stroller." I said, "If I can't ride in style I want to go back to the car." and I refused to go with her.  That's when Mommy dubbed me The Grand Pasha.

Today we took it on the trail. Mommy tied my zipline to the handlebar and I walked on my own for the first mile and took in all the sniffs.

Then I got tired and I went straight to the back loading door to tell Mommy I wanted to ride.  She got me in it and off we went at a much faster clip.

The people we met on the trail reacted in four ways to coming across us.  Many of the people who came upon us from behind were totally oblivious and assumed that Mommy had a baby in a stroller.  Most men who noticed me scowled at Mommy, obviously thinking that she was spoiling me or treating me like a baby.  Most women laughed and most children said, "Awww that's soooo cute!"  One man stopped to talk to Mommy.  He recognized that I was elderly and he told us that he had a 9 year old husky who he loved to hike with, but who can't hike in the summer anymore.  Mommy explained that I have been her hiking partner for 12 1/2 years and she couldn't imagine leaving me at home while she hiked from now on.  Mommy had planned to hike 12 miles, but after about 4 she realized she was getting much more of an upper body workout than she had planned on, especially after we went up and over a bridge.  So we turned around early and headed back. 

We met up with some dogs who I would normally say mean things to on hikes, but while I was riding like the royalty I am I just looked down my nose at them as they deserved.  Mommy stopped to offer water to a husky and I got mad and barked, but that was because she was offering MY WATER in MY BOWL to the husky and I DO NOT share water.  About 1/2 mile from the end I barked at Mommy that I wanted to come out and walk again, so Mommy stopped and let me out.  We discovered on our practice sessions that the best way for me to get out of the stroller was for Mommy to take the front wheel off and support the front end of the stroller on two 4 by 4s so that I could step out that way.  When I ride the 4 by 4s ride in the front of the stroller covered by my sleeping bag so that I have a nice paw/head rest.  I hiked the final half mile.  We met a man in that last half mile who passed us from behind and then turned back to look at us and then started trotting back towards us.  He told Mommy he thought she had lost her kid!!  Mommy explained that the stroller was for me and he kind of shook his head and went away laughing.

Total miles hiked 9.  Total miles hiked by me 1.5.  Total miles traveling in style 7.5.  A dog could get used to this.


KB Bear said...

Hi Merlin. I'm so glad that you like your stroller. That's an awesome idea so that you and your mom can keep on having fun together despite the nasty aging.

I had a Lab who lost the use of her hind legs for the last year of her life, and I had a custom "wheel chair" made to support her hind end while she walked with her front legs. She loved it! Most people were totally supportive although a few said nasty things that I won't repeat.

In any case, You're an inspiration. I'm going to send the link for your post to a friend whose dog can't hike anymore. Maybe she can try the same thing!

Anonymous said...

dear Mommy, I have read your stories since Boo and Baddogs. My first dog was a black lab mix, with flippy ears. After he left for the Rainbow Bridge I couldn't read your stories for a long long time. My second dog, is getting a lot of 'sugar' in her face now. I can understand the wish for a grand pashas' ride. regards Iris

Shawnee the Shepherd said...

Merlin, that is so pawsome! I once saw a big yellow lab in a stroller and his did was pulling him with his bike on a rail trail. We stopped and asked asked about it and he said the dog had the Arthur Itis so bad it was the only way he could get around and we thought that was just pawsome that they would do this fur their dog. And now your mom be doing it fur you. I say GRRRRR to the peeps wot laff and think it be silly. I hope they think back on that moment when they is old and being pushed around in old peep strollers. Smoochies to your mom fur making the bestest she can fur you!