Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Family of Me and my Dogs

Has anyone ever timed the length of time a dog can wag (whip would be a better word) his tail without stopping? Don't their muscles get tired?

It doesn't seem so. Instead, it seams to have something to do with the length of time expectation and hope can be kept active--in Brody's case, a pretty long while if food, play or scratches are concerned.

I love to watch my two dogs run around my large back yard, even if they have worn a path. Tailless Gracie is so compact, wider than Brody, basically bullet-shaped. Brody's tail always curling upwards, both dogs laughing and tongues lolling sideways like little pink flags as they run. They never trot or lope. It's BAM! they are off at full speed, sometimes playing chase, sometimes running to me.

This weekend a gate inadvertently got left open and they went running around, fortunately to the nearby houses. More fortunately, none of the neighbor dogs were out. Brody doesn't like most other dogs. So they had a nice runabout while I was getting ready to run some errands.

I went to the back door to call them in, and oops. dead quiet. Went out the front door and BAM! they raced towards me. I was thankful. They also are beautiful animals, I think.
They were so GLAD to see me. And after all the gate was open--and you don't punish dogs who run to you.

So they came in and settled, I closed my bedroom door (they like to sleep on my bed when I am gone. Gracie chews and swallows chunks of bedspread. I am on my third.) And left.

I used to give them chews sometimes when I left, until I forgot something one day and went back to the house, only to hear them in a gargling, snarling, snapping over and over on the floor fight over the chews. Like his food, Brody finishes quickly. With a lot stronger jaw, he's finished in five minutes. Gracie gnaws for almost an hour.
So they don't get chews anymore unless I'm home. Gracie deliberately settles at my feet with hers. Brody will try for it anyway. Then I Alpha up and he retreats, tail wagging furiously, hoping for another one.

Overall they are happy dogs. I notice they actually will sleep a few feet from each other occasionally now. They are never going to be snuggle buddies.

Brody slept on the bed with his former owner. He still has hopes with me. I like to waken slowly in the mornings. A dog on each side of the bed will pop up expectantly. And yes, for 30 minutes or so, they are permitted. Then I say,"Outside!" and Gracie thunders over my mid-section in her race with Brody to the back door.

It was comical the morning I opened the door and it was pouring. I have a covered deck and I shoved them out anyway. Five minutes later, I looked out the window and they were just sitting on their haunches, staring at the rain. Uh-uh. No way. Ain't happening. Brody had a dry post to pee against---frowned upon, but there you go. Gracie? I left them another five minutes, met them with a giant towel. Brody, predictably, was dry, but Gracie was soaked. So she was a Good Girl. They got treats.

We always had one or two dogs when I was growing up, but I have only had one at a time, and female, as an adult.

They are family. Someone to talk to at the table --and I would eat at the table in self-defense if I were not already so inclined to eat at one. The dogs would consider it a friendly challenge if I didn't sit at the table, carefully guarding my plate like a resident of the Big House. Not really. They stay down. At my feet. Watching every mouthful. The tricky part is if I forgot something or get up for more drink. I push the plate towards the middle of the table and leave my chair pulled out. They can calculate to the second, I've found, when my back is turned. I have several strips of missing bacon, in particular, to document this.

Rainy days are hard on me and the furniture, but I hope we get some iffy downfall today. We need it so very much.

Got Gracie a new tug rope. She still loves her old one, which unraveled to mop status. Can:t play with Brody in the house. Gracie and I understand we are tugging. Brody assumes it is a game of strength where he eventually takes it away. Some teeth and nips are sometimes involved. He's such a guy.

On the other hand, he understands fetch. He will actually bring the toy back and let me throw it again. Gracie thinks all the toys are hers and tries to take them away. And she won't bring them back. So Brody goes outside when we play tug; Gracie goes outside when we play fetch.

Overall, I think we all are happy.


J.R.Shirley said...

Dogs are pack. People are pack. It works.

charlotte g said...

You might like Robert Crais' new mystery, "Suspect" which involves a retired wardog with PTSD and a police officer suffering same.. The book, especially with the author's notes after, were very good. Crais is a writer I follow. My granddaughter tells me I like bloody books. Sometimes I do. This is one, and well-written.

J.R.Shirley said...

I might check it out, thanks.