Rain Man Walking

With a break in the hair-raising humidity and torrential rains,  I sat out on the back patio after work to soak up some vitamin D and watch the boys play, which to me was heartwarming to see them playing so well, though the sound is certainly not for the faint-hearted.  After dinner I figured we’d settle in for some couch potato-ing but seeing them being so good and knowing that they’d enjoy it, I decided to take them each for a walk around the neighborhood.

Julius and I went out first and strolled down the streets I rarely get to walk on.  He is easy and our walk was silent and companionable.  He’s been rocking his Halti instead of his harness and it has been a game changer.  Juli is always good in his harness-don’t get me wrong- but the Halti like I said was a game changer.  He still rubs his head on my legs occasionally but there were several times I had to look to see if he was still with me because the slackness in the leash was so alarming…and gratifying.

DSC_0026

My Rockstar.

I love that we are getting to such a good place and that we can enjoy the quiet companionship together.

Awaiting me at home was Ray with his soft, hopeful eyes and his bouncy-cow hop.  Ray is normally fine just wearing a martingale collar for walks but Julius and I had seen Daisy, a neighbor’s dog, lounging off leash in her yard and since the said yard is on Ray’s walking route, we opted for the Freedom harness for Ray just in case we needed some extra control.

Ray is like the Rain Man on walks; he has a certain route and routine that must be strictly adhered to unless he decides it doesn’t.  Normally, we depart the driveway and make a beeline across the street to the lamp-post to leave some pee-mail.  We then recross the street and skim along our side yard to the neighbor behind us where we (Ray) pees on her corner lamp post, and continues to the American Bulldog’s house to …do more than pee.  We then retrace our steps back and walk around the next block, up the street and around the corner…past Daisy’s house.

img_5680

“The Look” gets me every time.

Tonight I’d like to sincerely thank the neighbor with the “doodle” puppy.  As Ray was preparing his poo spot I noticed they were walking toward us but still a good distance away yet also in the exact direction my Rain Man and I would be heading.  I knew the possibility of Ray losing his shit reacting to the puppy if it were coming head on toward us was a real possibility.  The next few minutes stretched on as I fumbled for a poop bag and scooped up after Ray all the while throwing furtive glances to the approaching pair trying to will them to turn away and still remain calm so that Ray wouldn’t pick up on my mood.  I began regaling him with the temptation of yummy treats in order to lure him in another direction while he stood, glancing between his suddenly crazy mom who wanted to go the wrong way and the approaching puppy.  The neighbor (thank goodness) realized what I was doing and slowed her approach and indicated the direction she needed to take to get home.  I ended up luring Ray to a yard to partake of some yummy snacks while the lady carried her doodle past us, “I don’t want him to slip his collar” she said with a smile, passing us by as if the entire interaction was completely normal. It was truly a nice change from “It’s ok…my dog is friendly” people.

DSC_0062

“Woooo, I say.”

As we continued on Ray’s favorite path and headed up the street towards where I knew Daisy was lying out on her driveway, my mind continued to spin thinking of ways to try to cajole my stubborn dog to make a detour I heard the sweetest sound.  Daisy’s “dad” had just turned on a dreaded leaf-blower.  Ray stopped and looked at me…”Let’s go this way,” I said, pointing in the opposite direction.  As we approached our house from the wrong direction and doubled back to another pee-mail location, I took a moment to bask in the warm glow of the realization that Ray trusts me to keep him safe from things like doodle puppies, leaf blowers and other random items of lawn equipment.  For that he earned a nice slice of dried sweet potato.

How does your dog let you know that you’re earning doggie thumbs up?

Advertisements

When You Get Down To It

I’ve had a post planned about Ray’s TTA surgery for weeks now and I’ve even started and deleted it about sixteen times.  The timing also corresponded with the super-cool Giveaway at Oh Melvin’s Project Joy which is focusing on anxiety dogs and is seemingly tailor-written just for Ray (and me.) But the downside is that writing about the anxiety is just so difficult.  Upon reflection, it seems more like snapshots that flash by on a screen rather than prolonged issues that we deal with.  Or maybe because the issues we deal with are prolonged, we don’t realize that it isn’t just our way of life?

We’re so used to Ray being Ray and acknowledging that his way of life is different than that of Julius or even Sugar, that it doesn’t seem different.  It’s like having two kids and you make them each a sandwich.  One kid wants his sandwich cut in squares and the other wants triangles and it’s no big deal to accommodate each preference. You just know what needs to be done to make each kid happy.

  

Ray wears an Adaptil collar, has Anxitane tablets to take in anticipation of Vet visits, we’ve tried and rejected Prozac, he owns but hates his Thundershirt and has to be pretty much snoring before I can attempt to trim his nails.  He likes being in his safe places so while he loves to greet guests, he also can “nervous” pee and since that upsets him, we’ve learned how to have people ignore him until he feels comfortable enough to be greeted.  We adjust. We often gate him and guests don’t seem to realize that we don’t do it for their safety-we do it for his comfort.  While Ray enjoys being with people, he enjoys being in his safe zone as well, so we work on keeping him safe and happy.

  
How did some of this happen? Despite monthly visits to the Vet’s office to practice stepping on the scale and picking up meds, Ray became filled with anxiety there.  In a practice with three doctors, he once drew one who was noticeably leery of big dogs and the visit became a disaster filled with screams (yes, open-mouthed screams) thrashing and blood.  We now request the one doctor who understands him and takes the time to make him as comfortable as possible, but the deed now is done.  We had his surgery done at one of the referred Vet’s offices.  After months of stalking researching on the websites of the list of recommended Vets, calling the office to discuss the issues that I knew would arise, scheduling a personalized tour with Ray and finally the surgery, we still didn’t cover the contingency of post op care.  The standard is to remain in the Vet’s care for 2 days post-op.  That wasn’t meant to be with Ray who, it was felt, would thrash about too much in the care of strangers and ruin the surgical procedure, so home he came to recuperate.  We do what we do.

  
The same thing happened with his nails.  I took him every month for a nail trim which he stood for-until he got quicked and then that’s all she wrote.  We know that about Ray so we just make adjustments for it without even thinking about it being “special” it’s just how we do things.

Recently, I noticed that Sugar’s nails were too long, so I took a pair of clippers over and because her nails are luckily white/clear, started clipping.  What I didn’t count on was that with her longer nails some of her quicks grew longer as well and on the first nail, she yelped and I realized I had quicked her but we grabbed some paper towel, applied pressure and when on to clip all the remaining nails because we knew we could.   Different dog, different outcome.

We just do what we need to do in the manner that we need to do it.  It’s how we live and it’s how we love.

True Love Ways

This year the hubby and I will be celebrating 15 years of marriage and I’m going to venture a guess that I’m not the same gal he married that decade and a half ago. But then again in some ways I am. I’m pretty free-spirited and always have been, so that remains the same. Being that it was not a first marriage for either of us, we kept it casual, personal and private while integrating my daughter in a triple ring ceremony to bond our new family then we went for a quick get away to Chicago to see a ball game. It isn’t that I don’t love getting dressed up and going to glamorous events from time to time, but I just feel that for the most part, I enjoy the simple things.

A few years ago when I ignored the fact that I’d been gaining weight I ended up needing to have my wedding rings cut off my finger. I had waited so long that I probably got a bit of nerve damage in my finger and for well over a year, I couldn’t bear the feel of anything on that finger. The next phase was that I could wear a loose ring for about an hour or so before slowly increasing the time. In the meantime, the hubby and I discussed that by our 15th anniversary my finger should be healed enough to think about resetting my stones or replacing the ring. I began searching for cool and unusual settings, started pinning ideas and eventually came up with something that I love with all my heart, though I think my hubby feels badly that he isn’t able to bedeck me in fancy jewels.

  

It’s just a plain silver band which I’ve been wearing since Christmas and on it is stamped “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

How else do I know he loves me? After insisting we can’t foster (and not complaining too much about our little guests) he’s been helping more than I thought he would but even better? He volunteered to clean the litter boxes this morning. True love ways.

He Ain’t Simple, He’s My Brother

Sometimes I think that Julius, specifically came along just for Ray.  They are the perfect yin to the other’s yang and while they occasionally annoy each other like brother do, they also definitely love each other.

Take the other day.  While both boys respect the baby gates in the house (we just lean them against the doorways and they’re like kryptonite) Julius has absolutely no problem at all buffalo-ing his way through a closed or partially closed door.  Ray will not open a door so the other morning as I was off to take a shower, I left Julius lying in bed with Kevin and Ray was downstairs, so imagine my surprise when after my shower, I found both dogs on the bed!  I knew the door had been mostly closed and that Kevin wouldn’t have gotten out of bed but according to Kevin, Ray came up the stairs and sat outside the door whining.  Hearing that, Julius jumped off the bed, repeatedly nudged his big jughead in the door until it opened and once his brother was in, jumped back up on the bed.

Brotherly love.

 

As a side note, we are sending out as much love as possible to a brother from another mother, Melvin.