Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sisyphus Hill

Pushing the rock up the hill is
not temporary,
Its everyday. Some artists
think of the rock as the
sun rising, arcing and setting.

We push it with our labor
those parts of life we push,
pull, carry, shoulder
day after day those bits
are contained in the rock.

Night time or bust.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lillie Day 10 - Crating Miss Lillie

Gosh, I'm busy! With very little time to call my own (by my standards, anyway; readers with children and husbands need not respond) the fact that I've got a stack of papers to grade is the only thing motivating me to post today. Or is it?

Why no. No pun intended, but today marks the first day Lillie spent in her crate without either peeing, pooping or both.

She did both the first day, so I placed the spare "wall" thus shrinking the crate to her size.
She just peed on the second day, so I washed out the towel and replaced it with another and left her less water.
She just peed on the third day, but took down the wall, so I replaced the wall, washed out the towel and replaced it with another.
Then I did a laundry.
She just peed on the fourth, fifth, six and seventh days.
On the eighth day I took the trainer's advice and removed the towel.
On the ninth day she peed and pooped. I flushed the poop and washed the plastic tray with the new spray bottle of urine stain and odor remover.
On the 10th day I took the advice of my chiropractor, who welcomes dogs to her office and her life, and added a T-shirt of my own. Not a clean one.
On the afternoon of the 10th day I arrived home to a dry crate and a dry dog.

Tomorrow we try this again for a longer stint. Good luck, Lillie.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lillie Day 3

There's been some discussion in my family (remaining sister and her in-laws, thank you Facebook) about a middle name for Lillie. I'm not a sentimental dog owner and think the middle name idea is pretty silly. To humanize a dog, or any pet, or even a child, is to ask for trouble and disappointment. From what I can see and have heard from real dog owners (and read from new copy of The Dog Whisperer by Paul Owens) dogs are dogs and people are people.

Lillie Marlene. Lillie Pulitzer. Lillie Beth. Lillie Vidalia. Lillie Croquet. Lillie Pad. Lillie Belle. No no no. Lillie No?  Better not.

But then I wrote today's post title. Lillie Day. This has a reasoned beauty to it for a couple of reasons: I'm looking for a project blog, and as my days as a dog owner have just begun and I'll be learning something new on every one of those days, why not title the Lillie posts with their day?

Today, we walked for an hour, came home, she ate her new dog food with relish (I replaced the Red Bandana kibble with Wellness, which smells much better. Hope this will clear the air in here, so to speak.)

In The Dog Whisperer, Paul Owens says to work with the dog on each trick and behavior for a short time, about a minute or two. I've always wondered about this. It's very helpful. We're making good strides with "Sit" primarily because she already can sit, though she seems to do it on her own terms (classic terrier, I think). I'd like her to respond to "Down." when she jumps up on my leg and I'd like her to fetch the duck (her big toy) when I say "Fetch."  Lots of other things but those first.

I realize I have a lot to learn about play, so this morning I played "soccer" with her favorite chew, a disgusting but obvious pleasure dome of a cow hoof. She got into the chase but didn't catch on to the hide and seek part. Too complicated?
Listen, random and faithful reader, any advice, input, etc., about living with a scrappy little terrier is welcome.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Take a Leap

Unlike my last huge commitment, today's leap of faith was not an impulse. I've been playing with the idea, checking the sites and running the numbers for several months now. I've also collected input from friends, all pet owners, some of whom played serious games of Devil's Advocate. Last Saturday, I cajoled DP, a woman with more strings than a harp, to help me not adopt a dog at the Atlanta Pet Rescue. She, currently down to one dog, four (or is it five?) cats, two horses, patient husband, live-in elderly parents, three grown kids,  and 1.5 grandchildren, was to be curbed as well.

It was my intention to look the prospects over: small dogs who wouldn't get bored in a high-rise condo, could power walk up to five miles, spend at least six hours waiting for me to get home, and, oh, yes, provide blog fodder.

Fergie, Dixie and Laurel made the first cut. I liked Fergie's scrappy looks. She reminded me of a drummer I'd had a painful crush on about ten years ago. Dixie was sleek, mellow and seemed above the kennel fray, but she was, and is, a Jack Russell with possibly Cairn mix and would need a lot of exercise. Still, she could do five miles easily and was clearly a smart little thing. Laurel was a Yorkie mixed with something bigger and did not show to advantage. He needed a bit of filling up and some high-end grooming. Still, he seemed mellow as well, would love a small condo and behaved very well. But he felt bony, and I was pretty sure he'd never make two miles, much less five, or even the three I actually walk.

After chatting with the counselors, I eliminated Fergie. He's got serious attachment issues. After ten minutes with Dixie, I didn't like the fragility of Laurel. But I wasn't sure I wanted to commit to a terrier.
Oye. Go to lunch. The one thing I didn't want to do was act impulsively, so I was pretty glad I left the shelter empty-handed.

Only I went to bed thinking of Dixie. And woke up to a call from DP. "I miss her!"  So did I.
If she's meant to be my dog, she'll be at the rescue on Tuesday.

I could barely start the quiz I still have to write for tomorrow's "Big, Fat Quiz" at AID. I could barely read the websites for the prospective client who called yesterday. Yes! I'll take that job. I have another mouth to feed!

Here I sit with what must be the perfect dog for me. Dixie, or Lily, or Portia (not sure) has been home for an hour, has had some water, turned her nose up at the dry food (tuff titties, kid), chewed her cow rind, made friends with her new stuffed duck and is now lying comfortably at my feet.

Someone must miss her very much. This is a nice, well-trained, solid little dog. As DP said, she is my gift.