I am not really the best person to write about dogs because, for the most part, I think of them as dogs. Call me crazy.
They are not ‘people’. They are not ‘part of the family’ (except in a dog sense which is just a few notches above a pair of comfy slippers and an old housecoat to me). Frankly, I am disinclined to have them as ‘pets’ insomuch as that means petting them and playing with them and, God forbid, talking to them. To me, they are sentient beings that deserve my respect and assistance once in awhile. Period.
OK, I’ll throw the stick once in awhile if I am really bored or trying to get Sal to forgive me for something. I throw the stick a lot, come to think of it.
Probably have to throw the stick after Sal reads this.
I am, it seems, in the minority on that score (dogs should be dogs) and I am quite wrong, wrong, wrong as far as Sally is concerned. For Sally, they are peers, friends, family, and her posse. I have not yet fully reached that status myself. She has boundaries with me.
She talks to the dogs all the time. Full sentences, whole paragraphs. I would even go so far as to say she has whole conversations with them if she thinks she is out of earshot of me. She thinks they understand her. They do not.
Hell, I barely understand her most of the time and we speak, it is assumed-but-not-yet-confirmed, the same language.
I know they are pets. But my idea of a pet does not include an animal that lives in the house with me. I think dogs should live outside like…..well, wolves. You know? If it is below freezing, I will let them in but only because Sal threatens me if I don’t. But freezing is the ‘let-inside’ point.
Well, except there is ‘their time in the morning’ that Sal has institutionalized. It begins when she gets up and last until I can’t stand it anymore. About 2 hours or so. Then there is their ‘evening time’ which begins immediately after their dinner (5:00 pm) and lasts until our usual bedtime at 11:00.
But except for those eight hours or so, they are not allowed in!
They are also on a special diet. Raw meat. I am a proponent of that. They are remarkably healthy and their teeth and breath are as clean as any dogs. I didn’t think it was possible to have tolerable ‘dog breath’ but they do. And you know how some dog poop seems to last like it is partly fossilized? Laying there in the same spot on your lawn for months? Turning white and hard? Well, raw meat-fed dogs have dissolvable poop. I swear. Leave the damn thing on your lawn for a few days (not a hard choice for me) and it disappears! Really.
‘Course our front lawn is at a 45 degree angle so maybe it just all rolls away. More research needs to be done, I suppose.
The dogs have hair, not fur. Like a poodle. So, they don’t shed. But it does grow and it grows fast. I bought a trimmer and every two months or so, I give them a haircut (see pic below). It is hell. I really should do it every month to keep the chore manageable but I don’t. I put it off and then have to ‘mow’ and ‘hack’ at them. Meg is pretty easy to trim but Fid has hair like a Brillo pad. Well, more like Persian Lamb after Monsanto has had at it with some gene modification for indestructability. Really. It is curly, tightly bound and thick like a Russian peasant woman’s leg…….thicker hair even!
We can leave them alone when we go to town for the day but Sal won’t leave them overnight. I would. I would give them some raw meat, some water and a few bones and see them in a fortnight but Sal thinks that is just plain mean. So, if the trip is longer than a day, they come along.
Our location is ideal for a dog. Their ‘roaming space’ is the small 10 or so acre peninsula we live on (counting the lagoon) and they can cover the whole area in less than a few minutes or spend hours upon hours exploring. I am pretty sure they love the place as much as we do. They sure seem to.
Sally exercises them (and me, if she can) every day between 4:00 and dinner time (theirs). Of course, they do all sorts of things with us when we are doing our projects and chores but sometimes they get underfoot. They have both learned not to get too close to me when I am working. I have been known to yell at them. Sally, on the other hand is often laughing when she is interrupted by Fid’s nose in her face while she is drilling, hammering or sawing something in a tight space. He likes to get ‘in there’ and see what is going on. I have to admit that Fid is ‘game’ for anything and ‘at the ready’ to get involved even if he has no clue as to what that means. And, of course, he never does.
PWds don’t always do as they are told. If they are interested in something or bored with you, they just carry on as if you weren’t calling them or trying to get their attention. On the other hand, we hardly did anything to train them and they always do as they are told or do the right thing when it is needed.
Megan even will play fetch with herself. If we say, “You do it!”, she gets her toy, takes it to the edge of the front deck and pushes it off with her nose. It falls. She looks to see where it landed and then races off down the stairs and gets it. Again and again. Sometimes she does that ‘throw’ for Fiddich to ‘fetch’. Sal finds this amusing. Every time.
It is a simple life we lead. A dog’s life, really. A happy dog’s life.