Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Dog’s Life

Taking a break. 7:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Another sunny and bright day in New York yesterday; with temperatures in the low 80s, low humidity, and dropping to the mid-60s at night.  And quiet around town, reminding that many who can are taking a vacation (and getting out of town).
My neighbor Tom Graf called me and told me to come over and bring my camera. So I did. He took me out onto his terrace and pointed out this doggie in the window of someone's apartment across the way. At first it looked like a real dog ... .but it didn't move. And so we can see it was a stuffed dog. Was it taxidermy or was it just a stuffed animal (toy). Certainly a good one, either way.
A Dog’s Life. The let-up in the social schedule gives me a little more time to devote to my family of which there are two new members and one fairly new member. Three months ago, my beloved Missy a/k/a Madame succumbed to congestive heart failure a month before her fourteenth birthday. It was a very sad loss for me, and also for her cousin Tobey who came to live with us from Bide-a-Wee two years ago.

However, after three weeks of grieving I called the Humane Society to see if they had any Shih Tzus who needed a home. There were two, I was told, who were ready to take up residence. So that Saturday I went down to the Humane’s headquarters on 59th Street between First and Second Avenue. I was met outside by the Director who was holding two little ones who although they looked nothing like Shih Tzus, were very cute and nervous like: “oh gawd, now what’s gonna happen to us!!”

I was briefly disappointed that they weren’t the breed I’d inquired about, but I couldn’t resist them anyway. They were both about a year old, and had had all their shots. The little guy had been altered so he wouldn’t get anyone in trouble. The girl hadn’t been spayed yet — and the Humane does take care of that detail with their adoption candidates — but I decided we could wait a bit since she wasn’t going to be vulnerable to the guys around the house.

Back at the apartment, Tobey took one look at them and then looked at me as if to say: “What is this?!?
Tobey Toodle-oodle.
This is Rosemary Dawg. She is a bit more than a year. She’s bigger in real life than she looks in this photo because of the perspective of the camera. She’s about the size of a Shih Tzu although after that there is no resemblance. Like Madame who preceded her as the lady of the house, she eats twice as much as the boys, and twice as fast. And then heads for their bowls and waits and watches (when I’m in the room) for them to finish. Once they show the slightest disinterest, she moves in and gobbles up what’s left.

Rosemary is very energetic. I was wondering if Ritalin worked on dogs (no no no; I wouldn’t).  But for example, walking her at a healthy pace, she pulls enough on her leash so that she’s walking on her hind legs only. However, she is house broken.
Rosemary Dawg.
She also likes a lot of attention, and when it’s coming her way, she rolls over on her back so you can rub her belly while her tail wags very fast. I haven’t quite figured her out but she’s a nice little dawg, if a big chewer-upper of all kinds of objects.

The guy on the left is Tobey. I call him Tobey-Toodle-oodle. Do you have a lot of silly names for your dogs, too? Tobey’s about 3 and a few months. I got him when he was about a year old. He’s said to be a combo of a Shih Tzu and Maltese which translates into Fancy Mutt. He’s a sweet little guy and LOVED little Madame who left us bereft. These two new marauders have taken some getting used to for him. For example, every time he comes for pets, Rosemary is up and under my palm for the very same pet, tail wagging and all. This Tobey finds a little exasperating (read: annoying) but now he just withdraws and let’s her have her way (then I pick him up and give him some private attention to make up for it).
Tobey and Willy-Nilly.
The guy on the right below is Willy-Nilly. He had another name when I got him – something like Kai (?!) but he’s much more a Willy. He is actually MUCH smaller than Tobey or Rosemary although you can’t tell from the photograph. He weighs four action-packed pounds and is said to be a combo of Poodle and a Yorkie. Another Fancy Mutt. A York-a-Doodle?

Willy can be pleasantly annoying, especially since he came entirely, unequivocally, NOT house broken -- as well as unparticular about where he relieves himself (on the floor). Hence the Willy-nilly. In his first days here, he could really bring out the Irish in me (God knows what the neighbors were thinking) but I couldn’t help laughing at the same time. He must have been given a hard time wherever he was before because he was instantly alarmed by the smallest motion from me, as if maybe in danger.
In some ways his presence felt like having a large fly around the house that won’t leave you alone, or is into something dangerous. But actually ain’t no fly as sweet as Willy. At home in his new home, he zips around like a miniature pony in show. Always looking for some mischief. And always finding it.  

I was frustrated by his inability to even be paper trained, let alone housebroken. Finally I decided, since I had the time, to get up early — 7:30 — and while he’s still on the bed (he’s too small to jump on or off), I’d harness him (and the others also) and then carry him outside (so as not to have any accidents on the way) for a long walk across the Esplanade and through the park.

At first he did nothing  and held it until we got home. But after a couple of days he began to follow Tobey and lift his leg. And now he’s peeing and everything else outdoors. Most of the time. It’s not been an overnight thing but I’m optimistic. The only thing I worry about is that it’s pretty dull around here for these energy packed canines. So they’ll just continue chew up another chair leg, or maybe a dog bowl waiting to be filled.  Eventually they’ll cool it. Age does that to all of us, even the dawgs.

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