July 14, 2018

White Dog corrected me. "Actually it was nearly 2am...so it was SUNDAY, not Saturday, momma. THREE by the time we went to bed!"

"Excuse me, what Army INSISTED on post-opera flan and jerky? And WHO wanted cuddles and time with dad outside?"

I surveyed pups spread all over the living room, sleeping off the rigors of waiting up for momma and dad. "Oh my!" I said. "What happened THERE?"

Suddenly there was a mass wake up need to head off to take care of business.


July 13, 2018

White Dog came and sat with me in the very early hours as I fretted about Pearl and her date with Dr. Julia for a dental this morning. "You know, Pearly is NOT good with rides," I reminded her. "Or strange places. I am very worried about the stress she will endure to get through the day."

White Dog rested her head against my chest. "Pearl is tougher than you think. Remember, she survived being a mill dog. Dad will do everything possible to keep her calm and reassure her when they go to the vet, and yes, she will most likely get sick in the car. But I know my sister and I know she will ultimately be just fine."

Steve and Pearl backed down the drive a little after 8am and I concentrated on sending positive thoughts...so did all of the WDA. Steve called me at 3pm to say Pearl would be ready to come home after 5pm.

"Seems kind of long," I mentioned nervously. "She had a couple of tough extractions," he said. "All told she lost five teeth. So she is still pretty groggy."

The WDA rushed to sniff and greet when she walked in but Pearl hoped onto the Watching Chair, curled up and did not wake until Steve's dinner call.

She slurped up her soft meal of yogurt,  noodles, applesauce without hesitation. "THAT is a good sign," WD pointed out to me. Then Pearl returned to her chair and the interrupted nap.

"Let's give her a pass if she does not want to go for a walk tonight," I told Steve. White Dog smiled at me. "Good idea, but I bet she will be in line for her leash. Best start thinking about soft treats for her now."

July 12, 2018

White Dog led the charge to windows and doors where the White Dog Army could sing, "WELCOME HOME PUMPKIN!"
In the shop for the past few days (leaving us without a vehicle) reminded all how much our orange van is cherished and appreciated. Now with a new radiator and coolant system, Pumpkin can go another "bazillion miles in good health," as WD pronounced after return from a quick test spin around the neighborhood with Steve to check out the repairs.


July 11, 2018

White Dog was missing Pumpkin, our van that was still in the shop. "She has never been sick before," WD lamented. "I hope this is not a bad sign." "Don't worry Sweet Girl, they said she can be fixed without too much difficulty and dad was sort of surprised that her surgery will be as inexpensive, relatively speaking, as it is." "Well, that is a BIG relief."

She continued, "Remember when the WDA was only four and we thought Pumpkin was amazingly spacious? Puff had the middle seat; Quinn usually liked the floor bed so he could touch dad's arm; and Bella took the entire back seat? I have been thinking about those days and the road trips."

"Those WERE wonderful adventures except that Puff and Quinn were never quite the travelers that you are. They both went because they wanted to be with us, but they were happiest when we returned home."

"Yes, but Nuka claimed the way back seat and was the Queen of all she surveyed as she paced back and forth on her special seatbelt. She NEVER napped. Funny how many memories fit in that big orange car."


July 10, 2018

White Dog did not like being teased about the White Dog Army being caught sleeping on the job. "Dad did not play fair," she muttered trying to hide her embarrassment. I picked her up and tried to erase the insult. "Sweet One, I did not mean to hurt your feelings. Truth is, had I not already known, I too, would have been caught unaware."

Plus, I saw Steve exit the Lyft car and walk up the driveway. He surprised even ME when he walked past the front door and came in through the yard.

"What's with the secret agent entry?" I asked as the WDA exploded with the realization that dad was magically standing in the kitchen. "No keys," he replied.

"And where is Pumpkin?" The Army cried in unison.

On his way back to the office after the day's jury duty, Pumpkin began to overheat. We decided the safest thing to do would be for Steve to take the van directly to the dealer and use Lyft to get to work and home...and back to jury duty tomorrow.

He called to tell me he had made it in but that the car could not be seen until mid-afternoon on Wednesday. The Service Writer warned him that it would probably require staying overnight until parts, if needed, could arrive Thursday. He accidentally left his house key on his key fob.

The White Dog Army still worried that Pumpkin was staying at the car vet overnight; I am not sure they will understand when it stretches into TWO nights that we are carless. We humans are keeping fingers crossed that Pumpkin is not having any serious issues that will result in huge expenses. "Don't say anything," I mouthed to Steve, "It will just make them panic that we will starve or become shopping cart people."

"What if we need food?" Opal fretted. "Or we want ice cream?" Bailey asked. "What if momma sprains her toe?" always considerate Nilla worried. "We have no vehicle!"

"Opal, we have plenty of food not just for dinner and the next day but I just put a new bag of kibble into the bin," Steve responded. "If ice cream is needed we have THREE ice cream places right here in the neighborhood and we could walk," he added. I caressed Nilla, "Sweet One, my toes feel particularly strong, I think I will be all right. Plus remember momma was a Girl Scout long ago so I know how to take care of a sprain if needed."

Steve had changed into home clothes and all seemed back to routine. Bella came out from under the chair. "Did I hear someone say something about ICE CREAM?" she wondered.


July 9, 2018

White Dog looked up from her nap as the living room erupted into the "Welcome Dad" song. "What the heck," she said, "the Army is bark crazy. It is noon; Dad is at work."

The the door opened and we both heard Steve's welcome to the pack. "He IS home," she sang and hurried off to join the others.

Steve is on jury duty this week. turns out the pool was dismissed when the only jury needed for the day was chosen; the rest were free to go and must call in to see about the need for tomorrow. He stopped home for lunch before heading into the office.

The White Dog Army provided not only a tasty meal for the tummy but a soothing balm for the soul as they smothered him with love.


July 8, 2018

White Dog came out of the office to show me that it wasn't her digging in the mattress. We issued a general "Stop digging right now," which was pointless. Tiz stood in the doorway complaining as the noise continued; Steve went to look in the office.

Opal was sitting in the middle of his bed and she would not move. Steve walked over and gently removed her so that her brother could have his bed. Steve went back to the living room.

Minutes later we heard digging again. Steve went back to discover Zsofia this time standing in the middle of the mattress pawing the edge. When her name was called she turned. "What do you have?" Steve asked her. Reluctantly, she gave him the tiny bit of dried zucchini that Tiz must had let escape during a vegetable sharing session which, based on the dessication, happened long ago. Steve gave it back to her. "Really, Zso! how did you even know this was under there?"

Now apparently the word was out about Tizenegy's hording spot. Steve went back to Tiz's rescue to remove Bailey and her speck of dried lettuce from his sleep area. Bailey held up the lettuce with pleading eyes.

"Yes, I see the time," Steve told her. "Dinner is not for another half hour. You need not resort to such drastic action; you are not going to starve." She looked as if she did not quite believe him.

Momma saved the day by breaking up cauliflower, FRESH cauliflower, for tonight's dinner. To stave off any White Dog fainting issues due to hunger, I shared pieces with all. It was a stop gap measure.

When Steve went out to the kitchen, a blizzard followed him.

July 7, 2018

White Dog said, "You left us ALL evening and gave him a challenge. What did you THINK a White Dog would do with that opportunity?"

We pulled into the drive a bit after 1am from the opera. As usual Pearl and Bella were in the Watching Window to greet us...but they were pushed aside by a new face...one wearing a muzzle!

"What the H is Roman doing out?" we both cried at once. Steve pulled to the stairs, threw the car into park and BOUNDED into the house."Please let everyone be calm and OK," I whispered.

Steve had spent almost an hour escape-proofing the kitchen before we left. We are gone too long to leave our reactive boy crated. So he goes into the kitchen (in his muzzle) and is babygated in. EXCEPT that last Sunday our boy casually leapt the gate because he wanted to hang out with Steve. So we were raising the Wall.

We have one of those gates with a door in it that has a locked lever. The bars are vertical so they cannot be used to climb. It is pressure screwed into the door frame.

To that gate, Steve inverted another, exactly the same only upside down to create a barricade that was his height. "That should keep him in. It is absolutely secure." Mistake number one, throwing down the gauntlet.

Nilla was fine, safely secured on the closed sun porch with her comfy mat and water dish. Tizenegy was fine; the old man most likely spent most the evening lying on his bed in the office in White Dog's company enjoying the cool. He DID run out when he heard Steve to rat out his brother...who was proudly standing and wagging over his accomplishment. In the background was a strange whirring noise.

The others were all fine as well.

Roman met me at the front door anxious that I see what a great problem solver he was. He had managed to figure out the door latch on the top gate. the gate was still in place and the door was wide open. The bottom gate lay flat on the ground at the entry to the living room...as if some determined force had pushed at it relentlessly until the pressure fit stops no longer secured the gate to the doorway. He simply must have pranced out at that point. Somehow during the evening our boy ALSO managed to turn on the mixer in the appliance stable which was spinning round and round on its shelf.

So the challenge is back in human hands. Before NEXT Saturday we must figure out another fool proof way to give our boy room to move about while at the same time containing him.

I swear I heard him mutter as Steve picked up the wreckage: "Give it your best shot, dad!"


July 6, 2018

White Dog said, "Zso thinks if she gets good enough as a singer she will be able to come with you to the opera and join the cast." This is her version of  Candide, the opera we will see on Saturday as part of our season.

Candide and Cunégonde are caught kissing and Candide is banished from his home. Zsofia plays the lead, of course.

Candide's lament, the poignant intense moment as interpreted by Zsofia:

White Dog stage whispered, "I think my sister is VERY talented by I am not sure she is ready yet for this production!" "Give her time," I told WD. "When Zsofia gets an idea in her head she usually does not quit. I hope she doe not 'practice' the entire time we are gone tomorrow."


July 5, 2018

White Dog put into words exactly what Steve was feeling. "That jump was pretty impressive. The gate is 31" tall and he cleared it with air to spare. Pretty athletic but so much for counting on it to be a barrier."

They had just watched Roman, gated in the kitchen to allow Nilla some after breakfast indoor wandering, decided he wanted out. He was not interested in Nilla nor was he angry; he just wanted to be by Steve.

Nilla moved to her haven in the kitchen. We are not yet ready to test Roman's reactiveness progress THAT much. "Guess we won't be leaving you in the kitchen, even in your muzzle, when we are not home anytime soon, Big Boy" Steve told him. Roman just rested his head against Steve's leg.

Later, I was talking about the incident with our behaviorist and wondered what kind physical harm our disabled boy could be doing to himself with jumping like that. "Well, he will probably develop arthritis as he ages," she said. "But he will even if he does not jump. He is young and has lots of energy. Maybe here is something to think about and ask Dr. Julia: what if you used gentle agility jumps a couple times a week for him to let off steam? It would be another opportunity to refocus his activity. Just 10-15 minutes of low and mid jumps three times a week and make doing it a reward. I think he might be motivated. Mental health is as important as the rest."

We have some jumps in the shed from White Dog's days as an agility girl...before we discovered her nerve impingement. They would be perfect for the larger Roman's restricted use. He and I talked about it this afternoon and when Steve came home, the conversation continued. This weekend, after I have had the chance to bounce the idea off of Dr. Julia's brain, we might just pull out and assemble that equipment. You know, just to get everyone used to the yard additions.

"Who knows," WD says, "Roman might end up captaining an entire TEAM of agility jumpers." At that Zso's ears perked up.