January 15, 2018

White Dog blocked my way as I stood up after dinner. "WHERE are you going," Little Miss Bossy challenged.

"Um, to write tonight's blog about a certain Army," I replied.

She jumped up on my lap and touched my cheek. "You do not seem too feverish." Then I coughed and sneezed.

"You need to go to bed." I looked at her. "We are NOT skipping  blog post just because I sneezed." The rest of the White Dog Army stood and stretched. "And the rest of you stand down. It is ok."

"ONE photo," White Dog said. "Please do not be stubborn. We want you to get well."

Opal this morning watching over me as I got ready for the day. She is my Lady in Waiting, my caregiver.

January 14, 2018

White Dog allowed me to dress, warmly, and move into the living room where I was firmly tucked under blankets and surrounded by the White Dog Army nursing and guarding contingent while breakfast was made.

"We are preparing what is commonly called a 'beige' meal," Bella explained to me. "Not too taxing on the system  but hot and nutritious. Nice, creamy oatmeal and a sausage patty for protein if you want it." Tizenegy came charging in from the kitchen. "And dad is making lots so we call ALL have some!" he said excitedly. "And we're not even sick!"

"Be sure to tell him we want ours the way momma eats hers, with butter, cream and a sprinkle of brown sugar." Siku told Teez, "Otherwise he might just give us oatmeal! I have seen him eat it plain like that!"

"Can mommas have creamy coffee when they have sickies?" Opal asked. "If not, we might have to drink the entire mug on her behalf."

"Maybe dad should put a towel around her in case she spills," Stormer suggested.

"Um,guys? White Dogs of My Heart? I have a cold or flu, I have not lost my faculties nor my ability to feed myself. Thank you all for your concern and for making breakfast but I think I can take it from here."

Zosfia sat on one side of me and Bailey on the other. "We will just sit here in case you need help...or find you have no appetite," they volunteered causing a clamor or White Dogs who ALSO wanted to volunteer for clean up duty. "Tezenegy said you were all sharing this breakfast so please, back up and give this sick woman room to breathe."

While all were jockeying for position, Steve had quietly put down Second Breakfast bowls. "Breakfast is served," he announced. And suddenly I was unattended.


January 13, 2018

White Dog reached up to kiss me when we returned from the eWaste Collection Drive and jumped back. "Wow! Momma! Your forehead is boiling hot!"

"I know Little White Dog of My Heart. I think I am getting sickies."

The White Dog Army converged and pushed me into the chair. WD pulled the blanket to my lap. The others helped Steve take my jacket, shoes and socks. Then the blanket was tucked all around as WD ordered water to be set at my side.

"Now momma must rest," WD commanded. "You all know the routine for nursing sickies."


January 12, 2018

White Dog was in the other room yelling; it woke me to see Steve standing over me. "We have a problem," he said. Immediately I was fully awake and racing through possibilities. "Stormer?" my voice quivered. Before I could go through the entire list he held out a destroyed pill container. "Which is it, breakfast or lunch," I asked not even bothering to ask whose teeth marks matched those on the case. There are different pills for each time of day. He brought in the still intact case. "OK those were lunch pills that are gone. Fewer of them."

"She missed this one," he said holding up the Furosemide pill. "So she got the Potassium and the Lisinopril (a blood pressure medication). Grab the prescription bottles from safekeeping so I know the doses." I looked at the clock and speed dialed Dr. Julia's.

As Michelle, the only one there at this early hour, hurried to find the chart, I grabbed Bailey. Eyes, not dialated, pulse was normal, mouth wet and gums pink. Her respiration sounded normal and when Steve knelt to listen to her heart it was regular and steady. I shared all the info with the tech.

She promised to call the doctor immediately and we dressed to be ready to respond. In just a few minutes, the call came back that Bailey was to come in for a day of IV flushing and monitoring. Dr. Julia was heading into the office immediately and Cindy, her #1, would be in very shortly.

Steve hurried out of the house with the WDA's song of concern and Bailey.

Cindy called to let us know that Bailey was receiving her IV and that they would do an Xray to make sure none of the plastic from the case was a digestive problem. The blood work showed elevated Total Blood Proteins. I appreciated her level of concern when she joked, "Thought you would have learned about Sibes by now." "Ahh," I responded, "Remember Zsofia is a very special Sibe...an Eskie-raised one..seemingly with more sense." Humor does offset tension sometimes.

I spoke with Dr. Julia mid afternoon. Bailey was going to be fine. All her numbers were back to normal. "But let's recheck early next week just to be cautious." She gave us a list of things to watch for that might indicate complications and said that technically she was under observation for 48-hours. We could pick her up from the vet at 5:30pm.

Steve and I discussed how to safeproof my cart while still keeping what I needed accessible to me. Our temporary solution is a metal safebox with a spring clasp. Not elegant but for now it hopefully will keep our drawer opening, counter surfing, devious obsessed girl safe.

"Think we can ever train her out of this?" Steve asked. On top of the drama, HE had stayed home fighting some kind of cold that has him achy and exhausted. "Zso," I called her over. "Can you work on training your sister about manners and respecting things that are not theirs? I will work on it, too."

White Dog joined our conversation. "It MIGHT take the whole Army," she said looking pointedly into the kitchen where our starving girl had front feet on the counter.
Opal and Nilla inspect Bailey's shaved leg where she received the IV.

January 11, 2018

White Dog in all of her years destroyed only two items: a paper voucher at 4 months and the crossrail of a snack table when she was teething. Hers is a standard of perfection to which we hold none of the other White Dog Army.

Bailey, a rescued backyard mill breeder girl, never lived in a house (other than briefly with her rescue foster). She never learned the treasures a home holds. She never was taught the distract from bad behavior; reward good behavior; the timeout. Essentially a 65-pound puppy of adult growth came into our pack at seven years of age.

Bai has been with us a few months now. She was a perfect fit from the start from our perspective; she now seems to be relaxing into agreement.

It is a wonderful time when a new recruit to the Army makes the realization that being here IS forever and always. That they are safe. That they need not hold their breath. That who they are is accepted and loved even if actions sometimes bring anger. But this is also a time of gentle training and directing as skills never learned require development.

Now that she is comfortable Bailey is intensely curious about all manner of communal life. She has a concept of personal belongings, hers, because it was critical to survive as a mill dog. She has NO idea that SOME things are NOT hers and must be left alone.

Things that are sheltered in drawers or which are not part of our mainstream capture her interest and fixation. At those times we can initiate an "exchange" for treats,  a firm "Leave It!" or grab a collar and demand a timeout. It is when we are not monitoring that our Beautiful Blue Eyed Girl gets herself into trouble.

Like the time this afternoon as I worked in the office and Bailey decided my pen (I am a fiend for using nice pens) after all of these months caught her attention. It sat on the cart next to the momma chair as always but THIS day the pull was overwhelming and she ate it...well actually mangled would be a better description as no parts were missing. I was angry and let her know with my tone that she had crossed a boundary. I gave her a squeaky toy.

And pulled from deep in the cart my old retired pen that had traveled the world with me. I smiled at the memories it evoked as I carefully put it where I thought it was hidden and out of reach of my curious girl. Plus I thought she would be over the fascination AND would remember disappointing me.

Steve's expression when he came in after dinner caused me to sigh before asking a terse "WHAT?" He held out my red pen, my Tombow. It was chewed from clip to cap. I could not even remove the endpiece.

Bailey walked in behind him, her head hung low. "Why?" I asked her. "I ASKED you not to eat my pens. This was important to me!" She slunk from the room as I chanted, "it is only a thing, it is not important."


January 10, 2018

White Dog called Bella out from under the chair. Miss B thought she was in trouble at first and came out timidly.

WD nosed a package over to her. "This came in the mail for you." With Steve's help, she tore open the envelope and pulled out the contents.

"Surprise!" WD told her. "It is a just because gift for you. Momma and I saw this pattern and we both thought it would look so nice on you that we had to get it."
Steve transferred tags from Bella's old collar to the new one as Bella, who takes a while to become comfortable with change, thought about a new "look." With her unsure nod, he snapped the strip around her neck. She shook to put it in place.
"It is hard to see with your all of your floof," White Dog told her. "But it is perfect and the pattern just sings Happy Tiny Dancer."

The rest of the White Dogs gathered around to see her new accessory and to compliment before Bella ran off to the hallway where Steve held the closet door open so she could see herself on the mirror hanging there.

She smiled then darted back under the chair.


January 9, 2018

White Dog said, "She thinks she is helping. Thank dog you have such a good memory." If only...I thought.

Bailey has decided that my life would be less complicated if I did not have so many lists so she has made it her duty to root out those bits of paper where I scribble "to dos," ideas I want to remember, thoughts about upcoming menus, and general stuff I just do not want to forget. Some are written on the backs of envelopes; some live on sticky notes; some are seriously just scraps. I deal with the item, cross it off and then toss the note. Bailey eliminates the middle steps and just chews up the note.

Of course, that does leave me often without a vital link or directionless. Spittle wadded bits the size of your pinky nail do not reassemble well.

I have explained that she ADDS work and frustration rather than eliminates it but Bailey feels that I am stubbornly clinging to a narrow perspective. "Free yourself," she advocates. "How important can it be if you can't remember it."

She almost gets me with THAT argument.
Look closely to see microscopic scraps of my ideas for the weekend


January 8, 2018

White Dog leaned against my face and whispered, "Don't move, momma, Zsofia is sleeping; just hold your bladder. If you shift you will wake her"
"Can I at least squirm?" I asked. "DON'T move."


January 7, 2018

White Dog tugged at Steve's pants and nodded toward the living room. "THAT explains a lot!" she laughed.

January 6, 2018

White Dog met us at the door arrayed by almost all of the White Dog Army. While the others sang a song of abandonment and relief, she adopted a calm disappointed tone.

"We were very worried," she started. "You told us that you would only be gone for a little while and at most dinner might be half an hour later than normal. It is now ninety minutes beyond when we generally eat...an hour and a half. Do you have any idea how upsetting this is to our digestive systems (Not that I wish distress on any of us)?"

Steve already had taken Stormer out for a break and was in the kitchen preparing meals. We met friends for a very early dinner but the restaurant was crowded and service slow. It was not as though we thoughtlessly were tabula rasa about our furbabies; our friends have twelve dogs themselves so much of the dinner conversation revolved around dogs. They, too, had not yet fed dinner to their pack. Both families had gotten copious treats before we met at 5:30.

A nonpet guardian would not understand the fuss in this all nor would they make much sense of the pre-leaving sequence. I carefully explain to White Dog and whatever members of the White Dog Army who gather where we are going, our list of things to do, the approximate timetable, and when we hope to return. All are reminded of White Dog's authority while we are gone and all are asked to be on best behavior. Hugs and pets are given as we inch toward the door and I turn back to tell them I love them all and that we will be back just as quickly as we can. We wave from the car as we back down the drive.

"But, Little White Dog of My Heart, the timeline is an approximation and we all did focus on getting home to you and your dinners quickly." Then I stopped myself. "White Dog you are making me feel bad about spending a short evening with friends we see only once or twice a year. Instead you should be glad that our circle includes those who empathize with your needs and are not insulted by our startling at the time and rushing through the last half hour of our dinner. Dad has the WDA dinner ready now and I know he added some extras as a thanks for your patience. Go, enjoy your meal. Know you are loved. And remember there are many pups not eating anything tonight." I kissed her head.