July 24, 2016

White Dog jumped at the opportunity to go to the park AND be spokesdog at the Meeting in the Park AND use her acting skills. "Come on!" she chided us. "Let's GO!" "Sweetheart, the meeting is not until one, we have two more hours."

Of course, the rest of the White Dog Army, Zsofia in particular, wanted to join us but the temperature was in the upper nineties and the entire Army can sometimes intimidate new or smaller members of the group. Plus Zso wants to talk the entire time I am giving a presentation. "After dinner if it is cooler, Dad will play Frisbee with you in the yard, Zso. And the rest of you can go out with him and play "catch me" or fetch." That, and a round of treats appeased all but Zso who sadly sang of wanting Park time. "Next time," I promised.

White Dog had a bit of time to do zoomies across the grass at the Park before settling in the shade under the trees where chairs were set up. Out of the beating sun it was almost pleasant and a slight breeze was much appreciated.

At the meeting the discussion topic was better understanding the language of dogs..."quick" reads for of dogs around you in public...and a more thorough discussion of communicating with your own pup by understanding tail movements; head, ear and eye positions; vocalizations; and calming signals. White Dog was my model to demonstrate in real life the various positions and expressions described as the group followed the handout.

As expected White Dog was the Meryl Streep of acting the various moods and body language we discussed. Her portrayal was so spot on, that she opened a wonderful conversation about how other dogs express themselves and the individual quirks that color the general communication...like Rascal whose mom shared that he asked for special attention by jumping into her lap and placing his paws around her neck. White Dog paws our leg. It was a great exchange.

To reward her efforts Steve treated us to ice cream after . He and WD shared a vanilla waffle cone at the drive-in. Her happy expression and enjoyment of some alone time were easy to read.


July 23, 2016

White Dog helped me choose the Sichuan items for tonight's opera picnic. And then sort of shooed us out of the house to go pick up the order (tonight was a carry out picnic) and head to Santa Fe. "I wonder why no one seemed too concerned that we were leaving," I asked Steve as we got into the car. "It is far enough into the season that I think every pup has finally figured out that we will be home AND they will get a special treat," was his response. "White Dog did have me order extra pot stickers and shrimp buns just for the WDA," I agreed.

The food was a delicious prelude to the Strauss opera, Capriccio, even if it had no thematic connection. "Sure it does, momma," WD had argued earlier. "The opera is about entering the modern world. What is more modern that being able to order foods from all over the world and pick it up ready to enjoy?"

As we munched on steamed dumplings, vegetable rolls, and scallion pancake a brief storm blew over the ridge and added a rainbow for our dining pleasure. During tofu and vegetables with black bean sauce and chicken chow fun the lightening danced and entertained. The sun came back out as we finished with coconut tarts and strawberries.

The opera was well presented and thought-provoking. And the rain had left the area for the long ride home. We entered the house to White Dog shouting in glee..."Bring on the noms, no chopsticks needed." All of the WDA gathered around Steve who was carry the blue tote.

"What is this," he asked as he paused to look into the hallway. Then, "Oh my, you have been busy!" as he entered the kitchen. Apparently the rush to get us out of the house earlier had been to make way for the puppy frat party that seemed to have taken place while we were gone. 

The hall was littered with batting from the line of dead stuffies trailing to the dog door and beyond. Our bed covers were pulled back and the sheet a work of modern beaver-ing...stick bits and shreds and actual branches covered the surface. Steve clucked and I heard him say, "Really, not one of you has EVER been interested in the toilet paper before. What the heck?" The soap dish was lying on the floor and the soap, covered in white floof, was in the hall. "Somebody got an icky mouthful," he announced.

The WDA was sitting patiently in front of me waiting for their apr├Ęs opera snack and story. I shook my head at all of them. "You made all this work for dad, and there is too much here for it to have been just one of you." Steve handed me the grocery list I had begun and left on my cart; it was torn and half-eaten. "What went on?" Steve returned to hand me the flour canister; the knob had been chewed off. "Maybe you don't deserve treats?" Steve once again walked past the Army to hand me the bag of rice (Hold it here he told me; there is a hole in the bag). Then he walked into the bathroom with the mop in hand.
I sighed. "You guys. An entire Army melt down? There is only one more opera left. You KNOW it is only a few Saturdays every year." I remembered how several times during the evening, a wonderful night out, I had stopped and thought about the ones at home waiting. I imagined how much harder it was from their perspective waiting without distraction or ability to read the clock and find comfort in knowing it would just be 30 more minutes. 

I kissed heads and gestured for Steve to stop and breathe. "This was dad's favorite opera of the season," I told them as I shared a pot sticker with each.


July 22, 2016

White Dog nodded her approval.

In the middle of the room CA Stormer rested with his head on his paws. Zsofia had been lying across my feet before she stretched her full length flailing her legs as she turned to occupy the space between CA and me. Her paws landed on his shoulder and she looked directly into his face.

I held my breath. Stormer is still adjusting to life in a big family and often is uncomfortable when his space is invaded. He had an awful time whenever  Puff sat near him and looked into his eyes. Several times he snapped at our Little Old Lady. And now Zso was touching him AND looking at him.

I moved forward in my chair when our darkest White Dog tilted her snout back next to his face in a silly "let's play" motion. I feared poor Stormer would freak out at this intrusion. Zsofia was in a pretty vulnerable position. The last thing I wanted was a physical outburst.

Stormer turned his head to see Zsofia out of his good eye. His muscles bunched. The "baby" woo'd him. He grunted. Then he shifted turning to face the opposite direction. Stormer then put his head back on his paws.

My heart started beating again. Zsofia nudged his back. She got no response. Zso twisted and rolled again coming back against me. All four legs straight in the air, she peddled for my attention. And got a belly rub.

To CA I whispered, "Good job, Buddy! Well handled!"


July 21, 2016

White Dog Throwback Thursday. "Once they were all mine..."


July 20, 2016

White Dog is a dainty and elegant eater. She has impeccable manners and is reserved at the table. Like all of the White Dog Army she is also a Master of Stealth able to silently and invisibly carry out elaborate plans involving hiding something or theft or retaliation or advancing an agenda...a floofy white ninja, if you will.

She was sitting next to me as I finished lunch. All of the White Dog Army had solicited and received their tithe of two bites (one from me and one from Steve) of our turkey sandwiches. Contented...or at least convinced that they would get no more...the WDA had settled down for a post luncheon naps. Except White Dog.

Without a word, I lifted the bread cover off the remains of the sandwich and extracted the turkey there. Silently, I put my finger to my lips and then handed the deli meat to the Little White Dog of My Heart.

It took three seconds of her lip smacking and noises of enjoyment to alert the others that some pup was receiving treats and to send them rushing to check out the source. I held up my hands to show there was nothing there but WD's blissful chewing of a tiny scrap of turkey long ago down her gullet told them that momma was playing favorites.

"Thanks a lot, Baby Girl! Tried to give you a little special something and now all of the others are mad at me. It feels like you did that on purpose just to show off to the others." She looked around the room where the others had migrated to see if Steve still loved them and then pawed my leg asking for more.

July 19, 2016

White Dog said, "Tongue Out Tuesday is kind of undignified isn't it?" She looked at the photo Steve had taken earlier, "Then again, considering..."


July 18, 2016

White Dog pointedly looked into the toy bins. Both were completely empty. The White Dog Army has no shortage of toys, balls, stuffies and other pup enjoyment accessories. Normally, well when things are cleaned up for company, the paraphernalia fills two plastic crates.

There was not a single thing in either the brown or the green tote. White Dog theatrically moved from one all the way around to the other to peer deeply and sniff for quite some time. "OK, I get," I said. "Where ARE all of the toys?"

She pranced down the hall into the bedroom and then paused to look over her shoulder. As a child I learned watching Lassie television shows that this action was the universal dog signal for "Come on! Follow me!" So, I followed after her.

We startled Opal awake. She was sound asleep lying on a mattress made up of all the missing toys. Opal jumped to her feet unsure whether to run or to try to save her stash of treasures. She quickly compromised by grabbing the unstuffed fox and running out of the dog door.

Zsofia appeared out of no where, calmly lifted the old wretched green snakey from the heap and then she, too, went through the portal...with Sachi on her heels carrying the baby green tennis ball.

Opal slunk back inside and used her giraffe neck skills to grab the leg of the stuffed moose before bolting back into the yard.

"Hey," I called after her. "Who is going to bring those all back into the house...and put everything into the toy bins?" I looked down expecting White Dog to be there and to agree with me, but she disappeared at my mention of cleanup.


July 17, 2016

White Dog and the rest of the White Dog Army didn't even rise to rush to the door when we left to run errands. It was too hot. Tail thumps against the floor and slightly lifted heads to say "hurry home" were our sendoff.

The game plan had been to load up the crock pot early this morning so that we could create a health dinner without heating up the house but the early hours had been hectic and the window of opportunity was missed. Now it was early evening. I prepared to suffer the consequences of our lapse and to actually cook.

White Dog was horrified. "You are not planning to turn on the stove or oven are you, momma?"  she asked eyes wide. "Sweet Girl," I explained. "The dinner hour is nearly upon us and we need to make a meal. You and the White Dog Army have your kibble and Dad's mackerel mixture all ready and waiting in the freezer. We are not so fortunate. And we used all of the salad fixings for the opera picnic. So, yes, I am afraid I must add to the heat."

She turned beseechingly to Steve. WD hopped up next to him and rested her head against his shoulder. Using every bit of guile she possessed she pressed for a different solution.

"White Dog wants you to order pizza," I told the oblivious Steve. "She thinks if you do that, the WDA will get to share and nobody will have to eat boring house food on this hot night." Steve looked at her thoughtfully.

"Don't even think it," I warned him. "You know we are on a tight savings plan right now. That is an indulgence we do not need." White Dog offered Steve her belly and the others crowded around him. "Let me just see if the pizza place has any coupons." I knew we were lost.

"While you are all waiting please wrap up and put the pork chops and green beans back in the refrigerator." I huffed.

Zsofia trotted over. "We could eat the green beans now while we are waiting," she wooed. "You know we all love raw green beans." I looked at her and Steve quietly suggested they all go in the kitchen to put things away and get bowls ready.

YoYoMa stopped on his way out to help just to let me know. "Dad ordered lentil soup and the veggie appetizer for you. He said you are not as big a fan of pizza as we are. Wasn't that nice?" I smiled...

...and when he joined the others in the kitchen I sighed to myself..."Kids, all of them. Just big kids."


July 16, 2016

White Dog and the rest of the White Dog Army tried to stall our leaving for the opera. "Have you both had potty breaks?' White Dog asked. "Can we have one more round of treats? I know we just ate but it WILL be a long time until you return," from Opal. No one really wanted us to go.

Normally there is a bit of resistence and begging eyes but all know that they will have a quiet evening and we will return with special treats. To make sure that treats were ready, I had earlier in the day cut up WDA portions of the chicken breasts that was to be part of our pre-Opera picnic and placed them in the fridge. No matter what, the WDA would be guaranteed luscious chicken limon.

Their concern was not missing us or the potential of there being no treats it turns out.

Every year the local business association closes off famous Route 66, just a half black from our home, to host a full day and evening of Summerfest, combination street party, fair, and neighborhood bother. It is one of the biggest summer events in the city and people crowd residential areas for parking, are noisy and leave litter everywhere. The White Dogs do not like the increased street noise and activity. Nor are they fond of the bands and other party sounds that drift over from the actual event.

To appease pups, we close all of the blinds, and turn on soothing music to play while we are gone. But they can sense the change in pace and are restless as a result. The steady stream of party goers does not relent until midnight, not much before we return.

We heard the WDA as we pulled up. They could not see us as even the blind for the looking chair was drawn but they let us know immediately that they were VERY glad we were home. As we came in and settled we thanked them for the fine job guarding our house during this terrible imposition and gushed about how brave they were during the aussault.

Steve retrieved chicken from the coldbox and offered each pup a share. After devouring that, noses pushed against the cold bag we use for picnics. "Carrot cake?" "scallop salad?" "how about even just bread and pate?"


July 15, 2016

White Dog and CA Stormer came over to complain. "None of the others want to come outside and exercise," White Dog said, "Stormer has put together a really fun 20-minute workout and no one will leave the house to participate. It is kind of an insult to him (Stormer hung his head) AND if everyone just lays around all the time, they are going to get tubby. Maybe you need to threaten that there will be no treats."

"Sweet loves," I told them both stroking a face with each hand. "I am sure that everyone will love Stormer's activities BUT the temperature outside has been nearly 100 degrees. Even in the shade of the yard, it is too hot to exercise. I am sure you do not want any of your brothers or sisters being overcome by the heat or getting sick. The White Dog Army is doing exactly what you should all be doing...drinking lots of water and taking naps under the swamp cooler breezes."

"But momma," a frustrated WD pushed, "they are just eating and sleeping!"

"Think about how warm it has been even late at night when dad takes you all for pre-bedtime walkies. It is not as scorching as the daytime but it is certainly not weather for a brisk comfortable walk. All week you have dashed for the water bowl when you have come back and your furs are warm. And that is at 11pm."

"So no one exercises until winter?" she said as Stormer settled down onto his bed.

"No, but you must be reasonable. Maybe a couple days of the week get the WDA up early which is the coolest part of the day and go outside. But if you are outside early you must remember to be considerate of our neghbors who may still be sleeping. You know Pearl and Zsofia can get quite a song going when they are having fun. Or maybe CA can develop an inside exercise plan where no one will get overheated but will stretch and move around more. Think about it, it is not always easy to make a plan work but you are both smart."

Stormer slowly stood back up rocking to stretch first his back legs and then his front. "Like this," he told White Dog, "we could do stretchies and doggie yoga!" Suddenly he was excited again.

"Let's go do some planning," he told her. "I bet we can get everybody ot of nap mode and into workout fun...you can pick the music!"