May 21, 2018

White Dog and the Army let me know the storm was coming well before I got the Weather Alert. Even before the trees showed the wind changing, their unease told of air pressure shifts. Before the clouds rolled in the WDA restlessness let me know that we were about to come into nasty weather.

Everyone scurried into the office until we were overcrowded. Thankfully Steve was home today and Zso, Roman, Nilla, and Pearl were able to seek sanctuary cuddled with him on the couch so that every pup had an anchor.

We crunched together as a wicked wind kicked up scraping branches against the house and blowing devils of dust down the street. At the first grumbles of thunder, Roman climbed into Steve's lap and Opal crawled under my desk.

And then the heavens opened and water poured down in sheets thick and insistent. The WDA gave a collective shudder when the lights flickered but took a deep breath when we did not lose power. It seemed like a positive thing and made us hope that the fury would settle into a nice constant rainfall quickly.

When hail began pinging, we all nervously looked up...and at the windows. The pinging became an assault and soft whimpering could be heard. Steve gave a round of distractor treats but even he stopped to stare out of the window at the hail collecting like snow on the ground. Treats were enjoyed with one eye watching the sky or yard.

It took almost an hour, a  long storm by Albuquerque standards, until we felt the air relax and heard the noise gentling. We allowed ourselves peeks through the dog door and a moment of amazement...but not bravery. Not even the Snow Girls, Zofia and Bailey, wanted to run out into the hail "Snow".

The storm had moved beyond us but I did not mind a bit when Bella pressed against me and said, "Is it OK if I just stay close for a while longer?"


May 20, 2018

White Dog paused on her way outside and looked back over her shoulder.
"What?" Zsofia challenged. "Can't a couple of sisters just innocently hang out together?" "We're not doing ANYTHING, just sitting here." Bailey mumbled.

May 19, 2018

White Dog avoided the congestion of gawkers crowded in the hallway outside the bathroom. Tizenegy was in the tub, getting his first official White Dog Army spa day.

His noises had attracted the curious; they were not cries of fear or pain but strange little alien honks and chirps...and an occasional WOOF.

In this adventure, we learned Tizenegy does NOT like being carried. He yelled at Steve the entire 50' from his bed to the bathtub.And then he yelled when Steve set him down.

Tiz was patient but refused to admit he enjoyed the cool soapy water and Steve's massage during the bath. His tail swished left and then right to make sure Steve got all of the spots with a bit of grime or loose furs.

All scrambled for cover as we learned Tizenegy prefers to shake it off while walking rather than be towel dried. His furs hold LOTS of water...AND he twists his body to fling the wetness with a good force (even Bailey in the way back of her kennel got wet).

Steve lifted him up to our bed covered in multiple layers of towels, as is the tradition, to blot dry and cuddle post bath.Our boy just was not sure about being up on the human bed. He sat rather than reclined and draped his head over my shoulder as he squirmed to find a way through the Army surrounding us so that he could jump down.

NOPE to nail trim; overload of new experiences. ABSOLUTELY NO buzzing things (like the trimmer) near the backside. And I can hear you just fine so put the ear cleaning stuff BACK in the drawer.

White Dog tapped my foot and indicated that her brother had been pushed as far as he could stand and that maybe those other grooming tasks could be introduced later, one at a time.

Tizenegy was calm enough to remember to ask, "There ARE treats after all of this, right?"


May 18, 2018

White Dog understood just how significant this moment was. Bless my girl and our connection.

I was having a rough afternoon as we approached Sachi's Gotcha Day this weekend. His loss is still hard and raw. Across the day, the White Dog Army came up to me at work and offered extra love. Their sensitivity was an anchor I could cling to.

At one point a small head bump against my leg called for my attention. I dropped my hand next to me as I finished the thought I was typing and stroked smooth, silky furs.

I did not recognize by touch who was there and I looked down. The moment was one I would have gladly frozen for a hundred years. I have waited SO LONG to run my fingers through Pearl's coat and stroke her side. Long ago I stopped expecting or feeling disappointed; leaving Pearly to travel her transition at her own rate.

Three years after joining the WDA, Pearl was there, beneath my hand, willingly offering herself to my touch. I almost pulled back out of not wanting to appear too eager but she met my eyes with a genuine honest invitation. She pressed her head against me. It was an incredible gift.

She stood next to me for a long time in Pearl intervals. Then she moved a few steps and curled up on the mat next to me.

Sometimes there are no words. I smiled at her. "Thank you. I love you."

She may never allow such intimacy again or maybe we broke through some barrier and this will become our new normal, I do not know. But it filled my soul to overbrimming.

When I looked over at her a bit later, her eyes were closed and she slept.


May 17, 2018

White Dog nuzzled her brother's side. "He so loves meal time and eats with such gusto. It is hard when you have so few teeth to keep the noms from dribbling out a little. But it gets all over poor Tizenegy's furs and he HATES being brushed out, especially there."

"Maybe brother needs a bib," Zso started to giggle. I gave her a sharp look. "Do not be mean. No one likes when they feel messy."

I used a wet soap cloth and did a bit of spot cleaning until Tiz lost patience and walked away.

To WD I quietly thought out loud. "A bib. I wonder how we could make it work so it did not fall into the food and also looked stylish."


May 16, 2018

White Dog let out a sigh of relief; Bailey barely raised her head from where she lay next to me. Dr. Julia had just called with Bai's blood  work and all was perfectly normal.
You can tell Bailey was VERY anxious about the test results.

We were a little concerned when we were at our vet's office Monday with Bailey to have a small hard bump that our blue-eyed girl developed over the past couple of weeks looked at. Dr. Julia examined it and measured. "These are usually benign little tumors. They are like moles. Let's just watch and we will take further action if it changes at all or if she needs anesthesia for teeth or something, although her teeth look pretty good."

"Do we want to do blood work on my girl?" I asked. "I don't think we have a baseline on her."

Dr. Julia began leafing through Bailey's chart. "We have one from when she was here in March," she said pulling out the printout and looking at it. Her forehead furrowed and she went back into the chart. "Why was she here last time?"

Steve filled in the information before I could mentally recall...or our vet could read through the notes. "That was when she ate Sue's pill box, her pill container, and her daily dose of heart meds. She was here for the day for IV and observation."

I nodded back at the old blood report. "Problem?"

"Her liver values on this are all over the place. It might have just been her system filtering your meds but I would feel better if we ran a new panel including chemistry. Better to make sure it was anomaly that won't come back to haunt us."

Bai climbed with resignation to her feet just as Rosie came into the exam room. "Relax, Big Girl, I can take your blood right here and you don't need to leave momma. Should have the complete results Wednesday."

Dr. Julia rubbed the side of Bailey's face. "But we are not going to worry until then. I will call when I get the report."


May 15, 2018

White Dog mumbled, "You are about to jump to conclusions."

All of a sudden ALL of the White Dog Army was crowded into the office with us, sort of uneasy. I looked around the room and wondered.

THEN I glanced down the hallway. The wooden floor was a lake of wetness with pools in several spots. White Dog was right. "What the HECK," I demanded, "is going on? Really?" I was just working up to a stern momma lecture about house manners and stupid games when WD theatrically gazed down the hall, looked pointedly UP, and then down again.

"OMD!" I cried, "the CEILING is leaking. And in two places and at a pretty good drip rate. What the..."

Anything involving UP and leaking this time of year, especially when it is dry and sunny, means issues with the Swamp Cooler...which means roof. I went out to the kitchen and turned the thing off. Then I called Steve.

It was a come home NOW call despite the meeting he was in. I got out the mop but the water was too much for me to handle without fear of slipping; meantime the WDA and I sat in the office watching the dripping and praying the problem was easily fixed...without lots of plaster work.

Steve rushed through the door and immediately (in work clothes) went out and up. The Army followed explaining what they knew of the situation and complaining the wetness impeded their normal traffic patterns.

He came back in and announced that the fix, at least stopping the leak, was an easy one. The "spider" element of the evaporative cooler that sprays water through multiple legs to wet the cooling pads had become disconnected from the line that brings water to the roof. The water was just pouring into the fan and then into the house vents. Shutting the water off stopped the flow.

But of course the water had soaked the ducts and dripped through where they joined.

"Thank goodness our dog treats come in those handy buckets," WD said as she helped Steve engineer a solution. Steve's immediate fix was low-tech: buckets under the two areas dropping water. Everything would need to dry out. The WDA were intrigued by these new stations being set up in the hallway. Each had to sniff, wag at the cookie smell, put a nose inside the bucket, and pull back at the realization that it was just water.

Steve had to give a group lesson on the obstacle course that now defined the hall. Not a single White Dog would pass the buckets and we feared that would create OTHER wetness problems in other parts of the house.

"You know, dull and uneventful is grossly underrated," I told Steve and the WDA. "Gotta get back to the meeting," Steve laughed. "I will stop on my way home and pick up a few things we might need and hopefully we can get all put back together before dark. Plan a late dinner."

The White Dog Army looked up at that...groaned...and shook paws at the Cosmic Lords of Jest.   


May 14, 2018

White Dog has watched snakey come into the house as a "YoYoMa LOVES this toy and it got left behind when he traveled from California." We searched all over town to find one...and it had to be green...and it had to be waiting when he arrived. Green for the blind boy.
It turned out he was fixated on the bees...and Puff claimed snakey as her own.
Across the passage of years, snakey lost squeakers, eyes, tail segments, but there was never a discussion of replacing snakey.

When Zsofia came to us, our Darkest Big Eared Baby Girl loved the toy and even though it was longer than she was she dragged it everywhere. And she worked to "customize" the length.

One by one segments were gnawed off. Snakey's song was also getting shorter (each segment contained its own unique sounding squeaker). One of Zso's favorite share it games was to bring the green toy over and ask you to "make it sing." If you squeaked in the correct pattern she would take the toy, create a new song and then dance in a circle "kill it dance" of slamming the toy against the floor.
This is snakey today. Many attempts to replace snakey have been made but she has been rescued from the garbage and hidden to protect her. So she endures.

Opal, our current collector and player of toys is a smart, fast learner and has picked up on making snakey sing. She will often bring the partial snake over to me and make it squeak. At the sounds, Zso comes running and stands shifting her weight impatiently. When Opal is done, she carefully puts snakey in the crate.
The moment Opal leaves the room,Zsofia rushes over and "rescues" the singing sensation. She and I must then play together to "make her sing" which causes Opal to return at a trot. Zso carries snakey into the living room where they wait together for morning coffee...and where snakey rests, forgottenas we drink, until Opal quietly lifts her up and carries her back into the bedroom before beginning her post breakfast nap.


May 13, 2018

White Dog nudged Nilla toward Steve's waiting arms. "Come on, Nils, we have a special surprise just for you!"

All three went out to the deck where Steve had set up an x-pen so that Nilla could safely enjoy outdoor time in the early morning before it gets hot and not be rushed to do her business and come back inside.

"What do you think," White Dog asked her sister. Nilla was thrilled to be considered. There was water and a length of carpet to provide comfort. She could listen to the birds sing and watch the sunlight flutter in leaf shadows. Fresh air and gentle breezes offered a tranqil gentle entry into the day. Steve hoped a little outdoor time would make being gated in the kitchen all day less onerous.

He explained that he would leave her out on the deck while he finished morning prep and then he and WD went back inside.

He stopped about three minutes later and turned to White Dog. "Come with me. I just had a brilliant idea." WD followed him back out to the deck.

"Can I borrow your pen for a minute, Nilla?" he asked her and unclipped the connection.

Our deck narrows to a wide walk path as it transitions into the house entry. There are built in benches on either side of what becomes the "walkway" to the inside.

Steve stretched one end of the pen to the bench on the right. WD quickly saw the plan and sat against it as he stretched the other end to the bench on the left. "Look, Nilla, this way you get the entire deck to wander and enjoy in peace."

He looked at the panels and found he could configure the pen to become a trapezoid wall that became a self-standing barrier.  Nilla wagged excitedly and WD high-fived her dad. "Dad, you are a genius!"

I think Nilla agreed.

May 12, 2018

White Dog put Pearl in charge of watching for the mailman and Bella took up the post next to her. The rest of the White Dog Army followed Steve into the kitchen. He was carrying an empty box.

WD reminded everyone that today was the National Association of Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Our postman would be collecting donations as they delivered the mail. "Let's be generous," she said as she pushed her snooter into the pantry.

"Wow! There are SIX cans of soup here! Into the box," WD started the discussion. Zsofia and Opal were over by the shelves. "We can share dried pasta," Opal said. "It is good for several meals," she brought over two packages and added to Steve's box. "And what is pasta without sauce?" Zso wooed as she nudge two jars off the shelf and rolled them over to the collection.

Roman was standing, feet on the counter, looking up to the cupboard. "An assortment of canned beans would be nutritious. And they can be used lots of ways.," he said.

"Blueberry muffin mix," Bella shouted from the living room. "It would be a nice Sunday breakfast treat. Being poor should not mean you can't enjoy a treat."

"Oh, mac and cheese. Who doesn't love that?" Nilla added.

Steve's box was nearly full. "I just picked up powdered milk to restock our supply but I can get another later." He added the box to the stash.

"Can we squeeze in one more thing?" Bailey and Tizenegy said at the same time. "We have  those sample packets of dog and cat food. Can we add those?" "I don't know if they will accept pet things but let's assume yes," Steve told them. "Good!" Tizenegy ran over and counted. "We have 5 dog food samples and 3 for cats." Bai tucked in a bag of lentils.

Just then Pearl sounded the alert. Bella ran out to the kitchen. "The mailman is coming! We HAVE to get this box on the doorstep. STAT!" The Army blizzarded Steve to the door and barked to make sure the postman knew he was to take THAT with him. The WDA song followed him back to his truck where he deposited the box before continuing his route.

"I think we helped," White Dog said, "but that task made me hungry." She was met with an Army's agreement. "Any chance there might be a good job reward?