Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Capturing a memory

Tomorrow ends my two dog weekend.

The most entertaining part of the weekend has been watching the two dogs negotiate. They are so incredibly different. I call Zelda "fluffhead" sometimes and it's because she's a long-coated JRT, so if I don't chop off her fur, which I routinely do, she can wind up looking quite fluffy. Gizmo deserves the name for other reasons. The difference between them is the difference between a guinea pig and...well, honestly, a human being. A small human being. A preschooler. Or maybe a toddler. The kind of human being who understands some of what you say but is often confused by your choices and motivations. Versus...a guinea pig. Poor Gizmo might, in fact, be the dumbest animal I have ever met. Cute, yes, but completely oblivious to everything.

Gizmo doesn't jump, Zelda does. So Zelda can get places that Gizmo can't. I give them treats. Sometime later, I discover that all the treats are buried under my pillow. I scowl at Zelda. There are enough treats to go around. There is no shortage of treats. And then I lift Gizmo onto the bed, so that he can choose from the treats. Five minutes later, I'm watching Zelda try to sneak the treat away from Giz. She doesn't just take it, she stealths it away. She's like the pushy salesman, who steps a little too close so that you step away and then suddenly you realize you've moved halfway across the room and are looking at exactly what he wants you to be looking at. Manipulative.

And my lap--oh, so funny. Zelda demands her space like a cat. She doesn't debate the rules with Giz like a dog should. She just squeezes him out. If he's going to be near me, she's going to be nearer. If he's going to be on me, she's going to be more on me. It's nice for me, except for the few brief moments when I've had two twenty-pound dogs sitting on my chest (not a lot of room for air in that scenario). Then I shove them both away and say, "You're dogs! Cut it out!" and Giz looks at me blankly, with his trademarked "the lips move, I wonder if that means something" gaze and Zelda looks shame-faced before starting to lick my hand and snuggling closer and closer until she can get her tongue onto my face, too.

Giz doesn't care about rides in the car. Not at all. And when you come home, he's like, "Oh, hi. You left the room a minute ago, didn't you? How've you been?" Zelda knows exactly what's happening when we head toward the back door and does her best ears up, eyes alert, plaintive plea to come with us. When we get home, she has an extremely finely tuned sense of time. If I've been gone for just a few minutes, she's hoping that I'm changing my mind and am going to bring her, but she's not going to get too excited about the unlikely possibility. If I've been gone for more than twenty minutes but less than an hour or so, she's happy to see me, with an enthusiastic hello, paws up, tail wagging. But if I've been gone for several hours, it's insanity. Dashing from room to room, desperately trying to get into my arms, must, must-must-must, have a chance to lick my face and have me rub her belly. It's that returning-vet-greeting every time I'm gone for a few hours. When I've been gone for days, though, totally different story. It's "Oh, you're back, great, I need to go to sleep. Right now. Preferably on you, but okay if not." I come home from a trip and she crashes as if she hasn't slept in days. I'm wondering how Giz is going to react when he sees his people tomorrow. I bet he dances.

Two dogs is more than twice as much work as one dog. Walking them is not the peaceful, meditative, story-planning walk that I'm used to but more of a tug-of-war, constant attention scenario. I know that they're both perfectly capable of walking nicely on leash, but together, they get distracted and excited. Still I really like having them both here. At the moment, I'm sitting on the bed with a dog on my feet, another snuggled by my side. Also on the bed are multiple stuffed animals (Giz really likes to sleep with his toys around him) and three rawhide bones. It's almost like having a toddler again in terms of distractions and toys, except a toddler that can be left home alone.


  1. Hi Sarah, this is part of your NaNoWriMo isn't it. I am a cat person (much easier to accommodate two cats on your lap than two dogs), but this blog made me smile and want a dog. For that matter, even though I don't think I can buy cranberries this time of year here in NZ, your cranberry recipes made me want to try them.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I love dogs. I wish I could have one but it's just not possible right now. Loved hearing about your experiences, though.
    Happy holiday!

  3. Well, I'm not really posting blog stuff because of Nano, but I am trying to play less WoW, in the spirit of being more mindful about my time, so I think the blog words come out of that. Nano itself -- not going so well. I don't know why this book is so hard. Colin (our hero) and Rose (our ghost) are both delightful characters, but I keep getting stuck. I think I'm reading too much about writing and it's making me hypercritical of my own stuff. Not useful!

    I'd probably be a cat person myself if I wasn't allergic. But Zelda's cat-like enough that she's converted at least two former dog-dislikers into dog-tolerators. Gizmo, though -- pure dog. Sweet, but goofy.

    And I'd wish you a happy Thanksgiving but it's the wrong time of year for a harvest festival in New Zealand, isn't it? Do you have an equivalent April or May feast celebration?

    But happy Thanksgiving, Judy! I hope your day is filled with good food, family, and much for which to be grateful!

  4. No we don't have a harvest festival, but Easter is sort of in the autumn. Christmas is probably the main eating holiday. Most years we get three days off both Christmas and new years weeks and people do the family thing. Some people do barbecues or a picnic on the beach, some do the traditional roast - probably the same as Floridians. Outside of the occasional earthquake and volcano eruption (tiny - yesterday) it is pretty quiet here and we have a lot to be thankful for.
    All the best... (and quietly hoping you finish your book by, well I suppose it is too late for Christmas, but maybe Easter?)

  5. Oh, definitely by Easter! These characters have to start behaving by then!!