Friday, June 29, 2012
When Bailey was seven, she attempted to jump over an eighteen inch barrier placed between the kitchen and the newly cleaned carpet in the living room. Although very athletic, she lacked the agility to jump any height, and slammed her elbow into the obstruction. She successfully cleared the jump, but blood streamed from her injury. Needless to say, the clean carpet required almost as much attention as Bailey.
A trip to the veterinarian and four stiches later, we returned home with Bailey prancing around with a newly acquired bonnet. I am sure many of you know the type of headgear she wore. Made of ¼ inch semi clear plastic, resembling an upside down lamp shade, and held in place by the dog collar she wore around her neck. The hat design prevented the wearer from licking wounds or removing stiches. It also worked as a blinder, so walking through doorways became hazardous to her health.
Her sense of distance disoriented, she became frustrated with her bonnet and attempted many means of removal. However, the hat remained in place. At dinner time, Bailey discovered her hat made it difficult to locate her food dish and impossible to eat. Anyone who spent any time with Bailey knew her favorite pastime, other than chasing squirrels, was to eat. Being a very intelligent lab, she managed to modify the shape of the inverted cone hat and devoured her meal.
After slamming into doorways for a few hours, she developed a sixth sense of her environment and safely passed from room to room. Her travels were slowed, but she safely reached her destinations. That same afternoon, my husband, Bill, took her out back to play ball. She had difficulty running to fetch her favorite squeaky white ball and soon lost interest. One can only crash into a tree so many times and then the fun is lost. Bill decided to throw her one last ball, directly towards her feet. He had confidence she would be able to pick it up and then return it to him. Imagine his surprise when she used her inverted lampshade hat to catch the ball as if it were a baseball mitt. She scooped up the ball in her hat and ran over to his feet, sat and waited for him to claim the ball.
By the end of the two weeks required for her elbow to heal and the stiches removed, she had managed to bend, crinkle, and remake her hat. No activity had been too difficult for her to manage. And her sweet mood and wagging tail remained a constant. She embraced life and its challenges with a zest we could all admire.
A few weeks later, Barkleah arrived on the scene. Bailey spent the next few years teaching him and learning from him. Next time, I will begin sharing the lessons we all learned from those two partners in crime.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Monday, June 4, 2012
I Never Asked For a Barkleah
Adding a second pet into our home was a big decision. After seven years of being the Queen bee, would our sweet, but spoiled, Lab accept a little brother? She gave us a resounding “No way.”
Here she was, a large eighty–five pound grand lady, used to having all of our attention. Now she shared us with Barkleah, a two pound cuddle-bug, who needed potty training and holding, lots of holding. Did I mention he was a lap dog? Oh, yes.
Soon after Barkleah arrived, Bailey tried to get up on the couch and sit on my lap. Being a little bottom-heavy, this was a feat to view. When she found her ability to get on the couch had vanished, she began to jump up and down in place. She barked loudly, as if to say, “You get down. These are my people, not yours.”
Poor Barkleah, long ears not yet standing upright, dug deeper into his cuddle sack and napped as if hoping she would give up and go away. Once he disappeared into the sack, Bailey wandered off and flopped onto her dog bed to replenish her energy.
Soon the two siblings appeared to develop a treaty. Bailey watched Barkleah out of the corner of her eye and began to teach him the rules.
· Rule 1: Mommy is the first to go out any door
· Rule 2: Bailey is the first dog to go out any door
· Rule 3:Bailey is fed first
· Rule 4: Bailey gets treats first
Once Barkleah was around six months old, he tried to engage Bailey in play. He instinctively knew the play bow and would greet her with excitement. Unfortunately, she had never played with another dog and had no idea what he wanted. So, he learned to play alone or with his people.
His favorite toys were all small and squeaked. He treated his toys as prey. He tossed them into the air and pounced on them as they landed onto the floor. But Bailey soon appeared on the scene to take the toy away from him or bark at him for being so noisy.
Naturally, being a terrier, Barkleah took this behavior as a challenge. He’s quite a tease. So he would squeak his toy, jump around, and upon Bailey’s approach, he’d dive under the bed in our master bedroom and pull the toy close to his chest. He knew Bailey was too large to crawl under the bed. Then the barking began. How he enjoyed watching her frustration. His coal black eyes sparkled.
To this day, teasing Bailey is his favorite pastime. And she has learned how to use his small sweet personality to get what she wants. Stop by next week and get a peek at squirrel-chasing training.