This is my 101st post. My hundredth was on the military and its research into brain injuries. I had wanted to write something pithy for the hundredth, but I thought the information on brain injury was more important than my being snarky or just griping about what all is going on in my life.
But today is a new day, and I want to share some wonderful news. Last Sunday I met my daughter and her soon to be fiancé and picked up my new dog. His name is Gus, and he is an Australian Shepard. He’s four months old and has already taken up his place in the house. Thus far he has been a really great dog, and has done little damage to things around the house. Puppies do have a tendency to want to chew on everything they can get their mouths on, but so far all that he has eaten is a pair of sandals, and torn through three sets of mini-blinds. I will say this for him, he knows how to make me laugh.
The only thing that he has not quite gotten used to yet is the two cats that share the house. Molly, the 16-year-old tuxedo cat, has been queen of the castle for a long time now, and since Hobbie, my last dog, died last year, Molly has pretty much run the place. When I got Taz, a beautiful, nearly all black, two-year old cat a few months ago, Molly had a fit. Poor Taz has to sneak around just to get to the food bowl and litter box. Taz is twice the size of Molly, but he runs from her every time he sees her. My daughter says that Molly is one of the meanest cats she has ever met, but to me she is a lover, sitting on my lap for hours.
Now Gus gets thrown into this mix of semi-chaos, and he still can’t figure out why Molly or Taz won’t play with him. When he was at my daughter’s he would play with her cat, Sadie, and they would have a blast running through the house chasing each other. He tried for the first few days to get Molly to play with him, but all she did was swat him on the nose, hiss and stand her ground until Gus backed down. I think they have come to a truce, with Gus taking the long way around the cat, and Molly just giving him the evil eye every time he comes near.
Taz and Gus are another story. They see each other, and Taz looks like he is about to have a heart attack every time he sees the dog. He won’t even scoot past Gus if Gus is laying in the hallway, but sits there mournfully meowing until I call Gus and clear the way.
Since I have as many medical problems as I do, I don’t have the energy or strength most of the time to do yard work. I spend ten or fifteen minutes trying to do something, and then my legs go out on me, and I have to rest for an hour or so. That has caused the back yard to become a literal jungle. The first night that Gus was here, I let him out into the backyard, he took one look and wanted back into the house. Over the past week now, I have slowly been cutting the grass. It took several days just to get an area clear enough for him to be willing to do his “business” but he is getting used to things. At first he didn’t even want to be anywhere near the taller areas of grass. Now, he and I will play catch, and he gleefully romps through the tall grass, making mad dashes between what is cut and what is not.
Unfortunately, his idea of fetch is to chase the ball down, grab and toss it in the air a few times, then lie down with the ball between his front paws waiting for me to come get it. I hobble my way over to him, pick the ball up and throw it again. Off he goes to repeat the little game. I need to work with him on this fetch concept, and get him to realize that HE is the one that is supposed to bring the ball to me, not bring me to the ball.
The first night he was here, I was in terrible shape after the five-hour round trip to get him. I had a friend drive, I don’t really trust myself being behind the wheel that long, and by the time we got back to my house I was shaking and worn out. It was as if Gus knew that something was wrong, and he stayed by my side the entire night, following me everywhere I went to make sure I was safe.
Over the past week he has continued this routine, staying close at hand when I start to get shaky or weak. It’s actually neat to watch. There have been a couple of days were I have been so worn that I have spent the better part of the day in bed, and he has either parked himself right at the foot of the bed, or climbed up on the bed and snuggled in behind me.
My goal is to get him certified as a service animal so I can take him with me wherever I go. Especially since there are days when I am out and I start to feel out of sorts and I get concerned. I think having him with me will help to keep me calm, which helps with the nerves, and to keep an eye on me if I do start having problems. He seems to know before I do when I am going to get shaky and start to fall out.
It’s great to have a dog again. I know that he and I will have a lot of fun together over the next decade or so. If I could only get him to stop “cleaning” the litter box.