(This is just another crazy post from the life of Andy.)
I think I need to set some considerable background, in order for this little tale to make sense. For the last 15 years, I have been “blessed” with the privilege of raising two husky dogs. I bought them as pups, a year apart. Baby Huskies are just so very cute – little balls of irresistible fluff. Contrary to popular belief, Huskies are actually not a large dog. My girls stand around knee high. What could go wrong?
For the first few years, the girls were just a little stupid, boisterous but quite trainable with patience. Oh, they caused a bit of damage to the skirting boards, the odd book left on the floor, some shoes and even a lounge chair. But, puppies will do that. They’ll grow out of it.
So they did. That’s when they began to cause damage to local animals. The first sign was when they chewed into our quite strong wire mesh aviary (we aren’t talking chicken wire here!) and killed all the birds. Then, they killed my cat. The neighbour lost two cats as well. As the years went by, I lost count of the possums, water dragons, blue tongues and other critters that met a grizzly fate. Before you judge, it’s instinct for them! If it small and it moves, then they feel the need to kill it. “Oh,” says Andy. “That’s why people say they aren’t far removed from the wolf!”
Another disturbing habit that emerged over the years was the fact that one of them (my little Kian) feels the need every six months or so to try to show me that she is the dominant one in the pack. Fat chance babe! We’ve had quite a few … “discussions”… about that very fact. I’m quite confident that she loves me as much as I love her, so neither of us have actually done any lasting damage to the other. But, I can tell by my Rozie’s white face that when Kian and I need to chat, it’s probably a little scary to the untrained eye.
Anyways, the point of all this is that I can actually control a dog. I’ve always kept the likes of German Shepherds and Huskies. You learn pretty quickly how to train those dogs or the dog trains you.
Then, along comes my Rozie with her two…. little, fur ball “dogs.” Shozzie and Louie are cross Maltese and Silky Terriers from a single litter. The height of half my dogs suddenly decreases from knee to ankle high.
Louie, the boy dog, was pretty much out of control. He was the alpha male of the pack. His three bitches (Rozzie, her adult daughter and Louie’s sister included) pretty much did what they were told. That lasted about two weeks when I came on the scene. Here were two dogs that might take off a toe, but they were never gunna rip my throat out! Mind you, little Shoz was always such a good little girl. While Louie escaped on a regular basis to terrorise the neighbourhood, Shoz just stayed home and looked worried.
Three years later, and Shozzie passes from cancer. Louie is distraught. He is alone for the first time in his long life. After the neighbours complained about his crying during the day, I decided I needed to leave him inside. Cleaning dog crap can’t be such a big deal, can it? Oh, but wait, the little bugger cries at night too. Eventually, I crack. The poor, stupid geriatric thing can sleep in my room. That quickly becomes “sleep in my bed” because he won’t go to the toilet in it. Okay, I get woken occasionally, but not often. All seems good (for a few weeks).
The other night, Louie was a shocker. Now, I don’t sleep very well, so I tend to go to bed late. By then, I am tired and grumpy. Being woken by a dog panting in my face (I’m thirsty, Dad) and shaking his stupid head (my ears are itchy) is not my idea of fun. Big dog instinct cuts in. Bugger this. I grab the fur ball and throw him out of the front veranda. Don’t worry, his water goes out there as well. What can go wrong? If he poos, I’ll clean it up in the morning. And so, I snuggle back down and drift off to la la land. All is good.
I wake to the terrified screaming of my Rozzie. “Louie is on the roof!”
I’m thinking, “Don’t be stupid, he can’t climb.”
“Andrew, he’s on the garage roof!”
The stupid bugger has pushed himself through the veranda railings, onto the garage roof. Bear in mind, we are talking about a dog that is half blind and mostly deaf. Oh look! He’s wandering around the edge of a roof right beside a big drop. Did I mention, his back legs don’t work too well?!
Anyway, eventually Roz managed to get him off the garage roof. He went to the Vet the next day and got stuff for his ears. Meanwhile, I am now cooking and doing the dishes to try to make up for the fact that I didn’t actually get out of bed. What’s worse? - a murderous Husky, or a Silktese Terror?!
LOL. You can see what happens, can't you? They are so damn cute... That one looks exactly like my second Husky - Tahalia. Kian is black and white with bright blue eyes. To be honest, neither of the big girls is EVER going to share my bed!
I feel for all of you. Thank goodness you found him before he fell off the roof or you would be dead meat Andy.
I have three small dogs - this year one turns 12 and the other two turn 11, so they're getting on. They're all frisky and happy but Gretel has a inoperable brain tumour causing Cushings disease and requiring very expensive meds daily. If she doesn't get the meds she can't control her apetite or drinking and this leads to urine leakage (they have free rein on my couch and bed) and fits with vomiting. Gret's fixation with food means that she tries (and often succeeds when I'm trying to focus on something else and can't stand her pleading anymore) to force me to feed her sooner than usual. She gets the other dogs into the same state and they all start hassling.
Freya, actually my daughters dog, is going blind. She now walks into things and often needs to be carried down the stairs, depending on how the light is shining in her face. She often walks into Hugo who is black and he objects strongly to being walked on so there's a bit of a barny. She can no longer come through the dog door on her own so she stands outside and bangs it repeatedly until I come and open the door. Screaming out encouragement and endearments does no good, I have to go open the door.
Hugo is pretty good...thank god. He is hairy and pants a lot these days in the hot weather. He does moult everywhere despite my grooming. Freya moults a lot too despite her very short hair. My house is full of dog hair. It gets everywhere, absolutely everywhere.
Everywhere I walk, they walk. We're a pack. I can't walk anywhere in the house or yard without my aging pack underfoot. They sleep with me too - a left over from my kids who started this habit, but they're actually really good in bed and don't disturb me normally. And I have no highset verandah to leave them on.
Glad you took Louie to the vet.
That makes me feel surprisingly better, Lissa. I know it's wrong - but so long as somebody else is suffering as well, we always feel okay.
;) nothing like suffering together. And there's only one Louie and 6/7 (?) of you whereas there's just one of me and three old dogs.
I do love my dogs, they give me so much. But by heavens they are heavy going as they get older. Just gotta give that little bit extra.
Our old dog was a yellow Lab called Bessie. She was a fixture most afternoons at the dog park all her life, so when she got old and mostly deaf and mostly blind, we couldn't reasonably stop taking her. We'd stand around chatting to the other owners and Bessie would stand around demanding pats. If any of the other dogs approached her at anything other than a slow walk from directly front on (between the cataracts) she would bark and growl like the grumpy old bitch she had become. Any neutral observer would have thought her the most horrible dog in the dog park, and they certainly wouldn't have understood why she wasn't just tolerated but universally adored. Every time she threatened to tear another dog apart (if only she could find it), the owner of the poor innocent dog would say, "that's right, Bessie, you tell 'em!" She was known as the Queen of the Dog Park and everyone else just had to fit in.
Lovely story Rob. I hope she went peacefully.
I really think she did, Lissa. Incredibly, the first person to find her was my brother, even though he lives in Canberra and rarely visits (we visit him because he's got babies). Then within fifteen minutes, all three siblings were home, even though we hadn't all been together for a couple of years before that. We struggled to muster up many tears, actually, because it was time to go and she'd had such a good life.
Also, she'd lost her appetite in the 48 hours or so before she went. For a labrador no appetite is pretty serious stuff.
Yes, that's the cue to call the vet.
Not in my world.