Monday, August 29, 2011

Really?! Scat?

Hounds will be hounds.... Right? I recently solved the mystery of that putrid-smelling substance which Rose periodically rolls in. Because we looked it up. In a book!! That black-as-charcoal stench which my mongrel seemingly enjoys smearing across her face, is--drum roll, please--raccoon pooh!! Hmmm. This appears to make sense. We do have occasional raccoons that wander through our backyard at night!! They must leave their droppings while passing through!! I have seen this large-sized pooh.... I swiftly dispose it within a plastic bag!! The book features accurate drawings, plus track marks and facts on various animal droppings. Including, of course, raccoon!! And its picture description matched flawlessly to what I have found lying around the backyard!! Lovely.... Whenever Rose does roll in scat, either the putrid smell or its black mark covering her mostly brown face announces that she has been naughty!! Then, suddenly, I drop everything. Rose seldom rolls in raccoon pooh at the ideal time!! I invite Uncle Michael, who, voluntarily helps me!! I find several big, ragged towels. Fetch the dog shampoo. Pick my hound up bodily and gently set her into our bathtub. Unsnap Rose's collar, which always reeks of scat. Uncle Michael turns on the water. I scrub and scrub until at last she smells like wet dog!! I apply squirt after squirt of shampoo to her neck area. More than usual. Just enough to bathe that pooh completely out of her!! It is a "dirty job", not for the easily grossed out!! Once finished, Uncle Michael tosses me a ragged towel. Finally, I take some soft, fresh-scented baby wipes and carefully rub them upon Rose's face. Until she smells clean in an impossible-to-wash area. Task complete!! Next, I apply baby wipes to her collar. Then, I wrap it around Rose's neck and fasten the buckle. My dog can be so disgusting sometimes!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lazy Summer Quotes

"The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling completely understood." ~Author Unknown

(That's what Rose does for me.... Every time!! She is such an amazing friend!!)

"To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace." ~Milan Kundera

(Or damp, dewy grass. Or the cold, cement patio grounds. Or our wood-built back porch. Or my bed!!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Know Your Dog

Mixed breed dogs are unique in many diverse ways. Their temperaments, sizes, health problems, plus behavioral issues, can vary greatly. Adopt a sweet-natured Golden Retriever, and you get an obedient, wonderful family canine. Hairy, yes. Large-sized, check. But she will be your kindly, trustworthy companion.... Forever. Adopt a versatile German Shepherd, and you might get this bored, restless, nervous dog that can act dangerously vicious. They shed, as well. But cross these twain breeds, and chances are you will get a canine with contrast temperaments!! Trust me!! He will be like a Rin Tin "Grin"!! That is no joke!! She will possess dual "personalities": Easy to train versus dominance aggression. Seriously!! She may even qualify as a creature that suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder!! And his "symptoms" could not be more different from each other!! (Sometimes happy-go-lucky, sometimes belligerent....) But then, you can adopt a Border Collie mix that, based upon her temperament, may as well be purebred!! (Breed description: He was born to herd sheep. Flocks of them. She needs to work for happiness and requires regular mental stimulation, plus physical exercise.) Basically, Border Collies have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. So how do owners of mixed breed dogs successfully train such unique four-legged beasts? Simple. Take the time to intimately become acquainted with your canine!! Her temperament. What breed he seems the most like. (If that is possible.) Research the breed. Her drive. Whatever approach works best for him, provided that it is humane. Really!! Rose is one-hundred percent hound dog in that food seems to be a major motivator for her!! Do not just verbally praise my mongrel. Find a treat somewhere!! Give it to her!! Start that tradition and she may never allow you to forget!! As Rose glances upward, tongue licking her lips.... A fine visual reminder right there!! She is also headstrong. Or stubborn. Perhaps even strong-willed. I cannot give commands to Rose in a gentle, soft tone!! No. I need my voice to remain firm, yet patient. Like I mean business. Every mixed breed canine arrives with certain special needs. If dog owners do not take the time to get to know what makes them who they are, how can we train these mutts with success?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Who's THAT Pretty Face?"

Rose is such a curious creature!! About everything!! Sometimes I am certain that if she were a child and could speak, Rose would ask me thousands of questions with each passing second!! What's that? Who's outside? Why, Mama? Oh, if only she could talk so that I can provide her mind with answers!! Our closet doors in my bedroom are tall, built-in mirrors. Ever since the beginning, when we first adopted Rose, she has appeared seemingly attracted to them!! Seriously!! Rose would be walking along, and exploring "our" new room, until she froze in place. Facing the mirror!! My mongrel's eyes would be fixated upon her reflection, almost with longing. Adorable!! I could practically see the questions just spilling out of her brain!! (Who's that pretty face? Is it a boy or a girl? Why does he have floppy ears? Can I meet him? Does she want to be my friend?) Well.... Okay. Considering the very fact that Rose can whimper or bay toward strange canines, and she was always calm during these situations, my bright girl must not have literally thought of her reflection as another dog!! Anyway. She still stares at herself today!! What a silly canine I own!! Nowadays, whenever Rose fixes her eyes upon those mirrors, she is lazily lounging around "our" bed!! That shiftless hound!! On the head of "our" bed, she rests against my fleece home-sewn Boston Red Sox pillow. Aww.... Rose's head lies upon my pillow, her eyes stare at the closet doors. Wondering. With a solemn expression written across her face in the meantime. Seemingly asking: Who's that pretty face? Is it a boy or a girl? Why does she have floppy ears? Can I meet her? Does he want to be my friend? Perhaps Rose does speak. Only telepathically. Maybe my mongrel does ask thousands of questions with each passing second!! Who knows. Now if only I were some sort of a psychic, with the cunning ability to read minds!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

R-O-S-E Spells Rose

I knew this grown woman who attended my church. As resulted to an illness, she was mentally and physically disabled. Quite severely. A unique individual this woman was!! Colorful would most likely describe her best!! Yet, what an incredible example, she was, of perseverance to me!! This woman would oft say the funniest things--like a child--and leave everyone laughing!! One Sunday, she approached me and said: "Your name has a "D" in it, because you're 'dancy' when you walk." Awww, sweet!! (My real name is not Raelyn. Seriously!! That's sort of like my "Secret Identity"!! Honest!! My given name has a "D" in it!!) Alright. So, in honor of this woman, who has since lost her battle to cancer, I have written one. About my mongrel, of course!!

Rose: Her name has an "S" in it, because she's soft-furred!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Our New Schedule

Newsflash: Over one month ago was July 4th. America's birthday. Bottle rockets and other fireworks exploded in seemingly every direction.... All weekend long. Plus several days to follow. It was madness, as always!! Ever since then, Rose has refused to partake in our daily evening walks. I would feed my mongrel her pumpkin at 9:50. Fasten the harness. Link her leash. And, around 9:55, we would step outside. Or not!! We would never even leave our front lawn before Rose's stubborn muscles tensed up!! Really?! Our goal is for Rose to urinate before bed. This has seldom occurred. The positive? She has had zero accidents!! Yes!! It feels as though I have wandered an endless circle in attempting to solve this problem. All alone. Trying to find solutions. And I have run out of ideas!! The fireworks are gone. Long gone. They are no more. The only bottle rockets which still exist are within Rose's head!! I have tried being firm. One night I gently pulled my headstrong girl--while she yanked back in return--clear down our cul-de-sac!! This took thirty minutes of tug and stop, take a breather, begin again!! It is exhausting!! Both physically and emotionally!! Not to mention, it looks terrible!! Me, pulling a poor canine down the street.... Have I no decency? I've tried being gentle to the extreme. We slowly take our time. Zero pressure. Rose can sniff bushes. She is allowed to freeze in motion. I am relaxed and completely patient with her. Yet neither option works!! I have struggled to maintain my sanity and evade frustration. But every night, I "fight with Rose"!! It reached a point to where I no longer excitedly anticipated our walks. I dread them!! But finally, I gained some wisdom. I mentally threw up my hands in surrender. So currently, our evening walks are extinct. Now, I feed Rose her pumpkin at 9:50. Next, I fasten the harness. Link her leash. And toward our backyard we go!! But not without a battle, of course!! We step out the sliding glass door. That part is easy. She cooperates fine with leaving the house!! But, my mongrel stops dead in her tracks once we are outside!! Seriously!! She puts on her breaks at the end of our patio!! Why me? I have tried pulling Rose everywhere in the privacy of our backyard. No success!! So now what? I stargaze!! Alongside a very reluctant Rose!! The August skies are just filled with tiny sparkling stars!! I have arranged this long white plastic lawn chair and positioned it next to "Dougie", our rapidly-growing future Christmas tree. There I sit, staring upward. Rose's red leash connected to my right wrist, I "hold her hostage" for about five minutes. This way, she learns just how safe the darkened outside world truly is. Thus far, it's proven unconvincing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Red Harness

It has been a long-lived opinion of mine that canines need harnesses for walks. That's right. Need. For dogs that pull their leads, harnesses can prove successful in correcting the problem. If you own a canine with spinal cord injuries, this walking equipment may help by better supporting your four-legged companion's back. Although, I, personally have never tested that theory!! With Rose, purchasing a harness has allowed me complete control during our walks over my headstrong girl. She has never pulled on her leash. Not unless there is an occasional feline in the way!! But even then, she seldom attempts to dislocate my shoulder by yanking and jerking with all of her strength!! In Rose's case, it is more the opposite that's true. Allow me to explain: I do not yank or jerk my mongrel. Never. However, when she absolutely refuses to budge during 9:55 PM walks because fireworks might explode somewhere--even though it is August and they have mostly stopped--I gently, yet firmly, pull her. And each muscle within Rose's neck stubbornly tenses up. I have worried that our very physical "game" of tug of war will hurt her neck. Besides, what if Rose's head slips out the collar? So off to Wal-Mart we drove. And scribbled upon my list was a dog harness. There are certainly several options to chose from these days!! Not a problem. I knew exactly what we were looking for!! A basic nylon step-in harness!! Yep. Just simple!! Nothing heavy-duty, or fancy. Wal-Mart was selling these harnesses in only twain colors: Red and blue. That's it?! Of course I bought red.... My favorite color. And Rose instantaneously objected to the idea of wearing it!! Really?! As we tried the harness on and adjusted it to fit her unique size, Rose rolled over!! Like she was "asking" for a belly rub!! The next thing we realized, her harness was unadjusted, and twisted around Rose's body!! I laughed. What else was I to do? I laughed so hard that my abdomen muscles hurt!! Somehow, we adjusted the harness to size. I gave Rose a baby carrot and walked her. She still seemingly objects to the idea of wearing this thing. I will cheerfully sing out: "Ready to go for a walk?", show her the harness and Rose runs from me!! Seriously!! This has become somewhat of a game for us!! I ask the question. I show Rose her harness. She flees. I smile at its hilarity. I unsnap the harness's buckle and lead Rose toward me. Occasionally, she rolls on her back. I then spoil Rose with belly scratches. I entice my Beagle mix with a treat. She immediately stands up. I fasten the harness. I praise Rose. As resulted, her tail happily wags. I give Rose a baby carrot. I link the leash. Repeat three times daily!! Or more!! Sometimes I feel like a dog catcher, wrangling that harness over Rose's head!! And she has compensated quite well. Now it's her shoulder muscles that tense up!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Take This Challenge

"Be the person your dog thinks you are!!"

Probably everyone has seen or heard this popular phrase. It is hand-painted on plaques. Engraved into jewelry. Proudly displayed upon T-shirts. Merchandise featuring this sentence is sold in catalogs. At county fairs. Even Christmas bazaars sell it. Seriously. It is everywhere!! But what, exactly, does this popular phrase mean? Is its significance different depending on an individual's perspective? Probably. Rose thinks the world of me!! To her, I am a strong woman, both physically and emotionally. I'm wise. I am fearless. I'm nurturing. I am maternal. I'm patient. I am loving. I care for Rose. I feed her twice daily. We walk several times a week. I train Rose. I give her treats. I awake with my mongrel during ungodly hours for bathroom breaks. She must think that I am the most unselfish being who was ever born!! But like many females, I possess a very low opinion of myself. I am not strong. (I have grown into an emotional wimp!!) I am not wise. (I feel illiterate most of the time!!) I am not fearless. (Minuscule spiders and the dark frighten me!!) I am not nurturing, or maternal. Yet, Rose thinks the world of me? Hmmm.... "Be the person your dog thinks you are." This phrase is fantastic advice. If every canine owner attempted to be the individual that their four-legged friends believe they are.... We would each feel a greater sense of self-confidence. Male and female. We would all walk about feeling self-assured. Really!! We would never possess a low opinion of ourselves. Never. So join me. Take this challenge. And "Be the person your dog thinks you are.". Whoever that is.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"What's Under There?"

Rose has always possessed a curious mind. When we are walking together and people exit apartments nearby, she stops and watches them, her mind seemingly full of wonder. Who is he? Where did she come from? Can we meet their toddler? Obviously, it does not matter if Rose has ever even smelled these people!! She is friendly. She is curious. Nothing else matters!! And that is merely one example!! Countless opportunities seemingly fill my mongrel's mind with curiosity!! Wildlife. New experiences. Inanimate objects. My bedroom has a white, magnetic door which leads to this wooden porch, plus our backyard. (The "Secret Door"). Rose has, for whatever reason, always appeared fascinated by that porch!! Some of her favorite locations in our backyard are right alongside it. Next to the gate where wavy grass grows. Or in between our trailer and that porch. There the ground is mostly cold dirt. Every now and again, Rose will excitedly peek her nose beneath that wooden porch to take a swift peek!! What's under there? she seemingly asks. I have always been afraid that my Curious Rose will either get stuck, or I'll lose her somewhere beneath our house during such occasions. So, whenever I've caught Rose peering those talented nostrils under the porch, she has earned a firm "No!!". Yet, my girl has attempted this on so many occasions!! That headstrong canine!! Curiosity has even recently taken command over my mind, as well!! What is under there, anyway? Moldy food? A family of raccoons? Garbage? Who knows!! The other afternoon, we were outside together. Suddenly, Rose took off in her "Italian Greyhound" velocity, which, as always, is far too fast for me to keep up with!! I chased after my dog. Once I reached her, to my dismay, she had done it!! Her entire body--sans the rump--was burrowed beneath that porch!! Seriously!! Rose's body was crouched very low in order to fit its small opening. I gasped. All I could see was her hindquarters!! "Rose, No!! Come!!"I yelled, panic rising in my voice. And Come my good girl immediately did!! Out from under the wooden porch she emerged, dirt slightly covering her velvet-soft fur!! I fell onto my knees, and brushed Rose off. I pet her, thankful she was alright. What a crazy canine I own!!