Holy Toledo Don’t Move

If you follow me, you know that I have a few dogs.  Mutt is the biggest of all three and the biggest chicken of them all.  This scaredy cat syndrome she has leads to a lot of uncontrolled barking.  My neighbors hate it and so do we.  My husband had threatened for years to buy one of those shocking dog collars for barking, but I forbade it.  All I could imagine was the ‘youtube’ video where the dude had the collar on and he barked.  Each time he barked louder and each time he was shocked with more intensity.   The poor guy was crying uncontrollable by the time he got it off.  NO WAY WAS THAT HAPPENING TO MY BABY GIRL. PERIOD.

Mutt is totally afraid of everything and everyone.  If she sees white on the ground, she refuses to go out.  It does not help that she was clobbered by a 2 foot avalanche of snow off the roof one year.  When she sees anything out in the yard that has not been there all her life, she spazzes out especially if it is black.  In out, in out, barking for one of us to come see what is in her space.  Fall is the worst.  Leaves…do I need to say more?  She has a dog door but you can forget about her using it after sun down.  In the rare cases she has tried to brave the night, she has high tailed it right back in with eyes as wide as apples, hair ruffled on her back, and barking to beat the band.  Heck, half the time she is running so fast and out of control to get back inside she misses the dog door completely and smacks her head into the door facing.  She is definitely my 80 pound chicken little.

One day I came home from work.  Hub was avoiding eye contact.  I knew something was up right then.  He only does this when he has done something he knows I would not approve of.  I looked all over for evidence to support my suspicion.  I found nothing.  As I was fixing dinner, I noticed Hub was becoming more fidgety and shifty eyed.  Hmmmmm.  I served dinner and all were in attendance except Mutt.

MUTT.  I look at Hub. Not a word escaped his lips.   He had that deer in the head light look.   I got up and looked out the back door.  There was Mutt in the corner of the yard pressed against the fence.  She was just sitting there not doing anything.  I opened the door and called her in.  She came walking on her tip toes.  What the heck was going on?  I asked Hub if he had beaten my dog.  He looked at me as if I had asked him if he’d killed one of my kids.  “Of course not!” he said with disgust.  Mutt comes in with a mixture of calm and defeat.  I thought maybe she was sick.  I resumed eating.

It was not until later that night I realized she had not uttered a sound all evening.  She went out and came back in without incident.  What in the world was going on?  I called her over to the couch.  She jumped up and laid her head in my lap. And that is when I saw IT.  Hubs had gone and bought that shock collar!  I throw my evil eye upon him and he immediately started with his defense.

He pointed out the fact that we had not heard a peep out of her all night.  (evil eye).  He pointed out that she has calmed down to a normal dog’s energy. (slight evil eye).  And the most important thing was the collar seemed to have a calming affect on her that made her a bit braver and more confident.  (Are you kidding me?  Huge Evil Eye!).  He gave me a little cockeyed smile.  I went to take it off but he forbade me.  Oh boy, but I went along with it.  I was going to trash it as soon as he went to sleep.  However, something happened that night.  She did seem a bit more confident.  She went in and out the door with ease.  No barking and no frightened looks.  It was as if this collar was protecting her at all times.  I’m sure in her mind everything around her was getting shocked too and therefore nothing would dare move or grab her.  I did not throw it away.

Next morning, I asked him about her reaction to the collar.  He said she was barking her fool head off at something, probably a falling leaf.  He put the collar on and walked back inside.  She started to bark again and got a surprise!  It shocked her and he said she yelped.  She tried it one more time, yelped, then never barked again.  It broke my heart to hear this but she was being quiet and acting very content.

Over the years she has become friends with it.  She knows the collar gives her more freedom and willingly comes to you to put it on.  (we can let her out without fear of the neighbors complaining)   You can even ask her where it is and she will look around the room as if she is really looking for it.  She has figured out she can bark but only intermittently.  The collar gives her a couple of times before it shocks. Please don’t think of this as cruel the why I did at first.  We give her the bark time she need to be queen of the back yard and, at least for my dog, it has helped her and us so much.  Now to the reason I started this story.

Jeff, our Pomeranian, has a vocabulary of about a billion barks. He loves to continually show off his aptitude.  Today was an extremely vocal day for Jeff and Hub had reached his limit.  He snatched the collar off Mutt.  She gave him a surprised look.  He then proceeded to adjust the size to fit Jeff.  No! No! I yelled. Mutt started walking in circles.  I kept telling Hub he was too little.  It would hurt him.  But Hub continued with his mission.  Before you knew it, Jeff was sporting a new shocking device around his tiny little neck.

I was freaking out.  Hub started laughing and I looked at him with contempt only to see him pointing at Mutt.  Mutt was sitting on the couch reared back with the whites of her eyes showing.   She and Jeff had locked gazes.   Her ears were lying down and she was so still she was not even breathing.  It looked as if she were telepathically warning Jeff not to make a sound or make a move.  And Jeff obeyed her every telepathic thought.  He stood there frozen stiff.  It was as if she had told him all about that collar.  He never made a peep.  And she never took her googly eyes off of him.  After a few minutes of laughter, from both of us, Hub felt sorry for him because he told me to take it off.  I did and off he went out the dog door to educate the backyard critters with his verbal skills. All I can say is I sure am glad the boy knows how to keep his mouth shut when it counts.

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Until next time remember this: When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person, err, dog who can live in peace with others.

aMusing Mondays: This Ain’t Yo Mama’s Dance

I write for the webcam in our little village.  This story was one I wrote back in the peak of our dry season and posted for the webcam blog.  Originally, it was called The Dance but I thought I would shake it up a bit with a different title.

I can not tell you how long it has been since we have had rain. Days would be an understatement it is more like nine months. I remember a few years ago, back around 2006, we had a pretty good dry spell too. A handful of us gals decided to try a rain dance. We had a designated time, we decided to do it in our own back yards and…. we were  to do it naked!.

WHY???

I don’t know but that was the deal. You had to follow these decisions to the T or, as I was told, “To the T or don’t do the dance at all.”  We were convinced it would only work if we all did it and followed the criteria to the letter. The dance was not choreographed nor rehearsed. You might say we decided  to do an interpretative dance. I remember thinking, “What the heck am I DOING?”, while I was stomping my feet and throwing my hands in the air.  My normally covered places were now exposed and wiggling in the wind.  My arms were waving and I was chanting, “Come on, come on and make it rain!”, over and over and over again. I felt so foolish.   My dogs thought I had lost my mind but they liked it. They were running in circles chasing each other in the dark of night and barking up a storm. Thank goodness my neighbors were gone. The whole time I was wondering if everybody else was doing it or if any moment they were going to jump out and punk me. The one thing we did not decide was how long we were to do this naked rain dance. After what felt like LONG ENOUGH, I grabbed my robe and ran inside, dogs in tow. A few days later the rain came. It rained and rained. It rained so much that parts of the mountain flooded. In fact, I had a rather large river running through my front yard even parts of the highway had to be closed because of the run off. It was strange to say the least. That following winter was a good snowy winter as well. I would have to say that the nude rain danced worked.

Now here we are again. No rain in sight and nothing on the radar. One of the original organizers called the other night and stated we need another rain dance. Same rules as last time…and to be followed to the T or it just won’t work. Last night at 9:00 p.m. I tipped toed out the back door. My dogs were not invited this year because my neighbors were here most of the week and I was not sure if they had left yet. I preferred no one witness this crazy woman trying to do her part for all her forest neighbors. Nine o’clock struck and I began to dance as before. Right as I started, I heard an eerie  noise creep up behind me. I could not see a thing because my eyes had not had a chance to adjust to the moonless night.  All I could think of was a coyote or bear or some other kind of wild animal breathing on my bare legs! That crazy thought soon became a reality.  Not only could I feel it, I could hear its steady breathe…in out…in out.   I stood there frozen, naked and night blinded.  I gave myself a minute to adjust to the darkness then slowly turned around.

MY DOGS!

My dogs had slipped out through the dog door and were waiting for their dance invitation, which I was happy to give after I made sure my neighbors were gone. Those little happy brown eyes and wagging tails were just so cute I just could not refuse them. We started slowly then worked our way up to a full-fledged rain dance! The dogs were in heaven running in circles and barking. We were having a pretty good time. It felt oddly freeing and if it paid off like last time very rewarding. I felt no embarrassment in the cloak of darkness and no one else was around… until look up to see Hubs shadow moving toward the window. Oh no, he is going to think I have lost my mind, again. He knew that us girls were going to do a rain dance but he had no idea that we were doing it naked. In all our dancing fun, the dogs and I had worked our way up the hill and out further in the field than I had planned. I had not noticed that until I had to race for my robe by the door. I had to get to it before he turned ON the Porch Light! I believe my dogs thought this was a race to end all races. Mutt must have felt I was winning because she moved her body right in front of mine and over I went like a slinky down the stairs, or in my case down the hill.  Ouch! I had to have rolled and bounced because I was on my feet in a split second and in full stride.  Thank God for padded cabooses.

WHAT WAS I THINKING?

Finally I get to my robe, compose myself, pulled the sticks out of my hair and walked in as if nothing happened. When I walked in, Hubs asked, “Did you do your dance at 9:00?” “Yes”, I said then went to wash my wounds. While tending to my skint knees, I ‘decided’ if called upon next year I will  pass on the dance. I think I better leave that to the younger braver ones.  I just hope that this year’s effort will bring the rain again.

Until next time

update: 1 week after our dance it RAINED.

aMusing Mondays: A Wicked Sense of Humor

 

When we moved here years ago I was totally shocked at the size of these birds up here. I thought they were giant crows that were involved in some type of nuclear fall out. I can only guess their weight but I would guesstimate an average of 20 lbs…some larger some smaller but all huge! I was told later on they were Common Ravens. Shoot, there is NOTHING common about those birds as far as I am concerned. In the last few years I have come to believe the Common Raven must have a sense of humor. Last winter, one Raven that hangs out at the top of my backyard Pines got a big chuckle when he witnessed my dogs’ surprise of the first snow of 2010.

Every morning my dogs have a ritual, which consists of, CAN’T WAIT TO GET OUT THE DOOR AND BARK MY BRAINS OUT! Pacing, pacing can’t wait. They run as FAST as they can, down a 45ft porch and jump off the end with an attitude that should scare even the meanest of squirrels! Then turn with a puffed out chest to look at the door to see if anyone was watching. They are proud beasts, my Mutt and Jeff.

This morning was a tad bit different. Can’t wait, Can’t wait! (the same) Ready set GO (the same)….run, run, run (the same)… the little one (7 lbs Jeff) gets to the end of the porch first but things are DIFFERENT! White stuff.  EVERYWHERE! He puts on the brakes right as he gets to the end of the porch…..PLONK! He flew off alright but not in the manner he was accustomed to. Pride was…………GONE.

The BIG one (70+ lb, Mutt) was hot on his trail. There was no way that little one was going to beat her. Her mind quickly changed as she watched him fly then land hard in the snow. She tried with everything she had to stop. Too late, the snow and ice started about 15 ft from the end and she was already in it. BRAKE, BRAKE, BRAKE, you could just see her mind yelling it and her eyes pleading it. She did manage to slow down a little bit before the big finish, which lead to an agonizing slow motion crash. She felt ever step she hit as she was going down. The little one watched at first with horror and moved out of the way before she squished him. Then he appeared to be basking in pure joy of  seeing the big dog epically fail. Both of them got up. No barking, no looking back with pride……..they did their business and came back to their nice warm beds to lick their proverbial wounds.

After witnessing this comic relief, I walked back to the den.  It is then I noticed there was not only the one Raven at the top of the tree, there were now about five or six Ravens clucking and chuckling like little hens. I guess the one at the top called for the others to watch the morning entertainment. Yep, I think the Common Ravens have a wicked sense of humor.

Note: To all concerned, it is 8:10 on Sunday night.  I have this scheduled for publish on Monday .  So far so good. My tummy ache went away, no headache and everyone in the house is doing well.  I think I am in the clear….we are in the clear.    On a serious note,  I really was scared and I do appreciate any prays that were prayed for us.  That was some pretty heavy guilt.  Thank you my friends