Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dogs, sleep and songs

This is Piper. He is 11 years old. He loves puppy treats, his mother, and being held like a baby (by his mother). By the way, I am his mother. He is afraid of stairs and cats, his metal water dish (because his rabies tag sometimes clangs on it), and Shawn, Jonathan and Shannon. Until we got Schubert, Piper would not go for a walk. He would walk about 40 yards, and then he would lie down and refuse to move. I carried him home a number of times before I gave up walking him. He is a very, very good dog for me, and not so good for certain other members of our family. He approaches new people with hope and trust, but he has a memory like an elephant towards people who have teased him.

This is Schubert. Schubert is messy and lives with optimistic abandon towards life. Schubert and Piper can go out to play in the very same back yard, and Piper will return fastidiously clean, while Schubert will return wet, bedraggled, muddy and in the very highest of spirits. Schubert wags his tail all the time and is always sure that there are happy adventures around every corner. Sometimes he wags his tail so hard, I fear that he will throw his hips out, but nothing seems to stop him...

Except having Shannon gone. Shannon is his Very Favorite Person in the Whole World, and that is really saying something, because he basically adores everybody. However, since Shannon failed to come home with us after our trip out to move her into her apartment, Schubert has been not quite his usual happy self.

Can I just interrupt the flow here to say that I am Stupid? Yes, I am stupid. I am so stupid that I got almost no sleep on Monday night.

I felt sorry for Schubert. He was so droopy, so morose, so not himself. And Shawn went away on a trip to Baltimore. So I had this bright (stupid) idea: while Shawn is gone, I will sleep on Shannon's bed with Schubert, the way Shannon always used to. It will cheer him up.

Of course, Piper could not be left out of this equation. So he came to sleep on the bed, too.

It was a hot night, and the windows were open. This was unfortunate, because every time a twig snapped or a leaf fluttered in the night breeze, the dogs would leap up, hurtle across my poor prone body, and yelp with vigor.

I do not make particularly good decisions in the middle of the night. I can't process information very clearly at all. But eventually I realized that if I put the fan in the window, (1) I would be cooler and more comfortable and (2) the fan noise would drown out the sounds of twigs and wind in the leaves. So I implemented this plan (amazing!), and it actually did help (even more amazing!!). However, I still did not sleep well, probably partly due to the dogs' dislike for one another (OK, it is really Piper who doesn't like Schubert, but Schubert has learned to be wary of Piper's bad attitudes).

I had two pillows, and I did not want dog germs on them. This did not pose a problem with the Schu, who is used to sleeping nicely at the foot end of the bed. But Piper, who did not want to be anywhere near the Schu, slept on the opposite side of me, up near my head. There I was, trying to keep him off my pillows without being obvious and hurting his feelings, which is admittedly a dumb way to approach dealing with a dog, but I am a Big Fail in the dog-training department, and I am not afraid to own it.

Also, Piper, being 11 years old, stinks pretty badly when he is up close, especially his teeth, which are in need of "doggie-dental" which requires anesthesia and costs over $350 and is not going to happen for an 11 year old dog who does not get along well with his master (just saying). So I lay there trying to keep him off my pillows and away from my face, but I still smelled him all night long, which was decidedly unpleasant.

As the sun rose, the dogs became agitated again and began barking at every small sign of morning. Each bout of barking was, of course, accompanied by many small paws painfully leaping around on my prone body.

When I got up to feed them their breakfast, I sang the song I always sing, but I made up some new words.

This song is sung to the tune of "Oh My Darling Clementine."

Original version:

Oh the doggies,
Oh the doggies,
Oh the doggie-doggie-boys.

Oh the doggies,
Oh the doggies,
Oh the doggie-doggie-boys.

Oh they like to
eat their breakfast
and they like to
play with toys...

But their fav'rite
is their breakfast,
Oh the doggie-doggie-boys.

New verse:

They are small and
they are hairy,
and they make a
lot of noise...

Oh the doggies,
Oh the doggies,
Oh the doggie-doggie-boys.

So last night I slept in my own bed, and Piper slept underneath in his dog bed, and the Schu slept in the chair next to the bed, and we all slept much more quietly.

And I know one thing I will never do again.

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