Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Have No Title

If you've read this blog before you know that I write about animals. Mostly my animals but on occasion, animals in general. However, I wrote something really personal a short time ago and it was posted on the net, an event that made me a bit less comfortable than my usual coccoon. It also got me thinking about why I write largely about animals.

There are a couple of reasons, the most obvious being that I spend an inordinate amount of time in the company of those with four legs or feathers and very little time in the company of humans. I believe that's also why I talk to myself although that could just be because I'm on the downhill slide to insanity.

The other reason is that people suck. No, that's not very nice. (I hear my mother's voice ringing in my head here.) Perhaps I do have a bad attitude. Oh well. Too bad. But, really, a lot of people suck and has anyone else noticed that the sucky people not only seem to have no sense of humor but are also overly fond of posting comments on blogs?

I write about critters because I really like them. I like that they rarely argue and when they do, it doesn't really matter because I'm the one with the food (the grain bitch as my sister might say) and if I get tired of listening to the complaining, I can go somewhere else without repercussions. I can say, "Oh shut the hell up," and go feed someone else. Animals are consistent in their behavior. Dogs act like dogs. Cows act like cows. Goats act like dogs with hooves and horns. Chickens act like little dinosaurs and it all makes sense. Animals are not terribly confusing and, frankly, they're pretty fascinating. They don't lie, they don't say mean things for no reason, they don't cheat or steal (well not in the definition I'm talking about), they don't keep secrets, and for the most part, they just like me for no other reason than because I'm here (and I'm the grain bitch).

If someone kicks me, it's because she's scared, not because she's mean. If someone pecks me it's because I'm doing something annoying and the pecker wants me to stop it. There's no malice intended; it's just a way to communicate and it's effective. If someone is sick, while initially not wanting me to be a pest, at some point the patient comes to grasp that I'm trying to help and seems genuinely appreciative of my efforts. There's no bitching about it later.

Yeah, I know I'm a little odd what with the talking to myself and the various creatures, walking around in funny clothes with mud and some kind of shit on my shoes or jeans but if you spent your days surrounded by creatures as I do, you might find yourself with less need to treat others harshly. You might find yourself calmer and more balanced and a little more understanding of how the world works and the awesomeness of nature. You might find yourself more respectful and kind. Or you might just be muddy and smell like shit but the point remains......think about it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Am Not A Dog Toy, Part I

I'm "a little serious", believe it or not. My very entertaining uncle said that a while back. "You've always been a little serious," he said. So it probably won't come as a big surprise that, as a general rule, I don't play. When I had cats, I had little furry mice, balls of tin foil and pipe cleaners shaped to look like little people. I'd throw the mice or balls and the cats would go get them and chew on them. Ove the years, one or two of them became fetching cats and would bring them back for another toss before they got bored, or decided such activity wasn't quite dignified enough for a cat, and took a nap instead.

Then I got dogs. Dog need to play, and yet, I don't really play. I'll pet your head. I'll rub a tummy or snuggle up on the sofa but play? Not so much. Perhaps I think it's not dignified. Maybe I was a cat in a former life. Actually, that wouldn't surprise me in the least as I'm not fond of getting my feet wet either.

But...I have dogs. High energy dogs that are easily bored and boredom causes them to "savage" one another as the herd dog lady calls it. We don't call it that. Thanks to my sister, who does play, we call it the pirahna game. Open, toothy mouths accompanied by growling, weird whiny yipping and the occasional snarl. Face biting, rolling around on the ground like gymnasts on crack, one's cheek in the other's mouth while the former hangs on to a neck or ear or snout; whatever's handy. The herd dog lady says they absolutely, unequivocally, are not to "savage" one another so I need to find something for them to do.

My husband is a walking dog toy. He'll roll around on the floor, allow himself to be double as a chew toy and act completely ridiculous with no concern whatsoever about looking or sounding silly. I, however, being one who generally doesn't play and is not remotely dog toy-like, am open to fetching. Fetching requires nothing of me beyond throwing something or other someplace other than where the dog is. It's a low energy job for the thrower that allows for computing at the same time. A good game as long as your dogs aren't quite as compulsive as my sister's Borders. One of them can wear out a human with the whole fetching thing.

Before we got the pup, Dinga (cute name, huh), we had one rescue cow dog. She didn't know how to play so we got along pretty well. However, I kept thinking about how dogs need to play so I again swiped an animal related sisterism "getcher butt". My version is necessarily altered from the original which involved a small and highly entertaining parrot named Olive.

I played this game with my big dog prior to getting Lirra, the cow dog, and with him it went something like this: He would be walking in front of me or standing around looking bored and I would grab his behind, one hand on each hip, flex my fingers and say, "Getcher butt!" He in turn would spin around and make silly noises and we'd continue like that for 5-10 minutes. Then we'd go lay down.

With Lirra, I got a little fancier. Of course she's a lot smaller (75 # smaller) so I have more options. One day while in a rare good mood, I straddled her, grabbed her butt and enthusiastically said, "Getcher butt!" She immediately lowered her head and looked at me with that what-did-I-do-wrong look so I have to convince her she wasn't naughty. Once convinced, I did the same thing while pushing her head first through my legs. Getcher butt doggie leap frog. A couple of times and she had it figured out. Mom's playing! Smart dog. All I can say is it's a good thing no one had a video camera cuz, trust me, this game doesn't come anywhere near being dignified. However, it is entertaining. She wiggles, makes funny noises and spins around in circles or rolls on her head in a spine bending somersault, however the mood takes her.


Now we have the pup and she's learning to fetch. It was actually kind of bizarre....one day I was bemoaning my dogs' lack of interest or understanding of fetching and the next day Dinga suddenly figured it out. Doggie light bulb moment. She's still a bit inconsistent about bringing it back to where I can actually reach it without getting up but at least she brings it back. Lirra on the other hand looks at it and then lays down somewhere. Or tries to climb on me. She tries that a lot.

When Dinga wants to play she barks the loudest, most high pitched bark on Earth right in my face. Allowed to continue, it can lead to a massive, brain pounding headache but if I grab the clue, it leds to fetching. I throw, she tries to catch in mid-air and then runs to beat hell in pursuit of whatever it is she's decided she wants thrown. At first, Lirra just looked at us like we were insane....and loud. Now, on occasion, she too will pursue the whatever it is, snatch it up with a cocky ha, ha, I got it and you didn't look, carry it to one rug or another....and eat it. Not a great fetcher that one but a truly excellent destroyer.

More on that later........