Saturday, November 15, 2014

The unconscious wag

I recently went through a stressful time involving hospitals and other cheerful places. In my ever-earnest attempt to understand people through animals, I noticed that there are simply some people who, no matter the situation, react pleasantly. It's in the unguarded, startled moments where you learn this. (No surprise to me, though no less disappointing: my own reactions to being startled are not good, I won't even bother to insert a porcupine picture here.)  

The other day pup Bodie was in a new situation and couldn't have been more guarded. His ears flattened and he began licking his lips, eyes darting. Then I said his name and his ears went up and back down immediately, his tail wagging, though uncertainly. He couldn't help it. He saw me, he wagged. Hearing this, my friend Lia knew exactly what I meant. She remembered a time her dog Ruby lay exhausted from a long hike, splayed on the floor. No movement. People came and went but she didn't raise her head, continuing to sleep in her deeply committed dogly way. But during one pass Lia called out her name and wham, tail began wagging. Just the tail. No other movement.

There's nothing like coming into a hospital room to see many people you've never met before attending to your loved one. When one of them wags their tail it can mean everything.

These two are simply Grace. 

It's that leap

Ridiculously joyous dog time. I think if you watched this every morning you could keep perspective most of the day. 

Last wish, granted

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Change is bad! Change is bad!

Having lived with cats all my life I was quite surprised to learn how much dogs love routine. Cats love routine as well of course but they're usually the ones to create it and then cause you, with mind control, to perform it. Unless of course they don't like it anymore and stop suddenly, leaving you to feel like the fool they know you to be.
But dogs' routine is practically choreographed; they can literally trip you up if you change the sequence of the food and the water bowl in the morning. They might even spend a second or two looking confused, perhaps staring at you compassionately to see what is wrong with you.
The last few mornings in the Sullicake household there was big clinging from both pets. We couldn't figure it out. Had there been a loud explosion while we were gone? Had we been neglectful in our hourly ministrations throughout the day? Was it perhaps an impending disaster only they could sense?
Nothing so dramatic but nonetheless disturbing.
One of us had been having trouble sleeping, and so was lying abed while the other got up and did the morning ritual alone.
But it was not the same! It was different! It was bad!
And so, to mitigate the disaster, we began re-enacting the morning ritual when the other person got up. 
Clinginess stopped. 
Part of me says oh good lord. Another is secretly pleased that our ritual means so much to them.
So here it is, our morning ritual.
Morning alarm. A stirring from all beings but Elder Cat.
Snooze button.
Second alarm. Bodie sits up, listening for stirring. There is none. He lies back down.
Humans lie in bed talking. If this goes on too long Bodie puts his front paws on the bed, which we think is cute but try to discourage. Wonder why he keeps doing it.
Finally one of us says "Ready?" and all creatures move into motion to the Staging Area.
This is where the humans sit down on the rug and pet and pet and pet the animals. You're probably beginning to see why clinginess happens if this step is skipped.
Bodie does Paw and Dimitri does drive-by head-butts and if Bodie is particularly happy, such as after Ann has been gone on a long trip, he will do roo-roo-roo to the ceiling and then we all get up and move to the kitchen where the exact same meal as yesterday is prepared and served into one large bowl and one tiny bowl respectively.

If only one of us does all this and then the other finally gets up, even if the pets have had breakfast, we must return to the Staging Area for petting.
There is one alteration that is welcome, however, which is new treats. Change is good!

How about you, what are your morning rituals and who created them? 

Border Collies are sneaky

Especially on each other...

Thank you to Catherine for the link

How wolves change rivers

I could watch this for the wolf howls alone.
Or the enthusiastic British narrator who sounds like something out of Monty Python.
But the way wolves change rivers is the point, explained beautifully.

Thank you to Carolyn for the link

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Whatever you call it

In the morning I go outside and thank everything. I light some sage, marvel at whatever the sky is doing, and start my list of grateful*. Bodie comes with. 
Mr. "more play now even if we just did what's next look at all the stuff in the yard why is that bird--squirrel!--there's a goat at the neighbor's! fireworks scary heard something in my dish..." sits quietly with me, sniffing the air. He never moves once he's done his business and come back to sit with me. Sometimes we're out there quite a while but he stays.Even at one year, newly arrived and manic.
Recently there may have been some confusion, as Chet the Dog would say, about a fire in the fireplace with the flue closed. Perhaps some smoke alarms. Bodie stopped coming outside with me, bolting as soon as I lit the sage. After several mornings alone I now go outside sageless, he pokes his head out the dog door soon after just to make sure, then comes out to sit with me. Dog's gotta pray, too.
Recently we noticed his big heart displays outside his body as well. Oh come on, humor me.

*Animoush list: Fur, wings, heated blankets/beds, gifted surgeons, the morning ritual, paws, kibble, call and response good-night sighs, shelters, treats, tongues, purring, tails, Chloe, Homer, Katie, Ruxen, Bill, geese flying in formation in near darkness, Christmas ball, Prickly, Cow, Halti, Danette, peanut butter, auto-feeders, car towels, Salmon oil, animal statues, neighbors, snow...

Elllen! Ellen! Ellen!

I am breaking my own rule about making fun of animals because well, I can't get the squirrel and a few others out of my mind.
Forgive me, my friends (you people ones, too).
(Thanks to Barb O for the link)

Worth it

This kind of goes on a bit long. And filled me with anxiety as I hate to see an animal snared by anything. And the video's shaky. Doesn't matter. It's the tail wag. And the name of the guy and... just watch all the way to the end...