Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Spirit




Orion loves to snag this off the table, Kennel Cough and all, and run around the house...

Monday, December 12, 2011

On Point

I come home from work and I'm buzzing. Adrenalyn buzzing. Appointments were behind, phone was ringing off the hook etc. etc. Pulling in a hour later than I should have, I half expected to hear Orion's high pitched barking from the outside of the apartment. "Boy does he know your car," my neighbor once said, as I lept out and commented that Orion never barks. "He hasn't been barking at all till you pulled up." I paused. "Could be cause you can hear my breaks squeak all the way in Texas." The old woman chuckled and went back to rocking in her chair. Tonight though it's quiet. I loop through the door, feel my way through the dark to the switch above his crate.
"How is my boy?" I ask as I watch him lazily move from his curled position in the back of his crate. As he emerges I just can't help but smile at his little Santa kerchief my mom sent in the mail propped sideways on his body.
"Do I get my wookie hello?" He stretches and starts his usual wookie greeting before moseying over to the door to be let out.
Outside it's quiet, the kind of quiet that makes me think I am the sole person awake on the planet. The moon has a hazy cloud dulling it's brightness, the stars blink around me.
"You wanna go for a walk?" I glance to Zachary's window as he is often my night walking buddy. The window is dark. It is past ten after all.
Orion and I head out down the sidewalk. A couple is talking in a dark car. I think of my mother and how she would not be thrilled to know I'm walking alone at night. I think of the fact I'm in karate and if I could take two people at once. I think of how cool I look in my blue vest that I stole from home. How very New England. And how I use to be told I couldn't wear it because I looked gay. We cross the street. Orion stirs up a bunny rabbit and I nearly jump out of my skin as my arm is ripped sideways and I see a little white tail bounding across the fenced yard. Orion the constellation shines brightly above my head.
"I named you for Orion to ground me," I say. I pause reflecting. "It was the only constellation I could always find. and I think it was a good choice as you do a nice job grounding me."
I see the houses lit up for Christmas, trees aglow in the windows, lights and blown up Santa's in the front yard.
"Someday Orion, I'll get us a house."
Orion is completely on point, trotting, nose and ears erect. Labrador instinct fully activated.
"I tell you what. I will make it my goal to have a house by thirty-two. I'm almost twenty-eighty now, so that gives me four years to save."
I think about this.
"Huh. I may be getting too old to have babies."
"I think I would like to have a baby some day." I picture this.
"But it may not be in the cards for me and if that's the case that's okay too. I mean, I'm not even close to married. But then Carolyn just got married, she's older than me, and she still can have babies." I rattle on. "Yeah. That makes me feel better."
We keep walking. A car is parked across the street with the lights on. I think of spy shows and stakeouts. I think of boyfriends and girlfriends getting in fights. Of drug deals. I see my breath in the night air. We cross to the apartments.
"Well that was just perfect don't you think?"
Orion bounds up the stairs.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cross Country Training WHAT?

"Our goal is to have it so you don't eat the kids at the dog park, or my ankles."
I look at Orion who's sitting looking up at me in the middle of the tennis courts.
"You know you should review your goals before starting so you have a clear picture of your objective." I pull out a milk bone, my fingers popping out of the finger/mitten combo I have on. It's 8 AM. We're the only living creatures alive and outside on this 23 degree morning. I shrug out of my winter coat, leaving it in the middle.
"Ready?"
Orion's tail flicks rapidly. His eye is on his prize alright. I snap it in half. "Okay, let's go running." I start shuffling a slow shuffle. He trots beside me, eye stuck on the milk bone. We make the width of the court.
"GOOD BOY!" I say enthusiastically and give him the half of a bone. "Okay let's try again." I start shuffling, then somewhat jogging. He dives for my pant leg.
"NO!"
I stop. I stare. There is no warm karma aimed in his direction, no milk bone at my fingertips. "Would you like to try again and this time try harder not to be tempted?"
He barks impatiently.
Repeat.
We make it half way around the court.
"Woohoo! NICE JOB ORION!" I give him a bone.
"Sit. Ready?" Repeat.
On and on we go, sometimes pausing to breath, shed a layer, remind myself this is crucial training, get my leg nearly chewed off, arm too.
Suddenly Orion veers on and plops down in the leaves.
"I take it you're tired?"
No acknowledgement.
"Okay. Me too." I drift off to my bench. Orion resumes rummaging through the leaves that back up against the fence. God only knows what he finds to eat in them but he's content. I rest. Look at my clock. Has it really only been twenty minutes?
"Alright, let's keep going going on our walk buddy."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tennis courts

"Okay Orion, the plan is this," I say after being woken up to scratching on my face. Orion mistook my face for the path to China, but all was forgiven once the consciousness surfaced and I realized our nap had turned into 2 hours. "We're going to go down to the tennis courts. I'm going to bundle up cause it's freaking cold. You're going to run around and do dog stuff. I'll pack your tennis ball, but I'm going to knit. I have to get this scarf done by the 17th. Questions?" Orion blinks up at me. I roll over, tossing the feet to the ground, search my room for adequate clothing. Currently my house looks like a wind storm came in and threw my clothes like debris in a tornado. That and bits of paper shreds littered about make for a house for which Martha Stewart would be proud. I find enough layers to suit my New England intelligence at dressing warmly and out the door we go into the three day consistent drizzle.
Down at the tennis courts, I fasten the doors closed and he's off, chasing the tennis ball. I meander to the bench, pull my coat so that it covers my butt from the wet seat, and settle in for some quality knitting. Knitting with gloves on seems a touch more than my skill set I soon discover, and so I hop up, track down the abandoned tennis ball and give it a toss. Yellow lab goes flying after it, goofy as hell with his ears flopping up and down. My phone rings and I answer, tucking it into my wool hat. Ah, it is my best friend. I'm happily chatting, kicking the tennis ball, watching Orion intermittently chase, then ignore the ball to quest for food particles that magically might show up in the leaves against the fence.
"You're kidding, you got in a bike accident? Are you okay?" I'm noting the humor of having moons and stars poke out from my fancy thrift store jeans. Gotta love the adapted thermals, aka, pi's. I look up in time to see Orion flopping towards me.
"OH NO! ORION NO!"
The bright green knitting needle is cockeyed in his mouth. He freezes, crouches down. He thinks this is a game.
"ORION LEAVE IT." I sternly say, excusing myself from my friend on the line.
He shakes his head. The ball of yarn spills out of the bag.
"O-R-Y-O-N!" I stretch each syllable as I march closer.
He bolts. My ball of yarn rolls into the puddles. I watch the line of yarn grow longer and longer. Orion loops back and suddenly he has the yarn wrapped around his ankles. I make a grab for him.
"Oh no, no, no."
This scarf has been through the ringer. Orion already jumped on the table to get the bag so that he could eat the graham crackers I had also left in the bag with the scarf so that I had to pick crumbs out of the scarf for weeks.
"STAY STILL," I demand.
I untangle his legs. Dislodge the knitting from his mouth. Wind up the soggy wet yarn.
"When are you going to cease driving me bat-shit crazy?" I ask.
He saunters off.

Powered Mix

It's 11 o'clock at night. I've just eaten a frozen, small, pizza as a substitute for cooking at this hour as I had the late shift at work. I happened to have opted to eat this meal in bed, lemonade from a mix in my lap, computer too and yellow lab staring me full in the face just hoping I might spare a bit for him. Nevermind that this labrador has had training time (insert handful of kibble) and bribery time (insert me filling peanut butter into a devoured old Starbucks reusable cup, while I shower so he stays in the bathroom and doesn't go all destructo on me). I eat my pizza. I'm happily checking out The Bloggess. Orion has since left the room and I wait for the usual clatter of dishes to tell me he's scouting out the countertops. There's the interaction with the cookie sheet (for which I cooked the pizza), there's the clang of the cup full of silverware I have to wash--let's be honest, who DOESN'T save the silverware for last. I hate washing them. And then in walks my dog, calmly toting the empty lemonade powder mix. I look up. I acknowledge what he has and just laugh. I mean really, what more can you do?

And so the final is..


Boy is all snuggled up next to me, don't know what hit him as all week he's been full of piss and vinegar as I furiously ignore him to crank out Christmas presents. He did, however, get to be a part of this years Christmas card:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Take that Oven!

The oven recently ate my knife. Ate it like a trash compactor, letting it fall between the kitchen counter and self without hesitating for a chance to snatch it back. I watched, like a slow motion horror flick.
"Damn." Orion looked up from his spot on his bed. "I'm never going to get that back and I had like a SET and everything." His head drops back down.
Tonight however, after a half hour of washing dishes, I'm grumpy. I'm feeling pissed off that I have a set of silverware that is no longer complete because of the stubbornness of the stove.
"Okay." I peel off a layer of clothes. Start to pull off the next shirt but pause as the neighbors would have a clear shot at me and I knew this was to be anything but flattering.
"Let's do this pal."
I crouch down and start by pulling out the stove drawer. Out comes dust, loads of trash, evidence of cockroaches and, "HEY! Orion! Would you look at that! It's you're nylabone from when you were a puppy!"
I reach my hand in and scoop out the little white bone. I thought this long gone. I get up, "NO!" I say pointing to the contents beneath the stove. I don't care if there's kibble mixed in, all the poison's that have been going around my apartment I didn't want the risk.

*** To be continued due to falling asleep ***

Night

I slide my feet into my sandals, tuck my wet head into the knitted rainbow hat sitting in the laundry basket by the door. My flannel pajamas stick to my dry skin. I reach for the blue vest that has become a staple in my wardrobe since acquiescing it in New Hampshire. Orion wanders up and I catch his collar with the leash, also found in the laundry basket--positioned next to the karate belt, a good substitute if there is a midnight outdoor run.
"Come on sweetie, let's do one more pee break."
I push open the door and the night air hits me in a woosh. My breath puffs out in front of me. Orion tentatively steps across the frosting grass, his feet sounding like footfalls on dry leaves. Crunch. Crunch. We walk down the sidewalk to where it ends and mosie onto the grass. I look up and see Orion's belt shinning strong in the night sky.
"There you are Orion--your namesake."
A plan cuts across the hunter of the night sky and I watch my breath curl in front of me. The horizon is purple and orange with the lights from the city. I am thinking of a card my friend wrote me about how the stars make one dream. What are my dreams now? I wonder. For so long I have felt the investment in such became such a precarious balance, better first to be sure of my footing again.
"Come on Orion. Inside we go."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cans in the rain.

It's six thirty am. We walk outside to the pouring rain and the dark sky of an early fall morning.
"Go pee Orion," I say, making sure to hang on to his leash so he doesn't attempt to eat the cat poo from yesterday.
"Hey!" a voice calls into the rain.
I look up, around, across the street my eyes land on a short black guy with a Boston Red Sox hat on.
"Hi!"
"You dog, he pees like a girl."
I look at Orion squatting in front of me.
"Yeah. He does."
"When he grows up he'll pee like a man."
"I suppose so." The guy is poking through the trash.
"You looking for cans?" I ask.
"Yeah."
"Okay, I'll go get you mine." I loop back inside to collect my recyclable bag.
Orion and I cross the street. Orion attempts to kiss the guy's face. It's still dark. It's still rainy.
"He's just a little guy."
"Yep. Just shy of a year."
"He has room to grow."
"That he does. He's suppose to get up to 90 pounds."
"Yeah. Sure thing. What's his name?"
"Orion. Like the constellation in the sky. Yours?"
"David."
"Well hi David. I'm Molly." Quiet pause. Rain's dripping off my hat.
"Well we're going back in."
"Thanks for the cans."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

helper

art

Tonight Orion and I are having an art overnight party. He may not realize this yet, but it's always much better to stay up all night making art with someone as company. In high school I had my buddies, Andrew & Joachim; in college, there was always someone in the studio with me; grad school? Well my roommate slept while I worked so I felt she was at least there... and then well, then I didn't really make art for awhile so here we are... I polled my friends in my brain--who would want to stay up till like 2 making art? Or watching me make art? Yeah. I got zero. So Orion's enlisted. I gave him a bone for signing up. He seems sold. He's currently chewing away with happy abandon at the bottom of my bed as I move my art studio to the kitchen (more counter space).

This morning he did show up in the kitchen with a tube of brown acrylic paint. "How nice Orion. I guess the gate's not up?" And then BOLT. His favorite game. What he doesn't know is I weigh more and so far have longer legs. Bring it fur-ball. I snagged his hips. Works every time. That or chase him to the living room because he picks up speed and can't stop on the wood floor and inevitably ends up sliding like a baseball player to second and I pounce. I have to admit, the one time he slid into the coffee table which then caused the box fan to fall (it was on top of the table) which then caused the table to move closer to the window which knocked a book to the floor, the whole commotion causing such a racket the boy was startled further and still couldn't get traction.

So, art night it is. I'll post outcomes later.

Orion said he would show what he creates as well.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dunkin's it is...

I wake up to a plastic golf club hitting me in the head, followed by a whining yellow labrador.
"What?!"
More whines.
"Ug. What time is it??"
I fumble around alongside the crevice formed between the mattress and bed, search for my cell phone.
"4:41? Orion it's daylight savings time. Go drink some water and entertain yourself. I'm sleeping in."
Twenty minutes later I'm getting a spit bath and I grumble, try for the pillow over my head and give up.
I roll out of bed, a challenge Orion sees as "see if I can eat her toes while she reaches for her glasses" (top blind on my curtain). Then out stumbling to the kitchen, I note the fact my hair must be straight up in the air as I feel a sense of motion with every step, like the tide, in then out, in then out, forward, then back, forward then back.
Propping open the fridge, I sit on the floor. Orion's nose is eye level.
"We have no milk."
Whine.
"Huh. What should we eat for breakfast?" I look at him. He looks excited as if specifically I'm asking him to select a choice from the fridge not just for me, but for his delightful first meal of the day.
I grab the bag of carrots, grab his coffee cup, and lumber to the bathroom to fill it with the kibble stashed in the linen closet.
Sure enough hair is straight in the air.
"Rockin'."
Dog bowl full, I slide to the floor to land on his bed watching him eat while I toss carrots in the mouth. Eventually he joins me and I pass off a couple of the off tasting ones.
"It'd be real great if we had a dunkin's in walking distance."
Pass him a carrot.
"Well why don't we go up to Hyde Park then stop at Starbucks on the way home, grab a coffee and scone?"
He agrees.
Moments later we're jogging down the stairs to the car and on our way managing to stretch it out till 6:30 when the light seemed to be turning from moonlight to gee-I-think-I-can-see light. And then, as we're driving down the last street, about to reach our destination, my eyes light up. Could it be? I see a glowing sign at the Shell station "DUNKIN DOUNUTS"
"OH MY GOSH! ORION DO YOU SEE THAT??!!"
I grab my phone, dial my mother, "MA! I can't believe it but they put a Dunkin's five minutes from my house! It has a giant cup on it and everything!" Her answering machine didn't hold my enthusiasm. We tear a u turn and pull up to the drive thru. I pop up my change drawer (also known as the Dunkin Shrine drawer, with coupons and maps to all the locations in Cincinnati, dead gift cards you name it)
"What are you drinking?" The male voice calls out.
"Oh I have a coupon for.... And can I just say how happy I am you're here? I'm from New England and I'm just THRILLED. Oh and can I have a single munchkin for my 10 month old labrador?"
We pull around, I bond with the drive thru guy who's from New Hampshire's sea coast, get my coffee, get my egg and cheese croissant, and we pull away.
"Orion, you can wake me up any day if we discover a new Dunkin's...."
And on we went for our walk.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

fall

exhaustion


He only stops moving when I'm washing the dishes.
I'm RE-washing dishes.
He is lying for the first time in four hours, peacefully on his bed. Nevermind I tried a bone, a bone in a kong, a trick toy, time outside where I laid in the fall leaves and he sprinted around me until one of his crazy loops wrapped his leash around the tree and he snapped his leash in his enthusiastic run back to me... He needs day care like a crack addict needs some crack. I'm just going to bring him to his buddy Oliver's house. The scabs healed. Yeah, so technically the staple's still there but he's nuts. He needs some intervention.
I've caught him TWICE up on the table.
Sigh. I have the lights out hoping he'll get the hint it's snuggle time. But no, he just ran in from the kitchen with my wool sock in his mouth, proud as proud can be.
As if I wasn't tired from the day at work anyways... damn lucky he's cute.
Did I mention he ate poop while we were outside too?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Moments

I walk out of the bathroom, after spending some time examining my skin for more spots.
Rounding the corner I look up.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING??!!"
He looks at me, standing proud on top of the table.
"GET OFF OF THERE!"
He hops down.
No harm done right??

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sick call

"Hi Molly, this is Carrie, from The Pet Spot."
"Oh?"
"Yeah, I was just calling because we just brought Orion up from daycare."
Oh geez, what'd he get in to...
"Because he has a hole in his shoulder..."
Great, finally pissed off a dog enough he got chewed on..
"It doesn't look like a dog bite, because those are usually triangular..."
Hum, could my missing razor have done that?
Me: "Ok.."
Should I go pick him up?
"We wanted to see if it was okay if we just ran him up to the vet, because it is a hole."
Damn. What am I working tomorrow? The vet's already closed today.
"Is he bleeding?"
"No, but we didn't think it should go un looked at; I could have a tech bring him down, and it's covered up to $500 dollars as a part of day care..."
Oh, how nice. Maybe I don't have to sort anything out then.
"How's he seem?"
"Totally fine. Could care less."
Yep. That's my dog.
"Sure, that'd be great."
"And I'll give you a call afterwards to let you know how it went."
Fantastic, what good customer service.
"Great, thank you for calling."
I am now officially a parent.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dessert Dog

Pretty sure my dog looks like a buckeye. The kind you make for dessert. Too bad he's really just muddy as hell and the dog park closed the hose for the season...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reckoning.

Orion is back from day care. I'm cooking dinner and he's not under my feet.
I'm eating dinner and he's not by my side.
I look at him.
He's passed out on his bed.
Huh.
I continue eating.
He's pretty cute when he's tired.
I look at him again. He hasn't moved.
I finish eating.
Well what am I going to do now? I putz about the kitchen, putting things away. Plunk down at my computer. He seems unphased. There's no, "PAY ATTENTION TO ME!" No stick being pulled up into the chair beside me to chew on while I work. No jumping up onto the counter top snagging what he can reach. No crash, boom, noise of toys being tossed about the floor to eject the kibble tucked inside.
Well. This is different.
I kind of miss my noise maker.
I kind of miss my pal who wants to play with me.
"Hey! Are you alive?" I call to him.
An eye lifts half open. An ear flops.
Back asleep.
Alright then. I guess I will just come up with something to do.
And I flop to the floor beside him. Kiss him on his head. "I just want you to know you're cute. And it's good to see you today. And I'm glad you had a nice day at day care."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Welcome to New Hampshire

"Orion, NO!" I hear from the downstairs. I'm in the shower and wondering what he has immersed himself in now. I hear Mum's footsteps making loops around the downstairs, Orion's toenails clicking along the wood floor. Welcome to New Hampshire my dear four legged friend.
I climb out of the shower and Orion comes pummeling through the door, ball of yarn in his mouth. My ball of yarn.
"Orion, really?" I snatch the ball, clutching the towel with the other hand.
His cute little face ducks into the shower, dragging a shampoo bottle out with him.
"O-Ryyyyyannnn." I elongate the syllables to make me sound more serious. "Can someone get that shampoo bottle from him?" I holler out the door.
"You little bugger!" I hear Dad grumble from his office. "Give me that!"
I stick my head out to see Orion happily exchanging the shampoo for Dad's duster.
I zip into my room, figuring I'm on borrowed time before my attention is needed to keep my boy from being strung up by his toenails at Nana and Grandpa's.
"I'll be out in five. Just keep him occupied for five minutes."
Hastily getting dressed I pop out to see Orion has made himself comfortable with a bone and the comfort of my dad's closet.
"Good thinking," I say, toweling my hair dry. The bone will buy us an hour easily.
"I'm thinking of going over to PetSmart to pick up some things to distract him."
"Yeah okay," Dad's refocused to his computer.
"Come on buddy, let's go downstairs," I call to Orion.
He trots out of the closet, bone dangling and next to summersaults down the carpeted stairs. I chuckle. I wonder if he'll get a hang of them before we go.
"Well hello Trouble," Mom greets a tail wagging Orion as she sips her coffee on the couch. Orion turns and leaps up on the couch. "OFF!" Mom bellows, a much more sincere deep tone than I've managed. Orion plunks to the ground. I'm off to the kitchen to snag the oatmeal Dad's brewed up for me.
"We're thinking about going to the petstore to get some bones to keep him occupied. Wanna go?"
"Why don't you call me around 3 as I will probably need a break then."
"Sounds good." I sit down on the couch. Orion jumps up to sit next to me. I look at him. "Nana does not want you up here. Did you ask her for permission?" He tilts his head, bone reacquisitioned. Ma glares at him. "Might be a smart idea to get down." He slithers to the floor and trots out of the room.
"Do you let him on the couch---"
"ORION!"
Crash.
Damn.
"Orion GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN!"
Sigh.
Pet store here we come.

Tranquilizers please?

It is day two of a fifteen hour car ride. Already Orion woke me up at 5 am in the hotel room to get going again. Already I looked up a dog park in southeast Cleveland and stood in the rain kicking a ball for a half hour so my dog got a break.
"Mom?" I say, sitting inside a gas station Starbucks looking out at my yellow dogs head as it pops up and down in the front of my car seat.
"Hi Molly, how is it going?"
"Mom, what did you do when you were ready to kill us on car rides?" I imagine what he might be shredding in the front seat, but my where with all has worn thin.
"Oh. You're ready to kill your dog?"
"Mom he's poked holes in my passenger seat, while seat belted in; ate the spray that I spray him with when he barks, even though I put it in the front seat and he was seat belted in the back, and he hasn't stopped barking for an hour."
"Well. I use to pretend to put up a sound proof shield."
"Yeah. I've been trying that. But I really feel angry towards him."
"What about getting him a bone?"
"Well I just told the gas station attendant he probably saved my dog's life by having bones on sale."
"Good. Where are you now?"
"At the gas station taking a break from him."
"I thought it might be a bit too much for him that long of a ride."
"He was fine with Dad and I, but I think he just doesn't have anyone to entertain him. And I know he's just being a puppy, but I genuinely want to explode my anger on him and I don't like feeling this way. That, or leave him in a big field with cows for a few days and then pick him up."
"Well hon, try the bone, and then maybe take a few stops to run around with him."
"Okay."
We hang up.
I sip my coffee. Continue staring at Orion in the car. He knows I'm watching him but fortunately has stopped barking. People start eye balling me funny anyways. "Oh he thinks I'm putting him up for adoption," I say as I fill gas and he barks as if he's being electrocuted. "Slight separation anxiety." If I let him out he's happy trotting along beside the car while the gas fills.
I'm still watching. His head dips below the steering wheel.
You can do this Molly. I prompt myself. I swallow the last of the coffee, sigh, toss it in the trash and grab the bone from the table, head out to the car.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Devil Cat

We walk around the bend, cutting through Herb's backyard. Herb's another dog-walker, usually up at 7 walking his small dog that he acquired by chance. The shade of the tree feels refreshing on this hot October day. I just had all my hair cut off, so I run my fingers through my inch-long hair, spiking it out with the lingering gel from the hair dresser. Good summer hair, but for today, good hair for the fall I think.
We loop out by the train tracks and I'm thinking about the picture of Orion and I when he was tiny, in the dusk, shot from behind as we meandered the tracks. Perhaps I should get Sean to shoot another one of us now, teenager dog and self. Orion finds the plastic container of water left out for the birds and decides it's his own water dish. We walk past the shot up plastic deer, and I wonder about if the guy who lives there might ever mistake us as bullets go flying by--luckily this has not happened yet.
Then out on to the sidewalk we go, and up the way I see a little dog trotting towards us. Drop kick dogs as I like to refer to them. "Rocky, come here!" A larger woman up the sidewalk calls to the little dog.
"We'll get him if you want," I call back. "My dog will only lick him to death." The dog approaches and lets Orion do his bouncy excitement around him. We continue walking past, the other dog stays put. "Come on little dog, let's get back to your owner." "Oh don't worry about that I was more concerned about him messing with your dog."
Orion climbs up the hill yard to say hi to the woman walking out with a leash in hand. "Well hi fellow!" He does his hops, then a leaf blows and he goes flying down the hill after it, and well, right into Rocky. Rocky, being less appreciative this time with the large yellow dog pummeling towards him, barks and lunges. Orion darts backwards, I keep moving forward. "Rocky!" Woman calls in horror. Then the pissed-off-grey cat we usually have to avoid, flies out of nowhere and jumps Orion. Orion yelps. I fumble, looking for what just hit him. "Tornado!" Lady with leash starts after cat. Cat's still attacking Orion. Rocky joins in. What the hell? I move out into the road to cross the street. Orion's yelping again. Damn cat. I drop his leash because the grey devil cat is persistent and I figure he has better odds without being restricted.
"TORNADO! What's gotten into you!?"
I hear that a lot.
I wanted to tell her that cat was the devil and weekly chased us, but I collected Orion and continued on. "I'm sooo sorry." "Oh it's okay."
"Orion, you've had a rough one today. Let's call it one, get you a frosty paws then I'm off to work."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Oh Zachary you didn't...

I pull up to the curb. It's ten thirty because i had to stop at the grocery store for toilet paper. I hear high pitch barking from the outside of my apartment.
Oh geez! I think as I scramble up the sidewalk. Orion must not have liked going back in his crate after my nine-year-old neighbor was done watching him. I figured it'd be smart to break up the evening when I have 1-10PM shifts with the neighbor kid as I wouldn't have hyper pup in the evening... but if he barks like this...
I open the door.
"What are you making all this racket about?" His little blonde self is standing in his crate, expectantly. I walk up, open the crate door and give him a gentle hug as he struts out.
"Well hang on! I need to get your leash," I say as he continues strutting right out the apartment front door. I scramble after him, tossing the purse, the groceries and keys to the futon and snatching the leash from the floor. I smile as I notice the water bowl my neighbor put in the crate. I suspect it was not Zachary so much as his mom, but it warms my heart all the same. Orion stands on the steps scanning the scenery. Apparently the barking was not due to excessive need to go pee.
"Come on Orion, let's go pee." We walk about the yard. He's moving slowly. He pees, we return to the inside.
"Would you like a frosty paw?" (Dog ice cream) I figure as I fed him at 5 perhaps a small treat would be a nice carry over feeding till the morning. Popping open the freezer, I pull one out.
No interest.
I look at it. Take a lick.
Hand it to him again. No interest.
It's then that I notice the bag of bones on the top of my fridge is empty. Not just shy one or two, but flat out empty.
Oh my.
I look at Orion.
I look at Orion's sides that are now clearly bulging out at the sides.
He didn't... I'm thinking...
But it's true. There had to be eight plus bones in there!
Zachary must have fed him every single one in the two freaking hours I left the two alone.
Sigh.
He wouldn't know better. I already tried having the conversation with him as to why he shouldn't eat 30 chicken nuggets just because he could and he got all pouty with me, how can I expect him to understand it's not okay to feed my dog 8 chew bones??!
Sigh.
Orion's going to be so sick.
Four chew bones was diarrhea for two days. EIGHT???!
"Oh Orion."
I put the frosty Paw back in the fridge. "Well, let's see if we can work out a poo in the back yard."
We waddle around the yard, sniff this, that, whatever. He pauses once for the tinest liquid poo. I can't help but think of what it feels like when you eat the wrong thing and it's just brewing in you and then finally purging from your system in a glorious rejection poo. If only he could get there.
We walk around. I feel around his tummy to make sure it isn't twisted. "Kate? Do you think he'll be okay?" I ask my sister as she's the only one up. "Oh yeah. He'll be fine. I just wouldn't feed him tonight."
"Myle's has eaten worst than this right?" I ask. Myles being her dog who as a puppy destroyed everything in the house.
"Oh sure; he's eaten lipstick, diapers...and you can see his stomach stick out too."
"Oh good." I pause. "Maybe the best rule of thumb is to tell Zachary he's not allowed to feed Orion ANYTHING." My mind drifts back to the day Zachary fed him a full, and I mean full, bowl of food when the little pup only ate a cup twice a day.
"Yeh."
We wander back inside and I settle in to the futon. Orion puts his nose on the cushion but doesn't make the effort to jump up. Eventually he opps to make the effort and lies curled next to me.
"I hear you buddy. I'd be in the same boat if I kept eating those fuzzy noodles today for lunch." I say thinking back on the year old can of soup I was attempting to eat.
"Well, maybe we can just have you sleep it off. You're laying low in the morning no questions about it."
He doesn't even bother to argue.
"Come on now, we're going to bed."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Toy time

"Can I help you?" A PetSmart employee pauses as he walks past the aisle.
"Yeah, actually. Can you give a suggestion as to a toy that might occupy my dog for longer than 10 minutes?"
"Have you tried the Kongs?"
"Useless. I don't even get 5 minutes with those."
"Really? Everyone loves the Kongs."
"Nope. Right now I'm leading with the bottle and rope toy but I've observed him mouthing the bottle and shaking it upside down so I fear that won't last long."
We walk down the the puzzle toys.
"Have you tried this?" He holds up a ball with a tiny opening.
"Yeah. I love the bounce, but food only lasts 5 in it." I shake my head. "So far my squished milk jug and the rope toy are the best. I was thinking about this," I say holding up a plastic hollow bone with clover openings at the ends.
"Yeah. I think that should work."
"Cool."

At home...

"Look Orion I got you a new toy!"
He happily gets the toy in his mouth than rips off part of the clover leaf, leaving a gapping hole. He lifts it in his mouth and shakes. All the kibble falls out. I check the clock. Three minutes. Suck.
Try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gum

I look over from dragging my clothes out of the dryer.
"Orion what do you have now??"
He's pulling something from the ground, smacking his lips, pulling again.
"Oh for the love of God that's gum!"
To bother getting it out of his mouth, me all sticky, or just let him have it?
I walk by hands full of laundry,
"You know that's not digestible."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pure Grumpiness

While I am practicing not letting what people think bother me--a skill I am considering mastered for myself, I bump into every now in then glitches in this skill set when I get commentary about my dog.
Example: "I think you really ought to get your dog a gentle leader leash."
I hear this at least a couple times here and there. I have acquired through gifting two of them. I have repeatedly said, "Thanks but I'm not interested." Am I being stubborn? Partly. I have absolutely NO interest in using this type of leash. Sure, would it save my arm here and there? Likely. Does it look like a mussel? Yeah. Why does this bother me? I decided it's two fold. My previous friend who had labs didn't like them and she raised three labs. The look makes me think "unfriendly dog", which is not the vibe I want. I am the one walking him, so if my arm is pulled off and I don't mind then why does it matter? There have been countless dogs before the gentle leader came out that survived puppy hood just fine without them. And if they don't like it pulling on their nose, why do I like that idea? So no. No gentle leader. Enjoy them Mom--she asked about them for Chloe, I said, "oh for the love don't buy one I have like twenty."

Example two: "Have you taken your dog to puppy school?" This one I take personally. While the poor innocent person doesn't know, I am thinking, sure, when I'm pay check to pay check, in a job that does not have a set schedule, nor can you request a set schedule, and I am spending 15 minutes minimum three days a week training Orion because I'm trying the best I can for my dog, no, I am not taking him to puppy school because I'm a horribly irresponsible dog owner. Overly sensitive? Totally.

Example three: "Oh my gosh your dog is so dirty. Don't you think you should get him out of that mud puddle--aren't you worried about your car?" No. I am not. Do you see that smile on my dog's face? He likes mud puddles. He's happy. When he's happy, I take great joy in the shared happy. So what? I will wash my clothes.

Then, after I recognize my sensitivity, I revisit my practice at not caring. I look at Orion and I say, "I like your pinch collar just fine. You don't seem to mind it either. As for school, we are doing the best we can and that's all I can ever hope for and I do take care of you, and we still have stuff to work on." Then I think, "Molly, this is part of growing up. He is your dog. Do whatever the hell you want with him, and don't let it bother you."

So I sit here after two hours in the rain watching him run around happy as can be, one vet visit down to treat the ear infection, he's sleeping on his dog bed, and you know? Things aren't so bad. He is a puppy. He does eat my glasses. He does jump. But, we're working on educating him and also acknowledging the perfect behaved dog doesn't happen over night. He's also educating me on patience.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wood walking


My body hurts from three hours in the car in a traffic jam that required the highway to be shut down. I walk up the rain streaked steps, pull out my keys, pause. Is that Orion I hear barking? He never does that! Mind bounces, he's been in the crate for awhile but my neighbors said they let him out when I asked after the unexpected time delay... he can't be that bad.
I open the door.
"Is that my bogger dog making all that racket?"
Orion looks at me in his crate.
I smile because my neighbors put his water bowl in his crate for him.
"Aren't you lucky they like you?"
I pop open the crate, Orion spins out, back legs prancing, eyes looking up at me.
"Need to go out?" He flies to the door. I trudge after with a tired smile on my face.
In and out, I'm flopped out on the futon. We still haven't moved back into the hazard room. Hive free for two weeks is kind of motivation enough.
"I feel like an old woman Orion."
Orion prances around, stepping on me, chewing my fingers, my toes. I'm too sore to move rapidly to save myself. I prop up on my elbows.
"You want to just go for a walk?"
Ears perk up. Mouth goes limp on my foot.
"I know it's raining but who cares? Let's go."
I get up, dig around for the boots and out we go.
It is perfect. The misty rain, the wet earth. "Orion, this is what it would be like in New Hampshire right now. This is good for us."
He's happily retracing the morning steps, checking out the new smells.
"I miss New England a lot right now. I know I have a fun job and good friends here, but this helps. Us and the woods." Orion does his usual zig zag.
"Please don't forget I'm attached to you," I say as the leash tightens around my waste. I have him double leashed so he gets about fifteen feet of his own, with me trailing behind. It has it's perks, but also back fires if a squirrel or human catches his eye before I can center my gravity.
We walk past an off shoot trail, Orion scurries, nose down up the trail a bit. "No, Orion, we're going this way." I say, continuing past on the path we took in the morning. We walk a few steps. I stop.
"You want to go there?"
Orion cocks his head up at me listening.
"What the heck. It's not like we have any other plans, and I'm enjoying myself and your company, no point in cutting it short."
So off we go.
"Remember this is the path we took in the snow Orion? When I felt like I was going to pass out and have to eat kibble, when we didn't know the way out or how long it was?" I'm smiling. "We both looked like wrecks, you slipping face first into the mud, me face first into the snow." Orion's plowing ahead, slip sliding on the mud.
"Quality bonding."
My footing slides slightly. I'm glad I choose the boots rather than my Keens.
"Orion, wait." I need a moment to slow him on this decline. He trots up, accepts the treat, then bolts. "Remember, I'm ATTACHED!" I grab a tree on the way down, feet wobble as they're sliding down the muddy decline. The tree branch saves me. Orion stops. Looks back. What's going on up there Mum, hurry up, we have stuff to explore! I can see it in his face. "No pull Orion."
Pointless comment at this juncture as I right myself and carry on, thanking the tree branch as I release it.
And we are off again, Orion flying across the wooden bridge only to slide into the muddy ledge and look as if he went to a war paint convention.
"We could still win a competition some day for cutest mud dog."
He stares up and smiles.
I smile back and we keep going.

Girl stuff

I sit on the toilet. Orion makes a grab for my undies.
"Nope. You do not want to do that."
I hop up waddle to my cabinet, reach in for a pad.
"See, I often forget I get my period. Really sometimes I don't think I even should have it."
I sit back down.
"This is the reason you had to get neutered. So you wouldn't make any other little girl doggies pregnant. Although rumor has it, when you are pregnant, at least for humans, you don't have to have your period. I bet a girl doggie would like to skip the whole process too. It's a shame there are so many strings attached with that one." I pause, thinking this over, would a girl dog be bothered much? Thoughts drift in of Tessa, our Sharpei and her modified undies, with a pad and a hole cut for her tail while she was in heat. How long are girl dogs prego for? Brain drifts back to humans.
"Yeah. I doubt I'll be getting prego in my existence but I do like the idea of a natural reprieve." I stick the pad down. Hand him the wrapper to shred. "I appreciate the offer for help, but like most things here in the bathroom, I'm pretty confident I can handle them."
Orion wanders off to grab a pair of undies I may have dropped on the floor this morning.
"Remember I told you those are not good for you? Orion, everything I tell you is for educational reasons. I'm helping you catch up to my 27 years worth of wisdom."
He ignores me and continues on his way down the hall.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Neuter aftermath.

"Orion you have to settle because you just had surgery."
Orion ignores me and struts out to the kitchen. I hear him jump up to the counter top.
"Orion, you're not allowed to have people food for 7-10 days."
Orion ignores me and I hear the sound of silverware hitting the floor.
I get up off the air mattress and stroll out to the kitchen. He looks up at me.
"I know. You know I have no issues with you eating people food, but it's the rules Orion. I don't want you to get sick. Now, do you want some water? You're suppose to drink small amounts."
I fill up his bowl.
He drinks the whole bowl.
"Orion. That was not a small amount."
I hear his stomach processing.
"If you puke it's okay. Surgery is tough."
He struts back to the air mattress.
I follow.
I sit down to look up apartments, thinking maybe he'll rest. He gets up, goes back out to the kitchen. I hear him grab a bag and start shredding it.
"Orion, that's not being very calm you know."
He brings it back to the air mattress, lays down, shreds.
Whines.
"I know. I wish there was something I could do for you. It'd be easier if you slept. Healing goes faster that way."
He gets up and whacks his bell to go out.
I get up.
"We're only suppose to go on short leash walks and pee breaks."
Out the door, Orion starts to bolt for a cat.
"Orion! No pulling! They said NO PULLING! I do not want you getting sick!"
He pees, we go back in.
"You have to think of this as playing puppy. You're supposed to be drugged anyways."
He finds a bottle and starts chewing on it.
"Well, I guess it's good you're not licking your wound. We get A+ points for that."
He wiggles off the air mattress legs sprawled, surgery area rubbing against the mattress.
"Yep. We suck at this rule following."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Collect and conserve.

"EWWW!"
I go running from the room.
"KEEP GOING ORION! THERE ARE BED BUGS BEHIND US!!!"
I had just finished wrapping my mattress in a giant plastic bag, tipping it slightly to scoot the bag up further, when I saw six bugs crawling on the reverse side.
Orion, puzzled, nearly trips me in the hallway rush to the front of the house.
"Ew. Gross. Disgusting." I'm squirming in a frantic dance that resembles one warding off bees rather than imaginary bed bugs crawling all over.
I take a deep breath and quit wiggling.
"Orion. This has stepped up a level. Cockroaches were one thing. Bed bugs? Disgusting. I can't take any more. We're moving out. We're finding a house. How do you feel about a back yard?" I pause. "Gross."
Then I return, packing tape in hand and wrap it around my mattresses like a girl on a mission.
Orion attempts to nibble the plastic.
"NOOOOO!" I shout so loud I think he feared for a moment the sky was falling.
"Orion, it's VERY important you don't touch this plastic."
We finish the tape job, then I power up the web to construct my plan of attack. Phone to my ear, I inform my landlord that he also needs someone to tackle bed bugs.
"You mean we've been spraying for the wrong thing all this time?" he asks.
My head reels temporarily. I see red.
"No. I have cockroaches too. I am completely cognizant of the differences between cockroaches and bedbugs."
And I apparently am living in the slums, I think, but choose to refrain from including.
"Oh. Okay. Well it costs ninety-five a visit. I'll have him in there by Tuesday."
"Good."
I let the phone hang up, snap the computer lid shut and turn to Orion, passed out at my feet.
"Cockroaches and bedbugs Orion, can you believe this? We'll show them!" I get up and march out the studio door, list in hand of the various sprays, supplies and powers I'll need.
"Let's find ourselves some bugs. See if we can't give the health department something to think about."
And we're off. Collect and conserve.
Orion sees one move and makes a dive for it.
"NO! Orion, we have to kill and conserve." I step on it enough to keep it still, then scoop it up. We pull out the futon and there's a good cluster of four. "Bingo buddy." He wedges his nose over.
"EW! That one's still moving!" I squish it.
"Alrighty."
Orion follows me back to the bathroom. I let my collection slide to the whiite porcelain toilet top.
We stick out noses closer. Orion's feet perched on the toilet, checking out our progress.
"12 critters. And they think they're spraying is for nothing!"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chocolate Dog

It's seven am. Orion's whining in my face. I'm debating acknowledging it or hoping he'll sleep longer.
"Orion? Really?"
He whines more.
"Okay come up here."
I toss the blanket over my head and wiggle around. He pounces trying to eat my arms that are now nicely padded under the blanket. I whip my arms out and grab him in a hug. Kiss his whiskers. Rub his head, roll him to rub his tummy.
This is our usual routine. I liken it to the sleep button. A stall tactic to actually getting up. I roll myself, and bump into something hard.
"A trash can Orion?" It's true. There is a small bathroom barrel trash can beside me.
"Bored last night?" He dives for my un-protected hand. I roll out of bed.
I look at him.
"French park or Oliver?" He wiggles his tail at his friend's name.
"Good choice, I could use some Dunkin's." Oliver, the nine month old brown labrador resided north of us and was always at the dog park and up for a good run, mouth wrestle or tumble at the early hours. We met Oliver, and Jack--the older stray dog that was adopted by the Booths, in the spring as we were the three idiots standing in the mud puddles and rain letting the dogs tare around the dog park. It just so happens there's a Dunkin Dounuts right off the exit if we opt to go to that park. Not that I notice.
Orion does his business outside, I tackle the shower, hollering out at Orion as I hear chaos in the kitchen, and then we're loaded up cruising along the highway north.
"You know, for waking me up at 7 you have a pretty nice life." I say, noticing his head plunked down on my middle console, his eyes closed. "Humph. Wish I could have someone drive me around so I could sleep."
No response.
I pat his head.
"You're cute when you're sleepy."
We pull up to the Dunkin's drive thru. I turn to Orion who is now fully alert, sitting up in the passenger side. "What are you having today?"
"Welcome to Dunkin Dounuts, how may we help you?" The speaker rattles off.
"Hi, I'd like a small coffee cream and sugar and the plainest munchkin you think a 8 month old labrador retriever might like. "
"Well I don't know what an 8 month old labrador would like, but we have the plain glazed donuts?"
"Perfect."
We pull around and Orion happily gobbles up his munchkin. I nuzzle my warm coffee. "Thanks!" And we're off.
It's 8 now. Late enough to call the Booth's and have them meet us.
"Bob Oliver Dog." I mutter as I scroll through my contacts, past Abby Dog Park, Monica Apple, Katie dog Park. I have a very accurate contact list. "Bob?"
"HELLO??"
Bob is one of those men who likes to act like a crotchitie old guy even though he's pretty entertaining and is very nice to his dogs. "Bob, this is Molly."
I hear the phone fumble. I stare at my phone. I hear him saying, "I can't hear anything, here, you talk." The phone is passed to Rosemary.
"Hello?"
"Rosemary?"
"Yeah."
"We're headed over to the dog park. You wanna meet us there?"
"Oh sure, when are you going?"
"Like now."
"Oh sure, we'll be there."
I hang up the phone chuckling. They aren't that old, but you'd think I was talking to my grandparents. "Jack I can't hear, I need the battery turned up!"
We make it to the park and Orion sprints around hopeful to find a dog hidden in the trees. Then he tears around just because he can and we see the Booth's car pull up.
"Who's that Orion?"
His ears perk up. The gate opens, a brown dog comes flying through the gate. Orion bolts after him.
"Go get him Oliver! Squish Orion like a bug!" Rosemary loops in, empty leashes dangling from her shoulder. Bob, lumbers in, water bowl and jug in hand, Jack tagging along with him.
"Here. I brought you something so you won't starve." Bob passes me a folded paper. I unfold it, my face lighting up. "AWESOME! Dunkin's coupons!"
The dogs come crashing into my knees.
"Up, guess you're home base today," Rosemary exclaims, and we all shift to have our backs against the fence. The dogs are tearing around the park. Two hours later, huffing and puffing they return to us, wedging themselves under the bench, the one place the now mid morning sun can't reach. Dirt flies up underneath their bellies.
I laugh.
"What a picture!"
"Orion just wants to look like Oliver."
It's true; his butt was half covered in dirt. A snicker doodle.
"Well that's what best friends do."

Monday, August 29, 2011

enjoyment


Lately I have been enjoying Orion's company more and more. It is not as if I didn't enjoy him before, but his needs were very different as a one/two/three...six month old. We have been waking up nicely, a sandpaper kiss or light whining and then adventuring out into the cool morning air. Perhaps that is part of it as well. Now that we are nearing the end of August the heat is not atrocious and I don't mind walking around with him. Matter of fact I enjoy it. Coming home on the lunch breaks I look forward to his semi sleepy self crawling out of his crate with a bit stretch and an attempt at eating my arm (when really it's his greeting of hello Mum, I want to snuggle and get tummy tickles) and then just hanging out in the yard. Today we had a lovely walk just he and I, around Sharon Woods. We dilly dallied, pausing to sniff things (okay he sniffed, I just paused). Greet people. Say hi to dogs. Sit on the bench--best picture ever, the two of us, me sitting, him sitting on a park bench side by side. Chase ducks, dip in for a swim. Just lovely. I told him so, "Orion, thanks for spending the morning with me." He truly makes me just happy. We sat out at the mechanics, Orion chewing a stick, me enjoying the outdoors, butt on a parking bump. People honked and waved. I smiled and waved back. It's a good thing having a dog.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pam & Webbie

Orion circles the yard. He barks his high pitched bark. Webster, his best friend Boxer pal is puzzled as to what he seems to be missing in regards to importance on the pool deck.
Orion circles, pops his head over the gate. Barks his high pitched bark.
I sigh.
Really?
I have driven up to Columbus, there's a 58 pound, energetic and thrilled to play Boxer at his nose's length, and he's grumping because I'm in the swimming pool.
"Orion you have your own pool," I say as I bob in the water. And it's true, there's a baby pool for the dogs in the yard. Orion's already been in and out of it a dozen times. Web considers it more like a glorified water bowl.
Bark.
Bark.
I look at Pam. "Any suggestions? I was told Labs don't bark."
She laughs, "Who told you that??"
I float some more, trying to ignore my labrador sticking his head up between the fence posts.
Bark.
Maybe he'll quit?
I know better, but I'm feeling slightly hopeful in lieu of Webster providing potential distraction. Webster so far is just following quietly along wondering what all the fuss is about.
"Web go distract him!" I plead.
No chance.
Web just looks at me, then Orion, then back at me. Both our eyes shift rapidly to Orion, as a crash occurs and Orion flies over the gate. Instantly, my legs drop to the pool bottom and I circle to where Orion is now barking on the edge of the pool. Webster trots casually behind Orion.
"No buddy, you have your own pool. This is for the big humans," I say this with a hand in his chest as he is twitching to enter the pool. "You have to settle down or Pam's never going to invite us up to swim and play again."
No chance.
Bark. Bark.
I turn to Pam to ask her thoughts, and Orion leaps into the pool face first.
I roll my eyes.
Somehow I'm not surprised.
I go fish his head up from underwater and he starts sputtering, then swimming around.
"Are you okay with this Pam?" I ask, as I hold my fifty-five pound lab for the okay to let him do some loops.
"Yeah just as long as you help him in and out of the pool."
"Okay."
I let Orion go, and he happily swims in circles in the center, following me, following an imaginary current. Very focused. Dog paddle superb. He starts to try to catch up to me so I scoop him up to give him a rest. After a few breaths he starts to try and chew on me, so I release him.
Swim, swim, swim.
This is one happy dog.
I deposit him on the pool deck. He shakes. He trots about. Chases Web around the deck.
"Hey boys!"
"Hey guys!"
Our voices echo over top of one another.
The dogs round the corner and take off for the yard.
"Yes!" I exclaim. "Maybe all he needed was a one time dip to know he could reach me."
"I'm impressed with how quick you could move across the pool. Must be your water polo."
"Or the ten years of swimming before that.." and then I'm off extolling the stories of large women water polo players, and speed, ect. ect.
Orion comes flying back up the pool deck.

(will continue, but falling asleep.)

Cockroaches

"Orion! Come on! Get it!" I shout as I watch a cockroach run across the living room floor. Orion's not sure what he's looking for and is searching without locking on to anything. Too slow, I think. I'm barefoot. I really don't want to have to step on it barefoot.
I grab the coffee table.
Pound.
Miss.
Pound.
Miss.
"ORION!" the cockroach dashes near Orion. He snags it.
"NICE JOB!!!"
We move his crate and one drops from his water bottle.
"GET IT!!!"
I grab the coffee table again.
Squish.
"HA! Two down!"
I satisfactorily pat Orion's head.
"I think we make a good team Orion."
He's busy licking his lips.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Pictures


I'm at home alone after dropping Orion at day care for the day so he does not have to tolerate my at-my-desk long day, and yet, I walk by his dog bowl and think how I miss his persistent company. It is funny how quickly I've become use to my tag-a-long friend. I know he is having a delightful time at Doggie Day Care, and yet, typically I drop him off only on work--traditional work-- days so this is the first time, aside from my "diagnosed with Scabies and contagious" day, that I note the absence in the household. Last yesterday was such a fun day hanging out with just the two of us, then me chasing him around the house with my paint easile to try to paint an oil painting of the little pup. Here are some of the older sketches and the half complete oil. I'm going to cheat and go get him early. He should be tired enough by now.
Okay well I have to email myself the oil... it'll be up later.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Stacations


It is the first of my four stay cation days. I wake to the usual whine of Orion, suggesting the sun is up therefore, we too ought to be up. I find my face drooling into a bare mattress, socks on from the night before as is the shirt and wind pants. We got in late from doing laundry and I didn't have the energy to wrestle the sheets on the bed, or change into pi's before climbing in myself. As I do each morning, I fish the cell phone from between the wall and the bed, squinting at the bright light reading 6:45.
"Orion, here I was thinking you might let us sleep in on our stay cation. Maybe the midnight bed hour would have you snoozing until 9?"
He whines some more. I reach my hand down fishing for my glasses. Internally, I groan, but count to three, throw the glasses on and toss my legs to the floor. "Okay I'm up."
Orion does some hops, toes tapping the wooden floor. I hobble to the room divider, slide it aside, slip my feet into my awaiting Keen's and out the door we go for the morning bathroom routine.
The air outside is cool. It feels so wonderful to not go out and get blasted with a furnace.
"Are you excited to go on our stay cation?" I ask, as Orion takes an astute interest in another creature's scat.
"We'll pack up then take off. Spend the afternoon."
Inside, I get to work, lather myself with sunscreen, collect the tablecloth that will serve as my beach blanket, bones, treats, more sunscreen. Orion is quiet until I hear the usual sound of feet returning to the ground in the kitchen.
"ORION, what do you have???" I holler down the hallway.
He comes trotting past the bathroom door back to the bedroom. I peer around the bathroom to see the "dog peanut butter" jar in his mouth. He freezes, jar cock-eyed out of one side.
"So do you think I won't notice?" I ask, walking towards him.
I take the jar from him and peek inside. 90% empty. I screw the lid back on and hand it to him. Totally worth the peace while I"m getting ready.
"If you can get inside, it's all yours."
Before long, Orion and I are on the road, listening to the GPS prompt us along to East Fork Lake. Oddly enough it's routing us north when every other time my friend drove us we definitely went south.
"Hopefully we don't miss the Dunkin Donuts," I tell Orion, who has resumed nap position beside me, foot wedged into my leg.
I pat his head.
"I love you dog."
No movement.
I drive on.
After an hour and a half of finding ourselves at the incorrect entrance, speaking to a fisherman and his son for correct directions we finally arrive at the beach. Orion's high pitch barking to beat the band.
"Would you relax! I'm getting us ready." I'm gathering up all the odds and ends at my feet that are needed for our adventure day, busy bones, jug of water, book so on and so on.
I open his back door and he flies out ready to take on the world. Sadly he's stopped short by the leash that happens to keep him from being a jungle dog.
"You're so lucky Petsmart was closed or you'd have a pinch collar to take care of your crazy pulling Orion Timothy."
I juggle him, the trunk, gathering the backpack of supplies and the gallon junk of water, and we begin working our way to the beach. It's gorgeous out. The sun has called the temperature up to the eighties, and the once rocky beach is now covered with a gentle layer of grass. We plod down, finding a spot close to the water, and I spread out the table cloth, using the gallon jug to pin it down. It rests on the medium height grass like a hovercraft so I toss the backpack in the center, then wander with Orion into the water to cool off.
Like last time, the lake water is a perfect comfortable temperature. I have been longing for New England something fierce lately and playing in the natural bodies of water brings me back closer than the purified pool water. With water up to my calfs, I stare across the lake at the hillside covered in trees, listen to the buzz of the far off boat engine and think this is what vacation should be. Wouldn't it be nice if I could wake up and this be my life?
Orion prances about in the water, sticking his head in to fish for rocks. I grab a small stick and toss it out in the lake, he leaps after it.
"Okay, let's head back so I can take off my shorts, set up then we can swim some more," I say, and he dutifully trails after me, shaking his body free of the water along the way.
We spend the day this way, he and I, looping into the water, and up to our table cloth, to rest ourselves in the sun. After an hour or so we shift over to a shady spot and things are just perfect being outside like this. It is nice even to spend the time alone of all other humans, as the chatter from the beach beside us ebbs and flows as people come and go. I snooze, leash looped around my ankle, and Orion pokes about in the grass. At one point he drags a giant half eaten catfish from the bushes and I have to shake it free, tell him that's gross, and drag him back to the table cloth with promises of a yummy clean bone instead. We chase sticks, me swimming alongside him, we prowl through pathways in the woods, take more naps, and then finally pile back into the car for the drive home (and a quick stop to Dunkins) where we drag our sun soaked selves inside for yet another mid day snooze and start to our stay cation

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Flop in the night.

It's ten in the evening. I'm wide awake. Orion's wide awake. We decide to go pester Zachary, my nine-year-old neighbor.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Zachary told me if I ever want him to knock three times and he'll know it's me. I fail to notice how my regular pattern of knocking on anyone's door extends beyond three knocks, but just go with it.
Delmy answers, with a joyful "OOH! Oh Ry anne." Delmy does not speak much English and seems to perhaps have never had a dog in her life, but I can tell she's amused by Orion and sort of likes his enthusiastic kisses and attention that he applies to her. Zachary on the other hand, pokes around her back, lego's in hand and Orion clobbers all over him.
"No! Down!"
Orion gets off him.
"Hey, I was wondering if Zachary could go for a walk with us?"
The exchange occurs in Spanish then Zachary tells me, "Oh yeah, I was just changing arms, let me go put them down and I'll be ready. I already went on a long walk with my mom this morning to the store. She is tired."
I tease Delmy about building muscles, then tell her to holler at Zachary to meet me up front.
Disappearing into my apartment, I grab a bag, find my keys and loop out front to meet Zachary.
We're walking along, the sidewalks empty in the night sky. Street lamps toss a flat color in patches along one side of the sidewalk and Zachary's blinking his pocket flashlight while fiddling with his Lego men in his hands.
"So I was thinking maybe you might like to walk him," I say, aware that Zachary is now getting shorter, while Orion is getting taller. This fact has not escaped Zachary either as I see him turn his body away slightly at the fifty-five pound lab bounding to meet him.
"I don't want you to be scared of him as he keeps getting bigger."
"Oh I'm not scared of him."
"Well okay but just if you ever are we can work on things. He has to learn not to jump anyways. Maybe you can help me train him with that."
We're chatting away, talking about maybe Zachary coming over for the day when all of a sudden something jumps in the grass and Orion dives. My arm about gets ripped off and I see a flutter of what I'm quickly realizing are wings.
"OH NO! ORION DROP IT!!!"
I wrap the leash rapidly trying to get ahold of Orion's face. Bird feathers are wiggling in his mouth. Oh gross. Gross. Gross. I begin to pry his mouth open hoping that it's true that labrador's gently hold their prey.
"Gross gross gross!"
Zachary, behind me has the other half of the leash and is laughing at me gagging.
"Oh this is so disgusting. Oh gross."
I shake the bird out and drag him up the sidewalk. About fifty paces away I'm still grossed out.
"You should've let me do that. I see blood all the time," Zachary says. "Bird blood wouldn't gross me out. I could've done it."
Fifty-five pound lab mouth prying to a eighty pound nine year old boy's hands....
"Will you go back and see if the bird is alive with your flashlight?"
"Oh sure."
Off Zachary trots. His little light is tracing over the grass.
"I don't see it."
"Well that's good. Maybe he just stunned it."
"Yeah. Maybe."
"Let's go home. That was so gross."
Zachary laughs and resumes control of Orion.

Steroids not raging.

"Orion, if I keep these steroids up and stay being down in the dumps, you're going to get fat."
I'm sitting on the couch in my bedroom eating my sandwich, one bite for me, one bite for my cute dog who keeps giving me kisses.
"I have twelve days left."
He licks my face.
I pull off a piece of crust.
"I hate feeling down in the dumps." Take a bite. Hand him a piece. "You'd think I had my fill during the Dark Ages. Good thing I know this is just medically induced."
Licks face.
"We have to remember to eat too."
Take a bite, give him a bite.
"I tend to get unmotivated. We should make a list of everything I know to do when I'm down in the dumps and tape it to the fridge."
Pause.
"You want this last bite of ham?"
He does. Shocker.
"I like seeing you happy. So just remind me every day to take you to the dog park. That'll fill time, keep me busy, I'll see you happy, then indirectly get distracted from feeling like crying, and hopefully you'll be all tired and snuggly, so benefit from you being my dog too when I'm down in the dumps."
He licks my face.
"I'm all out of food you know."
Licks my face.
"See? That's why you're my best friend dog. I'm so smart getting you."
Crawls on my lap.
"Orion, I may have wanted that ovary. You have the freaking pokiest elbows."
I adjust.
"Well, thanks for keeping me upbeat on my lunch break. Let's go make coffee and see if that can help for the rest of the day. How many days of this do I have left?" I roll off the couch.
"12. Right. Thanks buddy." We walk down the hall.
"You want some peanut butter?"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Night time conversations.

"Orion, I feel unmotivated. What happened to my energy for pursuing my dreams? All I want to do is snag an extra twenty minutes of sleep."
We walk in the night sidewalks, the sliver of a moon shining down.
He snatches a cup from the ground and trots along with in his mouth.
"Well I guess you're right. I am on a ton of steroids, have had scabies for a month and am having an allergic reaction, on drugs for that, and the cough. So I haven't been feeling my best this month. I guess I can ease up on myself."

Sparrow Energy

I wake to my alarm ringing at 6:32 AM. This may be the first morning I did not have a whine or bark, or lick to the face to wake me up between 5:30 and 6:10. Almost like clock-work Orion can land a 6:10 wake up and expect the world to be up and operating right along side him. I hit sleep and roll over, I am not ready to get up. My friend came over at midnight, when his shift got off, to kindly apply the last of my scabies treatment to my back, but I tried to stay up to meet him and therein got six hours tops sleep. Sigh.
I remember I'm going to meet another friend at Sharon Woods for a walk.
"Okay I'm up," I grumble, reaching my arm down between the mattress and wall for my glasses case. I put them on, pull the hair tie from my droopy pony tail and flip my legs over the side of the bed. I look at Orion.
"Orion. I'm getting too old for this."
He slides off the bed, back legs lingering and trots to the gate indicating, "Ready to go out and doing my morning pee Ma."
Out we go, he does his thing, me stumbling behind the ten foot leash. There is evidence of rain on the ground which reminds me of waking briefly to thunder. I flop to the sidewalk while he chews on a long stick newly fallen from the tree.
Suddenly I realize I have only 30 minutes to bathe (get off the scabies cream) eat breakfast (and take my gazillion meds that require an intake of food first) and get out the door. My energy level elevates enough to get us back in the apartment.
Shower, breakfast, pills, dunkin donuts gift card in hand, we're out the door.
In the car, my phone buzzes. A text comes through from my friend, "There are storms coming, still wanna go?" We decide to reschedule, but Orion and I cruise to the dog park hoping to snag a few minutes of running around. I suspect no dog in his right mind, nor dog owner will be up at seven at the park, and I am not mistaken.
The big field is empty, but Orion is just as happy to have a big back yard as I am to not have to have him scoot me a long on a leash, rather move slowly and let him chart his own course.
It is during this time the sky is greying. i am beginning to think he will not get enough energy out, but then the swallows come in. Apparently we walked a touch too close to their nest and four swallows came flying down, brushing their wings on the grass.
Off goes Orion tearing after them like a bat outta hell. I stand watching with a big smile on my face. He goes after one, then shifts to chase another, and these sparrows are having fun with him, close to the ground, quick shifts in the air. The little seven month old dog has the ears flopping, short legs flying out behind him, and his little hot-persuit bark echoing against the thunder. They keep it up for twenty minutes and I decide it's time to rest and return to the car as the midwest sky warns me the storm is not too far behind.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Gentle



Orion was a hit with my mum and Aunt Susan. He played hard but was overall a nice little pup. Course he did still eat two of my cell phone cables but we're working on that...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pride Parade

"Okay Orion, we need to get you looking all festive for the Pride Parade. You're going to pick up all the ladies and gay men okay?" I say, as I stuff water bottle after water bottle into my bag and slip on his rainbow collar. It's a good 95 degrees out high humidity and quite frankly I'm convinced I might melt, but having never been to a Pride parade and this being the only day it was happening I've once again convinced myself that I can maintain cool inside. I throw some rainbow beads over my head, slip my hippie rainbow headband on, give myself a once over and wait for my friends to arrive.
"ORION!" Laura comes through the door, showering my pup with some nice pats and love. Orion's thrilled. I too, enjoy the dog-loving people. Carolyn trails behind Laura, going off about being late because something about shoes and her hair not being right. Not as dog oriented as Laura. I smile because I love this duo, and am amused at Carolyn's chatter knowing that she once-upon-a-time dressed in surfer clothes and was way more relaxed about her appearance. Now it'd be a stretch to see her in sneakers and jeans without a lick of makeup. She insists it's her work friends, and I am glad Laura, her longest running friend, still trumps them historically and must hold some influence otherwise I'd fear Carolyn would be trying to pass me her skirts and dresses and 12 different pairs of shoes.
I explain our mission, toss the keys at Laura, not a good plan for me to drive in the city, plus I can hang in the back with Orion, and we're out the door.
My Oregon friend tells me I ought to bring Orion to the parade. "Molly he'll be an instant hit, you'll get to meet people, have conversations... you have to bring him." Two phone calls to the police later, I discover he is allowed down town just not on the square and Kate's theory proves accurate before we even make it out of the gas station. Orion's crawling over my lap, trying to greet the attendant. "Oh hi Buddy!" she says with a southernish twang, and her bright red nails reach through the window to tap his head. "He's just a puppy isn't he? Oh you're just wanting to say hi aren't you?" She goes on and on chatting with Orion, and me indirectly as the tank ticks higher and high. Up front, Laura and Carolyn are cracking themselves up over something. I'm hanging on to Orion so he doesn't opt to jump out the window and finish his happy greeting as a free dog. "Yes, yep.. un huh." I say, and finally we're off.
Trotting along the sidewalk downtown, Orion maintains his instant celebrity-dom. "Oh isn't he cute. Honey, look at the puppy!" "Oh, I just LOVE the collar."
Truthfully, the collar was a present when he was born from a friend of mine who in no way was thinking of rainbow affiliations, but it was bright and cheerful so I chuckle, as I say, "thanks..."
It is hot. It's so hot I'm distinctly aware my underwear is stuck halfway across one cheek and there is no moving it with a simple shimmy. Orion is huffing and puffing quickly and Laura points out his toes are probably not doing well on the hot sidewalk so we move to the shade.
"Can I pet your dog?" Some old lady asks, baggy clothes hanging from her frail frame, purple poof pants and sunhat perched on her head. "Oh yeah sure," I say, waiting off to the side while the girls go up on the square to get us a beer. I fill up Orion's water dish and he happily laps it up before dumping it to lie in the cool water. Beside us to rough looking women turn and threaten some guy who kicked over their beer as they were busy adjusting their rainbow gear. Hum. I'm going to count them out as new potential friends. Some nice looking men come up, "Oh, how darling! We have an 11 year old black lab at home..." "Oh yeah?" And we begin chatting about labradors. Carolyn and Laura return and I happily exchange and empty water bottle for a cold beer. Perhaps this will take the edge off since I forgot coffee? Behind me someone is snapping Orion's picture. He is damn cure--Orion that is. And we start wandering up through the booths, myself intermittently being stopped to have people smile and chat with my dog.
"You have to look up!" Carolyn tells me. "You look at your dog too much." When I took a two week trip to Ireland with Carolyn the fall of my first year of grad school she would remind me after each interaction with the foreigners what they did and didn't understand from my rapid English. I am reminded of this as I consciously focus on looking at those with whom I talk.
"She could be my friend," I say pointing out a rather artsy looking person more my age. My theory is, the hippies are going to hang at the gay pride parade. The artsy liberal folks come out for this. After three months of daily photo shots of conservative Christian bumper stickers, I wanted to meet some new folks. As my alignment is not entirely straight, I was also open to considering options.
"Molly. You gotta stop talking to all the old folks," Carolyn says eye brow lifted at the booth woman who just told me about her labrador, while giving Orion some ice cubes.
"Yeah, there must be something about you that draws them to you," Laura says, munching on a hot dog watching the drag queen float drift by.
I shrug.
"I'm trying to meet people my age!" And suddenly a guy wanders up and starts petting Orion.
"I've been watching your dog for an hour," he says, "I just had to pet him."
"Oh, sure," I say.
"Hey, what's your name?" he looks up at me.
"Molly."
"Oh, you don't have dreads do you?" My eyes go from one side to the other, checking if he's talking to someone behind me.
"Um no," I say, puzzled, as my hair is clearly bone straight and in braids.
"Huh. Some guy came up last night looking for a Molly with dreads. I guess you're not her then."
"Nope. Probably not."
"So, what's going on here anyways?"
I look up at the rainbow flags, the drag queen float, the people holding hands with "Proud to be Gay", "Respect ALL Families" etc. etc. printed across their shirts.
"It's the Pride parade."
"Huh." He pauses. "Do you know there's a drug called Molly?"
Seriously? I look at Orion. I'm sending him telepathy, "Orion. Really. How do we ALWAYS find the weird ones that want to hang out with us???"
"Oh, really? Yeah, I think I read about that once."
"I think that's what the guy meant yesterday, when he was asking about Molly."
"Okay."
I am NOT making eye contact at this point. Carolyn and Laura are chuckling beside me but making no effort to extract me from this conversation.
The guy gets up and disappears.
I turn to them.
"Really??"
Then he returns. "This is Brian. Brian, this is Molly, but not the one the guy was looking for yesterday."
Brian smiles, somewhat apologetically, "Yeah, I figured."
My head trails after a beautiful gay guy walking by and I am momentarily distracted thinking of my beautiful gay roommate back in Northampton.
"This is her dog."
"Yep. He sure is," I say.... and the parade goes on.

Training revamp

"1 x 12 is 12. 2 X 12 is 24. 3 X 12 is 36. 4 X 12 well that would be, two plus two, four, plus another, shit, I mean two plus six, makes it 8 so 48. Pay attention. Motorcyclist. Check your speed. 5 X 12 is 60...." My hands are gripping the wheel and I'm cognizant of the wind tossing my wispies all over my face. I reach for my purse to grab my hippie headband to keep them out of my eyes but upon first feel can't find it and go back to "Pay attention" mode. This is my first day of my second six pack of predisone to kill off these unusual spots that keep appearing on my body, except in addition to the steroids, my doctor suggested an allergy medication. I took the allergy med last night, wishing it would knock me out and cure me of the gag-myself-at-night-cough that I seem to also be harboring in my body. Sadly, this was not the case.
12 AM: "Okay Orion, I know you wish I'd quit moving. The AC is in, I'll try to sleep now."
12:20: I wake up coughing so hard my lower back muscle distinctly whines in protest. "Sorry Orion to keep you up." I flop back to sleep.
1:20: Have to make it to the bathroom for water, seem to be attempting to cough up an important organ.
Needless to say the night was a rough one.
"If 5 X 12 was sixty, then 6 X 12 would be, 72... I wish I was a dolphin fish, dolphin fish, dolphin fish..." I am driving home from work because my neurons do not seem to be firing appropriately and distinctly feel drugged. Probably not the best state to be in when dealing with customer's broken iphones and personal data in a multibillion dollar company. The first four hours was similar to my car ride, "What am I doing? Oh right, liquid damage, liquid damage. How do I do this paperwork? Hum, think Molly."
I pull up to my apartment, place a quick call to Maggie to let her know I made it safely home. Everything is moving slowly, and I pause thinking what to do next before moving my legs to flip them outside the car door. Why would people deliberatly induce this? I wonder as I am firmly directing my brain to tell my feet go up stairs and get Orion.
Orion was fortunate enough to have had a nice morning run (I tried coffee and sang songs) and aimlessly wanders out of his crate, out the door, does his business and I return him to the inside. As I sit at the table, feeling 400 pounds my weight, I debate, act like I'm going back to work and put him in his crate so I can sleep? Take pity on his cute face and let him join me in the air conditioned room? I fall for the later, and one poop (for him) later, we tumble onto my bed. He barks 2 times and I tell him third time is his strike out and I am out cold.
Two hours later, sandpaper kisses wake me and I groggily toss my arm over his shoulders. He is so soft from the bath I gave him yesterday that I snuggle closer. Lick, lick. I cock an eye partway open, "Yes?"
Lick, lick.
He is being patient.
I lift my torso to push up position, resting on my elbows. Assess my brain capacity. Still slow. Damn. These drugs are kicking my butt. "How about we go potty then come back?" Up we go, out the door, do his thing, myself staring off into space, pony tail cockeyed on my head. Momentarily the thought crosses my head that I should snap out of this state, that if someone drove by they would think I was high as a kite, or drunk or mentally off. I weigh the effort it would take to have my eyes track normally. Na. It's just Orion. What do I care? I plunk down on the sidewalk dropping my head to my folded knees.
Back inside, I toss Orion a bone to entertain himself, stare at my ceiling.
"You could do some illustration work?" Too much effort. "You could clean your house?" Ug. "You could look for methods to make money?" Sigh. "Well you really shouldn't just lay here." Voice is getting slightly cranky. "It is a waste of time you know." Counter voice picks up, "No it's no, you took four hours of sick time. That means you are sick. That means go ahead and lie here and do nothing. Your mother would give you hell anyways if you tried to do something anyways. Well, after she guilt tripped you for going home in the first place. Read a book. That's low key." Agreed. I lift my still seemingly heavy self out of bed and grab the dog training for dummies book that belongs to a friend. Lately I've been Ceasar Milaning Orion in attempts to correct some behavior patterns. I have 50/50 luck. Something about having my karma be all serious when I say, "NO BARK!" in the car just hasn't seemed to come across no matter how much a person's energy has to do with this training stuff.
I flip open the lid, "Surviving Puppyhood". Perfect.
"Up until now, every time you called, Buddy probably willingly came to you. But now he may prefer to wander off an investigate..." Opening door last night, Orion bolts after a walking couple and their small dog. I go flying after him, boxers and half on tank top. So much for wait. I'm the crazy lady who has an ill behaved dog that probably scared the hell out of the humans and they're going to talk all night about how terrible dog owners are... "ORION COME!"
"During the period from 4 months to a year, the male puppy's hormones surge to four times his adult limit." Huh. Go figure. I look at Orion, "Poor guy. You just have crazy hormones going on in there huh?"
This is good.
I can read this book and find valid points to practice working on with Orion. We have been getting a little tired of our fifteen minute, Sit, Stay, Paw etc. and have been itching for something new.
"Alright Orion! Let's go give this a try," I say, chugging the last of my Pepsi in hopes it'll start to create bridges between my neurons.
Out we go to the back yard, pocket full of treats, my brain full of "Prey" verses "Pack" training ideas. "Come Orion!" he trots over, I hand him a treat. We wander the yard. "Come Orion!" He trots over, I hand him a treat. Now, let's practice this "when he's distracted and in prey mode.." I start to move to the front of the house where the cats like to hang out. If Orion had his way he'd be the cat-washer of the neighborhood. If the cat's had their way, Orion would poof up in smoke.
We circle around, I'm all ready with my "slight tug and tap on head".
No cats.
Huh.
There are ALWAYS cats.
We practice in the front yard. "Sit!" He sits. "Stay!" He stays. This one continues to amaze me because his puppy chart said he'd stay at 7 months so of course I expect him to at four months and he's terrible at it, but suddenly it's true, at six months he suddenly has the patience to stay (even with 4X his hormones floating about).
I see a dog coming up the street. Orion's back it towards it. I begin to wrap the leash around my waist. I'm so ready.
Dog rattles collar. Orion's head whips around. Heart beat quickens.
"Orion COME!" I shout, quick tug of collar.
And I'm flying down the hill.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Strongbow

It's 85 degrees outside and it's 10 PM. Orion and I sit in the living room--decidely the coolest room in the house. We don't have air conditioning so a tiny desk fan rotates at my feet on top of the coffee table and a window fan blows in the presumably soon to be cool air from the outside. I'm drinking a Strongbow cider in hopes that by the time I am done, and one Benadryl in my system I might knock the persistent cough out of my system and sleep. At my feet a poofy blanket is crumpled from last nights sleepover. Orion and I decided the back of the house was off limits in the heat wave, unfortunately for me that includes my nice mattresses and sprawl out bed. Luckily, my parents taught me to sleep anywhere after evenings of growing pains, a tylenol and Dad's bathrobe as a blanket beside their bed. Sure, I have the futon, but to unfold the futon requires assistance for when I want it back up, so I leave the futon to Orion and make peace with the floor.
Orion happily chews his chew bone.
"Orion, do you know why I like you," I say, leaning sideways on him, my bare legs resting on his crate.
"I like you because you're my buddy. You are always with me. I like your cute face. I like kissing your wiskers. I like that I got to pick you out and that you and I are going to be in this life together. I like that I am a better person because you're around and you make me get up and go on hikes with you."
He moves to make a jab for my ear.
The Strongbow precariously balanced on the futon armrest spills on my tank top. "Oh no! Save the Strongbow!" I have never been one to be able to consume much alcohol.
"I like that I enjoy doing things to make you happy. I like that you make me focus on something other than myself. I like that you make me laugh. And listen to me. I like that you're just always here. Did you know that?"
"I have fun going on adventures with you. I like that you wake me up with sandpaper kisses. I like how excited you get to see other dogs. I like that you check back on me when we're walking just so you know I know you and I are pals. I like that you make me appreciate what it must be like to have a child. I like that I get to know you as you grow up."
I start to cough.
"Huh. This isn't working." He pauses.
"You think I should get another?"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Indigestion

"I bought Orion a present?" Katie, my longtime friend tells me over the phone.
"Oh?"
"I got the princess pool. Bright pink, waiting for him on my back porch."
"That is awesome. He'll love it."

"Come on Orion! We're going over to Katie's!" Orion lumbers around the corner of the hallway. The heat increases lumber behavior in both my dog and myself because inside we are melting every lingering 98 degree day in the midwest. I have driven to the park just to drop him in the creek and back home again. But today, we are off to my original stomping ground when I returned to Ohio. Pulling up, I suggest firmly, "No bark."
He yipes.
"NO BARK!"
Apparently Ceasar Milan's philosophie on energy and meaning it hasn't translated through enough for me because he's still barking with anticipation.
I pop out of the car, cracking the windows so my butt won't burn off when we return, look at Orion from the outside, point my finger and say, "NO BARK."
I have many conversations with my dog coming too and from my car. Often I presume people think I'm talking to my car itself because he will lay on the seat or on the floor, but I don't mind.
Orion is quiet for a moment, so I open the door.
"Good no bark."
We walk up the path to Katie's, push through the gate, and Orion bolts for Katie's peacefully sleeping self on the hammock.
"Here he comes!" I holler after him, in hopes of giving her a heads up. She rotates to put her feet on the floor and scoops up my happy dog.
Katie was Orion's first dog sitter, and taught me all about how a dog remembers his "mom's" heartbeat. I think this is why as a young pup Orion spent a lot of time curled in my lap, pressed against my torso.
After Orion completes his greetings it doesn't take long for him to take advantage of free reign in the yard and he's off, sprinting through Katie's gardens, the grass, behind and into the shed, up on the porch and...
into the princess pool.
He jumps in as if this pool absolutely should be here and just for him. Dropping down in the water, his whole mass demonstrates the concept of volume, as water spills out to the porch floor. He happily licks up the water, tosses his legs out to the side to roll more of his hot fur under and then up and out. He's off exploring again.
"Um Molls?"
I look up.
Orion has a brown banana peel dangling from his mouth.
"Oh geez."
And I'm up, doing exactly what Caesar tells you not to do, chasing my dog around the yard trying to get the gross banana peel before it disappears into the great beyond.
While I manage to pull it out of his mouth, returning to the princess pool to rinse my own hands, it takes no more than five minutes till, "Um Molls?"
He's off with a decaying pepper.
Pepper, another banana peel, another pepper, grass, and some bark from a stump, and finally he returns to the princess pool to cool off.
Never mind that I just gave him a bowl of food and some tuna fish leftovers.