Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cats

I sit typing away on my computer. We're in the back bedroom. Orion snores z's up against the window sill. He's been sleepy all day; something I've taken advantage of with extra naps for me, and time to get work accomplished that normally would not be possible with a seventeen week-old-labrador demanding my attention. Type, type. Gee isn't he cute? Type, type. I love my dog. I look up suddenly. There is movement in my room. What? Am I seeing this clearly.
I shove Orion.
"ORION! There's a CAT in here!"
The cat freezes. Orion doesn't move. I am left the sole scrambler. I toss my computer to the side, spring out of bed, the cat catches on quickly enough and bolts back down the front hallway.
Orion? The robin chaser? The squirrel follower? The cross country champion? Yeah, he stayed passed out on the bed.
I march back after closing the front patio door.
"I need to have them fix that screen."
He pops his head up.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ode to my dog


I love my dog.

Oh the chewing and the barking can be a bit much at times, but at the end of the day, I look at him and think, I would do anything to make this dog a happy dog, I love him so. And he chomps on his chew bone, lets me lay down next to him. I kiss his little, just kidding, huge feet, and tell him, "Orion, have I told you today that I love you?" And he just looks at me with his pretty brown eyes, and continues chomping on his chew bone. Life is good for this dog. I hop up to do the dishes, and he moves over and lays his head on my feet. Sometimes I feel like I have a teenager puppy who doesn't like hugs, or snuggles like the little six pounder I brought home that slept in my lap, but then he surprises me with moments like the head on the feet and I think of Eric Clapton, "How wonderful life is, with you in my world."

Neighbor number 2

"Hey Molly, you wanna come up?" Orion and I are moving across the lawn after a run in the batting cages down at the park. My skinny neighbor sticks his head out of the second floor window. This is probably the twentieth time he's asked me up and I have declined every time. Fish sticks in the oven, no I don't drink beer, in the middle of cleaning, too tired. The list goes on. Recently, I let him show me a new path to walk around the neighborhood. He shared the history of having lived in the town for his whole life and introduced me to some neat back paths. Consequently, I decided he probably wasn't too creepy.
"Well he's all wet," I shout back up to the window.
"That's all right," he says. So up we go. I figure El Chew Munch will terrorize said neighbor if I need him to and at least I can go up, see his place, than loop home and continue with my day. Neighbor opens the door to his much lived in apartment, two giant sized Jesus pictures greet me, a confederate flag, adored with knives, skulls and old photos line the walls. Hum. I think, plunking down on the couch. I figure we can make it 30 minutes before Orion needs to pee.
"You mind if he sits on your couches?" I ask.
"No, I love dogs." So up Orion crawls, after sticking his nose into a bag of metal objects.
"What are those?" I ask, nodding towards the bag of metal.
"They are pop tops. I like the feel of metal under my hands so it's a hobby I've done since I was a kid. You wanna see how I do it?"
"Sure," I say. What the hell. This could be interesting. So out comes a soda can, he wedges his thumb in the top, all the while explaining about his low pain tolerance and begins twisting the entire metal surface off the top of the aluminum can.
"Interesting," I say, "Kind of reminds me of Twister, and the way they used soda cans to make the machines fly."
"Oh yeah, I got Twister somewhere in here," he gestures at the floor to ceiling stack of movies, "you want to watch it?"
"No, I have a copy but thanks."
From there I learn all about my neighbor, hearing the story of how his mom had a stroke, his childhood, his knowledge of "chemistry", his thoughts on alcohol, pot, the girl he's interested in down the street, his step siblings, old druggies he used to know.. Orion is chewing on my arm, chewing on his tail, chewing on his soggy tennis ball.
"Your dog like tennis balls?"
"Yeah."
"Well sometimes I go on ball walks and I find a bunch of tennis balls down at the park." He disappears down the hallway and returns with three plastic bags, organized into baseball/softballs, golfballs, and a whole bag of tennis balls. Go figure.
"You want some? You never have to buy a ball for him, just check in with me," he says pulling three tennis balls out of the bag and tossing them to Orion.
"Thanks Neighbor!" I say passing them to Orion. Neighbor gets another phone call, and loops out to the porch, on his third cigarette. Orion is getting antsy. We've been there for a bit. I kindly thank him for the tennis balls, leave my soda can on the coffee table for him later, scoop up Orion and truck back to my place just smiling over the peculiar people I meet in my life.

Dad's visit

I am in the bathroom brushing my teeth, flossing, washing up.
"Hey dog! You think you can get the best of me? You think I can't handle you?" I hear my dad's voice echoing down the hall. "I live with Shirley! She's the hardest one around. If I can survive her, you're nothing!"
I can hear Orion's toes scratching the wood floor of my bedroom.
"HEY! What did you get!" The quick patter of feet go wizzing by the bathroom door, headed for the front of the apartment. I pause with the toothbrush dangling from my mouth and chase after Orion, following the glow of an electronic object pinned in his mouth. He launches himself on my futon, separating himself from my reach with his crate in between. I circle the crate and reach for him and he drops front legs down into play position. In the back bedroom, my dad is still hollering, stranded in the bedroom due to a pair of boxers and tank top as his only pj's after a week of travel and not wanting to traumatize his daughter with him chasing after the little fellow.
Snatching the ipod from his mouth, I march back down the hall.
"It's your ipod."
"That little devil."
"I'll be done in the bathroom in a few minutes, but I doubt I can hold him off. He's pretty much figured out that this door doesn't actually lock and he knows how to twist his paw to open what little hold it has."
Grumble grumble.
I walk back to the bathroom, calling Orion to follow and pulling the door to the bedroom closed behind me. FIve seconds later I hear the thud of his feet falling to the wood floor after jumping to open the door.
"Oh you think you can get the old man down?"
Noises continue, obvious attempts of Orion trying to jump on the bed and pierce holes in my dad's head with his needle teeth. Momentary silence. I spit out my toothpaste.
"HE GOT MY HEADPHONES!" a bellow from my father...
In I go. I see my dad, half balding head, chicken legs sticking out of his boxers, holding a half chewed set of headphones.
"I did say anything on the ground is fair game." I smile, scooping Orion up. His thirty pounds is getting a bit much, but I deposit him outside the door. "I'll get you a new pair," I say after my dad's pouty face continues.
"No, I think I can super glue them."
"Okay. I just have one more thing to do then I will put him in his crate."
I go back to the bathroom.
"HA! I will show you!"
I loop back in and see my dad sitting up in the dark, pillow covering his more precious area, feet flying out one side and then the other as Orion jumps to bite them.
It's good to know Orion can keep him on his toes.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Zachary

"Zachary, you want to come over for hot dogs?" I ask my nine-year-old neighbor as his head pops out the door.
"Yeah. I love hot dogs."
Orion zips out from behind my door and leaps towards Zachary.
"I think he likes me," he says, as Orion tries desperately to lick his face. Zachary has come into our lives at day one, stumbling out of a red van, back pack swinging from his shoulder, "Hey, I see you out here. Can I play with your dog?" Jumping skiddishly back from the six and a half week old pup, he asks if he can follow us inside to continue playing with him. Little did I know this was really a ploy to play Lego World on my computer for hours. However, Zachary is a good conversationalist and fills me in on fascinating new facts, and makes me feel like my apartment is a little community.
As Orion has grown, Zachary has decided to take an interest.
"I thought I'd come over and do some dog trainings," he says, peering around for my bag of treats. I tell him about how when we ask Orion to sit we need to say, "Good sit," before handing the treat. "Good paw." "Good come." "You see," I tell him as we're looping around the neighborhood, "a dog can learn words just like humans can. We get five seconds to reward him after the behavior he does. So if he does something well, we want to use the word of what he did so in those five seconds he learns what it means."
"Oh."
Zachary is bundled in my oversized sweatshirt because his mother works the night shift and we didn't want to bother his sitter. "This is like I'm buried in a dress!" he chuckles. I'm smiling at his expressions. His mom is from Honduras and English is likely not the first language he has learned, therefore, his expressions cause me pause. Lately he's taken to teaching me Spanish as well.
"Okay call him," I say as Orion stuffs his head into a shrub.
"Orion come!" Zachary shouts, and Orion comes tearing out of the shrub with a broken plastic garden pot dangling from his mouth. "Did you know that if you use a gentle voice he listens better?" he tells me.
"No, I didn't know that," I say, smiling at the ways Zachary confidently shares what he is learning about training dogs.
"You know, you're a pretty good Training Assistant," I say, "I'm glad you accepted the position."
"I know," he says, and we walk inside.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dominance

"Would you get off of me. I don't need to be humped right now," I say, pushing his koala clinging body off my leg. I bend down to empty his litter box--yes he has a litter box for night time, his breeder started it and until I can expect him to hold it through the night I'm fine with reducing my wake ups. He sniffs the new litter, then jumps on me.
"I don't want to be humped!" I stand up. "You are SUCH a boy," I mutter, walking down the hall, his happy-go-lucky self trotting behind me.
I guess, as my sister's vet says, "I'm flattered your dog wants me to bear his children."

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's nice when Orion can entertain himself. video

Moments



He is sprinting around the house, butt tucked, weaving in and out of table legs, chair legs, furniture in general. The mixing pan tumbles to the floor after his boredom with the beaters lends him to explore the second shelf of the baker's rack again. Pounce. He leaps like a cat onto the pan. It spins wildly, making the sound of a whirling top.
"ROOF!" he hollers, pouncing again. He thinks this pan is an enemy focused on getting the best of him. He bats the pan with a paw, again it spins, whirling on it's metal bottom. And he's off, sprinting around the house, pouncing on the pan on his way back through.
His panting indicates no sign of slowing down. He seems to have forgotten just moments ago we went on a forty minute walk. He drank two bowls of water. He discovered a new puzzle toy that fed him food if he hit it the right way. He jumped over the back car seat net I put up--defeating the $24 dollar purchase entirely.
Around he goes. Flying into cabinets. Snatching the beat up paper towel tube and ripping it to pieces on his way by. My apartment is beginning to resemble a tornado shrewd household.
"Do you give him other things to chew on?" A friend asked, concerned that my hands had little chew cuts on them.
"Oh I give him stuff. Pretty much every piece of cardboard I let him rip to shreds. He gets my juicy boxes, toilet paper tubes, a coat hanger--well, he decided he got that one. But he's only chewed one thing I didn't want him to because he is so well equipped with chewing things."
And as I sit watching him fly around the house, I am laughing to myself. He is fully entertaining himself.
And I can not help but smile as he climbs onto the lower shelf of the baker's rack, where my microwave use to be, and decides THAT is where he is going to settle. Oh how things change. Wasn't too long ago that he slept UNDER the baker's rack.
What a happy dog.