Sunday, July 24, 2011


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.
"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."
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.
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.
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


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


"I bought Orion a present?" Katie, my longtime friend tells me over the phone.
"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.
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.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sweeping round 2

I was confident my metal broom could handle the needle teeth of a six week old puppy. I was fairly confident as that six-week-old puppy began to teeth it was just fine to consider the broom a teething toy. What was the worst that could happen to it? It was metal? It had plastic bristles?

So okay the bristles began to look like I stuck the whole thing in an electric socket, but the broom still worked.

I was still pretty confident that the broom could withstand the four month old teething period. Baby teeth out, lots of gums, surly what could go wrong here?

The tips of the bristles began to fray.
Indentations began to appear in the metal.

How the hell did he indent the metal???

The dustpan? That was history, but again, if he wants to pull off the rubber transition stopper that makes the dirt smoothly transition into the plastic holding part; so be it. I could still sweep and scoop with the intended plastic part.

And yet here we are at six months of age, and just a week previous, I began sweeping my floor as usual. Dodge, shift right, left, toss a hip at Orion to avoid the inevitable. But alas, he snuck around me, jumped at the broom, and boom. With great horah, the broom had it's final dance and the metal gave in and snapped. I lifted the broom to a dangling set of frayed, plastic yellow bristles.

Great. Have to get a new broom. I'm broke.

So today, the new broom is back. Christened at night when Orion discovered it's where abouts and pulled it into the room and onto the bed, wherein he proceeded to rip off the plastic keeping the nice tidy bristles in place. I have filled a Kong of peanut butter, thinking perhaps this will trump the interest in the broom. Momentarily it does. I get one room down.
Next room.
I fill the collapsed milk jug with a handful of kibble. Toss it in the kitchen. He goes for it. Bedroom gets done.
I go to the studio, begin my normal routine, sweep, shift, left, right, left, right. Orion goes in for the grab, Suddenly the broom is yanked left. I lift it, shaking as move towards the doorway.

"This is new. Let go. Oooorrrryyyiiiiooooon... let go." I shake again, depositing him on the floor outside of the studio. Quickly, I scamper backwards, tossing the baby gate between us and collect my shrewn pile of dirt. Peacefully sweeping without the distraction of Orion.

I look over at him. Where is he?

Suddenly, the gate crashes down, Orion shoves his head in from the right and does a giant, spread eagle leap for my pile. Thrilled to death he not only made it into the studio, but because I'm so temporarily stunned, he grabs the broom bristles and shakes them furiously, scattering my pile to the four corners. I just laugh. That was the best triumphant leap I have seen in awhile.

"Okay buddy, let's go get you some more peanut butter."


It's hot. I stare at my thermometer in my car, watching as it climbs from 91 to 94 as I cruise down the highway. Orion's head is positioned over my console, eyes shut, seemingly passed out from exhaustion but I'm fairly confident the heat may have excellerated this sleepiness. I pat his head and tip the air vents to blow on him, knowing full well the air vents are just recycling the hot air as the AC once again doesn't work after $100 mechanic visit.
"I know. I like to pretend they work." I say, cranking the windows all the way down.
Orion lifts his head to reposition and the windows in the back roll down.
"Oh? Yeah I suppose we should put those down too," I say, wiggling my fingers under his elbows to adjust the windows all the way down in back.
We fly down the highway, hoping for the speed to circulate enough air that we both don't melt into the leather seats.
"We'll stop off at Judy's for a visit, then I'll drop you back off in the river."
Orion has been in the river four times this day--starting with an 8:30 cool off dip, mid morning, lunch and just a "I'm so hot I won't move from the shade of under the car" dip.
I sympathize with his desire to just sleep it off. I am trying my best to embrace the heat, having never enjoyed the midwest humidity since my family moved us here in the ninties.
"Surely it can't be that bad," I thought when I moved back to Ohio. "I went to college without AC..." There is a fan that travels through every room in my house with me, and I am almost always trucking about in my bikini top to avoid any additional clothes.
We pull up to Judy's house, and three cats lazily lie scattered about the sidewalk. Judy probably has close to 20 cats if I had to guess, but she is the most responsible pet owner with each spayed, named and accounted for so I was not concerned about their temperament towards Orion, just expected the usual hiss and batt of paws when an oversized fifty pound dog pounced around.
I step out of the car, unhooking Orion as I go, and sure enough his excited hop is on as we begin to cut around the back to meet up with Judy. Yellow cat tips his head up as Orion barks. I distinctly get the impression this cat is thinking, "Who on earth thought to bring such a young dog around on such a hot day when clearly I'm not in the mood." Yellow gets up and saunters off. Grey cat--later to discover, named Fox, jumps up and takes off. Third cat hisses and whacks Orion with his paw.
Judy circles around the back and Orion is momentarily distracted as she scoops him up and gives him an overjoyed hello.
I explain that Orion would love nothing more than to play with her cats, but none of the cats ever want to hang out with him.
"Oh, give me a second to see if I can find one."
She loops inside.
Orion sits, tail flipping from side to side with anticipation as he can see cats in the window, cats under the car, cats so very close.
Out pops Judy with a pale yellow cat that looks half asleep.
"This is Bubba. He's the most laid back cat and loves dogs."
She sets Bubba down next to Orion and sure enough, there's no hissing, batting, pawing. The half awake cat instantly has a new best friend that is licking his face. Orion's butt's in the air, tail wagging so hard with excitement and lick, lick, lick. This cat is getting the equivalent of a car wash.
"Be gentle Orion," I say, slightly concerned at his overall enthusiasm.
"Oh he's okay."
Bubba steps closer and tries to rub against Orion but Orion's prancing all around Bubba trying to play, not knowing how, so tossing a kiss at the cat. Bubba lays down, rolling onto his back, letting Orion lick his belly. And sure enough Orion takes the hint. Bubba's paws wrap around Orion's nose, gently holding him, and lick, lick, lick, Orion continues his happy greeting.
"I've never seen anything like this before," I say to Judy, amused completely at the small cat being fine with my overly big puppy.
"When Emily comes in, Bubba snuggles up next to her."
"That's awesome. It just looks so peculiar."
Orion sticks his head in the water bowl. His tongue apparently drying up. Bubba leans over and sips the surface as well. Orion lies down. Bubba saunters over and lies down near him. Momentarily, Orion pauses on the self-prescribed bathing of the cream kitty.
"Bubba, I think you just made a new best friend," I say.