Sunday, December 23, 2012

And the stick chases him down

Having picked up two jobs, I have been up at five thirty out the door by six and back at 11 pm. Consequently, the boy, unless walked by a parent hasn't been getting the attention he deserved. So as Saturday rolled around, the first in which I only worked one job, I peacefully woke up and looped his leash around his neck for a walk in the woods.

He lept, he ran, he tried to take out Mom and I with great enthusiasm. He jumped and swam in the half frozen pond. Sprinted across the bridge and then, and then he found a fallen tree limb. He tackled the limb with great abandon, "Don't worry guys, I have this one under control," it seemed he was saying as his butt flipped over it, then back, head tossing wildly is to side.

And then he freaked. Butt tucked he sprinted away. Only trouble was in all his glorious August of the stick his 16" leash was now wrapped eight ways sideways around said branch. As he sprinted the branch chased him. His eyes wide, he'd freeze, leap, trying to escape the pursuit and take off again at a dead run. Myself, being carted along with him couldn't help to laugh, disabling me so that I couldn't help his poor self. Eventually after tripping in giggles down the path we managed to get close enough for him to stop and let us free him from his assailant. Once free he took off again, free as a lark, head turned back to verify indeed he was rolling solo.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Lost Bone

"Go on, go to the bathroom." I loop back into the house.

Orion disappears for awhile.

I hear the leash brush against the wood porch. I peer around the corner and his yellow head glows in the porch light and he has a bone tucked in his cheek.

I laugh.

"I thought you buried that out there. Glad to see you found it!"

In Orion waltzes with a dirty raw hide bone happily poised in his mouth.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Welcome home

I pull open the door and the bell jars as it jostles against the movement. I flip the outside light to off as I make my way through the lit hallway of my parent's house. I see the fire glowing in the living room and half hope to see a yellow dog bound around the corner, or asleep in a curled ball on the corner of the couch but neither appear. I quietly set my bags at the foot of the stairs and work my way upstairs to my bedroom. It's pushing one am, the perks of commuting an hour and a half to work and having a late shift. 

The door to my room is shut, and I open it, again hoping to see a yellow dog greet me, but instead I am greeted with a blast of cold air. Gotta love a skylight's insulation in a New England night sky. I guess the boy is enjoying his first sleepover party in Nana and Grandpa's room. I try not to be disappointed. I know how much he likes hanging out with Chloe and my parents. They do have a fluffier blanket. 

I tinker with the thought of opening the door and trying to sneak him out. Realistically, I know he'll resist. Again, fluffier blanket. So I crawl into my own bed and think about how I may save my legs an evening of being bruised as a 65 pound dog walks across them. Maybe I'll even sleep in.

One thirty rolls around and I'm still awake thinking about the elections. Mom stumbles out of her room muttering something about, "Oh good she's here..." And then in leaps my boy and I get kisses, and excitement, and I give him big hugs, and snuggle up next to him so the room warms up a bit, and off to sleep I go.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


"Orion I don't understand why you are so itchy. We can try benedryl tomorrow?" I say as he bounces away from my friendly pat.
To run a hand down his back is to press the gas pedal on a car, his foot leaps forward in great scratching anticipation.
I sigh and roll back into bed.
Curious, I pop up again, snag my computer from it's neglected state on the floor and type in, "Dog Fleas".
Images flash before my face and I squirm slightly in remembrance of my summer of Scabies and Bed Bugs. I could do for a stretch without the creepy crawlies.
I glance through them, landing on a site that seems reliable, and begin to read.
"...and an adversion to light. Hard to spot. Will leave poop trails that look like dirt in fur..."
"Oh no..."
I look over at him curled in a ball.
He jumps, as if startled.
"Orion come here."
I chase him around the room, finally pinning him in front of the bureau, grab the headlight from the top of the dresser and flick it on real quickly. Sure enough, a black spot scurries into his fur.
"You have got to be kidding," I say. After all, between the two of us, I don't think there's anything left for us to contract that crawls and eats you... scabies, bed bugs, tape worms, fleas....
"Well," I roll off him, he dashes for the corner of the room. "We will just have to treat you in the morning."
I flick off the head lamp and crawl back into bed.
"I'm sorry buddy. I really do sympathize."
"If it makes you feel better, Chloe probably has them too and we can sit on her in the morning to check. It's always nicer to have someone else going down with you. Gives you company in the very least."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mountain day

Orion had his first mountain hike. We went to climb Mt. Monadnock (the most frequently climbed mountain in the US) but dogs were not allowed so we down graded to Pack Monadnock near by. Pack Monadnock happened to be all large boulders for a better part of the hike. Orion scampered up them. I did my best to hold on to him, sometimes reminding him to go slower or we'd fall over the cliff. He got a special treat at the top, as did myself, and we settled in for the picture above. It is funny to me to see this one because Orion is usually such a smily dog, I feel like here he is not smiling, but then, he is a dog and his face is probably more like, hey, I'm looking at the camera, what's suppose to happen now???

Monday, October 15, 2012

Snake snake snake?

Disclaimer: I've had a whole cup of coffee.

Orion has been enjoying the fall. Or maybe he's been enjoying the added company in his world. There's my dad, who I think secretly appreciates having another male in the house, even if he's a dog--and also the fact Orion is a buddy, ie. likes to just be around you--most of our other dogs just hang around mum.
There's Mum, who gives him treats and admonishes him like a true Nana, and laughs at his antics, gives him pats on the head.
There's Chloe, who acts like she wants to eat him, but wiggles her tail and chases him about and hangs with him on the porch.
Then, there's me, the constant in his world, so he looks to me and checks in on me and hangs with me.
So out we go, Dad and I, to collect some boxes from our friend's Don and Cindy's house. They live out in the country in this beautiful old tavern nestled in some fall leaves, an old cemetery on a ridge, and a horse field on the side. I could totally live there. That being said, we let Orion sprint around the yard and he was thrilled. I was too, right until he ducked his head under the horse field fence and sprinted in to the horse field. The three horses were fortunately far on the other side and not moving, so Orion sprinted around there, me hollering to "COME HERE ORION! COME ON!" Setting down my camera to get ready to hop the fence and he came flying back under. Dad's standing by the garage laughing... 
Then off we go up the street to hike across the dam and Orion was able to have his first experience with...

He was facinated. He didn't quite know what to do. His head darted left and right to watch the snake and I told Dad to hold him long enough to snap the pic. No clue what kind of snake but I thought it was cute none-the-less.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Sometimes I catch myself watching Orion sleep, watching as his head bobs ever so slightly, and it reminds me of my grandfather, who passed away at the ripe age of ninety-nine. He always had a slight bounce. Technically it could be considered Parkinson's I'm sure, but to me, it was just Grandpa--his head always nodding just a bit. I think he would have liked Orion. I enjoy those moments where Orion does bounce just to have a chance to be reminded of Grandpa.

Treat distribution.

"Yeah! You try and break his treats in half!" I say to my dad.
"Give it here you wuss," he says, getting up from the couch. I smile and pass it over. There's no way he's going to get this. I've used a serrated knife and still couldn't get it. He won't put that much effort in. I turn to zip up the treat bag. Dad disappears. Ma asks me something and I turn expecting to see Dad in the kitchen.
I hear instead, the faint sound of the table saw running in the garage.
Dad steps inside.
"Here you go!"
He tosses me two perfectly split halves.


We're walking down the giant hill.
"You know the last time I did this hike I was with Chloe, about three years ago." We're huffing it to the college my mom works at that is at the end of town. I'm banking on an hour.
"I was not in my best place and everyone said to exercise. Chloe was hanging out with me then. She was younger. It was a long walk. I ended up with blisters on my feet. Then I drove home and me and I had an accident. I cried in some old lady's shoulder about how I was done and just was going to live in a cardboard box in my parents basement for the rest of my life." I pause.
"Good story huh?" Orion's trotting ahead of me.
"Actually, that's a terrible story." I giggle. "Well, it was kind of a funny story me telling you that story."
He is still dragging me down the giant hill.
My feet feel bruised.
"Dude. I'm tired already."
We take a break on the sewer.
"You're a good companion Orion."
We keep walking.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I walk in my room and immediately think, oh no, Orion poo'd. Not my idea of fun after a nice evening out. (btw I'm writing this without my glasses on).  I turn on the light. I look in the crate. No poo. I look on the side of the crate. No poo. I look under the bear in the crate. No poo. I look under the towel in the crate. No poo. I grab a bottle of fabreeze while calling to my roommate. "Hey will you come tell me if you think my room smells like poo?" Nicely she does, She sees no poo. "You should smell his butt." I just blast the fabreeze around. "You should put on your AC." "What I'll probably do is turn on my box fan. Actually what I'll probably do is just go to bed and hope my room doesn't smell like poo in the morning. If I'm being honest." She laughs and leaves. Orion's curled on the bed. I snuggle in next to him. I audibly hear him fart. I grab my face, it was right in the line of fire.
I found the source of the poo smell.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yep, full of concern

I pour half the cup of food into his newly washed bowl that is propped on the upside down frying pan in the kitchen. He happily digs in as I turn to retrieve his treat ball--our normal food dispersion tool. I bend down, scooping it from the floor standing up abruptly, wherein, I crack my head so hard on the cabinetry above that I am instantly dropped to the floor, coffee mug of kibble fallen to the wayside. I'm curled, rocking back and forth on the kitchen floor, rubbing my head, cursing.
Orion contentedly continues eating his kibble.
Part of me wonders when my caring dog will come and comfort me with kisses as surely he'll notice something is wrong.
I'm still rocking.
He's still eating.
He moves on to the mug, shrew on the floor. huh, more kibble. how nice. I imagine him thinking. Myself, feeling the knob begin to form, wondering if my head it going to be tripped off for the month and we'll be back to crazy head.
Finally, as he finishes up that mug, he steps over my fallen form, and pokes my ear with his nose.
"Hey. What are you doing?"
I imagine him saying.
I stand up and get a frozen bag of veggies.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sharon Woods Swim

"Amy remind me we are getting near the ducks in a few okay? That way I'm ready for it," I say as we are nearing the end of the loop around Sharon Woods.
"Sure. I swear last time I thought you knew!"
"No, I had a momentary brain fart."
We walk a few more steps.
"Maybe I'll undo myself from my belt leash that way I'm ready and won't be taking a morning dip myself in the event I can't hold him." I unhook the strap that I have looped around my waist. Orion's leash is now loose in my hands, without my body weight to secure us.
"Mol, we're getting near the ducks."
I brace. We keep walking. The flock of ducks are just lazily lounging on the edge of the pond. Orion starts to pull, he keeps pulling. I am holding on, my feet are moving quickly towards the water with no direction from me stating to do so. We're still moving. Amy reaches out her arm to try to hold me back. Still going.
"Orion, no!"
Still going.
I release the leash.
He flies into the water.
Ducks scatter like popped popcorn.
Splashing noises.
My dog is swimming right along with them.
The ladies behind us laugh.
"Hope you packed a towel!"
"Yes, he is a labrador, I am properly prepared..." I say, in humorous defeat.
"Orion! Come back here! TREAT!" I call after him.
He turns, hop swims through the green slim, climbs out with a big old smile on his face, pond scum still clinging to his nose. He shakes spraying water all around.
The ladies make a wide circle around us.
And we keep walking.
"Well, he is a retriever," I say.
Amy laughs, "Yup. Yup, he is."
Happy dog.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Today I met with an old english teacher I had, back when I had stars in my eyes and felt the world would unroll the red carpet for my artistic self. I haven't seen her since I was probably nineteen. It was a crash course meeting. Starbucks on my lunch break, an exchange of art, sold on the Facebooks, discarded from my racks on my move east. This teacher, one who use to see my journals as a piece of art--"You should publish these.." and I'd cling to them, and shuffle along among the teenagers, plotting out my existence in the world.
"Catch me up to speed," she asks, big smile on her face, coffee resting on the table.
"I haven't liked my twenties," I tell her. "Started with 14 library cards, graduate school, dropping out, then a long stint of recovery from depression."
I explain in a slightly elongated version.
We talk about the pesky nature of life, depression, of being creative, clever, and how sometimes wouldn't it just be easier if we fit into the mold?
  And as the evening wears on and I read of my friend's best friend dog having passed away three months ago I think of this conversation and of my usual casual dismissal of my twenties.
  And I think of this yellow labrador curled at my legs, half chewed antler at his nose, shredded box around us mailed from my best friend in Oregon. I had a rough first half, but I got a dog out of the mix. A dog that has introduced me to my "old" hippie artist friend who teaches me to loosen up my edges, and her cranky Vietnam veteran husband who tells me crazy stories and makes me laugh at his absurd dislike for humans. Reminding me to not count myself out yet, I'm still a kid you know. And then there's my friend who listens for hours while I unfold my life mysteries, reminding me we will figure it out sometime, answering my 9-1-1 vet calls, and sharing her backyard so that a tall lengthy dog can dodge my yellow streak, as they race around colorful umbrellas and an above ground pool. There's the walks in the evening with my ten-year-old friend who reminds me things can be silly, my dog can be strong, and maybe we should just go make mini-pizza's instead? Saturday mornings around a lake with my dear friend from so many chapters of my path. And the old guy down the street who tells me never to get married, and hey, how are you doing these days?
  Sure there was a first run at the love thing, an incomplete degree, a slew of job rejections, a year of straightening myself back to good again, and two years of recovering from that, but really, there's two new friends I never wanted, an old friend who decided to forgive my younger self, a slew of pals who still hang out with me on this second Ohio round, a first apartment, visits to the first apartment from my dad, mom, sisters and Aunt and I have this side kick who I see each time I walk in the door. A sidekick who gets to cart along with me on my next great adventure, and remind me, hey, you have to lighten up some, and what about if we just go for a walk?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mini Wines

"Orion! You almost pierced my nose with your big tooth," I say indigently, looking up at him. "Your tooth was up my nose." I rub my nose.
I giggle.
I have had one half of a mini wine. Then I switched to root beer.
"Would you like me better if my nose were pierced?" I ask.
"I decided I wanted my ear, but if that's what you're trying to tell me.." we freeze, as a noise occurs behind us. He looks at me.
I throw my arms up.
"Don't expect me to be any help," I say. "I don't know what it was but it's all you tonight. Save the household Balto!"
I roll over.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Camp

"Hi, I'm dropping Orion off for Summer Camp. Oh, I'm sorry, that's what I've been calling it but he's here to do the day camp and sleep over till Sunday," I lean against the counter of Best Friends Pet Resort. Orion jumps up and puts his paws on the counter. The two Great Danes stand up and grumble. "Oh sit down," the woman behind the counter says. I'm looking around while they pull my records and see a picture of a labrador on the big screen, advertising camp. Huh. Looks just like Orion. Then I look at the tag, "Orion McLoughlin" Haha. It is my dog.
"Ha! That's cool!" I say gesturing to the image.
"I guess he's not still 40 lbs?"
"No, not even close. He was last here when he was about seven months old. He's more like 60-65 pounds now. He goes to the Meet Up groups here."
"Okay, and is he neutered?"
Orion's sniffing the floor. I'm trying not to feel sad that it's the first time I'm having him sleep somewhere else by himself.
"Go ahead and fill all this out, initial here for him not having food allergies, no medical needs...and then pick one of these to initial, either a. do whatever necessary to save your pet and you will assume responsibility for the expenses or b. Fix him up to, and then fill in the amount you don't want to exceed."
"Um, well, I'd kind of like to have someone call me if something happens where I'd have to make such a decision," I say, hand frozen above the sheet.
"Oh we will try a bunch of times, then we'll try your emergency contact."
I sign do whatever need be done.
"So then put down an emergency contact here."
I scroll through my contact list looking for my friend Pam's number. Pam and I have similar concepts about care for our pets, plus, she's almost always able to be reached. I write her number down. Then I write down her mobile. Then I write down my Aunt Nancy's because she has dogs that she adores too. Two emergency contacts.
I am still staring at the line.
"Hon, in all my years working here we've never had anything happen like that."
"Okay. Good. I don't want to be stressing about that all weekend."
"Just make sure you tell your emergency contact what you want and that they are your emergency contact."
"Okay," I say, and hand over his blanket, antler and dinosaur. Orion goes happily behind the lady to the play area.
"Do I pay now?"
"No, when you get him, that way we know you'll come back."
What a horrible idea! To leave your pet??!
I walk out, get in the car. Orion comes up to the fence and barks three times. My lip pops out in a pout. "Go play, you'll have fun and I will see you Sunday," I say. He barks once, then turns around and books it for the pool. I smile. So my dog. Then I grab my phone and call Pam.
"Pam, you're my emergency contact. Just remember, Orion's emergency fund is whatever I have in Apple Stock okay?"
We chat for a bit, and then I'm off packing for my first music festival.
Things will be fine.
And they'll send me pictures.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Owl calls

It is a little past eight and the sun has passed below the horizon. The light has not yet faded though so I am banking on enough time to complete the loop trail Orion and I have set upon. He is rearing to go, a long day in his crate broken up only by a morning walk (the dog that was involved in my arm breaking was out so we had to readjust our walk so not to be killed), a lunch break, a break before karate and then our walk with tiny, short-legged dogs. I'm feeling energized myself--muscles having been worked at karate, and my awesome new keen sandals on my feet. I take off at a run. Orion grabs the leash in his mouth and takes off at a sprint. I feel the uneven ground beneath my feet and I am laughing. It has been a while since I have cross countried myself, although, in those days it was more orchestrated, as I'm flying along, there is a distinct trace of panic in my head repeating, "You miss a step you're screwed. You're going too fast. If you miss a step you're screwed. You're going too fast."
I slow to a walk.
"Okay buddy, I can't maintain that pace."
Ahead the trees curl into a tunnel. Magical, I think. We approach and the ground is soft under our feet. Orion dodges one side than the other sniffing God only knows what. I pay attention to the sounds around me, the quiet, then the robin call. I wonder if ahead we will see a walker of dogs. I wonder about my friend Anne, who introduced me to this place and then moved to Virginia and how I doubt I'll ever see her again but wasn't it nice knowing her while I did. And I think of my own move, close on the horizon and the thought of those I know now, and if they too will fall in the "nice to know while I did" category or if I will have them in my life like the Diane Sands, and Kate Silver's of the west coast. We round the corner and head down the next trail.
Orion and I have some stern conversations. Me stern, Orion being stubbornly Irish. "You have got to stop pulling," I say, making him sit perfectly still. His head darts left and right. He is accommodating in the sense that he is technically doing what I said, sitting, not pulling, appearing to be responding to my lecture.
We sprint again, this time by a single woman on her phone, in running clothes, and I think about what it must be like walking alone in the woods and choosing to be on a phone. She misses the sounds. On our trail home it is those sounds I am so attuned too.
An owl calls out.
A soft smile crosses my face. I think of Owl Moon, of night walks when I was a kid--all 20 of us for our annual "Owl Walk". As if an owl would show up with a bunch of third graders hooting their heads off... and yet, Orion pauses mid stride, leash in mouth to listen. It calls again. I call back. If only I could see her. We are moving closer. A girl and a dog walking a path, hooting to an owl. I suppose if I came up behind this girl, I would smile, think how un-self-conscious she must be, how a little odd she be, and just maybe, I'd probably like her and wish there were more like her in Ohio.
We get closer. I call, she calls. I pause.
Orion calls.
I laugh.
We move on.
I don't think tonight will be the magic evening that I see an owl in the woods after all.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


"Hold on!"I shout at the phone. "Let me roll up the windows and put you on speaker!" I shut off the radio, slide up the windows, hit speaker on the phone and position it face up in the crook of my shoulder.
"Hi Dad, how is it going?"
"We are good, Orion has been a little nuts lately," I say as I watch a little black nose sneak up and grab my bottle of vitamins. "YOU CAN'T HAVE MY VITAMINS!" I shout, reaching back to grab the bottle.
"yeah we'll, like usual he is trying to kill us while driving..."

And maybe I could have this?

I'm driving down the highway and this little nose sneaks forward, grabs the salads dressing in the front seat and starts to retract backwards.
"I don't think so Mr. Orion Timothy," I say, snatching it out of his mouth.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I sit on the front steps. It's seven am. Orion is attached to his cord and is tearing around the yard butt tucked. I shake my head. "You're insane," I say. We have been on a walk. No one else is awake. He has been like this for three days....reverted to some puppyhood that I'm not going to lie, I haven't missed. Now he is behind me, drooling on my shoulder.
"Hey. Leave me alone. I need some space from you right now and this is my breakfast. You already had yours." I pull his collar so that he has to move in front of me. I look up and stare at the basket of half chewed dead toys that I'm donating to the great beyond. I tried to make it clear that the chewed basket could go too by putting a trash bag on top. It's moving time and anything in excess has to go.
The neighbors dogs come by and it becomes bark fest. I am sure to move out of the line of his cord. No need for broken limbs or decapitations.
Next comes Herb, my old neighbor friend who walks his small dog daily. Herb stops tell me about his dog is going to deaf and how it must be old age. And I smile and agree, thinking of how he missed my earlier greeting for probably a similar reason.
As he moves on Ron, the late night shift, guy pulls in and his old dog prowls the yard for her pee break. Orion bounces around like Tigger before Ron takes pity on him and comes over to pat him. This routine has gone on since Orion was a puppy and is nothing new, though this time I watch Ron teeter as Orion leaps up to kiss his face and his balance wobbles.  "geez Orion, you tryin to knock me down the steps?"
"He's taken me out that way before so I wouldn't put it past him."
Ron moves on and Orion comes nicely up beside me and I pat his face. Behind me I her the other neighbor, looking to take his dog out for a pee break. "it's cool," I say, "we are just hanging out out here. give me a second to get him in and it's all yours."
And so we move inside and our quiet (but crazy) morning comes to a close as I get ready for work.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Death warmed over.

"Orion, I feel like death and I'm freezing. I need you to just be good because I have to sleep," I say as I pull my third sweatshirt over my head. "If you wouldn't mind too much I could really use your heat though. Like, feel free to sit on me to look out the window."
I pull the winter blanket over my shoulders, slipping jeans under my skirt while under the blanket.
"I am so cold. If I could just warm up."
Orion climbs over the mound that is me and sticks his nose to the window, butt plopping down on my hip.
"Yeah. That will work," I mumble.
"Now if someone would just knock me out please," I whisper as I slowly drift off to sleep.

My dreams are crazed and erratic, likely compliments to the 102 temperature my body is burning through and two hours later I pick my eyelids up.

I groan.

I am soaking wet. Every possible pore in my body apparently opted to heat up while asleep. I roll over, and Orion climbs in the cove created between my curled body and the wall, and puts his head on my torso.

"Thanks buddy."
Sometimes it's just nice to know he can take care of me too.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Nope. Too slow.

I climb into the shower.
"I'll be just a moment Orion," I say tossing the peanut butter filled kong out the shower so that maybe he'll be entertained and move on to the shaving cream.
I figure I'm good for at least five minutes as he has the kong, but as I lather up my legs a little black nose pops me in the back.
"Orion. You have peanut butter." I pull the curtain tight.
Yellow head pops in in front of me. I put some shaving cream on my toes to distract him and sprint through the leg shave only to have him all the way in the shower before I can even start the second one.
You win some.
You lose some.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Conversations on a long day

"Orion?" I'm lying in bed. The AC is running. It's light as a Sunday afternoon. My cell phone reads 8:15 PM. Orion's lying with his head propped on the window sill making sure the going-ons of the neighborhood are well documented. I feel exhausted. My body is just pooped.
"Orion? I think I'm feeling kind of lonely." He rotates his butt to bump my hip. I reach my hand out and pat him. Long intentional pats.
"I know Jamie spent the day with me in the ER and all. That was really nice. And it's good to know I could go to her and be like, woah, something's not right and she can help facilitate taking care of myself. And I know I shouldn't feel lonely. I usually don't. And I know I'm feeling fine right now. But Orion?"
He doesn't move.
"I sort of wish there were still people around. Like family. People bustling too and fro. Or maybe, maybe just that someone could, if they were thinking of it, pop their head in and say, "Hey, how's it going Moll? Wanna come down for dinner?" Or just maybe fall asleep on the couch. Get a hug from my mum or dad. I think I'd just like people around that know I'm here too."
I keep patting.
"Did you know that it's proven that you can pat a dog and it lowers your stress level?"
I keep patting.
"Maybe I should've just gone up to Lynn's house. Or Jenkin's. "Hi, I just need to be around some people who love me today cause I had a lousy day. Thanks!""
Orion launches off the bed to bark at the door.
He returns. Non plussed. And plunks back down by the window.
"Hum. I think maybe just going to sleep would be handy. But Orion? I want you to know that I really appreciate you being here and hanging out with me, and being my dog. It helps a lot. I think, well, you're my family member that keeps an eye on me too and that is good enough for me. Try not to wake me up like 8 times though just to reinforce that point."

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Hampshire Sunshine

The trouble with being in New Hampshire visiting the folks is that the sun gets up forty-five minutes earlier than it does in Ohio. Great! I'm a morning person, that's a whole extra :45 minutes--save for the fact it's at 4:45 AM that one said yellow labrador starts whining. Then there's the moment of debate, can he hold it? Does he have to go number one or two? It is my parents house... they wouldn't be horrified... but still, not a practice I want Orion to get into, so legs swing over the side of the bed, half-hearted effort at collecting my glasses and then down the stairs we go.
"I hope you know we're going back to sleep after this."
He does his business right where I anticipate my mother will walk while getting to her car, and I make a tired mental note to collect it in the AM before turning back into the house.
In bed again, he's brought up my family dog Chloe's toy stuffed opossum. That's cool, I think, I can sleep through anything. Therein sues the squeaking. And more squeaking. I'm not concerned about my parents waking up, my dad's a heavy sleeper and my mom is partially deaf, so it's just me and my sixteen pillows, trying to smother out the sound.

While I wake up forty minutes later, I notice brown spots on the bed. "What are these?" I ask. "Are these from you or me?" I pick up his feet to look. Nothing. I touch my face, having one time woken to a bloody nose and thought I was murdered, nothing. I find a brown piece in my bed. "Did Mr. Opossum lose his arm?" I throw my feet over the bed, this time accurately finding my glasses and placing them on my head. "What else have you gotten into?" I assess the room. I see corn kernels on the floor and a little Boyd's Bear. "Okay so you decided Mr. Bear had to lose his arm." Mentally I assess whether this will be a major problem with my mother and/or if I can sew it back on. I turn my attention to the corn that Orion has now redevoted his attention to and is collecting. "Ah. Maggie's heat wrap." I collect the heat wrap that my oldest sister made for my youngest sister that now has a gaping hole. This I know can be repaired. I leave Orion to the corn.

"Let's go." I peek out the door to see the parent's door is closed and then open the door and head to the bathroom. Closed, and shut tight being two entirely different things, I hear a loud noise, I move quickly out of the bathroom to find my 65 pound dog has launched himself on the sleeping party, hitting the larkin as he jumps, opening the desk part so that a tea saucer is now falling, my mother is wondering what the heck is waking her up, my dad giggles, Chloe jumps up to defend the world and I'm left dragging the dog off the parents, apologetically and downstairs we go.

Coffee. Where's the coffee.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

You have got to be kidding me.

Sitting on a sheet in the front yard. Typing on my computer. Working on job applications because for the love of all things holy I can't handle another 100+ degree day in the midwest. Orion starts to sprint for a dog that's loose across the street. I have a fraction of a second to think, the leash is caught on the tree and he can't get that far, before I'm thrown forward, leash catching my neck like a piano wire and I'm catching myself with my broken arm.
Where the hell is my left arm?
Why the hell does this happen WHEN I DON'T HAVE MY BRACE ON??! I fold up, grab my wrist. Start crying.
I stand up. Get my phone. Call my mother. Ask her if she thinks I really f'd up my arm again or if maybe I'm okay because I maybe just landed on it in a way that it doesn't fold yet on it's own.
"Ice. Advil."
I collect the sheet. The computer, the dog.
I get ice.
I hate the world for a few.
Especially when I can't pick up the bag of ice with the hand.
Then I realize after :30 of ice, I can type again. I give the dog a bone and tell him I need space so to please leave me alone for a few.
And then I clean up the cut on the back of my neck and think of how at least I'm not decapitated.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The new greatest thing

Oliver got a fence around his back yard. This is the new latest great thing for a number of reasons: 1. We can drive there in 30-40 minutes. 2. The dogs run like maniacs and have a pool to play in (rather than a dried up mud hole) 3. If it's morning, there's a Dunkins a block away, if it's night, the Booths feed me dinner (and it's like REAL people food) 4. Orion and Oliver are happy and sleep. 5. Humans can chat, and relax. 6. Orion eats all of Oliver's food and chewies therein adds back all the weight he's burning off.


"Well we could read tonight," I say to Orion. "Do you have any books you're interested in reading?" I look around at my empty shelves as I have started the packing for moving east again.

"I would suggest Marley and Me. It's about a lab," I pause. "I think you'd really find you connect to the book and have a lot in common with the protagonist."

Friday, June 15, 2012


"I think, based on your level of activity and your dog, we should keep the cast on for another 10 to 14 days, then maybe we can go down to a half cast."

Well, I guess my purple arm and I are back to bonding again.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Family Portrait

I may get my cast off tomorrow. May being the operative word. I can move my fingers. I can do some things, many others, I do then regret the attempt. I carried a 50 pound bag of dog food--only looked ridiculous trying to figure out how to open the doorway. I repaired a computer... turned screws with my chin. I can't pull open doors. I can't turn door knobs. I can't pick things off my right shoulder or do my dishes.

I have enjoyed the cast because it's purple. It's safe, so when your colleague drops an iMac on your arm plaster takes the hit and not your sorely bruised bone. It's fun to match your clothes to and makes more sense to others when you ask them for help that you're not just being lazy... but, I kind of like my right arm. I'd like to see it. "How are you doing right arm?" I'd ask, then squeeze it when it aches. I'd like to not have a ridiculous tan and, I'd like to see if I can bend my wrist. So, while it has been fun, I'm not going to lie--I'm looking forward to it being removed.

With that said, once must take a picture for the memorable scrapbook. So, Family Portrait: Summer 2012.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

drip drip

woke to a flood in bed.
no, not what you're thinking.
as i tried to move away from the puddle i got knocked with a water bottle to the head.
boy punctured the giant bottle i had stashed on the side.
sheets are soaked.
mattress is likely fine due to the 3 bags around it post-bed-bug season last year.
good morning
now, where's the coffee?

Monday, June 4, 2012

one point five, two, she's down

Scene: My yard starts off flat then has a little slope to the sidewalk. A fence lines the border between my old apartment building and my new one.

Setting: 9:40 P.M. Summer evening. Just got back from a bbq. Cute skirt and flip flops, walk Orion out to go pee.

that is a huge dog, i think as i step out of the apartment and see a husky/shepard walking by. i slow, holding closely to the long leash i have orion on. i couldn't find his normal leash or his prong collar so i am aware i am at a disadvantage for control but we are just going for a pee break. the dog walks by, i begin to relax. I'm talking to my friend pam on the phone. Orion pees. out of the corner of my eye i see the big dog stop and i hear, "is your dog on a leash because my dog is aggressive." The man is talking to my old neighbor. no sooner is this connection made am i spun around, phone goes flying, my feet are lifted out below me and I'm down, being pulled down the incline, skirt over head. I reach out to grab something, I have to stop, I have to grab something or I won't stop, and my fingers find the fence.

"Are you ok?" guy with aggressive dog asks somehow across the street.

"No. I think i broke my arm."

"Well I'd like to help but if I come over my dog will attack," he replies.

"No, just go."

I get myself up, arm tucked to my ribs and pull Orion inside. I get him in the apartment, not even attempting to get him in his crate.

Returning outside, I search for my phone. "Pam? Pam sorry he flipped me. I think my arm's broken. It really hurts. I've gotta go find help."

I hang up and walk up to my old apartment building. "Ronnie, will you open the door, I think my arm is broken." The kid with Shaggy, the old-off-leash dog, hops up the stairs and opens the door. I knock on Zachary, my ten-year-old friend's door. I'm moving all over the hallway hoping to distract myself from the ongoing pain. Zachary opens the door.

"Zachary, is your mom home? I think i broke my arm and I need help. It hurts Zachary." I'm pacing now in the little carpet patch of the little apartment. Zachary's mom fashions a sling out of a curtain and gives me ice cubes. Zachary calls my roommate Jamie, "Um, hello Jamie? This is Zachary. Molly broke her arm and.." "Ask her if she can take me to the h hospital ..." I'm saying behind him. "And, um, she wants to know if you'll take her to the hospital." He hangs up, "ok. She said she'd do it."

We pile out the apartment. I ask Zachary to put Orion in his crate for me and to get my purse. I am thankful for the many hours he has spent with Orion and i that he knows our routine. Delmy stands with me out front as we stare down the street for Jamie's car to arrive.

In the car, I refuse to be buckled. "Just don't touch me right now," I say as each bump in the road makes me suck in breath. I am never more aware of the way breathing lifts my ribcage and how much I wish i had more padding to my ribs. Jamie is on her A-game, looking up directions to the hospital and making the executive decision where to go and the highway over back roads. We get to the ER and we wait. I stand because the thought of sitting is not to be considered. We get asked questions, "was this the result of an accident?" There is grass still on my tank top. We file back to a room. I walk as even as I can and fill Jamie in on my medical history.

"Do you want me to call your mother?" "No she has company over and is watching a movie. It won't make a difference if i tell her now or tomorrow."

I stand by the bed.

A lady comes by and leads me to x-ray. She asks me to rotate my arm to get different angles. This is horrible. Tears are streaming down my face as my jaw is clenched. "How would you rate your pain on a 10 scale?" she asks. "10. At least 10 for what i have experienced so far in my life."

Back in the room I tell Jamie I don't care if I hate needles I will take a huge one if it has pain meds. Eventually they come with pain meds and I watch my sheets start to move.

"You know how I always say I'm not likely to stay friends with you when I move? This is it. I'll be your friend forever cause you're here with me."

She laughs and we decide she should try and do some work while we wait for the dr as she has a big presentation in the morning. I watch the posters move. I think about how i told the nurse i get drunk easy and caffeine sincerely affects me as a disclaimer before the meds. Then the nurses show up. They rotate my arm to splint it and I don't care about moving sheets and posters it still hurts...then the doctor and, "It's a clean break, so you probably won't need surgery.." then McDonalds, 24 hour pharmacy and home.

1, 2, 3 she's down. Again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

And for now

The two spots are completed. I would like a third, then maybe some big zoom in's. Piece them together into the story... or something of that nature...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chew till they're two..

Top 10 Things I've Pulled Out of Orion's Mouth:

10. My Flip Flops

9. Chicken Bones

8. My Kneaded Eraser

7. A Still Living Bird

6. Yarn

5. Oliver's Head

4. Chewing Gum

3. Cat Poop

2. A Giant Moth

1. A Dead Squirrel

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Today Orion met a donkey and a horse.
He was all kinds of excited.
And all kinds of stunned when the donkey declared his lack of excitement.
Enough said.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Still sick, I think a great game would be to teach Orion to fetch consistently. I sit on the floor, not really moving, he chases balls and burns off energy in exchange for little hot dogs. After :20 minutes I looked at him and said, "hun, I love you but this is like geometry for you. You just don't get it and I don't know of any other ways to try to teach you this." Went in my room to look up tips and he flopped on the floor passed out. I guess the stimulus was enough to make him tired. We'll try again later.

Friday, May 4, 2012


"This is a mouth-oriented dog; she's going to pick up your kids toys and clothes. Labs will jump on you and treat you like another puppy." Foote from Labrador Retrievers v.1 2nd edition

So I'm lying in bed this morning after taking Orion to the dog park. I had a 101 temp last night and have steadily been rocking the low grade 99 this morning but all that does not matter to a yellow dog who believes it is time to get up and see the world. So we went out. I bundled up in layers so I could do the shed on, layer back with the hot cold chills, and kept my distance from my friends who bring their two dogs along to the park as well.

Orion ran right in, found the inch of water in a hollow puddle of mud, laid down and proceeded to change his beautifully white-recently-bathed-fur, into that more of his companion, Oliver, the chocolate labrador. I sigh, but know the boy is happy, so I just hold my breath as the low tide scank smell drifts by as he sprints after his pal.

After an hour of play, we stop by PetSmart and pick up some chew toys, a labrador magazine, and some poop bags, killing time waiting for JoAnn Fabrics to have the sewing tech get there, and back to the car, with bribes, we go.

At home, I'm back in bed, threw down some Advil, and am reading through this magazine feeling like this is the answer to all my questions about Orion.

Recently I've been trying to practice running with him in the tennis courts. Instigating his desire to chase and pull me down--mostly because I do not want a dog to be a threat if people break out into a run and he's off lead, or just in general, it doesn't look that good when your dog plows down a kid and chews on the kids ears. Then I read the above statement, and everything seems clear to me now.

Those kids are just one more Oliver.

Let me knock you down, wrestle, mouth your neck, nibble your ears. I'm not meaning to hurt you but isn't this fun, you just ran so I could catch you and I did!

"Labs can have a very long puppyhood. Many owners get a Lab because they have met a well behaved Lab in the park or at a soccer game. So they get a Lab puppy, and by 15 months they are ready to get rid of the unruly dog. What they do not realize is that the worst is really behind them and the best is yet to come. Their Lab is just getting through the teenage period and is about to blossom into the adult dog they wanted." Laura Dedering Labrador Retrievers v.1 2nd edition

So how about that Laura. We, Orion and I, are on month 15 this month. I told Orion today that while he is a handful some days, I kind of like his antics because they're just plain funny. Oh, having to jump out of bed at 2 AM because I realize he found my flip flops, while freezing cold with fever, wasn't my favorite form of his antics, but a bouncing yellow dog who leap frogs over his chocolate buddy, now that? Cracks me up. Or, even him standing on the table, legs wobbling, just, you know, checking things out Ma....

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


"Here it comes!" I'm tilting the berry smoothie container that's empty so that the last dribble is sliding down the side.
"DON'T STOP LICKING NOW!" The threat of dumping it all over my bed looms near. 
Orion starts licking and pink berry juice is flying all over his just-bathed-brighter-than-white fur.
I start laughing.
I start laughing so hard I start coughing.
I'm too sore and tired though to move (post karate class) so I'm coughing, Orion's trying to eat my face and berry juice is everywhere.
Total win.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Morning compromise. Went to bed at 9 to be up at 6. We both took naps.

Sneezing etiquette

Orion sneezes.
"Oh my goodness! Well God bless you!" I pat his head.
"Notice how I didn't bite your face?"
"Just saying."

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Not on my clean clothes!" I yank my pants out from under Orion's hovering form. "You know I have very little sympathy for you when you've been eating cat poop. That's disgusting. If you wouldn't eat cat poop you wouldn't be puking."
He hucks up a pile.
Still gagging.
My brows are furrowed.
Puke pile two.
He's lining up for three.
"Okay, now I'm feeling sympathetic. Come on baby, just settle down."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Whole Day.

Waking up to a wet willy is getting to be a bit too common place. One wet tongue swishing around in my ear. My hand shoots up and swats like I would a fly. Orion just moves along to my chin, exfoliation time. By about the time my eye socket feels as if it will stiffing close with all the dog slob I begrudgingly wake.
"What time is it?"
I reach behind me for the phone cord, fishing it up like a line at the bottom of a well. I press a button to illuminate the screen and squint at the bright light.
"Five forty?" I tip the light towards his looming brown eyes. "Seriously?"
He answers by stepping in the inside cove of my hip, forcing an involuntary sit up.
"It is too early."
I flop down and shove the pillow over my head. 
A wet nose burrows under.
"If I feed you will you let us sleep?"
His ears perk, I drop the phone back into the depths, and roll out of bed, skipping the glasses all together.
Bam! I stumble, cursing.
"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! What the hell?!"
This is a regular routine. While I do this every night, I still happen to forget I leave his crate door open, consequently causing early morning cursing and more bruising to my limbs.
Food bowl is filled, I flop back in bed.
Thirty minutes go by, I get another face lick. 
This time I just start laughing. 
"I know all you want is for me to be awake, and the minute I get up, you're going to start yawning. Come here you cute dog." I pull Orion over and rub his ears.
"What do you think we should do today? Dog park? Tomorrow you get to play with your favorite cat, but today, we have to decide what to do."
Orion lowers his elbows onto my rib cage. For a moment I can't breath. I pull an arm, that had snuck back under the covers, out, and grab for the curtain string. Distracted, Orion frees me to stare out the window.
Unintentionally, I doze off again.
Face lick.
"Oh, right. Good morning best friend dog. Yes, I'm having trouble getting up. Thank you. Yes, thanks, I think I may have missed a spot in last nights shower... okay!" Back out of bed. Fill the food ball up, head to the bathroom to snag a shower, confident the food ball should keep him out of trouble for the brief time he is unsupervised.

At the dog park I watch Orion sprint after his favorite chocolate lab Oliver as they race after ducks in the "back forty". I smile as I know he is in heaven, full sprint, hot on pursuit. There's a moment where I don't know if it's pursuit of ducks, or pursuit of Oliver, but the expression is the same level of excitement. That's the thing with owning this dog, he is in a perpetual state of happy dog. His tail flops side to side on walks. His ears perk for treats. He blissfully destroys cardboard, plastic, toys, shoes... and so on. But he is happy and I can't help but feel happy too. 
As I look the two labs are making laps in the back stream. Oliver appears to do a face plant but is quickly up again, water flying around. I'm not sure if there is an objective here so much as validation that these two dogs are water dogs. And then they're back, flying down the field to come say hi, slamming into our legs, shaking out their wet fur, chewing on each others faces.

We stop in at Auntie Lynn's. Laundry and breakfast and good company. Orion runs in the house, sliding to a stop at Lynn's feet. Bobbing up and down, butt wiggling side to side, he gives Lynn a handful of kisses. "Well hello Orion," she says, and pats his head. Then he's off, exploring every crevice of the house he just visited last week. Who knows, maybe something's missing, something's new.
Like usual, I look up to see him carting Lynn's shoe across the living room. 
"Orion, drop it."
I wander after him.
"Drop it."
"You need to be a little more firm with him," Lynn says behind me. "Give it here Orion! Drop it!" He drops the shoe, Lynn collects it and puts it back. Orion walks up to her and starts licking her hand again. "I'm not mad at you, but you need to leave that shoe alone." Lick. Lick.
"I think the trouble is that he knows inside, I'm giggling at him. I think it's funny and I just can't help it," I say. "I don't know how I'll ever do it if I have actual kids." 
"You turn your body away so they can't see you smile."

Then were back at the dog park, the leash becomes a chew toy. Orion and Oliver race up and down the grass way side-by-side attached to the leash. Then they're sumo wrestling, in the air, on the ground. Orion lays down to roll over and chew on Oliver's neck. Getting lazy. Jack, the rescue wild dog, runs up and chases Orion off. Butt tucked, Orion does a loop and is back, barking at Jack to chase him again. Jack, the sheriff of the group, seems to roll his eyes at this yellow dog barking in his face, then makes an effort to seem menacing with a jump bark, that only results in another loop. Before too long, Orion pauses, turns around, and bolts for the center of the gated area. I am wondering what has possessed him to leave the fun of Oliver and Jack only to see him flop in the water. Oh my water dog. He lays there, poised, presumably thinking we don't notice the white dog that is frozen in his "Mexican Standoff". Moments pass and his paws start moving in slow motion. He's creeping. 
"Yep, don't see you. Hum, Bob, have you seen that yellow lab around?" 
He keeps creeping.
Oliver pauses, dips his head. They both freeze.
Then as if a gun goes off Orion flies forward and jumps on Oliver.  And they're off again, tumbling through the mulch.

Piling into the car, I tuck Orion's blanket into the seat edges. 
"Is that his seatbelt?" Bob asks behind me.
"Yeah. I'd die if he wasn't hooked in. Every now and again I get lazy and it's a miracle we're not dead yet as he climbs all over the place."
I hook Orion in, jump in the front seat, and before the car's even started Orion's curled up, out cold.
"I'd say it was a good dog day huh Orion?"
An eye opens.
I smile back at him.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Grumble grumble

The lights are out. The fan hums above my head.
"I'm hungry," I say.
Orion looks at me.
"I could go for a nice dinner." I picture mash potatoes, green beans, stuffing... "Too bad I'm not taking care of myself food wise." I think about how I told myself I should eat a veggie a day, how I should take the time to cook, how well I was doing right after I left my parents, how I gave myself permission to spend more on groceries because I ate more and better and just felt better. Then I think about how I lost the motivation, how I open the fridge and wish a normal meal would appear, then grab a piece of Irish soda bread and tell myself I need to grocery shop.
"I could go for a piece of Irish soda bread right now," I say, feeling my stomach grumble in grumpy emptiness.
Orion's still just looking at me.
"I am hungry."
Orion groans.
"You too?"
His ears perk.
"I could go get a piece of Irish soda bread and get you a little pile of kibble along the way, what do you think of that? I mean I did just brush my teeth and we could just sleep and wake up and eat breakfast." I think of cereal. Blah. Do I have any yogurt? Na, but I would have the Irish soda bread...
Orion gets up off the bed.
"Huh. Okay then." I swing my legs out from under the blankets and plod off to the kitchen.

Friday, April 13, 2012


"Honey, I know you want me to pay attention for you but you need to take a nap. I have to get some work done. We'll go for a walk at three."
A big stuffed turtle gets crammed in my lap.
I bend down and kiss the boy's nose.
"I know. I think you're wonderful, but, I have to do some drawing. Can you try to entertain yourself for a bit?"
He huffs off. Grabs a stick. Chews that for awhile. A plastic plate. Rips the tag off his bed. Gathers the bed under in in a bunch. Eats the peanut butter lid.
I look over.
His head has dropped.
Eyes are closed.
Limbs sprawl up against the wall.
He's down for the count.
I smile.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tame the beast

The long black leash flops along in access over the street lamp lit sidewalk squares. Orion's yellow butt wobbles side to side with happiness. We're night walking he and I. I'm rattling on about this and that.
"I love the way the street lights illuminate sections of the sidewalk."
"Doesn't it just seem artistic?"
"I mean, we could be in a movie of our life right now and it would be good cinematography."
"Or, if we could paint this, you and I, walking along the streets at night."
"Just saying. It's cool. I wish I could photograph our silhouettes too. Check out how awesome my hair shadow is."
"I also like how you always seem so damn happy trotting down the street."
"Hey Orion? I love you. You know, just incase no one told you that today, I'm letting you know."
"Hey Orion? I also think you're pretty damn cute."
"You're lucky too, because you can be a handful sometimes."
"Thanks for being so nice to me yesterday though. I wasn't in my best place."
We walk along. Orion grazes as he does at the last street on the block. Best grass in the neighborhood. An occasional leftover container too.
We cross the street and loop back along the dark side. Orion jolts and takes off. I brace. Ground my legs. Lean back. The leash is flying through my hands. I am waiting for it to reach it's max length. Please don't snap. Please don't snap. I'm watching. A bunny is streaking across a front yard. Orion is hot in pursuit. I'm wielding a tiger on a thread. I start to rotate as he goes flying towards the rabbit. We're making a circle, my back leaning like a water skier. Bunny cuts left, all I'm catching is a fluffy tail. And he's crossed the sidewalk and is attempting to take me across the street with him and the fleeing bunny.
Please don't snap.
I think of my feet.
Your feet are roots.
I weighed Orion today at the petstore. He is officially half my weight now. I went and bought a milkshake.
The leash holds.
I start laughing.
If this were a movie...
If this was a scene from Molly's life...
"Well you sure gave that little bun bun a run for his money huh?"
Orion's panting.
"That was the best ever? I bet it was. It's not every night we chase rabbits."
I laugh.
Collect the excess leash and step forward. Forward towards the street light.


I hear a bang.
I'm in the shower.
I'm assessing.
What could he have gotten into? The container on my desk? The door is ajar. Something in the kitchen? The gate's across the kitchen. Could he have gotten into the closet and is gorging himself on kibble?
I really want to shave. The dinning room windows are open. I don't want to have to go dripping wet after him.
I squirt shaving cream in my hand hoping he'll catch the smell and come running. Razor blade dodging little pink tongue and nose that is licking up the cream.
"Orion, I'm doing your favorite thing!"
I'm getting desperate.
Frustrated too.
How many months till 2?
And yet just this morning I was thinking how much I have loved spending time with him these past two days and how wonderfully snuggly and kind he's been...
Damn. He just blasted me with gas (side note)
No go on the shaving cream. I shut off the water, loosely wrap the towel and head dripping start padding down the hall, wet footprints trailing in my wake.
Make it pass the kitchen.
Gate's up.
Living room's empty.
Realign the towel to cover my backside as I cross through the exposed windows.
In the bedroom.
There he is, snatching and chewing.
I'm losing the towel.
I snatch his collar.
"What do you have?!"
Pieces of kneaded eraser fall from his mouth.
"What is your obsession with this?" I pull chunks out. Push him out of the way.
So much for my pencil bag. I assess the pencils. All appear in tact.
I almost release his collar to keep him out of the way then I think better of it.
"In your house."
I shuffle him towards his crate.
I'm thinking of the chewed gum I pulled out of his mouth earlier this morning. I snatch the towel, half heartedly wrap myself and plod back to the bathroom.
He barks.
"NO!" I shout from up the hall.
I dramatically clunk the door (that doesn't close) shut.
He barks.
Repeat door clunk.
I wonder if he knows I can't take this routine seriously?
Such a pain in the butt.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


We go down to the basement to practice running without Orion trying to eat my hands or legs. I run by, he runs. I run by, he attempts to eat my knee. I pop him on the nose. Attempt number two, barking, attempt at ankle.
"Okay. Let's try something else," I say.
I have him sit in front of the dryer.
"Sit. Down. Stay."
He stays. I run backwards, then towards him. He stays for the backwards then as I approach he leaps up and runs crazy-dog, to where I just was and back.
"Nope. That's not what I meant."
I repeat.
"Sit. Down. Stay."
I jog backwards, jog forwards. Dog takes off butt tucked. I stand watching him.
"HEY! Get back here. That's not what I said."
He circles back.
"Sit. Down. Look. Leave it." I put kibble in front of him. I jog backwards, he snags the kibble.
I jog forward, he sprints away.
This is not working as I planned.
"Okay. Enough for today."
We walk upstairs. I sit down at my computer to type. Orion wanders by.
"Sit. Down. Stay." He stares up at me. His tail like a broom on the wood floor, swish, swish. I look down at him.
"You've gotten big," I say as I notice his body while laying down is much closer to the top of the table.
He grumbles.
"Good stay." I pass him a kibble.
At least we can do something successfully.
He wanders off to find my shoe.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

red handed

It's pitch black in the room save for the light of my computer. I hear a rustle. I am trying to ignore my over zealous dog as he prowls about my room, having been in his crate for my 12-9 shift. I want to check my bank accounts. Perfectly reasonable thing to do before going to bed. Rustle. Leap. Sixty-three pound lab lands on my side.
I guard the trackpad on my computer and allow his paws to rest on the keys. Mr. Skunk squeaks under his weight. Orion makes a jab for my glasses case. I shove the case under my pillow. He tries to eat the pillow.
"Orion, go entertain yourself."
He rolls off and overshoots to find himself falling to the floor.
I go back to budgeting.
Rustle. New kind of rustle.
I whip the computer screen around. The light illuminates a little yellow dog perched on my studio table digging for the bag of bones in the back.
He freezes. The blue light of the screen magnifies the caught-red-handed.
He saunters to the ground, bone bag swinging.
I get out of bed. Snag the bag, toss it up on the top bookshelf. Pull the desk chair to the middle of the room.
Back in bed, I tuck my legs in around my half ripped duvet cover from the boys attempts to dig to China.
"Come on. It's time for bed."
He moves on to chewing on my tupperware container.
C'est la vie avec ma chien.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Breaking Point

I reached a breaking point.
I called my mom.
I cried.
I parked the car.
Cried more as the noise escalated.
I sat in the back of the car with Orion to try and calm him down.
Then I went in and bought a bark collar.
Perhaps both he and I will live to be old together as oppose to dying in a car wreck brought on by craziness.

We're now home.
He is worn out.
He won't come near me.

It's tough.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Oh, no.......

"Okay, let's go over and throw this out," I say, scooping up his poo and heading across the parking lot towards the garbage can. Orion, runs ahead, blue halter, double collars, tail wagging. As I reach for the garbage, I toss the baggie in and Orion jerks backwards. In a horrific moment, I watch as his pinch collar releases and he backs up--freed. Frantically, I call him forward, "Please, there are cars Orion!" But instead he turns, the automatic doors to the grochery slide open and he's disappeared.
"You have got to be kidding me."
I fly in through the sliding doors myself, to see Orion ducking behind a tomato bin.
The leash is trailing behind me, swinging corners as I chase Orion.
"Oh look! A puppy!"
I round into the aisle in which Orion has looped down. A lady innocently watches, frozen by first the yellow dog, and next a crazed girl with a purple leash dragging behind her.
"SORRY!" I say as I nearly run into her.
"SORRY HIS LEASHE BROKE!" I yell behind me as his choke collar catches on her shopping cart tire and I continue running. Well if he slows to eat anything, I can probably pay for it. If he slows down to snatch something, that might be my chance...
Asile two.
"Oh! A dog!"
Asile three.
Asile four.
Oh for the love will no one stop him? He pauses for just a moment as he notices two people blocking his way.
I dive.
I catch him.
"Thank you!" I say to the one man who bent down, arms open.
I hook Orion on to his halter.
Maybe they'll think he's my service animal, I hope, as I cart him out on his harness. "Sorry," I say, to the people at the checkout.
"Oh it's okay, he's a cute dog."
The electric doors open to let us exit, happy yellow dog proudly wagging his tail. Crazy haired girl, toting behind.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bennington, VT

Orion jumps out of the car. The cold air hits my face and I take a sharp intake of breath. I purposely left my winter coat in Ohio with the intent of picking up a new one in the no-sales tax world of New Hampshire. I'm very conscious of this poor decision as the 9:30 hour leaves Western Vermont anything but the warm 70 I left in Ohio. Orion? Phased? Hardly. He's out running as if his life depends on it across the empty college campus fields. Butt tucked, ears flopping, he couldn't be happier. He leaps like a bunny rabbit over the seven inches of snow. We have missed snow in Ohio with the mild winter, but here, Orion is up to his mid thigh and dips his head to shovel it through the light powder.
Thirteen hours in the car has translated nicely into numerous dog paths in the snow.
"Are you sure he can run around and no one will care?" I ask my travel buddy's old friend.
"Oh, we're starving for pets around here."
I watch as Orion flies across the field plowing into a girl hovering inside the inlay of a building.
"Oooh!" I hear a delighted voice embrace his exuberance, though I suspect she does not get the full chance to pet and drool over my cute dog because he's back flying towards me.
"Okay okay Orion! Come!"
He comes flying towards me, ears plastered back to his head with his speed. I laugh, scoop him up enough to catch his collar and hook a leash on him before a red head comes jogging out of the dorm towards us, "Oh puppy!" She quickly squats down, wiggling his ears and Orion reverts to his most charming self, licking her face, wiggling his butt. "This is my birthday present," she says and I let her soak in the dog pats and kisses before we turn to follow our friend into her own dorm.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dog Dreams

Orion sleeps head against my legs. It's 8 PM. He has eaten a cup of food, a half a cup of food in various treat-dispensing-dog-occupying toys, a bone, and many failed attempts at my slippers. He has played in the tennis courts for forty-five minutes, been chased by a twenty-eight-year-old woman. He's trotted along the sidewalk, leash in mouth as if it was his day, and his day only to celebrate the spring like weather. It never ceases to amazing me as to how long it takes him to actually settle. Right now his breathing hints of a deep-sleep snore. His paws are outstretched as if reaching for the furthest corner of the bed is his true goal in this slumber. His floppy ear droops over my foot keeping it warm as is it many hours bare from my half chewed slippers. This calm dog brings calm to my own self after a weekend that rattled my brain and spit me back out into the week. I often wonder what my mood would be like without Orion's presence crazy or not.
As I write this I pause, a quiet smile on my face, as his even snoring remains, but his tail starts flopping wildly, like a fish out of water. What is my boy dreaming of, I wonder, tail flopping against the tired Teradactle dinosaur toy he proudly carts around. Dreams of a tall boxer pal, looping around a swimming pool? The freedom of a sprint across a big field towards a bird? A big birthday bone half his size?
This and the night before I dreamt I took up smoking. Five cigarettes down before I decided to quit.
Sometimes it's just good to be around this dog to remember life need not be so damn intense. Smile, trot down the sidewalk and be happy to be alive on such a lovely spring-like day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Missing my boy

It's been a week and a half since I left my best friend dog. I have a week and a half left to go. I told him when I left that if I could take him with me I would but unfortunately work did not support this and I didn't think I wanted to have him in an airplane as much as I could help it.
"Now, I have done the very best that I can to get you people to spend time with you, let you out, go for walks. I have Laura and Katie living here. Neither of them are use to you and I know your routine is going to be off, but try your hardest to be on your best behavior so that I still have human friends when I return as well."
His level of listening more often involved chewing on something.
As the time drew closer, as I shoved clothes in a suitcase and our belongings in boxes, I felt guilty for not being able to spend all my time focused on him.
"Orion, I am going to miss you. I wish I could play all day with you but we are moving the day I get back so we have to get this place packed up."
He just did his Orion thing and trotted along behind me, in and out of rooms, toting whatever food treat toy I had given him.
Days drew closer and I became more and more stressed out trying to organize the details.
I laid in bed the day before leaving, curled up next to the boy, ready for bed, "Truth be, I'm nervous about leaving. I like knowing you're around to come home to, to talk to, and I kind of rely on you for my emotional support. I'm use to you. And I'll miss you booger." He continued sleeping. "I'm coming back. Don't go thinking I've abandoned you. I have to go on this trip and then it'll be a little weird because we're moving and getting a housemate... but I think you'll like the housemate, and I think it'll be better for you because you won't have to spend as much time in your crate. You've met Jamie and are fine with her..." Still sleeps.
I call and check in on my friend. She's sounding frazzled. I do my best to explain his behavioral patterns, what he needs to make her life more sane. "Oh, we're getting along fine, I just think you might be a bit of a masocist. Clearly Orion has more energy than I do." I call later, she sounds better. I suspect she will not choose a labrador for her first dog.
I call the second friend a week and a half later, "He's been barking for three hours. I don't know what's wrong."
"He doesn't stay in his crate when people are home. He sleeps with you or roams the house. That's why."
"Huh. Well he's quiet now."
Oh my boy, I think. He must not have listened to all I was saying and is probably all stressed out by all the comings and goings and me not showing up in all of this. Oh dear Orion, I will be home as soon as I can.
But it is just the half way mark today.
Most of the first week I was busy with the bustle of learning, new place, new routine, new time zone, too flipping tired to think of anything else. But now it is the second week and I am thinking about all the patience of my friends taking care of my dog. The schedule of half my colleagues coming by to walk him. Of the friend who's stationed at the apartment for the week.
And I realize, a. I have amazing friends and b. I miss my dog.

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's a Marvelous night for a Moon Dance

It's a full moon tonight. We pull up to the parallel park job like we're merging on a highway, but the moon captures the show with its large beautiful self rising about the silhouette of a leafless tree up the way. "Wow." I think of my friend in Oregon and wonder if she will share in the gorgeousness a few hours later.
Orion and I scamper up the steps, and I find, though it's only six pm, I'm ready for bed. Pj's on, dog bone for Orion, I watch a tv show cast a lamination into my dark room. Orion moves about the room, couch to bed, bed to couch, chewing his bone, my toes, his antler, his reindeer. I wonder to myself how he has such persistent energy even after our hour walk. Ah to be him. Sleep eight hours a day. Food gifted in the form of toys. Snuggles. Hugs. Told I love you daily. The boy has it made. The girl does too, I think as he lands across my legs all 58 pounds of him.
"Orion it's 8 PM. We could go to sleep." I roll horizontally beside him, throwing an arm over him. "Or, we could go check out that moon." I start singing, "It's a wonderful night for a moon dance..." as if for once, I might actually know the words. I sound Frank Sinatra like. I'm conjuring the spirit, and so I fling my legs over the edge of the bed and will myself up.
Tangled in my toes are leashes I've woven together to extend into the worlds longest Orion leash. "Perfect!" I say, scooping them up to hook them on my boy.
Leash around waist, red light lit around his collar, we are out the door for our moon dance.
I'm spinning circles, arms spread out wide. Pirouettes in the gravel. "Well it's a marvelous night for a moon dance..." Orion is content chasing the constantly moving extendo-leash. Tired, I plunk down in the single chair positioned in the yard. The back gives a little where it's broken and I think of what I would look like, pink plaid legs tossed in the air, likely into dog poo in the pitch black night singing to the full moon. Life is good.
Orion climbs in my lap and I delight for the brief moment he allows the ability to give him hugs and snuggle him closer. "There's your star set Orion," I say, and I tell him again how I choose his name. "It is the only star set I can find no matter where I am, and I moved a lot Orion, so it was a grounding experience to see them always up in the night sky. I figured that would be a great name for my first dog." He listens intently.
"I use to have a friend too who loved to sit out under the full moon. We'd go camping," I say. "Ironic, your stars and that memory side by side." And I pause thinking of the friend long past and how like most things one can apply whatever energy they want to memories, and I smile at that friend and of that time in my life.
Orion climbs off.
"Well, should we just go for a walk?"
Leashes collected, we loop through the front and pop out on the main street. Strutting across the street, I like the image of our shadows stretching out in front of us.
"Oh if I could capture this as a photograph I would dear friend," but instead etch it into the mind, tug his head away from the discarded McDonalds bag and round the corner of the block. We cruise down the street, jerking right to scare a bunny. I note to myself that perhaps my intention for a litter-box trained bunny may indeed be ill conceived with this boy, and bump into our friend Herb, out walking his small dog as well. Herb wishes us a good year, misses a few lines from me with his hard hearing, comments on Orion's "christmas light" and then continues on his way. I enjoy Herb. I enjoy knowing there's a 70 year old guy who gets up and walks his 15 pound dog each and every day and smiles in greeting whenever he sees me. We pass by a house and I think about how I want to own a house. And as we walk along the sidewalk, see the lights flashing in the homes, I am happy. I have my dog. I have my neighborhood. And with the moon shinning, the hour nine o'clock, I figure I can sneak in for bed with a guilt free conscious.