About Foxy

I live in Napa Valley and write a newspaper column, essays, and poems. This blog gives my dog, Foxy, a place to post a journal and parts of his memoir, My Leash on Life.

Beach Dog

Water? Who cares? Where’s my ball?

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WHO’S IN CHARGE?

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Does that look seem devilish to you? What a night. Most evenings Chewy goes obediently to sleep in his bed next to mine and early in the morning I invite him to join me for a snuggle and another hour of sleep. My error last night was bringing home a package of tennis balls. I knew he would go crazy for them, but his fervor included stealing the package off the coffee table and running away from me as I tried to retrieve it. I finally got the package from him, opened it and gave him one ball. He spent the rest of the evening tearing it apart, demanding that I throw it or try to get it away from him, and for rest periods in between all of this activity, barking at the remaining balls I had placed on a high shelf above the TV.

I should have known that bedtime would be a challenge. He was still in play mode. And he wanted to be up on the bed with me and his ball. Not clear which he loves most. He was so hyper, I put him on the bed to calm him down. He promptly went to sleep, but a couple of hours later, when I tried to move him to his bed, he made it clear that was not OK. First he did his usually growling and low barking at me to inform me he wanted up on the bed. I tried verbal signals. I tried ignoring him. After fifteen minutes he took his barking outside, insuring that, in consideration of my neighbors, I would come running to get him back into the house. I then locked him in the bedroom with me, but he continued to growl and bark for a good twenty minutes more. He finally went to sleep in his bed, his ball right next to him. I had been awake for an hour.

This morning would have been a good one to sleep in for a bit, but Chewy was awake around 6 a.m. I invited him up onto the bed, and he came, but immediately jumped down to get his ball. So I put him and the ball on the bed, hoping he would settle down. No such luck. Much chewing and jumping around followed as he tried to skin the ball. I finally threw it off the bed, knowing he would follow. Foolishly, I hoped he’d play by himself and let me sleep. No, he was back with the ball, standing next to the bed and growling, letting me know he wanted up with his precious toy. I finally gave up, got up, made my morning latte and settled in with the newspaper. The house became very quiet. There’s Chewy, curled up on his favorite chair, sound asleep. Oh the joys of being a dog mommy!

TO TRIM OT NOT TO TRIM

before haircut

BEFORE

I’ve known men who were hairy. Some who could take a comb to their arms or legs or backs. But I’d never seen hair on a male’s penis until I had a boy dog. Chewy is my first pet who needs grooming. That is, he has hair that grows, not fur. I’ve put off taking him to a groomer and use my own scissors to snip the hair on his cute Yorky face, hair that would otherwise be in his eyes.

For six months since I brought Chewy home, I’ve watched him develop a real beard, something akin to a lion’s mane next to his ears, and a beautiful silky coat that is a pleasure to touch. What I keep noticing with concern, however, is the one inch long tuft of hair that hangs down from his little penis. Sometimes when I’m rubbing his tummy, I have the distinct feel of something oily and not too pleasant smelling. I figure it’s leaked from that adorable tuft of hair.

I can’t blame Chewy. He spends a lot of time cleaning himself every morning and at other times when there’s nothing else to do.

There’s no way I have the guts to trim that myself. One wrong move and I’d have a lot of explaining to do to the vet. Does one ask the groomer to cut penis hair? Is it a routine part of the package, just like cleaning out the anal glands and trimming the claws?

I guess I could look on some Yorky website, but those folks who adore their pure-bred canines would certainly find me odd. Like who cares about a part Yorky, part Chihuahua, part who-knows-what mutt?

I could Google “hair on dog penis,” but I fear what pictures might come up.

I suppose I could get out the wipes or a wet towel and clean him off after every walk, but I’d really rather not get into the habit of touching my dog in a way that could be considered fondling. So I guess I’ll wait until I get to the groomer and just ask casually, “So is it customary to cut the penis hair?” I may look like an idiot, but only once.

P.S. I needn’t have worried. The groomer smiled and said, “Yes, that’s all part of the ‘Sanies’ or personal trim, which includes shaving the hair on his butt.”

AFTER:

after haircut

 

Therapy Dog

knee recovery

In March I got a new knee. Yeah, the kind that requires two nights in the hospital, a mountain of opioids, and a lot of TLC. Chewy was a great therapy dog. During the first couple of weeks when I spent a lot of time on the bed, he was right there beside me. He was such a comfort, I relaxed all my rules and had him sleeping under the covers with me! I knew full well I’d have to retrain him to his own bed, but it was worth it.

Every day (still!) I have to do my #@$% stretching exercises. This one is called the Ottoman Hang. Perhaps it’s not named for what was in Turkey before it was Turkey, but rather for the hassock-like piece of furniture you can hang your foot on. In any case, to me it is an evil warlord–very painful to have my hamstrings stretched by the weight of my leg for ten minutes at a time. As you can see, Chewy does his part–that is adding to the weight by sitting on my stomach and leaning on the leg. It’s our new daily activity.

Mud Muffin

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My dogs always have a special fascination for whatever is under the deck.  I had it closed up pretty well after Foxy kept going under there, but Chewy is a very clever guy.

I had no idea what was going on until I couldn’t find him. I called inside the house. I stepped out into the yard and called his name. No answer. I thought I heard a slight jingly sound, like his tags might make, but figured it was wishful thinking. He must have found his way out of the yard. So I went hobbling down the street in my slippers, calling his name. All the way around the park, but no luck.

When I got home, my gardener’s truck was out front and I heard a familiar bark coming from the back yard. Sure enough, Chewy was under the deck–not interested in telling ME, but eager to bark at the intruder in the yard. We couldn’t find Chewy’s place of entry, but Arturo helped me to get him out by digging a hole in the mud. I picked up the mud-covered pup and Arturo kindly closed up the hole and put some rocks there to discourage digging in the wet earth.

Chewy got an immediate bath and was finally mud-free. The gardener went on his way. Relieved the drama was over, I went about my business until I again heard barking from the yard. Chewy had found his way under there again! I now saw that his blue ball was there and he was trying to figure out how to get out with it in his mouth. I muttered a few nasty words and went to get a shovel. When I returned, I saw that he had extracted himself this time. Here’s how he looked:

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I picked him up and carried him through the door, headed for the sink, but he wriggled out of my arms and landed on–get ready for it–the sofa! Ohmygod! Into the sink again, then I had to clean up the sofa and the floor full of muddy footprints.

I placed more rocks and boards around the deck and the next day a dear friend came and nailed a new barrier in place, but not before retrieving the blue ball. Chewy could probably still find a way under there, but he no longer has a reason!

A New Dog on the Leash

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There’s no better time to add a pup to the house and put the grief aside than Christmas. Meet Chewy. Seven pounds of attitude. I managed to get his foot caught between the front door and the jamb after having him for just a week. Ouch! One broken bone, a splint for a month, but he functioned very well as a three-legged dog. He’s a barker and we’re working on the way he greets other dogs when we’re out for a walk!

I had no idea how soft I’d become in those four months without two dog walks every day. I’m getting back in shape fast. And I’m learning “Terrier.” The commands include:

I want food . . . what you’re eating . . . try to get that toy away from me . . . but don’t actually take it away . . .I want what’s in that waste basket/cupboard/behind that door/in that closet and I want it now.

More to come. It’s great to have a doggie-induced smile once again.