I WALK THE LINE

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From the front lawn I leave Ellie in the dust and run straight to the door. As soon as she gets the door open–sure wish I could do that myself– I race down the hall, slipping and sliding on the wood floor, and skid to a stop on the rug in the TV room. That’s  near my food bowl and I like to check it often to see if anything new has turned up. Then I trot back to the bedroom and lie down. Or go through Ellie’s office and down the other hallway to the front room or the garage. Most of my walking is back and forth between the bedroom and the kitchen. If that floor was more like the dirt in the woods, I’d have worn a path into it by now.

At night I’m not sure where I want to be. Ellie is in her bed and the lights are out. I look around the bedroom, not seeing much. I walk to my water bowl in Ellie’s bathroom and give it sniff. I step out into the open space by the front door. What now? Where to? I saunter into the kitchen, sniff my food bowl, walk around the sofa. Do I want to go out through my door? Not really. Check the food bowl again–empty. Everything else the way it should be here, I walk back to the bedroom. Click, click, click, my claws mark my pace. I walk in, hear Ellie sleeping, check out my beds–the old one I never use any more, the comfy one that smells like me and is lumpy and ripped, and something new that Ellie keeps throwing treats on. It’s thick and spongy, hard for me to walk on. None of them seems very interesting, so I walk back out to see what’s going on in the kitchen. Click, click, click…

FOXY FOOD

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I’ve been quiet because Ellie was gone for so long I almost forgot her. Well, let’s just say that Mark tried his best to take care of me. He gave me food and walked me, but it isn’t the same. When Ellie opened the door I was scared at first. She marched in with that rumbling suitcase. “Hi, Foxy. How’s my little guy?” I ran away at first but then I started to remember her smell and her sound. Soon she was clomping around the house and I was following her.

I don’t eat all my food when Ellie is away. Well, actually I don’t ever eat all my food. I forget it’s there or I’m not hungry or it just doesn’t smell as good as what she is eating. Since her return she’s been feeding me a lot of new stuff. The yucky food in the cans has disappeared. She’s been cooking up a chicken storm, filling the whole house with great smells. Let me at it! I get chicken mixed with rice or with some other grainy thing that is easy to spread all over the floor. Also my usual carrots, although she must have noticed after a couple of bites on a carrot I leave it somewhere on the rug, because the carrots in my food are soft.

Ellie is doing something else funny. First she puts my food in my bowl. Then if I don’t eat it right away, she comes with a big spoon and spreads most of it over a big plate, like the ones she uses. She leaves the plate on the floor next to my bowl. It helps me to sniff what is there and pick out the pieces of chicken.

Today she gave me some wonderfully stinky stuff that smells like the little treats she tosses on the floor for me to gobble up–salmon? And some string beans from a can, which I like OK. I wish she would just give me exactly what she is eating with all the sauce and good smells. Why can’t I have that?

MULTI-TASKING MUTT

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You humans think you are so brilliant with your smart phones and computer games that you play while you’re watching TV. I can multi-task even better, without needing any store-bought devices to help me along.

Have you noticed how I analyze the grass with my sniffer while at the same time, to say it nicely, my other end is relieving itself of a burden? Multi-tasking! Or when we’re out for a walk how I can have my eyes glued on a dog approaching from way down the street while my feet are deftly stepping over rocks and branches all over the walkway?

See, I can listen, smell and look all at the same time, in case some wild animal is stalking me, or some smelly little squirrel is close enough for me to chase. Or someone has dropped a sausage in the path. Sausage, yum!  It may seem that I’m not listening to you when you try to call me away from my food bowl or a fight with my favorite toy. I can hear you–I’m just not interested. I may be a multi-tasker, but I still decide where to put my attention! Now where did I hide that biscuit?

DOGGIE DOLDRUMS

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Another visit to the doggie doctor. It was a long day, although I slept during most of it. Ellie dropped me off without breakfast (grrr)  and didn’t feed me much when we got home. Actually I didn’t feel like eating. My teeth kind of hurt; my whole mouth felt sore, like I’d been chewing on some huge bone for days and days. My claws were mysteriously shorter and there now seems to always be a breeze around my butt.

Sometimes it’s dark by the time Ellie takes me for my afternoon walk. I don’t mind this, but she stumbles along with her flashlight, holding her coat tight around her body. She’s been sneezing and coughing and going to bed right after my dinner, so maybe she’s not feeling so great either.

Today the ladies came who sweep the floor and push that noisy machine around. I spent some time on the deck and then wanted to see what Ellie was doing. I found her lying on the bed with that computer thing. She slapped the bed, like she thinks I can still jump up there. Are you kidding me?  Then she  got up and came at me with her hands out, like she wanted to pick me up. I wouldn’t mind a quick snuggle, but if I can’t get up there on my own, forget about it! Why don’t you come down here? I scooted under the bed, a better place to hide from the broom.

Once when Ellie wasn’t around those ladies let me out the door when they were leaving. I ran out to the street to see what was happening and the ladies started chasing me. I didn’t know what they wanted, so I headed down the block. They were screaming at me to come back. Hey, I’m on an adventure!  Then a neighbor lady with her dog came along and talked to them. They held her dog and she came slowly up to me talking very quietly.

“Is everything OK, Foxy? Poor boy, don’t be scared.”

It didn’t take long for her to get her hand on my collar and soon I was back in the house. Those ladies were smiling and wiping their faces like they’d been cleaning the house all day long.

EARTHQUAKE!

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I headed down the hall to see what that pile of stuff was at the end. The tall bookcase looked like it had decided to sit down. I saw Ellie’s light go on, so turned around. She looked at me with relief like I had been long missing and she had just found me. I heard her fumbling around in her closet, then she came towards me with pants on over her nightgown and the leash in her hand. That didn’t seem like a good idea to me. After all there was stuff all over the floor and she isn’t as good as I am at sidestepping rocks and holes and other hazards. She cornered me and put the leash on. Then she picked me up–hey, I’m not a baby, lady–and carried me to the dining table. She got down on the floor with an oomph and pulled me under the table. It was like she wanted to cuddle in this strange place, surrounded by broken glass, some of which she pushed out of the way with her foot as we tried to get comfortable.

She kept shushing me and then after a while said, “We need to go outside, Foxy.” Sounded like a good idea to me. So out the front door we went. The big pot that sits on our porch was on its side. It was dark, but people walked around like it was the middle of the afternoon. There were lights in all the houses. Ellie went next door to the old man’s house and rang the bell. He came to the door, they talked, and then she shouted back and forth to some other people on the street. After a short pee break, we went back into the house.

Ellie took me to the bedroom and closed the door behind us. “This is the safest room,” she said. She picked some pictures up off the floor, went around with a broom sweeping stuff and then after giving me a squeeze, she left the room. Locked in. Too bad. I shut my eyes, but heard her muttering to herself and lots of banging and crashing for a long time.

When it started getting light, Ellie came in and collapsed on the bed. But not for long. Soon we were both walking around the house. She had cleaned up my food bowl and gave me some fresh food and water. The floor was kind of sticky and there were bags of smelly stuff everywhere–scents of vinegar and something sweet. The furniture had all moved, but as the day went by, she pushed it all back where it belonged. She spent a lot of time in the garage, where I got a quick peek and saw bags and boxes all around the car. It smelled like paint. She smelled hot and sweaty like when we used to go for long runs.

It was nice to spend the whole day with Ellie at home. That’s a treat, as she usually leaves me and goes out somewhere in the car. I didn’t get a morning walk, but in the evening she took a shower and then took me out. She was moving kind of slow and bent over a little, but I had a nice walk. Not much new pee to smell in the park that day–maybe everyone else had a clean up day too.

Pill Boy

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So Ellie was gone again when I started throwing up. My tummy didn’t feel so good. I wasn’t hungry, even for treats. Mark put some fragrant rice in my bowl, but even that didn’t appeal to me.

Then at night Ellie came through the door and I knew everything was going to be OK. In the morning, she put me in the car and took me to the doggie doctor. After he poked and prodded and stuck me with something sharp, we went home. She had a handful of little bottles…something yummy for me, perhaps?

At dinner time Ellie had a row of little pills on the counter. I saw her stuffing them into those little chewy balls she gives me as treats. Usually, I chomp them right down, but not that night! I just wasn’t hungry. It was late and I didn’t know why she was putting the leash on me until–oh, no–she pulled me over to her and forced a couple of those pills into my mouth. Gulp. I didn’t like that at all. She let me go then, but I could tell she was upset. So was I!

I had a good long sleep after the visit to the doggie doctor. In the morning Ellie got the leash out and I ran out my door into the yard. No more pills for me, thank you very much. “No, Foxy!” she yelled. “I just want to take you for a walk!” After a long time, I finally let her apply the leash and take me out the door.

Usually after our walk, Ellie takes the leash off me while we’re on the front lawn and I run to the door. That’s the best part of the walk. Today she left it on, even after we were in the house and she dropped it. I dragged it around while she fixed my breakfast. I ate a couple of bites but still wasn’t hungry. Then it was pill time again. She held the leash and tried to put them into my my mouth. I shook my head and the pills went flying. Ellie was not happy. I heard her mumble something about “liverwurst” and she was out the door. The car started and the garage door opened and closed. She wasn’t gone long. I looked to see what she was doing in the kitchen when she returned and she gave me a cheerful greeting.           “Hey, Foxy. I have something special for you! Yum, yum.”

Really? She held out a little ball. I sniffed. Smelled pretty good. I took it in my mouth and swallowed. Not bad. Another one followed. Ellie was really happy then.  I slept a lot that day and avoided the leash when it was walk time. I was afraid more pills were coming my way.

“OK, Foxy. You don’t want to walk? No walk, then.” She sighed and gave me my dinner. I sniffed and decided to wait to see what would happen next. I was feeling a little dizzy and not hungry at all. She held out a ball of that liver-smelling stuff. Didn’t smell good to me anymore. I turned away.

“What?” she said. “What am I going to do now?” Then she started banging pots and pans and opening and closing the refrigerator. She put a little bowl in the box that dings when things get hot. Smelled interesting. She was making a grinding noise on the counter. She stuck her finger in the little bowl.

“Perfect,” she said. She set the bowl down next to my food bowl. Smelled like turkey, nice and warm and liquid. I took a slurp. Delicious. I finished the whole thing.