W is for Water! (Whee!)

Isis loved to play with the hose, as seen in this video from 2009.


During the several months we tried to get Isis and Leo to be buddies, the closest we ever came was when Grandma sprayed them with the hose on either side of a fence. I describe it in Bark and Lunge:

Isis reared up on her hind legs to a height taller than Alice, pressing her face joyfully into the blast of water. When Alice aimed the spray through the chain link at Leo, he frolicked with slightly less gusto, but increasing enthusiasm. As Leo shook his little black head back and forth, Isis watched with soft eyes and her tongue hanging gently out of her mouth.

She wasn’t completely at ease with Leo just on the other side of the chain link, but neither did she seem threatened. C’mon, Grandma! When’s it my turn again?

“Good girl, Isis! Good boy, Leo!” I cheered them on from my chair, careful not to interfere with the dynamic. Both dogs playing with Grandma. Maybe Alice was onto something here. Could it really be this easy? Leo and Isis were engaged in an activity they both enjoyed, each aware of the other, but not displaying any stress or aggression. Just joy.

Sharing the hose, and Grandma, was even better than sharing a bowl of raw chicken hearts.

Did I get it right?

Leo is four months old in this video, and Isis is four years old, the same age Leo is now.

W is for Water! Whee!


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Modeling with my muses

I apologize that the backdrop is the same as my photo from last week’s shed shaming post. Leo and Mia were acting as my stand-ins for a little photo shoot we did over the weekend.

The end goal was a new photo of me, which you can see on the About Me page, but a happy byproduct were some pics of me with my bestest buddies.


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Everybody gets a bed

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Birds fly, rabbits hop, dogs fight

mia and leo 9.23.13

Bestest friends in the light of day

My dogs get in one fight a year. Last year’s was on Labor Day. Rob gave Leo a bit of his hamburger in the living room. Mia was outside and on a diet, but sensed food being given away. There she was, poking her head under the folding TV tray where Leo dropped the burger.

Mia rumbled like she usually does when she wants something of Leo’s, but this time Leo rumbled back. The TV tray collapsed on them and the snarling escalated. I lifted the tray and ushered them to the back door so they could get outside and have some more room to work out their differences.

Somehow, they moved with me, but didn’t stop fighting. I did the pointless clapping and “hey!” thing before turning the hose on them. The hose did nothing but get them wet; thanks to Leo’s chew holes, we didn’t have much water pressure.

Rob and I each grabbed a dog by the hips and tried to separate them. Rob had Mia almost inside the house when she slipped her collar and went back into the fray. By the time we had them apart, Rob had bites on his hip (tearing his jeans), shoulder, and forearm. Neither I nor the dogs shed any blood.

The shoulder bite probably was from Mia, because it didn’t break the skin (her teeth are worn with age). But the forearm bite was a deep puncture wound. Leo. Rob felt betrayed. I wished I’d been the one hurt. I didn’t think either dog meant to bite him, but Rob was wary of Leo for a little while.

The balance of our two-dog household was so fragile. What if they can’t get along? What if Rob never forgives Leo? For the first and only time, I considered rehoming Leo. Leo, not Mia, because he’s the less reliable of the two, even though we had him first.

That was a year ago. The dogs got over it quickly. Rob took slightly more time, but he got over it too. We’ve been a perfectly happy family ever since.

Until early Monday morning.

Around 3 a.m., Mia whined at my bedside, so I let them both out. When it was time to come in, Leo pranced down the hill a little jauntier than usual. In the dark I could see something in his mouth. For a second I thought it was a stuffed hedgehog toy, but just before I took it from him, I realized it had legs.

A rabbit. Ew. Instead of reaching for it, I held Leo by the scruff and asked him to drop it, but by then, Mia was beside us. Leo wriggled out of my grasp and under a folding lawn chair, and that’s when the snarling started, exacerbated by the folding chair collapsing on Mia’s head (see a parallel here? TV tray, folding chair. The caged effect of collapsing furniture). I untangled the chair from them, thinking they’d lose interest in the fight. They didn’t.

Grabbing the Spray Shield* that I bought after last year’s fight, I fumbled with the safety mechanism before spraying citronella toward the dogs. On their heads. Saturating their heads. No response.

This scuffle featured less thrashing and gnashing than last year, but their snarls were aggressive. Each had such a firm grip on the other’s neck that they seemed somehow latched together. If only I could find the release switch.

“What’s going on?” The snarls had woken Rob.

“They’re fighting,” I said in a voice more incredulous than panicked.

Rob blasted the air horn that I also bought after last year’s fight. It didn’t distract the dogs from fighting either.

“Should we try the hose?”

“I think we can separate them,” I said, because this fight was less intense than last year’s.

We pulled them apart from the hips without getting bitten. Neither dog was hurt, just panting, thirsty, and soaked in citronella.

We crated Leo the rest of the night, allowing the dogs to calm down.

I felt rattled, of course, but nothing like the despondence of last year’s “What happens now?” This fight was not a big deal. We handled it better, and I knew everything would be okay in the morning.

Even the rabbit. It must have gotten away, because I can’t find it anywhere.

*I’m sorry, but look at the picture advertising Spray Shield. That woman is so getting bit. 

Wordless Wednesday in motion

Can Wordless Wednesday be a video? If I were to capture a new picture of the dogs today, they’d just be sitting here in the backyard with their Jolly Balls. Instead, I’ll show you what happened the other day when Mia’s Jolly Ball landed in the center of the tire.

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