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It's our dog's world. I just live in it. - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
It's our dog's world. I just live in it.
Some unknown time this month, our dog Ebony will celebrate her 14th birthday.  That's pretty good for an old broad of her breeds. I went and looked just now in the waybacks of her records, and the earliest sign is that she was turned over to her rescue group on January 7 of 2013.  (Susan worked out a deal with the nearby rez, where they had less humane methods of getting rid of puppies than arranging adoptions.)

It would be well over three years later that Emily wrote about our meeting and adopting her on that January day a month after she came into the world. It was for a school project early in ninth grade, and her words still ring true all these years later:

Outside the truck, the world looks dead.  Everything is iced in snow, blinding me and making parts of the town looked like it was erased away from a drawing. The heavens have been throwing down the marshmallow flakes since extremely early in the morning that day. I had to sit in the cramped back seat of my mothers bright, sunshine yellow four by four. Its still cold, even though my father has the heat cranked up full blast. I had my head leaning against the small cold window the whole journey. Every now and then, when my mom’s truck hit a small bump in the snow crusted highway, my head would bounce against it. And my head would hurt for a millisecond. But at that moment I could care less.

I was too busy being peacemaker between the two emotions that have been quarreling in my subconscious since the whole event started. These two feuding emotions are named “Overenthusiastic excitement” and “horribly overtaking worry.” They don’t like me very much. But to answer why I had these two emotions fighting for mental space in my head, I’d have to use the famous cliché; it all started from the beginning.

Our first ever dog to be welcomed into the family was a very special dog to me. Her name was Tasha. She was a mutt, but that wasn’t why she was special. We got Tasha when she was about a year old and she was, and never was, very nice to people or other dogs. She had been found wandering the streets, a lonely scavenger. The people at the kennel told us she doesn’t like a lot of people and can be very protective. After we adopted her, she took to all of us very well, including me, my mom, and my dad. She even enjoyed the attention of our cats once and a while. To some extent.

The most disturbing thing was when she went to the vet for the first time, they couldn’t even touch her. The only thing they could do to get blood and check everything was to sedate her. This seems like a drastic step to take but it helps to make sure she wouldn’t hurt anyone or especially herself. Even worse, when the veterinarian did x-rays, they saw something strange in the way her skull was shaped. They made the conclusion from the almost indented shape of her forehead that Tasha’s previous owner might have abused her. Badly. This explained her actions and way towards other people and other animals outside of our house. There was always an exception though. Our neighbor’s Dalmatian, Woody, had been friends with Tasha all the way up until he died of old age and cancer. Feeling bad that Tasha’s only canine friend was gone, my mother made a conclusion.

We all piled in the truck in a heavy snowfall that landed just after my 12th birthday. My mother had been searching for a time for a puppy that fit a certain requirement that she had. She soon found that puppy. She was a part of a large litter of mutts and she was the “seal” pup, seeing as she got more of her wrinkly and roly-poly traits from her parents than the rest of the litter. She really looked like a seal with legs.
But the whole ride, those emotions that were battling it out in my brain were making my head hurt. I was excited to an extreme that I would be getting a puppy. A real puppy! But a dark cloud of doubt crashed wildly into my brain. How was Tasha going to act? Will she attack the puppy? She didn’t even like the dog our neighbor got just after Woody’s death. Will she be best friends with the puppy like she was with Woody? Or will she just be passive and not really care at all? I could tell you personally that I was not the only person with these questions in their mind. I could tell from the silence between my parents and I when we neared home, with the tiny sleeping puppy next to me, that they were thinking the same thing.
We sat in the living room moments later whilst Tasha was lead down the hall towards us. The puppy was in my lap, not really taking in the world around her because she was basically too tired to care. The room was suddenly colder to me as we all held our breaths.

A horrifying fantasy played throughout my head in less than a minute. Tasha’s gentle copper eyes fogging with confusion and hatred. Her triangular ears rotating backwards so that they pointed behind her. The black and brown hairs along her back standing on end like a savage hyena. White canine teeth shining behind pulled back lips. A low growl that thunders louder than it really should have been. Crouching low to leap at both me and the defenseless puppy.

She did leap.

I snapped my eyes close, but nothing happened.
Tasha was just in front of me, her front legs and paws resting flat on the floor. Her rump was high in the air, wolf-like tail wagging like a propeller. Her eyes were glittering with dog-like joy. Her ears were sticking up, not pointing backwards. She even seemed like she was smiling, like she knew that this was going to happen. I had read enough to know what exactly she was doing. She was doing a play-bow. This is something dogs do when the want to play with another dog. To me, it was a miracle.

Finally, my parents, joyous as they were, took a long breath. The tension faded away with the snow that was starting to stop falling outside. The puppy, my puppy, watching this unknown world from its blue, fatigue filled eyes, rocked her head back and forth a bit before falling asleep on my mothers shoulder. Tasha was given attention from my father. We were all happy. And the worry was gone. The excitement was there, but deflated a bit. My furry black puppy was sleeping silently on. In respect to Tasha’s old friend, we named her Ebony.

She's grown from a tiny puppy who came home in a cat carrier to a full-grown lab mix who outweighed her big sister for many years.  Ebony has known every one of the other animals who ever lived here, has witnessed the passing of, now, five of them including her beloved Tasha, and has never known anything but love and kindness in her life, which surely helped get her to this pretty advanced age.

This morning, we went, as we almost always do, to the nearby dog park with friends.  They started calling it "Dog Church" as something of a gag, but it's really become that missing Sunday morning part of my life that our old congregation wasn't fulfilling anymore and my experiments with other things weren't hitting close to heart, either.  Here, surrounded by nature and mostly quiet, we talk among the friends we know and lovingly greet those- biped and quadreped- that we don't.  We mourn the ones who we don't see anymore and pardon the occasional jumps from the n00bs.  There are people of all stripes, faiths and even politics- yes, I've seen Trumperstickers on some of the cars in the lot- but here we do not speak of these things. We may not all believe in God, but we faithfully believe in Dog.

One new one we met this morning was Oreo, shown here to her right, who reminded Ebony there's someone out there bigger than her:

I mistook that coat for a saddle at first. This dog doesn't walk; he canters.


After taking her home and taking in a workout, I made a brief and relatively painless venture into December Retail.  I'd waited for the paper to arrive with the headline-

- and, more importantly, the coupon for Penney's, so I could stock up on my go-to brand of underwear. Such things never get outgrown or worn out around here- no, they are simply treats on the dog's buffet:P So I stocked up to replace most of her recent kills, and will hopefully be set until the arrival of the next coupon.


Ebony gets a final extra treat, not involving dietary fiber, day after tomorrow. My car's due for inspection, and our mechanic moved a couple of years ago to a location that's barely three blocks from the dog park. So, as long as it's not pelting down snow, my plan is to drop off the car mid-afternoon and just walk her over while they do the checking. Eleanor won't need to come get me as long as they finish by 5. Plus, she'll likely meet a whole different bunch of dogs who come at a different time.

It may not be Sunday, but it'll still kinda be like church. We have communion at the end- passing round treats- and no visit is complete without the passing of the pees.
6 comments or Leave a comment
yesididit2 From: yesididit2 Date: December 4th, 2016 11:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
happy 14th!!!!! thats pretty darn fantastic.

i really enjoyed this post.
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: December 5th, 2016 12:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. She really deserved the attention today after all the joy she's given (and continues to give) around here.
audacian From: audacian Date: December 8th, 2016 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, I know that fella in the PEF hat, Pete. He's one of the Buffalo Field reps. Small state. :)
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: December 8th, 2016 11:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Almost as rare as seeing you here;)
captainsblog From: captainsblog Date: December 11th, 2016 10:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Saw him again this morning. Called out and said you'd said Hi.

He said, "Small world."
I said, "Small park."
audacian From: audacian Date: December 12th, 2016 02:03 am (UTC) (Link)

And yes, thankfully 99% of my assigned cases in Buffalo settle and Roswell Park behaves itself most of the time..
6 comments or Leave a comment