Monday, March 13, 2006

Memories of Missy (Part Two)

Note: Part two of three - blogger isn't happy with so many pictures in one post. They weren't letting me upload any yesterday. Heh, and I wanted to upload 47 in the first place! :) I think I'll upload all photos I like in my webshots later, so you can view them if you wish.

Missy wasn't a perfect dog... she certainly had her quirks. She could not stand to be without humans around her. Heck, she would even demand that we'd be touching her too! If you stopped moving your hand fast enough on her, she'd paw ya to get you started again. :)

Here she is, forelornly staring into the house... never mind that it's a beautiful sunny day outside and many dogs would be perfectly content... Nope. If the humans were inside, she had to be too! All she had to do was cry and bark until somebody let her in. With a family of half a dozen humans, surely one of them would get sick of her crying and she'd get let in. :)

Don't worry... I let her jump up on the counter for a bite. Believe me, she certainly wasn't underweight! :) In fact, she weighed less after giving birth to her puppies than compare to before she was pregnant. We wanted her to be as healthy as she could be for birthing, so we took her on daily walks. I bet plenty of human mothers wish that would happen to them! :)

Even though she had an "aversion" to being alone outside, she was plenty thrilled to be outside with humans.

She actually liked the trampoline and bouncing around with 4 kids. Yeah, the advice of the manufactor's "one person at a time" didn't stick. :P She was a poor jumper though, couldn't jump up on the trampoline. So she'd put her front paws on the edge and wait for somebody to pick up her hind legs. Her daughter Lacy had no problem flying up. Also Holly was able to get up, but she didn't enjoy jumping. :)

In the summer months we'd take down the trampoline and set up a pool that was 4 feet high. Again Missy hated being left out!

While she wasn't exactly a water lover, I think she would walk on fire just to be with her beloved humans. One summer we had a blow up raft boat. Missy would put her paws on the pool's ladder; we would heft her up in the same manner as the trampoline. She'd wait on the top step for somebody to push the boat near her and then leap in! We'd swim around her, play games and other stuff while she just sat in the boat and watched us. Sure she got a little wet, but it was all fun and games. :)

I remember one end-of-summer day when we were taking down the pool. Yup, had to drain thousands of gallons of water out. We were able to drain most of it out with a hose, but it couldn't get the last half-foot or so. So while we were waiting for our dad to bring home a pump, all 4 of us kids jumped in for a little last splash. Of course Missy got jealous and cried until we lifted her in. I think we all played for a good two hours. Everybody was soaked, even Missy. So a little water is perfectly fine for her. :)

One thing Missy and Holly loved - and I mean they loved it from the very bottom of their hearts - was to take a walk. It got so bad - I couldn't say the word "walk" without setting off a mini hurricaine! So then I'd tell my mom that I was going for a "W". Smart Missy eventually caught on about that too! So then I started to say "I'm gonna go." And the word "go" became a trigger too! :P

The leashes were kept in the under-the-stairs closet. If you happened to open the door while we lived there, you would have noticed a lot of scratch marks on the inside of the door. All Missy's fault. :) But they both loved the walks so much. They were heartbrokened if I didn't take them on one. Sometimes I'd run around the block for a "quickie" just to make them happy. Usually I would take them to a park over a mile away - about an hour of walking, round trip. Even when Holly's arthritis started to cripple her, she still expected to go on the walks. They both acted like over-grown puppies when we headed out. :)

One thing I appreciated about Missy was that she'd never bark at other people or animals. Holly would go beserk at the sight of another dog. I can't tell you how many times Holly has barked so hard that she'd bite her tongue bleeding! I'm sure it didn't look good when I'd try to grip Holly's mouth shut to prevent more barking. But Missy? Nary a peep out of her. Oh sure, she was very curious... but why bark when Holly's doing all the work? :)

Believe me though, Missy had a very deep bark. She'd bark to go out or in. Even in the middle of the night, with my deafness and soundly sleeping, Missy could bark deep enough that I would hear it... but not my parents! Usually it was for a drink of water or a trip to the bathroom. I know we all really appreciated that Missy was really good about not having accidents in the house.

When we moved from the suburbs to the hills, a whole new freedom was open to the dogs... no fences! Not to mention being surrounded by hundreds of acres with tons of critters. At first Missy handled the move poorly. She had this rubber basketball that she picked up on the day we left our old house. It had a squeaker in it and she'd bite down on the ball and make it pathetically squeak. The ball was like her baby. She'd do ANYTHING to have it next to her. We would even throw it down a hill and she'd gallop after it. It didn't matter where it was, how steep the hill was or how far we threw it. It was a like a pacifier for her. Sometimes she'd even cry with the squeaks. I hated that ball! :) She did this when we sold her last puppy. It was like she needed something to be with her all. the. time. It only happened when something life-changing happened to her. She'd go off in her emotional state and carry ONE specific squeaky toy with her. Thankfully it only happened three times in her life! :)

But the land was like a whole new world. Even Holly with her arthritis somehow found a new energy to run. For a while it was almost like Holly was aging backwards. Missy would only explore if Holly was with her though. Otherwise she was perfectly happy to hang around or in the house... gotta be with the humans.

I remember one time I was spraying weeds on the far end of my parent's property and of course Missy was romping around nearby. A neighbor was out doing some yard work and stopped to chat with me. She commented on how she NEVER sees Missy. Meanwhile she said Holly would walk by her house every day. I can believe that. :) Holly would take a "morning stroll" every morning. She usually covered several houses. It would take her over an hour at her slow pace. Missy would tag along for the first part... until they got near the houses, then she'd trot home. Always back within 15 minutes of being let out.

Walks weren't so much of a deal at the new house - they had plenty of roaming space! The new thing to set them off was squirrels. I cheerfully hated squirrels because they ate up my garden's produce. Grrrr. And of course, as hard as I've tried, I was never able to run them over and make roadkill out of them! :P But the dogs went crazy when they trapped a squirrel. Popular spots were under pallets loaded with bricks or wood, or this 4x4" hollow steel post. I'm not sure why so many squirrels ended up there, but they did. Holly would be barking at one end of the post and Missy on the other. They could go for it at hours and I'd often times have to fetch them and bodily haul them away if there was no way I could help them get a squirrel. But when squirrels got into the steel post, I'd grab the hose and try to wash them out. I eventually upgraded to a firehose - those squirrels know how to hang on for their dear life! After hosing out a few squirrels, Missy caught on that she needed to wait on the other end of the hose to get her "prize." It worked! And the dogs weren't interested in eating the squirrels or anything, they just wanted to catch and kill them. :)

If I didn't help the dogs with the squirrels or at least lock them into the house, they'd chase and bark after the squirrel until they actually harmed themselves. :( Holly would work herself up so much that she'd lose all energy (she was over 10 years old) and end up not being able to walk. Just lay in her spot, panting very hard. Missy figured her mouth was her best tool in reaching the squirrels and she'd bite and chew on anything to get to them. If the squirrel was under a pallet of wood, Missy would start to grab logs and drag them away. She would chew at the pallet boards until they broke and splintered. And you guessed it... it would cut up her mouth very badly. I didn't even want to look for splinters. So I'd have to drag her away.

The only downside of their squirrel adventures were the rattlesnakes. Holly got bit when she was 11. I noticed because I had a piece of meat... and what dog in their right state of mind would turn down a piece of meat?! Holly did, and then I noticed how puffy her face and chest were. And two little punctures on the side of her nose. We rushed her off to the vet - two days later and $1100 poorer Holly was back to normal. At the point, the family had a frank discussion about what we would do if the dogs got bit again. It was decided next time we'd just let them work it out... or die. Several months later, Holly got bit again. She hid in the bathroom, slept a lot and didn't eat or drink much... but she pulled through. :)

Missy did get bit once, but it was by a squirrel. Her face was actually more scarred up from ticks. In my next post you might see several dark spots on Missy's face - scars and scabs from where the ticks had latched themselves. The worse was when the ticks bit above the dogs eyes. Ohh! To pull a tick off, you have to find it's head (usually in the dog's skin), pinch it with some needle-nose tweezers and pull... and pull... and pull... If the tick was on the dog's back or in less-sensitive places, we had no problems in pulling off the ticks. But around the eyes? It's scary enough bring pokey tweezers near the eyes!

Hey, at least when we moved, we were high up enough that the dogs didn't get fleas. :)


Laura said...

I am enjoying reading about Missy! Our dog has to be around us at all times also, as we move from room to room so does he. Looking forward to part 3!

Laurie Ann said...

Gotta love dogs! Sounds like a typical golden, always wanting to be with people! My dogs love to chase chipmunks into the wood pile. I stick a broom in to chase it out so the dogs can get it. Otherwise my sheltie's barking would drive me mad! Disco (the sheltie) likes to kill them and then Roogrr (my shepherd) likes to eat them. Yum! Protein!