Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Diesel's diary: First night away from home

(as transcribed by our dear friend and Diesel's "aunt," Wendy)

Saturday, February 24, 2007
Diesel arrived today around 3 p.m. for his first night away from home. His favorite thing to do is snout around smelling the cats and hoping his girlfriend, Gertie, is here. As soon as our backs are turned, as any time he is here, he manages to sneak down to the basement to eat the kitty food, even though it is barricaded. Of course this is the first thing he does and I swear he inhales the food like he hasn’t eaten for weeks. As Jackie left me in charge of her and Mark's precious dog/child he ran about the downstairs looking for her. Realizing where he was, he went off snalting (what I call sniffing around).

He has yet to encounter the cats before today except maybe from under the bed. Well, while I was warming my coffee for the third time today, he went upstairs. Not a big deal because I spent yesterday de-Dieseling the house. Well, I heard a ruckus, as if there were three dogs running down the upstairs hallway. Knowing full well Diesel is the only dog here, I figured he was chasing the cats. Fearing for their lives, (okay, not really, they have been around dogs before, totally not worried about them) it was not Diesel who was doing the chasing. I only got up two steps before he came rushing down followed by my brave Lilly. She has established that she is queen bee in this house and Diesel should beware. He went running into the kitchen while Lilly and Ellie descended to the foot of the stairs. Laughing, I quickly picked up the phone to call Jackie to tell her of the encounter and to give her assurance that the dog and cats would be alright together.

After hanging up, I sat in the doorway between Lilly and Diesel so they could see each other and get used to each other while being protected. They were both very brave. Looking at Lilly, she looked like a tigress with her chest puffed out, proud and dominant, while Diesel was cowering admitting his submissiveness. Poor thing, he stood in the kitchen almost trying to get under the table, but looking up at me with his mahogany watery eyes that could melt the heart of the meanest person. He looked so sad as if he had done something wrong. I assured him by telling him was a good boy.

Now we are upstairs and I am writing this. He is laying beneath my chair next to the wall. He seems scared, or perhaps just sad without his Mum and Dad. Livingston, the African Gray parrot downstairs is calling “Diesel” which sounds a bit like “beagle”, whistling, and howling like a wolfhound from when Diesel, Gertie, Jackie, Jody, her kids and I were trying to get the dogs to howl like wolves.

Diesel now gets up and turns to me looking sheepish as he jumps up on my mother's bed. Here he is allowed. Oh yes, he will be spoiled. Time to warm up my coffee for the fourth time today.

Okay, coffee never got reheated, decided to go to the barn before the next round of snow fell. Diesel slept quietly in the back seat on the way there. Once there we were snowed out and had to park down the driveway which meant we both had to go bounding through the snow to the door. I was preparing myself for possible baring (barking/baying). Surprisingly and happily there was no barking as Diesel met my horse, Roy. Roy, who loves dogs and cats, was very curious. Diesel, however, gave a sniff as Roy lowered his head and tried to bite his nose and let out a bay. Hmm, he’s afraid of a cat but not of a huge horse. Roy didn’t mind. I tried tying Diesel up while I quickly exercised Roy. A little whining but no barking. He was very interested in all the smells around him. I cleaned out Roy’s stall and he whined a bit, but still no barking. I was very happy and proud of him that I could leave his sight and he didn’t flip out. Very reassuring for future visits to the horses.
We did a short walk around the barn so he could snalt a bit and mark his territory.

Upon arriving home he had his “tea”. No problem there. In the past when I have dog sat for people, their dogs sometimes don’t eat for days while the owner leaves them home. Diesel won’t, however, play with his toys. Maybe just too tired. I think he misses his Mum and Dad.

Lilly came up to the kitchen meowing and as soon as Diesel saw her he went flying behind me to hide. Very cute. I think she wants to be friends with him and hang out with both of us, we’ll see what the night brings.

Okay, the snow is flying and the wind is howling at 35 mph. It is 10:30 p.m. time for our night walk. Oh boy, here we go. So I bundled up – hat, gloves two jacket, two scarfs (handmade by me!) and my jacket completely zipped up as far as it would go complete with hood. I looked like a yeti.

So down the road we went towards the school, a less busy road and already plowed. Diesel, it seemed, could have cared less about the blustery night and snow. We walked down the road to the woods and found a semi-traveled path through the woods (to Grandmothers house we go). I felt very safe with him, even only being a small dog, but I felt he would protect me from bad guys and wild animals, not likely in this neighborhood. None the less, I was a little scared going in the woods by myself at 10:30 at night. I figured, you know what, I don’t want to be scared, so off we went trudging through the snow, much like the snow at the non-plowed dog park earlier with his Mum. The whole goal of this outing is to pee and poo. Well there was lots of peeing in the woods and lots of smells. I was sort of worried about falling branches from the wind but figured they had already fallen earlier. I love hearing wind talking with the trees, I only would have liked it better if it were white pines. They whisper such soft secrets to each other.

Coming out of the woods a different way we went in, what fun would it be to go the same way? Besides Diesel told me he wanted an adventure. We had deeper snow and high mountains of snow to climb over from the plows plowing the school parking lot. This reminding me of being a child walking along similar snow mountains at recess. Watching Diesel hopping and bounding through the snow is such a joy that I can’t help but laugh out loud. The purpose of this adventure was successful.

Despite the work of walking through the deep snow and blowing winds, I had an absolute blast. I had forgotten what joy a dog brings, and how much exercise comes along with it. My friends' dog, Diesel’s girlfriend, was here over the holidays. I probably wouldn’t have gotten out of bed if she wasn’t here. Lots of walks is a great mood elevator. We returned back a little after 11 p.m. And off to bed we went. I was so tired and so was my puppy, no he’s not mine, but I call him my puppy anyway. I decided to knit some before going to bed, Diesel zonked out right away. I finally gave in to sleep around midnight. Diesel decided he wanted to sleep with his body completely up against mine with his head resting on my butt. I let this go on for awhile but couldn’t fall asleep so moved him over a bit.

Then around 12:30 a.m. it started thundering and lightning, kinda rare in a snow storm. Thankfully Diesel isn’t the kind to care, he didn’t even flinch. I was almost dreading morning because his Mum gets up 6 a.m. to walk him before work and I am not a morning person. So we’ll see how it goes. Upon going upstairs both cats came up the basement stairs howling and hissing at poor Diesel, scaring him half to death. I shooed them downstairs so he would go upstairs. I decided to close my bedroom door so there wouldn’t be any more confrontations. They will get used to each other in time. Little turkeys.

Sunday, February 25, 2007
At 7 a.m. the beast stirred. He hopped off the bed, wandered a bit, hopped back on the bed and thankfully went back to sleep with ought a nudge or whine. I woke at 9:30 and got myself ready for our morning walk before breakie. He didn’t stir until I was done getting ready and I said want to go for a walkie?

Afraid of how much snow we had gotten overnight, I was pleased to see we only and an inch or two, very heavy and slushy though. We went off on our walk, taking the same route, for safety's sake. Upon arriving at the school parking lot, I spotted some dear friends across the street shoveling their drive and their fuzzy-wuzzy Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was out playing in the back yard. Yes, that is a mouthful.

I had been wondering while walking how could I let Diesel get the exercise he usually gets from the dog park, knowing he wouldn’t be getting there today because of the snow we were getting later. I thought I could let him snalt around in our garden, it is closed off from vehicles by snow and the barn, but wasn’t sure. That was when I spotted Terry and David outside and thought, well ,duh, they have a fenced in back yard and Diesel could play with Raga. A mini dog park experience. They have met but never played together.

So bounding over the snow mountains from the plowed parking lot we went again. Raga and Diesel met and were set free to play. Of course Diesel, being a Beagle, explored the perimeter of the yard and marked his new territory. Dogs. They played and ran around a bit, more interested in running after me than each other, but they got some good playing time in. It was actually nice outside, not a lot of wind and mild temps. And again the purpose of the walk was successful.

We got home and had breakie. Well he has breakie, I had coffee. Yep, leftover from yesterday, don’t want to waste my chocie coffee. After breakfast for the snalt I was puzzling over how I was going to snow blow the walks and plow the driveway. I didn’t really want to leave him in the house, so I took him outside and tied his leash to the bench while I used the snow blower. Very scary thing for a dog. That got done quickly and up he went in the truck to help me plow the driveway. He seemed to have fun. I was very proud of him.

Back inside he is passed out on the bed as I type. I was thinking I should take him up to the park to walk through some other woods for fun, I was feeling adventurous. But of course the wind picked up and the snow started flying again. So that was decided, we would stay in till His Mum and Dad got home.

All in all, he seemed happier today. The cats are leaving him alone, and he whines a bit with happiness, I think, from me rubbing his belly and scratching him all over. I am trying to make feel at home and safe and loved here. I think he does.

Postscript: What a relief for this dog mum to find a friend to watch the dogchild while we are away ... someone who loves him as though he is her own. Many thanks to Wendy for all she's done!