Sunday, October 27, 2013

Smart Satos Did What? by Chi-Ping

The last October Sunday morning on Sato Hill hens off laying eggs somewhere cackled. We tried to locate them, but they fled up a tree before we got there. Lucky and Robert Redford are learning to be good hunters. I taught them well, but Blondie did some educating these mongrels also.
Our early morning kibble breakfast needed to be supplemented to stay healthy or chunky-monkey as mom calls us. Blondie and I would never pick up avocados or coconuts, hell we never thought of it. Robert Redford and Lucky are on them the second they hit the ground.  My curiosity got the better of me, I tasted a bit of an avocado that Lucky left lying about; not bad, so I settled in to lick the skin. Lucky saw me. I didn’t think too much about it; until he pounced on me. That nervy little wanker pounced on me, well, it was pretty good.
What surprised me the most was the taste of coconut, oh my, that’s good. This clever pair of pups rolls the coconuts down the driveway. Mom laughed the first time she watched them from the bedroom window, said it looked like downhill bowling. We went back to bed, but I was a bit annoyed listening to coconuts rolling down the driveway all night. In the morning shards of coconut littered the porch, so before long I curled up knawing on a piece, Robert Redford stood over me like he thought I was going to give it up. My eyes bulged out of their sockets; my lips showed not just my fine teeth, but my gums as I growled and spit, “I’ll never give it up!”

Sunday mornings on the island and life is good. Imagine those pups figuring out how to break the coconuts by rolling them downhill; must have been a lucky accident; right?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Dog's Best Evening by Chi-Ping

Hi Folks,
What would make a little dog say, “T.G.I.F.?” Give up?
It was so fun! Friday evening we went to the beach again, Lucky and me. The boy did not want to get in the car; can’t say as I blame him. It took me a long time to get over the fear of being dumped. I’ll tell you, it was a shocker to suddenly be all alone in a strange land. Anyway, I digress, we were at the beach next to Home Depot in Hatillo.
I met Tom, Dick and Harry, and then along came Jane. She said she wished she was a wolf bitch; they only get bred by the alfa male, she has to put up with Tom, Dick, and Harry. Harry made friends with me and Lucky first. He said they were the Saldinera Beach Boys Pack He was rather scruffy for my tastes, but because he was four inches taller at the shoulders than Lucky, the little pi(t)bull squatted like a bitch and gave that stupid grin of his. I walked way down the beach all by myself with mom standing on the shore crying. She talks to dad all the time.
Tom lay on the ridge of sand at the edge of the parking lot with his head between his paws watching. Dick kept busy pissing on bushes like everything was his territory. This nervous little prick had nothing on me. I lift my tail high; sniff this Sato. Just then, along came Jane saggy breasts half filled with milk swinging in the wind, damn, I’ll bet that hurts. She had this don’t make me mess with you look on her face, as she looked for something to eat. I put my tail down for her out of respect for a hard working mommy.
Lucky and I went down the shore, we raced and played tag, mom walked along picking things up. I wished she’d run with us. We found a flock of Sand Pipers along a rocky shelf. They scattered wildly as we flew around the rocks. Harry even joined us for a romp.
As the sun dropped from sight mom dusted the sand off us  before we loaded in the car to go home. We ‘re going to do this every Friday. Lucky dogs. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What a Little Dog Knows by Chi-Ping

I’m just a little dog, but I know what I saw; it wasn’t good. A flicker of black so quick, you doubt you saw it. You feel vaguely unsettled without knowing why. You dismiss it. It was nothing. But I saw it.
Dad told me to take care of mom; he loves her. The dark thing comes around selling bitterness and so much more. I tried to warn Lola; that wasn’t dad she stood staring at the night she died. Disease overwhelmed her, blood refused to clot; all the medicine didn’t help as she wanted to go with the impostor. Lola died; dad wouldn’t have taken her from mom. So sad, forlorn we took Lola’s body to the vet. I worry how to tell mom of the threat.
Dogs have been cursed to know so much and yet, we do not speak in a way you understand. What quirk of fate prevents your comprehension of my meaning? Could it be an angry deity, or witchcraft? Or is it that same dark force that seeks my mom?
Blondie gets consumed with anger sometimes. She goes up in the hills sniffing and killing rodents to burn this rage off. She comes back spent, so dog tired, she fell asleep dreaming about our friend Stormy, when the truck that ran him over came rumbling up the road. She turned in circles before heading after that monster truck. No one is safe from demons.
Oh, I’m just a little dog; what do I know?

Get Together Just For Fun

 Life is Fun with Satos
Just for fun! Friday evening, 4 PM til dark.
Saldinera, the beach in Hatillo just west of Home Depot.

When I was young and in love I took my dogs to the beach, we played and trained. We hung out. I need to get back to my roots in dogs. Please join me.

And, of course, we are all responsible for our own dogs. Dogs must be under voice control or leashed. Sorry, that’s the granny coming out.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis Strike by Chi-Ping

Lola started bleeding on carport floor. When mom came home, she studied Lola until she saw the blood dripping out of her nose. Where's the closest emergency veterinarian? After calling our Auntie Alma mom put Lola in the back of the SUV. She told me no, I couldn't go, but mom needs me, so I jumped in anyway. She told me get out, but that wasn't going to happen without a struggle, she saw how serious I was, so didn't waste time arguing, a good thing; blood now leaked out of Lola’s nose, she was weak.
I whimpered to let mom know my concerns. As much as I don’t usually like Lola, I snuggled next to her to keep her warm, mom sped down the twisty hill roads to the San Francisco de Asis Veterinary Hospital in Hatillo, where she told me firmly to stay in the car. The moon shined in through the roof mom left open for me. The smell of sick dogs made me shiver. Lola cried when they took her from mom, but was the only dog who seemed scarred, so I thought it was a good place for dogs.
 Mom brought me in the room when Lola went in the back to have blood drawn. When the doctor brought Lola back in the room with her head low, she looked like she could die. I stood in front of Lola, licked my lips and wagged me tail; don’t die Lola, you’re the only really big dog I can bully. I like you; don’t die.
Dr. Iris Vales, DVM, graduate of Ohio State took a deep breath, “There’s no easy way to say this,” she began. Mom’s eyes squeezed tight. “Be direct,” mom said in a subdued voice. The doctor looked sad, oh, no. That’s never good. My tail wagged little, short, fast, anxious waves. Mom and I both stared in her eyes, wondering what the vet would say. “We can do many heroic things and Lola, may still not make it.” The words hung in my brain; we just lost dad, and Lefty’s gone, well, he's not dead, but I miss him; now Lola, my mouth opened and closed in disbelief, as my tail jittered back and forth.
“Low platelets, low red blood cells, fever of more than one hundred five degrees,” Dr. Vales said as she showed mom the numbers. “Not enough oxygen to brain and vital organs; it’s not looking good. We could put her to sleep. It may be a kindness.”  
“If you treat her, what would you do?” Mom looked deep into the doctor’s face; she wanted to understand completely, she sat forward her head tilted slightly as the doctor spoke, “IV’s, antibiotics, Vincristine to grow platelets.” “How long before the Vincristine works?” mom interrupted. “Two days,” the doctor replied. “How about a transfusion; can you do that?”  The doctor nodded, but said, “Transfusion comes with its own risk.” To which mom said, “I know.” The doctor walked out the door to consult with a colleague, mom zoned out, so I walked around the room sniffing.
What’s a little dog to do about things? All I can do is sniff out what’s been going on in this room. I hope Lola doesn't die, and putting her to sleep doesn’t sound any better either. What’s mom going to do? I need to sniff the last little scent out of this corner, sniff, sniff.
Mom’s eyes opened, she smiled and reached down to pet me. I feel better already. Mom texted Adri and Alma, she says they are wise dog ladies. Whatever she read on the screen, her eyes half closed and her head nodded. She looked up as the doctor entered with a piece of paper in her hand, the estimate. People wonder what makes them different from us, money could be the answer. I jumped on the bench to sit next to mom. She took her glasses out to read the paper.  I felt her flinch. The doctor leaned against the examining table. Mom’s eyes studied the paper. I could tell by the doctor’s body language, she eagerly wanted to take care of Lola. Lola had a shot. The doctor’s aura said so, oh, mom!”

Mom saw it too, she smiled at the doctor as she told her to save Lola, she said she couldn't stand to lose another loved one that dad was more than enough loss, but they couldn't go over, she had no more money. It was late in the night when mom and I went home.    

Friday, October 4, 2013

Que Sera

In the middle of an island, my honey and me, it was heavenly, but alone it’s just a pretty place to be lonely. With Kirt’s death not yet three months away, the dawn of realization that he’s not coming back impacts differently. When he died it felt like a skyscraper made of bricks fell down on my head brick by brick, smashing, hurting me.
I live in a cavern in the rubble with my loving pack, and bricks still hitting my head, but also moments of being my old self. The weight of the now duller pain feels oppressive at times. I know that if I don’t stay active, the open option of depression looms large.
There is a segment of humanity I think of as “dog people” or animal people, if you will, we love dogs/animals more than most. As a certified “dog woman” in good standing, I’ve spent the last few years trying to discover where I could do the most good for the Puerto Rican Island Dogs or “Satos,” as they’re known here. So far, I know what I don’t want to do.
Turning my home into a shelter is out of the question; five dogs and no fence is insane enough for me, thank you. After thirty years in the dog training among other dog related enterprises, I’d rather not teach people, who can be so in love with their preconceived training notions that they don’t hear what’s actually being said. We fall short in the relationship department with dogs, among others, with few exceptions. Anyway, I’m sure there’s a bunch of decent trainers.
Ultimately, I decided that the animal activists here needed help raising funds. After a few false starts, my first effort, Photo Day for Amigos de Los Animales came in as a decent success. The pictures by Silver and Pixel that I saw were lovely, so we had happy participants. Other than the manager of Bamboobei turning off the water in the middle of the day, we had no problems; no, that’s not true, our venue, a restaurant, decided to not serve food that day , but drinks were served late in the afternoon, just another learning experience. All this kept me busy enough to begin to blunt my pain.
Our next fund raiser, a party scheduled in October at Bamboobei is cancelled lacking of venue. I’m grieving not crazy. My next few weeks of focus on something else just flushed; what now?

 Some are beginning to say things like: new page, new chapter, new book. Those who encourage me are right, I need a new life; how to begin again after my love story fails me.    

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Right Motivator

Some dogs are easy to train; other dogs are more, shall we say, self directed. Any dog raised from a puppy, should and will do what’s requested with minimal training.
In the house all of my dogs obey, even the pups, Lucky and Robert Redford have nice manners. Lola hasn’t been with me long, but she’s an attentive girl and seldom leaves my side when I’m out in the yard.
Blondie and Chi-Ping, resident street dogs before adoption, are very to totally self directed as soon as they’re out the door. Chi-Ping, the little whore, will offer sits while giving intense eye contact any time food is to be had. Blondie’s behavior suggests an anthropomorphic attitude of: I’m here; what more do you want? I don’t want to sit. Sit, I don’t remember that one. And she’s pretty convincing.
If I call Chi-Ping as she’s heading down the driveway, I’ll get the over the shoulder: I love you, later look, while she goes wherever. Blondie doesn’t even look.
My squeak signals food; Robert Redford and Lucky come running right away. Lola heads home when she hears the door open. Blondie and Chi, may or may not come, if anything is more interesting, they will not.
The neighbors feed Blondie and Chi leftovers the same as when they were street dogs, so kibble and biscuits aren’t worth the trip up the hill. Please, keep in mind that these dogs, especially Blondie have spent more time at the neighbors than with me, having lived in the street here for about four years before adoption.
Being concerned that all five come when called, I decided today to practice the recall with something properly motivational. After my dinner I opened the door, Lola appeared, the boys bounded up the driveway, as quickly as I squeaked, Blondie and Chi-Ping, who were over six hundred feet up the hill, galloped like Kentucky Derby winners to the porch.
What makes this story interesting is that at six hundred feet they heard the squeak, and smelled the fried chicken skin intended for them. Since they don’t run like that when it’s cooking they must have heard the squeak to know it was for them and at that distance to zero in on the smell is impressive. What do you think?