Of Dogs and Cats

The writer’s deadline for the dog training magazine, Front and Finish, (www.frontandfinish.com) is today.  My column, Paw Prints Across the Gulf Coast, has flown like magic from my computer to the magazine’s office in Illinois.  I’m free for another sixty days.  While it is fun to interview people at each dog show it does add another level of stress on me.  Then when the article comes out sixty days later, I have forgotten what I have written. Whenever someone makes a comment I have to run to the magazine and reread what I had submitted.  So it is almost new to me also.

Essy the adopted cat has survived her near death experience.  The sore on her rump and tail has almost healed.  She has returned to being an almost normal cat, appearing like a Cheshire Cat in strange places, running throughout the house, and even stalking me from a dark room.  We took her to the vet for her spay operation and shots.  It was an expensive event.  After the vet technicians shaved her stomach they discovered she had apparently already been spayed.  Yet the owners never thought to microchip her, that one added step that would have guaranteed her return to them if she got loose, which in this case, unfortunately happened.  Now, once again, an animal is my muse, sleeping next to me while I write on the computer.  The dogs are outside in the kennel, sleeping and enjoying the cool sunny weather.

I’ve made so many trips to the vet’s office this year it almost seems like I have a job there.  River developed a tumor between one of his foot pads.  The vet was able to remove the tumor without removing the pad itself.  I had to keep River quiet for two whole weeks.  At first River liked being inside the house, in his crate, under the air conditioning.  Then he became bored and whined to go out, then in, then out again, requiring me to wrap his bandaged foot in plastic baggies each time he went outside.  After recovering from that event River discovered his inner puppy and has been racing around the property, chasing all the squirrels.  He seems to be very appreciative of the operation, jumping up and licking my cheek and following me around the yard. You’re welcome, sweet dog.

Murphy’s law is alive and well in Florida.  Mickey is finally entered in his first obedience trial.   Sure enough he has started to limp and isn’t running laps around the property any more.  Do I feel a lump on his shoulder?  Off to the vet again.  Let me guess.  There will be x-rays, updated shots and medication.  Perhaps on the way home I should stop and buy a lottery ticket.  I’m so glad Mickey has a photo session set up with Michael Loftis Photography (www.loftisphoto.com).  The end result will be a license plate photo for the front of the car with a collage of all three dogs, with a reference to my blog. 

And then there is Levi who is well on track to earn his UD.  We are both getting more and more confident in our training due to the excellent people at Leading Edge Obedience in Cantonment, Florida.  The best thing has happened to me since moving here.  I don’t fear the obedience show ring any more.  That fear has been replaced with excitement.  Will my dog qualify?  If he doesn’t then I know we need to sharpen our skills.  It is no longer depressing to fail but an opportunity to work harder and pay more attention to details.  We are almost ready to enter the Utility ring, the one dog training goal I’ve have not completed.  From there we’ll set new goals.  With Levi the trip is fun, never mundane and we’ll meet even more dog people.  Life is good.

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