What a wild and crazy weekend it's been here at the ranch. Wild and crazy in a mostly good way, I mean. Here's a little teaser for you: the couch broke. Again. But Bru wasn't the sole culprit. See what I mean? Crazy.
It started Friday with the trio of barking, puking and farting dogs. Bru was the only one doing all three but both Big and the Gator Girl were doing more than their fair share of barking and farting. Thank goodness the weather's been nice so I've been able to open the windows and air out the house a little. But if you're coming over, just be forewarned. I took Bru with me on my errand run because I told the girls at work that if Bru was still with us at the end of the week, I'd bring her by. This is when I discovered that Bru is in the midst of a fear period.
I'd noticed earlier in the week when Heather and her boyfriend came over that Bru was a little more timid about meeting new people than I remembered her being but I wasn't really prepared for Bru's aggressive (as in strong...not like viciousness or anything) flight reflex that kicked in as soon as she was approached by anyone. And there were a lot of people at the outlet mall that day because we're nearing the end of April vacation around here which generally brings a lot of people to the Mount Washington Valley.
So yeah, Bru tried to run away. A lot. And I spent a lot of time on my heels, trying not to get dragged through the mall's courtyard on my face. I was a little embarrassed. I was a real live Marmaduke or Beethoven movie trailer. I was like this:
Okay, so I wasn't quite that bad. Still, it's a funny video.
Saturday, I brought the girls down to obedience class. My original plan (you know, the one I had before Max had a blockage in his stomach) for Saturday involved going to Boston and, more importantly, Mike's Pastry where I would buy and eat giant cake like brownies and an assortment of cookies (sugar, M&M and chocolate chip, oh my!) larger than my head. But I didn't think Joe would want to be left home alone all day long with the three dogs, so I canceled the Boston trip. Then, Saturday morning, Joe said something along the lines of "Oh...I thought you were just going to leave them with me."
Someone owes me giant cake like brownies and an assortment of cookies larger than my head.
So instead of gorging myself on delicious baked goods, I brought the girls down to obedience class. Which is just as good. I think. Maybe. Whatever.
The fun started when I tried to put Bru in the car. The Gator Girl was already in the car, strapped down in the front seat to prevent her from doing anything other than turning around in a circle. Bru stood at the opened backseat door and wouldn't move. I tried every trick of which I could think to get her to get in the car but she wasn't having any of it so finally I was forced to pick up her front end and put it on the backseat and then go ahead and pick up her back end and try to cram her in the car. It worked. Eventually.
The fun continued when Bru decided to shake her head. This always sets the Gator Girl off when Big does it and, apparently, when any dog in the backseat does it. This would be one of the reasons why the Gator Girl gets strapped to the front seat. So yeah, Bru shook her head and the Gator Girl tried to go after her, but didn't get anywhere because of her seat belt. Still, I was irritated so I grabbed the Gator Girl with one hand and said, very lovingly, of course, "You don't have to worry about her. You don't have to worry about anything except maybe my foot up your ass. Knock it off and lay down. Now."
So much more fun than giant cake like brownies and cookies larger than my head.
When we finally made it down to class, we went to the local high school to work on one of the athletic fields (right next to the big signs that say "no dogs allowed on athletic fields", naturally.). I was the only attendee with two dogs. Usually, there's more than one of us. I got Brewster out first and tied her to the back of my car before getting the Gator Girl out of the car. The Gator Girl is always a little excited to be at class and is generally very mouthy and anxious. You know, more so than she is the rest of the time. She tagged Bru once, not very aggressively or anything, so I had to give her a little correction.
Then we went up to the field. I had Bru on my left side and the Gator Girl on my right. (Yes, I am insane. Joe will testify to this.) We were standing along the fence while I tried to decide which dog to tie off first and which dog to work in class first. While I contemplated my options, Bru discovered a pair of wood chips in the grass and decided to snack on them as though they were really potato chips.
This required me to reach into her mouth and pull them out. The first one came out easily. The second one, not so much. Bru decided she didn't like me reaching down her throat to remove the wood chip (not that I was really enjoying myself either, but whatever) and made the decision to protect my actions. This set the Gator Girl off and before I knew it, I was in the midst of a Gator Girl/Saint Bernard battle royale. Fortunately, I do not hold with such things and have had much experience breaking up battles between the Gator Girl and an even bigger than the Saint Bernard (who is only ten months old so she still has some growing to do) German Shepherd, so this, I could handle. The others in the class all went "OOOOH!" oh so helpfully while I made a Herculean effort to separate the two dogs. When I managed it, I held the Gator Girl by the collar and said, "I will kill you. Don't you think I won't because I'll do it. I will."
Carl, the class instructor, had made it over to me by this time and said, "Good correction. The threat might have been a tad exorbitant but the correction itself was good."
All things considered, class went smoothly. The Gator Girl was tied off first and spent an hour pacing back and forth, all the while never taking her eyes off me. When it was time to switch pups, I had to pick a spot along the fence that was free of wood chips so that Bru wouldn't eat anything she shouldn't. She didn't like being left by the fence. For a while, she just stood and looked at me like "What the hell is this?" Then she got tangled in her leash which required me to go over and untangle her from the leash. Once it happened a couple of times, I think Bru figured out that if she got tangled, I'd come to her rescue. Then she just stood there and barked at me. Finally, I put her in the car. She stopped barking then.
After class, we went over to visit my parents which was a fairly uneventful visit. All right, so the Gator Girl did manage to pop the screen door off its tracks but at least the screen itself was left in tact which is more than we can say for the last time the Gator Girl encountered the screen. By the time we left, Bru passed out in the backseat almost immediately because she was so tired. She slept all the way home (which took almost an hour and a half because there was so much traffic). The Gator Girl, however, did not.
That evening, I took Bru for our now nightly stroll down to the river. You remember before how I said it took Bru a little while to realize that the river was a big water dish? Well, Saturday night, she decided to go for a little swim.
The way the trail runs, it heads right to the river, where there's a bit of a drop off, like a fifteen foot drop or so, and then you turn left and walk alongside the river until the trail slopes down a bit and leads to the beach. Well, Bru ran right over the edge of the drop off and disappeared out of sight. Once I was able to breathe again, I went after her. She'd run right down the slope and into the water. I went down the slope after her, thinking how I was going to have to get in water too and how unhappy that idea made me because the water was so freaking cold and then I'd have to walk back to the house in soaking wet ice cold jeans and socks and shoes. But Bru surprised me and fought her way against the current to get back on land. We scaled the slope once more and all was well in the world.
Can I just tell you how much skinner Bru looks when wet? It's kind of funny.
So this brings us to Sunday. Everyone slept late. In fact, I was the first one up and only because my bladder wouldn't allow me to sleep any later. But when mom gets up, the kids get up too. I took Bru on a walk to the river because this seems to be the best (and sometimes only) way to get the dog to have a bowel movement. When we got to the end of the trail (right before you have to turn left), we came upon a couple of my neighbors and their yellow lab, Kindle or Kendall or whatever. I'm just going to call her Annoying because that's what she was.
Annoying saw us coming and ran right at us. She didn't come to be aggressive or anything; she just wanted to play. But that doesn't really matter. If I had been walking Big instead of Bru, the neighborhood would be short one yellow lab right now. Bru, as it was, just wanted to get away. And she couldn't get away because Annoying wouldn't back the hell off.
So I stood there, trying to get some traction on a ground covered with pine needles and tried to keep Bru from bolting because bolting would not only nicely dislocate my shoulders but also wouldn't solve our problem because Annoying would just keep on following us.
Meanwhile, Annoying's people were laughing, yes laughing (stupid frakking bitches), at the scene in front of them. At least they were until I looked at them, gave them the look of death and said, "It's not funny."
"Oh sorry," one of the women said. "But Annoying just loves other dogs."
Okay. Here's the thing about that: I don't give a shit if your dog just loves other dogs. There's always a possibility you're going to meet a dog who doesn't love other dogs. Again, if I'd been walking Big, as I would have been well within my rights to do, Annoying would be short a face. But hey, if you like faceless yellow labs, bring her on by.
So I explained that Bru is in the midst of a fear period and her flight reflex is sensitive and not done any favors by dogs like Annoying. I tried to be nice because the women are my neighbors and it seemed like something I should do but I was so frakking irritated with them. The rest of the walk went without incident or impromptu cliff diving/swimming session (I told Bru I'd bring her swimming later in the week if she's still here.) and we went back to the house.
Then I took a shower. While I did, something happened. I know something happened because it sounded like the goddamn house was collapsing in on itself. I figured if Joe needed help, he'd come get me or start screaming or something. He didn't. So when I got out of the shower, I came back to the living room. Joe was standing in the dining room, reading a magazine. Bru was lying at his feet. The Gator Girl was standing at my side and Big was nowhere to be seen.
"Something happen while I was in the shower?" I asked.
"What makes you say that?" Joe asked.
"The house sounded like it was going to come down," I said.
"Did it?" Joe asked. "I didn't notice."
So I looked around. The couch was broken and about two feet further back than it had been when I had gotten into the shower. The coffee table and the Gator Girl's favorite chair had also been relocated.
"We have some face chewing going on?" I asked.
"Mutual face chewing," Joe said.
Here's what happened: the Gator Girl and Bru played. And played hard. They growled at each other, chewed on each other, chased each other and had a grand ole time. All consensual. All destructive. But they had had a blast doing it and were now lying down. Of their own accord. Big immediately went upstairs to escape the madness. He's a little sore today. Joe took him for a walk yesterday while the girls and I were at class. Joe said he was embarrassed by it because Big dragged behind him the entire walk, whining as if saying, "But dad...mom drives me everywhere!"
He's still upstairs now, passed out in the bedroom. The girls have been pretty mellow today too although I think Bru is starting to mount an assault against the kitchen cupboards. I hear the Gator Girl milling around in there too. That can't be a good thing. I should probably go and investigate what mischief the dynamic duo are plotting.
Until next time...
P.S...it's now 5:40pm and Joe and I just finished repairing the couch for the second time today as it did not survive the girls' second play date. The couch really is now on the critical list. We need a fenced in yard. Like now.
P.S.S...nobody, by the way, owes me any baked goods of any kind. I was just trying to be funny.