Animal Encounters

Wensleydale has had a rough time this winter. His arthritis is acting up. He had some teeth pulled. And once the snow came he started peeing in a corner of the kitchen rather than asking to go out in the cold.

He’ll be 16 years old in March, which for Yorkshire terriers (the internet tells me), is the equivalent of 80 human years. The site only went up to 17 which made my heart stutter. I had to google “oldest Yorkie” to get some sense of what I could hope for. I found this article about a 26 year old Yorkie who died in a dog attack, which was helpful but distressing at the same time. 26 years is a lot, even for a natural death. I decided to focus on that fact and not the grizzly details of his demise.

We spent the holidays in California with Matt’s family. It worked out that a friend needed a house and pet sitter for our exact days, and they agreed to give us the keys in exchange for keeping their three-legged chihuahua with broken ribs and nerve damage alive. They also have a parakeet-like bird (technically, he is a green cheeked conure) and a half-dozen chickens.

We drove from Utah to California (a 12 hour drive) with Wensley in tow. He’s usually a pretty good traveler, but this time he struggled. Here he is resting comfortably early on in the trip.

Later in the day, he seemed like he couldn’t stay still for mor that a minute or two. He was on my lap as we traversed Donner’s Pass (location of the infamous Donner Party disaster) when Wensley emptied the contents of his bladder directly into my crotch. He peed on me several more times before we reached our destination outside Sacramento. Once I got him inside and he peed on the light tiled floor (and not on my dark jeans) I saw that he was peeing blood. I got him back in the car and rushed him to a 24 hour pet hospital, making an already long day insanely longer.

Wensley had a mild urinary tract infection and the veterinarian gave us antibiotics, but it was well after midnight when we finally went to bed. I changed clothes and went to sleep, leaving the pee soaked laundry in a pile for later.

I stayed behind the next morning when Matt and Ethan joined up with the fam for holiday bonding. I started the washer, gave Wensley a bath, and tried to get the chihuahua to eat something without success. I put the clothes in the drier and turned my attention to the bird, who was shrieking for attention.

I was told I could let him out of his cage and, while he couldn’t fly, he could climb to the top of the cage and see what the people were up to. I decided to try that and it did quiet him. Then I thought I might befriend him with food, even if it didn’t work on the chihuahua who seemed to hate me with an unnatural fire. I cut up a pear and offered a small bite to the little green bird, but instead of taking it, he hopped on my hand, ran up my arm and disappeared in my freshly washed hair. I reached up to move him back to his perch, but every time my fingers got close to him he bit me. Hard.

I took a selfie and sent it to Matt, explaining what happened. “I can’t get him off so I guess he lives here now.”

Not sure what else to do, I sat on the couch and waited for the drier to buzz. I pulled up a podcast and tried to forget that I had allowed my body to become a bird house and tree combo. Once I settled on the couch, however, the bird decided to explore my branches.

He ran back and forth across my clavicle a few times. Then he stepped down onto my right breast and, after a cautious few steps, began to bounce on it, like it was a double mattress at a Motel 6. I reached up to make him stop and he bit me and ran back into my hair.

“Asshole,” I said. “I just got #metooed by a goddamn parrot. Worst. Christmas. Ever!”

The clothes finished and Matt came back to rescue me. Together we got the mean little bird back in his cage and I was free. The rest of the pet sitting part of the trip was uneventful. I gave the animals their space and they gave me mine. Wensley didn’t befriend anyone, either. But he has completely recovered from his UTI.

That’s really the end of the story, but just for fun here are some photos I took from a separate animal encounter, back in Utah, shortly after New Year’s. It was Owl Day at the Bear River Bird Refuge and I got to meet these two cuties.

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Then we took a drive around the refuge and I took pictures of hawks. These two turned out the best.

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I have always loved raptors and have a fantasy of getting into falconry some day, maybe when I’m retired. I’m sure having a bird of prey would be completely different than having a flightless conure or parakeet, but this one experience has left me less excited about my fantasy. After all, if a red tail hawk decided to trampoline my tits, I might bleed to death!

Might be best to invest in a longer lens and stick with photography. That way I can stay in my car, where it is safe.

Crossed Cables

I finished a blanket that I started in the summer. I knit in the evenings while we watch TV and usually I give the stuff I make away, but I decided I wanted to make something for us to keep.

It was finally done, so I bound off and shaped it. Then, the first time I used it, I saw this:

Gah!

Matt says he doesn’t see what I’m talking about and that I’m the only one who will notice… but damn that’s annoying.

Oh well. It’s soft and mostly purdy. Almost as purdy as my pumpkin colored toes.

The pattern is the “Cross Roads Cable Knit Blanket” by Gayle Bunn. I think I found it on Ravelry, and I’m pretty sure it was free because I’m cheap like that.

The Perils of Being a Knitter’s Dog


    Especially the kind who reaches for their camera before saving you…


    An Evening With Ira

    Tonight, I told Ira Glass that I have a dog. It may have been the shortest interview that he ever conducted, but I feel that my entire life has been validated. This happened; I may now die without regret.

    ~

    Ira: Okay, you: you get the last question. 

    Me: I just want to know how Piney is doing. 

    Ira: Piney??? (There was no recollection on his face… I thought I got the name wrong.)

    Me: Your dog?

    Ira: I know who Piney is. I assume you are asking because you have a dog?

    Me: Yes.

    Ira: What kind?

    Me: Yorkshire terrier. 

    Ira: Has he ever bitten anyone?

    Me: Yes (are we seriously still talking?! Or is this like that time I dreamt I was friends with Tom Hanks’ mom?)

    Ira: But he’s small so it isn’t a big deal…?

    Me: Yes, that’s true. 

    Ira: Well… (turns to the audience) Just to explain, I have a pitbull… (Proceeds to re-cap entire episode from the dog’s emotional issues down to the search for kangaroo meat in NYC, then turns back to me.) But anyway, yes: Piney is fine. 

      

    Snowballs

    I need someone to do some research on why it is impossible to get snow off of a terrier. I finally gave up and put him in the tub to thaw like a 12 pound turkey. 

       
       

    Working From Home

    I’m transitioning from working in an office to working from home. Right now it’s a few days a week, but I will soon work from home full-time. 

    I know this sounds like a dream come true for most people. But I am afraid that for me, the transition from semi-adjusted introvert to total shut-in will be an effortless one. 

    Exhibit A: The other day I forced my dog to pose with the Yorkie socks that my Mom gave me for Christmas.  (You must admit, the resemblance is striking.)

      
    It was only after I posted the photo to Facebook that it occurred to me, “well, that was a weird fucking thing to do.”

    It was something one of *those* people would do. Those sad people who need to reach out and talk to people so badly they post photos of their socks and winter white calves on the internet. 

    I must be more vigilant going forward.  I am developing a test that I must pass prior to repeating this error again.  I will ask myself, “If this thing I am about to post was not my photo or thought, but a story someone tried to tell me on public transportation… would I change my seat? If not, post away. If so, time to get out of the house.”

    On Having a Small Dog in the Snowy Mountain West: A Haiku by Rachel Lewis

    There’re turds on my deck.

    They are melting now, slowly.

    I must fix that soon. 

    (PS I know “they are” is technically two syllables, even if you contract it. Don’t email me.)

    Happy Halloween

    My dog has a condition that makes his trachea collapse when he gets excited. Like… Say… When the mailman comes. Probably to murder us. All dogs know that mailmen are evil and have a freak out but mine does that and then spends fifteen minutes trying to get air back in his lungs without sounding like a Harley Davidson.

    Once or twice a day, no biggie. Halloween? Nightmare on Elm Street. (There are a lot of elm trees on my street, but that’s not really what it’s called.)

    So I’m opting out.  I feel badly about it. Sort of. But this is what I’m doing this year. Candy is candy, right? Getting me to open the door is the least fun part. 

      
      

    My Handsome Hound

    They say that dogs don’t have the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror, but I’ve caught my pooch gazing at his reflection so often, I am convinced he gets it. I am also convinced he is just a little vain. 

    But look at this darling mug. Can you blame him?