Thursday, August 20, 2009


Those of you who already know me know that I am a big animal lover. I still have my beloved Gus who is now age 15, and he is still in fairly good health. He does have some arthritis and spinal curvature, but he still loves life: going outside to sniff things, getting his back scratched, and a good roll on the clean sheets.

Recently, though, our family got a new addition--a puppy! His name is Cash, and he is going to be a small dog. He's about nine months old now, and he has so much energy and resilience, he's a joy to have around.
I got him, like I do many things, from by friend, Joe. Joe always gets himself into things, and then he finds out he doesn't really want to do/have them. Such was the case with Cash. Joe wants a dog, but he wants the dog to take care of itself. He doesn't understand that a dog has to be fed twice a day, have his puppy pad changed daily, have plenty of fresh water, and have plenty of contact time with his owner. Joe does work 7 days in a row, 10 or 12 hours at a time. He has 7 days on and 7 days off. He spends most of his off time sleeping. So, needless to say, Joe isn't such a great dog owner.

Most of the time, Cash stayed in Joe's laundry room, and he didn't get much attention. He was a sad, depressed little guy. I started asking to bring Cash to my house for play days with Gus. Gus was getting lethargic, fat, and depressed, and I thought they could both use the company. So, Cash started spending time with us.

Cash showed up at our house as a timid little fellow, but now he is confident, feisty, and loads of fun. He and Gus have playtime every day, and they both seem to be happier than they were. I usually house sit for Joe when he works, and Cash goes with me. This works out for Joe because he still gets to have a relationship with Cash, too--and he doesn't have to take any responsibility to have it.

I have been in for some real surprises. I haven't had a puppy in 15 years. I had forgotten how much work they can be. Gus is older, so he is calm. He can sit for hours and watch TV or lie by my feet while I sew. His idea of a good time is for me to get a pillow, sit on the couch and click out the recliner, and work in a puzzle book or read. He will sit like that for hours with his head on the pillow while I rub his head and back.

Cash is the opposite. He is a live wire. Gus will sleep late with me. Cash is usually up early, and he wants me up early, too. When I don't oblige him, he makes his feelings known by jumping on my chest and biting my nose.

He loves socks and shoes. Joe wanted him to recognize his scent, so he put some of his dirty socks in Cash's kennel. Now Cash loves all socks. (If you are wondering about his name, I think the girl Joe got him from named him after Johnny Cash). He also LOVE LOVE LOVES shoes. I have lost 2 pairs of sandals so far. I had forgotten all about that puppy chewing stage. He also thinks my hands and feet are fair game. He is little, and he gets his little puppy teeth around a hand or foot bone & doesn't want to let go. He loves toys, but Mom's hand is always better to chew.

There is also the potty training phase. He is pretty well pee house trained, but poop house training seems to be beyond his comprehension for the moment. I think the reason why he is trained for pee is because of Gus. Gus pretty much house trained himself, and even at his advanced age, he will not go in the house. Luckily Cash does know how to use puppy pads, but with poop, he isn't always reliable about it. (If anyone has tips on how to improve this, I would be grateful). We just have to keep working on it.

Overall, having a puppy has been a great joy. I used to worry that if I got a puppy that Gus would be miserable during his sunset years, but he seems to be happy to have someone to hang out with. He no longer has separation anxiety when there are no humans around. He is also protective of Cash. When Cash had to stay in his kennel when no one was home, Gus would lie on the floor beside it and keep him company. They have been great for each other.

I can never ask for more of better love than I have from these two! It's a pleasure to share my life with them.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Healthcare Haiku

Capsules, tablets, pills

Magic potions to cure my ills

Take two and be healed

If only it were this easy to find a prescription for the healthcare system!