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Archive for July, 2012

The only math I was ever good at was calculations. So I thought it would be a snap to figure out just how much water Grady can hold. Let’s see… 25” x 16” x…..and 1 cubic foot= 7.68 cubic gallons…. It has to be at least fifty gallons and that’s a conservative estimate.

Why would I want to know how much he can hold, you ask? Because I’m considering renting him out to the forest rangers to fight forest fires. Not only would he earn his keep, there’d be a lot less water on my floors. And in my lap.

You see, like all dogs, he’s equipped with flews. That’s the loose, long skin on either side of his snout that hangs down over the lower jaw. And the skin on the bottom of the jaw is a little baggy too. Not to mention, stretchy, thereby increasing the water carrying capacity.

It’s not as if he does it on purpose, inhaling two gallons at a time from his fountain and holding it in bulging cheeks to spew at just the right moment. Like five minutes after the floor has been mopped. It’s an accident of physiology, Murphy’s law, and Grady’s sadistic sense of humour that causes some of the messes he makes.

A bowl of chow has to be washed down with a gallon or two, and gosh, I hear a cat with a crinkle ball, I must go investigate and in the process, leave a wet trail through the entire house until I find the cat. Or the Highland Fling Headshake when he decides he has an itch right after water has been taken on board. That one is really spectacular. But not nearly as irritating as the ball in the lap delivery, accompanied by half the water he just took in, now being released along with a wet ball.

Then naturally, there is the other end of the equation: what is taken in, must also perforce, exit. He has to go pee. In direct proportion and frequency to what was taken in. There are times, while Grady goes about his business, leg at a precise and artistic angle, that I have calculated how much I could have achieved had I not been at the other end of the leash. By a rough adding up, I figure I could have re-written War and Peace, crocheted maple leaf beanies for the entire Olympic team, and cooked and served a dinner for 12 before he is done.

Really, I think he has a future in the Forest Rangers. If he can’t drip, fling or dribble water on it, he can always lift a leg. And with his capacity, he should be good for a hundred acres or so of coverage.

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If you thought this was going to be something erotic or sexual, you’re out of luck. Grady is neutered. Besides which, if I’d put one of those grey silk ties on him, he likely would have tried to eat it.

But I can offer you his sensual side. Yes, he has one. In addition to the thrill of scratching his ear, rolling on the ground, or rubbing his chin on edge of the gate across the hallway, Grady has a great sensitivity to touch. No doubt partly because he is blind, and partly because he’s been starved of love so long, he will lap up every crumb of it that you offer him.

His favourite way of communing, is to tuck himself in as close to my knees and my office chair as possible, and wait. The minute I lay a hand on the top of his head, he’ll do this because he knows what comes after.

I run my hand over his head and down his ears and talk to him and myself at the same time. How could anyone starve such a loving soul, then abandon him on the street, helpless to find his own way because he can’t see. I wonder if anyone ever loved him. Surely they did, sometime. Who doesn’t love a Golden puppy? But for Grady, that was a long time ago.

As I continue to stroke him, his eyes close, and even though we aren’t supposed to put human emotions on an animal, such a look of bliss comes over his face, that I have to smile. His head droops slowly, slowly, hanging a little lower with every stroke along his ears. And as usual, I forget the final act in our little paw de deux, and bend over to kiss his head. Wearing a loose, scoop necked sleeveless top. Sans lady undergarment.

Whether by design, deviltry, or just joie de vivre at being loved, his head shoots forward and his muzzle goes straight down the front of my top, lodging his nose where such things were never meant to go. His nose, carved perhaps from the iceberg that sank the Titanic because it is roughly the same temperature, has done its worst. He pops out of my clothes, all bright eyed, and tongue lolling, with a look that says “Got you to do it again, didn’t I?”

That he has a sadistic sense of humour, I’ve mentioned before. But the payback is coming. Just wait till cold weather sets in and I go back to turtlenecks.

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…..and tell me when you first developed a sadistic sense of humour, Grady.

 This morning he got me out of bed because he had to pee. This isn’t always the case. He will sometimes go to the door and rattle the knob just to see if he can fool me into taking him out so he can roll in the grass.  But when he whimpers, it means this is for real.

 So out we go, me in the shorts and sleeveless top that constitute summer sleepwear. Then it starts pouring. And I stand there, while he cruises for the perfect spot.  It’s a wonder the water didn’t short circuit the light bulb that went off over my head.  Not only is he sadistic, his timing is impeccable.

 I work from home, which means online phone meetings with clients.  Never do I get through a whole meeting without a tennis ball in my lap, because Grady wants to play fetch NOW!  But that’s a minor inconvenience compared to his water carrying capacity.  He has flews so big that even when he’s done drinking, he’s still carrying several gallons of water to be dropped into my lap with the ball.  I have considered renting him out to the Rangers, because with the flews and his bladder the size of Lake Ontario, he could douse a forest fire in seconds.

 The ultimate revenge in his bag of “accidental” tricks is the way he runs into me, when he’s carrying a full load of water.  I’m short, he’s tall. You know where this is going.  He runs into me all innocence (I know, he’s blind. But there are times I wonder.) and lets go the water, which immediately soaks the front of my pants, just as someone comes to the door.  Now tell me that’s not planned.

 At first I wondered if it was associating with that pair of hooligans he overnighted with in Calais, ME. I suspect they were a bad influence.  Or maybe it was their owner, because when he messaged me on Facebook the night before I drove down to St. Stephen, Grady was in his lap in the recliner, with the laptop perched on his back.

 Well, revenge is sweet. And I’ll get right to plotting it as soon as I go find some dry clothes.

Who me?

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Life with a blind dog is continually bringing something new.  Grady’s ability to navigate with no sight is very impressive. But not nearly as much as his hearing, which compensates for what he can’t see.  You can see him track a bouncing ball by turning his head and listening for the thud, and the whisper of the felt surface skittering across the floor.

His most amazing accomplishment to date, is knowing when I am going out in the car to go shopping, as opposed to going outside to garden, take the garbage out, etc.  None of those excite him. But let me get ready to go, and zoom! He’s down the stairs and waiting for his seat belt harness.  And if that’s not startling enough, when he goes out the door, instead of turning left where he goes several times a day to use the bathroom, he turns right and heads straight for where the car is parked.  Somehow, his inner GPS has the direction and distance down to within a couple of steps.

The other day, I realized what the signal was – a “cold” bag that I put ice packs in to carry perishables home from the grocery store in town.  It crackles when I pick it up, and Grady immediately goes into “take me!” mode.  It’s not the purse, it’s not even the different shoes, which he could smell.

You know who runs the house, when you sneak your purse and that dratted bag out the kitchen door and leave them on the step, then take him out the front door (his usual exit) for a bathroom break and bring him back in.  Give him a treat and he takes it straight to the bed, while I slink out the door.  And yes, I do feel guilty for leaving him home when he so clearly enjoys the ride.  So of course, there is always a little something for him when I get back.  But next time it won’t be a rubber turkey leg. It took him all of six minutes to chew the last one apart. No, not to eat it. But he delights in de-constructing things that amuse him.

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