Working the System

Dog sitters are kind of like substitute teachers. You know how even the good kids might push on a substitute like they never would their regular teacher? Well, that’s what it’s like with a dog sitter. A guy can get away with just a little more.

In my case, I’m already pretty good at working my full-time people and they’re kind of easy but, bring on new recruits and I hit all-time highs. Take my pills, for instance. I know what’s “hiding” in those tasty treats they offer me three times a day. It’s cute how they think they’re being sneaky. But here’s the reality, I know the pills make me feel better but, if I make a fuss, I get better wrappers.

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Do I look like a guy who would take advantage?

It started with Greenies Pill Pockets, which are pretty tasty, and it took me a while to realize that I could up my game, get something better. All I had to do was stop eating Pill Pockets. It wasn’t easy, especially out walking. Teresa would pull a morsel out of the little treat bag that clips to her belt and, in my enthusiasm, I’d swallow it down before I realized it was Pill Pocket and not some other tasty tidbit.

Once I stopped eating the Pill Pocket altogether, they moved on to liverwurst. Yum. That stuff was so good, particularly the brand they found down in Arizona. I thought I’d reached the ultimate in pill coatings. But, after a few months I began to wonder, if I don’t eat the liverwurst, what else might they give me? I love chicken, but it’s hard to wrap a pill with a piece of chicken, same goes for steak, so I knew those were off the table. What the heck, I decided to gamble. I refused the liverwurst.

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Chico hasn’t figured out the system. He’d still be eating pill pockets.

You know what’s better than liverwurst? Liverwurst rolled in bacon bits. You know what’s better than liverwurst rolled in bacon bits? Liverwurst rolled in bacon bits with a dollop of bacon grease on top like icing.

Again I thought I’d surely reached the pinnacle of pill dressings. But, then again, maybe not. What if I was missing out on something better? It was tough, but I refused the liverwurst with bacon bits and grease. I couldn’t wait to see what they’d bring home from the store next trip into town. Any guesses? Have you ever tasted canned corned beef? Oh my. So delicious.

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Thinking about my next plate of corned beef balls.

I was content to stay with the corned beef for a bit, ride the wave so to speak, but then, bwa ha ha, the dog sitters came to stay. It was just too good an opportunity to pass up. After all, they weren’t going to be around long and might have new and better ideas about how to give pills to an old dog. They’d had one for a long while. Any of you remember Dame Dixie?

First day out I turned down the corned beef and I was prepared to refuse any attempts to dress it up with bacon bits. I was holding out for something new. It took a couple of days of trying different things, things I’d refused before, but then G and S pulled out all the stops, offering up steak tartare (sans capers) topped with crumbled chicken breast au jus. My mouth waters just thinking about it.

I’ve had to back things up a bit now that Teresa and Nollind are home and I’m settling for raw ground beef as a wrapper, no chicken crumbles au jus. But, it’s been ten days, probably about time for an upgrade. Don’t you think?

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You bet I’m smiling.

 

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Gone Camping!

I apologize if I scared anyone with my blog absence last Fur-iday. People do wonder about a guy my age when they don’t hear from me. It’s understandable. But … still here!

On Fur-iday last week I was in the land of no cell phones or internet. I was, get this, camping! None of us thought I was up for any camping this season. From my perspective, it seemed like a whole lot of effort just to be cold. From my peoples’ point of view, a few days in the hills wasn’t worth putting up with a pacing, pooping pooch in a small space.

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Who me? Camping?

The first change that made it possible was something we’ve all been waiting for for a dozen years. I have no explanation as to why but car/truck travel is seeming a lot less of a big deal recently. It’s still not my favourite activity, but no more morphing into a panting, pacing maniac that nobody wants to travel with. I’ve learned to ride it out.

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Drug-free travel.

The other thing is that I’ve been sleeping better at night, even in the house sometimes. Again, not sure how it’s come about but it’s such a relief for all of us. They still keep a light on for me and I appreciate it, but the night terrors have faded.

So, back to the camping trip. Our friends G and S were headed to Kananaskis Country and, in light of my recent normalness, Teresa and Nollind decided to hitch up Sid and join them. I can’t say I was thrilled initially. I’ve become quite comfy in my new dog yard. I’m working on my twentieth (or is it twenty-first?) den, I have the full spectrum of sunny versus shady places to nap, there’s a resident prairie dog to keep in check, and so much to observe in my half-acre paradise. But I try to be a team player, so did my best to look enthused about the journey and not get bogged down in the worries.

Worry #1, Travel Anxiety – Even though I’ve been travelling better recently, I’ve only been on short drives, so I wasn’t sure how a three-hour journey would be. But, I started the camping adventure off strong with the most relaxing drug-free vehicle travel I’ve ever experienced. So much for Worry #1.

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Matching Chico’s cool. Panting only because it was a hot day.

Worry #2, Being Cold – The first evening at dinner, I was treated to a padded bed, a pillow, and an afghan. This good fortune and pampering continued through the weekend. Nix Worry #2.

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Afghan hound.

Worry #3, Being Trapped in Sid All Night – I had my couch, I had a jacket, the light was on. What more could an old dog want? Forget Worry #3.

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Tucked into my couch for the night.

Worry #4, Missing Out on the Hiking – Okay, this one actually happened, and it was a bit of a drag. Chico came back to camp telling stories of his lake walks and, although I’d enjoyed my nap time, I did feel left out. Worry #4 realized.

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Hiking without me. Smiling through their pain.

But, one out of four is not bad on the worry metre. I was a pretty contented canine … until Saturday night.

They thought it was Saturday morning’s pancake breakfast, but I knew different. I am just not a food sensitive kind of guy and I wasn’t going to be taken out by a flapjack. It was something else, something evil, that sent my digestive system into chaos. We’re just not sure what it was yet, or is. We’re still working it out.

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Yum yum. Pancakes!

So my camping adventure didn’t end as strong as it started, but I have no regrets. Mountain air, campfire time, pancakes with a little butter and syrup, and good friends. A word from the wise … when every thing and every time could be your last, savour every bite.

They Call Me “Buzz”

Buzz … this seems to be my new nickname. I don’t entirely understand it but it seems to have something to do with the pills I was on during Wednesday’s drive from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City. I felt great from start to finish. No shaking, no drooling, no racing heart. Cool as a cucumber for 420 miles. Teresa and Nollind found me incredibly amusing, and I wasn’t sure why until I re-read this start to my blog post that I wrote while travelling.

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Watching the world go by.

It’s a bit embarrassing but here goes …

Heeeyyyyy ….. duuuuudes. I’m writing to you from the road as it flashes by my window. Whoa! What was that? S’okay. It’s all good. Just a semi (that’s pronounced semm-eye in these parts) going past us. Man, those things clip along and you would be amazed at how many of them are on the road down here. Hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions! They usually scare the bejeezus out of me, but today, for some reason, they just look kooool as they stream past us. Whoa … there goes a red one! Niiiiice.

We’re on the road to Salt Lake City today, left sin city this morning because another high wind advisory was in the forecast. The peeps wanted to get on outta there and a bit further up the road toward home. I’m down with that. I’m cool—is that sausages I smell? Sausages … I would love, love, love some sausages.

See what I mean? This gives me a clue as to why I was a source of amusement for the humans. I think they expected the drugs to make me groggy, but it was more like the pills erased my fears and inhibitions. The truck travel was fun, the leash-less jog around the rest area with Nollind in hot pursuit was definitely a highlight, and food never tasted so good. I even put a carrot in my mouth (drugs or no, still not sure why Chico considers them food). The corn chips, cheese, and salmon, however, which were also part of lunch, were the best ever, and I’m not normally a fan of corn chips unless they’re doused in sour cream, and any kind of fish sits firmly in the “it’s okay sometimes” category.

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Morning walk near the Vegas RV park (before the drugs kicked in).

The pills are the same ones I took on the way south in December, the pharmaceuticals from my friend Dixie, but Teresa doled them out a bit differently on Wednesday. Instead of giving me the first one about an hour before setting out and letting the effects slowly wear off before giving me another, she kept feeding me half a pill every couple of hours (vet said I could have 2 ½ every 8 hours). Rather than getting sleepy and then back into full-on travel anxiety mode as they wore off, I just stayed in my happy place and was, apparently, quite funny.

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Thursday morning coming down.

We had a sunny walk along the Jordan River parkway yesterday morning, but then the rain began. The rain turned to snow further up the highway into Idaho and Montana so we’re here at the KOA in Salt Lake until tomorrow, waiting for the storm to clear out, before making a push for Canada.

Normally my anxiety would be building already with the idea of two more days of driving ahead of me, but Dixie’s little pill bottle still has a pretty good supply (thanks, Dix!). I think I’m good, almost looking forward to it.

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Courage in a bottle.