Monday, August 18, 2008

The Red Dog and the Black Dog

For Steven's Feline & Furball Friday:

I'm still getting condolences here on Tuffy, both in email and in greeting cards John and I finally got around to opening yesterday. Thanks again to everyone for carrying about poor old Tuftuf, and the people she left behind. I don't think I mentioned this last night, but one of the reasons I posted so late was that I came across a video clip of Tuffy a few days before she died, with her wheezing and me trying to comfort and encourage her. I was trying to consolidate it with a few other clips and clean it up,but with little success. It's very dark, and I don't seem to have a program to lighten it. Can anyone help me out on this? Bea? Becky?

(Pathetic, ain't it?)

At least two of the cards - from vets, yet! - referenced the Rainbow Bridge concept. I'm tempted to call it a meme in the original sense of viral idea. It certainly seems ubiquitous among serious dog and cat people, especially in the dog show and cat show, vet and breeder world. My brother, a cat person, sent me an email with the subject line "Bridge Kid" not long ago. I didn't realize at first that it meant one of his cats had died, and consequently blew my window of opportunity to send my condolences. Now I'm embarrassed to tell him about Tuffy! No, I don't believe in the Rainbow Bridge, where pets supposedly wait for their humans so that everyone enters Heaven together. Tacking a Norse myth onto Christian sensibilities to assuage the grief of a pet owner doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I have enough trouble coping with my deliberately ill-defined concept of heaven. I don't need to have an opinion on whether pets have an afterlife as well. (And no, I don't want to discuss the subject. Emphatically not.)

Pepper meets a puppy even more hyper than Cayenne.

As for the new wrecking crew of Blocher dogs, I've been stepping up my attempts to train them, with little success. Yesterday I took them to the dog park, where they each hid under the picnic table part of the time, allowed a few humans to pet them (Cayenne was better about this than Pepper), wandered solo in the field, and spent just a little time meeting other dogs.

Pepper spent half the time hiding..

...and Cayenne, surprisingly, was almost as shy.

They did get in the thick of things occasionally, though...

...and briefly joined in a doggie parade.

Back at home, we're starting to collect up some of the rawhide we've scattered around the place. The high degree of rawhide availability doesn't stop the dogs from competing for the stuff - they just drive themselves and each other crazy trying to control and hide it all so the other dog doesn't get it. Pepper doesn't even like rawhide much, and has been retching a little bit. But she constantly tries to dig a hole in the bedclothes to bury what she doesn't want to chew. And Cayenne managed to grab the biggest rawhide bone of all out of the cupboard tonight, as John was getting out dog biscuits for them.

Their fave food of the moment: grass.

Then when I take them outside, they spend most of their time chewing on that universal doggie digestion remedy: grass.

Cayenne isn't great about posing for me.

Pepper is even worse about it.

I've also been trying to teach the command "Down," as in "lie down," since they both already know "Sit." It's tough going. Cayenne will eventually do it if I keep leading her forward and downward with the treat, but Pepper has no clue. On her own, her default response is to lie down, but if I ask her to do it in return for this yummy dog biscuit or bit of cheese, she actively resists. She'll even leave the room. But we'll get there.

Meanwhile they're inseparable - and ignore each other.

They've each picked up several nicknames already. Pepper is Pep, Pep Pep, Pepperpot, Pepperoni and The Black Dog. Cayenne is Cay Cay (pronounced Kie-Kie), Cay-annie, Cheyenne (the name of a dog we knew 20 years ago) and of course The Red Dog. If she ever manages to start a fire (not that I expect this!), she'll probably be Cuyahoga as well.

And all too frequently, Pepper gets called Tuffy, and Cayenne gets called Pepper. Clearly we're all still adjusting to the new arrangement.



Golden Opportunity said...

of course the red dog is very hungry you know .i have also have a sweet black dog at my home ....see
Find your Blackdog names.
Find your unique cats picture.

Becky said...

Email the video clip to me! I'll see what Studio can do.