Friday, September 12, 2008

Two Weeks In and I'm a Bad, Bad Mama

So we'd had Luie for two full weeks. Two weeks in which he attempted to destroy every piece of paper in the house. We'd forgotten what a big boy who is nearly completely untrained in the ways of indoor living can do to create havoc.

The peeing and the pooping training were going fairly well. The wild chases of poor Gus were being handled, mostly by Gus, who was learning to give back as good as he got. But the chewing of everything that would go into his big gaping mouth -- now that we were not handling as well. Luie's need to put everything that could be shredded into his mouth was so incredibly pervasive that we couldn't contain it.

And then Hubby had to go to East St. Louis on some business over a Friday night and leave Gus and Luie in my "worn out from teaching" hands. We handled dinner just fine. We did the walk for pooping in the park after dinner just fine. We did the bed-time walk just fine. Except I was really tired so I went to bed at 8:30 p.m. Luie usually gets a 10:30 to 11:00 p.m. walk. Instead I slept right on through.

When I had gotten home from school that day I left my school bag on the floor as usual. It's a big rolling bag which no normal Schnauzer could ever get into. And in it I had forgotten that Hubby had put six huge candy bars purchased from a couple of students selling things for the soccer team.

Luie, ready for some action, around 11 p.m. or so had jumped out of bed, found my school bag, stood up on his incredibly long hind legs and gotten into it. Out came nearly a pound of ham, a huge slab of cheese, and the candy bars. And he proceeded to chow down.

Yes, of course, I was at fault. I should have put the lunch things that hadn't been eaten that day in the frig. I should have realized that Luie would be called by the food. In my defense, I was exhausted, I had completely forgotten the food was there, and . . . it had been two full years since I'd had a Schnauzer in the house who claimed every piece of food he could find.

So Luie had a supreme feast. Gus remained sleeping by my side -- this I know because he can't get back on the bed by himself. I woke up at 1 p.m. to find Luie bouncing off the ceiling. I stumbled into the bathroom (for the usual 1 a.m. relief) and watched Luie frantically running circles in the house. At least by then I had had enough sleep to be suspicious.

In the living room I found the school tote -- still upright but empty. All six -- huge -- candy bars, all the ham, and all the cheese missing. I looked at Luie dumbfounded. How had one skinny blind Schnauzer pup managed to eat all that?

And then I realized just how much chocolate he could have ingested and my heart sank. Luie continued to run zigzags around my legs, skidding past the kitchen tile, tearing into the bedroom to see if Gus would jump off the bed, and then leaping on four legs back to me.

Digging around in the living room I found five of the chocolate bars intact. Only one had been completely unwrapped and devoured. Sighing, with relief and exasperation, I hooked Luie to his leash, got Gus off the bed, threw on my oldest jeans with a tee, stuffed my feet without socks into my brand new athletic shoes, and out the door we went, off to the park.

Around and around the track in the park we trotted Luie. It was so dark we couldn't see the path but still we stumbled on. Did I worry about muggers and rapists? Well, a little -- but little Luie kept the pace at a steady trot. Gus dragged along behind, wondering why his peaceful night had been so rudely interrupted.

I hoped Luie would throw up but he seemed to feel super fine, just exhibiting a very sugary intensively high. I hoped he would poop but nothing passed through him. He did pee a lot. After 45 minutes or so of this, I stuffed both boys back in the car and we went home, Luie doing the dance of joy, hoping from front to back seat with abandon.

Back in the house, Luie was intend on getting to the water bowl which to his digust he had emptied before we left the house. Before I could even get the bowl to the faucte and to my amazement, up he stood on his hind legs and preceded to drink in huge gulps from the toilet bowl. Even big, old Wolf who could do most anything had never managed to get his body far enough into the toilet to get water! Eventually his thirst slackened, off he charged to gather toys.

Back in the bedroom, I stood, arms akimbo looking at little Luie. The initial vet bill had not been cheap. We had an opthomalogist appointment on Tuesday which was $100 just to walk in the door. Did Luie need the emergency vet now to make sure the chocolate hadn't done any damage?

Luie continue to bounce happily from room to room, dragging his toys, the dirty underwear, the foil from all that chocolate around with him. I went to the kitchen and got the long cloth leash and put it on him and then I crawled with Gus back into our warm, safe bed. Luie continued to dance -- but this time only a short distance from us because he was tethered to my wrist. If he had a seizure I figured I could feel it. If he got sick I hoped he would be near enough so I would know.

From 1 a.m. Gus and I lightly dozed, Luie tugging the leash to its maximum, me tugging him back inside the bedroom door. All the rest of the night, Luie kept up the dance. At 8:30 a.m. he flinally fell into a deep, deep sleep at the foot of the bed.

Never once was the boy sick. When Hubby came through the door at 5 p.m., I pushed both dogs at him. I promised him a home cooked dinner if he'd only get Luie to finally poop in the park. Off he went, two dogs happily trotting beside him. But it wasn't until Sunday morning that little Luie finally did the pooping -- three huge piles by report.

Seems our boy can ingest just about anything . . . just like the Wolfman before him. I've learned, yet again, that all food is fair game. And we're all learned that being blind just isn't much of a handicap if you have the will and the agility.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A Healing Heart

Nothing like a new puppy to help heal a heart shattered pretty completely in 2006.

When Wolfie died, a part of me was lost. I loved that dog to distraction. I've never really gotten over his loss. He was such a pal. He gave me so much validation. And with his passing, my constant companion, the little guy who loved me with his whole being and proved it every minute of his life, left my heart bereft.

Fritzy was beautiful. He was smart and he was assured of himself. He gave sweet love when he felt like it and he could growl under his breath when he wanted to be left alone, which was about 50% of the time. He loved us. But he was his own little man and he wanted to be top dog. Periodically I had to turn him over on his back and spread eagle him to remind him that he wasn't the dude in charge. He didn't even come second, which he was quite sure really was his place in this household.

Gus is serene. He doesn't get bothered by things. He wants to be loved and he gives sweet love in return, but it's a quiet, peaceful kind of love. Gus doesn't go for the whole-hearted expression of pure unadulaterated love.

The new pup, Luie, has created quite a stir in our lives. He's full of piss and vinegar. He gets into everything he can reach -- and like Wolf, he's quite a tall boy. Yet there's something about him that is so special, something so giving and loving and funny that his presence in our household is healing the wounds left by Wolf's passing. He's definitely not Wolf. He's his own little presence. His funny little mannerisms and his antics tickle me no end. I'm always laughing. He's not stoic, he's not trying to be in charge -- he's just trying to live life to its fullest measure. And he wants you to join him on the ride.

Three weeks he's been with us. Every day has been both a challenge and a treasure. He's mostly blind and he always will be but he doesn't mind. He likes what he can see and what he can't he'll sniff and paw at until he understands what it can do to him or for him. He's always, always happy. His happiness has spread into my heart and is healing it, piece by piece.

I'll always miss Wolfie every day for the rest of my life. I'll miss Fritzy and Miss Milly, too, maybe not in the same heart crushing way but I'll miss their little quirks and delights. But Luie has come to me, full of spunk, disabled but charging forward, and he has given me a new spark.