The bachelor and bachelorette are getting used to cohabiting again. Most traumatized are the dogs, who have lost real estate on the king sized bed. They are not happy about their diminished sleeping quarters, but they are not adapting in any way. Milly has decided to slip into the pillow space between our heads, and Mabel’s 80 pounds are draped across our legs. Milly wheezes, Mabel snores. Nights are not as peaceful as they were for the last few months. Steve claims that he did not miss them in the least, and I think he speaks the truth. When Mabel acts up, he now threatens to “put her down”- an idle threat- I think. Mabel has had a checkered past at the Dahl house.
Milly and Mabel in the early days. It was a tentative peace.
Her chronology includes a resistance to leash training. Squirrels and other dogs taunt her, and she responds by bolting. When she was young, my arm suffered with a rotator trauma and frozen shoulder. For eighteen months I could not lift my arms above my head. Bras had to be front closure. Hair had to drip dry. I went through cortisone injections and physical therapy with no improvement. Finally, a napropath managed to loosen it after three treatments. But during my one-armed phase, Steve did not carry on with any training walks. Consequently, Mabel has always been an aggressive busybody on a leash. I am content blaming him.
Her adolescence was also marked by an electric fence-breaking episode, where she decided to take on an Old English Sheepdog. They are mortal enemies. Sadly, the shaggy dog was accompanied on the day of the bolting attack by her owner and foster child, in a stroller. This misbehavior resulted in a brief relocation to Steve’s assistant’s home; Steve wished for her to go to the pound. She was saved by me. The electric fence is currently malfunctioning, and only Mabel’s memories of being zapped protect us. Last week a Shih Tzu bounded up our driveway, induced by a wagging, panting Milly. She saw a bigger playmate on the porch, and she came running. She did not receive a warm welcome. Fortunately for her, Mabel could not figure out which end was ass and which end was head. The little dog went right under Mabel, and chewed on her back legs. The sound was fierce, but Shih Tzsu’s snout was spared. My blood pressure went up to 180, and I called Steve to vent. “Put her down,” he calmly ordered.
Four years ago, I fulfilled my dream of getting a Portuguese Water Dog. Milly was a frisky, sweet pup, and Mabel was a 5 year old Top Dog. It was not a good blending of canine temperament. Milly’s snout ended up in Mabel’s craw…and was crushed, hence the wheezing.
Mabel has learned to share with Milly and tolerate her youthful enthusiasm.
Mabel loves her people, and her home. She is not fond of dogs. I have the bad knee, and I recovered from the bad shoulder. I am not strong enough to trust myself when she is on the leash. I try to toss the tennis ball for her so she tires out. The dog whisperer says a tired dog is a good dog. I think it is now up to my strong husband to walk Mabel until she is too exhausted to be mean. She is 9- it won’t take too much distance. I know his real objection is pausing to clean up her messes, and having to carry them. His Rain Man persona needs to have every day, every walk the same. No pausing. Too bad. I am adding Mabel to his chore list. He may be booking her a room at the shelter.
I am off to Amsterdam on Thursday, and I am hoping that she behaves in my absence. I know that she will move into the bed space formerly occupied by me, and that will tilt Steve’s tolerance in her favor. Her snoring will be closer, but his legs will be free. It’s a start. As for the daily walks- I am not holding my breath.
She had better be here when I come home. I tried to curry favor by buying Steve a pizza pizazz and indicating that it was a canine gift. He will eat while I am away, and the dogs will drool for the crusts. Maybe they will get lucky.
The girls, sharing a bed…not our bed. This is fine for them until the lights go off- then, up they come.