Sunday, February 16, 2014

02.16.2014 -- Ode to Zoe

Our dog, Zoey, seems to be on her last legs.  This is the sweet, sweet, sweet dog that has been with us for nearly 15 years.

In the beginning, she was velvety soft and incredibly destructive.  She chewed up hundreds of dollars worth of shoe leather and furniture.  Crate training was incredibly painful; she would cry when she was left alone.  We took her everywhere with us.

Then there were the years of boundless (truly boundless) energy.  She almost bounced around the house.  She was an amazing partner on long hikes and bike rides.  Although she could never be called an aggressive dog, she did start barking once at a man standing on the street in the dark while Zoey and I were out for a run.  It was the only time I have ever changed my running route because of fear.

There was a lot of destruction in these years, too, but by this time, we were used to it, even resigned.  It was toward the end of this era when we started bringing babies home.

Brian and I both not-so-secretly believe that we are Zoey's favorite, and the "alpha dog."  I can't speak for Brian, but Zoey seemed to act differently toward me when I was pregnant.  She wanted to snuggle more.  She liked to smell me more.  She was more gentle with me.  I am aware, of course, that this change in attitude that I seem to remember observing could be all in my mind, but that's what I remember.

She was intrigued by Lucy when we brought her home in the car seat.  We had tried to follow all the best practices of incorporating a baby into a dog's home: bringing a blanket home from the hospital first that smelled like baby, and giving her lots of love.  By this time, Zoey was 7 years old and had calmed down so that she wasn't jumping all over every person who came in the door.

We brought Lucy into the master bedroom, beside the gargantuan log bed made of Idaho pine that Brian and I had finished together.  We were sitting on a black floral love seat borrowed from Brian's mom.  Brian held our tiny Lucy, hair the color of honey, and I held Zoey by the collar.  Zoey started sniffing like crazy and almost started to quiver a little.  She snuffled Lucy through the pink blanket and I started to relax.  Then Zoey nibbled one of Lucy's tiny, perfect fingers, and Lucy began to cry.  In retrospect, I am sure I over-reacted, but instincts kicked in and I felt like I was on auto pilot when I pulled Zoey back fast and gave her a *very* stern lecture on not biting (nibbling) the baby.

She has been such a good dog.

Although we have called her Zo-dog here and there since she was a puppy, we switched to using mainly Zo-dog for a few years when the house next door became home to a cute little girl named Zoey.  It just didn't feel right to stand at the door and yell, "Zoey, come!"  when Zoey Burgess was doing nothing wrong.  Gabe differentiated them best by calling them Zoey-the-dog, and Zoey-the-human.

Zoey-the-dog is very patient with kids, although she does have her limits. She will not endure painful yanking or poking.  If kids are too rough with her, she snaps right out of her sweet, complacent state and gives them good, close look at her long, pointed teeth, and demonstrates a vicious snarl.  There are often marks left on kids faces.   This can mostly be avoided by explaining to kids that Zoey really doesn't like to be hurt and that she will never hurt you if you don't hurt her.

These days, I have put away the pills that are supposed to fix Zoey's incontinence, I have stuffed the dog diapers away in my laundry cabinet, and we just deal with dog pee spots.  The places Zoey likes to lounge (couch, ottoman and chaise lounge) are covered with blankets that get washed when they're compromised and I have become very skilled at cleaning carpets with our shop vac, dishwasher detergent, and copious amounts of hot water.

We're watching Zoey's lipoma lumps grow.  Watching her sometimes lose her footing as she wobbles around on the tile.  Watching to see if she's still breathing as she naps on clean blankets in her favorite spots.

These days, she either ignores most sounds or can't hear them.  She does respond to clapping.  Her eyes are the color of silver from cataracts.  She really seems to be content, happy even.

I don't want to think about our family without her.

Love that dog.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

02.02.2014 -- Day in the Life

Lucy has curlers in her hair this morning.

For a while there, she wanted nothing to do with me as her personal hair stylist.  However, she has since come to the conclusion that maybe I actually can do her hair in a flattering way.  Of course, she hasn't said as much, but she has started asking me to do it for her again.  That's good for me.  I like doing Lucy's hair a lot.  It's one of those things in my day where I get to be creative.  I heart being creative.

Yesterday being Saturday, Brian and I decided we would try to get out skiing.  He went early to do some "big boy" skiing with the expectation that I would bring up the kids later.  Lucy didn't want to go.  She found even the idea of having to wait for Gabe tiring, I think.   She has turned into a really good skier.  Gabe is good, too, and can actually keep up pretty well with Lucy, but doing straight shots (no turns) doesn't build good habits, so Brian and I "make" him turn, turn, and turn.  This takes a lot longer.  He gets tired faster than Lucy does, too.

I ended up dropping Lucy off to play with cousins for the afternoon and took the boys up to Snowbasin.  Brian's phone had died from the cold, so it wasn't as straightforward a connection as we had hoped, but it turned out great.  I skied behind Gabe, and Brian skied down backwards with Charlie straddling one of his skis.  I don't know if there are times I feel more love toward Brian than when he does stuff like that.  He is incredibly patient and good.

After a few runs, Charlie was knackered,  so I left Gabe to ski with Brian and took Charlie down the mountain with me so we could get Lucy to her Suzuki Graduation.  It's a sweet thing to see dozens of kids performing together, knowing how much time has gone into building the skills they're displaying. And they're young enough that they haven't taken control of their faces yet, some of them.  Their frustration, concentration and excitement comes across loud and clear in their expressions.

Pretty cute!