Friday, June 5, 2009

The Female Dog

Have you met Herbie? She's a pretty little Jack Russell Terrier who will be one year old in a few days. This picture is her when she was younger,...and a lot less "female dog". Now don't get me wrong, I really do love this dog...but she and nerves don't mix well. She's got a stubby tail, like someone had thought about docking it when she was little. She has short little legs because she is a "Bench Leg" variety I'm told. So she has qualities I really like....something a little different. On the other hand...if you've met Herbie before, you just might understand why she has made it to my blog.

And you know how cats are, right? They own everything, including your stuff, your space, ....and you. Well take a look at Herbie now. She even owns the cat! (At one time I had pity on the cat, but I've since lost it because she graced us with 5 little baby hairballs that won't set foot OFF my front porch.)

So now you've got an idea of who Herbie is. Have you ever research Jack Russell Terriers before? Ever known one? I never have before. I've heard people talk about them, so I THOUGHT I knew...but oh how wrong I was! I've heard how they are a spastic breed with more energy than any other animal on earth. I've heard they are brilliant animals and can learn so many things. I've heard they very personable animals and love their family very much. I've heard they like to chew on things.

So let me clarify those things just in case YOU ever think you might want such a female dog in your life.

Jack Russells are a very smart breed. They can indeed be taught to do a lot of things, in fact, Herbie will even respond to hand signals. There are some things we don't even have to say out loud...she knows what it means and high-tails it to her kennel! She also knows that if she does a trick for you, she'll be in a little less trouble-- or at least that's worked in the past, so it must be worth a try, right? She'll offer you a paw anytime of day or night if she thinks she's going to be in trouble for something. This is cute for the first 4000 times, but then....

Oh and she is part of a breed called "Rat Terriers". That sounds uniquely interesting doesn't it? What it means is that she has an innate desire to be a mouser. I know this to be true because of all the dead mice she brings into my house and how many times a day she whines to go outside and locate the most ripe one out there. Who kills these rodents? I'm not sure if its just her or if she and the cat are in cahoots. The mice she brings in have had a few days to ripen in the sun before Herbie brings in them...but that's all I know.

She's never chewed up my shoes or my clothes or furniture. Instead, she chews up things that might get close to her kennel. I think she does it because she's bored and wants us to do her bidding of the moment. One time, she chewed up my cell phone charger. It was plugged in still! How did she live through that? If that wasn't enough, she chewed up a second one too! We discovered that she sleeps better in her kennel if we cover her. I guess we disturb her and the breezes from the A/C vents chill her, so she does better if we cover her kennel a bit. She's fine for the most part, but if she accidently went to bed earlier than she meant to, she's going to slip a paw out of the kennel and drag in the covering. Of course this means chewage is happening.

She's a neat freak too. She can't stand for the cats litter box to get dirty. She checks it daily for filthy deposits. If she does TOO good a job of that or if she's snarfed down too many field mice, she might have to throw up. She thoughtfully cleans that up also. I guess I should have warned you before now that this is not for the reader with a weak stomach. Sorry!

All of that is just dog behaviors, right?
Well let's revisit the spastic tendency. If you read the last blog posting here, you saw that Tommy had a heart attack Monday. They went in through the femoral artery of his right leg and installed a little device in there to open up his circulation so his heart could function better again. After a heart attack, you are on a LOT of blood thinners and that makes it quite a challenge to get bleeding to stop. So his leg took a LOT of compression from nurses and a doctor who didn't want things to go badly there. Imagine having 30 minutes of fierce pressure applied anywhere on you. Might be sore later, right? The bruise on his leg is about the same size as his I believe him when he says it is quite sore. Herbie is a jumper and thinks her place is in his lap. This has made her realize she is also a lucky dog. He hasn't thrown her, hit her or cussed her at all! If he hasn't thought about it at least once, I'll be surprised! She doesn't understand, I know...but what a stress it is to stop her before she thrusts herself onto him!

I have come to realize where that B word originated.... it was from the owner of a Jack Russell Terrier!

Now that I've gotten my frustration out, let me repeat that I really do love the dog and she can be fun to play with when I'm under a lot less stress and strain. She really does shake your hand and give you five. She really does respond to hand signals and voice commands for several things and really hasn't eaten any of my shoes yet. She's snuggly and I know she loves us all. She doesn't mean to get on anybodys nerves and she is apologetic about the fleas and smells she comes with. She's a pretty pooch who just needs a LITTLE labotomy to fix her quirks.

Somebody remind me of this when I'm sitting in the quiet room with my hands strapped down and smiling at the nice men in white jackets, k?

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