Happy Many Dog Anniversaries

This time of year marks a lot of significant guide dog anniversaries. April 6 was the day Tansy and I graduated as a team, and April 7 was the day we came home. This means Tansy has lived with us for 2 years now. April 9 is Trixie’s birthday, and this year she turned 10. Finally, April 14 was the day Trixie and I graduated as a team 8 years ago, and April 15 was the day we came home. Woe. So since I don’t have great heaps to say about each dog, I thought I’d talk about both of them in one post.

We have two more songs I think we can add to the list that Tansy loves, although we haven’t played them a second time to confirm it. There’s Time After Time when covered by Matchbox Twenty,

And The Flame by Cheap Trick.

Hmm, well “The Flame” is playing right now and she’s snoozing right through it, so maybe it isn’t a thing. But one time, when it was playing, she ran from where she was sleeping, licked the heck out of me, and then ran back and forth, back and forth, first between Steve and I and then up and down the hall.

But she did start running when “Time After Time” was on. Let’s see what that does.

Nothing. Well, I’ll still blame my crappy laptop speakers unless we play it again and she does nothing. At any rate, it was hilarious. Tansy, you are fascinating.

And apparently Tansy finds me fascinating too, or at least if anything changes about me. A couple of weeks ago, I had a couple of my wisdom teeth out. It came up as a bit of a surprise. I got a new dentist, and he said a couple of my wisdom teeth were coming in at screwy angles, and there would come a time when they would cause problems for my other teeth. So I went ahead and got a consultation and they said “how about next week?” N-n-n-next w-w-w-week? After I got regular colour to go back into my face, I said yes.

I had no idea how much misery I would be in, or how much of a basketcase I would be after they were done with me, so I left Tans at home. She was none too pleased with Steve and I walking out and leaving her behind, but I think she was ok with a little Easy 101 music to keep her company.

When Steve and I got back, she was very excited to see me. When I bent down, where did her nose try to go? Right into my mouth, on the side where they yoinked out the wisdom teeth. Well, that didn’t take long. And the whole time it was heeling, she was fascinated with that side of my face.

I have talked about how much Tansy loves that Cuz ball, how much she growls at it and will go to any lengths to chase it down. But I swear that thing has magical powers. Once it’s in her mouth, she goes insane. She will pick that thing up, snort, and then tear around the house at insane speeds. She’ll also go into places that might be a little scary, like the bathroom right after she’s been bathed, to get it back. It means that much to her. I won’t tempt her by throwing it into the kitchen, but I think she would throw caution to the wind, bound right past that line and scoop up that ball. If it ever dies, I’ll have to replace it immediately.

Speaking of baths, it was about time for another trip into the bathtub last Saturday. As I’ve said before, for the most part, she takes being bathed pretty well, although she expresses her extreme displeasure about it. She will fight going in, even to the point of risking hurting herself, and will try once, really hard, to get out, but after that, she just waits for the misery and indignity to end.

We were trying to figure out how to make getting in easier, especially since that’s when she does the craziest things. We noticed two things. As soon as she sees the towels come out, she knows what’s coming, or thinks she does. Second, she really likes getting picked up and carried around by Steve. We discovered this when we were trying to break her of jumping on us, and we heard that if we sort of held her paws and danced with her or scooped her up, she might not like it and would stop jumping. We found out that the scoop up routine she found to be quite enjoyable, so that wasn’t much of a jumping deterrent.

So, we thought Steve could distract her while I was getting the towels out, and then he could scoop her up, at which point she would go all limp and rag doll-like, and then he would carry her into the bathroom, at which point her ability to do crazy things would go down dramatically.

The distraction part worked perfectly. I got the towels all set up. Then Steve scooped her up, and started walking around the living-room and then slowly made his way back to the bathroom. She didn’t notice at first, and when we got in and closed the door…then she knew. Steve said he almost heard her voice in his head say “You screwed me! I have been betrayed! You bastard!”

We did get her in the tub much easier. Now let’s hope we’ve played enough games of scoop up the dog between now and next bath time so the trick will still work.

I’ve noticed a quirky thing she does only at work. When I feed her in the morning, sometimes she celebrates after. But every time I feed her at work before leaving, if anyone at all looks at her, even in a side-long sort of way, she thinks it’s an invitation to play and comes bounding over. I have no idea why she’s so frisky at the end of the work day. I mean, she just lays around sleeping all day. But she is so so so so happy after that evening meal.

This is going to take some explaining, but oh well. Steve and I are goofy, and say what would be ordinary phrases to each other in song titles from time to time, sometimes to see if the other person will understand the message, sometimes just because we’re weird. For example, instead of saying “I’ll be leaving soon,” we’ll say, “Barenaked Ladies Song”. Why? Because of this song.

Ok so it’s not quite the title, but it’s a big part of the chorus.

So one day, Tans and I were approaching an escalator. We found it, I put my hand on the railing, and stupidly said “Alan Doyle Song!” then laughed and said “Let’s go.” You know, because of this song.

Oh dear. I know Tansy’s good at mind-reading, but she’s not that good. I think I’m expecting a little too much there. Although I think if I worked hard enough, I’d have her knowing that whistling bit meant “Let’s go.”

I think those are all the Tansy updates, now for the few Trixie ones. The main thing is that Trixie is doing just awesome, enjoying herself and expressing her feelings and wants quite clearly. But one thing that isn’t so clear is her vision. That is definitely an issue, I wasn’t out of my mind back when it started showing itself in 2012. It doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, she’s pretty much blind, I think. Also, we think she has cataracts in addition to what was going on with the retina. Sometimes she has a hard time finding a treat hidden in someone’s hand. One day last summer, Brad was walking her down the sidewalk, and she crashed right into a great big chair. Another time, when we were all there for a party, we had patio tables out and drinks on them. Tansy and Trix were running around, having a super good time. As they played, they came closer and closer to us. Steve started to wonder if maybe he should pick up his drink. He didn’t finish the thought before A dog slammed into the table, tipping Steve’s drink right into his shoe. At first I thought it was Tansy, since sometimes when she gets going, she loses awareness of what’s close to her, but people told me that it was Trix. And, there stood Trix, bewildered, as if to say, “How did that get there?” The other time I wondered how much she could see was when she was over at our house at New Years and we were showing Brad this bath-hating dog.

As the video was playing, all of a sudden Trix let out this low, rumbling growl. It was as if she couldn’t be sure if that dog was actually hear or just in a recording. I know she always used to respond to recordings of dogs, but this felt like she honestly couldn’t be sure if we had a little dog somewhere, and if we did, she wanted to let that dog know she wasn’t up for any crazy stuff.

And poor old Trix growls more than I ever saw her do while she was working. don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen her growl before when she was unnerved by a couple of dogs’ rough play, but now, if Tansy gets her cornered, she will quietly growl at Tans to let her know she’s not down with this at all. Is that dog speak for “Get off my lawn, you bastards!”?

Trix has become quite the food thief in her old age. Steve already mentioned her brazen theft of a piece of dessert pizza. That same time she was visiting, before Steve, Brad and I were about to set off to the mall leaving Trix alone, Brad noticed there was a bunch of chocolate we got from Christmas that was at nose level and wondered if Trix would stay out of it when we were gone. For safety’s sake, we moved it all over to another spot and put it in a bag. I know Trix was very easily tempted by food, but wow, she gives in much easier now. But hey, she’s 10, she’s earned it.

I have mentioned this before, but I have reason to mention it again. If I have a dream about a tragedy befalling a guide dog, the one suffering the tragedy is always Trix. I’ve only had one bad guide dog dream involving Tansy, and it wasn’t that tragic. Oh wait…I did have that one where she was stolen from me, but still I have a lot less of those. But yet again, I had a dream where I was neglecting a dog, and Trix was the neglected one.

The dream started off with Brad saying he had to leave Trix with us for a week or so, for some reason. He brought food and everything. Suddenly, a couple of days later, we asked each other who has been feeding Trixie, and we both think the other is doing it. We stopped,looked over, and noticed Trixie,, withering away in the corner, and I started crying uncontrollably. In Trix fashion, she tried to console me, which only made me cry harder…at which point I woke up and realized that Trixie would never, in a million years, let that happen…ever. But seriously, why is Trix always the one I mess up?

One last thing that I think deserves a note: A few months ago, I heard through the grape vine that there was another Trixie going through formal guide dog training. Another Trixie? Really? That’s just wrong. This one, apparently, was yellow. But she didn’t have what it takes, for whatever reason, and didn’t make it through. I was almost relieved. A selfish part of me didn’t want to see Trixie replaced so soon.

And that’s about it I think. I hope I have many more years to tell both Trixie and Tansy stories. I still can’t get over the fact that Trix is 10. She’s definitely an old dog now…although she’s still pretty young at heart, for the most part. Just don’t make her play with any little yippy yappy dogs.

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