Another Large Entry in the Shmans Chronicles

It’s time for another Shmans update, complete with new songs she likes sprinkled throughout. I’ve accumulated a surprising amount of stuff even though we haven’t been exactly leading an exciting life.

She is definitely enjoying all this chill time. Now that we’re not going out nearly as much as we used to, she is enjoying more vigorous games of tug and fetch, even growling at a toy or two. But I have noticed that it’s an either-or situation. Either she can work or she can play. If she does one, she is done and probably won’t do the other. When we were working every day, she would hardly ever play. Now, she has more frisky in her, but it doesn’t last super long, and if we do work, there isn’t a lot of play after. She used to be the Energizer Doggy and could never get enough of either! How the times have changed. Occasionally, if things have been super slow, she will get super excited about any sort of work, but most times, she is fine with this routine of going out to do business, walking around a bit and coming back.

Also, even though her play is vigorous, it’s in shorter bursts. She will run back and forth after a toy and chew the hell out of it, but she only needs a few rounds to be content. It’s funny. The first round is super fast, and usually the second, but then the pace starts slowing down more and more, and sometimes she stops for a drink in the middle.

Sometimes, she does what we call the Bradbury fetch. Long story time. At the beginning of the pandemic, Shannon Bradbury, the local weather reporter was doing her segments from home I think. Wherever it was, it was somewhere remote. Once she got talking, the connection was strong, but there was always a delay between what they said in the studio and when she spoke. So in the case of Shmans, sometimes we would throw a toy, and for a few seconds nothing would happen, and then she would run after it as if she just noticed it got thrown.

But the poor thing still manages to scare little kids. The Seppa-Tebby-Tebby nephew very clearly told her that he didn’t like it when she licked his face. While riding Steve like a “cat-pony” whatever that is, shmans bounced up and tried to lick them. Steve said that the doggy said hello by giving him a kiss, and then he made a noise like ‘Hupe.’ Seppa responded by saying “But I don’t like ‘hupe’!” Go the other way, Cat-Pony!” The poor little guy’s not afraid of much, but Shmans is one of the few scary things he knows.

When we do work, I’ve noticed something. She is definitely slowing down. In the old times, I would know when she really had to go pee because she would move super fast until we found a dog potty. Now, most of the times when I’m really enjoying her speed, I realize that she might have to pee. As soon as that’s taken care of, the pace drastically drops. So now the new super speedy is just the old nice pace and the new nice pace for her is slow.

Tansy’s retirement definitely is going to be the strangest. Probably, if the pandemic hadn’t happened, she would have been retired months ago. But because we haven’t had to do nearly as much stuff, she has been able to do more little bits of work. I still have no idea when I’ll be going to class, but first, the borders need to open, and second, we need to be in a phase of vaccination where I would be eligible to get it. Those things need to happen before I would even hope for a class date. Before that, it’s a non-starter. But after that, they need to find a dog that is a match, so just because borders are open and I’m vaccinated doesn’t mean a class date could be soon after that. So it’s going to be a while, and potentially, there could be a time before everything falls into place when Tansy says she doesn’t want to do any more work, or can’t work anymore for whatever reason.

And if by some miracle, life resumes before they’ve found a match for me, and Shmans still insists she’s up for the challenge, she won’t be going to all the places all the time. She is definitely semi-retired and I’ll be thinking about every outing and whether she’s up for it. I’m not so sure about all her decisions anymore, so if she’s going, I need to be able to compensate for her a little more than I used to. When she’s good, she’s great, but I never know when she might slip a little.

I can tell that I haven’t had to be as on top of her about every little thing as I used to, and the goofball is taking advantage. Usually when someone comes to our door, she knows to go into her crate. But one time, when I got a delivery of prescriptions, she goosed the delivery person! I was mortified. I apologized profusely and we stepped up the reinforcement of going to her crate when someone comes to the door. I still screw up every now and then, and every now and then the goofball takes a liking to someone. Oops.

I also notice that when we’re out for trips to dog potty land, she does things that are just…not that smart! It’s like she thinks she’s a plain old dog again. For one, if she sees a wheeled thing coming along, she feels the need to try and jump in front of it. These things are usually skateboards or scooters or carts, but still! That’s not the brightest idea you’ve ever had, Shmans!

But she hasn’t completely lost her self-control. We were coming down the hall one day, and a neighbour offered her a shween. She picked it up and dropped it. We walked past it again and a third time. But when we let her go get it, she ran to it like a shot! She knew what she was after and waited for permission.

I was thinking about how Shmans hadn’t had her annual round of Barf Bingo and was wondering if it was brought on by the stress of working. Then she proved me wrong. In a week where we hadn’t done any work and all she’d done was go out to do duty, she left us a puddle of yuck right in the bedroom doorway. Thankfully it was small, but still. Yuck! Shmans, you mystify me.

She had to have her annual physical in these weird times. That sucked. Everything was rushed, I was late getting there because she had decided to walk slowly and I didn’t budget for that, and I couldn’t go in with her. I knew I was in trouble when they came back out with her and I could tell that they were carrying meds!

I had a feeling that she had a skin infection because I’d noticed some weird swelling around some of her nipples and some scabs too. But they surprised me and said she had a doozer of an ear infection involving two kinds of bacteria and yeast. She couldn’t have had it for long because I never noticed her shaking her head or anything. My best theory is she got the ear infection from her last bath a few days before. I was still getting used to how that soap feels when it’s rinsed out, so maybe I spent a little too long trying to rinse out her ear flaps. Whatever it was, she had ear drops and antibiotics. She loved the antibiotics, but she was not a fan of he ear drops. But we got it all cleared up.

You’d think, with all Shmans’s lumps, I would be able to know what is and isn’t a lipoma. Apparently not. At her physical, I pointed out a lump in her armpit that felt like some swelling or irritation to me, even though she didn’t complain too much when I pushed it. Nope, it was just a lipoma. They keep telling me that I don’t have to bring her in for every new lump. But how can I not when I can’t tell a good one from a bad one? Now, at least, I accumulate a few before I bring her in…unless they do something weird like grow or ooze or something else gross.

Weather never used to phase her. But now, as she gets older, she is hard to settle when there’s an especially big storm. She doesn’t shake and puff like Trix did, but you can tell she is not happy. She paces back and forth, stands near the windows and stays near one of us at all times. I wonder what changed her mind about weather.

Sometimes, it seems like she has a senior moment. She’ll be walking around, doing her thing, and suddenly she’ll stop dead in her tracks and just stay there. It’s like she forgets where she’s going or something. Sometimes we don’t know she’s stopped midway through wherever she’s going and slam into her because she’s just standing in some random place. One night, we went to bed and then we heard her whining out in the living room. But she wasn’t trapped by anything and could come to bed if she wanted to. When one of us got up to check, she excitedly pranced around and followed us to bed. I hope that’s not a sign of some kind of doggy dementia. But otherwise, she seems mostly ok.

Another thing she does lately is randomly chatter her teeth. I was worried because I have heard that teeth-chattering is a sign of some kind of pain. But she does it very rarely and I haven’t noticed any other signs of pain. Sometimes she does it if she’s excited and is trying to hold in her excitement. She will start shaking like she always does while trying to fight the urge to greet someone, but now it sometimes comes with an audible chatter. At other times I wonder if she’s cold, like the time she did it when we were outside visiting people back in September, or when she did it the other day after a bath when I hadn’t fully dried her ears off and they were a bit wet. But those are the only patterns I’ve noticed. I hope I’m not missing something.

Tansy isn’t the only pooch getting older. The place where we’ve been going for food for almost 7 years has a store dog, and I found out that she’s pushing 11 years old. She’s such a fixture there. She always stands on the counter and loudly greets us with these teeny tiny bark things.

I also realized that Sandy, The teeny tiny Trixter-terrorizer, has turned 12 years old. Time really marches on.

And I think that’s about it for now. I hope you enjoyed the Shmans stories and musical interludes, bizarre as they are.

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        1. My favourite part is that he didn’t go right from “no thank you” to popping her.  He said it repeatedly just with a slightly higher degree of urgency each time until he was saying it in all caps.

          And then afterwards, even though he really didn’t want to interact with the unkind puppy, he was very very certain that “puppy wants to fetch.”  That, of course, set the whole process off again.

  1. I know it has to happen eventually, but it’s so strange to see the old creeping into her. She always had a bit of a chill, lazy side (set her loose to run with other dogs and she’s the one lounging in the sun or a damn mud pit), but it’s different now. She’s less insistent about making us do stuff if she feels like she’s had too much down time. She runs out of playing steam faster. She makes so much noise now. You can tell she’s still got some of that young dog in there, but yup, she’s going to be 10 soon.

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