Just Pee in the Cup Already!

Sweet EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer has had some health issues of late.  The most annoying one (for all of us) is a stomach problem — she has issues with digesting her food and she burps louder and longer than a longshoreman.  Poor Em!

She willingly went to the vet’s because she likes it there.  I don’t like it at my doctor’s office, but I’m not a dog.  Anyway, the vet is aware of the issue; Em’s been on meds prior to this visit.  But, the problem returns.  He suggests obtaining a blood sample, giving her her annual shots (which were due), refilling her heartworm and flea prevention meds, and oh, here’s a plastic tray…please get a sample of her urine.

Excuse me?

This morning bright (well, actually it was dark) and early, the whole family goes out to the backyard to obtain a pee sample from EmmaLou.  I was on leash and flashlight duty; Devoted Spouse had the little (and I do mean little) plastic tray at the ready.  Em sniffs around, squats down, I yell at Devoted Spouse, “NOW!”, he slides the tray under her and EmmaLou jumps straight up in the air taking her precious pee with her.

Take Two:  “C’mon sweetie puppy girl…pee in the cup.”  Yes, dogs can get a hateful look on their faces.  Finally she squatted again and we repeated the above exercise.  It didn’t work the second time, either.

Devoted Spouse took EmmaLou out on her morning walk, where she peed like someone who’s had their bladder stopped up for a month.  Peed all up and down the street.  Did we get a sample?  No…forgot the tray.

While running errands, I stopped in the vet’s office.  They laughed and laughed but finally agreed I could bring her up late in the day and THEY would try the little plastic tray trick.

EmmaLou and I, meanwhile, have decided we should never speak of this barbaric intrusion into her personal life again.  Sigh…

Sure, Jesus Had a Pet

DISCLAIMER:  The following may be offensive to some – no disrespect is intended.  This is just a blog, don’t get riled up about it.

I know…I tell you I’m back and then I disappear again.  This seems to be the year of the ADD blogger.  Not that I haven’t been busy with other projects, mind you.

I’m on a quest to understand my religion (Christianity).  Sometimes it’s good to shake things up a bit.  That’s when insights occur, at least in my life.  So, I’ve been studying the life of Jesus in a feeble attempt to know Him better.  Churches spend a lot of time on what we should do and hammer into us that Jesus was the Son of God, human and divine.  He had a soft spot in his heart for the poor and oppressed, the widows, children, etc.  We’ve all heard it over and over.  We have artistic renderings of a fairly white man with longish hair and a scruffy beard, wearing robes and sandals.  He’s always very clean. The pictures don’t look much like a middle eastern man, but what do I know about art?

I have my own picture and I don’t mean to be sacrilegious here or disrespectful in any way.  I’m just trying to get my head around what Yeshua (Jesus) was like.  There are few, if any, records of his childhood up until about 12 or so.  And then we have the story of Jesus being lost from his folks and turning up in a temple discussing life with the Rabbis.  Okay.  I know when I was 12 I was still playing with dolls, but then, I wasn’t divine either.  Oh, I had a tiara, but, oh nevermind.

After much reading on first century second Temple Jews, their culture and life, I’ve come to some conclusions myself on Jesus’ early years.  I think he was like any other kid who just wandered around in the village or community hanging out with his buds.  He probably got dirty playing some type of stick ball and Mary would yell at Him to get back into the house and wash up for supper. I wondered if she used the phrase, “Oh for Heaven’s sake, Jesus!”  Probably not.  I imagine Him with a squeaky voice prior to puberty and then that silly little wispy mustache that guys are so proud of as they mature.  We know He had lots of facial hair…it’s in all the pictures shown in Sunday School.

The bible never talks about pets.  That bothers me somewhat.  These people worked hard; they had no tv or video games for entertainment.  Oh, once a month or so the Romans might toss somebody in a lion pit and everyone would cheer, eat hot dogs and then go home.  But daily entertainment was slim.  I think they had to have had a pet or two along the way.  Maybe some families had a fish, maybe an Egyptian family transferring in brought a cat with them.  Why not have some dogs running around?

I’m thinking even Jesus as a kid had a dog of his own.  There just aren’t any stories in the bible about a boy and his dog.  I think the church fathers got together as they were discussing canon and said, “Absolutely not!  No stories about Jesus’ dog – it makes Him too human.”  The true story is they were afraid people wouldn’t understand or maybe get some of the stories twisted.  You see, Jesus did have a dog, a nasty cur He named Demon.  Demon had a bladder issue and frequently other families in the village (remember they didn’t have glass windows in their homes) would hear Jesus trying to deal with his dog’s problem by yelling “OUT, Demon, OUT!”  You know how stories are passed down through the generations.

Or maybe not…sigh…

How to Have Fun While Your Dog is Wearing the Cone of Shame or Teasing EmmaLou 101

Yes, sweet little EmmaLou, Golden Destroyer, is wearing The Cone of Shame once again due to a slight ‘ouchie’ on her muzzle that needs to heal.  I’ve made up some things to do to pass the time while she is in this contraption.  These are games she and I can play (well, sort of) that will keep her occupied and me in hysterics (I know…this is going to come back to haunt me some day).

For example, EmmaLou loves to play with her toys.  Fetch is especially fun while she’s wearing the Cone. It works like this… I pick up one of her toys.  EmmaLou races over to me.  I throw the toy behind her.  She spins around and smacks whatever piece of furniture is there with her Cone.  I fall on floor in hysterics.  She manages to get to the toy, bends down, puts the Cone over it like a giant Hoover and scarfs it up.  I laugh harder.  Then we repeat.

Another fun game takes place at the kitchen table.  EmmaLou loves to join Devoted Spouse and me for a meal.  We eat and she sits there and looks particularly pathetic in hopes we will toss a morsel her way.  Wearing the Cone makes meal time so much more fun.  EmmaLou will place herself between my chair and Devoted Spouse’s (note this is a round table).  While she’s looking toward Devoted Spouse, I’ll quietly reach around her and tap on her Cone.  She flips her head around and looks for what touched her Cone.  I shoot milk out of my nose and fall into fits of manic laughter.  Again, repeat as necessary.

Here’s a great one that anyone can play.  While EmmaLou is on the couch, reach inside the cone and tickle her ear.  Then sit back and prepare to be highly amused as she tries in vain to scratch the ear and ends up only scratching the Cone.   A fun time for all!

I have more, but you get the idea.  EmmaLou chewed one of my books the other day.  Can’t imagine why…sigh…

Does Your Trained Dog Ignore You? Meet EmmaLou the Queen of Bribery

 

Ya’ll know the Golden Destroyer, EmmaLou – her pic is my blog header most of the time; she has her own page here on this blog, and that shot up above is actually her, but in hiding one day.  EmmaLou, the well-trained pup.  Okay…not so much.

I was reading an article the other day which gave the reasons why your dog won’t pay attention to the commands you give.  I immediately perked up as I was about to learn why EmmaLou simply refuses to obey basic commands.

The article suggests your dog needs more training. More training? EmmaLou passed basic obedience with flying colors.  She did all her commands right on cue during the sessions…even to the point of staying at the door to the facility until we gave her “the release” word, then she dragged our sorry butts to the car, forgetting all she had learned in class.  I don’t recall how many weeks we went through this — practice, practice, practice, reinforce, reward, praise, praise, and then when it really mattered I would give a command and EmmaLou would look at me and I knew she was thinking:  “Have you lost your mind?  Moi Come?  Where’s my treat, dumb human?”  By the time we arrived home, EmmaLou had forgotten every command learned.  Oh yeah, more training was definitely needed.

For several months, EmmaLou had her own Dog Whisperer.  She doted on him and would do whatever he wanted.  Then he would patiently explain to me how to get her to respond to a basic command  such as “Come”.  I would try it, EmmaLou would respond properly and off the personal trainer went w/my $50 in hand.  As soon as he exited the driveway,  I would command of my pup, “Come” and EmmaLou would promptly turn her back on me and go chew a couch cushion.  Obey commands?  Not interested.  The personal trainer cost us a fortune and he did not understand why we continued to have behavior problems.  He finally decided the problem with EmmaLou was, in fact, ME.  Big mistake.  I fired his a$$ faster than he could say “Come.”   EmmaLou continued to stick out her doggie tongue at me at every opportunity but at least I was no longer paying $50 for that particular experience.

Back to the article…when you call your dog and she comes to you,  reward her. This little nugget is known as “reinforcement.”  I’ve mentioned  EmmaLou does not respond to “Come.”  She does, however, respond to “Treat,” and will come inside with that one word…reinforcement.  I must bribe my dog to return.  BTW the word “Treat” no longer works if she has already counter-surfed that night’s roasted chicken.  Then “Treat” becomes moot. 

Adding insult to injury, the article discusses “competing reinforcers” which is fancy trainer-speak for my dog has a colossal case of “Ooooh Shiny!”(or in her case “Oooooh What’s That Over There?”)  EmmaLou gets away every once in awhile; the gate may be open, the garage door up, or she rips the leash out of my hand and takes off.  How do I retrieve my retriever?  I holler at the top of my lungs….”EmmaLou, wanna go for a ride in the car?”  That dog will stop dead in her tracks leaving puppy paw skidmarks if she hears that question.  All it takes is a car ride. She returns…and off we go for a ride around the block.  Then she calmly walks back inside and with a doggie smirk on her face gives me the look.  The look that says…”You are the most pitiful excuse for an Alpha Female on the face of the planet and I can bend you to my will whenever I wish.”   Yup – competing reinforcers at work here.

Finally, the article claims I don’t understand my dog’s needs.  Not true; her needs are simple.  She has a need to be out in the backyard rolling around in dessicated chipmunk remains, or frolicking in fresh squirrel urine and rabbit poop on a regular basis.  If it smells horrid, she’s on it in a flash.  The article states I should not rush her; she may need to sniff around a little longer or search for a good bathroom spot.  Wait.  The entire backyard is one big bathroom spot.  I’m the one left standing on the porch tapping my foot while she sniffs every blade of grass.   Oh…did I mention she won’t  (repeat WON’T) go outside unless I go outside first?  It’s true…my dog won’t go pee unless I step outside first and lead the way.  We accidentally taught her that behavior  when she was just a little puppy as we thought it was cute when all of us went outside together.  She “needs” for  mom and/or dad to go out the door first, then EmmaLou will follow.  Many a day I have been on my deathbed begging her to go out alone because I’m sicker than a leper with dermatitis and will she go out?  No.   Oh, I understand her needs alright.

I’m afraid at this rate EmmaLou will never get her Good Canine Citizen Certificate.  I can accept that because EmmaLou is simply so danged cute she makes up for any and all bad behavior…it’s those big chocolate brown eyes – she had me at “Woof.” sigh…