Saturday, June 30, 2012

Life Long Learning

I'm almost forty. My age isn't a big deal for me; I'm not one of those people that hides it or even cares. In a couple of years, give or take, I'll have been on this lovely planet for four whole decades. Why does that matter?

I feel like I should be smarter by now.

This week, I learned a couple things in spite of myself.

Right where he belongs
Monsoon, at some point this week, injured his paw. I knew it was hurting him, as even the threat of touch made his lip curl. Watching his face carefully, blocking his muzzle with my arm, I examined him and although the paw was quite swollen and obviously painful, there was no obvious external injury. That leaves us with the possibilities of a break or a sprain, and I had little choice but to wait and see how he progressed.

Over a couple days, he gradually improved. The limp became less severe, the swelling went down, and Monsoon seemed to be in a better humor overall. So I celebrated by being a huge jackass and making idiot mistakes that you'd expect from someone who just landed on this planet and had no idea what "Dog" was. When he was curled up on my bed, looking sleepy and adorable, I tried to incite him to play. He huffed a little and pulled his head away, and while it was obvious he wasn't in the mood, I decided he just needed a little encouragement. I ruffled his ears, made silly noises at him, and completely ignored what he was telling me. No eye contact, tension in his muscles, grumblings of malcontent.

No problem! I can convince him he wants to interact! When I leaned over and rubbed a hand over his rump, he snapped. He snarled, whipped around, and caught me just under the right eye. Not bad, barely broke the skin, but my dog bit me. In the face.

Because I was not listening to what he was clearly saying.

Because I decided in my infinite human wisdom that those signals didn't apply to me. He loves me so much! Surely, I thought confidently, he'll just get over his boo boo and his cranky mood and understand I want to cheer him up and make him all better.

It's pretty humbling to share this with you folks. I don't need you to point out what I did wrong; I know damn well where I failed. I don't need a lot of reassurances that Monsoon isn't a bad dog; he's not. I really don't need a lot of really well-meaning people telling me to get him to the vet ASAP; he's almost back to normal already and this is not a thyroid condition.

So why share? Because after a crying fit and hours of weepy self-recrimination and doubt and shoulda-woulda-coulda... Monsoon limped over and put his head in my lap. He pressed in close, just like the first day we met, and sighed. He kissed my tears and gave a single little wag of his tail.

I'm not new to dogs, and I read them well. I made a stupid, stupid mistake and the one who pays when people make mistakes like this is always, always the dog.

My mistake was not in bringing this goofy little scaredy pup into my home.

That, I know, was a brilliant idea. I stand by it. And Monsoon stands next to me.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

This Looks Like a Nice Spot!

Monsoon, you can't just stop walking.

I only paused for a moment to pluck a couple weeds. It wasn't a covert signal for naptime.

Look, that's not even a comfy place. There are much, much softer places in the yard, where grass is lush and there aren't as many rocks and roots. There's an acre of squishy moss!

Get up, buddy. You're little, but you're still too big to drag around like this.

"No, Mama. I'm good."