Sunday, October 3, 2010

Going To The Dogs...

Things are looking down at the Clark household. Apparently, I'm going to need surgery for the ulcer after all. It will involve removing bone, grafting bone and welding the entire thing together with metal plates and screws. The risks are high. (If I hear one more word about amputation I'm going to gnaw the foot off myself!) Recovery time will take weeks – and I have to remain non-weight bearing.

Last time I faced this non-weight bearing situation, I propelled myself through the house on a wheelie stool. Well, wheelies, don't fail me now!

Time spent mending can be very lonely. Thankfully I have friends and family to check on me, a new manuscript to work on, and my one constant companion: Satan in a fur suit.

My Rufus came to me 6 years and 20 lbs ago (his 20 lbs, not mine!) My sister was bound and determined that I should have a shih tzu (my Chow LuLu had died the week before), and I was bound and determined to get a female. We traveled to Amish country to the only breeder who had weened pups, and sat down in the greeting room to interview for my new dog.

Out came the females. One look at me, and they uniformly ran and hid behind my buddy Claude. I felt like I had a sign over my head that blinked “dog eater” in Chinese. With a sigh, I asked the breeder if there were any males.

“You wanted a female,” she said.
“I want the right dog,” I replied.
While shaking her head, she scooped up the girls and disappeared. Moments later, she returned and held out a male, who apparently read the sign over my head and started to whine. Then... she held out a little pup who took one look at me and started to wag his tail and pump his little legs. The moment she set him on the carpet, he zoomed up to me like a wind up toy, jumped in my lap and kissed my chin.

Enter into my life one Rufus T. Firefly Clark.

Objects in photo may be less innocent than they appear

We have been inseparable ever since. Honestly. He sits against my butt on the couch, sleeps against my butt at night, HAS to come into the bathroom with me's like I've sewn a shih tzu to my ass. He learned early on that Mama falls asleep on the couch. Zippers are easy to open and Velcro is a joke. Open the right things in Mama's pocketbook and you can find her green paper collection. It makes nice confetti!!
(They say that shih tzus are the souls of monks not holy enough for Paradise. I think my little tzu use to rob the temple treasury.)

Is this all you got?

Although I thought this dog was dumb as a box of rocks for wanting to come home with me, nothing could be farther from the truth. One of the first associations he made was “Do trick – get cheese.” It was only a matter of weeks before he mastered shake, speak, sit up, and high five. ( I TOLD you he gained 20 lbs!).

Then came the biggest trick of all. I wanted him to say “Mama.” It took a while. He can only whisper it, but he definitely says “Mama.”
“Who loves you?”
Who do YOU love?”
“Who gives you cheese?”
I make him work for it.

Of course, he now uses it as a question and a criticism – just like a kid. If I drop something heavy and startle him, I get a loud “MAMA!”
“OK OK! Sorry I scared you!”
If he wants to go outside, he now taps on the door with his two front feet. “Mama?”
“Yes – you can go outside.”
...and when I had to board him for a week last year, the first night back in our own bed, he curled up against my neck, licked my cheek, and whispered “Mama” before falling asleep.

How could you NOT give him cheese?

The Rufie and Mama

So now – he will have the run of the house, and me, for over a month. It won't be long before he figures out I won't be able to catch him. Four wheels don't equal two legs in the shih tzu Olympics. However, I still hold the upper hand.

Rufus can't open the refrigerator door.

I can easily become “the Cheese Nazi.” (“So.. who's yer Mama now, Puppy Boy?”)

Surgery is in the beginning of November. I wasn't going to chance something like this during Samhain Season.

Wish me luck.

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