Coffee heat rising

Ruby to the Rescue!

So we’re strolling along a sidewalk in Lower Richistan. It’s after noon, Ruby having had to wait until the Human got back from church to extract a DoggyWalk. As we approach the border of Upper Richistan, we spot a black cat up ahead. It’s messing with something on the sidewalk, presumably some prey it’s killed.

Ruby is more interested in wallowing in the neighbors’ lawns — her favorite pastime, since most yards in the po’ folks’ part of the ‘Hood are desert-landscaped, grass being something that is put out of the hoi polloi’s reach by the cost of water here. So I suggest, “Ruby! Lookit that cat. Git that cat!”

Of course she can’t get it, because she’s stuck on a leash. If I didn’t think she’d chase the thing to Yuma, I’d unhook her. But she can’t be trusted not to run out in front of a car or to follow the cat to Timbuktu. However, the cat hears me and so notices our approach, and it runs away.

I expect to find a dead bird or rat on the sidewalk. But…nay!

It’s a freaking tortoise! A little desert tortoise (endangered species!) about six or eight inches long and around five inches wide. It peeks its head out from its shell to see what the heck.

I ask a kid biking around on a neighbor’s front yard if he knows who belongs to the tortoise. He pretends not to hear me. He’s only about 10, but already his parents have trained him to recognize WT and not respond. Snobsville, and we ain’t even in Snottsdale. Hm.

Not wanting to leave the critter to amble across the roads, I pick it up.

Tortoise recoils inside his shell. Then sticks his head out, realizes he’s in the air, and sticks out his fiercely clawed little feet, which he now uses to try to force the human to unhand him.

I’m trying to figure out how to get a grip on him that’ll last long enough to carry him home, when voilà! Hustling up the sidewalk comes a tribe of dithering humans, led by a visibly distressed female.

“Have you seen a tortoise?” asks the chieftain. She’s so upset she’s almost in tears, and the males she has in tow are not in much better shape.

“You mean this one?”

They practically genuflected on the sidewalk, they were so thrilled and relieved to find their…uhm…pet.

The desert tortoise is protected by law. Fish & Game has a program where you can “adopt” a tortoise and keep it in your yard, registered and checked-on by AZ F&G. They have all sorts of regulations whereby you must house the beast. And no doubt they figured they were about to get in big trouble with Big Brother, to say nothing of losing their beloved baby.


So. Ruby saved the tortoise. And saved the day.


Lo! A Dog Emerges!

Well, lookee here! Suddenly I have a whole new dog!

Don’t know how Cassie was doing it, but she had the pup completely buffaloed. That would explain why Ruby took up residence under the toilet and, most of the time, refused to come out.

Ruby has decided it may be safe now to come out. And lo and behold! She’s turning into a dog. She’s no longer a stuffed animal into which you occasionally pour food.

One of the neighborhood kids lost a small rubber ball, which somehow made its way over the back wall. Ruby has been interested in it for awhile, but a) has had no clue what to do with a ball and b) the thing is too hard and heavy for her to maneuver even if she did know what to do with it.

Well. While I was running around town this morning, I picked up some tennis balls at the Fry’s.

It took her all of about 10 or 15 minutes to figure out what to do with one of them. Before long she was running after it and then fetching it back to me. Now she’s carried it out into the backyard.

Her vocabulary has exploded: She now knows where’s the ball??? and THERE it is! and Git it git it git it! and bring that ball and GOOOD bring that ball!

What a dawg!

I think she is going to become a Whole New Dog. By yesterday morning — before I went on the ball-search expedition — I’d noticed she was changing. She never used to sit on the doggy blanket beside my chair in the family room. Before, if I picked her up, brought her in there, and set her on the blanket, she’d get up and trot back to the toilet nest. But Tuesday evening she parked herself right at my side.

Yesterday I washed all the dog blankets and all the doggy bathroom-rug mats — started this project to get the sick-dog stink out of some of them, and then realized that washing out the Cassie perfume must help convince Ruby that Ruby can be Ruby now. Picked up an $8 bathroom rug, because a few of the remnants are past the age of laundering, and then put the re-usable ones into the washer. Ran them through two or three times with detergent and baking soda, in hopes of deodorizing them, though I’m sure that’s not 100% to the canine nose.

You know intellectually that dogs are strange. But sometimes they do amaze you.

In the aftermath of Cassie

Ruby, it appears, has noticed that Cassie has been gone for a long time. Does she suspect her pal — her packmate, her foster mother — is never coming back? Does she care?

Well, not speaking doggish, I don’t know whether she cares. I’d guess she probably notices.

But y’know, dogs are creatures of ego. By and large, the Self comes first,  unless an Other is aggressively in one’s face. And I am not very much in anyone’s face.

So far Ruby the Corgi seems unfazed. People claim that dogs grieve, but I have rarely found that to be the case, except possibly when M’hijito has gone out of town and left Charley here: when he’s not been playing with the corgis or scarfing down food, that dog will sit on the living-room floor near near the front door. When I had to put Walt the Greyhound down, I came home and sat on the floor — the very same floor — and wept for 15 minutes. Anna, a preternaturally empathetic and intelligent dog, came over and sat beside me. Little imagination would require a human to jump to the conclusion — probably a wrong conclusion — that she understood what was up and was mourning with me. But…shortly we got up and went about our business, dog and human.

Dogs seem to get over whatever mourning they do rather quickly.

Connie the Big-Rig Trucker was here for an hour or so. Ruby was thrilled to have her and climbed on the sofa to be sure she was never lonely. She wouldn’t think of climbing on the sofa when it’s just me! {sob!} 😀

When Connie left, Ruby went back to her nest under the toilet. But she decided to come out when I called her and suggested she might like to get back on the bed, which is a great deal warmer and softer than the tile bathroom floor.

The morning walk fell far short of a mile, because Ruby decided (well…and so did I) that we should go south instead of into the Richistans. This is a pleasant neighborhood but it requires traversing two cul-de-sacs and backtracking 2½ blocks to fabricate a full mile-long route. And about the time we got down to Feeder Street East/West I realized I’d forgotten to bring the poop bags. So we needed to move right along and get back to the Funny Farm quickly, before Her Dogship defiled one of the neighbor’s yards in full view of the occupant.

At the corner of Feeder East/West and Dowdy Money Lane stands Cassie’s favorite locale for defiling. This is a sprawling late mid-century modern ranch house that spreads out on a large corner lot. It has a bank of wide ceiling-to-floor picture windows along the front wall of the living room. In this house dwells a hound: a large white, tan, and black pointer. The hound keeps an eye on the world through said windows, and whenever it becomes aware of another dog, it springs into action, madly patrolling and craving to lunge through the barrier and pounce the canine intruder. Thus, said dog alerts its owner to the presence of incoming nuisances.

Cassie just loved that dog. Because…she loved to hunker down and take a dump right in front of it while it barked frantically! 😀 This meant she was often dumping in front of the owner, who of course quickly came to recognize the perps. This, to the human mind, was not very desirable, so I used to try to pass that house on the other side of the street, to avoid the persistent annoying performance.

LOL! At any rate, we did alert the pointer, but Ruby was more interested in trotting along than in making whatever statement Cassie used to make. Nevertheless, I cut the stroll fairly short because I didn’t want to leave any mounds on a neighbor’s yard. Figured to go out again this afternoon, only armed for bear (scat).

But…this afternoon it’s cold out there and raining and the wind is blowing. Not very inviting doggy-walk weather. So we’re re-ensconced atop the bed, with the heating pad again on the human’s back, spavined by days of lifting, carrying, and setting down a nearly inert 25-pound dog.

Check this out:

Zion Corgis is the breeder who produced Ruby. Is that not the cutest little gem you ever saw?

Problem is, she has a chronic, genetically mediated eye problem: dry eye. This will have to be expensively treated for the rest of her life. Looks like Lindsay is trying to get someone to take her on for ostensibly free. But it’s not exactly a give-away: she wants to be reimbursed for some of the medical bills she’s racked up on this pup, and…well…lemme tellya about extracting those prescription eyedrops every three or four months:

You can’t get that stuff from just any ordinary vet (which would be pricey enough). No. You have to go to a veterinary eye specialist, where you will be charged through the schnozzola for every refill.

This was the case when Anna the GerShep developed pannus in her old age. The eye vet announced that he had to re-examine the dog every time he dispensed permission to buy another expensive vial of eye meds. So chances are that $54 per prescription is just for the eyedrops…

😀 So what you’re really looking at there is the cutest walking vet bill you’ve ever seen.

M’hijito thinks I should speak up and try to get her. But if a retiree can’t afford an ordinary healthy dog (two thousand bucks? seriously? 😀 😀 😀 ), she sure can’t afford one that comes with a congenital eye problem requiring a specialist’s care.

Oh well. If one wants a walking vet bill, there’s always a fine German shepherd to be had: