Thursday, January 10, 2013

Can A Dog Have 9 Lives Like A Cat?

I really want to know, can dogs have 9 lives like a cat? Miss Daisy Dog, 16, suffering from infirmities of old age, is nearly blind and deaf, arthritic, skinny, beginning stages of renal failure, and incontinent. (My sisters says I should throw in dementia, too.) Even so, when she went missing last night I became a puddle of tears. We have a fenced in backyard, but when the ice is covering the wooden steps it is very treacherous for a blind, deaf, arthritic, skinny, and incontinent dog. Since the big snowstorm December 20 (minus the week of Miss Daisy's free round trip to Texas), I have been letting her out the front door to do her business. Mostly she pees and poos on the sidewalk about 16 inches from the front door. I never let her go out unassisted and unsupervised. Last night while I was in class, the older nephew, who shall remain nameless to protect the clueless, let Miss Daisy out, closed the door, and forgot about her. For like an hour. In the freezing cold. When he finally remembered her, she was gone. He and a neighbor spent the next 1 1/2 hours looking for her until he finally called me to say the dog was missing.  I went berserk. Several neighbors rallied along with my two sons, sister, niece and her posse to look for Miss Daisy until after midnight. I called the Marion police.  Yes, they will take the call (not 9-1-1) and description to BOLO for missing dogs. I called the Humane Society and the city's Animal Control and left messages. And I made up a flyer to post on all the neighborhood community mailbox stations.  I canceled my teaching job for the next day knowing that there was no way I could face 1st graders without breaking into tears.  This morning the nephews stayed an arm's length away and strangely quiet. The younger nephew had lost one of his shoes. Tough, I told him, wear your snow boots all day. Or go barefoot. He chose the snow boots. I was not in a good mood. But the Animal Control called me at noon when they opened and asked me to describe Miss Daisy which fit the description of the shivering dog that a Mr. David Brown found by the dumpster near his apartment about 3 blocks away. He took my poor dog in for the night and called Animal Control and left a message as I did. So my dog is back here at my side, snoring peacefully. And I will wrap it up by passing the words of wisdom one of the neighbors told me before Daisy was found.  "Take it easy on the boys, especially the teenager, because their brains are not fully developed yet," she told me.  Strangely, that did help calm me down.

I will now chronicle some of the other close calls of Miss Daisy Dog.  In her younger, jumpier days, she used to chase cars. She also chased squirrels and deer. Not sure what she would have done with a deer if she caught one. She never had a chance with the squirrels although she was good a pointing and howling to let us know she got one up the tree. Thank goodness she never caught a car. That would have ended badly. 

Then there was the time years ago when my sister-in-law brought over a plate a brownies. A huge heaping plate of brownies. We left them on the kitchen island figuring the cat wouldn't mess with them. We went to a restaurant and when we came home, the empty plate was on the island. I asked my son who had arrived home before us, "Did you eat all the brownies????"  He told us he found the empty plate on the floor so he put it on the island. Oh, no.  Rat terriers are known for having springs on their feet and she sprang up to the bar stool to the counter.  Poor dog spent the night locked in the basement bathroom ridding herself of the chocolate brownies from both ends. We never left food on the island again. Except that time we had a birthday cookie. She even wrangled the plastic covering off before devouring half the cookie. 
Same story when other son left chocolate mints in his bedroom. He said they were on the desk. I think they were on the floor, but I guess if a dog can get on kitchen island she can climb a desk. This time she smelled mintier as she rid herself of the toxic chocolate. 

I managed to keep her safe while living in Mexico, amazingly enough. Her closest call came in Texas. I rarely opened the front door, but one day about 5 years ago I had a furniture delivery. It is was totally my fault for not securing Miss Daisy Dog by locking her in the bedroom. She zoomed out the door and made a beeline for the neighbor's husky that was tied up on the property line. I didn't know the husky was there. I'd still like to know why the neighbors thought it was OK to stake the dog on the property line. The attack happened on my yard. Puffing up her neck hair and yapping shrilly to show off her small dog bravado, Miss Daisy thought she could show she was the boss of her own yard. The husky nearly made a minced meat sandwich out of Daisy.  Two surgeries and $1500 later for the neck and stomach wounds, she still has a hernia protruding from her abdomen. The vet said Miss Daisy was very, very lucky to have survived the attack. 

Now I feel bad about being angry with the nephews. My initial anger was a knee-jerk reaction to the fear of losing beautiful Miss Daisy Dog. But Daisy has had a few close calls over the years, so I have screwed up a time or two or three. I'm sorry I was hard on you both. But if either of you call my dog ugly again and claim it doesn't matter because she can't hear you just one more time, I will put you both outside and forget about you.