One of the reasons why I try to stay on top of trimming the dogs' toenails is because they tap dance when they need to go outside, and since Scrappy and Midge are getting older, they just can't plan ahead, so the frequency and the urgency of their tap dancing has increased, and listening to it makes me a little crazy... especially when I'm trying to sleep.
Midge recovered from her stomach illness, but the original problems I took her in to see the vet about still are not resolved. She has a large, hard tumor on her back that did not go away after taking antibiotics. I told the vet it was a tumor, but she treated it for being an open wound. I understand, because it's more urgent to get any infection under control, but I feel like the whole process is getting dragged out by handling one issue at a time. It's hard to get people in the medical profession to consider that the patient's time or the patient's owner's time are valuable too. Midge is also growing a tumor on her belly where she was bleeding from her teat. She's overdue for her vaccinations and we were waiting for her to get better before giving them to her, but I suspect she won't be getting better. Right now her appetite is good, she's walking fine, and she doesn't seem to be in pain, so I don't want to put her to sleep.
Scrappy's incontinence issue is better, but I am keeping him in diapers anyway, because I nearly killed myself cleaning the floors over and over these past few weeks, and I need to get a life. I actually pulled my calf muscle in the process, and every bone in my body ached from so much physical labor. Also, there are plenty of times when I can't just drop what I'm doing to take Scrappy outside, and he's way too old to be able to hold it. The diapers give me peace of mind. I know I'll have to do laundry, because they are washable diapers, but at least I won't have to be mopping, scrubbing, steam vaccing, and vacuuming repeatedly to get breathable air back into the house.
What astounds me is how that dog always picks the worst possible times to wake up and realize that his bladder is full. When I wake up in the morning, my bladder is full too, but I have to race my dog to the bathroom in order to get some relief. Sometimes I can hold it while I take him outside, other times he's tap dancing outside the bathroom door. It's when he stops tap dancing that I have to worry. I wish I could pee, brush my teeth, and brush my hair before having to take Scrappy out in the morning, because sometimes I run into my neighbor, and I don't like having bed head, morning breath, and full bladder when that happens. But the older Scrappy gets, the more activities I have to cut out of my morning routine. I can't live my life until Scrappy goes back to sleep, and then I have to live it quietly.
Right now, taking care of the horses is almost an afterthought. I get to it when I can get to it. Thankfully, they are patient animals... sometimes... when they are not kicking their water troughs and banging their feed barrels to get my attention.
I've learned not to make meals that have to be eaten while hot or while cold, because as soon as I sit down to eat, tippy tap tippy tap tippy tap tap tap. Finishing a cup of coffee is all in vain. I've mostly switched to power drinks and vitamins to get my energy, but even making it through a bag of vitamins or a can of turbo soda in one sitting is nearly impossible.
Don't even ask me about going to the bathroom throughout the rest of the day. I can't tell you how many times I've had to cut it short because a dog needed to go outside and simply could not wait. Basically, anytime I try to get up to go do something for myself, they sense that the air has been stirred, and they wake up with full bladders.
Tippy tap tippy tap tippy tap tap tap.
The other habitual times that the dogs insist on going out are right when I'm naked and just got out of the shower, and right after I fall asleep. It would be nice to get all of the dogs in full diapers so that I can take care of myself for once. Most days I'm not even properly dressed, because I just have to throw on whatever is within reach, or I forget to do my hair and walk around all day with a rat's nest on my head. I rarely get to wear make up. My husband has to be home to handle the dogs for me to get that luxury. As I write, I'm hearing...
...tippy tap tippy tap tippy tap tap tap.
But I must tell you about Scrappy's washable diapers. They are amazing. They are essentially belly bands for male dogs, and the underneath part is like the most absorbent sanitary napkin you will ever find. I actually did not even know that he peed in it the first few times. The only way I knew was that I noticed that the diaper seemed to be getting heavier, so I compared it to the weight of a brand new one that hadn't been worn. I realized that he must have peed in his diaper 2 or 3 times, because it weighed three times as much as the unused diaper. Not a single drop was spilled, even when I hung it open in my hand and shook it. They are made by a company called Wegreeco.
I read somewhere that dog diapers help people spend more time with their pets. I interpreted that as meaning that either people kick their dogs outside when they are incontinent, or they put them to sleep. I just can't put an animal to sleep unless it isn't eating, is in pain, or can't walk. That's kind of the criteria I go by. But, at the same time, I know that I won't get my life back until these two older dogs pass away, mainly because this house has never been set up to keep little dogs outside, so I have to take them for walks. It's kind of like living with dogs in an apartment. They have an outdoor kennel, but coyotes and bobcats can easily scale it. We tried keeping it covered for shade and protection from the wildlife, but the high winds would pick the entire kennel up like a kite and blow it across our yard. Then my husband would have to bend it back into shape so that the door would open and close.
I had previously said that I could put the dogs in the laundry room or bathroom, but I forgot that the last time I tried that, they ripped the cords and vents out from behind the washer and dryer, and they chewed up the cabinetry. So, no, I can't put them in one room with a tile floor. Every solution creates new problems. I'd rather be scrubbing the carpet than replacing appliances and cabinetry. So, the diapers seem to be the best solution at the moment.
We had quite a downpour over the three days before Christmas. The news said that our city got a third of an inch, and we realized that we were in some kind of special pocket where the rain clouds congregated, because we got several inches of rain. The ground is still saturated. The peaks of the mountains closest to us were dusted with snow, and another mountain range further off was completely covered in snow. We've had icy arctic winds that call for earmuffs and gloves. I'm remembering what it was like to live in the Eastern Sierra. I haven't felt this cold in a long time. I've been wearing my heaviest winter coat, and it's not enough to keep the cold out.
This year has totally sucked when it comes to having horseback riding weather. It's gone to two extremes. We had six months straight of triple-digit temps, and now we may as well be living in Canada. I was going to say Alaska, but there are more Canadians who read this blog, and they can appreciate the challenges of extreme cold. At least I'm not having to shovel snow to get to my truck, and scrape ice off my windshield every morning.
Hang on... I've got to take the dogs outside. Take an intermission.
One of of the problems that comes along with the rain is that the dogs don't want to walk on wet dirt, so they start peeing and pooing on the driveway and walkways, which leaves me no place to walk, so I have to drop everything I'm doing to clean it up. I'm trying to yank them away from the concrete and flagstone, but then they think I'm correcting them for the action, not the location of the action, and they just refuse to go to the bathroom for as long as they can hold it. It's a no-win situation, because when they can't hold it anymore, they are usually standing over a carpet.
Stewie hasn't been without his challenges too. He's been refusing to eat his breakfast and refusing to go to the bathroom unless Midge goes outside with him and goes to the bathroom first. He also senses when she has to go to the bathroom and responds by pouncing on her and biting her ear repeatedly. Then when I finally get her on a leash to take her out, Stewie blocks her from being able to walk. Every minute of my day is spent training dogs unsuccessfully. I wonder if there is a local dog trainer who knows how to train blind and deaf dogs who can't control their bladders and bowels, and ADHD dogs. Midge's diarrhea is gone, but she still can easily poop 3 or 4 piles in one three-minute period. I've talked to the vet about this, and there's nothing she can do to help, but at least we have an agreement to keep her off the high fiber prescription dog foods. That makes my life somewhat easier.
The other day I hadn't cleaned up manure in 18 hours, between 5:00 PM and 11:00 AM, and I counted 46 piles of manure that I had to pick up. It turned out that my husband had been giving the horses just a little more hay to keep them occupied during the rain storms when they had to be locked in their stalls, but apparently it was enough to make them poop a lot more. So, my life pretty much revolves around poop right now.
The bunnies have been in hibernation during the storms. I actually hadn't seen Charity in over two weeks and figured the coyotes got her. They've been super active lately and keeping us awake at night. However, this morning all the bunnies came out with the sun, and one of them acted like it could have been Charity, except that it had a scar over its eye and it was afraid of me. It came when I called, and then started hopping around happily near me. Charity used to get the fitz when I'd talk to her in my friendly voice, bouncing all over the place, and that's what this bunny did. Then when I offered it some food, it hopped up to about three-feet from me, but wouldn't get any closer. Charity would have hopped right up and ate out of my hand while I petted her, so I don't know if this bunny was her, and she had some kind of trauma that made her not trust me, or if it was a different bunny.
On Christmas day, my husband called out to me that there were a bunch of people in our backyard. We had company over, and didn't want to have to deal with trespassers. I looked out the window to see four people all lined up on the cliff of the arroyo staring at our house. My husband went out on the porch and yelled to them that they were on private property. All they did was wave to him and continue to stand there staring. He came back in the house feeling frustrated. We don't know if they couldn't hear him or if they chose to ignore him.
He came up with the idea of putting some posts in on the side of the cliff (although I doubt we'll find many places to dig, because it's mostly rock up there) and strapping some plastic canvas with holes across the posts with a sign that reads, "Erosion Control". Maybe that would get people to think twice about going up and down that hill. Nothing else we have tried has worked. They ignore "Private Property -- No Trespassing" signs. They step right over cholla balls and tree branches. They just act friendly and innocent when we chew them out. And who wants to chew out trespassers on Christmas day? I suspect they count on that, because groups of people always take walks in our backyard on Christmas day every year. It's like a tradition to them. I've learned to never attempt to ride my horses in my backyard on holidays, because that's when all the neighbors have company over and go for walks. All I can figure out is that these people come from places where there is no distinction between private and public land. Or maybe there is that distinction, but social norms deem it necessary for land owners to be welcoming to uninvited strangers. I come from a neighborhood where anyone who entered a backyard without permission would be shot.
One neighbor up the street must have been having problems with trespassers recently, because he put this really long pole across his driveway with a huge sign that reads "Beware of Dog". Maybe somebody got attacked by his dog. Anyway, I said to my husband, we need a sign that reads "Beware of Dog Poop".
People have been super annoying over the holidays. Besides the trespassing, we've got people working on vehicle engines, revving them repeatedly, racing ATVs around in the streets and in their yards. There's one man who lives up on the hill at an angle from me, and he can go in circles for hours on end. His ATV backfires every few seconds and we can hear it right through our walls. Then there are these two little kids who race an ATV right up to our backyard and turn around repeatedly. There are lot of winter visitors doing the same thing in golf carts and jeeps. People have free time, so they spend it joy riding. I can't wait for the price of gasoline to go up again, because that really helps to cut back on all the cruising that happens around here. The roads are so crowded this time of year that I wish people could stay off them unless they have pertinent business. This aimless driving is so disruptive. People who need to get to work can't get there because of all the bored snowbirds and vacationers who are site-seeing and just farting around. Every time we go somewhere, we almost get hit by someone who is not paying attention.
There's this intersection in town where people have to make a left into the right-hand lane in order to make an immediate right into the driveway of the pharmacy. All the locals know never to make a right into that right-hand lane when the left arrow is green, because the driveway comes up so fast that there's no time to make a left into the left-hand lane, put on your turn signal, get into the right-hand lane, and then turn right. If you tried to do it that way, someone behind you would cut you off. Anyway, there all these non-local drivers who keep turning right on the red while the left turners have a green arrow, and it's causing all kinds of problems at that intersection. I need to get all of my prescriptions on mail order so I can avoid that.
I think someone got a gun for Christmas, because I could hear them doing target practice in their yard, which is illegal. It makes me worry for my horses' safety when idiots do that. I don't feel comfortable being outside when someone is learning how to shoot. Somebody definitely got wind chimes for Christmas, and they must be huge, because they are so ridiculously loud. Even when the ATVers and gun shooters take a break, I still can't enjoy silence because of those dang wind chimes. Fortunately, its not always windy around here. It it were, I might have to steal those chimes and leave behind some money to cover the cost of my peace and quiet.