Wednesday, September 15, 2010

family: ...all i want to do...

... is sleep sleep sleep...

Just one more example of why I love my wife.

Our dog, the "Beast" of the title of this blog*, is a Labrador. Which is another way of saying that she likes to eat. She. Likes. To. Eat. A. Lot.

Rare photo of the Beast not eating
(she's thinking about it, I promise)

Once she found and chewed open a bottle of Ibuprofen so we took her to the vet to have her stomach pumped. They had me leave her there, and when I went to pick her up the lab tech brought her out to me. She was all smiles (the beast), tail wagging high. The tech told me they'd cleaned her out and had her eat charcoal to absorb any of the toxins she might otherwise have gotten. A woman standing near by with her small lap-dog in her arms opened her eyes in amazement. "How did you get her to eat that?" The tech looked at her and said with a shrug, "She's a lab. We put it in a bowl." I laughed because I understood exactly what she meant.

When we have to give the Beast a pill, we just hold it out like a treat, and she eats it. Like a treat.

We know she's not well when she's not eating.

All of which may seem beside the original point of this post, but it's not.

We're in the heart of pear season right now, with a good crop on our aging tree. (Apparently, in spite of the lack of a real summer around here, pears did well this year.) And the Beast likes pears. Among nearly every other food. (She eats raspberries off the bush like a grazing bear in huckleberries, unfortunately eating them just before they are human-ripe. She'll eat green tomatoes off a bush until she gets sick. Needless to say, all our garden crops are isolated behind multiple electrified barbed-wire fences!)

Beast and Bug
(harvesting raspberries)

She jumps into the air to pick pears off the tree. Before we got her there were branches down as low as 4 feet off the ground. After she figured out the tree had something she might want to eat, I trimmed the branches to somewhere around 6.5 feet up. High enough, I thought.

But I was wrong. She'll spend hours under the tree, leaping to try to grab a pear. And when there are no pears within reach, she'll grab a branch in her mouth and pull, letting it go as she plummets to the ground, watching all the while to see if she managed to shake any pears loose. (This dumb dog isn't that dumb!)

Catching some air
(and a pear or three)

She's getting older now, 9 years older than when we first got her at 1yo, and she can't jump as high or for as long. She'll sometimes stand under the tree trying to will a pear to fall, groaning in frustration and her lost athleticism.

(you're feeling very ripe....)

She's also losing her hearing, at least a bit, and I can sometimes call to her multiple times before she turns and sees me.

But, in the dead of night, during pear season, she sleeps with one ear turned toward the bedroom window, and seems to have no problem hearing a falling pear. Which results in her getting up out of bed and coming over to our bed to stand softly whining as though she's remembered some crucial bit of email she forgot to answer. Or as if she badly needs to go out. Which she does. But not for reasons for which I'm willing to get up out of bed at 11.30p or 12.09a or 2.43a or 3.51a. Yet, after 5 to 15 seconds of dog breath in my face, I'm usually haul myself up and stomp downstairs after her (she rushes ahead, excited about her upcoming snack), cursing the day we ever thought about getting a dog.

Last night I got up at least 3 times (that I remember). After a hard paddling workout. And before needing to get up at 4a to get out the door by 5a. By the second time I was fuming. By the third (at 3.42a, remember, I'm getting up at 4a), I could feel my head ready to explode. I finally got up at 3.53a, swearing and pushing my way out past the milling dog. I think I might have even kissed M goodbye before I left the room. As I was fantasizing kicking the dog.

Later, she called me at work to see how I was doing.

M: You must be tired.
me: I am. Sorry for being so stressed out last night. I know it's awful to be trying to sleep next to someone who's all tensed up.
M: Oh, it wasn't too bad.
me: Why'd we get a dog again? All she wanted was to run outside and look for pears. Why'd we want a pear tree?
M: We didn't plant the pear tree.
me: No, but we haven't cut it down either! I swear I thought my head was going to explode, I was so worked up!
M: (sudden snort of laughter).
me: Uh...
M (still laughing): That wouldn't be good. Think of the mess it would make.
me: Uh.... no, but... (starting to laugh too)

At which point we both began laughing insanely.

See, she laughs at me, but in a way that has me laughing with her. And that's why I love my wife! She helps me laugh at things that otherwise would have me stewing and steaming. Thank you, M! (even though, as I recall, it was your idea to get a dog in the first place!)

* "Bug" is K. And here they are, Beast and Bug:

(seeing eye-to-eye)

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