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A Chilly Monday Morning

Cochise tells the tale

It’s Monday. That means the weekend fun is over and a new work week has begun.

Last night HairyFace and NiceLady watched a race, as they often do on Sunday evening, we all ate in the living room and after dinner Blondie and I got special Sunday Treats. This time we got knotty bones. We LOVE knotty bones!

Monsters In the Basement

Cochise, Blondie
Cochise tells the tale

Horrible things are happening today! There are demons in the walls and monsters under the floors. I MUST escape the house to go and chase them away! WHY won’t HairyFace let me OUT!? What could he be thinking? It’s my JOB to keep everyone safe from monsters, postmen, and stray cats!

Monsters in the Basement from Doug Bittinger on Vimeo.

If this won’t play on your device, try it at YouTube.

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Cochise’s Kerfuffle

A few days ago Lancelot and Cochise had some sort of kerfuffle. I have no idea what it was about: they were outside, I was washing dishes. They have always been fine together before. I heard a dog yelp: it sounded like The Chief, I rushed out to see what was going on, but Cochise was already trotting up the ramp to the back door…dripping blood from a bite mark on his snout.

CochiseI cleaned the wound and squeezed some vitamin E into it. It didn’t look to be bad, but he milked it for all it was worth: insisting on having his favorite snuggle bed brought to the living room near me and a blanket hot from the dryer. And the space heater: he wanted the space heater too.

Blondie Bear came in and spent a good deal of time licking his owies for him and snuggling up next to him.

When Lance finally came in, his tail was tucked and his head hung low as he peered at me through his eyebrows; if he looked at me at all. He has been sleeping in another room during the day and the boys have been avoiding one another for days.

One Chilly Morn

ShareThis It is bitter cold this morning. Of course that is “bitter cold” for Tennessee, other places might find this a pleasant respite. Or maybe not: Billings Montana is showing 34° this morning!

Blondie dozingWhen I got up: around 4:00 AM, Blondie followed me out to the living area and curled up in the small snuggle bed to doze. She was not sleeping soundly because if I got up to get coffee or retrieve a book her eyes would pop open and track me until I settled into my chair once again. She didn’t move otherwise, but she was monitoring me while I studied.

Blondie bathroom monitorWhen I’d head down the hall to the bathroom she’d hop up and follow. She sat outside the door, then follow me back to the living area and her snuggle bed when I turned again to my books.

Cochise on Rainy Days and Feet Cleaning

As I explained above, I don’t like rainy days. I especially dislike thunderstorms, but even drizzly, gray days like today are a serious bummer for all of us. I don’t like getting my feet wiped with a towel, but at least I’m cooperative. When Doug says, “Give me a foot” I lift a foreleg so he can wipe it off with a towel. Then he asks for the other foreleg, and I give it to him. I make him lift the hind feet, but I try not to fight him: he’s going to win anyway.

Blondie has a different technique: she struggles. She fusses and refuses to cooperate and it can take quite a while to get her cleaned up. Especially since she likes to tromp through the mud. I avoid mud, stay to the grassy areas: my feet may get wet but I rarely get muddy.

Lancelot has a style all his own. When Doug picks up Lance’s first foot, he just flops over on his side, saying, “Here they are, all four of them, do what you will. I’m just happy to be able to come inside.” He’s a funny one, Lance is.


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Dogs and Go Get Help

get help
Kind of short for a cape isn’t it?

We all occasionally hear stories about dogs that do amazing things to get help when their owner or a family member is in a serious fix. The TV series, Lassie, was filled with such rescues. So much so that “Timmy fell down the well” has become a colloquialism and occasional gag. But real-life instances do occur and are no joke. Here is one such story:

Cochise Calls Me Out to Get Help

It was a crisp but sunny November day. Blondie and Cochise were out in the fenced play yard. Cochise, being our Chief of Homeland Security often barks at something or other: wandering animals, loud cars, the horrible school bus monster. The UPS truck sends him into a frenzy, I have no idea why. I heard him barking but there was something different: the tone was not his normal “I’m going to get you” bark, it was more of an “Alert, alert” bark. And he was out back of the house, not over in the yard. I went to the bedroom to see what he was barking at. Maybe it was a deer in the woods or a turkey; both were plentiful that year.

I parted the curtains, expecting to see him barking up the mountain slope toward the woods that start about 50 feet behind the house. Instead he was facing the window, looking squarely at ME as he barked. The look in his eyes matched the tone of his bark… something was wrong. He had come to get help. I rushed out the back door. Cochise was peeking around the corner. When he saw me he turned and ran.

Cochise’s Monster

It was November 1st. Yesterday’s rain had turned to snow: we had a couple of inches on the ground when I got up just before 5:00.

Blondie-Cochise warder-offers of monstersNormally Cochise gets up when I do and comes out to keep me company in the living room where I will study for an hour or so. Not today. It’s cold this morning and he decided to stay in his warm bed. I couldn’t blame him.

I lit a fire in the fireplace to chase away the chill and settled in to read. In a while Cochise decided to come lay in front of the fire.

I heard a sound. To me it sounded like snow falling off the roof to the ground with a “fwoomp”. Cochise jumped up and ran through the house barking: “Monster, monster! There’s a great beast outside: I must go scare away the monster. Let me out!”

Still in Infirmary Mode

infirmary monitors

Cochise tells the tale

It is chilly and rainy today: a great day to stay in, snuggle up, and light a little fire in the fireplace … just to take the chill off.

We are still in infirmary mode: NiceLady is doing a little better but still feeling pretty poorly, so Blondie and I are taking care of her. HairyFace helps us with those little tasks that require thumbs.

All of us dogs did go out this morning despite the rain. I surprised Hairy a little by staying out quite a while, sniffing the trees and bushes and generally patrolling the yard. Having a real yard to patrol instead of just a 25 foot arc around the front porch is much more motivating even in wet weather. And it was just a drizzle, had it been pouring, I’d have stayed in.

Advantages of a Mentor Dog

Cochise Mentor dogIn previous posts I have talked about Dolly and her amazing ability to nurse, mother and mentor other dogs who have come into or though our home. We lost a really good one when she passed away. But Cochise, who was a paduan learner of hers, has stepped into the void and has proved immeasurably helpful with the dozens of foster dogs that have come here for recovery, socialization and training.

Because we are not dog “trainers” we do not get into the advanced stuff: we focus first on civilized behavior and socialization, then a few basic commands like “sit”, “come” and “shake”, then we get into housebreaking.

The first lesson for any dog is that I am the head honcho, the giver of food, the dispenser of affection, the praiser of good dogs. I share that role with Marie, but since I am the one who is here full time, they see me as the primary honcho: Marie is co-honcho. Then we make sure they recognize Cochise as The Big Dog.

Windy Play Day

Cochise talks about
Cochise tells the tale

We all had a good play time this morning. I was running with The Boys: that made HairyFace happy. He wants me to do more running.

It’s part of my job to be Playground Monitor, so when they’d start getting too rowdy I’d come galloping by, practically side-swiping them, and get them to chase me. And they would. The three of us would run like a little freight train all over the place until one of them (usually Drake) got tired and lost interest. Then we’d all wander around panting for a while.

Smokey always got stoked up again first. That boy has tons of energy! Sometimes Drake would go lean against Hairy’s legs and say “Save me from him, I’m tired!” One time Drake and Smokey ganged up on me and wore me out so I had to go to HairyFace for salvation. That made him laugh, but he shooed them away.

I’m big and I’m powerful, and I’m faster than any of them, but I run out of steam sometimes. Because I came down with a thyroid condition, it’s been a long time since I’ve had the desire to run. Now that I’m on medication I feel much better and am ready to resume my duties. But I’m overweight. Running will take care of that.

Yesterday was not such a nice day as today. It was a windy day, but we managed to have some fun. anyway: