We had an hour and 45 minute delay on a flight with Josie. A really lovely woman gave us a beautiful fleece throw for Josie: Christmas-themed, with dogs on it. What a sweet, generous thing to do! We missed our connecting flight, so Josie used it as a bed in our motel room.
Until you’ve owned a 3.5 pound dog, you don’t appreciate how often you need to get it off the ground. I’m not saying you shouldn’t walk your dog. Obviously you should walk your dog. But there are times when there are reasons not to. Rather than ramble on about how people don’t ask parents why they have their kid in a stroller, I’m just going to list some of these reasons.
- You’re in a crowded area (such as a Farmer’s Market), and you don’t want your dog to get stepped on. Because that could kill it.
- The ground is dirty/muddy/full of chemicals, and you don’t want your tiny dog licking all that crap off her paws and burdening her organs with toxins. Because that could kill her.
- You’re in an area where you know there may be big dogs off leash. Because they could kill her (even by trying to play).
- You’re in an area where coyotes may come out of the bushes. (Do I need to say it?)
- After a walk, you’re going to a store where they wouldn’t want the dog on the ground, but it’s too hot to leave your dog in the car. Usually store people won’t say “boo” if you’re wearing your dog.
- Hot pavement.
Another thing people like to joke about is how unhappy Chihuahuas (in particular) look when they’re in a purse. Here’s the thing: all Chihuahuas have “resting boredom face”. If you see a Chihuahua with a big open grin on it’s face, it’s because that dog is warm. Like many animals, Chihuahuas’ mouths naturally turn down when they’re closed. Ever seen a rabbit look overjoyed?
It’s the same principle. In addition, Chihuahuas squint to show pleasure and affection. The combination of downturned mouth and squinty eyes makes them look bored and unhappy, when they’re actually content.
Finally, many people don’t understand the temperament of companion dogs. These aren’t shepherding dogs. They don’t long to dig, or retrieve, or run, or fight. They were bred to love humans to an extraordinary degree, and all they want is to be with you. That kind of love is like the best drug in the world. Until you experience it, you don’t understand the impulse to have it everywhere, and that includes the post office. Especially the post office.
One final thing. A dog that is relaxing in a sling or purse, not making any noise or attempting to get out? That’s a well-behaved dog.
Musette got her teeth cleaned yesterday. Being an older cat, she had two extractions (one a resorptive lesion).
I opted to have the vet give her injections of an antibiotic and painkiller, rather than having to grab her sore mouth and pill her.
At five, I brought Musette home. Joe took the carrier into a bedroom and shut the door while I got some wet food ready. It had been almost 24 hours since she’d eaten, and Musette loves her food.
I came upstairs, little dish in hand. “Can I open the door?”
Sounds of a struggle. “Just a sec. Okay.”
I opened the door. Joe was holding Musette, who was growling and struggling to get downstairs to her feeder.
“Here, here!” I put the dish in front of her. She inhaled the food and calmed down. I petted her, and she purred and rubbed her chin on my hand. “Wow, look at her eyes,” I said. “They’re still completely dilated.”
Josie, our Chihuahua, came upstairs.
“You could give Musette a kiss,” I suggested. “That might make her feel better.”
Josie edged closer, peered into Musette’s face, then edged away. No thanks. She looks crazy.
We gave Musette more food and shut her in.
After watching TV for about an hour, I went upstairs and checked on her, expecting her to be more normal. Instead, she was even weirder – craning her neck, walking a few steps, then suddenly lying down and purring. Also, her pupils were still enormous. I got my cell phone and shone a light in her eyes. No reaction.
I went downstairs. “She seems more unstable if anything,” I said to Joe. “Let me see what the post-surgery instructions say.” I read for a moment. “Ah. The painkiller they gave her is morphine. She’s tripping balls.”
Joe switched off the TV. “The great thing about pets is that you can give them really addictive drugs. It’s not like they can get more.”
“You know, children’s movies show animals breaking into the pound to rescue friends or whatever. Why not make one where they break into a veterinarian’s office and steal all the narcotics? Do you think Quentin Tarantino has ever wanted to make a kid’s movie?”
“Fear and Loathing in PetSmart.”
“Trainspotting with Spot.”
“The Incredible Drug-Fueled Journey.”
I’m happy to say Musette was completely normal the next morning. Call us, Quentin.
Josie passed the first part of her therapy-dog assessment yesterday. It took place at a hardware store, and showed how she reacts to strangers and also how well she minds me. Next week we go to a “memory care” facility.
Here she is, studying hard.