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Thursday, February 25, 2010


jolene chews ice

Another good day to stay indoors. Slight dusting of snow in the night, just enough to see in the leaves on the ground in moonlight. Isn't it nice when a forecast for multiple inches of snow turns out to be barely enough to notice. Now it's 18 and the temperature never reached 30 today. Cold last night. Cold again tonight. TarBaby has spent the entire winter indoors. His coat never thickened this year. He didn't get acclimatized to this winter. He'd have gone out a few times if the dogs hadn't been here.

It looks like the dogs are here to stay, which I'm in agreement with. A dog is good protection for a house, keeps the wild beasts away from the house. Keeps rambling dogs away too. Since Aster the dog died, TarBaby has taken the role on his shoulders of protector. I've seen it be a stress on TarBaby. Just about all the wild four-leggeds are bigger than a cat. He can't deal with dogs. It was more than he could handle without stress. I've noticed since Martha and Jolene have been here every day, TarBaby feels a degree of comfort. He likes to meet them, nose to nose, but they're young dogs prone to continuous excitement. Both dogs explode in their excitement and TarBaby ducks back inside the house. They don't want to attack TarBaby. They want to play chase the cat.

I saw a cartoon by Dan Piraro. The scene is a public park of lawn and some trees, a park bench with a man and woman sitting at either end of it. A fence with a gate, and a sign, Dog Park. Dogs are running around on the lawn playing chase. One of the running dogs is a kid in an outfit like doggy pajamas. The woman on the bench says to the man, "The kids' playground just doesn't tire him out enough, so I dress him like a dog and bring him here." To see some of his other humor that is every bit off the wall as this one is, It just struck me funny, the kid playing chase with the dogs.

I went out for a short walk this afternoon in blowing snow crystals, the kind that sting when they hit the face, each about the size of a pixel. It was colder than I cared to be out in for very long, unless I had to. Martha and Jolene played chase all around me all the time, Martha never stopped, would run under Jolene, jump at me and then wiggle like a worm to keep from bumping me before she lands, and she manages to twist her momentum away from me. This is what I'm trying to teach them at this time when they're too rowdy to train, and it's working. Both have strong impulse to jump on me. I push their feet aside and tell them, Feet on the ground. I've stiff-armed them until I don't have to do that any more.

I've discouraged running into my legs while I'm walking, and jumping on me. When Martha is behind me, she wants to ride right up on my back legs, so I've taken to raising my heels in back with each step, telling her to keep back. It works. It only takes once or twice. Not that she gets hurt. She gets it. Jolene was dancing around me and I've taken to walking firm-footed when they're jumping around, pushing them away when they run into me. They both have learned. They run all around my legs, but they never touch my legs or feet any more. Once, Jolene jumped up in front of me and just happened to put a foot under my foot as it was stepping down. It didn't hurt her, because I caught my weight on the heel of that foot when we made contact, but she got it. I want them to stay away from my feet and legs. They can jump and run and tumble all they like, just stay away from my legs and feet.

I've seen these sister dogs for awhile now and have come to know them fairly well. Both look at me with puppy dog eyes beaming with love. They're both the size they're going to be, maybe, but they still have puppy dog rowdiness. I enjoy watching them. They go at it all out. Martha is about half the size of Jolene and tough as a knot. Martha was so wide open she often tumbled down the bank, or she'd jump on Jolene and end up on her back on the ground. One quick jerk and she's on her feet. Circling Jolene, jumping over her back, running under her, biting at Jolene's legs, Jolene twisting around trying to keep up with Martha who was all over and around her like a hyper-active snake. Sometimes Jolene would get Martha down on the ground and when she let loose, Martha would explode into the air and run so fast and low to the ground she drags her belly, ears back, black eyes sparkling.

I've been watching the relationship between the 2 sisters. There's no question that Jolene is dominant, and they've already done the fighting to establish it. The first day Jolene came over here to see Martha, after Martha had been coming over for a month or so, Martha attacked Jolene with ferocity every time Jolene approached me. She'd pin Martha to the ground on her back, Jolene's open mouth over Martha's neck. It's just holding her down to stop her. The moment she lets her go, Martha springs into action, 0 to 30 in 2 seconds, running a circle, flopping her ears straight back, watching Jolene approach me, turning and jumping at Jolene in a flying bump to steer her away from me, teeth at Jolene's neck trying to get a hold through the hair. Martha's mouth isn't big enough to get a grip on Jolene's neck. To the mailbox and back, Martha relentlessly fought Jolene every time she came near me. Sometimes they were growling and snarling, sometimes a yelp from Martha. And Jolene never stopped aiming for me every time she shook Martha off, and here Martha comes again. By the end, Jolene was taking about all she'd cared to take and was letting Martha know she's drawing the line. Next time I saw them, Martha never made one dive at Jolene when she came to me for some attention. I'd say Jolene gave Martha a dog talking to.

These dogs love each other in such a way they're sisters and best friends for life. Over where they live, they lie down beside each other on the floor, back to back. It appears to be good for them to have each other. It keeps them riotously happy. Being young, they both want to play all the time, and they have each other. The other dogs in the house won't do. Gretchen is 16. The others are too small. They have each other in a house with 4 other dogs. I've an idea that no dog will get into a fight with either one of them without the other one jumping in too. They look at each other with the same love in their eyes as when they look at me. They're both bubbling over with love every minute. I'd say it means they have a good life.

Martha squirms frantically for me to pet her. I have to hold her down with one hand so she can't move, and pet her with the other hand. She squirms and squeals, rolls on her back and pees on herself. I let her go and she explodes into wide open again. They'll be formidable hunters when they're a little bit older and taste fresh blood. Their minds will work together as one. It's no contest of Jolene being dominant dog, because she's so much bigger. They're both remarkable dogs. Jolene has a good mind and will train Martha's mind. Both mixes of so many different kinds of dogs Jolene has patches all over of every kind of dog that's in her. Whatever kinds of dogs are in Martha are muted. She's various browns put in a blender and a couple of little stripes like war paint on her face in yellow, her only marks but for white toes on every foot and a white brushstroke the length of her belly. Good dogs. I'm happy to have them around.

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