Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy birthday to Mother's Little Helper

Both my dogs have May birthdays. Sam's was 10 May. Jacey-Kasey's is today, 19 May. She's six years old.

Jacey 18

Jacey, originally named Pinerun Torri, is one of a litter of nine (five boys, four girls). With 16 races (no wins, 2 second place finishes, 3 thirds, 6 fourths), she was the second-best racer in her litter--which tells you how bad seven of her littermates were. In a race in September 2005, she quit and turned back. In a race run on 30 November 2005--my birthday--Jacey finished 4th behind Canuhemisaurus. Canoe now lives here in Georgia in retired bliss. In her one meeting here with Canoe, Jacey snarled and growled at him. It wasn't sour grapes because Canoe beat her; it was her usual "bow-down-and-worship-me" approach to making friends.

Jacey Flowers 4

In fact, her not-so-sweet disposition around other dogs is responsible for her wonky ears: one points forward while the other points back (unless she spots something interesting, in which case both ears point left). Jacey had a disagreement with another dog while they were at the kennel and up for adoption (24 March 2006). Both girls were muzzled, but Jacey's ear still got munched. The experience didn't teach Jacey better manners.

Smiling--and half asleep--DSC01209

Jacey, then called Tori, also had a reputation with the kennel walkers for two things: smiling, and barking. She still does both (even smiles in her sleep, sometimes), although she usually manages to limit her barking to greeting me when I come home from work.

...then a lot

She gets along surprisingly well with Sam. She's very tolerant about his collapsing onto her on the sofa. But when she does growl at Sam (usually over food), he backs off, looks to me for help, and whines. ("Mom! She's picking on me!")


Once or twice, when we've paused during a walk, Jacey has surprised me with a lovely, spontaneous "sit," for which I've praised her highly. But if you ask her to sit, you get this un-lovely, rolled-onto-her-hip performance, and I haven't been able to break her from that. She doesn't "roach," and she may be the only greyhound I know who doesn't do the "sphinx" down. Ever. Not on her own, and not on command. If you insist on "down," you get a rolled-onto-her-hip down. There's no sign of hip trouble that the vet or I have ever seen; Jacey just has her own style.


She's mother's little helper around the house, usually following me from room to room. She helps with the laundry by lying on it while I'm trying to fold it. She races to the kitchen every time she hears the microwave ding--or when she thinks she hears it. And, clearly, her dreams involve kitchens and food. One night she'd gone upstairs (to my bed) early. She suddenly woke up, bolted from the bed, flew down the hall, down the stairs, and into the kitchen--running right past Sam and me on the sofa. Apparently, she'd dreamed I was in the kitchen...

Quite often, she thinks I move too slowly when I'm headed to the kitchen. She's been known to get behind me and push. When I turn around to fuss at her, she looks back over her shoulder as if to see who's pushing her. And if I order her out of the kitchen while I'm working in there, she makes it about two steps into the dining room before she whirls and scoots back into the kitchen; it takes three or four tries before "Out!" seems to stick.


In the three years she's been with me (more than half her life), she's gained quite a bit of white in her face. She's become resigned to thunder and lightning...and to Sam's antics. She's conquered separation anxiety (thank you, Valium and Clomicalm). She's grown a personality--or just relaxed enough to let it show. She's become a fun dog to have around.

Jacey and Sam

Happy birthday, Jacey-Cakes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Old Man


My old man is sacked out next to me on the sofa right now. He's sound asleep on his back, feet in the air. This picture is from a couple of weeks ago. Right now, his eyes aren't open at all, and his tail isn't as discreetly positioned--otherwise, it's an accurate picture.

Nine years ago today, a six-year-old blue fawn bitch named Hondo Comet gave birth to a litter of nine puppies--three males, six females: Stat Chiara, Stat Dimetri, Stat Echo, Stat Faust, Stat K Sally, Stat K Sam, Stat K Suzy, Stat Savage, and Stat Slick (Dimetri, Sam, and Slick were the boys). The owner of at least some of the dogs was a vet, but if he thought the name "stat"--medical-speak for "hurry up"--would produce some fast dogs, I'm sure he found this litter a disappointment. As near as I can tell, none of the nine ever raced. Sam, Sally, and Suzy were in Atlanta and looking for homes not long after their second birthdays.

I fell in love with Sam's adoption photo, and by October 2002, he was living in my home.

Sam is fearless. Well, nearly so. He's a bit intimidated by Jacey-Kasey, but otherwise, there's not much he's afraid of.


Sam is single-minded. He once put his foot through my living room window in pursuit of a cat on the other side of the glass. I bolted Plexiglas over the window, the cat came back, and Sam threw himself at the cat. He bounced off the Plexiglas, picked himself up, and hurled himself at the cat again. I got to him and stopped him before his third attempt. I got rid of the bird feeder outside the living room window: it had attracted birds, the birds had attracted the cat, and the cat...well, it stalked off with its tail held high, but not before Sam scared the bejeebers out of it by rebounding off the Plexiglas.


Sam is a serious eater. He's muzzled when I'm not at home, in the vague hope that a muzzle will stop him from eating the house. He's eaten Scotch Magic Mending Tape, pencils, lip liner, Valentine's candy, dead mice, butterscotch candy, animal crackers, and other odds and ends with no harm. A bag of raw potatoes gave him only mild indigestion. But wheat...plain, ordinary wheat, which is in many dog foods, dog biscuits, and coveted people food...wheat is Sam's digestive downfall. In the following picture, I've mentioned the word "cookie"; just the mention of the word was enough to trigger the drool starting to form:


Sam is a serious sleeper. Aside from the roaching--the sleeping on his back--he'll sleep curled up tight in cold weather:

Sam 0503

sprawled on my bed in all weather:


and on top of his sister any time he gets the chance:

And Sam trumps Jacey with his tail

Sam is cuddly, entertaining, and always good for a laugh:

00279 The tongue

I'm lucky to have him in my life.