Spring Planting Moon
Kate in Colorado means lots more dog management, just as she has to do when I’m gone. Since I work downstairs and the dogs are upstairs, this means every hour plus I go upstairs to see what’s going on, see if anyone needs to go outside.
Because Rigel, Ms. feral hound, has a tendency to start the bloody, expensive scrapes with Gertie, our German short-hair, she and Gertie have to be on opposite sides of the cast iron gate that separates the living room from the kitchen. Since Kona, our older whippet, does not like the cold, she needs to be on the tiled floor of the kitchen unless she’s just been outside or I’m upstairs. Come to think of it Vega is the only one who can be with any other dog in any location.
Vega has an astonishing range of communication. Most people train their dogs, Vega trains us. She is not a dominant dog in most ways, just very attuned to her own needs, the needs of the pack and certain critical, to her, times of day.
(Vega and Kona)
We have an evening ritual, now over 13 years long, of giving a piece of sliced turkey to each dog before they go to bed for the evening. It started because we had to give Kona vasotec each morning and evening as a preventative measure for congestive heart failure. When you give meds every day, twice a day, turkey makes the whole process simpler. But. You can’t give just one dog turkey. Dogs have a highly developed sense of fairness so everybody gets one.
We crate each of these dogs in these evening, a practice not common for us over most of our years, but one that became necessary for various reasons. The dogs don’t mind it all. In fact, Vega has a built in timer that alerts her to what we call turkey time. When it’s time, she comes to me and goes, “ooff.” Opens and closes her mouth. Repeats. Then she lowers her head and lifts it, meaning, get up. If that doesn’t work, she retreats a step or two and sits, two legs low to the ground and her front legs fully extended and looks at me. Another ooff or two might be added for better effect.
When she wants to go outside, she stands by the sliding glass doors and thunks her tail against the glass. Or, if she wants me to get more water in the bucket in the kitchen, she’ll stand near the crate and thunk her tail against the crate. We’ve had dogs that would do various modes of communication but they always overdid them, sort of like shouting at deaf people, I think.
Not Vega. She’s very nuanced and polite in her communication. She is a rare dog, one of perhaps two that achieved this level of in synchness with us, at least as far communication with us goes.