Friday, May 31, 2013

Loyalty Not Always A Good Thing -- The Week of Peek Part 3

We had awful storms again last night in Oklahoma with more predicted for today and that got me thinking about how my crazy dog used to freak out during storms.   This entry was written a few months after I got Peek and during the first storm that we had that spring. I had never owned my own dog--nor had a child--so I wasn’t ready for the middle of the night wake up calls.

This dog is killing me.
Picture this: there I was last night, sleeping soundly with my loyal dog sacked out by my feet.  Dreaming, content…until I was rudely ripped awake by a deafening howl inches from my ear.
            To put it mildly, I was shocked.
            And, since it was just after 2:00 AM, I was more than a little disoriented.  I stumbled from bed, trying to figure out what in the heck was going on, flipped on the light, and saw my little Peek-A-Boo, sitting on a pillow, howling his fool head off.
            My first reaction, of course was to spend a few valuable seconds trying to decide where I was doing to hide when the neighbors broke down the door to kill us. (The dog would be on his own.) Then it hit me.  The dog was not doing a solo; he was howling a duet with a horrible siren outside—a tornado siren.
            My next step was to run to the living room and snap on the television.  According to the weather channel, there was no need for alarm.  The tornado was well to the north; my apartment was safe. 
            The dog, however, was unconvinced.  He was sure that we were in unbelievable jeopardy and he was determined to protect me at all costs.  So the rest of our night went like this:
            2:27 Return to bed.
            2:35 Thunderstorm starts.
            2:36 Peek decides he must protect hearth and home from thunderstorm so claws his way from beneath the blankets and over my body, flings tiny self from bed, races to window at top speed, barking and growling like a mad dog.
            2:38 Thunder is relatively unimpressed with dog’s theatrics, responds with earth-shaking crack and boom.
            2:39 Peek flees under the bed for safety.
            2:40 Peek realizes I haven’t made the journey with him and leaps back into bed, barking and running around in circles.
            2:41 Peek jumps back out of bed, stares up at me, barks again and dives back under the bed, clearly thinking I have just misunderstood his rather detailed warnings.
            2:42 I close my eyes and bury my head beneath the pillows.
            2:44 Peek decides I am the stupidest person in America, steels himself against terrifying storm, and creeps out from under bed to repeat entire warning process.  Flings self in and out of bed several times as example of proper storm precaution.
            2:46 Peek is shocked to discover that I still haven’t made the trek to safety and lodges verbal protest.
            2:48 Dog successfully dodges the socks flung at him, continues to bark.
            2:52 Dog adds howling to verbal protest.
            2:55 Battle of wills begins.  Peek continues to leap in and out of bed, howling; I continue to pretend I can’t hear him.
            3:11 Decision is made that sleeping on the floor is infinitely preferable to not sleeping at all.  I concede victory, throw blankets down in a rage and flop next to bed.
            3:12 Satisfied that I have finally come to my senses, Peek stops howling, licks my hand, and promptly falls into the content and self-righteous sleep of a guard dog.
This much loyalty I can do without.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Obedience Training -- The Week of Peek Part 2

This post is from my early and somewhat futile attempts to train Peek-A-Boo.
Peek at about 4 months old, ostensibly learning to "come when called." 
So I've been trying to train the ridiculous animal to come when called. This is not an easy task considering the ridiculous animal thinks he is in charge of the world, much less the strange woman screaming instructions at him.

Unfortunately, he proved his point early this morning.

As most of you know, my training methods are pretty simple: Bribe the dog with food.

We have it all worked out. I order him onto his little chair in the kitchen, hide a treat behind my back, yell COME HERE! Show him the food and he launches himself at me like a treat-seeking missile.

Early this morning, however, he decided to put a different spin on things. Apparently, I didn’t close the bedroom door all the way when we went to bed last night; so around 4:00 AM he woke up, bored, and decided to meander about the house. He wandered into the kitchen, saw the chair, and decided this would be the perfect time to reinforce the whole “come when called” business. He hopped up onto the chair and began barking his fool head off. Loosely translated, I think he was saying “Come here and give me a treat! A treat! A treat! Come here and give me a treat!”

I, understandably, was a bit discombobulated at the sudden outcry and pretty much stumbled into the kitchen, sure there was a burglar or some other reason for the barking explosion.

And, still on his chair, he stood up on his hind legs and did the treat dance.

My reply was so obscene that I won’t be including it here.

So, I returned to bed and the dog, clearly feeling misunderstood, began to sing a little treat song…"I'm a dog who needs to eat!  Come on, food lady, give me a treat!"
When that didn't work, he decided to mix things up a little by alternating the barking song with a little howling.  "TTTTRRRREEEEAAATTT!"  he howled.  "I need a tttttrrrreeeeaaattttt before I ddddiiiieeee!"  Then there was the whining/howl/barking como...and on and on and on.
Thus began the contest of wills….who could hold out longer? Who would give in first?

All I can say is, the dog’s stamina is amazing and I can now pinpoint the exact moment I lost total control of my own life.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Week Of Peek -- A Tribute

As some of you know, Peek-A-Boo was my chihuahua.  And I hate that I have to say "was" but last night we finally had to put him to sleep.  I don't want to talk about how incredibly awful that was--I can't even write the words without crying.  But I freaking loved that dog with the fire of a thousand suns and since I'm sitting up, unable to go to sleep, I thought I'd use this time to create a tribute to him. 

Not a mushy, tear-jerker tribute--that wouldn't have been his style AT ALL--but just a collection of some of my favorite memories of him, saved from all the emails, notes, etc. that I've written about him through the here begins A Week of Peek.

(This is the tuxedo I got him for my wedding)

And I’ll start with the first story I ever shared about him:


So, I brought my new puppy home on Monday…Peek-A-Boo the cutest long haired Chihuahua that you have ever seen!

How many of you guessed that this dog was going to make me even crazier than I already am?

I am a lunatic…I have had the dog a week and I have already rushed him to the vet twice.

The first time I called, I reported to the vet that he was acting “weird” and dashed over. When I got there the vet’s 7 year old daughter was in the waiting room, chattering, trying to pet my dog, and generally being completely annoying. The little girl asked me ten times if she could hold Peek; I said maybe when he calmed down…he (no doubt sensing my own feelings about the little monster) was gallantly trying to climb into my coat and hide. So the girl sat down next to me, and continued to try to pet my poor squirming pooch, all the while explaining the disgusting things she had been seeing all day.

Oh, how I wished for a pit bull.

In any case, eventually we went in to see the vet (the little girl came too, chattering away until Dr. Dad sensed my discomfort and gave her the boot) and I began explaining Peek-A-Boo’s weird symptoms.

“He’s acting weird,” I reported.

And the vet asked if he was lethargic, had diarrhea, or had been throwing up?


“Panting excessively? Shaking? Refusing to eat?”

I shook my head.

“Foaming at the mouth? Howling at the moon?”

Ok, he didn’t really ask me those last two. But only because he was too busy staring at me like I was some sort of mental patient.

“What is he doing” He finally asked.

“I don’t know…just acting weird,” I said.
So he took Peek’s temperature, listened to his heart, took a stool sample…Guess what was wrong?

Nothing, that’s what.

A big fat nothing.

I’m sure my vet now thinks I am a paranoid, child-hating-yippy-dog-owning-pain-in-the-ass…

The second time (only one day after the first fiasco) I looked at Peek and thought his eye looked a little weird. I took a closer look, yep, definite weirdness.

I considered taking him to the vet, remembered the humiliation from the previous day and hesitated. I had my friend Martha come over for dinner, we considered the dog carefully. We compared pictures from the first day to the eye and decided there was a definite nasty growth, like a sty.

“Gross,” she said.“Take him to the vet!”

But I was still hesitant to call the vet because I was embarrassed by the previous day’s non-emergency (which cost me $185.00, although part of that was for his shots). So I waited until morning then called my parents, hoping for some advice.

Unfortunately, my parents find these little dramas in my life amusing.I hadn’t even gotten two sentences out when I heard my dad start laughing hysterically in the background, especially when I explained that I don’t want to alienate the vet by being a hypochondriac. That’s when my dad grabbed the phone and assured me that at $185.00 a session, the vet would be thrilled if I came in every day…twice
a day if I’m in the mood.


So, I went to the vet again. And the daughter was there again (seriously, can’t a vet afford some freaking daycare?); she tried to yank Peek right out of my arms and I almost bit her myself…

Luckily Dr. Dad walked in and called her off before I got past the growling stage…anyway, I showed him the eye…

And, this time, there WAS something wrong. He has an inflammation of the 3rd eyelid (whatever the hell that is!).


I have a sudden visual image of this dog as a money funnel; it’s not pretty.
But at least the vet can’t accuse me of being paranoid again…though, in retrospect, I probably should have kept that to myself because when I said “Well, at least this time you won’t think I’m insane,”he gave me an odd look…

I’m now trying to determine if the look meant “That’s not why I think you’re crazy” or if he now thinks I am paranoid,child-hating-yippy-dog-owning-pain-in-the-ass with Munchausen by Doggie Proxy Syndrome.

But the worst of it is, we have the option of medication before we try the surgery route…I have this nasty cream I am supposed to put in Peek-A-Boo’s eye 4 times a day…

And one thing I learned when I had Pink Eye last year is that I am not so good at putting stuff in eyes.

It has been hysterical. There’s been squirming…there’s been whimpering and sobbing…and Peek doesn’t like it either!

So my Dad called last night and told me he heard the vet is now able to finance a new home in the Bahamas, all because of this mysterious new patient…

I have a sneaking suspicion this puppy isn’t going to be the calming companion that all the dog books promise.

Super Sunday Sync

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Not Exactly June Cleaver

This is from last year but seriously, my mom still rocks.

My mom has never been June Cleaver.
Don’t get me wrong; I think that’s a good thing! June was sweet and all but she was flustered with dirt on the countertop or the thought of dinner being late. If she had to raise three kids, work full time at her own career and help her husband keep the family business running, poor June’s perfectly coiffed head would have popped right off.

But my mom is stronger than June Cleaver could ever hope to be.

And the memory that really drives it home for me isn’t even from my childhood but from about 8 years ago when I got skin cancer.

Newsflash: This was not news I took well.

I had basal cell carcinoma not melanoma and my life was never in danger but I made one of the classic blunders: I researched basal cell carcinoma on the internet. Why I continue to do this is anyone’s guess; it doesn’t make me feel better. In fact, it usually makes me feel about a thousand times worse because the internet usually shows the worst case scenario—which, in the case of basal cell carcinoma, includes the phrase “mutilating disfigurement.” Add in the fact the tumor was right smack in the middle of my face and I think it’s easy to see why--after several glasses wine—I just started calling people and screaming “Mutilated! Going to be mutilated over here!”

But my mom never lost her cool. I was single then so she went with me to every doctor’s appointment, every consultation, and the surgery itself. “It’s going to be fine,” she said every time.

“They’re going to cut off HALF MY NOSE!” I shrieked.

June Cleaver probably would have cried and hugged me…and then I would have degenerated into even worse hysterics, possibly for days at a time.  My mom was stoic, “Not half your nose,” she disagreed. “Maybe a fourth. And not any of it that you actually USE. You’re going to be fine.”

Even after the surgery—on the horrible day I call the “unveiling” she was unflappable. We unwrapped the mummy-like mess that was my face and took a good long look.

“Looks good,” Mom said, as if she didn’t notice how the swelling had pulled my face—especially my nose—in all directions. Like my nostrils weren’t standing at attention like a pig’s.

“Good?” I shrieked. “Is this how you think it should look? Like I have a PIG NOSE? Do you think I started this whole procedure with a pig nose? Have I unknowingly had a pig nose my whole life or do you think the doctor just mixed me up with the pig nose patient down the hall?”

“It’s just the swelling,” Mom assured me, and threw Vicodin in my mouth with reckless abandon. “I’m sure it’ll go back to normal.”

I collapsed on the couch, muttering “pig nose!” and oinking at random intervals until finally succumbing to the narcotic’s sweet embrace. Then Mom smiled and said “If you’re ok, I think it’s time to take Peek-a-Boo for a walk.”

‘Odd,’ I thought. ‘Peek is litter box trained; he doesn’t really need to go out.’ But the great thing about Vicodin is how it keeps those kind of thoughts at an unexplored distance.

Then Mom wandered out the door.

I found out months later—after the swelling had gone down and my face became significantly less porcine—that she went outside to have hysterics of her own. She called my dad and let him have it. “It’s awful!” she reportedly said. “Call your lawyer because if it doesn’t get better we’re suing that doctor for everything he has…my baby is NEVER WORKING AGAIN, DO YOU HEAR ME?”

Then she got herself calmed back down, came in, smiled at me and said “I think it’s looking better already.”

My mother has never been June Cleaver…she’s an Amazon.

And she’s the strongest person I know.