Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Range

My sister recently told me that she likes Teddy more than Ranger.  I sometimes feel that way as well, but I'm hard pressed to say why - he still won't sit on my lap, flattens himself to the ground if he thinks I'm going to pick him up, and doesn't pay attention to a word I say (unless the word is treat or outside.)  Although Teddy still follows right on my heels wherever I walk, I don't always feel like he and I are on the same planet.  Or maybe we are on the same planet, but not in the same country.  But he is so adorable and needy and helpless that I can't help falling in love with him. 

Ranger, however, was very easy to love from the beginning.  He was a puppy and therefore cute and adorable, and smart as a whip, so it was easy and fun to train him.  He listens to every word I say with his head tilted to one side, and seems to understand exactly what I mean.  He knows my routines and my habits better than anyone - sometimes I feel like I don't need to say a word as he knows what I'm going to do next.  So I feel disloyal to him when sometimes I prefer Teddy.  I owe many of the good things in my life to Ranger.  He has gotten me out into the world.  It's very easy as a single person to cocoon yourself in your house or in your work, but Ranger has helped me to stay involved in the world.  He helped introduce me to my neighbors and meet new people on our walks and through our agility work.  Without him, Ginger, Ike, Gracie, Ava, Teddy, and Duffy  might have had very different lives.  He's always a good conversation piece - if I don't know someone well, or don't have anything else to talk about, I can always bring up Ranger.  He also is good at filling my time - he loves a good walk or a trip to the store, and there is usually some dog event every so often that he enjoys going to.  He also has helped keep me involved with my family - everybody loves him, and I don't dare show up at a family gathering without both dogs.  So I guess I'm feeling a little like a mother who just had her second child - it's not that I don't love Ranger as much, it's that my heart has gotten bigger to hold the love I have for both of them.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Thunder and lightning

Having had water issues with 2 different houses, I always dread summer storms.  Now that I have Teddy, I have even more reason to dread storms - thunder and lightning.  Ranger has never been bothered by thunderstorms, but Teddy is scared senseless.  He paces and pants, and wants to be touching me, which is something he never does under normal circumstances.  When storms happen during the day, I usually create a cave for him by draping a blanket over a chair, and he lies underneath it, feeling safe and secure.  At night, however, lightning is more visible, and thunder is very loud in my second floor bedroom, so a cave doesn't always help.  However,  my dog guru, Victoria Stillwell, suggested rubbing a dryer sheet on a dog who is afraid of storms, as it helps reduce the static electricity they feel.  I've been doing that with Teddy, and I think we are making progress.  The last few storms he has been better.  Last night, he was under the bed, where he frequently sleeps, storms or no, and when the storm started, he came out to sit by my side of the bed.  I reached down to pet him and he went back under the bed, where he stayed for the rest of the night.  No pacing, no panting, no burrowing under my sheets.  I don't know whether he actually slept, but I know I did!