February 26, 2009
This morning I realized the "Gold" no longer worked for Willie. Not even two months into our experiment, Willie has spurned roasted turkey cubes in favor of a good, long explore under the abandoned trailer down the road. I tried to lure him out by feeding Teddy hers and exclaiming what a good dog she was. I even gave out the gold to Willlie's weimaraner friend, Jade, who actually can't perform any gold-deserving tricks, just to get Willie's attention. Nope. Nothing doing. I may have started the morning walk with a lot on my mind (how do you decide how much narcotics to give your 11 year old so she can breathe during radiation without taking the edge off her Wii skills for the rest of the day), but Willie re-focused me on the important details: how could I outsmart a dog who wouldn't take the bait? Would I ever make it back home to my first cup of coffee? Why did I leave the security of my kitchen without my coffee in the first place?
I finally had to give up the pretense that Willie would ever come out from under the trailer on his own accord--just because he wanted to please me, just because he heard my melodious voice singing out "Willie come," just because I had morsels of delight waiting in my pocket to reward his obedience. I groped up under the trailer, dragged him out, and clamped the leashed on his collar. The look in his eyes said, "I love you," but also "Officer, what seems to be the problem?" He pranced home on the end of the leash, clearly not missing any chopped and smoked poultry pieces that may have been his right in other circumstances.
I settled in at the table to glance through the paper and enjoy my coffee while Willie went off to lie by the sliding glass door to monitor squirrel troop movements. I read that Barack and Michelle Obama had their eyes set on a rescued Portugese water dog to fulfill their promise to Sasha and Malia for a new pet in the White House. I laughed out loud. Actually I chortled. My first thought was, I'm glad they didn't select a Rhodesian ridgeback as their dog of choice. Then I remembered Scupper. Some of you who read this page might remember Spencer Dolling's Portugese water dog, Scupper (some of the best Scupper stories are on the back pages of Spencer's caringbridge site. Try searching for "Scupper" in that link to find stories of purloined fresh salmon, stinky smells, and mayhem) . Scupper may be the only dog in North America (he's Canadian) who made bigger messes and caused more problems than Willie. I swear both these dogs make Marley look like the model pet.
Soon, like me, President Obama will have something to take his mind off those petty concerns like failing banks, a stagnating economy, and an expensive and unpopular war. He will have a Portugese water dog.
Erin had her simulation and first radiation session yesterday, and we've already made it home from this morning's session. I can tell already that her breathing has improved and her cough has stabilized. By tomorrow, I hope her back pain will start resolving and that she will regain some energy. The steroid she is taking to reduce swelling in the area has ramped up her appetite, so I need to go and make some chili mac for the starving child.