Flash the Wonder Pooch hurt himself a couple of months ago, resulting in a sprain to his right back leg. It took weeks for it to heal and during that time, I didn’t put him on the treadmill. We started back slowly and finally got to the 30 minutes twice a day routine that he’d been doing for years. Then, a month ago, he started limping with his left front leg. So, I had to take him off the treadmill and let him rest. After a few days of recuperation, we were back to walking.
The way he hurts himself is by going from 0 to 60 in the backyard. He’ll see something that makes him take off like a rocket. Either a bird or a squirrel, or the next-door neighbor’s dog or someone in the greenbelt, either walking or riding their ATVs. Regardless of what it is, he’ll launch across the yard then lunge at the fence. I’ve tried to stop him from doing things like that, but the only way is by keeping him on a 30 foot lead. He turns around and gives me such an accusing look that I actually feel bad.
With the history of those injuries this last year, I take him off the treadmill on Sunday and give him a day of rest. However, that doesn’t mean it’s really a day of rest. He has so much energy that without a way to expend it, he becomes annoying. He stands at the door and barks at anything that makes a noise. If I’ve left the curtains open in my office like I did today, he has to bark at everyone who drives by or walks by or, God forbid, takes their dogs for a walk. Then you have the kids on their bicycles, skateboards, or tricycles. One cute little girl, who couldn’t have been more than four years old, was riding her scooter in front of the house. You would have thought that she was a tasty bit of meat and Flash was starving.
Today I finally gave in and put him on the treadmill again, but only for about 15 minutes. Just something to expend some of that energy. Otherwise, I’m the one who’s a basket case by the end of the day.
I think living with a dog – or any pet – changes your life considerably. You find yourself accommodating an animal both mentally and physically. Yet in return for that accommodation, they give you a sense of companionship.
Flash the Wonder Pooch isn’t really big on cuddles. He tolerates me petting him, as long as I do a full body scratch. Yet there are times when he comes to sit beside me and I know it’s because it’s a sharing moment for him. In a way, he’s kind of like a cat. He will be affectionate on his terms and when he wants.
However, he’s an ace when it comes to protecting me. I know when someone even has an idea of walking up my sidewalk to the front door. And the people who use my driveway to turn around are treated the same way as people who park in front of my house – danger, stranger!
But Flash is my companion when I exercise and he gives me the gift of laughter. I’ve never laughed as much as the last five years. He does things that confound me, confuse me, and just reduce me to giggles.
The other day, he came into the kitchen from the outside, trotted up and sat in front of me and dropped something on the tile floor. You know how a cat will sometimes bring you a bird? Well, my dog brought me something. Let’s just call it something that looked like a Tootsie Roll. Ok, hardened excrement. Now there are times when I have caught Flash actually eating that (and I hope you’re not reading this while you’re eating), so my first thought was maybe he brought it inside to save it as a snack for later. He looked so proud of himself while I was going, “Eww. Eww. Eww,” and disposed of it.
He wakes me up in the morning by giving me this ghastly whine that’s a cross between hinges that haven’t been oiled for years and the sound of an animal in dire distress. It’s just his way of letting me know that he has to go out and I’d better hop to. I almost always feed him at that 3 o’clock hour and then trot back to bed. I’m awakened again at seven with the same whine. Hey, it’s a workday. Chop chop.
He’s a tremendous pain in the ass. Yet he’s a topic of conversation with friends and my son, a great watchdog, and an endless source of amusement. All in all, that’s a pretty big role for any animal, don’t you think?