We now have three dogs. Okay, if you stacked up all three they wouldn’t make up one German Shepherd or even half a Rottweiler in gross weight, but I now have my own “pack”, as the Dog Whisperer would put it. I do love that guy, I catch his shows once in a while and I always learn something from them. Something like the fact that I am now the alpha “dog” and expected to lead the choir.
My choir consists of one grouchy old lady dog, Nellie the Rat Terrier, who thinks tennis shoes, mail men and cardboard boxes should be her personal attack and destroy mission in life. She has mellowed considerably with her increasing years and waistline, but I still don’t trust the blockhead with packages left on the porch by well-meaning delivery people. The mail man knows her up close and way too personal. He lives just four houses down from us but out of pure spite and previous encounters he takes our packages all the way to the post office. I’m ready to bite him myself but that’s a whole other story.
Nellie has a throw and fetch complex. She’ll fetch until she passes out and she carries balls everywhere. She leaves old dead tennis balls all over the yard like hairy old neon puffballs with dog slobber embedded in them. The newest dog likes balls too, and wrests them from Nellie at every chance. Misha weighs just four pounds at the age of three months and he is either incredibly bright or fatally dumb in taking balls from the mailman eater. Nellie knows better than to snap at the baby dog at this point, but we have had one snap and raised hackles resulting in a stern chat with the Alpha dog (me) and a few time outs.
Misha is a baby Shih Tzu. He is in people years about two years old and boy, is he ever in the terrible twos! He looks like a demented midget panda bear with furry white legs and fluffy black hair everywhere else. He’s so fluffy you can’t tell how slim he actually is. He looks really odd when I stuff him in a sweater. Piano legs and toothpick body. Yes, I do stick the dogs in coats and sweaters. I’m too big for Barbies but I can still get away with Hawaiian shirts on dogs. This horrifies my son Torin who refuses to be seen with me if I am accompanied by a nattily dressed dog.
Misha is teething on me, all of his toys, the other dogs, chewy pig ears, the stairs in the studio–the cat–once, and wicker if he can find it. We still have a bottle of bitter lime spray from Uncle Mushka’s baby days so I am hopeful we can save the furniture and the cat with early intervention. Mish is a delight and overflowing with manic puppy energy. The older dogs are not digging it at all…JUMP up in their faces, JUMP, bite their ears, JUMP bite their legs and run in circles around them. We are loving the puppy months but still, the mellow months ahead look very attractive from here. He got his name Misha to go with Mushka, a Russian Shih Tzu, go figure. Misha is the name bears wear in Russian fairy tales so it fits his tiny panda person nicely.
Mushka is Misha’s uncle and he came to live with us when Terry was brain injured a few years back. Our dear friend Tone got Mushka’s sister and we went with her to visit the breeder. That was it. Tor and I got Moosh to bring back a little joy in our lives in November of 2006. Tor named him after a Russian space dog and we only found out later the first Mushka burned up on re-entry. Oops. He’s always been a serious little dog. Actually, I have come to the conclusion that he’s as dumb as a stick but he has a great personality and a good heart.
He also has dreadful allergies and gets bathed every two days. He has learned to love the hair dryer and put up with baths. All three dogs love the hair dryer, they come running and vie for who gets “heated” up first.
So we have Nellie, Mish and Moosh. Nellie and Moosh are staid and restrained. Their idea of a good time is sleep 22 hours, nap one hour and the eat the other one. Mish coming to live with us was like downing a power pole with live wires in the living room. Potty training, arguments, raising a baby. I’d forgotten what its like!
I like to watch the elders watching the infant tear around the house and you can see they want to get in and play so bad they can taste it. Tonight when I got down on the floor with them they could no longer resist. Everybody played! Three dogs, each one with a toy or three and sometimes they would tug o’ war on two ends of the same toy. By the end of the evening there were toys everywhere. It looked like an explosion in a stuffed animal factory. Moosh unbent sufficiently to run around in circles and jump in the air until he was dizzy and panting. Nellie and Mish chased thrown toys endlessly and my hands are full of puppy nibbles from the young Doctor Teeth who is still learning about not chewing on humans.
So Cesar, Dog Whisperer guy, I’m spending my evenings on the floor surrounded by my pack and they are actually beginning to play nice together. We aren’t there yet but we’ll get there.
And then there’s the bad pun…Mishka, Mushka, Mouseketeer. How could I resist? I mean, really?