Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas is coming


Recently we decided it was time to kick the dogs off the bed. Not only do we humans need to assert ourselves more (there's been some instability in the pack--dogs sniping at each other, etc.), but we were going to have to buy a larger bed to accommodate the 150 pounds of canine(s) that kept hogging all the space. So there was no choice; the dogs would have to sleep somewhere else.

Gracie wouldn't be a problem. She already had a kennel of her own that she liked all right. She goes there when she's feeling insecure or just needs some "me" time.

But Silver and Cairo have never been kennel dogs. Silver would do whatever she was told, albeit with Sad Eyes. But Cairo? I expected howls (literally) of protest. When he got his leg amputated, he fussed and fought constantly against being confined.

"Just get him a really big wire kennel," said the s.o. "He doesn't like the regular kind because he can't turn around in there as easily, because of only having three legs."

I doubted it, but I shrugged my shoulders and got Cairo a wire kennel big enough for a Newfoundland. For Silver, I got a large Canine Camper portable tent kennel with a nice fleecy liner. It was light and it could be collapsed into something akin to an art student's portfolio. We'd be able to take it on trips--convenient.

I assembled Silver's kennel and lined it with a couple of extra blankets, because...well, because she's my princess. My heart was already broken because I wouldn't be able to be in constant contact with her throughout the night. Having her kennel next to me was not the same as having her furry butt against my knees!

Then, at the foot of the bed, I erected Fort Cairo, a massive edifice that took up half the bedroom. It looked clinical, so I took two big fluffy dog beds from elsewhere in the house and used them to make it comfy. The dog beds fit side by side in the kennel.

Cairo walked into the bedroom and looked at the cage. "C'mere," I said, and he did. I climbed into the kennel and beckoned him to follow me. He did. He curled up in the soft cushions and looked contented. We stayed there for a few minutes snuggling, and then we left.

An hour later I looked into the bedroom and was shocked to see Cairo sleeping in his kennel.

Another hour later, I looked in and saw Silver sleeping in Cairo's kennel. I gently ushered her out and showed her her own kennel again.

Near bedtime, Cairo returned to his kennel. He looked content. I locked him in, and I felt sneaky and unfair doing it. He noticed, but did not react. I kenneled Gracie as well ("Gracie, kennel!" "Okay, mom!"), and then kenneled Silver.

We all got a fantastic night's sleep, although I cried a little bit because I couldn't touch my dogs.

When my alarm went off, I de-kenneled Silver and Gracie and led them out of the bedroom. I unlocked Cairo's cage, too, but he elected not to leave his fort. I really am gobsmacked that the Dog Who Would Not Be Kenneled is so fond of a big scary wire cage, but I guess if you fill a nice spacious area with soft pillows, certain dogs will always claim a spot.

Monday, December 15, 2008

a political plea

Please, everyone, sign this petition. I'm usually very skeptical of petitions, but this one has a very real and (I hope) attainable goal: the appointment of a Secretary of Agriculture who will fight for small, sustainable farms. I've had it up to here with the way corporations dictate our farm policy -- how 'bout you?

ETA: Aaaaaand he's named a Monsanto stooge to the post. *sigh* Well, it was worth a try.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Trailer fire

At 2:45 AM, our dogs all stood straight up and started howling. Soon we humans could hear the sirens, too. It wasn't just a cop pulling someone over in our driveway (which they're fond of doing in the middle of the night, for some reason). It was a convergence of several types of sirens. Some of them we recognized from the s.o.'s days as a volunteer fireman.

"Are you getting up to look?" the s.o. asked me groggily. He had returned from a poker game only an hour before, and had probably only just descended into REM sleep when the noise commenced.

"Mm," I replied. I fumbled for my glasses, clapped them onto my face, and shuffled across the room to the front window. I crouched down and stared through the leaves of our umbrella plant at the flashing lights across the street.

It took a moment for my eyes to adjust, and then suddenly I exclaimed, "Holy shit, the old trailer next to Eddie Lee's is on fire! I mean REALLY on fire!" The flames reached 20 feet in the air, bright as daylight.

Today I went over to look at the remains of the trailer. I wasn't the only gawker; a man and his son had pulled up their pickup truck to peer at the shell of the structure. This is what we saw:

Probably an arson. Or so you'd suspect when an uninhabited trailer with no power suddenly goes up like a flare in the middle of the night.