Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Old Dog, Young Dog

Doogie is sitting next to me on the floor of my basement study as I type this (I took this picture of him just now). It’s cooler down here than the mid-80 temperatures upstairs, but there’s another reason he’s staying close by. Storms. We’ve had thunderstorms since late afternoon, the first notable rain we’ve gotten in weeks.

Thunderstorms bother our dog big time. If a roof-rattler hits in the middle of the night, Doogie will stand at the head of our bed and shiver. It’s like lying in one of those vibrating beds you find in hotels, only a malfunctioning one that just shakes your head till you’re dizzy. Eventually he’ll head down to the basement where he feels safer. Smart dog. Good dog. Let us get some sleep.

I think our dog is becoming more neurotic as he ages—he’s past 15 years old now. He pants and paces often. He used to travel okay in the car on longer trips. No more. Wendy and I took Doogie up north to my parents’ cottage in northern Michigan for the long Labor Day weekend. We also took my son’s dog Simon (the rabbit killer). Fun stuff.

While Doogie paced and panted in the back seat, Simon lay still on my wife’s lap while I drove. Simon was lying peacefully, but he was really biding his time. We stopped at a chocolate factory at my request and I went in to see what they had. Mmmmm, chocolate-covered potato chips.

After I went into the store, BOOM, Simon sprang from Wendy’s lap out the open passenger’s side window. My wife immediately got out and called for him to get back in. She didn’t want to chase him as the busy highway was nearby. But the scamp wasn’t in any hurry to return and wandered towards the back of the building. Again, Wendy called for him to come, this time in her sternest voice.

I’ve heard that stern voice. I sure would come if so called. And so did Simon. Doogie stayed in the back seat, pacing and panting. Like I said, fun stuff.

Coming back from Hubbard Lake, we stopped at a rest area. Simon was resting in the backseat with Doogie. Again, he was biding his time. My wife got out first. There was a sudden commotion and I heard Wendy curse. Though I thought I heard something fall out of the car, I figured it must have been Wendy’s coffee cup or something.

Nope, it was Simon again. Somehow he had managed to spring from the backseat to the front, than out Wendy’s door just as she was closing it. It happened so fast I never even saw him. This time Wendy snagged him right away before he could trot off. Doogie was oblivious to this all apparently. Just panted and paced as usual.

My parents say that if we give our dog a little beer, he will calm down and travel better. Maybe that might slow Simon down too. But what if I get pulled over for going a little over the speed limit? And the officer smells beer, lots of it, because of our panting dogs. You think he’ll believe me when I say, “Our dogs shared a cool one before we hit the road, officer. Really.”

“Step out of the car, sir.”

Wendy and I go on vacation in another couple weeks. We’re driving all the way to the Upper Peninsula. And what’s going to make this vacation special? No dogs, not one.


Blogger Dust-bunny said...

Fifteen years old?? Wow!! You are a great caregiver, Dave!! How does one pant and pace so much at 105 years of age?? I wanna know what you feed that little guy.

I'm glad to hear that he's getting along better with the rabbit killer. They are both pretty darn adorable!

...How were the chocolate-covered potato chips? Sounds interesting. Does the place have a mail-order?

6:22 PM  
Blogger Kacey said...

I read that dogs are afraid of thunder storms, because the electrical activity make their hair stand on end and it bothers their skin. The treatment was to wrap the dog tightly in a towel and hold them and then they won't shivver and shake, rattle or roll, but they might pace and pant! Have a wonderful vacation and we'll look forward to the whole story later!

7:43 PM  
Blogger Carine said...

Doogie's doing terrific! I hope our Sunshine will still be with us at 15-she's 12 right now.
Have a wonderful vacation in a couple of weeks (I'm sure I'll be here again before then a couple of times)!

9:07 PM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

Ali used to be just like Doogie, but toss in, just for fun, that he tried to dig his way to the basement or whatever safe place he thought was down there! My life got better when I moved to NM where such storms are far less frequent, then followed closely by his loss of hearing! He began to lose his hearing just a few weeks before he was 15, and now at 15.5, it seems to be almost complete. Perhaps you could get Doogie some ear plugs!

And Ali would have been like Simon if allowed, except I doubt I would have caught him. When I travel, I never, never, never open a car door without having attached leashes to every dog. Even peeing in my pants was preferable to chasing a dog while peeing in my pants!

Have a peaceful vacation, Dave!

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were trapped in a car with the Blog Man I would do exactly as Simon and jump out of the car at the first opportunity. If I couldn’t get out, then I would pace and pant, back and forth just like poor Doogie.

I can totally imagine the stellar conversations poor Wendy and the dogs had to put up with:

Blog: “Well fantasy football starts up next week.”

Wendy: “That’s nice dear”

Blog: “I should have a pretty good season, ya know. I didn’t get Tom Brady, but Mr. Romo will do just fine. Romo plays for Dallas, ya know. He is projected to have just as good of a year as a Brady.

Wendy: silence

Blog: “Ya know I was on top of the league almost all of last season, but came up short in the playoffs. Why do they have playoffs anyways? It just gives everyone a second chance, and darn that’s not fair.”

Wendy: zzzzzzzz

Blog: “I do have Brady’s #1 target in Randy Moss, however, and …….”

Simon: “Dog gonnit, I gotta get outta this car, man.”

Blog: “Hey Simon, where ya goin’?”

1:36 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

DUST-BUNNY--The chocolate-covered dried Traverse City cherries actually were better. I'll have to get back to you on whether they do mail order. I think they do, but I can't find them on the internet.

KACEY--Somebody else also said to rub the dog with a downy sheet to get the static electricity out of him. Haven't tried it yet though.

CARINE--I'll be blogging once more before I go on vacation. And I'm HOPING to be able to post some pictures while I'm on vacation. Taking my laptop with me.

LYNILU--I think Doogie is losing his hearing too. But he hears thunderstorms coming half way across the state. Go figure.

ANONYMOUS (Vic)--Yeah, I think even Greg and Scott get tired of me talking about fantasy football all the time. But it is more fun to win then to lose. Maybe you'll find out yourself this year. Heh, heh.

2:28 PM  
Blogger jan said...

It sounds like Doogie and Simon got what they wanted, a weekend at a doggie spa instead of riding in a boring car.

with 4 dogs, my main problem is nose prints on the windows at the end of a trip.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

The rain is what's left of Fay. She circled Tampa Bay...we didn't get a drop from the storm.

It's time to give the dogs their own blog. They're ready for prime time.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Lynilu said...

I know what you mean about the "early warning system." Ali used to give us about 4 hrs heads up.Atmospheric pressure changes is suppose. Well, my only suggestion is move here, where the storms are fewer and less boom-y!!

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you got some rain. We did too, finally. I t was getting scary here--the restaurants were told not to give the diners water unless requested to.

Doogie is precious. :o)

Laughed my fanny off at the last part of your story.


7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HA you are so lucky Dave to have Doogie at that age. I pampered my dog to the hilt when he hit 13..
aigh. anyway.. Hope you have a ball up at the U.P.Poor dogs will think you are gone forever!!!
As for the beer either they will throw up in the car or whiz all over it.. bad idea I am thinking..hehehe!! :)

8:44 AM  
Blogger Nankin said...

LOL. Poor Doogie. Does he hide from the vaccuum too? Our cat freaks at loud noises, but he just goes and hides.

11:32 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

JAN--Doogie loves to go on short car rides. That's probably because I roll the passenger window down so he can stick his head out. I think it's probably the highlight of his day most days.

FRED--I know Gustav came blowing through our area too, but didn't bring a whole lot of rain. We did get a bunch of rain today, but I don't think it was hurricane-related.

LYNILU--It'll be a while before we move again, and I dare say, I don't think Doogie will be around then.

DEB--Do they ever have a rainy season in Texas? Doesn't seem like it.

CAROLDEE--Yeah, I'm thinking I'll skip the beer. It'll be a while before Doogie takes another long car ride anyway.

NANKIN--He does seem to disappear when we bring the vacuum out. But he doesn't feel the need to pant, shiver and pace.

5:32 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Nobody ever said you were behind the door when the brains were passed out.

7:20 PM  
Blogger simply me said...

Dogs - Cute, beer in car - not so good.
Truth - stuck on the chocolate covered chips....Where can i get some?\
Yummmmo Chocolate and salt.

4:21 PM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

Big Dave ~ It sounds like both you and Simon have learned your lessons WELL! ~ jb///

11:04 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

HOSS--Yeah, they said "brains", I thought they said "trains", and I missed mine.

SIMPLY ME--I'm still trying to find out whether that chocolate factory does orders on-line

LZ--What Simon lacks in smarts, he makes up for in brute strength.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

Dave - Simon, the rabbit killer, sounds like a handfull.....Poor Doggie! We had a dog once that would shake like that and we would get a good laugh from him because he could turn it on at a moments notice.

We are bracing for "IKE". It looks like we will get a lot of rain and wind and I am not looking forward to any of it. I suppose we are as prepared as we are going to be. The flashlights are charging, the cars are full of gas, I have enough water for three weeks and we have three days of clothes and supplies ready incase we have to leave quickly. WE are going to "shelter in place" so it could get a little scary......Keep your fingers crossed for us...

11:47 PM  
Blogger Babette said...

How I miss a good Michigan thunderstorm!

Fantasy football may be your last, best hope this season, Dave.

Wendy is long-suffering, indeed!

That darling Doogie still needs a little SPARTAN coat, n'est-ce pas?

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just LOVE Doogie! Great photo. He's so sweet. And 15? You're SO fortunate to have him with you so long. He's a great little dog and I love reading about him.
Simon? He's a cutie too, but I'm partial toward Doogie.
Enjoy that vacation, sans the canines.

6:55 AM  
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