Friday, February 27, 2009

Petey Can Spell

As promised in a previous post - Petey knows how to spell!!

We discovered early in Petey's life with us that he knew the word "out". The only problem is he interpreted the word to mean it was time to go outside whenever he heard that word. It has already been established how difficult it is to dissuade Petey when he takes a notion to do something. Whenever he heard the word "out" in whatever context he insisted on being allowed to go outside. What is the problem? It is amazing the number of times the word "out" comes up in every day conversation -
  • Did you take the trash out?
  • I turned the lights out.
  • We are out of tea.
  • Is it raining outside?
  • I can't get the stain out.
  • Out of the mouths of babes.
Get the picture? It was getting as bad as 9:00 pm around here. My very fine idea, was to begin to spell the word much like the parents of toddlers do when they don't want their child to understand what is being said. For instance, rather than saying it is nap time, the parent would say it is N-A-P time. I was quite pleased with my very fine idea until one day I was saying something about O-U-T and Petey ran to the back door!!

As has been noted in previous posts, we tested our theory. It wasn't 9:00 pm, but he was at the back door. Over the next few days we would spell "out" and Petey was at the back door like lightening! So much for my very fine idea.

John began to call Petey's excursions from the house "runs". When we thought it was time for Petey to go outside we started saying "out for a run", and over time shortened it to "run". We don't use that word in every day conversation nearly as much. So far it has worked pretty W-E-L-L.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Petey's Green Ring

This is Petey's most prized possession. It is his green ring. You will quickly notice that this is not a ring. It was when it was purchased. Where there is nothing now, there used to be a handle like orange colored grip. They toy was designed for humans to hold on to that part and for the animal to grab the opposite end and play tug-o-war. Hours of fun for both!! Petey enjoys playing that game, but mostly he just likes to chew on it. This is evidenced by the lacking orange handle part.

He bonded with the ring immediately. We realized right away that if the ring ever got lost we'd be in a world of hurt, much like parents of a toddler that has lost a security blanket. So, seeking to avoid such disaster, I went to get another ring. The only trouble was, I couldn't remember where I bought it. I only go to about three stores as a general rule, so I thought I'd just run across it at some point. Lo, these many years later not a single store in Nashville carries the green ring. Believe me, I've looked!!! I've purchased other toys hoping to supplant or at least supplement the green ring. As yet, I have not hit upon an acceptable substitute.

So far the ring has only been lost for very short periods of time. Petey takes very good care of his possessions. He really likes to keep them on the tile hearth in front of the fireplace. Whenever we are playing anywhere in the house, he'll run get his green ring as if to say "I know what would make this so much more fun."

Once when we were playing in the bedroom. I said that Petey needed to go get his green ring, and he immediately left the room and came back with his green ring, quite pleased with himself. Since he'd often gotten the ring during playtime, we couldn't be sure if he understood my words or just did what he always did. We conducted a couple of experiments just to be sure. We lined up all his toys and told him to get his green ring and he did. We would go to another room and tell him to go get his green ring and he would. We are quite sure he knows the name of his favorite toy.

He knows what is his and doesn't much like me or John messing with his stuff much less people that don't live here. One time we had some friends from church over, and one of the women being a dog lover decided to engage Petey in a game. He wasn't wild about other people in his house and just couldn't take her messing with his toys, much less his green ring. He humored her for a moment by half-heartedly tugging on the ring. When she realized that he wasn't going to play, she let the ring go. He then trotted in to the hallway, deposited his green ring and came back to the room with the guests. He had a look on his face that indicated that no one should go mess with his ring. We didn't.

As I was getting the picture of the ring for this blog, Petey noticed.
See what I mean about being possessive...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Petey's Very Sensitive Neck

I thought I should explain Petey's very sensitive neck, mentioned in Saturday's post.

The short post is he just can't stand to have any pressure on his neck. When that happens he coughs and gags like he is being choked to death, and I do mean the slightest. Case and point the car ride home, when he was resting his own head on my arm.

The main time this sensitive neck issue is a problem is when we take Petey for a walk. Petey loves to go for a walk. He knows the word 'walk' and will rush to the door to go out as if we will change our minds before we actually get out the door. Petey's definition of a walk and our definition of walk are two different things. Our definition of walk is, Petey's idea is sniffing stuff very thoroughly and then peeing on it. This requires him to either lag behind as he is conducting business, or running ahead to see what else is up there. Where the humans are is rarely the place where the animal wants to be. Obviously, you can see the train wreck about to happen. Petey on the leash lagging behind or running ahead, causes more than a little pressure on his neck. Walks were a huge chore.

Being good pet owners, we got a retractable leash, with the misguided thought that this would allow Petey the freedom to roam and we could walk at a normal pace. Alas, this was not to be. Petey just ran to the limit of the leash and then began to cough and carry on as usual.

Petey is a very smart dog, as has already been established in previous posts. Some how though, he has never been able to figure out to stop once he feels the pressure on his neck. John and I laugh about it now, but strangers that see us out wonder what is going on with the little white dog gagging and carrying on as if he's about to die.

On his most recent visit to the vet, we put the short leash on Petey. That is quite necessary in that environment. We went from the car to the door of the vet, which is just a few steps since the vet is in an old house and the parking lot is what used to be the front yard. During those very few steps, we walked in to the vet with Petey in full blown coughing. The receptionist asked with great concern how long our dog had that terrible cough. He did not look up. I said that it just started when we got out of the car, about that time, he looked up and said "Ah, Petey." Petey's got a rep alright...along with a very sensitive neck.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Trip to Nanny's

John had a breakfast meeting at school this morning and I wanted to take Mama's Valentine to her. Since John was already gone, and Petey hates being alone so much, I decided to give him a Valentine's Day trip to Nanny's house. He understands "Nanny's House" and was quite ready to go as soon as I said the words. I wasn't quite ready so he had to run back & forth between me and the door several times before he could herd me out the door!!

As a general rule, when Petey is in the only passenger in the car, he stands in the passenger seat with his front paws on the dashboard. That way he can see where he's going. This time, that was not the case. He knew Mama's gift was in the back seat. He had to check on it 5 or 6 times before we were half way there. He got his feelings hurt after I'd told him 5 or 6 times to leave the gift alone. He was so upset that he needed to sit in my lap for the rest of the trip. We live close to my mother, and since I've driven that way hundreds of times, I wasn't distracted by the little white head right in front of me looking at the road.

We got there without incident. Petey immediately jumped out of the car and began peeing on everything in the yard. Another dog had been there and he had to mark his territory.

We went inside and Petey eagerly gave his fine assistance to Mama as she opened her Valentine gifts. We had a very nice visit. Petey likes Nanny's house and was content there. Most of the time, he sat next to me on the couch.

When it was time to go. Petey assumed his stance in the passenger seat as we began the short ride home. We hadn't gone too far, when apparently he remembered that he was allowed to ride in my lap and look out the windshield in front of me, on the way there. The view must be a lot better in the driver's seat than the passenger seat. He insisted on getting back in my lap. I allowed it because sometimes it is just easier. We were just a few blocks from home when the trip became too much for him and he had to rest his head on my arm.

I was driving with my hands in the very safe 10:00 & 2:00 position on the steering wheel. We'll not discuss the safety of a rat terrier in my lap looking out the windshield in front of me!! He rested his head on my left arm and looked more out of the driver's door window than the windshield. That was working much better for both of us until his neck somehow got bumped. I really don't know what happened. I wasn't turning so my arm didn't move and he was calmly resting his head, but somehow or another his very sensitive neck got bumped and he began to cough and gag like he was being strangled. I'll have to do another post sometime about the very sensitive nature of his neck.

We made it home safely and John arrived soon after. He helped John open his Valentine gifts as he'd helped me earlier in the day. All is right in Petey's little world - for the moment. John is in his recliner watching NASCAR and Petey is snuggled up right next to him.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Snuggi Wars

Just a quick update on the battle over the Snuggi - we seemed to have reached a bit of a truce. I am allowed to sit under it when I watch TV as long as Petey is under it with me, preferably with the blue blanket on top of him too. He is allowed to use it at all other times!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Petey & Treats

The way John got in Petey's good graces after they met was to give him treats when he came tearing in to the yard to bark at him. He got the Milk Bone type dog biscuits and Petey seemed to enjoy them, although now we can't be entirely sure.

When John would give Petey a treat, Petey would take it an run back down to his yard with it. Petey seemed to come to expect the treats when he came for a visit. When I came on the scene, John gave me treats to hand to him. Petey did the same thing. He would take the treat and tear across the yards to his yard with the treat.

One day after Petey came to live with us, John found bacon treats. Petey loved them. Now that is all he'll eat. He even has a favorite brand - Wavy Bacon. John and I understand that, and we give Petey bacon treats now.

The problem comes in when Petey goes to the bank with John. The drive thru teller gives out those horrid, hard, tasteless, milk bone type dog biscuits. Petey knows that the treat is for him and takes it. but has a hilarious look of disgust on his face. He won't even put it all the way in his mouth. He'll just take the tip between his teeth and try not to let his lips or tongue touch it. He looks sort of like a grumpy old man holding a stogie between his teeth.

One time I accompanied the boys on their trip to the bank. Petey sat on the console between the seats while we were stopped at the bank. The teller, very kindly, sent out a treat, which John gave to Petey. Petey took the treat in his usual manner and looked at me with the typical disgust. When we started to go, Petey got in my lap since the console was a little slick and he didn't want to fall off. He needs to see where we are going, so those were his only choices.

Somehow during the transition from the console to my lap, he dropped the treat. It went between the passenger seat and the console, out of my reach. No big deal you think since Petey hates them anyway. OH NO!!! You would have thought he dropped a million dollar bill between the seats, or at least one of those really good bacon treats. He started scrambling and scratching like crazy trying to get his precious treat back. He jumped in the back seat, sacrificing the knowledge of where we were headed, so that he could scratch around back there to get the prized treat.

The worst part was that we were driving to Tuscaloosa. Car trips and Petey's love/hate relationship with the car is a blog for another day. The treat stayed 'lost' for the remainder of the trip, but Petey did not forget. When we finally arrived at home, John, ever the hero, dug the treat out from where it was wedged. Petey was anxiously awaiting the arrival of his treat in the driveway beside the car. When John emerged triumphant, Petey was ecstatic - NOT. Petey calmly took the treat from John, laid it down in the driveway and walked away. We think he eventually ate it because later it was gone, but who knows what really happened to it. He could have buried it in the back yard for all we know.

It makes us wonder what happened to all of those treats he took from us in the early days. Was he just humoring us?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Petey Party!!

Today Petey turned 12. At least we celebrated it today. After supper he had three gifts to open. I wrapped up a bag of treats, two bacon treats, and his stepping stone kit from Christmas. Other than the treats, he really didn't care what the gifts were. He just liked opening them.
I only got one clip of the gift opening...the memory card on the camera got full. You get the idea anyway.

After the gift opening, we let Petey eat the two bacon treats he unwrapped, and John & I ate a chocolate peanut butter yum yum. It was a lovely affair for the pooch.