Way to go Orso!

Once again Orso strikes. Thanks to Orso, we can cross another couple off the list of potential friends here. You ask how could that be? How could Orso keep us from making friends? He’s such a sweet dog, super friendly and loves everyone, man and dog alike. Well that’s part of the problem. He wants to be friends with every dog out there, small or large, he doesn’t discriminate. But not all dogs want to be his friend. His size is very intimidating to a lot of dogs he meets.

Today I took him on our afternoon walk and about halfway through our route, three of our neighbors caught up with us walking their dogs. One of the dogs is an older dog that is nice enough, but has no interest in being playmates. She is just happy to plod along for a while then turn back. As long as I stay between Orso and her owner with her on the outside, we are good, no snaps or snarls. Orso has learned to give her a wide berth.

The problem was the other couple and their dog. They are a nice couple with a smaller female black lab, probably weighing in around sixty pounds or so, making her about forty-five pounds lighter than Orso and much lower to the ground. The husband was super friendly, talkative and kept loving on Orso marveling at size of his head. I thought Orso’s head size matched his body size, all were big. I just shrugged and shook my head.

The man let his dog off the leash and let her run, causing Orso to feel short changed, so against the inner voice in my head telling me that this was going to end badly, I let him off the leash too. The man started encouraging his dog to play with Orso, revving Orso in the process. So Orso obliged running at the smaller dog knocking her down and rolling her across the road on her back. She growled and cried at the same time. I rushed forward to grab Orso and hook him back up on the leash, so the man could get to his dog. She stood up and limped around lifting her right front leg and not putting any weight on it.

I thought, great, Orso has maimed their dog. I can only imagine what the vet bill will be. May I can turn around and run away, quickly. Maybe they don’t know where we live. That thought only lasted a moment, because everybody knows where we live. I apologized profusely over and over. The man assured me she was fine and that it was his fault encouraging them to play, but I still felt terrible. And I knew deep down, they would blame us, having a dog that was such a brute. So, as soon as I could gracefully turn around, I said good-bye and walked home as quickly as possible. Trying to put as much space between us as possible.

Poor Orso, he just doesn’t realize how big he is and even at ten and a half years old, he has the energy level of a much younger dog. I have to find him a dog that is bigger than he is to play with, because I don’t make enough money to pay for emergency vet bills. And at this rate, word will spread about the big brown hulk and we’ll have to move again.

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Ad in the Personals Section

I think I’m going take out an ad in the newspaper. We moved out here a year ago and for the first eight months we spent every free moment house hunting. Then when we found a house we really liked, the next four months were spent moving in and making it ours. Now that we are all moved in and winter is coming, there isn’t much to do. Not to mention our work schedules are polar opposites, I work days and he works nights, I get up shortly after he gets home and he goes to work shortly after I get off work. The only evenings we have together are on his days off, which rotate every week, and weekends together happen only every six weeks. That leaves me alone most of the time.

I could take a class, but the last class I took was a yoga class and I turned that into competitive yoga trying to beat everyone else time. So much for relaxing and breathing, I don’t seem to play well with others. I could take up shopping, but then I would need to get a part time job to pay for the shopping. I could take up drinking, oh wait I already do drink, oops.

Hence my reason for the ad in the paper.

I think I’ll start off with:

Wanted: A friend.

“Woman in search of a friend who likes to get up early to greet each day. Someone who has weekends open and likes to explore new and old places. The friend needs to have a warped sense of humor; be able to poke fun at themselves as much as everyone else. The friend can’t take the world too seriously; enjoy life lightly. There are two very important prerequisites: the friend must like wine and dogs, drinking wine, talking wine and trying new wines. The friend must like dogs and all that comes with dogs; dog hair, dog drool and dog kisses.

The friend must like outdoors, hiking and odd adventures. A friend that likes pedicures, shopping and lunch out is an added bonus. Age is not an issue, the friend can be any age over twenty-one, (sorry must be legal drinking age).

Interested parties apply here.”

The Word on the Street

I like to think that I am in tune with the local inhabitants here and well versed in the street slang. I hear what is being said about us among the locals and it’s not pretty. In fact, it’s downright degrading.

Every morning I get up at four am feed Orso and take him for a walk. It’s always dark on our first walk of the day and normally no one else is about. We do run into the creatures of the night, deer, raccoons and rabbits, all of which cause Orso to stand up straight, lunge at the interloper and bark loudly. Each time he does this, I usually have to have my shoulder put back in place after being yanked sharply. I truly believe my left arm is two inches longer than my right arm.

And every time he barks loudly at 4 in the morning, I whisper sharply to him, “Shh, people are sleeping, shh.”

I’ve been working hard with Orso to just ignore the offending creature; may it be deer or rabbit. He still stiffens his body and gives a halfhearted leap when he spots a rabbit, but he is doing better at not barking. He looks at me right after he lunges at a rabbit to say, “look I’m trying, but it’s not fair, chasing rabbits is what I do.”

Well now that I have gotten Orso to not give chase, the offending rabbit doesn’t move. The other day we were on our morning constitutional when on our return Orso’s ears when stiff and erect, giving me warning that there was something was ahead. Sure enough about twenty-five feet ahead of us on the same side of the street, was a rabbit just sitting there watching our approach. As we got closer, Orso got more alert and readied himself for the attack. Still the rabbit just sat there, not moving.

I decided that the better decision was to cross the street hoping to avoid a trip to the emergency room and an Aflac claim. The stupid rabbit did not move, just sat there waiting motionless, taunting Orso. Even as we drew closer and were directly across from the rabbit, the rabbit didn’t move, just watched us walk on by.

Yeah, I hear the word on the street, “The short human won’t let the giant brown menace chase us, we’re good.”

Do you have any idea how degrading it is to not be feared by rabbits? What a bunch of punks.

He’s Going to be the Death of Me

If you find me dead alongside the road sometime it will be more than likely because of Orso. I walk him every day at least three times a day, the first at four am, and almost always it is in the dark. We also have more than our fair share of rabbits out and about along our route and Orso just has to lunge and bark at them in the dark. I try to be very vigilant on our walks watching out for any movement and Orso and his demeanor. If his ears are up and he gets stiff I know something is close by. I do this to avoid becoming a boat anchor or at the very least avoiding rotator cuff surgery.

This morning though I was a bit distracted and not fully on high alert when Orso decided to lunge and bark at something on the side of the road. He thought it was a small rabbit and was determined to scare it off. But it wouldn’t budge, just sitting on the side of the road daring him to cross the street and get closer. As we closed the distance, I saw that it was a rock, a round rock about four inches and not a rabbit. Dumb dog almost dragged me across the road to get to A Rock.

I should have taken that as a sign of what the rest of the walk would be like, but I didn’t. I just kept plodding along. The farthest point we walk to, is down a very dark section of road with no street lights and all of the homes on one side of the road are dark because all the sane people are sound asleep and nothing but dense woods on the other side of the road. As we turned around to head back home, Orso decided it was time to take his morning poop. I waited patiently for him to finish then fished out a poop bag and my flashlight so I could find it and not leave any behind.

After I picked his “elephant dump” and started tying a knot on the end of the bag, I stepped right in some other dog’s poop. Some thoughtless moron left his little dog’s poop on the side of the road and I stepped right in it. I should have shined my flashlight around the area before I took a step. I stood there cursing all little dogs and their owners, because at that moment I hated them all, (even though I know it’s not the dog’s fault, I grouped them all together). That was when Orso either heard or saw something moving in the woods and gave way to barking and lunging at the unseen phantom.

There I was standing on the side of the road trying to get the end of the poop bag tied off and wipe my shoe in the meager amount of grass and Orso was trying to get to some unseen monster in the woods. I’m lucky I only got poop on my shoe and not road rash from being dragged across the road.

The day is off to a bang, I can’t wait until our mid-morning walk and more opportunities to use my Aflac policy.

As Much My Fault as it is His – Really More

But that doesn’t stop me from being mad and angry with Orso. I know better, in reality it is all my fault, he’s just a dog. I had the best intentions, because I know his history, but I got distracted. That seems to happen more and more these days. I get to blame the drugs, but that doesn’t change the outcome.

We were getting to leave and run some errands, one of the which was to go wine shopping and that alone is enough to make me lose focus. I had taken a package of hamburger out of the freezer and moved it to the refrigerator last night to thaw for dinner. Before we left to go run our errands I checked the hamburger to see how thawed it was. It was still pretty frozen so I took it out of the fridge and started to put it in the microwave, safe from the “Stomach”, but I thought Mitch might heat up a sausage biscuit before we left so I set it on top of the microwave and turned to check on him.

Mitch met me at the laundry room door with the cooler in hand looking for ice packs. I told him they were in the freezer. At that point I forgot all about the pound of hamburger. Squirrel! Orso knew we were getting ready to leave so he was following me around panting heavily and occasionally barking to let me know he was not happy about being left home. Even though I always leave the television on and I always give him a rawhide chew. And finally he is home in the air conditioning with the TV on and the doggie equivalent to a bowl of popcorn, what more could he want?

We drove off, and got about three miles from home sitting at the stoplight waiting to get on the highway when it dawned on me that I left the hamburger out unprotected on top of the microwave. So just to be prudent, we took the next exit, jumped back on the highway, and went home. I jumped out of the truck ran up to the door and unlocked it, Orso met me at the door barking away. I walked to the microwave, no hamburger, I looked inside to check it out, no hamburger. I walked to the living room around the corner from the microwave and saw pieces of Styrofoam, a bit of plastic wrap and no hamburger. It was gone, three miles and ten minutes’ tops and it was gone. Six dollars and ninety-eight cents a pound and it was gone.

I was so angry, madder at myself than him, but that didn’t stop me from yelling at him. That didn’t stop me from wishing all kinds of wrath to fall on him. At the same time, I was holy irate I was also praying that he doesn’t get a blockage from any plastic wrap he probably ingested and then have to take him to the vet and have emergency surgery. That would be the cherry on top, Orso eats our hamburger, gets sick and we have to take him to have surgery.

I need a keeper.

Death Wish

Though I’ve not seen any of our state’s predators, it is widely recognized that living in the State of Washington we have a large number of predators, Mountain Lions, Bobcats, Lynx, Bears, Wolves, Coyotes and Foxes. Each one of these predators have the ability to eat small and large animals. I am putting out an all call to any or all of these predators. If I send you my address would you send a couple of emissaries around? I promise you will be richly rewarded.

Sound totally insane right? Well I know that mountain lions and bears can’t read (maybe wolves can, they are pretty smart) but I do have a totally rational reason for the need. We have rabbits here. Brazen or stupid, I don’t know which and I don’t care, I just want them gone. The other day a rabbit ran into our backyard in the afternoon while Orso and I were out there. He ran straight at Orso then turned and ran at me with Orso in hot pursuit. I was almost run down by a charging hundred-pound brown locomotive that only had eyes on a one-pound fur ball. Good thing I was paying attention and jumped aside.

Yesterday morning on our early morning walk, yes I still walk Orso at the crack of dawn, when I noticed Orso was very intent on something ahead of us. Something small with tall ears, another rabbit was sitting in the road just waiting for us, not moving, just waiting. Stupid rabbit, or maybe he was suicidal having the curse of not knowing utter fear and was totally bored with the good life. I tightened my grip on the leash and told him no, for all the good that did. He still lunged at the rabbit and woofed quite loud at four in the morning. People are sleeping and don’t want to hear a very deep loud woof then the screams of a rabbit in the jaws of my menace.

Again this morning we ran across another rabbit with a death wish just sitting on the side of the road, watching us come toward him. Again with the woof and the lunge. The evil little creature jump meandered off with a couple of small hops. Not the wild jerking and sprinting I have seen on the nature shows with a fox or coyote in hot pursuit. I could see my fears of being a boat anchor coming true once again if I don’t get rid of these small suicidal marsupials.

Hence my plea to all predators, please come, I’ll send you my address and I promise you will feast handsomely.

Someone Talk Me off the Ledge

I am having a life crisis and need some guidance before I make a huge mistake. Orso is ten years old and our only dog now. He is calm and sedate for the most part, giving way to the eternal puppy inside occasionally, running around like a loon. Those displays of puppy idiocy are few and far between. Life is good, quiet and boring.

Because life is going so well, there are fewer moments in life that are out of control and as chaotic as in the past, when he was younger and we were three dogs strong, AJ, our counter surfer and pantry raider, Charlie, our split personality dog, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Walking them was always a challenge and I had many instances of being the boat anchor, getting dragged after some poor unsuspecting creature of the night. Worst of all I have less and less to write about. No one wants to hear about how loud Orso snores or how he runs in his sleep.

So in an act of idiocy I have started looking at animal shelter websites and rescue groups online for another dog. I am not sure I am ready for another dog, I don’t want to go through the last weeks of Charlie’s psychotic breakdown, bringing a new dog into our peaceful home. I am somewhat gun shy after that and I won’t put Orso through the terror of Charlie’s vicious episodes with a dog that might not be animal friendly. During my recent business trip to Kansas City, I went to a dock dog competition where the local humane society was parading adoptable dogs around. I saw a big boy, an Akita mix, that if I still lived in KC I probably would have taken him home. Then another friend showed me pictures of a litter of Mastiff puppies that are five weeks old. Thank god they are too young to separate from their mother or I might have taken one of them, even though I do not want to go through another puppy phase EVER AGAIN.

My quandary is that I am probably one of the most boring people in the world, so unless I take up some new sport, like rock climbing or trail riding, I don’t have much to write about anymore. We all know how well I would do at rock climbing or trail riding and I think that eventually even Aflac would cancel my policy. That brings me back to my present problem, taking the leap and getting another dog.

I need the voice of reason to slap me across the back of my head and tell me, “Are you out of your mind? What are you thinking? Take up knitting or something a lot tamer, dummy!”

Poor Mitch, he is in so much trouble and doesn’t know it yet.