Doggy December - Day 15 - Telling Tails
Regular readers will know that the above mutt is my beloved dog Milly, slumped on her beanbag under my writing desk. She's my silent secretary, leg nudger, door greeter, loud yawner, soft-snorer, best buddy and ex-running companion.
After she was diagnosed with arthritis so severe that running of any kind was forever forbidden, she also had to lose 2kg in order to give her two back legs an easier task getting her from A (beanbag) to B (the lawn outside for a whizz). This seemed undeservedly cruel at the time: no runs with Mum (me), her favourite activity; and why the hell was she suddenly getting about a quarter of the food she used to get? And how come nobody would throw the tennis ball anymore?
Still, we persisted with the no running/potential starvation/anti-tennis ball stance, and the vet was thrilled to announce that she was slim, trim and had regained the twinkle in her caramel-brown eyes.
Like my father, she is now on a permanent treatment regime of glucosamine and share the same brand of fish oil. Shoving a thumb-sized white glucosamine tablet down her throat is a bit of a hairy, drool-slicked wrestle first thing in the morning but luckily she likes the taste of the oil sprinkled over her meagre meal, and her exercise is now a five minute walk to Sapphire's school gate for morning drop off and afternoon pick up. Quite the change from 6km runs, doggy park dashes and backyard happy laps.
This change in her lifestyle got me thinking about how accepting our furry friends are. Milly is still thrilled to see Sapphire, Love Chunks and myself when we return from being out for the entire day or back from a two minute trot to the corner shop and, once back inside, makes sure that she's within touching proximity of at least one of us and within viewing range of the other two. She loves being tethered to the school fence at 3:30pm, waiting to be surrounded by a gaggle of kids wanting to pat her straight after the bell rings. She patiently endures some of the more excitable kids' demonstrations of affection and will flip over onto her back to increase the likelihood of a tummy scratch.
Despite her relative silence (she's not much of a barker), it is her tail that speaks volumes.
Swish Swish Swish - first thing in the morning she's stretched out languidly on the beanbag, having already heard me stirring. I'll smile as I walk past her into the kitchen, hoping to find a freshly-made coffee. She is happy about this and asking me to let her out to sniff Skipper's hutch and drop a doodoo under the tree.
Ponk Ponk Ponk - she's staring up at us sitting on the wooden dining chairs, her tail hitting the table leg, willing us to hurry the hell up with our coffees and give her something to eat already. She is usually rewarded for her efforts with the brown milk from Sapphire's left-over cocoa pops.
Thocka Thocka Thocka - her darling daddy Love Chunks is looking directly at her! He's Milly's ultlimate ALPHA MALE! Even her back half starts to wag as she drums out her dance of devotion: 'Love Chunks! I looooooooooooooove you! Please lift me up off the floorboards and sweep me up into your muscly arms and let me kisssss you! Please?'
Doing Doing Doing - she likes to sit directly beside the iron fireplace door, watching the Today Show* with Sapphire on school mornings and hoping to get a scratch behind the ear.
Slap Slap Slap - waiting eagerly by the laundry door for me to get her lead and take her walking to school. She does this with such eagerness I'm surprised that her tail doesn't hurt at the effort.
Whiff Whiff Whiff - The ultimate, these days. She's finally allowed off her lead at the park. All the grass to sniff, wee on and eat. At least one dead bird to roll in, one half-eaten Maccas burger to find and perhaps a passing pram with some bare baby feet hanging out waiting for a quick lick. Oh, the possibilities.....
Eeeeeeeee - Plonk - bathtime, bugger it. Her tail lowers between her legs and her ears are flatter than Paris's mattress. Why we want to swap the odour of wet cat shit for perfumed coconuts is a mystery in reversible order for both her and us.
I reckon if we humans had tails, life would be a lot easier and much more pleasant. We'd know who was genuinely happy, who was ecstatic, who was worried, who was brow-beaten, who was wary and who was angry. It would rid us all of dishonest politicians, sales people, reality show failures and failed marriages.
If only. Let's hope that evolution decides that this is a good idea and speeds up the process faster than global warming.
* The Today Show has replaced the long-loved 'ABC Kids' as TV-viewing of choice. "ABC kids is really for much younger people than me," she said, which is a shame, because I rather liked watching Old Tom, Charlie and Lola and the Little Princess.