[photopress:Jackson___Evie_the_usual_suspects__Small_.JPG,thumb,pp_image] My day starts with the whines of either Evie or Jackson. They sleep in our bedroom every night but they’re crated, otherwise they’d be dancing all over us and the bed all night long. I need my sleep. I slide out of our waterbed careful not to step on Big Shelby (who’s not so overweight anymore) or Tzar and noting that Polly is still on her ottoman next to our bed and that Simone is on her pad on the other side of the treadmill. I teeter my way to the bathroom trying to become more balanced as I go and hoping that Evie and Jackson won’t kick up too much of a fuss while I’m throwing on my clothing.
I blink my left eye repeatedly to try and lubricate the contact lense in that eye or, if it begins to feel like it’s slipping out, close that eye entirely. I don’t turn on the light in the bathroom (unless the contact lense comes out) in order not to disturb Jim. I grope around the bathroom counter feeling for my several layers of shirts in between “shooshing” Evie and Jackson. I hurriedly pull on my shirts, pants, and shoes as quickly as I can. While I’m doing this Sly often starts to bark and bounce around making me feel more urgent about getting dressed and getting the dogs out of there.
Then the routine to get all ten dogs down the stairs begins with opening up the crate closest to my side of the bed, releasing Star, who immediately leaps into the bed to cuddle with Jim. I open up the large crate by the doorway and release Strawberry and then go find blind and deaf Tommy who always sleeps right up against Jim’s side of the bed. I lead Tommy to the top of the stairs where his independent nature lets me know he can take it from there and he confidently feels his way down the stairs. Shelby looks at me expectantly and I tell her to go on down the stairs. She’s such a good girl she just heads right downstairs followed by good girl Strawberry. Then it’s back to open up the crates of Evie and Jackson which sit side by side. First Evie, to give her a moment to say hello before I release Jackson and he lets loose with his wild and enthusiastic greeting for me and then for Evie.
I try to get down the stairs without being bowled over by the Evie/Jackson mayhem of play going on, almost on my heels, behind me. By the time I get downstairs myself most of the group is there waiting impatiently to get to the back door and out into the backyard. I open a baby gate and walk through into the family room. Jackson runs into a large crate we keep next to the back door and I tell him what a good boy he is and close the door to the crate. I hold onto Evie while I open the sliding glass door and watch as the more sedate members of the household quickly go outside and find their favorite spots. Then I release Evie to run outside and I close the door. I let Jackson out of his crate and ask him to sit. I’m trying to alter his excited mood to a calmer state before I let him outside. He’s a good boy and he sits on my hand command (along with the voice command SIT). Then I open the door and let him outside. As he heads out I can see he’s teetering on the edge of being rowdy so I give him the command to Go Potty, several times with increasing insistence in my voice. Then I see him start to sniff the ground and tell him, That’s The Way, and soon he’s Going Potty and I can praise him.
I look around to see who’s come outside or who might be missing and go back inside to see if everyone has come downstairs. This morning, Polly was the last to come downstairs. As I watch her come down the stairs I notice that she’s having more difficulty than I would have expected. Her vision is poor and this may be part of the problem. I’ll check her nails to see if that has anything to do with her difficulty too. In the future I may bring her down myself so she doesn’t need to deal with the stairs. At night, Jim carries her upstairs to bed. Simone is now taking herself up the stairs and down the stairs either by herself or with just a little verbal encouragement.
What about that quarter cup of coffee, I hear you ask…I’m getting there!
After everyone has done their thing outside I start calling dogs back inside. I watch to see if anyone is having problems, lifting their legs and acting like their feet hurt from the cold, or anything like that. If I see that I run to the rescue and scoop them up and start warming their feet against me and bring them inside. I tap Tommy on his shoulder to let him know we’re going back inside. Tommy, like many of the dogs, loves the snow. Everyone goes back up the ramp we’ve built for them and back inside the house.
To speed things up here let’s jump to after the dogs have eaten their breakfast meals, gone outside AGAIN, and I can finally turn to working on energizing and waking myself up for the various tasks that lay ahead of me. This morning, lacking motivation, I decided to make myself some coffee. Jim was already drinking his espresso and sitting on the couch in the family room. I made my instant (it’s faster and less work) coffee and sat down on the couch opposite Jim. We started talking about the upcoming day and the tasks we wanted to tackle. I was sitting there holding my newly made cup of coffee. Dogs were mostly hanging out except for the few (Evie and Jackson) who were playing. Out of nowhere, a sable and white fluffy rocket landed on my lap and climbed up my body practically sticking a foot into the coffee cup to get another foothold on his way up. Despite my best efforts to hold onto this cup of coffee most of it ended up on the floor. Oh well… What was left was about a quarter cup of coffee that was cold by the time I finished cleaning up the rug. Apparently that was all the coffee I needed this morning because I got quite a lot done after that! – Barbara