A Daisy Trilogy
Thumping Her Tail
I’m not sure who wakes up first, Daisy or me, but if it’s me as soon as I open my eyes Daisy’s there and ready to go. I’m convinced that she hears the sound of my eyelashes moving from closed to open. And she’s perfected her technique of letting me know that she wants to go out by “thumping” her tail, loudly, against the side of the bed. It isn’t a simple swish of her tail, but a hard “thump” which she repeats until I finally get out of bed, throw on some clothes and take her for her first walk.
The Race Is On
The race begins as soon as Daisy gets me out of bed. I race to throw on some clothes to take her for her first walk. Then it’s a race home to change her water and get out her food bowl. I add a fifth of a can of dog food to the bowl. No, she isn’t hungry, she has another bowl full of dry food 24 hours a day, but breakfast is different, she has to have her breakfast. Then a drink, vitamin and, usually, another walk because she was too busy racing home for breakfast to remember to pee.
“Daisy, I can’t keep taking you out every hour on the hour,” I said to our Australian Shepard for probably the thirtieth time that day. “All you want is another sniff-fest.” Daisy is a rescue who had a real hard time, having been in a house fire, gotten out and then been on the streets for a month and, once her owner got her back, he couldn’t keep her and brought her to the shelter where they put her age as eight years old instead of four so no one adopted her until we did and I’m sure glad we did.
Daisy Tells Time
Daisy tells time. She has her entire day plotted out by the clock. She knows when it’s time to get up. She knows when it’s time for her walks. She knows when it’s naptime and which of her favorite places to have a nap in at which time. She knows when it’s time for her late afternoon walk, time for her after-dinner walk, time for her late evening walk and when it’s time for her final nightly walk. Yes, she gets a lot of walks. And she can count too. The question is, should I get her a watch for Christmas?
“Bedtime.” One word. That’s all I have to say and Daisy meanders out from one of her favorite napping places heading toward our bedroom. As I turn out the living room lights she slowly makes it, sleepily, to bed. Our bed is 31 inches high so I always pick her up. As I bend down to her she lifts her left arm to wrap around my left arm to hold on and tucks her tail so I can wrap my right arm under her rear end while I lift her onto the bed. A final good-night before she lies down. Good-night.
Daisy Has Me Well Trained
Earlier today Daisy decided she wanted to go out. To begin this tale you should know that she has clearly established ways of communicating this information and, being the sucker that I am, I respond appropriately by taking her out – usually eight to ten times a day.
Sometimes she prefers to take a walk and she takes me on whatever journey and tour of our apartment community that strikes her fancy at the moment. Some of these walks can be as far as a mile or so and can last up to an hour. At the end it’s sometimes only a tour to check that all is well in Princess Daisy’s kingdom and other times it’s to do what going out is usually about. One never knows which it will be so I take her whenever she asks.
This afternoon it was directly to the dog park across the street (a fenced in enclosure complete with doggie bags labeled Fido House on the bags) and a can to dispose of same conveniently located immediately outside the gate.
Her park, as I refer to it when telling others, and your park, when I am addressing her directly – as in “Do you want to go to your park?” – to which she decides whether it’s a park or a walk at that moment and indicates her decision by pulling me in the direction of her choice.
The decision is often to her park where she can sniff around freely and to her heart’s content and chase bees that are too focused on the pollen in the flowers atop the weeds to notice her – only to be stalked by the stealthy Miss Daisy and devoured with one lunge and snap. (I’m still not sure how her tongue doesn’t get stung in the process.)
I should mention that we’ve been having a hot and extremely humid week and today was no exception.
So, there she was: roaming, sniffing, stalking and chomping – as happy as can be. But even good things must come to an end and she seemed to finally get bored with the above and decided to lie down in the grass to peruse her world.
I had been sitting on the bench immediately outside the park, placed there for human occupants while their canines proceed as described. I watched and periodically read until the lateral position in the grass and, at that point, I decided to join her in a similarly lateral position, relaxing on my back.
As I said, it was hot and extremely humid and gradually Daisy started to pant. The panting increased in direct proportion to the perspiration on my forehead so I decided that it was time to go home and make sure we both got a drink – Daisy first, of course.
The air conditioning being on day and night this whole week made a delightful change from outdoors and I instructed Daisy to get a drink. Daisy responded by taking her Sphynx position in one of her favorite spots, all of which include leaning against a wall no matter what her remaining bodily position.
Since she continued to pant I thought of ways to coax her into drinking. I changed her water thinking that, even though I had changed it a half hour before, I might induce her with fresh. No. She watched as I put her bowl back in its place, but remained Sphynx-like.
I was determined that she wasn’t going to get dehydrated (the fact that I still hadn’t had a drink didn’t matter) and figured that if she wouldn’t go to her bowl I’d bring her bowl to her.
Another aside – Daisy is an Australian Shepherd, but I’m convinced that she’s also part camel – she’ll drink most of a bowl of water and then not drink again for up to four or five hours.
Back to the story.
She was still in her Sphynx position so it was easy to slip her water bowl between her outstretched arms at which point she immediately drank over half the water in the bowl, without getting up or any further movement.
Once it was clear that she was finished drinking I removed the bowl, refilled it and put it back in its place. While I was accomplishing these chores Daisy had moved onto her side, back against the wall, arms and legs fully stretched out so that it looked like she was standing horizontally and she was already happily, and contentedly, asleep.
Only then was I allowed to get a drink myself.
See what I mean?
Daisy has me well trained.
Mornings on Daisy’s Porch
Daisy loves her porch and its part of our daily routine.
Our day begins with Daisy thumping her long, bushy tail against the side of the bed to wake me up. If I don’t get up immediately she thumps harder and louder, like an alarm clock that keeps beeping louder and louder until it’s so loud and annoying that you’re forced to wake up. Anyway, Daisy keeps thumping until I’m awake and I tell her that I am.
It used to just be a race to get dressed to take her out for her first walk, but she’s now added a first inspection of the world, at least her world, and leads me directly to the sliding glass door which opens onto her porch. There she peruses her world for a minute or two while I get dressed as quickly as I can, because, by now, she’s completed her preliminary inspection, and is waiting at the front door. Daisy has me very well trained.
I’m told that Daisy is a lucky dog because, most days, she gets about eight walks per day. And our regular path is almost a quarter of a mile around the perimeter of the parking lot in our section of our apartment complex.
Much like the first time on the porch, the first walk is really just to check the status of the world of the parking lot. Several walks per day are often sniff-fests, but the first walk is almost always just to see what other dogs have been there since she was last out.
Once a full circle is completed it’s back home for breakfast – her quarter of a can of dog food and a huge drink of water. I sometimes actually think that Daisy is part camel because she drinks nearly a whole bowl of water and then doesn’t drink again for hours and hours. Of course, sometimes, in between her food and water, or sometime after, she has to have her vitamin pill. All of this is dictated by Daisy and she has her own methods of communicating and telling me exactly what she wants and in what order.
Once breakfast is over there’s usually a second walk or, sometimes, she skips that in favor of immediately spending a couple of hours on her porch. Whether there’s a second walk or not, there’s always porch time. Second walks sometimes happen during porch time and she informs me when she wants to go out – home again, we return to complete her, self-determined, allotted hours on the porch. The problem is that I’m required to be on the porch with her.
She does allow me to collect a couple of things, like my writing kit and a book, as she impatiently waits and, once again, leads me to the porch.
The porch is screened in and access is obtained through a sliding glass door, but even though I’ve left the door open wide enough for her to go in and out freely, that doesn’t count – I must be on the porch with her.
Once we’re there she has her special places – there are four altogether, but, most mornings, it’s one of the two along the screen wall. Once settled in, nose up against the screen, she peruses the small park area behind our apartment and watches to see if there’s been, or is now, anything interesting going on. Once satisfied that all is well she usually goes to sleep for a morning nap. But if she hears or senses something or someone in the distance she only pretends to nap and her eyes remain open and watchful, just in case someone, alone or with another dog, happens to come into her world.
Of course I’m not allowed to leave the porch during Daisy’s mornings, not even to finish getting dressed myself, since I only threw on enough clothes to take her for the first walk, but I am allowed to sit with her, drink a cup of coffee, read or write the story of mornings on Daisy’s porch.