Wags n Words Healthy Dogs & Happy Tales

June 5, 2014


For my Grand-paw on his 86th Birthday — You’ve always encouraged me to write and to speak my story and my truth. When I put my paws to the keyboard, I always ask myself, “What would Grandpaw like to read about today?” I hope you enjoy today’s topic and I hope you know ho much I love you (as seen in my wiggles) and cherish you (which is why I lie by your chair). Happiest of Birthdays, Grand-paw…from all of us (Gretchen, Ann, and Dezi too!)

Your best Grand-dog, Rubin

I am not good at sharing. Let me be more specific. I am good at talking about myself and sharing my feelings, but I’m not good at allowing others to occupy my space, eat my food, or play with my toys (to name just a few). It’s that kind of sharing — the kind where someone gets IMG_20140603_081845_070something of mine without asking — that I find the most difficult.

For most of my life, this inability to share has never really seemed like a problem and to be honest, I never realized it was a problem for others. I just thought everyone believed like I did — what mine is mine; what’s yours is yours. No discussion. No problem. You keep your paws off my bed and my couch and out of my space, and we won’t have a problem.

But now that we share our lives with another dog — another dog dezidifferent than the ones who stay with us as part of our business — I’ve come to understand that my unwillingness to share has its downside. And maybe, just maybe not being able to share my food, toys, and space is a problem — if not for me, than for others. In this case, specific others.

Dezi is the newest member of our family. His presence puts me in an interesting position because 1) he’s older than I am and 2) he’s not leaving us — this is his new home and as much as I enjoyed being a one-dog family, I must accept that we are now a two-dog family and in a two-IMG_20140531_123425_140dog family you have to learn to share.

Furthermore, this would have been slightly different if the dog we brought into our family who was younger than me, but we didn’t. We brought in an elderly citizen and even I know that means I have to respect him in a way I wouldn’t necessarily respect a puppy. I can’t boss him around like I can Joey or Theo or even Big Albert or Little Albert and I can’t really treat him like an equal because he’s my senior and therefore deserves more respect.IMG_20140604_122043_137

Which means that he gets the prime corner on the couch. He gets fed first. He gets to sleep on the human bed (and I am relegated to the bed Momma Ann built for me at the end of the human bed…a nice place, but it’s not the human bed and yes, I have a problem with that). Dezi has gotten a little more attention than I have lately and given the circumstances of his arrival I intellectually understand it, but emotionally am feeling a bit jealous. At our latest vet appointment, he got to receive his acupuncture before I received my chiropractic work. IMG_20140529_083608_636Even the women at the vet’s office and even the vet herself were slightly more interested in Dezi than they were me. They tried not to let it show, but I could see it.

When people come to visit or we go on a trip to visit friends and family, they ask first about Dezi and then about me. They kiss and hug Dezi first and then say, “Oh Rubin, are you feeling left out?”

Of course I am!!! But I buck up and greet them as happily as I would if I were the only dog in the room.

Which I am not.

Dezi’s respectful though. I’ll give him that. He might get up on the couch first to claim the prize corner location, but if I jump up after him he doesn’t growl or bark or look perturbed. Even if I flop myself down on top of him (he likes to sleep under the covers) he’s totally cool about it,  which I find, I must admit, totally impressive. And when it’s meal time and I want to clean up the last of the food in his bowl, he moves right over and lets me.

I guess that’s why, if I have to learn to share, having Dezi as my “teacher” is not so horrible. My moms would love to see meIMG_20140530_154449_245 transfer this new found sharing ability to other dogs and in other situations, but they don’t quite get that I have a reputation to uphold. I was top dog for a long time before Dezi moved in. I’m slightly set in my ways, ya know, so while I’ve been told I’m getting better at the whole sharing thing, even I know I’m not perfect at it.

Not yet anyway.

I mean, I have yet to let Dezi write on this blog.

That would be a huge step forward in the sharing department now wouldn’t it?

Don’t hold your breath. There are a lot more sharing hurdles I need to jump before I relinquish the laptop.


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April 23, 2014


2014-04-23 17.11.17I’ve heard my moms debate the merits of adding another dog to our family. Gretchen is all for it; Momma Ann thinks with all the pet sitting and dog walking, we have enough dogs in our lives. As for me, well, I wouldn’t mind a younger sibling to push around, but despite our debating, we’ve never actually made a move to add an extra dog.

But sometimes, when you put things out there in the Universe, the Universe is listening even though you may have thought otherwise.

Two weeks ago, Dezi was left on our front porch. He is a neighbor friend and he and his Dad are mainstays of the neighborhood — always out walking in the mornings and late afternoons. But Dezi’s Dad took very ill and passed away today. This makes us very very sad because2014-04-23 17.20.09 he was a good and kind and gentle human being.

We agreed to take care of Dezi until his Dad was better, but no one could foresee that this is where we’d be two weeks ago and while we are more than willing to be Dezi’s new adoptive family, we are very sad that it’s under these circumstances.

But life, I’ve learned this year, isn’t easy and tough and horrible things come to pass. And there’s not much you can do about it.

You just have to keep breathing.
Still, that debate we’ve had for so long is no longer a debate. We now have a new dog in our lives and I must say, while I was originally skeptical about the whole situation, Dezi is the perfect dog to add to our family. He is gentle and sensitive — never trying to steal my food or my place on the couch. He makes me laugh with his silly, whiskery face and with the clothes my moms make him wear (he tends to get cold). He is quiet (unlike me) and loves to go on long walks (like me).

When his Dad asked us to take care of him, we were honored because his Dad loved Dezi more than anything else. Dezi feels the same, of course, so we’re doing our best to help him both mourn and make the transition. Sometimes it’s not easy.

But my dog friends have helped as much as my moms.

Take for example the walk we had to with Rosie. Rosie doesn’t get to walk with too many other dogs because she can be very excitable and that sometimes turns into aggression. But after her initial worry about Dezi, she settled right into walking with him. He, of course, paid her little to no attention (which helped) and by the end of the walk, we were all calm and relaxed with each other (sorry, no photos though because Gretchen had her hands full).maizyzizoudezi

Dezi likes walking with Maizy and Zizou who nibble at his whiskers and look up to him like he was their own older brother. This makes me happy because frankly they are always nipping at me and I’m not nearly as patient as Dezi.

Monty has known Dezi about as long as I have and so Dezi moving in with us is no big deal to Monty. He thinks we’re all just one big happy family anyway.

Tyson knows Dezi too (since we all live in the same neighborhood) and Tyson’s stump of a tail wiggles just as fast as Dezi’s long one when they see each other.

rouxdeziDezi’s even met Sonny. Of course, Sonny’s way of greeting new dogs is a bit odd — he charges them and then tries to mouth them (though Gretchen doesn’t let that happen), but then settles into the walk like they were long-lost friends.

Roux thinks we got a smaller version of her, at least that’s how she acted when she first met him. “Hey,” she said, “He looks kinda like me!” and he does though his whiskers are bit longer and his body a great deal smaller.

We aren’t sure exactly Dezi’s mix though we think it might be whippet and schnauzer. There’s possibly some terrier in their too, but it’s hard to tell. chief dezi

Perhaps the dog who likes Dezi the most is Chief. I’m not sure why especially after Dezi barked at Chief the first time they met, but regardless, Chief gets really excited when Dezi comes to the door. Maybe it’s an old guy thing.

He still needs to meet some of my other friends…like Joey and Theo and Finn and Carter and Kali…but I’m sure he’ll be welcomed with open paws again. He’s that kind of dog — you just want to squeeze him.

familyBut aside from all of that, having Dezi around and in our lives now has made me think a lot about what “family” means. I won’t get too philosophical here, but I have to say that actually having a real brother is a whole lot better than always talking about having one. It’s nice to know that I have his back and he has mine. It’s nice to know that there’s someone I dezimancan talk to, someone who really listens. Sure my moms do that, but Dezi gets me in a way they don’t. Perhaps that’s because he’s a dog or maybe it’s because he’s a boy dog, but whatever the reason, his quiet demeanor brings me peace.

And I never thought I’d like having an older brother. I can be pretty bossy so yes, I was hoping for someone younger and more frisky. My moms were hoping for a girl because they thought that would soften me up a bit, but now that Dezi is here and in the fold of our love, I’m glad he was the one who ended the debate. He is exactly where he should be and I’m glad I’m right here with him.

Sending love and light to Dezi’s Dad’s family. He will be missed by so many.

Keep breathing…

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