March 30, 2010


I like to consider myself a tough dog. Not much scares me, though some would say I’m jumpy. Perhaps, but mostly I think I’m pretty tough. Or as Gretchen likes to say, gnarly. I’ve heard her use that word a lot lately mostly in reference to her incision, which is soon to be a scar…a gnarly scar. She’s threatening to get an even gnarlier tattoo on top of the scar, but I think she’s bluffing. She’s not really the tattoo kind of woman.

I, on the other hand, would get a tattoo in a second, but unfortunately, it’s not going to happen. Too much hair.

But I digress. The real reason I’m telling you all of this is because last night, while I was practicing my tough look in the mirror, my biggest insecurity flared. Or perhaps I should say “bolted” and I was instantly in a puddle of quivering uncertainty.

Gretchen calls it thunder and lightning and while I don’t generally see the lightning, I most certainly hear and feel the thunder. Last night this thunder was right over our house. It even made the TV flicker and the computer screen get momentarily wobbly. It was at that point Gretchen turned off and unplugged everything. Later, when the storm had passed, she plugged it all back in and turned it all back on.

“Rubin,” she called to me, “It’s time to finish your blog.”

Unfortunately, I was in hiding, wedged securely between the ottoman and the couch lovingly covered up with a blanket by Ann. She gets me. She understands that sometimes even the toughest dogs have some hidden insecurities.

Lightning and thunder are mine. They’re apparently Argo’s too, though he tended to bark at the ceiling with every bolt and shudder.

So today, when we woke to a bit of rain, I asked, “Will there be more of those nasty storms today?”

“Not sure, buddy,” Gretchen told me. “They say there might be some this afternoon.”

“Well, let’s get this gig started so I can be home in the safety of my hidden spot when they come!”

It’s now late in the afternoon, almost evening, and no sign of noisy storms as of yet. Good thing. I’m not sure I can take two days in a row with all that noise and commotion.

Rosie feels the same way. I had Gretchen ask her what she feels about those storms and Rosie refused to even answer the question. She just looked Gretchen square in the eye as if to say, “Are more coming? If so, get me home quick, quick, quick!”

While the storms were no where to be seen in the sky, the air was mighty chilly, so chilly Gretchen made Rosie wear her coat. She may not look happy about it, but after the walk, she thanked Gretchen enormously for the extra warmth and the thunder-free walk!

Next up was Gemma and while I’m not certain, I don’t think Gemma has many insecurities. Certainly not thunder and lightning. She’s really tough and while I’d never want her to know how tough I think she is, I’ll tell you that I think she’s the toughest and gnarliest dog I know!

Gemma and I got to play at the tennis courts today, but instead of our usual romp photos, Gretchen tried to capture that unique nose and ear combination of the tough girl. Oh, and let’s not forget the drool. Hey, I didn’t know tough dogs drooled!

Gemma also got to come over to our house to meet Argo. We didn’t get any photos of the meeting (too bad) but it was pretty fun to watch Argo chase Gemma around the yard while Gemma chased me.

After Gemma went home, Gretchen and I picked up Saber and we, too, headed to the courts where Saber instantly stole my favorite ball and taunted me with it!

Man, he LOVES to play keep away (hence the attached red leash) and he’s mighty quick about it, too. The second I get close enough to steal the ball back, he’s off and running!

As for toughness, Saber is a lot of things — goofy, loving, big — but I’m not sure tough or gnarly are words I can attach to him. Gretchen calls him a mush ball elephant and while he used to show the fear of open umbrellas in his early years, I’m not sure thunder and lightning would elicit the same response now. Instead, I bet he just looks up at the sky and says, “Uh? Is that music?”

Saber has a habit of ramming into me with his large, Lab head. For as large as he is, he actually moves really well. I think of him as a bulldozer able to scoop up the ball in one swift move or in some instances, leap right up in front of the camera to snatch the ball high out of the air.

We played hard, which was Gretchen’s ulterior motive because once we were done, I got to rest at home with Argo while Gretchen and Ann headed south to walk with Ollie, Playa, and Doodles. Now, it’s pretty clear to me (even though I don’t know Playa or Doodles) that the two of them would have completely different reactions to thunderstorms.

Playa would see it as a signal to go outside and sniff the air. A husky-mix, Gretchen says that huskies want nothing more than to be outside in any kind of weather. They’re all about being on the move and while Playa can’t get out of her yard, when she’s on the walk, she wants to just keep going and going and going! All you could see would be her beautiful tail waving goodbye!

Doodles, on the other hand, would find the deepest, darkest hole he could and tuck himself in for days and days and days. No matter how much reassurance he got, no matter how many treats they used to coax him out, he’d be too afraid those loud booms and spine-tingling cracks would come again. I completely understand!

Ollie would bark. Plain and simple… woof, woof, woof! He barks at everything he’s not certain about, which is hard to imagine since he’s such a fun-loving, happy-go-lucky kind of guy.

As you can see, Gretchen’s feeling better these days since Ann only had to help out with the last walk of the day. Everyone was very appreciative…especially Gretchen…but even Doodles, who is spooked by everything, seemed to enjoy meeting the new girl.

When they finally got home, Argo and I greeted them with typical enthusiasm. Well, my was typical. Argo grabbed a shoe and brought it to them. Where did he learn that?

He’s certainly making himself at home. First he’s learned to drink water from my dish and then, when we were let out in the backyard, Argo got really affectionate! Wait just one minute little fellow!

Tomorrow Gretchen thinks she can go it alone…no more need for Ann to help out unless she wants to. Well of course, I’ll be there to lend a paw……unless it storms again!

Until tomorrow,


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