Tuesday, January 22, 2008

About a dog

When she first arrived, she was depressed. I know, because she was withdrawn and didn't really want to eat. I know how that feels. I tried a couple of dog foods but wasn't going to go down the "try every one in the shop" route. Someone who has great psychological understanding and empathy suggested I eat from her bowl first, and it worked. (I didn't really, you understand, I just pretended, for her benefit - "yum-yum-yum, top dog eats first, your turn now". I'm vegetarian.) It worked, for a while, anyway, a few days. Then the depressed blank look at her bowl returned. I started to feed her from my hand. I still have to do it sometimes, and although when my son feeds her, she will devour her food without worry, when I feed her she likes me to stay with her and scratch and stroke her shoulders while she eats. If I go to another room, she'll follow me with a worriedly-wagging tail, instead of eating. I don't mind, actually, although obviously I want her to feel confident and settled enough not to need me for emotional support whilst having her meal. But the truth is, I love being there with her, squatting by her side, scratching her, feeling her all strong and furry and alive, her eagerness for life, shot through with the uncertainty that puts an ache in my new and growing love for her.

During her first three weeks with us, we had a few days of snow - four or five, which looks to be the extent of it this year. She has a way of snuffling the ground, following the scents and smells she detects, which was very endearing from the start - and a relief, as apparently many dogs with a dog-pound background can be so traumatised they don't use their noses anymore, and have to be taught and tantalised to do so again. Her sniffing became a reason to fall in love with her when snow arrived, for she would poke her nose in it and create the sweetest dog-nose shaped holes with a snuffle-sniffling movement from side to side. She would then look over her shoulder at me, as she does, checking that I'm there, that all is well, that she is a good dog, and she would have snow on her nose and love would well up in me. It was also when getting carried away in the snow to the extent of forgetting herself that she would suddenly, out of the blue, make the first clumsy playful love-lunges at me, coming out of the withdrawnness that was characteristic of her during her first days with us.

During her first visits to the local dog park she was so worried about having me off the leash (and thus easily lost) she would walk with her nose to my knee instead of running about, stopping when I stopped, walking when I walked. She has grown brave now and will romp with dogs much bigger than her with spirit and gusto, but she comes when I call her and usually straightaway (although I wouldn't trust her when rabbits, hares, squirrels and the like come into the picture). She got told to get lost at first when she tried to get into my bed with me in it (although she is always allowed on it, as long as I'm not in it. With me in it, it's invites only), and consequently will only grace my bed on weekend mornings, even if I invite her - but she does come and kiss me first thing in the morning when I roll over to turn off my alarm, except this Monday, when I was terribly down. Poor innocent creature, she feels my moods and takes them all upon herself. Her life will not be an easy one.

I've had her a month today, and, as is the case with babies and lovers, I cannot fathom I haven't always had her, that there could have been a life of not having her. I love her. I've waited for her for eleven and a half years. She's my dog.


Bindi said...

what a lovely post. so beautifully written. thanks for sharing your blossoming love for dogot with us.

I don't have a dog, but your post immediately reminded me of the first time I took my daughters to one of my special places - to the snow on cross country skis. My girl friend Bree and I took my girls out for a day. We ate lunch out on the trail. Rather than sitting down with us as I had expected (I thought they'd be tired with the unaccustomed exercise) they took their skis off, ran around with eachother playing games, laughed, made snow angels, put their skis back on, played on a little slope, skis back off, more snow angels... they didn't stop, they got all snowy and their cheeks glowed.

trousers said...

Wonderful - she's lucky to have such an owner as yourself.

"She feels my moods and takes them all upon herself" - I've experienced similar with cats, many times. I hope she's of comfort to you at such times. x

But Why? said...

So heartening.

I wish I had a dog...

Well, actually, I think what I wish for is at some point having a lifestyle which more befits having a dog. Even then, as a matter of personal preference, I'd probably go for a cat...

But I do love the fact that other people have dogs. Provided they don't trip me up when I go running or chase after me. Or try to copulate with my standing leg whilst doing my laces... As I feel this is a very low risk with your particular dog, I must say, I do love your dog.

Reading the Signs said...

Oh. I've said this already this month, but: we have so much to learn from animals - from our relatedness. I couldn't see at first, but now I think I spotted her - Dogot in the mist.

Kahless said...

Please give dogot a stroke behind the ear from me.

And I understand. Sometimes I have to hand feed my Holly as she can be really fussy and she needs to eat to take her medication. And I always hang around whilst she eats otherwise she follows me out the kitchen.

Dogs are wonderful loving creatures.

cusp said...

Dear old Dogot. Tiffin says 'Hi' Dogot and glad you've found a nice home too.

Tiffin had not had a dreadful life ---in fact I suspect he'd had a lovely life but his owner of 9 years had died so he was lost when he came to us.

Recently he's been really poorly (better now) and I've had to tempt him with scrambled egg from my hand, little bits of ham to help him get his strength back.

Taking on a rescue dog is always a great journey of discovery because you never know their background but when you listen to them and show as much love as you are showing Dogot the rewards are tremendous.

You and Dogot will have a lovely life together.

(Tiffin is gone back to sleep now --- as he is most of the time ! so I'll say goodbye for him )

Anna MR said...

Bindi, hello, nice to see you. The beautiful Ms Dogot makes dog snow angels, too (and may I say I'm pleased to know you funny Antipodeans make them also. I had thought maybe Finns were the only ones to engage in this activity. Incidentally, do you make them upside down?). She particularly likes making them on snowy ice - she will throw herself on her back and rub her neck on the ice and wave her paws about and create patches in the snow really rather reminiscent of a drunken person writing mystical Oriental pictograms. I have had reason to try and document this activity this very evening, but alas, it's still so damned dark whenever I am out with Ms Dogot (apart from weekends - but so far all snow this winter has always turned to depressing muddy puddles by the weekend. We'll see how we fare by this Saturday. I am not holding my breath and would recommend you didn't either) that photography is all but impossible. Feel very sure I shall make any passable document of this activity available in the public domain, though, should I ever be able to capture some.

Anna MR said...

Hello again housut and thank you for the double compliment, you are very sweet. Ms Dogot is a great comfort as well as funny as anything, and sweet and lovable and beautiful and here and there the colour of last year's hay as it sticks out of the snow, which she likes to scoff mouthfuls of as she runs frolicking in it. But the fact that she feels my moods is going to be a right nightmare for her, poor thing. If I could, I'd stop having them, for her sake.

Anna MR said...

Why hello again, glistening and grunting Tohtori Mutta (sorry but you have just been more than a bit provocative downstream on this blog, and I find it difficult to remain all proper and decent, as everyone ought when my dog is (even just talked) about) (in fact I don't know whether I'd entrust you with a pet at all, what with your habit of frolicking only partially dressed in Central London, panting and moaning and sweating. I mean really - what sort of a life would that be for a dog? You are quite right in realising your lifestyle certainly doesn't befit an innocent creature of goodness).

Now then - that matter settled, allow me to congratulate you on your excellent taste. My dog is really lovable, and a fair few of your indecencies are forgotten and forgiven because you have seen the light and realised this fact. Good Dr.

Anna MR said...

"Dogot in the mist"? Are you sure, Signs? Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Wasn't that woman hacked to bits with machetes? Please Signs - unsee that. I'll never sleep again.

But yes (hello again) (good, as ever, to see you, mwah), animals are great teachers, particularly of the "here and now, boys" lesson. Ms Dogot is taking over my life and it's the better for it.

Anna MR said...

Shwmae Kahless, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda, if I haven't yet seen you in the not-so-new 2008 (sorry memorylapses - old age, perhaps?). Thank you, also from (the stroked) Ms Dogot. I never knew food could be an issue for a dog - I thought they just put their face (briefly) into their bowl, made a "hyum" sound, and lifted their face out of the (now empty) bowl again. Not so Ms Dogot and if your dog (and Cusp's, it seems) are also borderline eating-disordered dogs, it must be relatively common. But loving one is certainly easy, and the hand-feeding naturally strengthens the bond.

Anna MR said...

Cusp, Tiffin, hello (I'll try to keep my voice down, in case he's still asleep). Yes, a life together awaits us, Ms Dogot and I. Lovely it hopefully will be, although not continuously (Ms Dogot doesn't know it yet, but she's going to be the one who sees me through things like my children leaving the nest and other horrendous stuff like that, ensuring that I continue to feel needed and consequently giving my continued existence on the planet a sense of purpose). But whose life is? She is sleeping in the armchair, pleased with her romp in the snow of earlier on, and I just love her and that's that.

It's lovely you've been able to offer a bereaved Tiffin a new home and a second life. Ms Dogot is still rather full of young-dog energy, so she'll be trying to get Tiffin to dance with her if they ever were to meet, here in blogspace.

R.H. said...

People who don't like dogs just happen to be emotionally dead. You could never trust them.
And Cusp has made a very good comment.

Reading the Signs said...

All I saw (or thought I saw) was your lovely dog surrounded by blue! Nothing whatsoever about any machete - there, 'tis unseen utterly.

(Am I bonkers?)
Fairy Blogmother has spoken.

NMJ said...

anna mr, can't tell you how much i love this photo x

ps. forgive me, i haven't read the whole thread, the machete is lost on me, but i think i prefer not to know. i see blurring and a beautiful tail. the utter spirit of the tail is what moves me.

Anna MR said...

Hello R.H. and sorry to have left you unreplied to for such a long while (this apology goes to everyone else, too). I would by and large agree with you - generally dog people are nice people, good people, people with a heart people. Obviously, some bad wankers have dogs too, but that's not the dogs' fault, is it?

And yes, Cusp is right - taking on a rescue dog with an unknown and traumatic past is a very different thing from rearing a dog from a pup yourself, but already now Ms Dogot feels totally mine. Of course I wish I'd known her when she was pup (she must have been totally adorable; and I could have looked after her and cared for her well and given her a happy puppyhood) but I'm just glad we've finally found each other, and wouldn't exchange her for any pup in the world.

I recall now you are a keeper of dogs, RH. Do say hi to them, from Ms D and me.

Anna MR said...

Fairy Blogmother, apologies not only for lateness but also the silly obscurity of my machete comment. It's just that when you said "Dogot in the mist" my first association was with the gorilla woman (Diane Fossey, was it? As played by Sigourney Weaver in the film) and she did come to a bit of a sticky end whilst protecting her gorillas, in the end, if I remember rightly (and I do). I was just fervently hoping you didn't see some dog-abuser from Estonia (apologies to all Estonians, the author wishes to make it clear she does not hold Estonians in general responsible for the less-than-ideal start to life her dog has experienced, nor does she think for one moment that Estonians in general are dog-abusers. No. She thinks no such thing. Unfortunately, abusive people exist in all countries, and it just so happens her dog happens to a) be Estonian (But Why?, are you reading this? I can now also say "emane koer", female dog) (not to call my beautiful girl a "bitch")) b) have been mistreated in her past, in Estonia), yes, dog-abuser from Estonia coming and, well, having their macheted revenge on me for looking after and loving Ms Dogot.

I don't think my explanation is making matters any better. Did you see my dogot in a vision, or are you talking about the photo, like young NMJ seems to read your comment? I thought you'd had a vision.

As for the question of whether or not you are bonkers, Blogmother Signs, the answer is without doubt a resounding yes. But only and always in the best way.

Mwah, cherished Signs.


Anna MR said...

Dear NMJ, Cyberfriend par excellence, moi. Anteeksi I've left you hanging like this, unreplied to, for an absolute age. There has been a bit of this and that, particularly that - the beautiful Ms Dogot has had gastroenteritis, for one (but don't tell her I told you, for love's sake, she'd be mortified if she knew you knew of her predicament). But not another word on that.

I love it that you love the spirit her tail displays. I love it too. She has such eagerness, such positive energy even when she's been badly treated, even though she is a little uncertain of herself (which, I'm happy to tell you, is a diminishing trait). For a really lovely tail picture, please click on my link, NMJ. A failed photograph in just about every way, yet a firm favourite of mine.

Reading the Signs said...

Anna, I have never, would never, see that gorilla film. Just not my thing, you see. But ain't it awful that titles just kind of lodge themselves in the subconscious, only to be yanked out at inappropriate moments. For it was the photo merely that I responded to. And as for your dog-abusing Estonian ramble, well all I can say is toi, toi, toi, which you will know (if you've seen Fiddler on the Roof) is the Jewish spitting on the ground three times for luck and to get rid of nasty things ritual.

When I have visions they are always of the transcendentally wondrous kind, thank gawd. I have nuff trubbles without being plagued by horrid ones.

Bonkeroonio, my dear.

cusp said...

Poor Dogot with the poorly tum. Tiff has been a very poorly boy too: bronchitis and all sorts and £300 of vets bills. Had to feed hm by hand -- scrambled egg and honey on a spoon and echinacea drops. We really thought he wouldn't make it but he's better and it's so lovely to see him running and sniffing again and enjoying the sunshine.

Hope Dogot is better now too.

Love to you two from us two x

Anna MR said...

Listen, Bonkeroonio, what have you against gorillas, hmmm, that you wouldn't see a film about them? 'Snot very nice.

But hei, sorry for leaving you unattended here for such an age. Not rightly sure how that's managed to happen, but there you are. I'm glad to know your visions are non-lethal, and even welcome your weirdy spitting routine (best to be safe, eh). Mwahs to you (with no spit attached).

And Cusp, sorry to hear Tiff has been so unwell (and by God what a vet bill - mine was only 67€ and that was including the medicine) (well, not mine you understand - my dogot's, which I lovingly paid) (she was a bit short, end of the month, you know what it's like) (I'll shut up now).

Not before I've sent you and Tiff some leaps and jumps in the sun and some lovely scratching behind the ear. Ms Dogot finally finished her antibiotics on Sunday and is fully recovered (if shedding her undercoat by the fistful).


Mellifluous Dark said...

Anna, ah, I can just feel the warmth and love for your Dogot and can picture that snow scene. She sounds like a fine companion, an understanding friend. You are her hero, you know.

trousers said...

*gentle nudge*
About a blog?

Hope all's well x

Anna MR said...

Hei, Ms Dark, nice to see you and sorry for leaving you unanswered-to here for such an age. It's been a bit like that around here lately, due to the total crapness of the blog hostess, so please just brush it off and think, "she's a bit crap, isn't she".

Yes, Ms Dogot is a great friend and comfort, although she does seem to reflect my moods, which means when I'm down she goes all down and uncertain too, poor thing. She's currently asleep, all curled up, and looks totally lovable. I took some photos of her today while we were out - if I can get round to it, I'll post them up on flickr (have you sorted your password problems out yet?).

Hope all is well in London, London girl. Lovely to see you. x

Anna MR said...

Hei housut, lovely to see you too and sorry about the delay in replying, and it's most sweet of you to nudge me towards new posts (you can see I have put up two more, but I think they have only just scraped past quality-control). Trying to kick-start it again. Hope you are well, and thank you for calling. It's always nice to see you. x

trousers said...

No problem Ms Mr, I always feel welcome here, thanks to your cordiality. Quality control? No need for it one the one I've commented on (I can't speak as to the other one since my Finnish isn't quite up to scratch ;-) ). Plus it's good to see more posts: I don't like saying that in a way because it implies pressure, but really it's about looking out for one's fellow blogger x

Anna MR said...

Hei again, housut, and nothing wrong with a bit of pressure to get a stuck someone unstuck, I think. It is lovely of you to be looking out for a fellow blogger, you know, and it firmly places you in the category of nice people in my mind. This is a brilliant thing - the world could so do with more nice people. Do please know your visits are enjoyed and appreciated around these parts. x

Mellifluous Dark said...

Hello Anna, who is not crap. So there. If you are crap, where does that leave the rest of us?

Ah, I can't remember the email or the password for Flickr. I'll keep trying. If not, I'll start again and let you know. I'd love to see your new pictures of your canine friend.

I am sorry to hear that things are up and down, but it is good that Dogot is so sensitive and can pick up on your moods. How wonderful is that? I know this means you feel guilty but perhaps by reflecting your mood, she is trying to say: "It's OK, I'm here and I understand."

Look after yourself, Northern Lass.

Mell D

Anna MR said...

Where does that leave the rest of us? - oh dear, Ms Dark. You are very kind but I do tend to think I'm the crap one here (and the rest of you are left in various places - e.g. London).

Very silly of you to lose your password, you silly girl. I have done similar things in the past myself, although luckily not on anything as essential for the continuance of life as my flickr code. However, you can view my gorgeous wolfette dog girl without even leaving my blog pages - check out the slideshow on the right margin, about half-way down the page. It shows twenty of my most recent photos, of which I think sixteen feature her quite strongly.

I think she thinks "oh no, what have I done wrong" when I mope (and usually I mope about things totally unrelated to her). It does make me feel like I ought to make a bit of an effort not to be such a misery-guts.

LIkewise, London Chick, I hope you are well. x

greenwords said...

I've been meaning to come and say how much I loved this post...and please give Dogot my very fondest regards.

Anna MR said...

Greenwords, what a delight. Thank you for visiting and for your sweet comment (Ms Dogot says thank you too). She's been a bit down lately - the combined effect of That Time of the Year ("My poor girl," I tell her, "a woman's life is a hard one.") and "kennel cough", which makes her hack away like she was trying to rid herself of a squirrel-sized fur ball. Apart from this, she's grown to be a happy and funny and loving thing, and I'll be sure to scratch her in your name, Greenwords. Hope you are doing well, too. It was truly lovely to hear from you.

Gael said...

I found your dog : ) From what I can see, she is every bit as handsome as the huskies I met.
I was racking my brains to try and remember where else in Finland I had been, and was going to apologise for the fact that Helsinki had made very little impression on me. It turns out that there is a very good reason for that - I've never actually been to Helsinki! We got the ferry from Sweden and cut straight across to Savonlinna, which I do remember, quite fondly. And then we headed north to Oulu and thence over the border. My strongest memories were of amazement that the humblest of bus-drivers in rural Finland spoke better English than us, and a less favourable incident involving a very pissed, and very persistant drunk. I eventually had to beat him off with my trusty Inter-Railers bible, a very hefty Europe wide Thomas Cook train timetable. Other than that, Finland was very nice - lots of trees and lakes and... pickles ; )

Anna MR said...

Gael, you are doing very well. The way to eternal favour around these parts lies in praising my totally gorgeous dog (easily done, too, no? So hardly any bother at all. There are also numerous shots of her on my flickr, which you can access either via the slideshow in my sidebar, or the secret access route, also in my sidebar. Shhh. Oh, and also numerous pictures of Helsinki, should you be interested). But yes - sadly, the persistency of Finnish drunks is notorious and I can only apologise, whilst congratulating you on only finding one of them.

However, I'm glad you had a good time, even though I wasn't available to show you around (it was actually the year I spent in the tropics, judging by your dates). Lovely to see you here. You are very clever and daring for finding your way down here onto an older thread. I like this sort of behaviour, Gael, do please keep up the good work.