Sunday, February 1, 2015

Aussie Pulls Off a Magical Feat!

By Cal Orey

Tomorrow marks two years that I've been blessed to be owned by a Blue Merle Aussie named Skyler (means "protector").  In more than 700 days I have fallen in love with this canine more than I ever thought possible. After all, he was adopted to be our "healing" dog when we lost a dear Brittany too young to a fluke neurological disorder. But this Australian Shepherd came to the rescue and healed my family--both two and four leggers...

Centered after a Sunday swim
BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY UNTIL...Today, after a much over due swim at the resort pool (all mine), a dog walk for my Brittany and Aussie it was back home. Now this Type-A breed is like having a two-year-old human and if they are not busy or too quiet you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. 
This dog has won my (and my cat's) hearts with his
 smarts and fun-loving, gentle traits
About an hour ago, I thought, "He's walked, fed, has done his business. I want to chill with Zen, my kitty and watch the Kitten Super Bowl." So, I left the dog duo out in the living room and escaped to another room to relax. But after about 10 minutes I didn't hear a sound. Not one.  I walked out to see what Skye was doing.  I wish I was on Candid Camera. But it was real life.
My Protector, My Aussie
with white furry paws

DOGGIE DRAMA: My beloved pooch pulled a neurotic Marley moment! He ripped off the sticky tag underneath a leather recliner. Worse, the large white square paper stuck onto his furry left paw! Once I put his big foot into my hand I knew my fresh BP (124/70/70) was history. What to do? "I'll cut it (the paper not paw) off with a pair of scissors!" I considered but then knew my feisty pup wouldn't stand still for it--even with two people or four. Hold the phone, I agonized more. I recall vet techs told me too many times dog people bring their pets in for attempts to cut hair and it ends up a severe cut and not for the faint at heart for dog or owner. 

Next brainstorm. A hot water soaked towel.  Didn't work. At all.  So, I called my sibling. Being an action-oriented Fire Sun Sign, I knew he'd try and pull it off quickly. No emotion. Just do it. That wasn't going to happen in my dog's lifetime. "Go," I said to my brother who gladly fled the drama scene. We were on our own.  Help? Dogdramabusters?

HELLO, E.R.?  "Uh, this isn't really a life or death emergency but..." I began explaining our dilemma. My Aussie has a big chunk of sticky "fly paper" stuck on his foot. What do I do?" The woman on the phone in Carson City, 25 miles away from my cabin in Tahoe, was calm. 
She asked, "Do you have any friends in your neighborhood? You can hold him down and put alcohol or peanut butter on his paw." 
Pregnant pause.  Images of rubbing alcohol under the kitchen sink and a jar of all natural peanut butter in the pantry came to mind. I answered: "No, not anyone I trust. The teacher next door isn't a dog person. The dental girl across the street? She's not a chair side assistant. Vacation rentals--vacant." Poor puppy was chewing on the paper eating his foot like a zombie monster I've seen in films.
We got through the "neuter" challenge

"Well," the understanding voice said, "Do you have an Elizabethan collar?" 
"Yeah. He wore it after the NEUTER. We both (intense and workerbees) were on sedatives for a week. We both are very excitable and have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) when something happens we don't like and we try and try to regain control."
"I get it," she said. "But if you use the cone and see your vet first thing in the morning they can easily remove the tape." Read: Muzzle, techs, excitement not wanted by my puppy pie.
"Does that mean we won't be sleeping tonight?" I asked.  "Oh, I forgot. He will toss the dreaded cone off within 15 minutes."
"It will be uncomfortable for both of you," she told me in a straightforward manner which I appreciated. Images of Skye on a mission to remove the sticky paper were haunting me. Would he chew off his paw and hobble like the doomed and trapped author in the film Misery?

MY DOG IS EXTRAORDINARY: "My Aussie is smart," I boasted as I scrutinized the square of paper stuck on his white paw that I adore. The paper seemed bigger than life itself as though it were growing like a sci-fi creature. It was our enemy; morphing into its own personality to destroy our evening of quietude and peace.
The dog lady via our phone connection agreed this dog breed is highly intelligent. I liked the phone lady. Her energy was nice as we continued to troubleshoot the culprit at paw. Then, I screamed. I screamed out loud again like I do when something unpredictable hits. It happened. I couldn't believe my own eyes!

I interrupted my only friend  on the phone at the time of crisis. Her next words hit me with dire forecasts of the worst case scenario--from getting the sticky paper stuck on his lip and cute face. I didn't want to prepare for more disaster. 

"Oh my God! Guess what just happened! Guess what?"
"What? Is he okay?" The voice inquired with genuine curiosity. She was in the drama mode with me. Hooked.
"Skyler removed the paper all by himself!  He's amazing! Houdini!" I picked up the square of sticky paper off the carpet. "Skye! You are such a good, intelligent boy! I love you so much!" I hugged my dog. I kissed his nose many times and his two paws. Then, I thanked the woman on the phone who was there for us and witnessed a "magical feat" by another gifted Aussie who accomplished another job.
And now, the Siamese Zen, Brittany Simon, and my Aussie with dog smarts are watching the Kitten Bowl with me. The moral of the story? You cannot leave an Australian Shepherd alone because it will seek trouble. Caveat: I do believe in dog gods and I they were looking out for us today and decided to cut us a break. Skyler rests. I will let sleeping dogs lie (until he surprises me with the next unexpected mishap).

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