Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Part-time House Dog

by Maggie Mae Mushko
(border collie)

I now live in the house at night. Here’s how it happened: A couple of weeks ago, Mommy trucked up the resident canine population to the vet for what she calls “Regular Maintenance.” Somehow, we had to take a test that I didn’t pass. The other dogs did, which I can’t figure because I’m so much smarter than they are. The test was called “Earl Icky Oh Sis.” I do not know who Earl is, or why he is icky, but I do know that I have to take some doggie-xicillan pills every morning and night even though the vet said I was not showing any symptoms, whatever that means. Those pills are icky, but I sit nicely while Mommie opens my mouth and puts them in the back of my throat. After I swallow my pills, she plays with me.

Mommie and Daddy decided to take the tests, too, as well as some other ones—but not at the vet’s. They passed.

Anyhow, I come in the house every night and go back to the kennel every morning. While I am gone, Harley is the night manager of the kennel. Hubert wasn’t interested in the job and Emma was too busy watching the rat holes, so Harley was it.

Harley and me. Hubert is in the background.

So far, he has done a good job. He is the loudest dog in the kennel. He isn’t as dedicated at watching the horses as I am, though. But during the day, I am the kennel boss and it isn’t negotiable.

As a house-dog, I have had to retrain Mommy to get up when I say “Urm-um-wurf,” which means “I really have to go out RIGHT NOW!” I have had to rearrange my toys and place them where they are convenient when I want them. Mommy brought my favorite toy—Squeaky Squirrel on a Rope—in from the truck so I could play with it whenever I wanted.

After some scientific experimentation, I have discovered that Squeaky Squirrel does not bounce down the steps like my squeaky balls do. This was disappointing, but it is still my favorite toy.

However, I can get a more satisfying squeak from the little pink and green squeaky ball. I carry it around and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and squeak and—well, you get the idea. Fortunately, Mommy taught junior high and middle school for nearly thirty years so she can deal with aggravation. Sometimes she plays step-ball with me, although she cannot understand why I like chasing the ball down the steps.

I have also had to rearrange my rug (Mommy keeps straightening it out, which I do not like!) and get Mommy used to moving her feet so I can sleep under her desk. A border collie’s work is never done.

Some nice things: I get to ride in the truck to check the farms, and I also get to go out on the leash late at night and walk around in the dark. Plus that evil cat Dylan has become a part-time outside vole-catching cat, so he usually sleeps in the garage at night in case a rodent needs catching. it’s about time he started pulling his puny little weight around here. The first night I stayed in, he smacked me while I was asleep, which woke me up and forced me to chase him down the hall until he hid under the hall-tree and hissed at me. Lucky for him, Mommy called me off before I dragged that evil cat out and gave him a good snap.

Anyhow, that’s what I’ve been doing.




Blogger Amy Tate said...

I don't get it! What's the test she didn't pass? I'm a little slow. I hope she feels better!

9:27 AM  
Blogger Amy Hanek said...

Maggie, it sounds like you must have SURpassed your test. Why else would your Mommy bring you in to the house at night and give you MORE duties? You must be the smartest collie around and I am not surprised.

Keep up the good work and I am glad you are taking the icky-pills so well.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Erlichiosis. It's caused by ticks that carry the bacteria and can have bad complications. Luckily, Maggie's was caught in time.

I know one person at the Water's Edge had to spend time in the hospital because of it, so erlichiosis-carrying ticks are in our area.

1:18 PM  
Blogger Amy Hanek said...

Is that like Rocky Mountain Fever or Lyme Disease? Poor Maggie.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

Yes,similar symptoms to Lyme. Luckily we caught it early. Maggie is really good about taking pills.

4:29 PM  

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