7/1/08

The Walk

For the last three months, I have written regarding the raising of my bulldog puppies. They are American Bulldogs - not Pit Bulldogs. They are a joyful mix of Boxer, English Bulldog and a bit of Mastiff. Their mother however, was a reckless byproduct of inbreeding designed to "perfect" a breed but resulting in major immunity failures. She died in the process of having these puppies and I miss her terribly.

I have two remaining puppies. They are Spin and JoeJoe who was previously called Slow Joe because everything he does he does very slowly. Joe never learned to nurse a bottle but was instead raised the first two week on squirts of formula forced down him. It's amazing how he has become the largest of the two. Kudzo found a new home at three weeks. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done as he was my child and I had a hard time letting him go.

Spin has inherited his mother's immunity failures and is now undergoing treatments for a skin disorder but, unlike his mother, he's healing. She never recovered and always was a naked dog. Joe seems really healthy. Both of them are the clumsiest children I have ever seen.

I take the kids walking every evening. They are beginning to develop their mom's protective instincts. One stays in front of me, stopping occasionally and causing me to trip and one follows. Joe usually takes the lead. He seems to think I walk too fast and believes stopping directly in front of me is the key to slowing me down.

Last night, we were taking our usuall tour of the woods and the boys got tired. So, I called the trip short. On our way back to the house, a few cats showed up as if concerned that the boys got to eat some favored snacks over what they had been served. My boys have been taught to respect and love our cats regardless of what instincts may be calling. Therefore, they do not attack the cats or even try to play with them. However, they have developed a penchant for stomping at them and trying to make them run. IF they can get them to run, they follow until the cat stops, at which time, they simply give up the chase. It's a lot more work catching them than it is chasing them apparently.

As our tiny cat Scruffy walked towards us yesterday evening, Spin decided to stomp the ground with his massive front paws. He expected Scruffy to quickly retreat but instead Scruffy simply kept coming towards me. Now - bulldogs are not the most intelligent dogs and their reflexes are rather diminished. Spin had already decided Scruffy would run and he was poised to begin the chase. As he bounded into the first few steps, Scruffy got tangled in his front legs. Scruffy began hissing and claws came out. Spin began falling - legs flailing in all directions. As those claws met those legs, the scene became a massacre. It was not Spin massacre-ing Scruffy but Scruffy pounding Spin as he writhed on the ground to attempt to regain his footing. Spin was crying, grunting and trying every way possible to get away from the daggers now slicing and dicing his already tender skin but it was useless. Scruffy was trying desperately to get untangled from those paws and all that skin but he was pinned down as well.

I would have helped the two but it was just too humorous to interfere. Even Joe sat down to try to figure out what was going on. Brutus simply walked away from the entire scene. I think he is now adamant that these are not his sons. No sons of his would be so clumsy. Sons of Diamond, however, are expected to spend a large portion of their time upside down!

All's well that ended well. Spin survived and I put ointment on his new torn skin. Scruffy made it back to the porch and is now respected by the kids. When he walks by - all two pounds of him- they retreat. I can still hear the grunting, hissing, crying, meowing sounds as I write and chuckle at the thought of how awkward a 40 pound puppy can be. These little - o.k. massive - puppies have truly helped in resolution of my grief over losing Diamond. People say a dog is just a dog, but Diamond was my partner. Neither puppy is JUST LIKE her but each has a bit of her that reminds me how unconditionally she could love. What treasures they are becoming in my world.

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