Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Many of you know Puppette.
For those that don't, Puppette is a highly trained, very social, amazingly intelligent golden retriever that has been my work partner in the Hospital for 6 years.
I never taught her when to get involved with the terminal patient's spouse who is sobbing on the roll away bed in the ICU. I could never have taught her to sit at the side of a wheelchair being still so they could pet her and then stand and act normally for an able bodied person. She taught me that when she was done in a patient's room, she would turn her back on me and face the door, inching a step closer to the exit every minute I lingered talking to a patient or their family.
I did train her to come on command, to lie down and stay until told other wise.
She can hold a down stay outside a room on the insanely busy cardiac care unit or outside a room on the critical care unit while I work in the room, out of her sight, for up to 45 minutes and she will not move. We have a working vocabulary of over one hundred words and over twenty commands.
People always ask me if she is a normal dog, does she do doggy things. Is she happy?
OK, time for a secret a few of you know intimately.
My dog is a ham.
No, really, a thinking buffoon.
We walk out the door to the yard. She sits down and looks around for a minute and then flops over backward to wriggle on the grass, all four big blond feet up in the air, waiving like rabid fans at a sports event. Then she stops, holds the 4 legs up position, snorts LOUDLY, and gets up as if nothing happened. The other day I look out of the corner of my eye, keeping tabs on the wieners, and she was chasing her tail. I have tried to get pictures of this. But I swear when she sees me looking, she stops.
So this beautiful, brilliant, lovely girl of my heart topped herself last night.
We went out for the last pee before bed, all dogs should have a bowel and bladder schedule, makes life a bit easier, believe me. She stops in her tracks and I hear her growl. This mop has let a 6 year old boy fall asleep on her tummy, has sat in bed with patients hooked up to so many machines, has been calm when rushing gurneys, industrial carpet cleaners and massive portable x-ray machines rumble by in the busy halls of a hospital.
Being such an uncommon noise, I looked at her, not verifying if Poni was peeing or not, and saw her hackles were up. ( I had a Maglite flashlight so I could see just fine, thank you) Looking across the street, I tried to see what had her up in a tizzy.
Back in November, just after Thanksgiving, our across the street neighbors put up their Christmas lights and decorations. On their lawn, near a tree, is a lighted white frame reindeer with a red velvet bow around its neck.
Puppette bobbed to her left and growled, letting it mature into a low bark/howl sound.
I stopped her at once, it was 11:30 after all, and got ehr under control. She was circling, just getting ready to go to the bathroom and she saw this minion of hell , in the same place it has been for a month, and decided it was here to end our days. She elevated us to red terror alert, defcon 4, Osama had brought jihad to Puppette's 'hood.
Poni peed and I brought my brood back in to the house. Puppette's hackles were still up when we got to the bed room.
I did the only thing I could do.
I told her that she was a good dog and that we were sufficiently warned to the danger and thank you for keeping us safe.
She sniffed loudly , jumped up on the bed and turned her back to me, sighing loudly.
My dog is the greatest.
My dog is a goof.
I love my dog.
at 8:49 AM