21 January, 2014

What's Weird?

So, this morning when I was getting ready to walk, I realized that we have a family of critters who are all just a weird and different as we, the human part of the family are.

Case in point - Deeohgee. Her background started, as far as we know, as a ‘street dog’ as they’re called here. Basically a homeless dog.

She was a street dog on our street (and probably others). We’d see her trotting up and down the road, avoiding traffic as necessary. It’s amazing how traffic aware the street dogs here are. She was skinny and her coat was more threadbare from mange and/or eczema or something similar. Deeohgee had at least one litter that we’re aware of. We have no idea what happened to the pups. Life is rough and harsh in the bush.

Eventually, she was captured by Doug and Twyla, who live a little north of us on the same road. They took her to Dr. Sheila who treated her skin condition, heart worms and all that. They kept her for a while, trying to find somewhere to adopt her out to. Finally, Eugene, who was working for them, took Deeohgee as his dog, naming her ‘Pretty.’ At the time, she was anything but.

Now, as a bit of background, you need to know that Eugene’s history with dogs was not what we would call good. He’d been through several in the couple of years that we had known him, and since he lived more a bush existence, his dogs were never well fed or cared for. This isn’t unusual in the Belizean scheme of things. Most dogs that you see, whether street mutts or behind a house fence, tend to be skinny and have various maladies that we as Gringos, think are necessary to treat.

However, all that sort of stuff takes money and knowledge of how to treat the maladies. For example, Cody, our caretaker, was not aware that you have to give dogs heart worm medication on a monthly basis. He thought it was a one-time treatment. And so it goes throughout the community.

But, I digress. This isn’t about medical treatment for dogs.

Back to Eugene. He kept Pretty for a while, and we lost track of her, having not seen her for a few months.

One day, we heard howling and yipping from somewhere around our place. As I went on a walk-about to find the source, I passed near the south-east corner of our place, near the canal. Here was a dog, connected to a chain, who had managed to get the chain stuck right at the corner of our place. The chain was lodged between the concrete property marker and the chain-link fence post.

I dislodged the chain and she took off, running back toward the road. I didn’t think any more about it. This dog didn’t have much of a skin condition, so that I didn’t even make the connection that it might be the same dog.

A month or so later, we heard the yipping once again. And again, there she was stuck in the same location. This time, I kept hold of the chain and walked her back toward the road. I was immediately impressed with how she knew how to walk on leash, so I didn’t think she was Eugene’s Pretty.

Once we hit the road, I tried both directions to see if she would guide me in the direction she wanted to go to get back home.

I ran into Twyla who thought the dog might be Eugene’s but wasn’t absolutely sure. She took the dog, as Eugene was supposed to be coming to their place to work in just a few minutes.

Turns out it was Eugene’s dog, so back Pretty went with Eugene. I had mentioned to Twyla that if she wasn’t Eugene’s dog, that I would consider adopting her. But, as things worked out at that time, I didn’t even think anything more about it.

A couple of weeks later, Eugene decided he had enough dogs with two that he already had and that Pretty was just one too many mouths to feed, and if I wanted her, he would give her to me.

I took him up on that, and as they say, long story short, she’s been in the family ever since.

When she first lived with us, she got into the daily walkies thing just like the other two dogs. And of course, rides in the Isuzu made the high-light of each day.

Until one day when she shied away from getting into the Isuzu. She just would not jump up into the passenger compartment.

This went on for months. The only way she’d go for a ride was if I physically lifted her into the Isuzu. Then she was fine and seemed to enjoy the ride as did the other dogs.

Oh, also, before actually going for a ride, when I picked up my keys, put on my Crocs, and went over the shopping list with Dianna, Deeohgee, as we had renamed her, would get excited like she wanted to go for a ride. But, when it came to actually getting in, nope. Nothing doing.

I worked on this for those several months, trying each time to coax her into the car on her own. Finally, one day she jumped into the rig on her own. Hooray!

And for the next several months, there was no problem. Every time there was a ride to be had, Deeohgee was right there, ready to go.

Until a month or so ago. Here we go again. Nope. Not going to jump into that thing. Again, I’ve tried hoisting her in and enticing her and all that. And again, once she’s in, things are fine. But there’s times when I can’t even coax her off the front porch to go for a ride.

I have no idea what the problem was, or what it might be now. Walkies are fine, hanging around the house is fine. Just going for rides aren’t so fine. That’s Deeohgee.

Now, weirdness is Secret’s turn. She’s always been steady and sturdy. Never seeming to get too worked up about anything, other than when the trash men come on Mondays to ‘steal more of our stuff.’ We’re sure that’s how the dogs look at it. They create a huge ruckus when the trash men come up and start emptying the trash bin. The girls are just trying to tell us, “Hey, these guys are back again, and their stealing more stuff,” or if they see a squirrel while we’re walking. There’s lots of squirrels around here. Gray ones and black ones. Other than those two things, Secrets was level-headed as they come.

Lately, we’ve noticed, Secret is reluctant to nose open a door and come into the house. She’ll sit outside it and whine till one of us opens the door enough for her to come through easily.

This too went on for months. We’d laugh about it, but open the door for her anyway. Now, today, we noticed an improvement. Secret stuck her nose through the door, enough so that we could see her snout and her eyes. Accompanying that was the usual whimpering and ‘talking’ to say she couldn’t come through the door.

She nosed it open that much and no more. Regardless of how much we call to her or coax or cajole or, whatever.

Deeohgee has even gone and nosed the door open more so Secret could come through. Nope. Not unless we physically open the door. I dunno. It’s just too bizarre. Did we deny her permission somewhere and she thinks that prohibition is still in effect or something? Who knows?

But, that’s not all for Secret. Not by a long shot. She’s becoming weirder in her own right.

Take this for example. For several month now, when we go to do a ride in the Isuzu. I usually unlock and open the passenger door first. Cindy is quick to jump in and be ready to go. Secret used to follow right behind along with Deeohgee. Not so much now.

Now, Secret has to wait till I go around to the other side and unlock and open the driver’s door. Then she jumps in. I have no idea what that is all about.

And now, Secret’s most recent thing. It’s like she loses track of where everyone is. Whether it’s the cats or other dogs or us humans.

This usually happens after we’ve gone to bed. All of a sudden there’s this panicked whimpering by the front door. The only way we solve it and settle her down is to let her in. Secret promptly has to trot though the whole house, inventorying everyone. Once that’s done, she’s ok and often wants to go back out.

We’ve thought, maybe she had a bad dream or something and wants to make sure everyone is ok. Or maybe she really did misplace all of us. I don’t know.

Now, the cats, April and Nelson. Oh, don’t get me started on them. Everyone knows just how weird cats are by nature, and that their habits and foibles are likely to change every few months. It’s all part of that feline trait to ‘keep ‘em guessing.’

From the canned food in the bowl that is just the least little bit past the cat’s expiration time and therefore, can’t be touched to, I have to come in or out at whatever time of night and it’s your responsibility to let me in or out. Even though you put a kitty door in for my personal use, it’s still not the same as you actually opening the door for me.

Maybe that’s what it is… We always say that Nelson, especially thinks he’s a dog, maybe catness is rubbing off on the dogs. They think they’re cats and contrariness is now part of their nature, more so than it was before.

I’m just glad none of it is wearing off on us… or is it?


John Combe said...

Oh David!!!!! Guess who the pet is!!!!!!

Tis You!!!!!!!!!!!

I used to have 2 cats and they were nice enough to let me live in the house!!!!!

Geezzzzz….. LOL


Dave Rider said...

Hi John,

Yeah, we've thought about that too. I suspect you're right, pretty much catering to their eccentricities and all. Ah, well. What're we going to do? We're retired, right? They probably keep us in line and keep us active too. Benefits all around.


john Combe said...

I really miss your Weather Reports!!!!!


Dave Rider said...

Hi John,

I do too. I'm shopping for some rechargeable batteries to go in the unit up on the stick. And then a little reconfiguring as one of the main weather sites (WeatherUnderground) has apparently redone the way the stations report to them. I'll get it sorted out.
But first - I have to get automotive problems solved. Now the trusty Isuzu is back in the shop for a broken drive shaft damper... Something to do with the pulley/fan belt that connects with the alternator. As Sgt. Klink used to say: "I know nothing..."


JRinSC said...

I think what is needed here is a chance for Mrs. Winjama to post a blog covering any and all signs of unusual behavior coming from her lessor half!

I can't believe that living with group hasn't affected your behavior in some interesting I know retirement has certainly changed many of my habits and pursuits.

But enjoy and maybe they have one of those damper things in Belize!


Dave Rider said...

Hi Julian,

Well, that's why I've always included her name in the byline. But, writing and doing it in a blog just aren't her things.
I'm sure my behavior has changed since retirement. I know she says I've become an old fart, I'm crusty, and she accuses me of 'turtleing' - being somewhat reclusive in a group. I think on that piece she's probably right on the money. I categorically deny the old fart and crustiness. That's just the shining hallmark of senior gentlemanly behavior.