Ali. This old boy continues to amaze me. You might remember that the last time I wrote about him I was pretty morose. He wasn't doing well at all, appetite off, weak, in pain. He's still not as good as I'd like, but is much improved over last time I talked about him here on the blog. I think I said that he has had me thinking he is about to leave me and how he had been like that in the past and then turned it around. Well, he's done it again. YAY!! I must repeat, he is not as good as I would wish for, but he is better.
I've kept him on a diet of canned dog food supplemented with boiled eggs for about two weeks. His appetite is good once more, and his strength is improved. He still has moments when he needs help up and down the stairs, but is doing it on his own most of the time. He doesn't seem to be in as much pain. His eyes are a bit less blank that they were. His legs seem stronger; he hasn't had a bad legs-sliding incident recently, and this morning like several other times in the last few days, he has actually trotted to the door to go out. His tail is curled over his back, a sign of feeling better, at least half of the time that he is on his feet. So once again I was prepared for the worst, and he has rebounded. I'm still aware that he is not truly "well." I know my time is limited, but I'll take every day I can have. As long as he enjoyed a good back rub or ear scratch, I'm gonna give those to him.
Sam. Oh, my Sam. He is doing amazingly well. First and foremost .... [knock on wood] he has not chewed up anything in a long time! He loves chewing on the rawhide bones, and he is loving all the new toys. I'm still careful about what I leave where he can reach it, but he hasn't taken advantage of my negligence when I get slack. Maybe, maybe? Don't say it out loud and jinx it!
And he is becoming so well-adjusted! He still barks and keeps his distance for a while when someone comes in the house, but within just minutes, he will come into the room and gradually closer to them, allowing petting if they don't reach toward him. He needs to come to them first. A hand dangled is too much temptation for him, and he will usually put himself in petting position. The little dog that wouldn't leave my bedroom for the first 2-3 weeks and who ran from me no matter what I did, now is a 180° change.
He still gets startled easier than the others, but not in a run-screaming-from-everything kind of way. If he is stretched out on the floor and I step over him, he doesn't act like I'm trying to kick him. He just watches my feet go over him, yawns and goes back to sleep.
He has taken the title of "Clown" from Max. Sam is the silly boy who tears through the house, looking as if a ghost is after him, makes a flying leap onto the couch beside me, and just rolls into my lap as if he'd been there for the last hour. He's the one who starts most of the races, the wrestling matches, whatever. Instigator! But a well-adjusted instigator, for the most part. Oh, and lovable and cuddly! He used to freak when I tried to roll him over to pet his tummy; now he almost flips over and goes into a big puppy-puddle of fur when I pet him. It's really cool how he has adapted.
Max. This boy continues to be a bit jealous and possessive of me, but it is getting better. He has calmed down a lot from the silly dog he was in the beginning. He is still very playful, but isn't doing the goofy behaviors that cracked me up in the early days. He still slides off the couch when he wants down. He still gets hold of Sam's tail and holds him captive. He is still funny and cute, but has lost the crazy edge he had.
Max loves attention, but he doesn't push and struggle for it. He sorta waits till he is invited and then he just lolls in it, looking at me with such appreciation and love that my heart melts. He is not a dog that stands out in the pack; people tend to not notice him. But his sweet disposition, his grateful manners, and his tender eyes will steal your heart if you look past the hoo-haa of the others and into the heart of this guy.
I don't mean to make him sound like a shrinking violet. He's not. He romps and plays and has his turns of being the alpha dog of the day (or the hour). He just has a more sensitive and tender side that is very endearing to those who find it.
Oh, yeah, he steals people food anytime he has a chance! I think he lived by finding discarded food at Sonic and other places for a long time, and he has a taste for people food that the others don't. If he can reach it, it is gone!
Joey. Joe is more sedate in many ways that the other dogs. I think part of it is his age. At six he is certainly the "grown up" in the bunch. Don't misunderstand, he runs and plays with the others all the time. But there is an air of maturity about him that sets him aside from his cohorts.
Except when it comes to kisses. Oh, lawd, this boy loves to give me kisses! He gets beside me and will lick my hands, my arms, my feet, my legs, my face, until I want to scream! He is gradually getting better on this, but it is taking a long time. And since it is the only thing he does that bothers me, it's OK that we have to work on it. At least I know he loves me!
Joey has a certain elegance about him that is endearing. He is like the "handsome and mature dog next door" that you always hoped your pup would grow up to be like. The alpha leadership moves back and forth depending on the activity, but somehow there is an underlying sense that Joey really leads the other boys most of the time, subtly and without fanfare. Kind of a stabilizer in the pack.
Joey has relaxed about Jazi. He wasn't possessive, but he was highly solicitous to her when we first brought her home. He now has allowed her to be simply one of the kids. Oh, the two of them still love to play together and do it so well that you know they have been together a long time, know each other and how to play "perfectly." They still curl up together more than any other combination, yet it seems more relaxed and easy now.
He is my perfect little gentleman, a suitable elder dog to follow in the footsteps of the Grand Old Man when the time comes.
Jazmyn. Being the only girl in the pack, she is everything she needs to be. She is the ornery little sister, often lunging right on top of one of the sleeping boys and starting a wrestling match. She is the little momma, too. As I write this she is at the foot of the bed, giving Max a bath! She is cleaning his ears with great vigor, and he is just sprawled on his back, spread-eagle and limp as a dishrag! It is especially funny because he is so much larger than she. And she runs with the pack like the best of them, as if she isn't the daintiest of doggies.
She is my lap puppy. From the get-go, she let all of us know that she wants in my lap or on the back of the couch behind me. Or on the pillow behind me if I'm sitting up in bed. The boys like to be in my lap, but they seem to have understood that she has first dibs.
She is the smallest of the dogs, but you wouldn't know that when the antics begin. She runs, pounces, bites, barks just like one of the guys. She has moxy that is off the scale. Attitude just glows around her like an aura! When the girl trots across the room, you can see the sassyness. She is one of those little ones who is soooo cute .... and knows it!
Occasionally, Jazi comes to me and just sits, looking into my face as if she is trying to tell me something. She just gazes for a minute or so, and I wish I could understand what she wants to say. She reminds me a great deal of China Doll's sister, Mai Tai, who allows my daughter and her family to live in her home. Her size, her face, her walk, her attitude, everything except the color/markings are very similar. They both remind me, in turn, of China and Mai Tai's momma, Mai Lin, so her presence with me is a highly treasured gift.
In spite of this similarity, Jazi is very definitely her own dog! Give her a chance, and she will make sure you know that!
So our lives together are still good and getting better in most areas. I'm not foolish about Ali's condition and his limited possibilities, but he is still a treasure and an important part of the balance in the household. We are a pretty happy bunch. Life is good! In fact ....
.... Life is beautiful!!!!