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I do think that there is value in Gavin de Becker's The Gift of Fear, even though it doesn't work for me. It doesn't work for me on either end: I'm not much good at understanding strangers' intentions, and don't want to spend enough time and attention on strangers to get somewhat better. And I am good at attracting extra attention from security people, even though I don't intend to steal, smuggle, or damage anything. I don't know how much of that is racism, how much is missing communications cues because I'm partly deaf and have not much peripheral vision, especially on the same side as my deaf ear, and how much is behaving oddly because when I am in a crowd of strangers I am spending a lot of energy wishing that I were elsewhere, and hoping to escape with the least possible eye contact, talking, and being touched by strangers. But just by being myself I soak up enough security personnel attention that anyone who does want to steal, smuggle, or damage things should use me as a stalking horse.

Friday evening I was walking to the library with Aiko. I was on the north side of the street, heading east. I saw a couple walking toward me, but there was a break in traffic and I crossed the street before we met. On the south side of the street, Aiko was uneasy. He kept stopping and looking back. I looked back too, and saw the couple that had been on the north side of the street, going west, were now about half a block behind me, on the south side of the street, going east.

Well, people do change their minds and turn around. But Aiko would not settle down, so at the next street I turned south. The couple behind us also turned south, but I was on the east side of the street and they were on the west. I stopped and let Aiko sniff for a while, so I got to the next intersection after them. They crossed to the south side of that street. I did not. I turned east. They also turned east, and continued to walk about half a block behind me, on the other side of the street, for about seven blocks. Then we were in a well-populated area, and I didn't see them again.

I am a short fat old woman, and my hands were encumbered. I had library books in one hand, and a leash and a bag of dog poop in the other. But I was walking a German Shepherd! How did they plan to assault me without getting bit? Also without getting a bag of dog poop in the face? Though it was one of the good bags, and probably wouldn't have burst even if it had hit. Also, I didn't have any money on me, though they didn't know that. I was wearing a fanny pack, which is where my wallet would have been if I was wearing my wallet. I thought about taking my phone out and taking their picture, but they had dropped back far enough by the time I thought of it that it wouldn't have been much of a picture. The fanny pack has the kind of buckle that you squeeze to open. Probably they planned to run up beside me, grab the buckle, and run off with the fanny pack before Aiko could react. They would have got my phone and my housekeys, and could probably figure out where I live from the phone.

Anyway, I do think that there is observable, identifiable behavior that signals that one human being is looking at another human being as prey, and I think Aiko observed and correctly identified it.
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[personal profile] muninnhuginn tells me that today is Skull Appreciation Day. "Write something every day" is on my Habitica list, but I fail a lot. Nevertheless, I do appreciate skulls. Here is a photo of one of my favorites; it belonged to Kitsune, the dog in my icon.

dog skull, very dirty )

It's always surprising how small the brain pan is.
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When you want to reward a dog, you have to find out what the dog thinks is rewarding. It might surprise you.

thanks to [personal profile] andrewducker
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Newt loves tomatoes. I wanted a picture of him eating a tomato, so the last time he picked one, I took it away:2016-09-11 16.41.18

And then gave it back. But the taking-away part worried him enough that he had to devour the whole thing in two bites:2016-09-11 16.41.30
2016-09-11 16.41.33
2016-09-11 16.42.02
(That foot walking away looks Seussian!)

"I am the rat terrier
Who will eat anything
I eat stuff
Like it's my job
And if you ask me
If I ate anything
I'll just tell you
That I eat anything."
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Scorpio (October 23-November 21)
During the final ten weeks of 2016, your physical and mental health will flourish in direct proportion to how much outworn and unnecessary stuff you flush out of your life between now and October 25. Here are some suggested tasks: 1. Perform a homemade ritual that will enable you to magically shed at least half of your guilt, remorse, and regret. 2. Put on a festive party hat, gather up all the clutter and junk from your home, and drop it off at a thrift store or the dump. 3. Take a vow that you will do everything in your power to kick your attachment to an influence that's no damn good for you. 4. Scream nonsense curses at the night sky for as long as it takes to purge your sadness and anger about pain that no longer matters.


I'm declaring Newt an honorary Scorpio. He lost most of his incisors today, which should be good for his physical and mental health.

Aiko has a new wonder drug, Apoquel, for his allergies. $1.30 per pill. Two pills a day for 14 days, then one a day forever. If it works, it's worth it.
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Dogs claim that they have not been fed in years, but I have photographic evidence they were treated like royalty:

shepherd princess

jack russell princess
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I'm going to California tomorrow to visit the friend who moved away, with three other members of our mutual book group. I have been fretting anxiously all day that
1. I will not wake up in time
2. I will forget my CPAP, the CPAP's power cord, my phone, the phone's power cord, or my bite guard
(prescriptions and wallet are already packed, whatever else I'm forgetting is replaceable)
3. I will be miserable because of allergic reaction to cats, or because I can't sleep, or just because I can't stand being with five other people for four days straight
4. I will spoil everyone else's fun by being miserable or sick or too slow and achy, or by saying something stupid.

There is nothing more I can do about any of these worries, so I have been cleaning things. The little dog is all fluffy, except for the long hairs around his mouth, which look a bit like this dragon:

The combination of rawhide bone and dog saliva makes a powerful hair glue.


Dec. 12th, 2015 10:20 pm
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We got five inches of fluffy white snow today, which makes it very noticeable how not white the white dog is, and how tiny the tiny dog is.

My neighbors have a new baby, five weeks old and eee! even tinier than the tiny dog! But that doesn't last. I'm trying to remember how old his big sister is, and wishing LJ had a useful search function.

I took Aiko to the vet for a blood draw to make sure he can still take his arthritis drug. There were puppies in the waiting room, nine weeks old, with soft puppy fur; at 16 pounds and 13 pounds, already bigger than the tiny dog, and destined to get bigger than Aiko. The vet wanted a urine specimen too, which Aiko did not provide, so they sent me home with a specimen collection kit: one small styrofoam bowl, to hold in the way of the stream; one specimen cup; one plastic pipette, to transfer the specimen from bowl to cup. 'Specimen' is one of those words I always misspell. Every time I typed it in this post it came out 'specimin'.
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My tiny dog has rediscovered that tomatoes on the vine are food. He figured this out once before, a couple of years ago, but I kept him away from the tomato plants for a while and he seemed to forget. This year I noticed a hole in a ripe tomato as if a bird had pecked it for a drink; later I found Newt eating that tomato, still on the vine, and now he'll go get himself one anytime I'm not looking. The big dog will finish a tomato that Newt has started, but won't pick them himself. I don't know whether he doesn't recognize them as food while they are on the vine, or he doesn't recognize them as food unless someone else is actually eating them. I suppose I have enough ripening tomatoes that I could experiment...

Thanks to [personal profile] jesse_the_k and [personal profile] liv for the prompt:
When you see this post, feel encouraged to post something in your journal. Short or long, trivial or profound, it doesn't matter, just something. And if you like, you can pass on the token by copying this notice at the bottom of your post.

tiny dog is keeping an eye on you


Jul. 8th, 2015 11:18 pm
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I'm sleeping terribly again, staying up later and later; getting up later too, but not late enough to get six hours in. It's having the usual consequences on memory, focus, and the ability to actually do a thing instead of realizing that I ought to do it, and realizing that I ought to do it, and realizing that I ought to do it....

This is one of the things I need my dogs for. They're very good at telling me it's time to eat, or it's time to go out; harder for me to ignore than my own body. They do try to tell me when it's time to go to bed, but I can ignore that, since they can go to bed without my help.

This evening Aiko nudged me, so we went out, but just stood on the back deck. A few minutes after we came in, he nudged me again. I told him to go lie down. Then I realized that I hadn't given him his pills with dinner. (I set out his pills for the next day each night when I set out mine, so I can check whether I have given them to him.) The carprofen has to be taken with food, (I assume because it is an NSAID and would give him ulcers otherwise? I don't know, he gets fed twice a day and pilled twice a day, it all works fine when I don't fuck up,) so I gave him a little more food, and his pills.

I've got to figure out how to sleep better.
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you guys the little dog just came into the house with an apple blossom petal stuck to his nose. he could not get it off.

dog fud

Mar. 28th, 2015 11:14 pm
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I have a big dog, who has been eating Wellness Core, and a little dog, who has been eating Newmans Own, which, I learn from that review site, is not actually a very good dog food. I get both dog foods delivered by Amazon Subscribe&Save. Last month Amazon couldn't get any Newmans Own, so I have been mixing some Wellness Core into the little dog's food to stretch it out. This month, Amazon does have Newmans again, but at $35.11 for the 12.5-lb bag that they charged me $20.32 for, last shipment.

I've been feeding them different foods because I assumed that the little dog, who is really very little, needed a smaller kibble size. But he is eating the big dog's kibble just fine. Is there any reason not to feed them both the same (better quality) food?
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My dog Aiko has arthritis in one elbow. He is seven. He has done alright for several years on Rimadyl, but he just started limping really badly, I think after chasing a raccoon out of the yard. His vet prescribed gabapentin, which has helped a lot. But while I was searching the web I found:
FREE CLINICAL TRIAL! Canine Osteoarthritis (Fort Collins)
[A local reputable] Animal Hospital is conducting a clinical drug trial on dogs with osteoarthritis. Dogs must be 1 year or older and have osteoarthritis of at least one joint. All breeds, sexes, and sizes accepted. Qualified candidates will receive exams, lab work, medication, and x-rays at NO CHARGE and will receive a hospital credit of $300 for completion of this 112 day study to use toward any additional service. For more information and to see if your pet qualifies, please call us at

Could this be a good thing for Aiko? I care a little about advancing medical science for all dogs, but not nearly as much as I care about Aiko.


Jul. 5th, 2014 12:17 pm
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The dogs and I spent the night at my husband's house to escape from the sound of fireworks. Newt prefers men, and adores my husband; he adores Mungo too, but Neal is very much his favorite person. But when Neal came down in the morning to tell me breakfast would be ready in fifteen minutes, Newt raced ahead of him, jumped on the bed where I was sleeping, and swore vociferously that he would tear Neal limb from limb if he got any closer. Dogs!

(Newt is the 10-pound (4.5 kilo) terrier. Aiko, the German Shepherd, has his own set of irrational fears but expresses them by hiding behind my knees.)
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So national poetry month 2013 is over. This makes 16 poems I've posted, which is not bad. Newt is as brave as a barrel full of bears, and would totally have devoured that pirate. Today he picked a fight with Aiko over who got to eat the eggshells out of the compost bucket. (The correct answer is Nobody, which of course Aiko knows, but he came over to investigate what Newt was doing and Newt took it as a challenge. Fur flew.)

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I believe [personal profile] firecat is right, Newt has no idea how big he isn't.

Newt needed a new home because he would not give up his conviction that it was his job to restrain Betsy's three-year-old son from moving quickly and unpredictably. Now Newt is doing the same thing to my son, but it is not the same thing, because my son is six feet tall. When Mungo jumps up and strides across the room, and Newt throws his tiny body at Mungo's giant feet, it reminds me of the little boy's attempt to turn a stampeding herd of cattle in Australia. It's a miracle he doesn't get squished.

Newt also keeps reminding me of Beginners. There's a Jack Russell in that movie who needs a new home, and gives a lot of soulful gazes. When Newt gazes at me that way, I always think he's thinking, "Thank you very much for having me. May I go home now?"
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Newt wants to sit in my lap all the time, but first thing in the morning, after his little feet have touched the cold damp ground, he needs to sit in my lap. Because he cannot maintain his own body temperature.

However, he had no trouble walking all the way to the co-op and back, which Google maps tells me is 1.7 miles.
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That is, I have adopted [personal profile] kalmn's dog Newton. Aiko looooves him. Newt does not love Aiko back, not yet, and sometimes needs to tell him so. My German Shepherd accepting a rebuke from a dog the size of his head is hilarious.

I've never had a little dog before. He seems so vulnerable. Much more so than a cat.

He's smart, though. In the house and the back yard, he stays next to me, but when we went out the front door, he trotted out ahead, ears and tail high, to the sidewalk, then right, then, two doors down, into the street where the van that brought him here had been parked. His ears were flat to his head and his tail to his belly when I scooped him up. I don't think he was afraid of me, since he didn't back away; I think it was just the overwhelm of the situation, realizing that he couldn't retrace his steps any further and he had no idea how to get home.

He will get home though. He'll come home to Aiko and me. You were wearing the ruby slippers all along, Newt.


Jan. 11th, 2013 06:30 pm
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[personal profile] sasha_feather asked for a picture of my dog for More Joy Day, but first I had to find the camera, and then I had to charge the camera...


This is Aiko, and that's Aiko's dinner. Aiko is looking for eye contact, because I don't say "break" unless we have eye contact, and he doesn't get to eat his dinner until I say "break". He learned this game very quickly. Aiko, who was raised in the home of a dog breeder, likes to do what the other dogs are doing. When I got him I had two other dogs; since they sat and waited for permission to go to their bowls, he sat and waited for permission to go to his bowl. It only took a few corrections for him to learn to get up, not when the other dog gets up, but when I say "Aiko, break."

He is an only dog now, so I don't need to do crowd control at mealtime, but this is still good practice.
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In a comment on my last post I implied that Aiko was not too bright. Then I put my boots and hat on, and found my library books and my keys, as Aiko eagerly followed me. Then I put a dog poo bag in my pocket and Aiko leaped with joy.


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