Georgie Speaks

Georgie Speaks

Well, it is January, and I, along with many other Irish-Viking Dachshund Americans are starting the new year with the idea of being healthier.  My promise to myself, and my Companions, was to spend 2016 trying to exercise more, eat more nutritiously, and generally take better care of myself.  Of course, my loyal Companions were eager to join me in this endeavor.

To this end, I began incorporating healthy habits in the Family Bed right away.  I’ve eliminated in between meal snacking by putting a retinal scanner on the Commissary door.  Since none of the Companions have actual retinas – it’s been working very effectively.  Of course, Bachmann has tried to outsmart the locking mechanism several times, but he’s only accomplished getting himself zapped by the alarm system.  It’s amusing, but growing tiresome.  I do hope he finds a better way to occupy himself soon.

Another health-conscious change to the Bed has been increased workouts for all Companions.  We are all benefiting from these expanded conditioning sessions.  In fact, I’ve already seen a huge difference in Candace’s balance and Je M’appelle Claude’s eye/claw coordination.  Even Ernst is looking more svelte and sleek.  I, myself, noticed a significant increase in my own haunch-flex ratio after just a few weeks of daily work.

 

Georgie Speaks

Naturally, diet is one of the most important components of good health.  Nutrition has always been a priority in the Family Bed, and now, more than ever, I am making decisions about food choices with that in mind.  I’ve added many more nuts and legumes to the menu plans – a change that most of the Companions are quite pleased over.  Of course, many of the aquatic creatures are disappointed with the lack of variety in the seafood department, but as I’ve explained many times, we just don’t have sufficient refrigerator space to keep seafood fresh for any length of time.  And no one wants old fish stinking up the place.  Except Bachmann, but he’s always the dissenter in any conversation.  I do try to bring in organically raised, sustainably-sourced wild-caught salmon when possible and Raoul likes to grill it with just a little lime juice and dill.  Very tasty.

Additionally, I’m regularly attending local farmer’s markets to obtain the freshest possible produce for my vegetarian Companions.  Well, and for myself, of course – who does’t love a fresh, crisp apple right out of Mama Dog’s hand?  Hmmm??  While I have been forced to outsource for some of our dietary needs – dairy in particular (Candace doesn’t like to talk about it, but she’s lactose intolerant, which is quite embarrassing for a cow, as you would imagine.) – most of the Companions don’t mind only having goats’ milk cheese or yogurt a few times a week.

We’ve been working to eliminate artificial food from our diets, as well, including sugar.  And believe me, that hasn’t been easy.  Dijon in particular has quite the sweet tooth.  I’ve been substituting stevia in my dessert recipes with good success.  Dijon has not seemed to notice any loss of sweetness or richness in his nightly dish of flan, for which I am grateful.  He becomes absolutely unbearable when he doesn’t have his nightly flan … breathing fire over the other Companions as they try to watch television in the Commons area, slashing his tail around the room, bellowing, and generally making a real scene.  It’s just better to avoid that sort of theatrics altogether whenever possible.

Overall, I believe the Companions are much more focused mentally with the addition of these changes in physical activity and nutrition.  I’ve kept careful notes in their behavior charts over the past few weeks and have seen an upswing in both their general happiness and gross motor function.  It’s very rewarding to see a plan achieve such success.

As we move forward, I will be increasing the number of discussion group sessions for the Companions, as well.  I think giving them more opportunity to work through their individual issues through group discourse will bring them closer together and create a real sense of community within the Bed.  As I have mentioned before, Family Bed harmony is often non-existent.  And I plan to incorporate even more options for physical training as the weather warms up and the Companions can work out of doors.  Tai Chi on the Lawn; Gopher Hole Digging 101; Voice Projection; Releasing Your W.O.I.D. (Wrath of Irish Dachshund); and Quiet Wandering are just a few of the new classes that will begin in the spring.  There is already considerable interest in this area.

I sincerely hope each of you is experiencing the success with your own goals for the new year that we in the Family Bed Education, Training and Rehabilitation Center are experiencing.  I just can’t express how rewarding it is to lead this group of Companions on a path to better health and well-being.  Oh, yes, a few are not really coming along willingly.  But you always have a few stragglers and late-bloomers in any educational setting, don’t you?  You just drag them along until they get tired of fighting you and then … well, everyone’s happy, aren’t they?  Indeed.

So.  Good luck to all of you, dear readers, in your New Year’s goals and objectives.  Good Day, and thank you for your support.

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 29 Adoption Day Part Two

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 29 Adoption Day Part Two

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 29 Adoption Day Part Two

The ride home was a little tense and a lot crowded. Mandrake, the bionic water horse, was uncomfortably wedged into the third row seat of the van. The seatbelt wasn’t quite long enough to latch around his substantial middle, so Harley was laying on her back in the seat next to him, holding the buckle-end of the extended belt as tightly as she could. Her hind feet were braced against the side of the van, her front legs extended over the top of her head as though trying to execute a lateral pull down with the seatbelt. The strain of exertion was beginning to make her cranky.

“Are we about home?” she demanded, sounding slightly out of breath. “I’m not sure how much longer I can hold this belt in place.”

Gordy turned around from his position in the front seat and snuffled loudly.

“Well, that’s good,” Harley panted. “My legs aren’t long enough to have the proper leverage for this kind of activity. Also, I’ve got an itch on my snout but if I let go with one paw the ricochet of this seatbelt might kill someone.”

Mandrake reached over and gently scratched Harley’s snout with his hoof.

Harley started, then realized what he was doing and relaxed slightly. “Why thank you, Mandrake,” she said. “What a thoughtful young hippo you are!”

Mandrake smiled shyly.

B.H. turned around in his car seat to grin at Mandrake. Then he began to chatter away, telling Mandrake about the Brownstone, his room and how much fun they were going to have once they got home.

The van pulled to a stop in front of the Brownstone and Harley let go of the seatbelt. It zinged out of her grasp with lightning speed, arcing wildly toward Mandrake’s head.

“Look out!” Harley shouted, scrambling into a sitting position.

Mandrake turned his head sharply to look at her. As he did, the belt zipped by, narrowly missing his ear. He heard the whine of the fast-retracting belt, felt the wind rush by the side of his head and squeaked in alarm.

Harley leaped into his lap and began patting him on the head, face and shoulders. “It’s okay,” she murmured. “There, there, it’s all okay. You’re safe and loved and there’s no reason for you to become a cutter.”

Mandrake looked at her with big eyes, blinking slowly. He nodded, then awkwardly patted her on the head with his hoof. He snorted softly, indicating that he wanted out of the van.

“Okay, everyone,” Harley demanded loudly, “get out of the way. Traumatized hippo here! Make some room before he starts cutting!” She all but pushed Mandrake from the van.

Standing on the sidewalk in front of the Brownstone, Harley observed Mandrake carefully, looking for any signs that he might be feeling emotional distress. Satisfied that he seemed calm and happy, she took his hoof in one of her paws and B.H.’s small paw in the other.

“I feel like we should say a few words since this is such a special occasion,” she said. “Anyone want to, I don’t know … do that?”

Prescott and Gordy both turned away uncomfortably, snuffling and shaking their humps. B.H. whispered something too quietly for Harley to hear then looked intently at his cowboy boots. Mandrake gazed down at her, expectantly.

“Okay, then,” she muttered, “I guess I’ll say something.”

She cleared her throat, took a deep breath, then said dramatically, “Today, we welcome Mandrake into our family. We are a diverse and multi-cultural tribe of indigenous nomads who have come together to create an intricate and aerodynamic nation.” She paused as though collecting her thoughts, not noticing the odd looks she was getting from the group. She continued speaking, warming to her task. “Though we have many differences, we are one in spirit. As my Native American Dachshund ancestors believed, I, too, believe that we are all endowed with the gift of gab, the ability to come together as a family and pursue warm gravy. On this day, we bring Mandrake, a bionic water horse, into our family. Welcome, Mandrake. We are proud and glad to receive you into our clan. May your life with us be fulfilling and abundant and may you not become a cutter. Amen.”

The View From the Family Bed

The View From the Family Bed

The view from the Family Bed is rarely a peaceful one.  As is so often the case, Bachmann has made himself a nuisance in The Family Bed once again.

Over the past weeks, since before Thanksgiving, he’s been causing all sorts of trouble for the other Companions and for me.  His porky mouth and reckless beaver antics have crossed numerous lines of Family Bed etiquette and socially acceptable behavior.  At times, he’s been almost unseemly.

Now, I consider myself to be a very patient, loving, and understanding dachshund.  But that beaver is certainly creating a tense, and uncomfortable situation with his conduct.

At first, he was just shooting off his porky mouth.  He would taunt some the other Companions and make fun of their various and sundry deficiencies. For example, one afternoon, I heard him jeering at poor, sweet, harmless Ernst.

“Hey, Eggplant!” he was gibing.  “How’s about you and I mix it up with a game of Boggle?! You know what’s a four-letter word for stupid??  E-R-N-S-T!”

He was deliberately mocking poor Ernst’s lack of vocabularical prowess.  It was sickening.  I reprimanded him immediately, but he exhibited not a single shred of remorse.

Another time, I caught him following Candace down her narrow hallway, poking a piece of string cheese between her two feet, trying to trip her.  He was making mooing noises and ridiculing her awkward mobility.  Disgusting.  And even though I took away his electronics privileges and his dessert privileges for a week, the horrible comportment continued.

It all came to a head the other day, when Bachmann decided to make what I can only assume was his Bull Run stand by challenging me to a staring contest.  He’s always been so very dramatic.

Georgie vs. Bachmann

Now, at first, I didn’t realize what he was doing.  I was in the middle of a well-deserved and much-needed nap when the sound of him wheezing through his front teeth roused me.

“Bachmann,” I pleaded, “I’m exhausted.  Can’t you go pester someone else for a while?  Or better yet, go find something constructive to do – don’t you need to clean your room?”

But he continued to stare at me with those beady little beaver eyes, not saying a word.  Which was very unusual, because generally he can’t keep that porky mouth shut.

I became instantly alert.Georgie vs. Bachmann

“Bachmann,” I sighed.  “What are you playing at?  Can’t you see I’m busy and don’t have time for your shenanigans?”

Still, he continued to challenge me with his bore-like gaze.  I began to wonder if he was experiencing a medical situation that was preventing him from speaking or moving … or blinking.  Even so, his insubordination could not be tolerated.Georgie vs. Bachmann

“Bachmann,” I warned.  “Cut it out.  If you continue with this defiant and threatening provocation, you will be sorry.  And by sorry, I mean you’re going to end up crying like a little she-beaver.  You better knock it off and leave me to my nap.”

Honestly, I gave him every opportunity to retract his confrontation.  I offered him multiple activities and constructive ideas as alternatives to this hostility.  I entreated him to rethink his folly and each time he refused to back down.  He didn’t simply refuse to back down, he grew more and more belligerent.

And then this happened …The View From the Family Bed

This is me, setting out to open a can of Whoop-De-Do on Bachmann’s Beaver butt.  Note the terror his his expression as he tries to scramble out of the path of my wrath.  But his short little beaver feet couldn’t move fast enough to avoid me dealing him a heaping helping of comeuppance.

I worked him over pretty good.  I’ll grant him this much … he took the waling I gave him with dignity – for a short minute.  Then he started blubbering and crying and apologizing and begging for mercy.  It was most satisfying.  I even took him back inside the compound so the other Companions could watch.  And since Bachmann had been making their lives uncomfortable and difficult for weeks, they were very enthusiastic about the entire affair.

Afterwards, Bachmann slunk off to his room to lick his wounds, while the rest of the Family Bed enjoyed cake and punch courtesy of the Festivity Committee.  Overall, it was a lovely end to the day.

It’s been just a few days since what is being referred to around the Bed as ‘The incident’.  Bachmann resurfaced just this morning, took his toast and coffee alone in the Commissary and then retreated again to his room.  He hasn’t spoken to anyone since his beatdown, but many Companions have reported receiving letters and notes of apology via Inter-Family-Bed mail.  So it would seem Bachmann has possibly learned a lesson.  Or not.  Only time will  tell this beaver tale …

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 28

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 28

Adoption Day had finally arrived and Harley, Gordy and Prescott were having a difficult time keeping B.H. calm. He had leaped out of bed at 5:20 a.m. and raced into Harley’s room. He’d proceeded to jump on her bed, shaking her out of a sound sleep, which had not pleased Harley in the least. After shooing him back to his own room she’d tried to get a little more sleep, but found it difficult to reclaim the totally relaxed state of rest she’d been experiencing.

When she finally gave up on sleep and trudged slowly into the kitchen for a mug of gravy, she had found Gordy and Prescott, each of them in a similar state of bleary-eyed exhaustion. From their snuffling and hump shaking, she determined that B.H. had visited his overwhelming excitement on them, as well.

Now, after she had finally managed to settle B.H. enough to eat some breakfast and brush his teeth, she was trying to wrangle him into his ‘going somewhere’ clothes so she could comb his hair. “Darn it, B.H.,” she said crossly, “hold still. I can’t tie your shoes if you keep wiggling and jiggling around so much.”

B.H. ceased his fidgeting briefly, but was soon overcome with excitement again and he began to squirm and bounce, chattering about how much fun the new hippo was going to be and how much he was looking forward to having a playmate.

Exasperated, Harley jerked off the still untied sneakers and went to B.H.’s closet. “Here,” she said, turning back to the vole. “Wear your cowboy boots. Then I won’t have to fight with you over tying your shoes anymore.” B.H. happily pulled on the bright blue boots, all the while continuing his happy jabbering.

After several minutes of dodging and ducking, B.H. finally held still just long enough for Harley to swipe a brush over his head. The vole’s fine hair went smooth for a short minute before springing back up in an unruly looking wave over his forehead. “This darned vole-lick of yours won’t lay down, B.H.,” she muttered, trying to smooth it down again with first the brush, then her paw. Finally, she sighed. “I think that’s as good as it’s going to get, B.H.. Maybe you should just wear a hat.” Shaking her head, she took his jacket down from the closet and handed it to him. “Better wear a sweater, B.H., that adoption agency is always really cold.”

At last, the family was loaded into the van. Prescott was driving while Gordy had claimed shotgun. Harley snapped B.H. into his seatbelt and then, adjusting her own, announced, “Alright! Let’s get this bionic waterhorse show on the road!”

Traffic was light and the drive unremarkable as the van wound its way through the carpeted streets of the city. B.H. had suddenly stopped his excited chatter and now sat quietly, looking out the window of the van with big eyes. Harley noticed that both Buffaloes were unusually quiet, as well. She felt her own excitement turn into something more like nervousness as the van turned into the parking lot of the Under Dome Rehoming and Adoption Center for Voles and other People.

Prescott parked and turned off the engine. The group sat in silence for a few moments. Harley looked at B.H., who was quietly working at the buckle of his seatbelt. She watched Prescott adjust his tie in the rearview mirror and saw Gordy pull down the sun visor to check his hump and swipe a hoof over his beard. Harley unlatched her own seatbelt and smoothed her eyebrows with her paw. “Are we all ready?” she asked anxiously.

Each of the others nodded and the group left the van, walking quickly toward the entrance of the building. Prescott held the door open and Harley and B.H. entered the lobby, looking around curiously. Harley spotted the manager coming toward them and bent down to speak to B.H. quietly.

“Are you sure you’re ready?” she asked. B.H. nodded solemnly. “Now, B.H., this is serious – we can’t bring him back once we take him home. So if you’re having second thoughts or want to adopt something else, now’s the time to speak up.” B.H. shook his head and whispered that he was very happy to meet his new hippo. “And you’re sure about the name we picked out?” Harley added. B.H. grinned happily and nodded again. “Okay, then, here we go,” Harley said firmly, straightening up to greet the manager, a slightly overweight but attractive vole.

“Hello there, you must be the Harley Bishop Family,” the manager extended a neatly manicured paw. “I’m Noreen.” Harley shook her paw, as did the others. “I know this is a big day for you, but there are just a few details we have to take care of before you can take the newest member of your family home,” she smiled. “If you’ll just follow me, Harley. The rest of you can wait right over there.” She pointed toward a seating area filled with comfortable furniture, a book shelf and a large television. B.H. scurried over and plopped onto a fluffy chair. He located the remote control and immediately turned on the TV, settling happily into his seat. Prescott and Gordy each patted Harley on the head and went to sit with B.H.

Harley followed Noreen into a small but neat office and sat where Noreen indicated she should.

“There are just a few papers that we need to review and sign and then you’ll be all set to go home,” Noreen explained, shuffling through a stack of files on her desk. “I understand that you’ve been told about your hippopotamus’s special needs?” She slipped on a pair of reading glasses and looked up at Harley.

“Well, yes, if you’re talking about his bionics and such,” Harley said. “Although I’m not entirely sure why it’s such a big deal.”

Noreen looked at her a moment before dropping her gaze to the now open file in front of her. “Well,” she began, “aside from the obvious issues presented with a bionically enhanced being – super strength and speed, enhanced motor function, increased appetite, and the like – there may be some emotional issues that arise. It’s very difficult for non-bionic people to understand the strain of maintaining the control necessary for a bionic – in this case a bionic hippo – to exist in a normal world. Chairs may not be designed to hold his heavier frame, for example. And a broken chair could lead to him feeling insecure about his size. We wouldn’t want him to begin to exhibit any self-harming habits such as eating disorders or cutting, for instance, as a way of expressing emotional distress. It’s very important that you recognize any signs of depression or trauma, therefore, and be prepared to deal with anything that arises.” She gazed at Harley expectantly.

“So you’re saying I need to watch him and make sure he’s happy?” Harley said.

“Exactly,” Noreen confirmed. “We do offer a series of counseling sessions for all our new adoption families, at a significant discount, of course. You’re more than welcome to sign up for them before you leave today, in fact. Most of our families have found the classes to be invaluable while integrating their adopted children – or whatever – into their households.”

“I think I’ll pass,” Harley replied. “We’re pretty laid-back at home and we’ve been doing a lot of research into what will make him feel comfortable. I think we’ll do okay on our own.”

Noreen pursed her lips in disapproval, but only said, “Well, fine, then. Sign here and you can meet your hippo.”

Harley scrawled her signature at the bottom of the page.

“By the way,” Noreen examined the paper, then looked at Harley, “have you picked out a name?”

“Yes,” Harley said, rising from her chair. “We’ve decided to name him Mandrake.”