Monday, July 14, 2008

Mabel the...

All photos Copyright 2008 Creekhiker; May not be used without permission.

Sofahog: The first night I was really sick, Mabel asked to come up on the sofa - nothing new here. Since I was downing fluids, I was running down the hall every 30 minutes and I would come back to find a huge rottweiler in my place on the sofa. I would lift her legs and try to squeeze under but she would groan her displeasure. After about the third time, I started yelling, "UH HUH, NO FREAKING WAY, GET OFF, GET DOWN, GET OUT!"

She obliged. The strange thing is -- not once did she ask to get back up until my fever broke!

Miss M was quite the nursemaid while I was sick. Some dogs run and hide when their humans start to make strange noises. Not Mabel. Whenever I have a coughing jag she comes running to me.

I managed to wake terribly early almost every morning that I was sick - between 5 and 6. And since there is water in creek, I would stuff my pockets with Kleenex and cough drops, load up Mabel and drive to the levy. I would park in the curve - the closest parking there is to the water - and s l o w l y walk the 1/4 mile to the end of the levy. The end of the levy wall would form an "L" shape shaded area in the morning light. I would sit there and hack away while Mabel ran down into the water for a frolic.

She would play but she would stay near (not something I'm accustomed to. This girl marches to her own distant drummer!) and I swear every time I looked at her, she had one eye on me. Normally, she couldn't care where I am.

My friends think I'm crazy for worrying about my dog's exercise while I'm so sick but few realize how much the sound of that water means to me. It's always the highlight of any day. My nurse friend in Mississippi thinks that walking about is one of the reasons I didn't really think I had pneumonia. The exercise helps break up the crap in the chest.

As I got sicker, this routine would change. The day it dropped into my chest, Mabel simply sat down at the top of the levy, so close, I couldn't get a good cough going without hitting her with my shoulders. Frustrated with her, I managed to get down to the shore, thinking she would swim if I were close. Nope. She laid at my feet and refused to go in the water! A first! I took the lower path back to the car, too weak to climb the hill by the levy. We repeated this scene for three days.

My fever finally broke after six days. Mabel awoke that morning and instead of the calm little nurse-dog that had been sleeping beside me, brat-dog was back. The moment my feet hit the floor, I got the "hurry up, let's go" look that seems to repeat over and over, "Are we goin'? Can we go NOW?"

I swear this dog somehow knew I had no more fever; that I was on the mend. For the first time in a week, she just took off. She ran and played and I had to yell to get her to go home.

Gee, I kinda liked that sweet pup that never left my side....

Walking Wounded: Mabel managed to tear a toenail off the first day I was sick. In my feverish stupor, I decided that dog saliva had been around for thousands of years before peroxide and antibiotic ointment and so I left her to do what she would. I simply ignored her licking.

The wound was made worse by her tearing it open at the creek almost daily. Her being injured may have been a factor in her strange 4th of July behavior.

Scardy Cat: Dogs and fireworks can be a strange combination. Maggie, my star gazer, adored fireworks! My previous home was right next to a ritzy golf course and every year there was a HUGE fireworks show on the first tee, parallel to my front yard. I would pull out a lawn chair, frequently surrounded by neighbors, and Mags would sit right beside me staring in wonder at the sky.

When we moved here, the fireworks show is several blocks away at the high school. I have a perfect view from the seat in the shallow end of my pool. I would be in the water and Mags would lie on the sidewalk behind me, head on my shoulder and we would watch them together, heads bobbing in unison to the explosions.

Mabel generally prefers to lie a few feet further away, but she would definitely watch the show!

Not this year. I was stumbling around trying to take some decent photos and so feverish and dizzy I was literally afraid of falling in the pool! And Mabel? She was in the den, head up, eyes closed. Weirdo! Seriously, I think she just wanted some time alone to lick that paw!

Drama Queen: I avoided people during my fever days. I always fear I'm contagious and don't want to get anyone else sick. When my fever broke and my senses started to return, I asked my hiking buddy to come over and look at Mabel's paw. She obliged.

As I got up and unlocked doors, I announced to Mabel, "Auntie's coming over to look at your foot."

Auntie walked in and barely shut the front door when Mabel came trotting up to her and after a brief hello pet, she yelped and held up her paw! Look Auntie! I'm sick too! Oh the drama!


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Anonymous said...

That's great! Mabel sure has personality! I think they know when we're sick, Spot seems to know when I don't feel well and gets quiet. He won't stay near me, though. ;-)

So what did Auntie say about Mabel's owie?

Take better care of yourself, now! we don't want a repeat.

Linda@VS said...

Well, I'm glad you're feeling well enough to go to the creek, and I'm proud of Mabel for taking care of you in the meantime.

That toenail looks painful!