Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sassy's Surprises

A couple months ago, I was out on my Kansas land and the two dogs who showed up to help that day were Elvis and Sassy. Elvis always stays in the background and wags his tail or rolls on his back and as a helper, that often works out just right for me but Sassy.....everything is all about Sassy and what she wants that very minute. While I put together a big yellow metal cart I got at Tractor Supply, Elvis watched me patiently as Sassy kept exhaling impatiently, and loudly. She wasn't getting the attention she wanted so she then started some high pitched whining. Then some barking. Did I not get it? There was a big box of Costco dog biscuits in the trunk of my car!!!! Every one of them should be dispensed NOW.

Half a biscuit was not enough. One biscuit was not enough. A biscuit (or part of one) was given out every time I managed to get a nut and bolt tightened the way they should be (of course the cart came with the wrong type of nuts which was making me mad) but Sassy wanted even more.

Not too agreeable about the concept of pacing herself, Sassy is one of those dogs who does understand the concept of paying or exchanging something for something she wants. And so, I was introduced to how her dog currency works. Sassy went and got herself a car length tree branch and placed it at the back end of the car (also known as the "treat dispenser"). You can't tell from this photo but that tiny branch in the background was pretty long and hard to maneuver around the trees to get to that spot behind the car. I was kind of impressed with all of that but still, she is a very annoying dog.

The next month, I was out on that land with all the dogs-Aussie, Bella, Elvis and....Sassy when I heard a rustling sound around us. The dogs didn't seem that interested but I certainly was curious.


Triple huh.


I felt pretty sure that these were Sassy's puppies (well, that does explain her recent figure)...

...accompanied by the one Mueller dog (or so I thought) I have not met. Somehow Sassy had employed this odd looking dog as the nanny for her two puppies.

Everyone (even Elvis!) attended to the puppies except Sassy. I'm not sure what dog currency she used but maybe she just wore them down, the strategy that most often works on me.

The puppies were cute but constantly in motion.

It was very hard to get them to slow down but it looked like there was one girl.

And one boy.

I thought there might be more puppies but it was just these two making all the noise romping through the grass. Their manners were as bad as their mother but with puppies you can forgive anything. Aussie had a harder time with it though because I saw a lot of "Please help me, Jesus" expressions from her.

She was not enthused about being an aunt.

Eventually their nanny took them home...and the rest followed, Sassy being the last one to leave.

Treats were dispensed but Sassy took all the crumbs so the puppies didn't get anything. No surprise there.

That was quite the day of surprises except there was one other surprise. I found out Sassy's name is not really Sassy. It's Mary(!). Sassy happens to be the one Mueller dog I have not met (apparently there are eight Mueller dogs, I've only met seven of them!).

And now I'm going to have to figure out a new nickname for her since "Sassy, Pain in the Ass-y" no longer works.

Maybe something like "Mary, who is so Very $#/&!@!!/!??!!"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday morning with Starlinka

Sunday morning with Starlinka

As bad as Stella is, Starlinka is her counterpart in goodness. Starlinka has never done anything bad in her entire life. She is always full of sweetness and light. And when she chooses to mimic something I say, it's always a compliment (my favorite being "You're so smart.").

Several years ago Starlinka started chewing the feathers on one of her wings so until she molted again, she was unable to fly...for years. That molt took a long time to get started. But now that she's able to fly again, it's bath time every weekend morning. There's a lot of hopping and flying around between my shoulder and wrist while I fill her bath dish with water in the sink. It has to be the right temperature. Sometimes she prefers water that's cold, sometimes something much warmer. She's very enthusiastic with the water so it becomes bath time for me too. She taught me early on that she likes baths and she likes showers and if she can have both at the same time, that is what she expects. I run the water in the sink and hold the bowl under it while it fills, and Starlinka jumps in and would empty it in no time if the water wasn't kept running.

And then it's drying time. I go sit at the computer and she chooses to sit on my shoulder while she shakes and preens and presses herself next to my neck to get further warmed up. It's pretty cute to have that little warm bird spend so many hours with me in the morning. Many times I'll forget she's even there until I feel her beak poke in my ear and then hear her say, "Whatcha doin'?"

Like I said, that girl has never done anything bad in her life except for last night and it could hardly be called bad if it was any other bird but Starlinka. I made dinner last night and she flew over and grabbed a bean and flew off. That wouldn't be too upsetting in this household but that food was hot and if she swallowed it, she would burn herself. So I chased her and chased her to retrieve that bean in her beak but that was too much fun for her. She'd hop on my hand but as soon as I reached for the bean, she was off again. At one point she just swallowed it. And then there was not such a good look on her. She opened her beak wide and I handed her her water dish. She immediately drank a couple sips and then a couple more sips and then a couple more and then everything seemed all right with her. This morning (whew!)...everything seems to be completely all right too. Relief. I'm thinking all that running and flying around cooled that bean down enough so that it couldn't hurt her. The little scamp. One thing I know, when it comes to bad behavior, she will never be able to compete with Stella. There's only one StellaFullaHella. Thank Gawd. But for Starlinka, everyone should have such a sweet little bird in their life who tells them they are beautiful, cute and smart all day long. :-)