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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Absentee Blogger

I haven't been blogging. I haven't been blogging because I have been chronically sleep deprived for two weeks. It wasn't enough to be arguing with the contractor, the sub-contractors, having nightmares over cash-flow and due dates....we got a puppy.

We didn't get a puppy on purpose. As a matter of fact, I can't honestly say that "we" got a puppy. As a matter of fact, I suspect that if I bring one more stray anything, my husband will divorce me. Just kidding. I hope.

It happened like this. Yossi took me to the condo one morning when the Husband was busy with other things. We did something there involving the delivery of or completion of something crucial, but left fairly early. I think we left the building at about 9:30 in the morning.

It had been cold the night before. The first kiss of Autumn chill was in the air. Our building is one of many on our street, but part of a complex of 5 buildings built by the same kablan. As we walked towards Yossi's taxi, which was parked against the curb in front of the building adjacent to ours, Yossi said, "Sarah, look!" pointing to a box.

Or so I thought. There, at the base of the outside staircase leading to the lobby, adjacent to the stone wall containing the pipes to the building, was a large, brown box. But Yossi wasn't pointing at the box. He was pointing at what looked like a rag behind the box. He reached over, pulled the box away from the wall, and I could see what his sharper eyes had already discerned: this rag had feet, a nose and a small head.

It was a puppy. A very young puppy at that. I bent down and touched her, and she breathed, but didn't do much more. I picked her up and asked Yossi to drive me to the vet. He took me to the SPCA clinic in Talpiot. For the duration of the trip, the puppy simply huddled in my lap, burying her nose in my armpit. She didn't even whimper.

The vet checked her out and provided deworming medication for free "because she's a street dog," he explained. He pronounced her seven weeks old, and other than being starving, dehydrated and frightened, she was healthy...except for the parasites. She was filthy: ticks and fleas were seemingly renting space on every portion of her body. Because she is a puppy, the usual anti-parasite medications couldn't be applied, but the vet washed her down with a liquid-on-gauze which he promised wouldn't hurt her. I asked what kind of dog she was, seeing that she had small paws. "She's probably a Jack Russell Terrier or some mix with a lot of Jack Russell in her," he told me. "She won't get a whole lot bigger."

Then he startled me with the next question: "Are you keeping her?"

I hadn't thought about it. Picking her up and taking her to the vet was simply instinct. I couldn't leave her lying on a road, behind a box, in a construction site where very large tractors and delivery vehicles were constantly pulling up on the sidewalk in order to unload their contents. She was a candidate for instant road-kill on that stretch of sidewalk, if she didn't freeze to death that night.

"Of course," I said. [What are you DOING?!!] my brain sputtered, trying to override my tongue. Too late. She was bundled into the car, and I thought I'd better call The Husband to prepare him.

He was NOT pleased. To say the least.

On the other hand, once he got it all out of his system, I told him that I would take the puppy back to the shelter, and I'm sure they would find a home for her. He declined. Later, the Boy's tutor gave us the phone number of his good friend who, in her volunteer capacity, spent her spare time placing orphaned street dogs and cats in suitable homes. The tutor called her, and she told him to give us her home telephone number and call her at 8:00 pm that night.

Eight o'clock rolled around, and as I was searching for her phone number, the Husband said, "You don't need to do that."


It's too late, he explained. The puppy was curled up asleep at his side.

The Husband is a softie. It's one of the reasons I love him. We sat outside that afternoon, grooming her, picking off the hordes of ticks and fleas from her bedraggled fur.

Still, I brought her home, so I have some responsibilities. Puppies are like babies -- they have very small bladders. Unlike babies, they don't wear diapers. We've trained her to kennel at night, but the first week she cried every morning at 4:00 am to go out. I got up and let her out. Having an older dog as a role model has been invaluable. Whatever the Big Girl does, the puppy wants to imitate. I tell Pax, "Go pee!" and she obediently runs to the yard and takes care of business. Never mind that it's 4:00 am. The puppy follows and copies.

But she's not a big dog yet. Unlike Pax, who can go for eight hours without a bathroom break, this one needs to go out (1) when she first wakes, (2) after the first bowl of food and water, and (3) about every 30 minutes thereafter.

She has made her mistakes. We rolled up all the rugs. This is one of the benefits of tile floors in Israel--they are very forgiving when it comes to house-breaking puppies.

As she's grown, and learned the ropes from Pax and from our admonishments, she has learned to go to the door when she needs the sherutim, and she has begun to sleep a bit later. Now, Nature doesn't call until 4:45 or 5:00 am.

Don't laugh, I'm grateful for the extra 45-60 minutes of sleep in the morning.

It does, however, put a crimp in blogging. I go from pet-sitter (4:45-6:00am) to mom-making-breakfast (6:00-7:00am) to the showers and dressing, and into the car to check out the day's progress at the condo at 8:00 am. By 2:00 pm, I feel like I'm ready for bed. Not much blogging is getting done as a result. Not only am I tired, my brain is mush by the afternoon.

Jack Russell terriers were bred to hunt foxes, badgers and other small prey that hide in holes. Therefore, we are attempting to train ours NOT to dig in the couch, as there are no foxes under the cushions. Also, digging up the herb garden is not going to produce a badger (although I have a very real fear it might disturb a snake--our neighbors found one in their garden). Learning to distinguish between pull-toys, old socks, chew toys and my hand is another lesson in progress.

The new condo will be an interesting change. There's more room by far, BUT no back yard. I'm going to be seeing a lot of the staircase, I suspect, since the nearest place to walk a dog is the park in our cul-de-sac.

I'm sure there are no foxes there, either. Maybe I should try to find a frisbee....

*photo courtesy of Jack Russell Terrier Club of America http://www.therealjackrussell.com/fun/galleryshow.php inasmuch as I haven't had time to take a picture...but this winsome but knowing look captures our pup perfectly.


Blogger Baila said...

Mazal Tov! Please post a picture as soon as you have time.

Monday, October 20, 2008 at 2:39:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger A Soldier's Mother said...

Yeah...we are notorious for picking up non-pets too. Two dogs, ten birds and just got an African Gray parrot...plus some neighborhood cats that we try not to feed as often as we feed them. I definitely get the - sometimes you can't say no - thing. If there's one phrase I no longer say in my house, it's "we are NOT getting any more pets." That's a sure-fire way of sending up with another animal in the house.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 8:05:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger rutimizrachi said...

Welcome back! You were missed. Enjoy the new baby. I give you a bracha that all of the humans should remain tick and flea free.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008 at 8:40:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

baila--thank you!

Paula--I've learned my lesson! As soon as I said "we are NOT getting any more pets" our two rescues appeared.

ruti--thank you for the welcome and the brachot. So far, with daily combing and aloe/peppermint oil, we seem to be parasite free. B'ezrat H"S, we will remain so!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 at 8:26:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger Batya said...

Good luck. Sorry I'm not a pet person.
How about calling her Kohelet for the Succot holiday?

Thursday, October 23, 2008 at 2:42:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger Baila said...

I wanted to name our dog "Mariano Rivera" after the amazing NY Yankee pitcher, but I was voted down and our dog's name is Ozzy.

Friday, October 24, 2008 at 12:18:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger Mo-ha-med said...

Ouch. I would never be able to take care of a pet. I can barely get myself to the sherutim at 4:00 am...

Friday, October 24, 2008 at 1:38:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

We're still debating the names...we're down to two, neither of which the other spouse likes.

Mohamed, it's wonderful practice for when you have children {grin}--babies get up very, very early also.

Saturday, October 25, 2008 at 6:59:00 PM GMT+2  

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