I am so very grouchy today. I have been overdoing on every level: physical, cognitive, emotional, and I’m paying the price.
I’m on day two of a migraine I can’t seem to shake, day and night, which is not doing wonders for my sleep. Barnum has hair in his ears from the haircut we gave him yesterday, and I have been trying to decide whether (and what) to use as a non-commercial ear flush, since all the commercial ones are scented. He hates having anything in his ears, so that will be fun, if I decide to do it.
I’m also having writer’s block — which I never have — on a story that I’ve been given an extension on by the editor. So, I really feel indebted to her that I have to finish it. Yet, it is floundering, and I fear that whatever I send her will not even be something she can use. And I’m still struggling to finish my post for the ADBC.
Of course, there’s also the never-ending pchair saga. I haven’t made progress on my letter of demand because my brain has been too occupied with other things, or I’ve been too sick (from overdoing). Meanwhile, Betsy and I have been making Herculean efforts to get my old Jet running again, and that’s been a bumpy ride, which has not made for happiness on the home-front, either.
Still, there is progress there, at least.A very nice guy from my town came over today to help me figure out why we can’t get the Jet working, even though we had the batteries installed correctly, and they are new. It took a lot of detective work, but we have figured out there is a wiring issue with one of the wheel motors. It’s not safe to use yet, since it could die at any moment, but at least now I can charge it and use it around the house to keep the batteries in shape.
Barnum was a complete flake when my neighbor was here working on the chair with me: getting in the way, stealing treats, totally couldn’t figure out how to do “go to mat,” and then when he did, couldn’t maintain it. His zen was abysmal, particularly in the realm of crotch sniffing — which he only does with strange men, which makes it hard to practice! — and is not an appealing habit for a service dog! Augh! There are always 8 million additional skills he needs “work” on!
Lest I go into a complete spiral of despair and frustration, let me remind myself of skills he really knows and is reliable on:
- Shutting doors. (He actually went and shut a closet door while my neighbor was here, and he’s only ever had one session on that door before, of only two or three repetitions. I was impressed.)
- Shutting drawers.
- Shutting cabinets.
- Brace. I had to get up and down from the floor several times, and he really is rock-solid on this one. It really helps. I have to start calling him over more for help with that when I just need a moment of balance at other times, too.
That’s it! AUGH! He still does not even have sit and down under stimulus control! He confuses them, gets nervous, cues off of environmental or body cues, etc.
So, here’s a new problem: Barnum’s favorite ball is dead. It was the only toy he would play with anymore, so this is a problem. Play is important.
Many years ago, Deb, my neighbor, gave Jersey and Gadget each a ball for Hanukkah. Jersey never had any interest in hers. Gadget wasn’t interested in his except for water retrieve, which became very useful as part of him helping me to swim.
We had a blue one and a green one. The blue one died eventually (a Lab chomped it to death during a play date), but the green one was Barnum’s most, most, most favorite toy. It’s a good size for his mouth (bigger than a tennis ball, about the size of a large naval orange or a small grapefruit), and soft enough to squeeze but still tough enough to have lasted. Most importantly, it squeals incredibly loudly. Or, it used to. That’s what he loved so much about it. It had a very loud, high- and multi-pitched, piercing squeal. If you didn’t know what it was when you first heard it, you might be concerned that a small animal or baby was being killed, but Barnum’s Mr. Prey drive, so he loved that.
This was not an ordinary squeaker, at all. The squeaker was part of the ball, part of the construction, and “squeaker” is really a misnomer. It was a squealer.
Another important factor was that even when these balls got tooth holes in them, they still squeaked (although, if you used them at the beach, they became waterlogged). Apparently, however, they are not made to withstand being accidentally run over by a powerchair.
Now, Barnum will run and pick the ball up, attempt to squeak it, and then drop it in disappointment. It’s a very sad sight to behold.
Thus, I am asking you, my internet dog community: Have You Seen This Ball?
I haven’t seen them in any dog catalog I have. I’m really hoping I can replace it. If I can find several, I will buy them all!
Please, if you see this ball anywhere — online, in a catalog, at a pet supply store, at a garage sale — buy it and send it to me! I will reimburse you! Or tell me about it so I can buy it.
Just imagine Barnum quoting Shalom Aleichem, “So, if you had a bad week, why should I suffer?” Poor dog wants his ball.
– Sharon (fully trained grouch), Gadget (sorely missed on days like these), and Barnum, SDiT and bored pup