The days of June have blended one into another. Finally some warm days to alternate with the rain we've been getting have come to our corner of the world. The beginning of summer, for us, is marked by the first of the Blues in the Park series and by the start-up date for the Farmer's Market both of which happened this week. Summer is here and we don't even have plans beyond attending these two weekly events, raising a good puppy and contracting to have a couple of rooms painted. I should plan something beyond the normal rhythms of summer but between the cost of gas and the cost of getting older I don't seem to have the desire to seek out any more fun under the summer sun. We'll probably throw in a couple of art shows, a small town fair or two and call it good enough.
The new puppy, Levi, sounds like a herd of buffalo thundering across the carpeting as I write this morning. He litters our house with a dozen stuffed toys plus chew sticks and three balls. Several times a day I pick them all up and put them in his toy box in the kitchen and after nap times he gets them all back out again. Even Don is getting more puppy related exercise. As he makes his way across the floor in his wheelchair he's learned how to kick and pick the toys out of his path. Annoying as that must be for someone in a wheelchair, the puppy has been worth the effort. Don and Levi have already become barking buddies, much to my displeasure. The puppy is a schnauzer, a breed given to barking too much if you don't nip it in the bud. But what are you going to do with a guy with very little language at his disposal who enjoys interacting with the dog in their little joyful bark-offs? You make a half-hearted attempt to discourage the barking but you know that neither dog nor man will listen. I bond with Levi through training, exercise and feeding. Barking like two wolves in the wild is their bonding thing.
So I work at training Don not to bark at Levi when he's in the middle of transferring in or out of his wheelchair for fear the dog will bounce on him and push him over. It seemed to be Levi's favorite time to start their barking ritual. It's likes he's saying, "Hey, you're on your feet anyway. Come play with me." We've worked so hard at getting Don's transfers strong, dependable and independent again. Since last fall, really, and now that we've been going to the YMCA and working out, his transfers have finally become all three of those things and if not for the puppy I wouldn't STILL be on stand-by duty during transfer times. Life is full of ironies, isn't it? ©