Nov 4, 2008

It's Tuesday . . .

and an important one at that! Hope you are all out VOTING! I haven't yet, but will be on my way soon. I can't remember a more exciting election, can you? I do remember being downright anxious about the Carter/Ford race even though I was a young child. I found it difficult to sleep and couldn't wait to wake up and see who won. It was the same kind of feeling I used to get hoping to wake up and look out the window to find enough snow on the ground for a day off from school. The kind of anticipation that makes you wake right up, bright eyed and bushy tailed as my folks would say. Not as good as Christmas morning anticipation, but close. I think that Carter/Ford election was the first time I realized what was going on, what the process was, what it all meant sort of, you know?

No irony or sarcasm intended, but Tuesday is trash day too. This is a day I dread each week. We moved to this house, my husband's childhood home, just a couple of months ago. It is a unique property in that there is a residential street in front of and in back of the house. We are on an island of sorts. Very convenient at times as we have access to the house and yard from both sides, but most hated by our dog, Scout. Our last house, where Scout lived with us for his first 3 years, had a very private and quiet back yard, far from the street in front of the house and just as far from the house that sat behind and far below ours. Scout was quite happy and relaxed in that yard. Scout is not happy and relaxed here. He seems to be on an obsessive and never-ending mission to bark away anything that might pass behind the house: innocent walkers-by, neighbors and gardeners working in yards on the other side of the street, squirrels on the power lines just above the curb, if it moves he barks and chases. He particularly seems to dislike any kind of delivery transportation. Mail, UPS, and Federal Express trucks especially prompt wild and noisy jaunts up and down the fence row, which he cannot see over but can see through with one eye at a time between the slats, over and over and over. Trash trucks scare him and he prefers to run into the house and bark from here (here being my studio space). These trucks cause shaking and crying as well. And, of course, on trash day, trucks are passing several times a day, servicing one side of the street, turning around and picking up from the other side. In between the three different pick-ups (trash, recycle, and green waste) are the recycling divers that come and dig through your trash before the recycle truck gets here. So, Tuesdays now make me jumpy too.

My husband told me about a short story by Kurt Vonnegut called Harrison Bergeron in which the main character among many other tortures has to wear earphones that play loud, irritating, and shrill noises at random intervals so that he cannot concentrate and therefore stifle his extreme intelligence, make him more average. He also has to wear weights to keep him imbalanced since he is such a great athlete and dancer, and a mask to hide his above average good looks. I don't need the weights - I have no grace or balance and a mask might help my appearance a great deal. Scout is my concentration breaker, all day, every day, especially Tuedays. I've decided Tuesdays are not a good day to make art and I'm wondering if this post even makes sense as I have gotten up and yelled at or wrangled in barking Scout at least 4 times since starting it. Ooop, there he goes again. Do they make straight jackets and little padded rooms for dogs? Course he would still be able to bark, but the padding might muffle it. I've tried tranquilizers - for him, not me, they don't work. He just barks in his sleep. I think I'll just get out of the house and enjoy the quiet of traffic and parking and waiting in line to vote.

Happy Election Day!


Becky Brown said...

Ugh. I know all about the high-maintenance, high-stress canines. Two things that have been helpful for me:

1. There's an accupuncture point at the very top of the dog's head, smack dab in the middle. Press there and make a tripod with your hand with other fingers behind each ear - this makes my dachshund melt.

2. Rescue Remedy - made for humans and pets. A few drops on the food and calm times are ahead.

Sorry for the frustrating day. All art is worthwhile art, even if were crazed during its creation!

Tumble Fish Studio said...

I would rather do the Spock (how do you spell that?) thing and knock him out awhile. I tried a natural doggy tranquilizer and it didn't phase him. I'll look for the drops you suggest. Thank you Cha Cha.

He literally sits an waits looking for something, anything, to bark at. It drives me bonkers but life could be worse. He tires out about 7 pm and then is quiet for the night, thank goodness.

Tace said...

I was gonna joke about Canine therapy and then...that probably exists? So it suddenly seemed less funny.
Sorry your poor pooch is freaked out by the garbage trucks, at least none will ever sneak up on you.
Maybe you could de-sensitize him to the noise. Our coffee grinder freaked the heck out of our cats when ever I'd use it so I started talking in sweet coochie coo tones to the cats while I had it running. Sometimes even popping over for a pet so that they didn't associate the noise as bad. They seem better, and I get coffee as a reward for being a good cat mama.
We have tried the rescue remedy for other cat stress moments, I can't tell for sure if it worked. I think I'd have to try it more but that means the cats would have to be stressed which they're not so I can't play cat mind therapy scientist. If the Rescue Remedy works for your Scout's truck trauma I'd be interested to know.

Tumble Fish Studio said...

Miss Tace, thank you, also, for your great advice. I have tried soothing and, more importantly, distraction much to my husband's displeasure. He is an avid Dog Whisperer watcher person and feels you should not reward a pet for behavior that is not suitable. If he is home, he puts Scout on a leash and makes him go out to the curb and face his fears. So, basically, not being as cruel as my husband, at first I felt bad for Scout and tried to pet and sooth and comfort him. I am now at the point that I am wondering if it is cruel and unusual animal treatment to give him several beers every Tuesday morning - they always make me happy and carefree. On second thought, maybe a blindfold and earmuffs would help him help me and avoid any controversial pet care guidelines.