Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sunday Stroke Survival: I've Got a Herbie!

While most normal folks out there have a regular vacuum cleaner to clean messy floors, I ain't got one of those new fangled devices. I got a Herbie. He doesn't need batteries or even electricity.

Herbie is our pet dog. He takes care the house while Nnyus is our indoor/outdoor dog. Herbie is also the last remaining male of our household pets. He  works as well as any vacuum cleaner on the market for picking up messy spills.

Herbie is a terrier mutt. Nearest I can tell, he's a mixture of black and gold border terrier, a Yorkshire terrier, and something else. He's got the attitude like most terriers. Terriers are either timid or they think they are a big dog in disguise. They are either hyper or laid back. They will shy away from confrontation or will be argumentative. Herbie has a big dog mentality, hyperactive where food is involved but laid back the rest of the time, and confrontational. They also tend to have skin issues. He's no exception.

Waiting for me to drop something
It's hilarious to watch him get up in the face of the neighbor's two Rottweilers. He'll jump and nip at them. He knows no fear. I'll bet just one of these dogs could snap him in half with their massive jaws, but Herbie won't back down. They usually head up the driveway for home with no incident. I imagine they are laughing at the little dog as they go. Herbie will trot proudly up on the porch because he protected his domain and his ladies.

I came onto the scene two years ago and turn this little dog's world upside down. Mel inherited this dog upon her mother's passing. As a dog trainer, she trained him the regular dog commands. He's actually a smart dog. She couldn't break his argumentative behavior. He would argue (growls, barks, and gruffles) about any command he didn't want to do before he complied. Then here comes Jo, who's owned and trained terriers. Herbie was shocked that I spoke terrier. I understood him. I knew that killing them with praise was better than shouting. To Mel's surprise I could pet him without him growling at me. He growls or gruffles even if he likes something. Or at least, he did until I arrived here.

Waiting for me to get home
He's become my constant companion over the past two years. In a previous post, I mentioned some of his antics. He loves that I cook and preserve food stuff. If I'm in the kitchen, Herbie is right there with me. He sees me take out my Ulu and cutting board, and he waits. Something always falls when I'm cutting up food. It doesn't matter what, he's game for sucking up the mess no matter how small. Eggs, sugar, flour, vegetables, fruits, and meats are his favorite. Did I leave anything out? I haven't found one food he won't eat. Maybe onions, he will play with it a bit before eating it. Most dogs don't eat kimchi because the way I make it, it's super spicy. He loves it. He'll gobble it down without a moments hesitation. Of course within a few moments he's dashing to the water bowl, but soon enough he's back begging for more.

still waiting
This morning was a prime example of why I have a Herbie instead of a Hoover. I fed the dogs, and then fixed myself a bowl of cereal. As I was making my way to the breakfast table, my affected foot caught on an electrical cord. I lost my balance and hit the floor. My bowl of cereal went flying. It landed on the carpet so it didn't break the bowl, but cereal and milk formed a 5' area of mess. Herbie was at my side in an instant. He'd finished his breakfast and came to check on me on the floor. "Get it, Herbie." And sure enough, after five minutes there wasn't a speck of cereal or milk on the floor. Meanwhile, I spent that time getting up off the floor and poured myself another bowl of cereal. That little dog's stomach was so full between his breakfast and my first one that he didn't even venture towards Nnyus' bowl. She always leaves a couple of pieces of dry dog food in her bowl for him.

Two weeks after his spring shave
After a whirlwind trip around the property, he is lying beside me as I type this. Napping but ever vigilant for me to make any movement of getting up. If I swing my feet around, he'll move out of the way. His "me first attitude" has been dampened by me because I could be going anywhere. He'll wait until he knows the direction I'm going and speed dashes four steps ahead and waits for me to catch up before he does it again. There are times I tell him where I'm going and he'll do the hurry-up-and-wait or he'll get behind me and nip at the heels of my unaffected foot to urge me faster.

He divides his time fairly evenly between Mel and myself during the day. When he wants to race and rough house, he's with Mel. When he wants loving or companionship, he's with me.

Herbie has the bad side of terrier skin. He will periodically break our in sores or chew a sore spot. We shave him almost bald each spring and late summer. While he had a nasty habit of nipping Mel's hands while she did this, he had yet to do this to me. All bets are off when clipping his nails though, he hates for anyone to touch his paws. I mixed up some essential oils just for him. Now I just have to show him the bottle while I'm shaking it. "You want some?" He'll gruffle but come towards me with his tail wagging. He'll practically rub my leg like a cat in anticipation of the application. He'll growl and complain when I rub it on him, but his tail will still be wagging. Between the essential oil synergy and the jojoba oil base, his skin issues are no more. I mix this up in an 8 oz bottle and apply it a couple times a day.

Now, it's off to the garden. "Come on, puppy. Let's go!"
He looks up at me sleepily and gives a soft growl as he moves out of my way. Then, he's up and racing me to the door.

Nothing is impossible.

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