This has been one of the most difficult entries I've ever written. I don't mean because it's going to be all heavy and emotional and stuff...I'm talking just the process of writing. This may beat out both the coin operated machine I used in England and the damn French keyboard in Paris that I was paying about $2 a minute to use.
To understand why writing this entry has been so difficult, you have to go back to yesterday. Specifically dinner last night.
You see we have what I've come to call "the dinner game" around here. This will help you understand
This is a VERY badly drawn and not at all to scale look at our kitchen/family room, minus the furniture. The big O over by the door is where Sheila's food bowl goes. The Xs show where the bowls for the other three dogs go. In MY mind's eye, Polly gets fed in front of the stove, Dexter gets fed by the door to the laundry room, and Lizzie gets fed by the kitchen counter, at the opening into the larger area of the kitchen.
BUT, Lizzie has always had to follow me to Sheila's bowl and then stand there watching Sheila eat before she will touch her own food. Then she will growl if Sheila tries to take it. This has been going on for years. But now Dexter demands all three of the X bowls, Lizzie stands around looking helpless, Polly tries to sneak a bite out of one bowl, and Sheila, who wolfs her meal down (and is never challenged by anybody) stands at the door to the kitchen hoping there will be leftovers. It's like this for every meal. I finally started feeding Polly in the bathroom, hoping she could have her own food, whereupon Dexter gave up all the bowls in the other part of the house and just stood at the bathroom door barking.
OK, so last night I got lazy. Sheila decided not to come to dinner with the rest, so I filled all the bowls and did not, as I usually do, try to referee the craziness in the kitchen. Polly discovered that there was an untouched bowl of food over by the door that she could actually GET to. I saw her do this, but didn't worry because if Sheila can't get to her own bowl, she'll usually just eat out of someone else's. Except for last night. Last night she saw Polly, who has only just started being comfortable around here, and she pulled her Big Scary Dog routine, which means a lot of noise and full height, but no drawing of blood.
However, Polly, who is the biggest drama queen we've ever had, acted like Sheila had just pulled a knife on her. We've had puppies who went nutso when Sheila did Big Scary Dog, but Polly won the award--the highest screams, the most trembling, the longest display of terror. The only way I could calm her down was to put her in my lap and cover her with a blanket.
For the rest of the night, she would not stop shaking. When I went into the kitchen she needed to be with me, but she would only hide next to the cabinet.
Notice that there is actual food in the dish, but she's afraid to eat it!
When I went to have dinner, I put her in my chair and she just kept staring at me, while being as far away from the other dogs as she could be.
She did finally reach a truce with Dexter and they slept in my lap all night, but to add insult to injury this morning she couldn't eat at all because she was being spayed today. I had to take her to a cold, strange place, hand her to a stranger who would take her to another stranger, who would put her to sleep and while she was sleeping, cut out her innards, so that when she woke up she would be hurting. And since Polly whimpers at just about anything she was the biggest drama queen in the car coming back from the vet's.
I brought her home and put her in the cage just to keep her away from the others and Dexter will. not. stop. barking. The only way I could get Dexter to stop barking was to put him in my lap and let him crawl under a blanket.
But it's hard to type that way. We don't have wifi, so I can't write on my laptop and keep the dog under a blanket. Whenever I get up, he stands at the cage where Polly is and barks and barks and barks. Polly looks like she just wants to pull a pillow over her head and die.
I finally went and got myself a small bowl of the ice cream I made today (peanutbutter with roasted peanuts and chocolate chips) and left enough so that Dexter would have a bowl to lick. So far he hasn't started barking again, but I know it's only a matter of time.
I just hope that things start getting back to normal again tomorrow. This day has been very unpeasant--for both Polly and me!