Zeke’s latest experiences off the leash

Faithful readers know how little I can trust Zeke off the leash. We keep thinking maybe if we try enough times, he’ll learn. So last Wednesday I gave it another try.

I have been working to locate exactly where our new house should go, and to figure out where to put the driveway. On Wednesday I loaded Zeke and Lucy into our side-by-side four-wheeler (it’s a Kawasaki Mule), and rode the few hundred feet to our new lot. It’s literally within sight of our current mailbox, but I take the Mule because I can’t carry a chainsaw, handsaw, axe, loppers, 300-foot tape measure and the rest on foot. As soon as we got to the center of the property, Lucy headed for home. She’s not the pioneer type.

I put a 12-foot leash on Zeke, figuring that if he wandered off, he would get tangled in the woods and couldn’t get far. I thought I could find him when he started barking for help. That worked for a while, but eventually he drifted off uphill into the woods. I didn’t worry much at first, since I really thought he couldn’t get far. After all, I had had to untangle him several times as we walked around. But he was gone, and he didn’t come when I called.

About an hour later I heard Leah calling from the street. We had spoken on the phone and I had told her that Zeke was loose, so she was watching for him on the way back from the dentist. She finally saw him lying in the woods near the front of our property. He limped when he came to her. I came down to the car and we found that he had nearly torn off his right dewclaw. Leah took him home and I packed up and followed.

As soon as I got home I phoned the vet, and they told me to bring him in right away. It was supper time for the dogs, so I offered him an animal cracker. He refused, which I attributed to pain. It turned out it was probably something else all together. It was almost exactly a year ago that Zeke got loose and gorged on something that looked like stew beef when he threw it up. This was a repeat.

Our vet is on the other side of town, about a half hour away. Zeke had started whimpering by the time I got him in the car, so his dewclaw must have been hurting. It certainly looked painful. The vet removed the nail but saved the nail bed; it should grow back. They had to sedate him to do it, so he was pretty groggy on the way back home. When I got him home, I found a double handful of meat that he had vomited up in the back seat. Fortunately he was lying on a canvas tarp, which caught all of it.

He ate a couple of dog biscuits and everything seemed OK. I took the dogs out at bedtime and nothing seemed amiss. About an hour after we went to bed, the sound of Zeke’s claws on the dining room tile woke us up. I put on some clothes and took him out. I was so sleepy I don’t even remember whether he did anything. We went back to sleep, and he woke us up again around 6, which is earlier than us old, retired people get up. I took him out again, and he relieved himself, I think. Before I could get back in bed, Zeke started making the “urk” that signifies that a dog is getting ready to vomit. He was standing in the middle of the bedroom carpet. I grabbed him and tossed him into the dining room, where he promptly threw up way more than another double handful of meat.

This was one of the worst messes I have ever seen, or smelled. I told Leah that if he had done it in the bedroom, we would have had to replace the carpet. The first time this happened I thought the meat he threw up looked too much like grocery store beef to be a wild animal that he had found or killed. But now I have to conclude that that’s exactly what it was. I have seen no sign of whatever it was.

Here’s the bottom line: Zeke’s dewclaw is not giving him any problems, he’s almost over whatever he ate, and he’s never going to wander free in the woods again.

Zeke is a gentle, affectionate, fairly obedient dog about 95 percent of the time, but I think that somewhere down inside, he has a streak of the wild, of the wolf. I probably wouldn’t have been surprised to find that out about a Doberman pinscher or maybe a German shepherd, but Zeke looks too goofy to have a wolf hidden inside. I mean, look at that face.

innocent zekeIs that the face of a relentless predator?

I couldn’t go back to sleep again after cleaning up Zeke’s mess, but at least I did get to see this from the deck.



Friday Felines

Chloe is the only cat that faces Smokey down when he tries to bully her. Here she is on the deck. We had just let her out and Smokey was acting all innocent. Chloe knew better.

chloe faces smokey

I wish I had picture of her standing him down. It’s really good.

Hanging on

The persimmon tree has lost all its leaves, and the hickories have lost most of theirs. However, they are still hanging on to some of this fall’s fruit.

persimmons and hickory nuts

The possums have been working on the persimmons, but the last ones are just too high in the tree to reach, and the limbs are apparently too thick to easily chew through. These persimmons will almost certainly last into next year.

Studied indifference

Back before my mother died, her little dog Lucy almost always found a place on Mother’s furniture if not on her lap. Since we inherited Lucy we haven’t let her on our sofa much, but occasionally Leah lets her up. She likes to bury her head under a pillow like this:

lucy hides her head

Smokey the cat also likes to jump up on the sofa between Leah and me. He does a little nesting, usually testing how soft my leg is, and then settles in lying as close as he can to me. Odd, since Leah is the cat person and I’m the dog person. I do usually give him an ear massage, and he turns his purr machine up to 11.

Smokey and the rest of our cats get along reasonably well with the dogs if their paths happen to cross, but they usually retreat pretty quickly when the dogs get too nosy. The other night Smokey and Lucy found a way for both of them to get their full sofa time.

lucy and smokey 2They ignored each other.


Friday Felines

Updated: This is the update on the kitty in the window…His name is Cormac Mckitty (after the author Cormac McCarthy).  The owner got him in 2009 to help control mice in the bookstore.

We were walking down Broad Street Monday night to take a picture of the Forrest Hotel for Mark’s post on the Forrest Barber Shop when we saw a family with a little girl coming towards us. The little girl pointed at a closed store and said something about seeing a kitty cat. We thought it was a picture or figurine. When we got to the store we looked but didn’t see anything. Then we saw this.

cat in the window

The cat was in the floor at first but then jumped up into the window display. We had to shoot through the glass and the cat wouldn’t pose for us, so it’s not a great picture. The cat turned around and walked away from us.

bookstore cat

This is the display at Paradise Lost Books, which sells used books.

The cat jumped down and disappeared into the store, so we couldn’t get any more pictures. We have emailed the store to see if we can get the story on the cat in the bookstore.