Be It Ever So Humble, There's No Place Like Grammy's

My astrological sign is Cancer. One major characteristic of Cancers is that we are homebodies. It’s not easy to pry us out of our homes for any significant length of time. For me, the best part of traveling is coming back home.  Recently, I had to go on a trip for work. I went to California for a trade show. Given the things that have been happening with the Girly Girl lately, I was torn about leaving them and flying across the country. Luckily, we have Grammy to take care of my babies while I am away. Blue and Girly Girl absolutely adore Grammy. Grammy feels mutually about Girly Girl and with Blue, well, I think he may be growing on her. Let’s just say the jury is still out. It all stems from the very first time that Blue had a sleep-over at Grammy’s house. He apparently growled at Grammy when she went near him. This is very out of character for Blue. He hasn’t ever done this to me, or in my presence. He’s known in the greyhound circles as a love bug. He’s never done it to Grammy again either. But he’s a big boy and it unnerved Grammy a bit. So she’s stand-offish when it comes Blue.

Nonetheless Grammy has put aside her initial impressions of the big white stink bug and my babies get to stay with her instead of in a crate in a kennel. They have people caring for them who love them and with whom they are comfortable. They have a lovely fenced in back yard and their two greyhound cousins to hang out and run with. Knowing that they would have that, I could go away feeling as good as it was possible to feel about going away from my four-legged children. It wasn’t long after I left that the first email from Grammy arrived…

“Well, they settled in with not a whine it seems (other than the standard) and I have to tell you that GG is eating like a sailor. This morning we had a run-in the boys and I. Blue went for Fox’s food and took it away and wouldn’t listen to me so I had to physically lift him up and out of the room away from Fox’s food. Then when I fed Crandall he wolfed it down so when I put GG’s and Blue’s down Crandall went in for GG’s and for the first time I swatted him..he jumped a foot. No one was listening to me so I began bellowing and oh my they listened then. Guess GG thought better eat, the woman’s crazy because she began to wolf down everything, applesauce, yogurt, dog food as if she hadn’t been fed in years. Every other dog went running so I had to call Blue back to eat his. Had to give Fox more because Blue got half of it down before I could get him out.”

I let Grammy know that while Girly Girl was immune to yelling (she had figured out I was all bluster years ago and just stands there looking at me as if to say, “are you all done now?”), Blue takes any yelling personally and runs for his crate. I could be yelling at the TV and if I have raised my voice to much, Blue heads for the crate. If I stub my toe or bang a body part and I’m just yelling Ow! Ow! Ow! There goes Blue. So Blue should be easily reprimanded. I was surprised to receive the next email:

“Blue is not responding to me the same way he does to you. He stands there and looks at me as if saying…’that’s all you got?’ [At] 1 a.m. Charlie comes to bed but first lets them out one more time. Suddenly I am rudely awakened by this 500 lb animal (felt like it at least) jumping on the bed…I look up and he is standing over me…opens his mouth and gives me a few dragon breath licks. Lays down right between Charlie and I with his head on the pillows. No moving him…it’s not mama’s bed, he’s allowed…so we let him. Not bad sleeping with him except eventually he ran a few races on my back.”

I suggested that Grammy try pushing Blue off the bed or using a squirt bottle of water on him. He can be stubborn about the bed because I have spoiled him by getting him his own bed whenever we stay in a hotel. But he isn’t allowed on the bed at home. So he maximizes his bed usage whenever we are in a hotel (or apparently, what he deems ‘away from home’). That resulted in the next e-missive:

“OK, yelling doesn’t work, pushing doesn’t work, pulling doesn’t work…any other ideas? He lays on my pillows and won’t get down, even with Charlie and I both pulling and yelling and pushing (not all at the same time), he just looks at us and digs in his feet. If we do accomplish any movement he readjusts himself and lays back down. We finally lifted him off the bed and I gave Charlie a water bottle to use on him. I wouldn’t mind the bed but he likes to put his ass on my pillows and considering his inability to miss his own body when he urinates I am not big on having it on my pillow… I doubt the water thing will work though, he stood at the counter with his nose in my business while I was trying to fix lunch for work and I took some water and flicked it at him…he just blinked and looked at me. Where did you leave the sensitive Blue?”

What can I say; he does pee all over his legs. It’s true. I carry baby wipes in the car, in my purse and they are by the door at home to clean his feet and legs after each potty session. So as a last resort I suggested that Grammy give him a light swat since it would be a novel occurrence, it wouldn’t hurt him but would surprise him and might even get his attention. Now before I get angry letters from animal lovers everywhere, I’m not advocating violence against my four legged child. I’m talking just a little tap to get his attention. The next day the following email arrived:

“OK the excitement and confusion of the first night has ended and things are working themselves out. Crandall has established with Blue that he will not take any sh** from him and Blue has established with Crandall that he could care less. Last night Blue behaved himself until at 2 a.m. he was at the bed crying so I let him up but that was a major step since he never asked before, just jumped, so he has recognized that this isn’t a hotel bed but belongs to the two alphas in the house. GG went to sleep with me on the bed and Blue woke up with me.”

Everything would have ended in Grammy’s house bliss had I been able to get home when I was supposed to but as it turned out I was a victim of March storms that tied up the nation’s air traffic for days. I was delayed returning home for more than 24 hours. During that time, I get the next email:

“…You have got to do some training with Blue darlin’, he is impossible to move. Voice commands, growls, clawed hand, pulls, pushes, yelling and even one little smack to the butt would not move him and even when he did move he jumped right back up on the bed. All night long we had a battle royale. I would push him off with my feet and he would come back around and jump back up, and as if to punish me would stand over me breathing in my face. GG always asks permission, he seems to feel it is his right.”

After a night in JFK, delays, missed connections, and the last available seat on an airplane bound for Portland Maine for the next two days, I was finally on the runway waiting in a long line to take off. I sent Grammy one last email to let her know I was, barring divine intervention, going to make it home at last. Grammy’s final email arrived before we made it to taxi for take-off:

“Ohhh your kids are going to be so excited!! Listen there is NO WAY that Blue is not an alpha dog. The only difference is that either he is brilliant or totally retarded. He goes for their food, Crandall snarls and snaps and he ignores them and eats it anyway. He wants our bed and no matter what we do he gets on and stays. He wants to lay down, he lays on top of whomever is there. Fox was all over him with snarling and yet he just laid down on top of Fox and wouldn’t move so Fox gave up and let him have it and guess where he was this morning? Inside Crandall’s crate…the inner sanctum that even Fox dares not enter. Crandall was laying outside on the floor giving me the skunk eye. Submissive? Rigghttt.”

Needless to say, Grammy was happy to see the backside of the four-legged grandkids when I came to pick them up. They were very excited to see mumma and that made me feel about as good as it is possible to feel and still be legal. As a Cancer, I’ve always loved coming home after a trip but now that Girly Girl and Blue are waiting for me when I get there, I wonder why I left at all. As for Blue, I think maybe Grammy was stretching it a bit. Blue behaves just fine for me. If I ask him to get off the bed, he does. If I ask him to step away from his food bowl, he does. I’m sure she’ll say it is all true but then, she’s a writer and leave it to a writer to make a big deal out of such a small event.