Profile in Courage

DSCN2729I’m just going to say it: Bambi has a strange little body. She’s built sort of like a swimmer. Her chest is the widest point. Her front legs are bowed and her feet are pigeon toed. She has a long neck and long back. Her feet are tiny.

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Her ears are quite expressive. When she’s alert, they stand up straight and tall. If she’s confused or suspicious, they go back. My favorite is when they go sideways. I have no idea what it means, but she resembles a donkey or Yoda, and it makes me laugh.

She is quite yogic. She stretches and stretches, usually ending with downward dog.

The Chippet does not like storms one bit. The Thundershirt helps (and I would like a full length one for myself) but she still will pace and fret. With our last storm, she approached Mr. Nobody for some soothing. Big step for the little one, to trust a man. She consistently shows more courage than many members of Congress.

We are surrounded by macho male dickheads that are constantly shooting or shooting off fireworks. This stresses her, but a little less these days. I have explained MMDs to her, apologized for them, and she seems a bit more accepting.

She has more good days than bad days now, I think. She has utterly conformed to the system whereby we go outside, she produces some kind of waste product, and gets rewarded. There have been no accidents for months. And, if I have somehow forgotten the schedule, she reminds me now.

Often when we go outside (and Bambi must have a human bodyguard), Buddy will stalk her. He’s about twice her size. She resembles a teeny deer, and he resembles (at least in his own mind) a tiger. He’ll get flat, his tail will twitch while Bambi is innocently sniffing something. Then he pounces. And Bambi just sidles out of the way. I don’t think Buddy has much concept of a dog this small.

There are two different happy dances. One is sort of just wild running in circles or figure eights, and the other is a series of twirls. She does the best twirls. I get to see these more than once a day. Sometimes, she twirls down the hallway when we get up in the morning because she’s so excited to get breakfast. And she loves bed time and will dance on the bed.

I still haven’t figured out all of the shades of meaning in her shivers. Some shivers are fear. Some are of excitement or anticipation. There is a cold shiver. I think she has a nightmare shiver.

She sleeps up against me. It varies from night to night exactly where she will curl up….sometimes it’s against my chest, or head or shoulders. I’m not certain what all her requirements are from night to night, but we’ve learned through experimentation that she doesn’t like being under the covers with me. She needs an escape hatch. Her flight response has been finely honed over the years. So I cover her lightly and trust that my body heat will keep her warm all night and usually it does.

She loves to sunbathe. She loves riding in the car. The best is to sunbathe while riding in the car. And she knows when I’m going out. Right now, the weather is cool enough that taking her along is a pleasure for me as well as her. But I know from last summer that soon enough, I’m going to have to trick her to get out of the house without her. I hate doing that, but I cannot quite justify leaving the car running with the air conditioning on while I grocery shop or whatever. Maybe I’ll get there yet. But the car lulls her, soothes her. It’s when she is most relaxed.

I marvel at this dog. That she can love me, mostly trust me, after all she has been through is amazing enough. But that she’s extending that to Mr. Nobody (who has been very patient and kind and gentle with her) is more than most could expect.

People can learn a lot from animals.

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