Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Mouse And The Monster

I've been having a mouse problem in my home lately. I discovered it one evening when I noticed Monster sitting kind of oddly, staring into a corner of the living room, seemingly doing nothing. So I went over to see if he'd finally gone round the bend completely, and as I approach I see a small dark shadow scuttle off along the wall, with a little fffffrrrrrrttt pitter-patter of horrible little paws... A mouse! And it was under my couch! Monster seemed mildly concerned that his new little friend had run off, but soon forgot about it - while I was sitting on a chair with my feet up, all lamps on, more or less waiting for dawn so I could manage to start cleaning!

I don't get it... What's the problem?

About an hour later, the little horror comes back out from under the couch and races back toward the corner where Monster first discovered it. Monster gets up (alerted by my gasp for air) and follows it, startling it and making it stop halfway. At this point I'm half horrified at the thought of a mouse slaughter in my living room, and half delighted - yay, Monster's prey drive finally turns out to be useful for something! But no. Once he'd "caught" it, he just sat down about a foot away and started staring at it again... Eventually I get up and try to figure something to catch the thing in, but when I move the mouse finds its legs again and scuttles off. Whereupon Monster turns to me with this reproachful look, like "Look what you did!"

Well, seriously...

Next day I went out and bought mouse traps, baited them with everything (cat food, smoked turkey, cheese, chocolate, apple, sunflower seeds, raisins, peanut butter, and some sort of synthetic bait goop), and put them down in every room, five of them in the living room, and put some in the basement too. And the mice? Ignored them completely. A couple of days later another mouse (or the same one?) scuttled through the living room again and back under the couch - aaaaauuugh! On its way it must have passed about seven different traps, depending on where it got in, and none of them even tempted it.

But! Today, as I'm checking on the oven, I hear some rustling from under the sink... I quickly yank open the door, terrified - with no idea of what I'm going to do if there really is a mouse there! At first I don't see one, but as I'm standing there looking, the rustling starts up again, and I can pinpoint it to an empty pot scrubber bag that's fallen down between two containers. In it: The Mouse! The rustling is coming from it trying to get back up the slippery plastic, and not quite making it. I stand there staring at it for a while, wondering what the heck I'm supposed to do, but eventually I realize I have to get it out of there - I can hardly leave it to starve to death under my sink, and I certainly don't want it to manage to get free eventually! So, displaying great bravery (anyone claiming it took me about five minutes, with me yanking my hand back every time the mouse moved, would be lying - lying, I tell you), I reach in and carefully pinch the plastic closed and then lift the thing out. But then what? I can't kill it - using traps is frankly almost too much for me, if it wasn't for the hygiene issue I could never have managed even that - but I also can't let it go. As I'm standing there Monster comes over, curious about what I'm doing and why I'm holding something out as far away from me as I can. He looks at the mouse through the clear plastic and goes to sniff it, making the mouse rustle around again - and Monster panics, racing away from the scary thing, body low and claws scrabbling to find traction on the floor!

What?!? You should have seen the teeth on that thing!

Monster's fear managed to breathe some courage into me, so I maneuver myself into shoes and a jacket - still carefully holding the bag closed - and drive about a mile off to set the mouse free. Terrified the whole time that I'd manage to drop it and it would get loose in my car! But all goes well, and the mouse is now - hopefully - far, far away. I'm aware you shouldn't release them, as they supposedly just return, but this one will have to cross a couple of roads and (more importantly) pass about 15 cats to get to my house. Hopefully we're safe! But before I left for my heroic quest, I managed to document the event. So, here's the scary, scary beast:


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Monster Vs The Bike

I haven't managed to make any daily Sunshine/Cloud posts lately, since whatever I try to write about winds up a 30 page essay on whether or not it means something in regards to the pain meds - he did this, it must mean that, only no, actually, it must mean the complete opposite, except now that I think about it it's got no meaning whatsoever, only... It gets quite repetitive, dull and circular so the backspace button's been getting quite a bit of exercise!

But I got a new (well... sort of new) camera the other day, and I thought I'd delight you all with a horrible attempt at a Monster video - made even worse by my bungling of the editing. This is Monster encountering a bike on our walk, and a view of what he looks like when he's being a good boy. Enjoy!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Today's... Something

I'm putting Monster on painkillers. I can't keep worrying about whether or not he's in pain and I can't put him through a traumatic vet check for no better reason than "maybe"... So, now he'll be on pain meds as a diagnostic tool: if his behavior is affected he's most likely in pain (and needs to be checked out thoroughly), if nothing changes he's most likely physically fine (and I'll hopefully be able to let go of any nagging worries). So far:


The medicine isn't supposed to be a sedative, not even as a possible side effect, but Monster is sleeeeepy... Most likely it's pure coincidence, we just started the meds after all, but I'm frantically over analyzing everything right now. I don't even know which result I'm hoping for, so I'm all over the place. Hopefully I'll calm down and at least sort of try to be a little bit rational in my evaluation soon... But it's hard!

Calm down... Here, come share my blankie... Zzzzzzz...

Missing People (non-English)

This is just related to local news, nothing Monstery...

Vilken lättnad att den saknade flickan blev hittad inatt! Jag vill bara uttrycka min uppskattning för Missing People, än en gång gör de en fantastisk insats och lyckas den här gången till och med hitta kidnapparen! Annas familj är säkert oerhört lättade att ha fått tillbaka henne (vad hon än varit med om), något som kanske inte hänt utan Missing Peoples insats. Jag kan inte hjälpa att jag önskar att den organisationen funnits längre, kanske hade vi åtminstone fått veta vad som hänt min kusin om vi kunnat be dem om hjälp då, men varje framgång de når idag är ändå fantastiskt glädjande. Bra jobbat!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Today's Cloud

I bought a new phone today, after weeks without one (remember, I dropped my phone and stepped on it back when I was feverish and severely unlucky). Yay, great! Except I turned my back, heard a crunching sound, turned around, aaaannndd... Monster was eating my brand new phone!

What? What's yours is mine, right? Plus, I was just getting it for you! And, err, right, checking that it was safe!
(It totally wasn't by the way. Do we have any dental floss?)

Woohoo. More expenses. But who needs a phone anyway, right?

Today's Sunshine

Monster and I had a breakthrough with heeling today! For the first time while out on a walk I managed to interest him in cooperating with me and training rather than sniffing, watching, and listening (not to mention reacting) to everything around us. We worked on the heel position, with alternated pace, sudden turns, diagonals, stops, starts, running, slooooooow walking, and even halts and sits (while I move away), for about 10 minutes! Out in the real world! I'm sure your dogs are all much more impressive (Don't listen to that, Monster, I'm just lying to make them feel better!)
You'd better be...

but for Monster and me this is really great. I honestly think it's the best heeling training we've managed ever, even at home. He was 100% focused on me, keeping eye contact, giant grin on his face. Sure, positionwise he could have been a bit tighter, and the angles on his sits were frankly horrible, but all that can be worked on! What can't be worked on (or at least, is a lot more difficult to work on) is him being completely uninterested in training. Once he wants to train, even when we're not at-boring-home, things become so much more fun!

Fun!? I work for pay, dammit! Fork over the carrots!

Admittedly, at the end he was having so much fun he lost the plot a little and jumped up at me and clawed my shirt to shreds... I may have overdone the excited praise a bit... Still, worth it!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Today's Cloud

I shouted at Monster today. On our first walk in the morning I told Monster to stop and he completely ignored me - and I snapped and shouted at him. Sure, he stopped, but he spent the rest of the walk as far away from me as the leash would allow and didn't lift his eyes to me once. Not worth it, not even close...

Are you mad at me, Mom?

I think I was still upset about his behavior last night, when he first had such a big reaction to the man and dog and then nearly pulled us into the road in front of a car. I must have held on to some frustration from that without realizing it, because I don't normally lose my temper just because Monster wants to sniff a bush more than he wants to do as I say. Sure, it really is frustrating when we have a sudden (and in this case slightly frightening) backslide - especially when it comes out of the blue like that (from my perspective that is, no doubt there was something that caused it but I have no idea what it was). But making my dog want to avoid me because I'm scary and unpredictable is not exactly the solution to our problems.

Yeah... I don't like it when you do that...

Today's Sunshine


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Today's Cloud

This evening Monster and I met a man walking his dog. I immediately turned off the road into a field, but Monster wasn't having it. He fixated completely on the man and/or the dog, rushing, lunging, jumping, barking and growling. Once they'd moved out of sight we headed back toward the road, and a car drove by. We were perhaps 100-150 feet away from the road, but Monster just went for it. He made a rush from slightly behind me, just putting everything he had into reaching the car, and nearly managed to drag us into the road... Monster is a strong guy, with very little sense. Monstermom is dejected and sore, with very little fight left.

One-nil me! Up and at 'em, tomorrow's a brand new day and the game starts again!


Today's Sunshine

My mother spent the day cleaning my house (which is code for "criticizing me and moving everything around so it'll take me months to find anything again"), while The Kid parked himself on the couch and ran the TV so loud I was worried he was going to bust the speakers. Monster revved up a little at first, but after just a few minutes he calmed down and went off to find a peaceful spot for a nap. Monster choosing to calm himself down instead of winding himself up over everything from the vacuum cleaner, via moved things, to loud TV, is a wonderful, wonderful thing!

Thank Dog Mom's mom turned up to clean! I was starting to worry the dust bears were planning a coup!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Today's Cloud

I had to leave Monster alone for too long today, running errands for my sister and spending time with my visiting mother. Monster's been getting better with being home alone, but taking it too far is of course counter productive. He hadn't destroyed anything when I got home, but he had been dragging some things around and he was violently hysterical (jumping, clawing, boxing, head butting, climbing, etc) in his greetings for about 15 minutes... Poor little guy!

I don't like being alone, respect that!

Today's Sunshine

This evening Monster spotted two people (one child) with a dog walking toward us on a side street. Monster stopped and looked at them, but as I stopped beside him to give him time to decide what to do he just looked back up at me and walked on, completely ignoring the approaching triggers. Nice!

That's right, I'm a good boy!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Today's Cloud

Monster whimpers and whines, morning to evening. I don't know what's wrong, he doesn't seem to be in pain and he's not acting like there's a bitch in heat nearby. Maybe he's protesting neglect? I try to challenge him and work with him, but I've been sick since the day after we got back home and I just can't function at 100%... Clearly something is going to have to give though. If I'm not better after the weekend I'm going to go see about some of the more aggressive asthma meds - I hate taking them because they give me a four day migraine from hell, but by now it seems like that might be worth it.


Today's Sunshine

We're still alive. Let's go with that.

Speak for yourself...