Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Picture If You Will...

Picture if you will a young (ish...quit looking at me like that) woman with a slight defect inside her sinuses. Not to be coy about it, sometimes they bleed. Quite a bit. Picture her in the shower one regular, every day morning. She licks her lips and wonders about the water supply. Perhaps it has newly installed iron supplements. Imagine her surprise when, not for the first time, she wipes the soap from her mouth and finds her fingers covered also in blood. Do not, if you are of delicate sensibilities, dwell on the words she may have uttered.

Bleeding staunched, and temporary stalemate with her body reached, she dresses and begins her day.

Picture now her new (ish...no, really) dog. He is large of spirit, oh so large, but small in stature. At rest, an uncommon but not unheard of state, his densely muscled, spry frame reaches barely to her knee.

Two side notes here of a scientific nature. First, the biological: After a nosebleed it is wise to reduce pressure on the nasal cavities whenever possible. As a result lowering the head below the heart is not advised. Second, this new (ish) dog is being trained quite vigorously. The chemistry of his brain is such that he requires near-constant activity, either physical or, even better, mental. The woman you picture leaves for all her dog walking, pockets bulging with treats. Kibble for sitting at crosswalks, Pupperoni for keeping mum while other dogs approach, Scooter Snacks for returning when called, spray cheese for emergencies. You can see, I'm sure, she is a walking puppy buffet. Proper training, which she strives to achieve, requires treats to be administered only when all four paws are on the ground. Two treats before they leave the apartment. Four more by the time they hit the sidewalk. She doesn't think it's an exaggeration to estimate fifty miniscule delicacies administered in their hour's walk.

So now, truly, close your eyes and picture the woman and the dog making a tour of the picturesque Brooklyn neighborhood. She calls out commands and he, quite often readily, complies. Then, imagine the contortions as our nasally challenged heroine stoops to deliver these rewarding morsels to her whip-smart companion, ever-cautious of keeping her thumping heart below her fragile schnozz. Perhaps, out of the corner of your mind's eye you can also see her neighbors. They are curious...but not surprised.


  1. I'm kind of amazed that there's a different treat for each action.

  2. There's not exactly a different treat for every action but there's a hierarchy. More desirable (to him) treats for higher difficulty items. For him the difficulty is determined by his ability to pay attention. He can do pretty much everything I ask him and on the first or second try. Whether he'll come through in the clutch is dependent on distractions. Better treats increase my chances of being a bigger distraction than other things.

  3. I love the way you write.

    Here's the thing, though; squatting (or, at the very least, coming down on one knee) is not only good for your delicate schnozz, but it also much, MUCH better for your back. See if you can make a habit of this...