L-R Emmy (lying down), Drama, Kendra, Savannah & Teya

27 May 2014

Mornings and Old Dogs

I don't do mornings, never have, never will.  I am not a morning person, I'm a night owl and insomniac.  I do mornings when I have to, but it kills me.

Normal household mornings involve the dogs waking Nick sometime between 5:30 and 6am.  It's supposed to be 6, but some mornings one of them (usually Teya with her 'whisper whinging') just cannot be reasoned with and Nick is forced up a bit earlier.

As soon as it becomes obvious he's getting up the chaos begins.  Drama digs his feet out from under the covers, Teya gets behind him and tries to herd him off the bed while talking at him loudly, the twinnies Kendra and Emmy (we are trying not to call them 'the puppies' any more since they're almost 3) shout and jump on and off the bed, killing my feet and almost knocking VOD Savannah (VOD = Very Old Dog) off the bed.  Savvy could come up to the top of the bed out of the chaos and be safe, but instead chooses to stand right on the bottom corner and let them knock her about.

Once Nick is off the bed then there is mass pushing and shoving of 4 dogs jockeying for position at the dog-gated bedroom door (Savvy is smart enough to either hang back at this point or still be on the bed). It's like the starting line of a horse race.  As Nick swings the gate open you can hear the announcer in your head going 'Aand they're off!' as 4 bodies race, woo-woo / warble (Teya). shout (twinnies & Drama) and roar (all four) their way down the stairs.  Horse race analogy aside, if you watch them move together they almost look like a school of fish.  

Savannah cleverly stays out of this particular fray.  She dives (or is helped) off the bed as the others race through the door and then she heads for the bathroom - out of the way of flying hooligans who are still shouting and wooing and may still be running up and down the stairs a couple more times just for fun.  She has been the unfortunate victim of the 'racing back upstairs' at the wrong moment and ended up being dragged/falling down the bottom section of stairs, so self preservation and common sense does show itself here.  Once she's absolutely sure the coast is clear she will come out and escort Nick safely down the stairs. 

A calmer version of the gate lineup - wanting
back in from the rain
The same 'starting gate' melee happens at the back door and again Savvy usually sensibly hangs back until it's safe for her to get outside without being body slammed by one or both of the twinnies who are shouting and racing each other round the back garden in sheer joy of morning and anticipation of breakfast. 

Once that 'business' is done everyone comes back in the house and Savannah starts her signature BaahRoo 'feed me now' while Teya warbles, whinges, woowoos and talks, Drama grabs a bone and chews hard to redirect her excitement and they all meet at the dog-gate to the kitchen.  A bit of sorting, and we have Savannah and twinnies inside the kitchen and Drama and Teya outside and breakfast happens.

One more run outside and they curl up downstairs for 'Daddy time' while Nick eats his breakfast and goes about getting ready for work. Then he drops them all back in bed with me before he leaves, where we all stay happily until it's time for me get up and the fray starts for me, similar to above.

On Tuesday mornings Nick isn't here because he works overnight.  They have seemed to grasp that on Tuesday they get fed later.  They pay no notice to weekends or holidays.  If 'Daddy' is here it's 5:30-6am and there's no convincing them otherwise.  But bless my girlies, I can usually get them to wait till 7, and sometimes even 8 if they've had a 5am relief break with a cookie or two.  However once they decide I've slept long enough and their tummies can't wait any longer one of the younger ones will start the jumping and bouncing and then everyone else starts.  For me there is no digging out of the covers.  I'm on the side of the bed closest to the door.  Teya still tries to herd me, but my problem is that the other three, (and Teya when she's not herding) are jumping up and down on/off the bed and face fighting and shouting at me and each other, and knocking Savvy about (who REFUSES to move away from the jump-zone).  But of course all the jumping and shouting is also ON me, which means I can't actually get up, so I'm trying to protect Savannah while also trying to grab a shouting bouncing whippet (or two), and actually sit up or stand up.  Eventually I make it.  The rest is pretty much the same as described for other mornings except they all race each other back up the stairs to get the best bed spot as soon as breakfast and 'business' have been taken care of.

VOD Savannah (fawn & white) sleeping peacefully
in the middleof the brindles

All of this brings us to this morning.  Bless their little cotton socks they didn't decide they needed a 4am break (often the case due to Savvy and 'old lady bladder') and I had no concept of the time when I felt a couple of them jump out of the bed and I grumbled at them to get back in, and they did.  What seems like a few minutes later (could have been seconds, could have been an hour) I feel a dog land on me from a giant leap from the floor.  It's Savannah.  I tell her 'good girl' and try and persuade her back under the covers.  She is having none of it.  She jumps down off the bed, gives her signature BaahRoo (which wakes the rest of them), and leap-attacks me again, starting the morning frenzy.

I finally work my way through the leaping, spinning, shouting, woowooing pack and get to the gate.  Savvy is in the middle of the starting gate fray so I carefully move her aside and open the gate.  I'm floored to see her become part of the racing 'school of fish' down the stairs (by choice)!!  I can't remember the last time Savvy didn't hang out in the bathroom till the coast was clear.  I rush downstairs to make sure sure she didn't hurt herself to be greeted by the even more demanding Royal BaahRoo.  Everyone heads outside and Savannah is first back in, and instead of heading to the kitchen she stays by the door and decides to play goalkeeper as I keep sending racing twinnies back out to complete their business.  She play bows and rooroos and teases them while I'm trying to get them to stay outside till they're done.

My heart smiles as I watch this even though she's being completely counterproductive and contrary.  2013 was a tough year for her.  She aged very quickly, she got stiff and sore regularly, and was in a bit of an emotional funk we couldn't seem to get her out of.  There were still 'silly Savvy' moments, but for the most part she wasn't quite the same.  She seemed to be struggling both physically and mentally.  Part of it, of course, was her age which brings with it the onset of hearing loss, but it had seemed to happen overnight, so we also wondered if losing Chelsea (her lifelong companion) had hit her harder than we realised.  

In January we started her on an additional Senior supplement that was supposed to help body and mind.  We just added it into the routine and forgot about it.  We know if these things work the change will take time so we don't actively look for it.  About a month ago we realised that she hadn't been as sore and stiff, that she was more playful, she was even initiating play with the twinnies, and in general she was more engaged than she had been for a long time.  It took us a few minutes to work out that the only thing that had changed was this new supplement.

After a year of just catching glimpses of the real Savannah, we now have her back.  And I have surprises like this morning where she acts 5 instead of 13.5.  And I allow her to tease and bait the twinnies, and to BaahRoo her demand for food at me and I happily stay awake an extra hour before returning to sleep so I can capture this memory in writing.  

So it turns out some mornings aren't so bad after all!  And as my dear friend Patience  (who's blog you must read) would say 'Hug Your Hounds'. I'll add to that 'especially your VODs', they are the most precious. 


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