Monday, June 11, 2012
Yesterday The New York Times had an article about how animals like to get high. Really. And it was written by a doctor! Who has written a book in collaboration with a veterinarian! She has this theory that animals are a lot more like people than originally thought. She even had a fancy name for it, zoo…something or other. Latin for animals and then the last part of it was for people. Pretty cool.
So, I was thinking. We judge people pretty harshly for using drugs, right? We think, they had a choice, they could’ve chosen NOT to take that first pill, or snort, or drink. Then they get hooked, and get into trouble and become a drag on society. Now we know that animals like to get high or drunk, too. Researchers have determined that animals wait until the fruit on the bushes has become “winey”. Then they gorge themselves. Or in one case, there’s this cocker spaniel who was always scratching the door to go out. The owners decided to follow him to see what was so enticing. They lived in the country, apparently, because little cocker spaniel beat a trail to a pond where a bunch of frogs lived. They watched as the little doggie started sucking frogs until the skin color came off, then spit them out. He would quickly slurp up another one and do the same thing. The frogs are of a certain species that have a toxin on its skin that is hallucinogenic. Little barkster would go home thereafter, and lie around, spacey and glassy eyed for hours until he would do it again. And again. Interesting. Now we need rehab for doggies?
We used to have an old diabetic dog who loved to eat the raspberries. We worried about his blood sugar, but maybe he was actually waiting for the alcohol effect?
Singer seems to be more like a dope fiend these days. She loves to get out to hunt her chipmunks. She can’t wait sometimes to get out there and scout out her backyard. It’s funny. Today, we woke up with her snuggled between us—she was worried about the thunder and lightening, which didn’t wake me up, but apparently she heard it. I groaned as I got out of bed, seeing the rain. How would we get her to go outside before we have to leave for the day? I got the umbrella and she slinked out the door after much cajoling. Then she sniffed some hostas, not really interested, as the rain pelted her. She tried to become interested, but just couldn’t. I called after her to go potty, several times. But she just couldn’t. So I let her in, wiped her off with a towel and decided to get ready. She followed me like rocks rolling down a hill. I couldn’t get rid of her. Then I remembered that during our last vet’s appointment, I had mentioned Singer’s severe thunderstorm phobia and Dr. Pam gave me some sample pills to try. They were over the counter natural “herbal remedies”--tryptophan, theanine, and some other stuff in them. I gave her two pills and decided to wait. She paced. I finished breakfast and took a shower. She was looking outside longingly when I came out. It had stopped raining so we tried again.
This time she patrolled her yard in a more natural way, with her head up. I hated to see her slinking before, such an unnatural pose for her. She went to all the usual spots and didn’t sniff out any chipmunks, then came directly when I called. She had not gone poop yet, but she did pee. Whew. I think the pills were starting to work.
So I thought about it. She knows that she was supposed to go potty, but she couldn’t help it. Her nervous system had become hijacked. I wonder if Singer would become a drug addict if she were allowed? Probably.
Monday, June 4, 2012
For two hours, we explored the trails along Picnic Point, on the university campus. It’s a gorgeous piece of land, with beaches, woods, prairies, and miles of trails, trails, trails full of a variety of species, both plant and animal. The weather was gorgeous on June 2 here. Singer saw waves lapping on beaches, packed earth rooted trails lined with huge old trees—cottonwood, beech, linden, tall ponderosa pine, oak. The smells were terrific, I could tell, as she darted her nose left and right on the grounds. She looked out onto Lake Mendota and watched the waves coming in to shore, as if she were waiting for her beau to come home from a fishing trip, and noted the fishy scent in the air, although not too bad yet. The waters were not yet choked with algae and looked pretty clear. We stopped at several fire pits where firewood is stacked for students who come here at night and on the weekends. Nathaniel and his friends come here often to enjoy a camping experience in the city. We haven’t been here for years and wondered why the long absence. I remember taking Saylor here once.
Alas, I had forgotten my camera. There were several shots that would’ve been perfect, with the sun just right, the background of lake, beach, sun spots dotting the woods with bright light, tall grasses in prairie, and the birds singing in our ears. It was heavenly for humans, too. These pictures are taken off the university's website for Picnic Point.
Singer loved it very much, I could tell, and strained to be let loose from her leash. By the time we got back to the car, she was panting and hot, and ready for a long drink.
On a minor note, we found that someone had hit our car trying to back out of the tight parking spot. She was waiting for us, a note on our windshield, when we got back. She was nice enough to leave a note, and it was a minor scratch that popped out the left rear panel a bit, so we will have to get it fixed. Still, it was such a nice time, and I know that Singer appreciated it as well. The next day I expected Singer to be pawing me at her usual time, around five in the morning, begging us to take her back.
Instead, on Sunday while we were reading the paper, Singer was emboldened to try to dig up a chipmunk in the backyard again, this time at the retaining wall that we just had rebuilt at great expense…! We will have to keep a more careful eye on her when she’s in the backyard. I bet she had visions of chipmunks and squirrels from Picnic Point in her head as she tried to undo the entire landscaping of our yard. I was able to repair it, and possibly the chipmunk will decide it’s not worth living here and leave for good.