Thursday, January 24, 2013

Finding the Right Tools (subtitled: Still Learning From The Golden Girls)

Some of you may know this about me and some may not:  I am the "lucky" person/owner of two very different dogs.  Technically, my family are the "lucky" people/owners, but I do the bulk of the training and feeding and walking.  Everyone else does the loving and chastising.

Lucy is my grande dame.  She's 110 pounds of drool and fur.  Part St. Bernard-part Golden Retriever (we think).  Charlie is the mini-Schnauzer we found on the highway last September.  Lucy is almost 8.  Charlie is almost 8 months.  Lucy is gentle and loving, but fiercely loyal so don't be getting up in my grill.  Charlie is a noisy little whippersnapper.  In Golden Girls-speak, Lucy is my Dorothy and Charlie (while younger than Lucy) is my Sophia.

Or for a more urban and equally dated comparison, Lucy is my Willis and Charlie is my "Whatchyoutalkin'bout?" Arnold.  Charlie drives Lucy crazy.  She drives all of us crazy.  Her nickname from The Huz when he likes her is "Charles Nelson Reilly" (because, like me, all of his pop culture references pre-date the year 1985).  His nickname for her when he doesn't like her is "You Little Shit."

In order to calm the crazies for Charlie - especially while the roofers were here and the back yard off-limits last week - I have needed to take the dogs for more walks than normal.  Yes, I know, I'm supposed to walk the dogs daily.  Guess what?  I don't usually do that.  Call the ASPCA.  Lucy is a bear to walk.  She has dragged me down the sidewalk once and knocked me over when I was 8-months pregnant.  In the middle of the street.  I now have a harness for her, but she still barks like this "WOOOOOOF.  WOOOOOOOOF."  Think angry James Earl Jones with a cold.  She also still pulls on me.  I hate walking her.  Charlie is more of a ping-ping-ping racing around in circles kind of walker.  She's not annoying on walks because she only weighs 10 pounds and doesn't bark much . . . on walks.  In the house is another story. (She also would rather relieve herself indoors, but let's try to stay on topic.)

The other day I bought two useful tools: a harness for Charlie so she would stop choking herself on walks and a y-connector leash thingy.  Yes, that's it's real name.  The y-connector allows me to hook both dogs together so that I walk with one dominant leash.  It also is a mess of mesh straps and buckles.  I took the dogs out with my new series of straps yesterday, dubious that it would make any difference.  But, hazaa!  It was the easiest walk I've had with the two beasts!  Basically, Lucy walked Charlie.  In my head my dogs sound more street than they really are:

Charlie: This smells good.  And this smells good.  Oh, lookee here, this smells good.

Lucy: (yank)

Charlie:  This smells g-  Bitch, I was sniffing that!

Lucy: Talk to the paw, Chuck.

This leads me to firmly believe that tools are important.  Let me rephrase that: tools are important, yes, but the right tools are imperative.  Y-connector thingy = right tool.

I'm looking for the right tools to help me organize my ADD brain better.  I'm always looking for tools to help with my essays and now a memoir.  And parenting tools.  I have a parenting toolbox, but lately the screwdriver is not what I need to hammer in good eating habits.  I am always looking for new and more effective tools.

What tools can you NOT live without?  What new tools have you discovered in life/parenting/art?  What tools would the Golden Girls use?