Rubber ducky, you’re the one…

Sunday, June 7th, at around 23:30, Tierce was not feeling well.  Hunched over, shaking, panting, didn’t want food, didn’t want to walk.  Took him to Central Island Veterinary Emergency Hospital where, after several hours, he ended up with a diagnosis of pancreatitis.

Tierce:  I hurt.

Me:  Normally he would be trying to claw his way through the door to get out, but he’s not even doing that much.

Vet:  Well, let’s have some X-rays and a blood panel.

Tierce:  Do not care.  All is gone.  Hurt.

Vet Tech:  Okay, now were just going to lay you down on this table and take a little picture, okay?


Tech:  No, seriously, all I want you to do is Lie. Down.


People waiting in the vet’s office:  What are they doing to that poor dog?

Me:  He’s a Shiba.

People:  Is he hurt?

Me:  He’s probably convinced that his immortal soul is in danger, but they’re just doing an X-ray.  No one’s being hurt.


Me:  Well, some people might have lost a couple of decibels in the higher register.

Vet Tech:  All done.  We put a cage muzzle on him, but he didn’t try to bite or anything.

Me:  Better safe than sorry with a dog in pain.  How’s our puppy?

Tierce:  I might have lost the battle, but we have not lost the war.

Tech:  He screamed a lot, then stopped when I kept him on the table.

Me:  Sounds normal.

Tierce:  All is pain.  And I’m hot.

Vet Tech:  We’ll take some blood for the panel.

Tierce:  I just want you to know that I hate all of you.


Four hours later


Vet:  Okay, it’s pancreatitis.  Take him home and watch him carefully. Boiled chicken and rice.  If he spikes a fever or vomits, bring him back or to your vet right away.

Tierce:  What the hell are you doing to my back?

Vet:  Just some fluids to combat dehydration.

Tierce:  This is some kind of truth serum, isn’t it?  ISN’T IT?

Me:  Tierce, I swear.  Do not give me attitude right now.

Tierce:  But she’s poking me!

Me:  I don’t care.  Look at me.  Focus on me.  Good boy.

Tierce:  I would just like to register my objection to this entire procedure.

Me:  I would just like to remind you that it’s 03:30 and I have had a half-hour’s sleep in the last 20.

Tierce:  You’re all in this, aren’t you?  You’re all conspiring to make me miserable.

Me:  I could do that more comfortably at home.

Tierce:  I really don’t like any of you right now.

Vet Tech:  That’ll be $462.38.

Me:  The feeling is mutual.


Twelve hours later


Tierce:  What’s that?

Mischa:  It’s a rubber ducky thermometer!

Tierce:  What are you going to do with tha- HEY.

Me: Hold still.

Tierce: I really don’t have a concept of this except GTFO.

Me:  Well, your temperature’s down.  That’s good.

Tierce:  Keep that thing away from me.

Me:  Oh, Tierce.  For the next few days, you’re going to be friends with the rubber ducky.  Best friends.

Tierce:  You’re both sick.  I’m going to go lie in the sun now.

Me:  No.


One day later


Tierce:  And I’ll have some of that… and some of that… and some of that noodle thing, please.

Me:  Forget it!  Here’s your dinner.

Tierce:  What is this?

Me:  Steamed rice and chicken.

Tierce:  Well, okay… that wasn’t bad.  Where’s the rest?

Me:  There is no ‘rest’.  You’re to have small meals.

Tierce: Cheese is a small meal.

Me:  No cheese.

Tierce:  But… I want it.

Me:  Okay, fine.  Here.

Tierce:  This is crunchy.  I’ve never had crunchy cheese before.

Me:  It’s a special kind of cheese.

Tierce:  It tastes more like carrot.

Me:  You asked for cheese, I gave you cheese.  Look!  It’s orange, just like cheese!

Tierce:  I can only see in shades of yellow and blue.

Me:  Just take my word for it.

Tierce:  Can I have a stinky fish?

Me:  That’s what got you into this mess.  No.  Not for a long time.

Tierce:  There was some left in the bag after I climbed up onto the shelf and ate two thirds of it.

Me:  Have you ever wondered why you got sick?

Tierce:  … No.  No, I can’t say that I have.

Me:  That’s why you can’t have a stinky fish.


How things have changed

I found a dog training book: Paul Loeb’s Complete Book of Dog Training, by (perhaps unsurprisingly) Paul Loeb.  Copyright 1974.


The training advice is based around dominance theory, not really surprising, given the era.

Tierce:  I don’t buy dominance theory. I don’t care if you run everything. Saves me paperwork. Speaking of that, have you done your taxes yet?

Me:  Shut up.  Hey, you got off lucky with the housebreaking.

Tierce:  I came housebroken. What’s your point?

Me:  Take a look.



Tierce:  And he has a helpful illustration. Are you sure this isn’t one of those witch hunting instruction manuals?

Me:  Pretty sure. I didn’t see any descriptions of thumb-screws or Iron Maidens.

Tierce:  Close enough, though. I agree with whoever annotated the page with, “I would never do this!  Barbaric + cruel”.

Me:  Yeah, pretty much.

Tierce:  Besides, why torment a defenseless puppy with just a taste of poop and not give them the whole thing?

Me:  I’m going to pretend you never said that.

Tierce:  If anyone tried that with me, their house would be smoking rubble within 12 hours.

Me:  Well, in that case, this guy has a solution…


Tierce:  What is up with the vinegar and Tabasco fetish?

Me:  Beats me. Speaking of that, this is how I should teach you not to bite.


Tierce:  ‘Set up possible nipping situations with the dog and the children.’  Now, that doesn’t sound like anything could go wrong there.

Me:  Sounds a little risky. ” Okay, Caitlin, take Puppy’s ears and yank really hard…”

Tierce. Ugh.

Me:  Doesn’t sound as bad as this situation.


Tierce:  Who the hell are these people?

Me:  Well, people thought differently back then.  Dominance theory was probably the best explanation people had for dog behaviour.

Tierce:  ‘Back then’?  You were born in the seventies, weren’t you?

Me:  Well… yeah.

Tierce:  How old are you?

Me:  Let’s move on. Hey, you can tell this was made in the seventies.

Tierce:  Aside from the cover?

Me:  Yeah. First, look at this.


Tierce:  That seems awfully specific. Hey, it says that I can have tobacco and liquor if prescribed by a vet.

Me:  Uh, no.

Tierce:  But beer tastes really good.

Me:  What?  When did you drink beer?

Tierce:  When we visited those friends of yours and someone spilled a Bud Light on the porch.

Me:  That’s what that was?

Tierce:  I actually liked the Canadian better.

Me:  What?

Tierce:  Someone else spilled that later.

Me:  No beer!

Tierce:  In dog years, I’m well above the age of majority.

Me:  No. No beer, no hamsters, no dead birds.

Tierce:  A predator is ever aware of opportunity.

Me:  Hey, this guy has a solution for that.


Tierce:  That’s considerate of him to make sure a snack is always within my reach. And I can perfume the house with it. Like air freshener.

Me:  That’s never happening.

Tierce:  Aww.

Me:  He doesn’t seem to have a good opinion of attack trained dogs.

Tierce:  Neither do I. You have a 99% less chance of getting treats if you bite people, so they tell me.


Tierce:  Holy shit, is that really what happens?

Me:  Not in my experience. I have no idea who this guy was chumming around with, but that’s not how RCMP dogs are trained. And the Schutzhund people I know don’t do that; they say that associating protection training with negative reinforcement is the exact wrong thing to do.

Tierce:  So, what’s the second thing?

Me:  This.


Tierce: The Hell’s Angel of the dog world. Huh.

Me:  What’s missing?

Tierce:  Have no clue.

Me:  No mention of pit bulls.  Anywhere.

Tierce:  Interesting.

Me:  Yup.

Tierce:  I’m kind of glad you went with clicker training.

Me:  I’m sure we both are.

No Time For You

Tierce on the couch

I have to think about this in terms of the cost on my time.

Me:  I’ve been thinking.

Mischa:  Uh oh.

Me:  I don’t like our dog anymore.

Mischa: Why don’t you like our dog anymore?

Me:  He’s not little and cute anymore.  And he’s old.

Mischa:  He is damn cute.  And he’s only seven.

Me:  Nearly eight.

Mischa:  You love our dog.

Me:  He doesn’t match the blinds.

Mischa:  If he did, we’d be taking him to the vet for a skin condition.

Me:  He says mean things about me on Facebook.

Mischa:  You have fights on Facebook with your dog.  Think about that.

Me:  I just don’t have the time for him.

Mischa:  Funny, he was saying the same thing about you.

RIP Kona


Tierce:  Why are you crying?

Me:  Kona is dead.

Tierce:  Who?

Me:  She was an American Eskimo.  You never met her.

Tierce:  Was she important or something?

Me:  She knew Shassi.  She played with Shassi, many, many moons ago.

Tierce:  Impossible.  Shassi never played with anyone.

Me:  She did once.  Kona used to chase her and pull her tail.

Tierce:  No!

Me:  True story.

Tierce:  I can’t really picture Shassi playing with anyone, unless it was with their severed limb.  She threatened to bite my nose off once, you know.

Me:  You probably deserved it.

Tierce:  You always loved her best.

Me:  At least you know I’m not lying to you when I say ‘Yes’.

Tierce:  Shassi… playing…

Me:  It was a long time ago.  Before you were born.  Before your dam and sire were born.  And now she’s dead.

Tierce:  Is that why you’re crying?  The death thing?

Me:  Yeah, kinda.

Tierce:  But why?  They’re not here.  Why think about them?

Me:  The fact that Kona’s not here anymore is sort of the reason why I’m sad.

Tierce:  But look, there’s a toy.  See?  I haf a ‘oy.  In my mouf.

Me:  That’s nice, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling sad.

Tierce:  But maybe she’ll come back.

Me:  No, Tierce, no, she won’t come back.

Tierce:  It happens all the time.  Someone leaves and POOF, they suddenly come back.  Like you.

Me:  I go to work, Tierce, for about eight-nine hours at a time, but I regularly come back.  It’s really not the same.

Tierce:  But I never know if you or anyone is coming back.  So you could be gone forever and then still come back.

Me:  No, it doesn’t work that way.  We’ve had this conversation before.

Tierce:  I’ve forgotten.

Me:  It’s not something you need to remember.  Don’t worry about it.

Tierce:  Sometimes it’s easier to be a dog, isn’t it?

Me:  Yeah.  Sometimes, it is.  But if we all thought like dogs, we would forget those who mean the most to us.  And we couldn’t tell other people how much they meant or do things with our lives to remember them.

Tierce:  I thought that some dogs grieve for their people or other dogs they were close to.

Me:  They say that and there’s evidence that it is true.

Tierce:  It must feel like there’s an empty place that can’t be filled by other people or other dogs.

Me:  Yes, that’s how it feels for a lot of people and, I suppose, dogs.

Tierce:  I’m glad I don’t have anyone like that in my life.  Imagine how sad it would be to lose someone you truly care about.

Me:  Uh, I’m happy for you.  Really.

Tierce:  What happens when you have a space in your life you can’t fill?

Me:  You live around it until eventually it becomes part of you, part of your life.

Tierce:  Then you replace it with another dog?

Me:  It is said that there can be no replacements, only successors.  No dog can replace another.  They can succeed them, but each dog is different and therefore special.

Tierce:  So is that how humans do it?  Go out and get another dog?

Me:  Some do, some don’t.

Tierce:  I like to think that I’ve ruined you for all other dogs.

Me:  For rude, opinionated dogs, maybe.

Tierce:  Would you miss me if I died?

Me:  Yes.

Tierce:  But not enough to give me that pizza you’re eating right now.

Me:  No.

Tierce:  I don’t understand.

Me:  And that’s probably for the best.

RIP Kona.  I’m glad I knew you.

The Coffee Table of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

What is mine is mine, what is yours is negotiable.

Me: Well, we got quite a haul from that charity dog walk.

Mischa: Oh? What did you get?

Me: Won some kids’ dog books and a 33 pound bag of Go! dog food. And a pile of toothbrush chews.

Tierce: Can I have one?

Me: One.

Mischa: Are you sure that you should leave them on the coffee table?

Me: Tierce knows that he is not to touch anything on the coffee table.

Tierce: Well, I always thought of that rule as more of a guideline.

Me: But of the doggie treats which are in the midst of the coffee table, Julie hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

Tierce: …Right.


Me: Oh, Tierce… where art thou?

Tierce: Right here. Can I have some more treats?

Me: You ate of the coffee table. That was forbidden.

Tierce: That was last night and I’m still hungry. So. About those treats.

Me: I thought it was understood that you were not to touch anything on the coffee table.

Tierce: I heard those words. You didn’t really define what they meant.

Me: Well, if I were to go by tradition, I should kick you out the front door to make your own way in the cold, cruel world, stopping in every so often to randomly curse you.

Tierce: Didn’t I read something like that on the SPCA website? I think that’s against the law.

Me: But I’m your all-powerful deity. You should be cringing in fear of my wrath.

Tierce: Uh, yeah. Sure.

Me: Hang your head in shame!

Tierce: *blink*

Me: Well?

Tierce: You know, I’ll be over here, chewing on this treat that I… found.

Me: On the coffee table?

Tierce: No, in the couch.

Me: I never put any of those on the couch.

Tierce: No, but I did. With you having all these delusions, one has to make provisions for the future.

Observational eating

Me: Tierce is really hungry lately.

Mischa: I think it’s the Prednisone he’s on.* Now that it’s fall, we can cut him down to 1 pill a day.

Me: That’s a good idea. Maybe then he won’t go on scavenging missions for our Wendy’s food wrappers.

Tierce: I’m hungry.

Me: How would you like a nice, crispy apple?

Tierce: Um. I want your Chinese food more.

Me: Just try it.

Tierce: No.

Mischa: Try eating a piece. I read somewhere that dogs prefer eating what they see people eat.

Me: I don’t think that me eating a piece of apple will convince Tierce to eat a piece of apple.

Mischa: Give him a piece.

Tierce: What’s this?

Me: The fount of all things good.

Mischa: It’s a yummy apple, Tierce.

Me: He’s not gonna eat it. He’s just pushing it around the floor with his nose… well, I’ll be damned.

Mischa: See?

Tierce: Well, it can’t be that bad. I mean, you ate it.

Me: Huh. Want another?

Tierce: Sure.

Me: I guess it really works.

Mischa: Bring the bowl into the living room. He won’t want to eat the slices when he gets a whiff of what we’re eating. But, if we hand him pieces of apple when he begs us for Chinese food, he won’t know the difference.

Me: Okay, that I don’t believe.

Tierce: That smells way better than this crispy shit. Can I have some of that?

Me: Uh, sure. Here you go.

Tierce: ‘Dis tastes a ‘ot ‘ike apple.

Me: It’s sweet and sour pork, I swear. Have another.

Tierce: Yay! Wait…

Me: I can’t believe this. He’s really buying it.

Mischa: I told you.

Tierce: You know, I think you’re trying to sell me something… I’m going over to see Mischa.

Mischa: Here you go.

Tierce: What’s that?

Mischa: Ginger beef.

Tierce: That smells a lot like apple.

Mischa: Well, it’s special ginger beef. Apple ginger beef.

Tierce: Well… okay.

Me: This is awesome. I can’t believe we haven’t tried this before. I’m going to try carrots next.

Tierce: I hate carrots.

Me: Not when we market them as cheese puffs!

*Tierce is on Vanectyl-P for his seasonal allergies, which are vicious. Yes, we’ve changed his diet. Multiple times. Yes, we’ve tried Atopica. Yes, we’ve had him tested. This is just what works. For now. Yes, I am aware of the health issues. Why, yes, I have gotten lectured by multiple people about how it’s evil and bad and will kill him some day.

The Bathing

This post was brought to you in part by the Shiba Prom Haiku Contest, which Tierce won.

Tierce: I am never going along with any of your crackpot schemes again!

Me: Don’t knock yourself. You’re a very talented poet.

Tierce: Burn in hell!

It was also brought to you in part by Filthy Farmdog soap.
Tierce was less than impressed by the whole contest winning experience. However, I was thrilled.
And, because I’m an evil dog owner who wants Tierce to suffer, I was ecstatic to make use of the Filthy Farmdog soap for the first time.
Tierce was not impressed.
But I was.
And the results were worth the damage to Tierce’s psyche

Carrot Cake

But I got my revenge.

But I got my revenge.

Me: What is this?

Tierce:  Looks like a paper bag.  On the floor.  Yep, that’s what it is.  A paper bag on the floor.

Me:  Correction.  It used to be a paper bag.  Now it is a soggy collection of cellulose.  On the floor.

Tierce: I don’t see what this has to do with me.

Me:  Did this bag contain the slice of carrot cake I brought from the farmers market today?

Tierce:  I really couldn’t say.  Dog memory, you know.  Very short.

Me:  This was going to be my breakfast tomorrow.

Tierce:  You really should eat healthier.  And it’s more convenient for you; I don’t really like apples.

Me:  So the mystery of you pooping four times has now been solved.

Tierce:  You really have the most amazing powers of deduction.

Me:  Let’s get one thing straight.  Food in bags is mine.  You will not touch anything that is in a bag.  You will not eat anything that is wrapped in anything.  You will not seek to take that which is mine.

Tierce:  Uh, sure.  Wait, what about the stuff you don’t want?

Me:  What do you mean, ‘the stuff I don’t want’?

Tierce:  Well, you throw stuff in the garbage all the time.  You don’t want it.  So I figure, that means that I can-

Me:  No.

Tierce:  No?

Me:  There will be no foraging in the garbage.

Tierce:  Uh… okay.

Me:  What?

Tierce:  Have you been to the bathroom lately?

Me:  No, I just got in the door.  Why?

Tierce:  Don’t go up there.

Me:  Whyyy?

Tierce:  It’s just… you shouldn’t.

Me:  Well, we’ll just see about tha- OH MY DOG, THAT’S DISGUSTING! YOU LITTLE PRICK!

Tierce:  Well, you didn’t want that!  You were going to throw it all away!


Tierce:  So where am I going to get a drink?

Me:  In your bucket!  Where the hell do you think?!

Tierce:  That only gets changed like, twice, three times a day.  The toilet water gets changed all the time.

Me:  Let me make something clear.  You like eating?

Tierce:  One of my all-consuming hobbies.

Me:  You like your walks?

Tierce:  Sure, gives me a chance to be awesome in front of other people.

Me:  You like getting treats?

Tierce:  You know it.

Me:  Stay out of the damn bathroom or that all goes away.  I’ll confine you to the house and feed you gruel.

Tierce:  What’s ‘gruel’?

Me:  Bland oatmeal that looks like watery barf.

Tierce:  Hey, don’t knock the barf until you try it.

Me:  You know what?  I’m going to get another dog.  A better dog.  You know, like a Border Collie.  A Labrador Retriever.  Something docile and mindlessly obedient.

Tierce:  Oh, a sycophant.

Me:  No, a pleasurable companion.

Tierce:  A brainwashed minion.

Me:  A well-trained helpmeet.

Tierce:  A servile peon.

Me:  A noble comrade.

Tierce:  No matter how you dress it up, it still reveals your need for an assistant to enable your delusions of grandeur.

Me:  And you’re a better choice?

Tierce:  I’m here to ensure that you never think better of yourself than you really are.

Me:  How comforting.

Tierce:  I like to think of myself as an aversion therapy dog.