“Please play with me!”

Please Play With MeLate 1990s.

“I brought you this ball, I found it for you.  Play with me!  I’m ready for you to throw it for me!  You can throw it and I’ll go running after it!  Hello, I have a ball!  You’re not really sleeping with that puppy on your face, are you?  Maybe you’re sleepy, but I have this tennis ball.  It’s real big and I’m holding it, I managed to get my teeth around the ball and I’m ready!  I’m ready for you to throw it for me!  Hello!  Please play with me!”

October 7, 2009. Tags: . Dog, Pictures, Words. 1 comment.

Little dog, big attitude

Dog Week continues…

New tiny Kalayna challenges adult River for the old sock toy.


When Kalayna grows up, River needs to try a bit harder to hold her own…

Dog Fightin'

October 7, 2009. Tags: . Dog, Pictures. 1 comment.

Obedience school

Obedience School

When I was in middle school Kalayna and I went to obedience school on Saturday mornings with my mom, one or two brothers, and a few of our dogs.  We practiced the training at home.  She didn’t blithely follow the commands the way some of the other dogs in class did, like a German shepherd who could heel and turn and sit right away without even being on a leash.  Kalayna knew what the commands meant, of course, she was very smart with a large vocabulary, she simply chose not to obey them all the time.  She was willful.  My mom said that when she was choosing among the puppies she worried about how the smallest black one didn’t appear to trouble herself with paying undue attention to the human, while other puppies were literally tripping over themselves in excitement about the new person who appeared in their pen.  “This one’s trouble, she’s so stubborn,” she thought, and then brought her home anyway.

Kalayna and I practiced the Stay command in the chaos of the living room with our other dogs running around.  She’d sit and stay and look very sad about it as I’d walk into the dining room, testing if she’d stay until I released her, even if I wasn’t right beside her.  We practiced sitting quietly in front of doors, waiting for them to be opened instead of jumping up on them like the other dogs.  We practiced walking politely at my left side down the sidewalk, not straining at the leash to rush ahead or sniff every bit of grass.  We practiced coming when I called.

The day of the obedience class final test she did not perfectly complete the Heel, Come Round, Sit, and Come portions.  I had to pull a little on her leash for direction, which is easy to do with a 10 pound dog.  Ms. Perfect German Shepherd was showing off her strict obedience without a leash.  Then came the long Stay test sections.  The dogs were all lined in a row, over a dozen of them, about 5 feet apart in the large open gym.  The dogs sat, were told to stay, and their owners walked to the other side of the gym.  One by one, the dogs slowly stood up and crept over to their people.  Except mine.  Kalayna didn’t move and looked miserable the whole time.

After the points were tallied, it was time to announce the dogs who passed the class.  The German shepherd made it, of course, along with most of the other dogs.  My dog’s name was not called.  Then the trainers said, “And now for the dog who received the highest cumulative score and will receive the champion trophy… Kalayna!”  We had not only passed, we had won!  Perfect scores for all the long Stay sections made up for the mediocre walking portion.  We’re #1!  We’re #1!

October 6, 2009. Tags: . Dog, Pictures, Words. 3 comments.

Kalayna: September 11, 1993 – October 5, 2009

Full name:
Kalayna Katrina Tenacia Allegra Microstrobe Doce Bitsy Little Black Dog.

Tiny black puppy

She was a present for my 12th birthday in sixth grade.  At my birthday party I opened a box to find a stuffed animal.  At first I was disappointed, because I didn’t really like stuffed animals as much anymore, I wasn’t into cutesy teddy bears or anything like some of my friends.  Then I was confused, because it was one of my own stuffed animals, apparently taken from my room and wrapped in a box.  It was wearing a new collar.  My mom said I should go out to the car, and I realized that the new collar was for a new dog, for me, in the car for some reason!  I raced out to the garage with my friends and found my little brother slouched in the passenger seat, holding the smallest black 7-week-old puppy.  She was a tiny tuxedo rat terrier, all black with white feet and chest, with a white tip on a tail that wagged impossibly fast.

New puppy!

It took me a week to decide on a name, and I ended up going with the first name I thought of, Kalayna (kuh-LAY-nuh).  Her full name includes many of other names I considered: Allegra because she was bright, quick, and cheerful; Micro because she was so small; Strobe because the white tip of her wagging tail looked like it was lit by a strobe light; Doce because she was a gift for my 12th birthday.  The Bitsy Little Black Dog just got tacked on at the end because it was fitting.

Time for sleeping

Not a lot changed in 16 years…

Asleep on floor 5-14-09

October 5, 2009. Tags: . Dog, Pictures, Words. 4 comments.

Happy 16th Birthday Kalayna

Asleep on the couch 11-28-08

My dog turned 16 today.  She celebrated by napping on her blanket on the couch where I put her, a day like any other.  She hasn’t jumped onto a couch in maybe 18 months; she can still jump down and hasn’t broken a hip yet, although the landing often looks a little rough and painful on the slippery wood floor.  Last week when I wasn’t home, the man of the house said that the dog woke up and announced her desire to get off the couch — “Bark!” she called out, one single bark — and then jumped anyway before he made it to the living room.

She often sleeps by me on the sofa when I’m using my laptop.  (The picture of us both on the couch is from last November.)  If she gets antsy and seems like she’s done napping, I’ll place her safely on the floor.  One time last year she seemed like she would sleep for only a few more minutes then get up, and I said, “I might as well put her down now” as I lifted her to the floor.

“You might as well put her down now?” he repeated.  It became a joke: “Well, we might as well put her down now, I’m about to watch a movie and now’s as good a time as any…” we’d say.  “Has the dog eaten dinner?  Yes?  Might as well put her down now, I have a thing later tonight anyway…”

I’ll be making the actual, non-joke appointment in a few weeks, probably the first week of October.  He might have to make the appointment, actually, since I’d probably sob through the call with the poor receptionist.

September 11, 2009. Tags: . Dog, Pictures, Words. 5 comments.

Sometimes, when you have a dog…

Sometimes, when you have a dog, your mother commissions a portrait of the dog for your birthday.  She asks your brother to take a picture to use as reference, and he makes the dog sit while taking the photo and the dog looks unhappy in the reference picture.  Sometimes, when you have a dog, and you receive a large painting in the mail, you don’t know what to do with it when you move into the new house.  The previous owners of the house left nails in the wall, so you use one of the nails to “temporarily” hang the painting in the hallway that leads from the kitchen to the rest of house.  A year later, your mom visits and finally takes a picture of the dog with her portrait, which still hangs from the same temporary nail.

Sometimes, when you have a dog, you decide that early October is the time you will take her to the vet to let her go, a few weeks after her 16th birthday.  You wonder if the eye-catching portrait, painted a few years earlier, will be more or less weird when the dog is gone.

Portrait 8-14-09

August 23, 2009. Tags: , , . Dog, Pictures, Words. 4 comments.

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