Hazel is home from the vet minus stitches and life preserver. Apparently she’s got a clean bill of health to run and play as much as she wants, but she’s not allowed to roughhouse with dogs for a week. This is good and bad; she’s been cooped up so long without any other canine activity that she’s absolutely spastic during the day and pulls like a sled dog when it’s time to take a walk. However, she hasn’t visited any of her usual haunts for several weeks, so the hound part of her brain shuts down all other inputs besides her nose. A SQUIRREL HAS PEED HERE. I MUST INVESTIGATE. This makes each walk feel like a rush hour cab drive through midtown Manhattan: moments of frantic, barely contained activity, followed by a jarring stop and a long, boring wait staring at my phone. Last night I took her out after I got home and we spent a moonlit half hour crashing into each other as she followed meandering squirrel trails in the woods, doubling back on herself and tangling the leash between my legs.
Her strangest new behavior is the rotating poop: She’ll sniff around for a while and her posture will change ever so slightly, from I’m-following-this-squirrel to I’M-GOING-TO-DROP-A-DEUCE, and then she’ll quickly assume the position and then start vibrating. Her legs start moving and she tippy-toes around in one direction until she’s made a 360˚ Circle of Feces, only barely avoiding stepping in her own production. I don’t know if she’s having a seizure or attempting to summon a Shoggoth on the lawn of the church. At least she’s doing it on someone else’s property; it’s hard to sell a house with a portal to hell in the backyard.
Last night, I dragged the second crate up into the spare room and set it up next to the futon. She was demoted from the bed to the crate so that I could actually rest, and apart from some initial whining and a brief episode at about 2:30AM, she was quiet in there. I will be happy to have her back on a regular schedule, because last night was the first good night’s sleep I’ve had since the middle of October. I think moving the heating pad in there did not hurt; at this point her sleeping arrangements are more luxurious than ours are.
A side effect of weaning off the sedatives has been that she found her bark hiding under the couch somewhere; what started as a BUFF and a low growl has now graduated to a full BORR-RORR-RORR-RORR whenever a door closes, a car passes or a dog barks a half a mile away. Her anxiety is at an all-time high, which means she’s tuned to the danger frequency even when she’s snoring. More than once over the past week I was woken to a BUFF and a growl next to my head in the darkness; I would wait until she let out another BUFF and then put a hand on her flank or her head and quietly tell her to go back to sleep. Falling leaves will set her off. Jen and I joke that the house is surrounded by Chupacabra and Hazel the only one who can see them. I don’t know what she’s going to do when it snows; I don’t think there are enough drugs to calm her when Chupacabra start falling from the sky.