b Papa Dog's Blog: Dispatches from the Road, Part II

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Friday, August 20, 2004

Dispatches from the Road, Part II

I think we may have started turning a corner with the colicky baby. It might be a long turn, but at least it’s underway. We took Baby Dog to the paediatrician’s (I keep almost saying vet’s) for her almost-two-month check-up, and she was pronounced to be just as hale and hearty as she appears. Her weight’s at 12 pounds 11 ounces (exactly four pounds up from her birth weight) and she’s a strapping 24 inches tall, putting her in the 97th and 95th percentiles, respectively, for her age. This means nothing over the long term, but for right now it means she’s a big girl who’s either eating with zest and gusto or gorging because she’s under the impression there’s a famine on the horizon. We told the Baby Doc about our ongoing bedtime travails…the swaddling, the screaming, the rocking, the shushing. Mama Dog had read somewhere that you shouldn’t swaddle and infant after 60 days old, so we asked how much longer we should be doing it. Baby Doc said, “She’s so big I’m surprised you can do it now. Your technique must be really good.” Mixed emotions there; pride in a swaddle well done, but an underlying suspicion that what we call “the cruel swaddle” really is going to make Baby Dog grow up hating me without knowing why. Baby Doc went on to suggest that we perhaps try simplifying the bedtime procedure, maybe just swaddling her and setting her down to go to sleep by herself. The last few nights that’s what we’ve done. I’ve put on a firm but not too cruel swaddle, laid her down in the bassinette, and shushed from the sidelines until she got drowsy. Knock on wood, but it’s been working.

The surprising this is that, while Baby Dog’s become easier to manage, Doggy Dog has decided to become a handful. Yesterday I took him out in Gran’s backyard and with unerring precision, he trotted right up to the one spot of animal poop in the yard and gave it a good old neck roll. Fortunately it was just a little spot of poop from some smaller mammal, not a great honking slick of moose shit, but he was still way too disgusting to be allowed back in the house. We didn’t think to bring the doggie shampoo with us, so I grabbed some regular people shampoo from the bathroom and took him round to the hose. I had just finished rinsing the lather off him when I looked at the label on the bottle and saw that it was “volumizing shampoo.” James dandy there. Nothing an Akita needs like extra volume.

Then last night he took it upon himself to keep Gran’s backyard safe for democracy. This entailed bolting out after a raccoon and cornering it under the back porch. He somehow lost his collar along the way, making it next to impossible for Mama Dog to rein him in, and causing much commotion and to-do as the entire household strove to pry him loose. He came out of the affair with nothing to show but some scratches on his muzzle because raccoons are ferocious scrappers and it’s not a good idea to stick your face into the space where you’ve cornered one. Live and learn, I suppose, but those goddamn outside agitator raccoons will sure be steering clear at least until tonight.


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