How much more work could one little eight pound dog add to the workload? Gentle reader; let me warn you, never EVER hurdle this kind of challenge at the cosmos. She has a sense of humor, and she will bite you. The only two requirements I had of my new Pomeranian were that she be a soft fluffy bundle, and that she be a lap dog. In all my extensive reading and research on the breed I had learned two things which seemed fairly definitive 1) even PQP’s have a wonderful undercoat that makes them fluffy bundles of loveliness, and 2) Pomeranians were bred to be lap dogs, and therefore simply do not need a great deal of exercise. Once again, I was destined to be disappointed.
For the first year and a half of her life I defended her scraggly and under-coat free looks with ‘she hasn’t come into her adult coat yet’. After that time I simply embraced that she was bound to eternally look like she’d just come out of the river. In lieu of a short head and teddy bear face my Inky had huge ears, googly eyes, and legs as long as mine. We’d walk our two dogs side by side, and passersby would take one look at our magnificent Malamusky and say ‘that’s the most beautiful dog I’ve ever seen’. Then, they’d see Inky. It was almost as though they were afraid they’d injure her tiny doggie psyche if they didn’t extend a similar compliment to her, so they’d follow up with a weak ‘and she’s cute too’. She wasn’t, God bless her little heart.
And so much for all my dreams of snuggling for hours on end with my lap dog. I was the proud owner of the single Pomeranian on the planet with an absolute obsession for ‘play’. And play she did…and play and play and play and play. Inky developed an absolute obsession with her tennis ball. She’d work and work for hours to gnaw an edge of yellow skin off her ball, and carry it around by that shred of skin, begging to have it thrown again and again and again. Throwing the tennis ball became a constant activity for Mr. Big Prize and me. I ran the vacuum, and threw the ball; I cooked dinner and threw the ball; I put on my make-up and threw the ball. Basically, if MBP and I were at home we were throwing the ball for our non- lap-dog Pomeranian. It became second nature for both of us to simply continue to pick up and throw that ball for our obsessive compulsive non-lap-dog. She trained us well, that is certain.
And then, we all learned a valuable lesson on paying attention to your non-lap-dog. We live in the South, as you know, and as you may know, it is HOT in the South. And it isn’t that dry heat that people out West are always raving about. It’s a muggy wet miserable heat. Even cool days are hot in the South. MBP and I were out enjoying a cool-hot summer evening on our back deck (everyone has a deck in the South. It’s mandatory). We were visiting and laughing and watching little league baseball being played in the city park behind our home. And we were throwing the ball for Inky, naturally. Now, the thing that you need to know about our deck is that it was extremely elevated. Because of the lay of our lot, the backdoor of our home was about 20 feet off of ground level, and so our deck was elevated, with a set of stairs running down to the grass below. So, we’d throw the ball down those 20 steps or so, and Inky would fly down to retrieve the ball, and run back up. Over and over and over she ran, up and down the stairs, each time dropping her ball at our feet. After several minutes or so, MBP glanced over and said ‘Look at that stupid dog. She’s acting drunk’. Sure enough, there she stood reeling and wobbling, growling at us to throw it again. We laughed at her, and threw the -ball again…but as she trundled up the stairs we realized what was happening. Idiots. Our scraggly, mangy obsessive compulsive dog was just about to have a heat stroke. She was spinning like a true sot at this point, and stumbling like a college kid after his first bender.
In the absolute terror and panic that parents experience when their babies are ill, we scooped her up and ran her into the kitchen, where she was unceremoniously dumped into the kitchen sink and sprayed with ice cold water. We filled the sink with water, and dumped ice cubes in, and at the same time offered her ice water in a bowl to drink (I of course realize in hind-site that she could have just sipped from her bathwater, but I was panicked). The whole time that rotten little dog kept her eyes glued to that darn yellow ball, growling at it.
Within a few minutes she made a full recovery, and even got to sleep with mommy and daddy that night. However, those few minutes brought home two realities A) ball play had to be limited, and B) Our dogs had become our family. And isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?