Monday, January 23, 2006

Hilarious Hairry

I've been around dogs all my life. I firmly believe that pets have a therapeutic effect on our lives. I often dried my tears on my beagle's ears when I was a child. When we're feeling down, dogs tend to sidle up to us, put their head in our lap, and give us that soulful look that says: "I'm here for you".

Hairry has an entirely different approach.
Z has been extremely frustrated with himself and his disabilities lately. As soon as Z shows signs of losing it, Hairry comes running. Hairry usually brings one of his toys and proceeds to do something totally goofy with it. He keeps this up until Z starts laughing at him, then he nuzzles Z and gives him the "I'm here for you" look.

Somehow, Hairry knows that laughter is important to Z. Sympathy alone, doesn't work with Z. Hairry has the knack for defusing the situation. When I'm down, Hairry has a totally different approach. He'll crawl up on my lap, snuffle my face, and lay his head on my shoulder.

Hairry is also a practical joker.
When we play ball in the house with Hairry, he knows that he must leave the ball at our feet and wait for us to throw it, in the living room. Sometimes we don't notice that Hairry is waiting for us to throw the ball, and he'll start moaning, while sitting patiently in the living room. L and I will start looking for the ball under the kitchen table and chairs. Every once in a while, the ball isn't there. We tell Hairry: "I don't have it", and he gleefully runs to the side of the couch, where he has hidden the ball.

All dogs will do silly things that make us laugh. I've even had dogs that are embarrassed or ticked off when you laugh at them. But I've NEVER seen a dog that deliberately tries to make us laugh.


At 1/23/2006 2:28 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

Animals can be so wonderful for us. I'm glad your family has had Hairry. He sounds like he's really tuned into you guy and your feelings and needs. He really looks like a sweetie, too. :-)

At 1/23/2006 3:05 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

He's got a LOT of heart, Squirl!

At 1/23/2006 3:16 PM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

I LOVE dogs. Yours sounds very special. My partner does not like dogs. We were watching "Must Love Dogs" the other night and I said, "if I had put 'must love dogs' in a personal ad, would you have answered it?" She said, "never!" I said, "then you would be missing out on this wonderful relationship with me." At which point we had a long discussion about dogs and the people who love them. I don't kiss them, I don't let them in my bed, I prefer one dog in the family, two tops, and the dogs have to be well trained to behave. Given that, I think I'm pretty reasonable as dog lovers go, but nothing I say to her about my experiences growing up with dogs and the special bond you form with them can get through to her that dogs are great creatures. She's never been harmed by a dog, never had a dog in her family growing up, and even dog sits for friends on occasion. She just doesn't like them and doesn't get the attachment people have for them. Is this bizarre?

At 1/23/2006 3:27 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

VV, isn't it odd that we don't discuss this when starting a relationship? After we married, I found out that L was scared of large dogs. As you can see, I won him over on that one. ;)

At 1/23/2006 3:44 PM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

I'm with you - I love having dogs around. I have a Golden Retriever, Zoe, who I gave to my mom because she's simply not happy in an apartment. I miss her like crazy - she is the best dog I've ever had. She never tried to make me laugh, but I still refer to her as my daughter (and I'm her mom) because that's the attachment I feel towards her.

Dogs and other animals are proven to be therapeutic. They use animals (mostly dogs) all the time in nursing/long term care facilities. When I was in grad school, my friend did a study on equine therapy with children with severe disabilities. It was pretty amazing. You should check out the book "Marly and Me" - it's pretty recent. :-)

At 1/23/2006 4:22 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Notta, I had that kind of relationship with our last dog. I used to tell our daughter to put her sister out. This didn't go over well with the human daughter. ;)

I've seen projects with dolphins and autistic kids that have amazing results. I'll NEVER be convinced that animals don't have souls!

At 1/23/2006 6:05 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

I.adore.dogs! During my bad week at work, put up pics of collies on my computer. Instantly felt better.

OH YAH plus the trips to PetsMart. They let dogs in there, and ALL of them want to visit. On Sunday ran into two Newfoundlanders (black and black/white), a german shepard, a few I couldn't begin to identify, and saw two golden retriever pups in obedience school.

MAN I love doggies. And Hairry sounds very very special. LIke you I very much believe that animals have souls.


At 1/23/2006 6:18 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Bridg, Hairry would have a heyday in Petsmart! He loves EVERYBODY!
Not to mention, they let pets taste test food and treats.

At 1/23/2006 10:17 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Dogs are incredibly smart animals. Not only are they intelligent, but they read people better than people read themselves. Some folks hide from their emotions, and do a wonderful job at fooling other people. They still can't fool a dog, because dogs know.

That's really cool about Hairy.

My best dog died in '97. She was one of the best friends I've ever had. She knew exactly what I was feeling. She and I also had the same phobia - lightning.

for those who might laugh, go through a Texas lightning storm and you'll see why I'm scared of lightning. By the way, those surge protectors you buy don't work on Texas lightning storms.

At 1/23/2006 10:22 PM, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

I like to watch those shows about heroic animals. I think it is so telling about a dog's nature that they would risk their lives to save the life of their owner.
I'm with you--animals are theraputic and minister to us on so many levels; emotional and physical.

At 1/23/2006 10:55 PM, Blogger FunkyB said...

That is a very special pooch! My dog makes me laugh, but only because she's so stupid! She doesn't do it on purpose. That would require a food incentive.

At 1/24/2006 12:35 AM, Blogger MonicaR said...

I am not a dog person so I can understand where your partner is coming from VV.

I can't explain it.

I have to say that I now have several friends with dogs that I actually like. They have to be well trained - can't STAND a dog jumping all over me and slobbering all over my face! To get them to the place where they are well behaved is just too much work for me right now. Plus we live in a frigging row house with a postage stamp yard.

Now that I know a few dogs I actually like - I will consider getting one when the girls are older and we have a little bit of property for the dog to run around on...

At 1/24/2006 12:43 AM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

Pets are TOTALLY theraputic, and your Hairry sounds just wonderful.

I've had some very sensitive cats in my life. DO NOT LAUGH. Cats ARE sensitive!

When I was having a bad time with bullies in highschool and sequestered myself in my room to bawl, my faithful cat Percy would always come and cuddle with me, and I just knew by the look in his eyes that he was a compassionate soul. I'll never forget it.

At 1/24/2006 7:40 AM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

All this talk about doggies is making me miss my best friend "Max" who left in 2000. I was a reporter for a Little Rock paper at the time and they asked me to do a Sunday insert on his life, passing and what he meant to me and our family, but I was too raw at the time. I think maybe I'm ready now. I'll probably get a post out on him this weekend. Life doesn't feel whole without a dog in the family for me.

At 1/24/2006 9:09 AM, Blogger Laura said...

There's nothing like a dog to make you feel better. Even my cats know when I'm upset.

Anyone who thinks that animals are simply robots with no feelings or emotions are sorely mistaken. They just can't communicate them the same way we can. I think this is why stories of animal abuse make me madder than stories of people abuse. Animals are so trusting and innocent, and people take advantage of that.

He's a cutie!

At 1/24/2006 9:23 AM, Blogger SME said...

Boo was always really comforting when I was down, and Hairry seems to have that down pat, too. Way to go, Yella Fella!

At 1/24/2006 12:26 PM, Blogger European said...

Too cute!
I had guinea pigs growing up, and they always made me feel better when I was down.

At 1/24/2006 2:37 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

ZS, the first dog we had was a great judge of character. After a while we learned to trust his judgement. If Buddy didn't like somebody, we didn't like them. Saved us a lot of headaches.
I've seen videos of the hail in Texas. That was enough for me!
Fortunately Hairry isn't scared of thunderstorms. Z is paranoid about T-storms and Hairry helps comfort him through the storms.

I love those animal shows too, Sadie. The only one I can't watch is the animal rescue show. I get too mad seeing all those abused and neglected pets!

We've had pets like that too Robin. ;)

Monica, you MUST have a dog when your girlies hit the teen years. They're very comforting for the kids. PLUS, dogs make great alarms when your kids start dating. You ALWAYS know what time they get home and if they try to sneak out. ;)

WC, cats have a way of pegging everybody in the family. My mother-in-law has a pair of cats that actually attack anyone they see as a threat to her.

VV, when our dogs die, we go out the same day and get a puppy. We can't stand the emptiness of the house! Training a puppy always takes our mind off the grief.

Laura, you and I know that animals communicate quite well if we're tuned into their body language.
Speaking of abuse; I'll have to do a post on my parents dog. She's an abuse and neglect success story.

SME, yeah, she saw you through a LOT of rough times! Was it worth all the rocks she threw up on your bed?

Euro, meet rodent girl in the comment above you. She kept our house full of hamsters and rats. There wasn't enough space for guinea pigs in her room, or we'd have had them too.

At 1/24/2006 10:34 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Did I mention that I have a dog-crush on Hairry?

Tshsmom, I tagged you over at my place...this is a fun one...Bridg

At 1/25/2006 12:36 AM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Hey! I like cats! I know it's not the same thing.

My current cat is 18 years old. It wasn't until early last summer that she started losing a bit of spring to her step. She always slept with me and I loved it. She is very calming to me. They seem to be very 'knowing' - cats. She is now sleeping with my oldest daughter who is 9 yrs old. They both love each other beyond description!

At 1/25/2006 2:24 AM, Blogger SME said...

I forgive Boo for all the rocks she threw up at the foot of my bed. Though it was extremely gross.

At 1/25/2006 4:16 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

That's cool Monica! Cats are just as comforting for kids. Now you just have to train one to yowl when the girls come home at night, when they're teens. ;)

And I forgive you SME, for waking me up in the middle of the night to clean up the gross mess. ;)

At 1/25/2006 9:55 PM, Blogger Bhakti said...

Your dog sounds very special. And Z is very lucky to have such an intuitive friend!

My little Kitty Von Kitty always sleeps beside my neck on my pillow (I've actually given her a pillow of her own right next to mine, otherwise, she takes over the entire pillow and I end up twisting my neck in ways that I can't twist (cause of the neck surgery) and therefore wake up in the middle of the night!). She instinctively knows that my neck is hurt, and tries to protect it for me. She's such a doll. Sounds like her and hairy came from similar molds!!

At 1/26/2006 6:51 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Bhakti, there are times when I think our animals are far wiser than we are.


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