Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dogs on Tuesday - Rose (late again)

Didn’t think I’d end up with another version of Dogs, seeing as how we are now down to singular Buster, but I dug through some old photo albums and found a few pictures of our previous love, Rosarita. We were living in Temecula, at that time a small town an hour north of San Diego with a population of about 2,000. We moved there from Los Angeles because of the houses - I am a computer programmer, and had started working for Xerox back in Rochester New York when I left college up there. I had been out to California when in the Navy, and wanted to leave that place of cold and snow for sunnier climes. I told my new boss that he could have me for a year, and then I would be moving west. My first job was to help Motorola convert their software over to a new Xerox computer, so I was sent out to sunny Phoenix Arizona for a six month tour. My return flight, when the task was completed, into Rochester was in mid January, and we were diverted elsewhere because the Rochester airport was closed because of snow and high winds. Finally arriving back, after leaving warm Phoenix, I told my boss that it looked like he might not get a full year from me. Fortunately our group was getting more west coast business, so four of us were sent out to LA to open a new group office there, getting space in the Xerox computer manufacturing facility in Manhattan Beach. When Xerox decided to stop making computers there were about four thousand of us facing locked doors one morning, and then looking for work elsewhere.

The need for programmers was pretty high, so I proceeded to look all over the state for my next job. Unfortunately we chose Temecula because the house prices were so low, and there were some gorgeous new homes that B fell in love with. I say unfortunate because it was a newly built up area, and the nearest computer jobs were an hour commute over windy two lane roads. We lasted there for ten years, me commuting for hours every day, until I talked B into moving to San Diego, where most of my jobs had been. During those ten years there one of the guys I was working with at NCR had a business on the side, and since I could use a little extra money we decided to work with him. Yes, B and I became Amway distributors, working our way up to Direct Distributor and pulling in some money. I credit that stint with my finally being able to stand up in front of people and talk. Up until then I was like most computer geeks, happy to hide in my cubicle and interact with my computer (kind of like right now), and was not good at presentations or talking to others. I slowly learned to stand up in front of groups, and as a result later became president of the San Diego Computer Society and giving talks in front of a thousand people at our meetings, which did lead to a fair number of jobs and some pretty good income at times.

What does this have to do with dogs? Well, B used to visit a customer up in Hemet, our nearest big town about thirty miles north. When she got home she used to talk about this strange little creature that would hide under end tables and complain about her being there, once in a while venturing out to bite her ankles. This customer eventually decided to move out, and travel the world for a few years, and asked B if she wanted her little creature. After discussions we brought home Rosarita, a long haired Chihuahua. Rose weighed in at a whopping four pounds, and was always a nervous high strung barking little thing.

Rose had the typical Chihuahua bulging eyes (like Buster) and shape, but having longer hair was slightly different. This long hair wasn’t nice and flowing like on Lassie, but grey and wiry, sticking up in all directions. Sorry I don’t have any good pictures, but being before the days of electronic cameras I am left with scanning some fading photographs.

Impressive looking, wasn’t she? Yes, that’s full grown, she was probably 8 years old in these pictures. She was too short to jump up onto the couch or bed, so we had a series of pillows or hassocks for her to work her way up. This was fortunate, as being so small we were able to keep her sleeping in her own little bed on the floor rather than joining us in ours, from fear of rolling over on top of her. She was always cold, and so we put hot pads under her bed and always kept them warmed up. Especially after we moved to San Diego, where it always seemed cool. I don’t know how little dogs would survive in snow country. But in both Temecula and after moving to San Diego we put little doggie doors that lead to our back yard, and she was able to get outside on her own. Rose lived with us for about fourteen years and was just a joy, always wanting to be held and was really in love with B. Her favorite place was up on a pillow on the couch in the front room, where she could look out the window and see what was going on outside.

Back to current day, Buster is now about 19 (we got him at the pound fifteen years ago), and a vet at that time thought he was four. He spends most of his days sleeping, the rest of the time he just wanders around bumping into things. He lost his left eye a few months ago, and has cataracts in his right eye, so we think he can only distinguish light and dark shapes. He is continually bumping into things, we can hear a distinctive thump as he hits the cabinets in the kitchen, and when he is lost among the chair and table legs as well. Outside he tends to walk in the direction of his good eye, and this is lost in the middle of the yard wandering in circles. When we leave the house he does go out the doggie door, which he can eventually find, but he ends up in the middle of the yard not able to find his way back in. Since it’s now summer and over 100f outside we don’t want him out there wandering for hours and end up getting heat stroke, so we have to close off the door when we leave and face him being stuck in the house for hours and do the cleanup.

We just got a new refrigerator (you should have read about that) and changed from a white one to a stainless steel one. It seems to have confused him, because he was used to something different being right there. Now we find him standing nose to refrigerator just standing there for extended periods. I know he can’t see well enough to make out a reflected dog shape, and have no idea what is going on in that little old man brain of his. But we often find him there.

Most of the time he sleeps. And as he is now without many of his teeth, including the front ones, his little tongue just doesn’t always stay in his mouth when sleeping. We put towels on the couches he likes to frequent, to keep them a little cleaner, and usually he is on the couch in the TV room, just snoring away.

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