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Toto Turns 5!

Toto-lee Cairn

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We mark 5 -- count 'em! -- five years with this little boy that came home with me at 13 weeks (and that was after jumping into my lap and proceeding to nip me on my nose!).  His birthday is May 24th, the day after my husband's, which is pretty funny (for us).  George doesn't like celebrating his, particularly,  so Toto gets most all of the attention for two consecutive days, all of the treats, birthday wishes, and a special meal and present.  Lest you think he's spoiled, or sum 'fin, I won't mention that the 23rd-24th is the highlight of a month of 'So, who's the Birthday Boy?'

And what has changed?  Well, he has become what most here say, 'is the best little pal in the world.'  

Give or take.

As I try to share with you, Toto is fairly perturbed that I have the laptop in, of course, my lap, and am only intermittently throwing a ball across the porch for him.  Never mind we have been playing ball since he went out earlier, and had his breakfast.  Or that I played ball with him, and Dad played ball with him, and then he, Toto, decided he needed a break and proceeded to work the ball over, pulling the fuzz off it and trying to pop the seam like he likes to do.  (So, I got him 3 Kong tennis-style-balls to see if they'd last longer, and there is now fuzz on the porch where he worked-it-over pretty good, already).  Brand-new ball now looks all-the-worse-for-the-wear.

We have settled-in to a great routine of most things Toto but then, he is here with me all day and what else do I ever have to do except pay attention to him?

And I am crazy about the little guy.

He follows me foot-for-foot, and I can only assume he is trying to be of help when he insists on getting in the middle of things.  The middle of my making up the bed.  The middle of the kitchen as I try to out-manuever him so I can cook, or empty the dishwasher.  The middle of a room as I try to vacuum or dust.  And lest I try to distract him by suggesting he play with a toy, or get his ball, he's right there in the middle of *whatever.*  The most fun, for him at least, is getting in the middle of working in the yard -- the middle of a pile of leaves I rake, the middle of a hole where I intend to plant something, and his favorite -- the middle of my efforts to water with the hose.  Hates a bath, mind you, but looks like the very devil incarnate fighting with the hose.  And then is perturbed when I bathe him afterwards.  But, I mean, he's already soaking wet so I really don't understand the fight he puts up then with me.

After we lost Rupert, the Weimaraner, the first of the year, I found I could do some things with Toto, a little easier.  Like accompany me on errands.  He likes car ride, and I've had to work with him on the notion that just because Mama picks up her pocketbook, and heads to the garage door, doesn't necessarily mean Toto is the 'coach  dog.'  He's been accustomed now to it being the two of us, and he stays close, even in the yard (which is not fenced) but I am careful not to take unnecessary chances with him as he has absolutely no car sense, and if I try to let him accompany me to the mailbox out front, he is inclined to want to cross the street to check-out the neighborhood news at the fire hydrant.  Sometimes the messages left on our bushes at the end of the drive suffice, but not always.  Pisses him off, pardon my language, that his bushes get pissed-on, again! pardonez-moi, until he'll lift his leg until it's just wishful thinking.

We nap like a pair of kindergartners after lunch (for me, begging time for him) and I'll read with him at the foot of the bed.  He enjoys either napping or watching the squirrels or crows or flies in the backyard.  I have to make sure he avoids the jalapeno bugs if he encounters one -- bees, and the like.  He's such a scaredy-cat until if a large leaf blows across the walkway, he jumps.  He touches a toad with his nose, and when the toad hops, Toto hops backwards.  He likes to confront the deer, but I can only imagine it's that stand-off of "Oh, yeah? Well, my Mama . . ." because if one snorts or stamps his feet or moves towards him, Toto is behind me and just between my legs.  I try to point out to him, "I don't have a dog in this fight," until I realize, well, actually I do. 

And so, I not onlt have the Tshirt but can prove it -- Life is Good.


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Happy Birthday (almost), Toto!

I love how Cairn's are always "in the middle" of everything! It sounds like you are both living the best life!

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Thank you for the nice responses, and the birthday salutations for 'the best little pal in the world.' 

He sits here, surveying his backyard domain, the crows cawing, the hum of vehicles on the busy-twice-a-day road behind the house, the birds singing, feeding, and bathing in a birdbath in the flowerbed below.  The porch is actually at the 2nd story level because of the slope of the lot, so he has a wonderful vantage point, for espying on everything, and raising Cain if a squirrel steps into the yard, or the deer follow their daily migratory path through the woods behind our house to those of our neighbors. 

Toto has been up, and at 'em, for well over an hour now -- gone out to take care of business, smell the entire back edges of the yard -- twice -- left his calling card everywhere he could lift a leg, had breakfast, gotten scratches from Dad, thought about playing ball but is content on the foot stool beside my feet.  I have to shift my legs, trying to put them in a position where he can't put all of his 20 lbs. on my shins, or lick my legs until they become tender.  He especially likes the small patch of psoriasis on the sole of my left foot, and I've mentioned that to both his vet and my dermatologist, but neither has thought it a problem for him, or for me.  Crazy thing is, his licking helps if the patch is itching.  What is in a dog's saliva?  I wonder.

And so we three enjoy a quiet start to the day, with the sun only up for maybe two hours.  It is peaceful, and q-u-i-e-t until Toto admonishes a squirrel, a deer, or a crow for daring to come into what Toto deems as his space, or a motorcycle or work truck makes obnoxious noises beyond the patch of woods.  Once the school year ends, it will be a little quieter on the road but it will become gradually too hot, even that early in the morning, to try to sit on the porch.  Hot and worse, humid.

The routine will change a bit.  Our mornings will move to the early light in the library on the front of the house, or perhaps the family room between it and the porch on the back.  I'll aim for throwing the ball, and avoiding everything breakable if I can.  The ball and Toto's slobber leave marks on the walls where the ball ricochets, and my favorite feat is to get the ball up, overhead, so he is racing up and down the stairs.  When I run the vacuum, and use the wand to get under the too-big-to move pieces of furniture, it will be akin to Toto in a ball cage at say, Chucky Cheese's, when the balls are dislodged.

Life continues to be good, as the Tshirt claims.

You, my Cairn site pals, are kind to respond to my ramblings, and I'll pass along the birthday wishes to my 'main man,' as I call him.  Toto, not George.

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