Here at Wootube we are not just a bunch of pretty dogfaces. We also offer life hacks! Today we’re going to talk about the best way to Jimmy Hoffa your super old dog and get away with it.
First, pick a nice day to take your pack of incorrigible hooligans for a walk along the river. Don’t bring any human friends with you, because those are witnesses and they may testify against you later (although this life hack also works for getting rid of unwanted friends!). Now the timing of this walk is very important, so plan accordingly – choose a year following catastrophic floods in an area that was once upon a time under water but was unwisely drained by stupid humans 100 years ago for the purpose of creating farm land, and these waters that want very much to reclaim their homeland are kept at bay by some piddly little pumps that are way past their expiry date and too expensive to replace. A wet, cool Spring after this flooding event is ideal because it keeps the ground nice and moist, which is an integral part of your grand design. BUT pick the first really warm day of the year for this walk, and make sure you have not yet shaved down your super old dog, so he is all too-hot hair and yeti feet, and still a little achy with winter weather arthritis.
Drive this hairy-footed elder and his annoying, car-whining pals out to this river, and park as far away from where you’re going to Do The Deed as possible, to ensure he’s tired and thirsty when you arrive at your destination. Be sure to stop along the way and take a photo of a random blue heron that saw you all coming and went “well shit” and took off for dog-free waters.
Walk for a good 20 minutes at a decent clip and curse yourself for wearing a flannel hoodie in 18 degree weather LIKE AN IDIOT. Then when you finally reach the part of the river where you can walk right down to the water, half heartedly say “hey no don’t go down there silly” and then watch your 16.5 year old dog hobble down into the water to get a drink.
Now remember it’s been gross and rainy off and on for months, so all the extra silt and mud that got washed up onto the banks during the flood has had no time to dry out. This muck, which LOOKS dry to the casual observer, will be your friend in this dastardly endeavor. In reality, it’s actually basically quicksand and your old, thirsty dog is going to GET STUCK IN IT after wading into about 2 inches of river. It will look something like this:
At first he won’t notice, because he’s way too busy quenching his thirst and thinking evil thoughts about you for making him come on this walk in the first place. This is your opportunity to casually pull the Chuck-It out of your bag and start whipping balls around so MAISIE THE BALL-OBSESSED SUPER IRRITANT WITH THE SHRIEKY NON STOP BARK will stop bothering you, and walk away. Eventually, your ancient dog will decide he is damn good and ready to follow you and will attempt to escape the mud prison he is mired in up to this chest, only to discover his youth has abandoned him and he can’t move his legs.
This is where you must steel your resolve, for upon discovering the quicksand is going to suck him down into the depths of hell where he belongs, he will begin to WAIL. The wailing will echo around the mountains that border the river and sing his tale of woe to any and all passerby. This is a problem, because you picked a nice day and there are lots of cyclists up on the dyke behind you, and they’re going to stop and take a look to see what’s happening. Your plan is foiled, and you have no choice but to go back and retrieve your pitiful stuck-in-the-mud.
It’s a good thing I wore my Muck Boots, because those things are tall AND they hate to come off – like I have literally given myself a charlie horse more than once trying to disengage them from my legs. Because I walked down to the river to rescue Wootie and sunk right in almost to the top of my boots. I hauled him out by the collar (while he screamed at me) and sorta slid him across the mud to higher ground. Then through a combination of contortion, foul language and the assistance of a downed tree, I managed to eventually haul myself outta there too, though it was touch and go a couple of times, where I almost left my boots behind, even though they are are preternaturally fused to my calves. It was the best workout I’ve had in a long time. 2/10 do not recommend though. That muddy silt is like glue and even after we wandered over to the a more stable part of the river and I stood in it so deep a little water crept in the tops and made my feet all wet, that damn mud is still stuck to my boots.
Wootie was not too happy with the impromptu crossfit session.
But we went to the other river bank, which has sand and gravel instead of quicksand, and finally got his drink. That quicksand, incidentally, is still mostly adhered to his legs and stomach as well.
I know I say this often, but it really can’t be overstated – I feel so lucky every day of my life that at over 16 years of age, Mr. Woo can still get himself into predicaments like this, by virtue of being mostly immortal. I don’t know too many other dogs his age that can go on a two-hour excursion to the river, nearly get sucked into Middle Earth by demon-sand, and still muster up the energy to play a little fetch.
I should have named him Grit. He really is astonishing; he just keeps going and going. For his age, he is really remarkable. He is aging so slowly that sometimes I forget that, oh, 14 years ago THIS was the Wootie I lived with:
He just slows down at glacial speed – I simultaneously forget he was ever young, and forget that he is actually old.
My other old dog is having a tough time of it these days. He has what Dr. Tanya called “significant arthritis in spine and shoulders.” I guess going 110% for almost 13 years will do that to a dog. Poor old guy. He doesn’t run match faster for the ball than Wootie does and getting up and down is really hard for him these days.
The worst for him is getting in and out of the van – he’s my biggest dog, so he only fits in the big double crate in the back, but that’s the highest entry point and he has a hell of a time getting in. He has do this big nervous circle and then take a run at it (it’s kinda of funny at first, because it sorta looks like he’s trying to sneak up on the crate) and then he launches himself in, with varying degrees of success. Sometimes he misses and smashes his face into the bumper. Sometimes he crashes into the back of the crate because he overshoots. Today he launched himself in and his front half crumpled like a bag of potato chips and he whacked his back on the doorframe of the crate. It must have hurt because he was too sore to turn around and spent the whole ride home with his face crammed up against the back of the crate. I am thinking of giving the ole credit card a work out and installing a hitch and those twist hitch steps so he can climb in without braining himself. I can’t use a ramp because there is literally nowhere to put one in the van to carry it around.
At this rate, Wootie may outlast Dexter :(
I cannot explain this, and after all these years, I have given up trying.
I love my dogs, but they are NOT RELAXING to take places. Keeping track of them all is a full time job in and of itself, and half of them cannot resist running after things they deem interesting, which includes virtually all people and dogs they espy. And by half of them, I mean all the ones under 30 lbs. Like how come the smaller they are, the more annoying they have to be? Are they overcompensating for their diminutive statures? You would think after all this time, and all the places they have gone, they would have developed some chill, BUT THEY HAVE NOT. Sometimes their excitement and momentum carries empty-headed Peetie along with them, and Maisie might half heartedly join them, but if it weren’t for tiny, reactive little turdfaces, walks would be a lot more enjoyable. The constant scanning of the horizon I have to do so I can distract them before they try to metaphysically en masse engulf some more person out for a casual stroll with their dog means I can’t get as many photos on solo trips as I’d like.
But for the better part of our outing today, the river was other-dog-and-people-free and we managed a few cautious moments of serenity on a warm, sunny day off.
(Okay this one was not serenity, this was Winter knowing he was about to get in shit for shooting off after a dog that came down to the river, and then getting into a fight with that dog, who apparently is “weird about her little ball.” Because I already told him to leave her alone, and he decided to test her mettle anyway. Jerk)
Winter is doing great after his bum-bum bump beheading. I think I said this on facebook already, but the growth was called a perianal gland epithelioma, which is apparently low grade by malignant (<– that’s my basic personality, oddly) and is cured by removal. And since Dr. Tanya removed it all with nice clean margins, it won’t return and did not have the chance to spread. For a little porker, he is surprisingly bendy and he did some Cirque de Soleil level contortions to lick his booboo even with his cone on, so I put Peetie’s period panties on him, and that put an end (haha) to that. It didn’t take but a couple of days to heal up and he was good to go like nothing ever happened. Cheap at twice the price!*
(*Narrator: that was a lie. It was not cheap at even the original price)
After an hour and a half of swimming in the river and fighting the current, the Three Tweakers were still ready to rumble, arthritis not withstanding – they would have happily played for another three hours, I’m sure.
But Wootie was too tired to even remain upright for the obligatory (although kinda phoned in) group photo, so I made an executive decision to call it a day.
The rest of the evening calls for popcorn, which I may or may not share, and a movie I think. I did stop at the pet store on the way home and bought some dog shampoo, but I’m not feeling sufficiently motivated today to bathe Mr. Woo, so instead I am just going to be grateful that he is too old to haul his muddy self onto the furniture.