Thursday, May 5, 2011


This is our dog Keesa. Phil picked her out from a shelter during a summer break from college.

You see, he accused us of killing the two dogs we had when he started college, Cocoa and Tiffany. We didn't really. He was lucky that he was able to spend almost his entire childhood with them. It was just their time.

In any case, by the time he finished his sophomore year he came home to a house empty of dogs. He quickly remedied that by traveling to different shelters in the area and finding a non-shedding dog (MY requirement).

He couldn't bring her home the day he found her and asked me to pick her up a few days later while he was working. No problem! Until I got there and found out he also hadn't paid the fees yet.

He also hadn't named her. The shelter said she was a stray and had no information on her. They estimated that she was 6 months old. She was a real fur-ball - white with brown ears. She immediately reminded me of those little creatures from Star Wars - Return of the Jedi, the ewoks. Phil love ewoks when he was little. He had little ewok figures, ewok cartoons, and ewok books. On the drive home I seemed to remember an ewok named Keesa so that became her name.

She is the size and shape of a cocker spaniel. But with the white fur, the shelter thought she was part cocker and part poodle. Though once we got her groomed for the first time, I along with the groomer and the vet realized that was not poodle fur but bichon fur. So she was not a cocka-poo after all. We couldn't find a name for her breed so I coined that as well. Keesa was our very own Cocky Biche!

Like everybody, Keesa has her idiosyncrasies. For one thing, she loves to "nest" like in the photo above. She loves dog beds, preferably with sides. And each bed must have a blanket or towel in it.

She has turned curling up in bed into a long routine. First, after climbing into the bed, she scratches at the blanket to wad it all up together. Then she pushes with her nose to position it just the way she wants it. Then she'll try laying on it. And if it doesn't feel right she'll go through the whole ritual again until it is.

But the blankets don't always stay in the beds. If Keesa decides she wants to sleep somewhere there isn't a bed, she will pull the nearest blanket in her teeth to her place of choice. Which is often in the middle of a room. Then she will go through her ritual getting the blanket situated just as she likes it.

Of course when her nap is done, the blanket gets left where it was. Until one of two things happen. Either we trip over it and then pick it up and put it back in her bed. OR, she wants to sleep back in the now blanketless bed. This causes her much frustration which she communicates to us by scratching at the bed as hard and loudly as she can while crying just as loudly. To quiet her, we of course find the missing blanket and return it to her bed for her. And you know the rest.

One other benefit to having the blanket or towel, they are her favorite chew toys. She has never liked "dog toys" either hard or soft. But once she has claimed a blanket or towel as her own, it soon also becomes a victim to her chewing.

And she doesn't chew on the sides. No she prefers to chew on a wad of the blanket. She chews until she has chewed out about a two inch circle of fabric. Which she spits out and leaves on the floor. These require being picked up from the floor and blankets that appear to have been attacked by huge moths.

We are lucky that she reserves all of this for what she determines are her blankets. She doesn't like piles of dirty laundry at all. You might occasionally find that Keesa has taken advantage of the clean laundry you've dumped on the bed or couch intending to fold. But unless you allow her to lay on something several times, she seems to know not to adopt it for chewing or nesting.

What inspired me to write this is her annoying habit of letting you know where she wants a bed to be placed. Keesa doesn't have one or two beds. At this moment she has five. Like everyone, there are places in the house that Joe and I tend to use more than others. And Keesa likes to be with us especially in those places. She'd also prefer a bed in those places. She lets you know by doing her very loud scratching and crying on the bare carpet or floor. We try to be stern and tell her to stop it, but the next time we're in the same position, she does the same thing.

So Keesa has beds in the kitchen, dining room, family room, our bedroom and under Joe's desk. But Joe remarked just the other day that she needs one more. With my MS causing me restless and sleepless nights, Joe has decided to sleep more peacefully in the guest room. Keesa has of course let him know that she now requires a bed there as well.

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