Friday, February 20, 2009

Holy Cairn

Normally aloof and bossy with puppies, Rip borders on openly contemptuous. He is just way too active and ill-mannered for her taste. Rippy reminds me a lot of my old German shepherd Reva in some ways -- gentle, ladylike and innately maternal.

Puppy has a strange sort of head tic when I pick him up and hold him facing me. His head bobs, flipping down toward his shoulder, first in one direction, then the other. His eyes are black and they stare blankly without expression. When I talk to him, his ears perk up, but his eyes register nothing. His nose will twitch and he will sniff in my direction as his head wavers unsteadily, but it is almost as if he can't really focus on me, or doesn't get it. I decide to do this exercise with him often, just hold him up and talk to him, seeing if anyone is in there.

It might sound kind of funny, but this brings back memories of my little sis Amanda when she was a baby. Amanda has Down's syndrome, and when she was really small she couldn't hold her head up. Her neck muscles were so weak that her head would kind of flop and roll after just a few moments' effort. My dad took her every day, and stood her on his lap, holding her hands, and would rock her in the rocking chair and sing to her. This forced her neck to work and before too much time, she could hold her head up.

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