Sunday, November 08, 2009


This elderly white Schnauzer is Tessa. She belongs to my parents, but since Pop's in the hospital, Tess has been staying with us.

Tessa is a special-needs dog. Ten years ago or so, she had a litter of adorable pups, and not long afterward became very ill and nearly died. During that illness, her brains and her eyes were damaged permanently, leaving her mostly blind and very definitely retarded.

She has a teeny bit of vision at the edge of one eye, so she spins in circles to orient herself. Her perceptions are skewed, however, so she loses her way and can't go in a straight line anywhere. To go outside, she has to be carried to the door and placed in the yard.

She isn't able to eat enough, so we supplement her diet with some moist dog food in a pouch. She loses track of this if you put it down too quickly, and Bijou would reeeeeaaaally like to get her jaws around this yummy stuff, so we have to keep a close eye while she's consuming it.

Mostly during the day, because she's elderly and infirm, she just sits curled up on her bed pad in the living room. We have long joked that she's really just a step beyond a stuffed-animal dog, and that's kinda true. She does have a little bit of her sweet and funny personality still left, though. Once in a while she'll get out of bed and walk in circles around the living room... usually this means she needs to go to the bathroom, but sometimes she does it even when she's been outside. This is my cue that she wants some snuggles and attention, so I walk over there and she stops turning circles and actually jumps up on me. Mom and I have very similar voice-boxes, so we think that I probably smell and sound close enough to Mom that I'll do in a pinch. She likes to smell your breath to find out what you just ate. She never EVER barks unless she's really quite excited, which doesn't happen often because she's an old lady dog and not much excites her nowadays.

The cat has been humorous about her; he sits in wait and tries to alarm her by sneaking up on her, which usually works. He's got a tremendous sense of humor for a kitteh; he knows she's "not all there" and takes full advantage of this fact when it suits him. Fortunately for Tessa, he's also a lazy kitteh and doesn't bother her too much.

Mom says they might be letting Pop out of the hospital this week. Keep your fingers crossed! Tessa isn't much of an imposition on us, but I know that it will be a relief for Pop and Mom to be in their own home and sleeping in their own bed.

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