Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Big Estrelas don't cry

This weekend, in order to get some much-needed pampering from my humans, I decided to milk an injury.

The plan came to me out of the blue, really. The Mulan special edition DVD, one of my favorite movies, has a song on it called "Keep 'em Guessing" (it was not in the theatrical release, it's in the bonus features). Ok, that's not really one of my favorite movies, but someone put it in the "Lassie Come Home" case and I accidentally started watching it and then I had to see how it ended and you know how I am a sucker for those "making of" featurettes. Anyway, the song is rather catchy and got stuck in my head that night. I think it was an idea awaiting an opportunity.

Well the opportunity came Sunday. And it was good timing, too. Saturday the humans took two of the big dumb wolfhounds out for what I still think is not really what they say it is. The wolfhounds say they go for a long ride and then get loved up by hundreds of people at a so-called "Irish Festival" but I know it can't be anything that good. Anyway, just in case they did do something enjoyable on Saturday, it turned out Sunday would be the perfect time to put my plan into motion.

As my agent started to walk me out to my duck-guarding post after breakfast, I suddenly sat down and started crying as if in great pain. I bit at the leash and jumped around a lot. My agent tried to calm me down. He led me into the garage and took the leash off and was petting me all over, checking me for sore spots and giving me a good massage in the process. Ah, my plan was starting to work already! But I had to keep making it good. My favorite human came running looking very worried. I knew my shrieks were convincing, but this was better than I expected! She too started paying tons of attention to me.

See, this is where "keep 'em guessing" comes in. I couldn't let them know where it hurt, because then they would have taken care of it and most of the fussing would have stopped right there. No, while there was a mystery they would be forced to check on me a lot, make me feel comfortable, give me treats, etc.

My agent seemed to think it was my neck. You see, Saturday night when it was suppertime, I did bolt from my duck-guarding pen, pulling the leash quite tight around the fencepost, and almost knocking myself down in the process (yes, I knew I had the leash on and it would restrain me... I just like doing this so my agent knows how hungry I am). Since I was on the leash when I started yelping Sunday morning, it was easy for him to imagine I had pulled something Saturday night and you know how sore muscles usually show up hours after the actual injury. Well, I do this quite often and it really doesn't hurt, so he was way off track (just the way I wanted it).

My favorite human concentrated a lot on my back end. She kept feeling my hips, looking for sore spots. She looked intently at the bottoms of all my feet. Both of the humans kept petting me all over. It was important that I not give away the secret though. A peep I did not make through all of this.

Back on the leash I went, and a few whines as we walked around reinforced the fact that I hurt and I needed some attention! They checked on me several times throughout the day. They did not, however, bring me in the house. I put on the most pitiful look I could every time I saw them. My "please make me feel better" look. Oh, you should have seen it; it was masterful.

Monday I felt a little better so it was hard to keep up the pitifulness to the same degree, but I still let them know I was not all better. Soon I was finding myself in the van, going for a ride. I knew I was going to that place where I get adored (I know that is not very descriptive, since I get adored everyplace I go) and sometimes get shots. This was going to be good. A waiting room to get admired in, vet techs to pet me, and somebody to give me a very thorough going-over. I was also hopeful, given the neck thing, that they would let me roam freely in the back of the van (they had the back seat out and everything). But unfortunately they instead put a pen in and made me go in it.

By the time we got out of the van, I knew the jig would soon be up because I saw the blood on my blanket. Still, I kept up appearances to maximize the potential for attention-getting. And it wasn't long before the wound on the top of my paw was located and shaved and checked out and cleaned up. I even got to see a picture of the bones inside my paw. That was pretty cool. They should take a picture like that of my stomach sometime. I want to see what food, good towels, sponges, and other items look like in there.

So then last night I got to sleep in the house. The humans made me soak my paw in warm water. I got several biscuits and lots of relieved petting. I am hoping they keep this up for a few more days.

A big dumb wolfhound would never have thought of "keep 'em guessing." It would have held up its paw and whined, or limped on it. An Estrela would only do that kind of thing in very extreme cases, because we must still do our jobs even in the face of pain. And in my case, you can see that I got extra attention by being mysterious (hey, it did hurt when I shifted my weight on it!). Had my favorite human found that boo-boo on Sunday, I might not even have gotten to go to the "shots&attention" place at all! Or even if they had taken me, I'm sure there wouldn't have been as much concerned affection forthcoming from the humans in the interim.

Now, there is still the mystery of where I got this injury. I'm not saying. The humans are going to have to figure it out. Personally I think there is some maliciousness involved on the part of the toads. Last night while I was inside I heard my humans say there was a big toad on the front step of the house. Checking on me, no doubt. He probably hopped off to tell his cohorts that their plan failed and I was not dead. They better watch out. When news of this gets out, there will be some mighty hurtin' toads if they are not careful.

Oh, and about the title of this post. I did not mean it exactly literally. What I meant was a big Estrela with a hurt paw doesn't hold it up and sob like a little child who needs a band-aid!