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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tucker, One Year Later

Tucker, Terrier at Large
At Camp Bow Wow, they call him “the gentleman.” At home, I believe Jasper and Lilah refer to him as “the brat.” And I’ve had it on good authority that Dawn and Athena call him “That Dog”—as in, “Crap! It’s That Dog again.”

Lilah as a pillow for her brother.

I’m talking about Tucker, the scruffy terrier mix who came to live with us in March 2011.  (Feel free to read the story of how he joined us.)  When my three dogs are together (which is nearly always), they look like a color-coordinated set. Jasper is tan and silver with touches of black--somewhat like a light German Shepherd, Lilah is obsidian-black, and Tucker is an interesting combination of all of that. Imagine an Airedale Terrier, but shrink him down a bit, and lighten the black saddle. Then mix in some foxhound, particularly on his chest, which features tans and golds and white. Give him the scruffy fur of a terrier, but the build and face of the hound, including a very, very long tail that's black on top, tan on the bottom and has just a hint of white at the very tip, like he must have wagged it into a recently whitewashed fence.

Lilah, Tucker and Jasper. You can see the hound markings on Tucker's chest in this picture.

We’ve gotten to know a lot about Mr. Tucker in the year he’s been part of the family, but there’s still a hint of mystery about him—a touch of inscrutability that makes him seem just a tad hard to read.  Perhaps it’s because he’s still a young lad—actually a teenager in dog years—and his personality continues to develop. It’s often much harder to tell what Tucker is thinking than Jasper and even Lilah.

Brothers: Jasper and Tucker.

Play Ball
That said, there’s plenty about Tucker that is right up front.  For example, the dog loves to Play Ball. Loves. To Play. Ball. 

Tucker with the Ball.

Or maybe “play” isn’t quite the right word. Our other terrier, Rosie, loved to Play Ball; I think she enjoyed the sport of it, the chase, the feel of the Ball in her mouth, the Squeaky Squeaky sound of a brand new Ball. But to Tucker, Ball is more of an obsession. Corinne calls it his crack habit (not to make light of the serious human illness of addiction). Tucker will chase a Ball until he collapses; actually, we’ve never tested the theory because we are afraid it might be true. Throw the Ball and he’ll bring it back. Throw the Ball. He’ll bring it back. Now fast forward to the nth time you’ve thrown the Ball: there’s Tucker with his tongue hanging out nearly to his knees, eyes squinty, chest heaving as he pants around the Ball in his mouth. “Just one more. Just one. I can quit any time. Just throw it. One. More. Time.” Of course, he’ll bring it right back again. 

Bringing it back.

Sometimes, Tucker will take a brief break. He’ll lie in some cool patch under a bush. “See? I can take a break. I can quit.” Pause for about 30 to 45 seconds. “Wait. Wait! Throw it again. C’mon. Throw it. Again. Must. Chase. Ball.” 

"I can quit any time." Tucker relaxes in the cool shade of a rhododendron, with Ball at hand/paw.

The only way to stop him is to take away the Ball, or go inside (of course we have Inside Balls as well, so the game can continue) or simply do your best to ignore him. 

Tucker with his Inside Ball, taking a mini-break before requesting another Throw.

If he thinks you're not paying enough attention, Tucker will invent his own Game. One of his favorites is Roll the Ball Under the Hot Tub Steps and Try to Get it. This is endlessly amusing (though not as much fun as Chasing), because sometimes the Ball is out of Reach and then you have to Ponder how to get it. Reach a paw between the stairs? Stick your head underneath? You have to be careful because you might knock it the wrong way and make it harder to Get.

Getting the Ball from under the Stairs.

However, when Tucker Insists on chasing the Ball (which is most often), he will repeatedly pick up and throw the ball at you until you give in. That action, by the way, combined with his love of Ball, made it spectacularly easy to teach Tucker to put his Ball in a container—like a bucket or basket. 

The learning process went something like this: I put a large pottery bowl next to me outside on the deck. Tucker kept throwing the Ball at me, but I didn't pick it up. After what must have seemed like decades of me Not Throwing the Ball (which was really more like two minutes), he accidentally dropped it into the bowl. I told  him "Yes! Good dog!" and I picked it up and threw it. It took him about three tries to realize the Ball will only get thrown if he put it in the bowl. After that, it took him about two more tries to figure out the same rule applies to any container I indicate when he has a Ball. 

Putting The Ball in the bucket; sometimes you have to stare at it after you put it in to make sure it's been done correctly. Otherwise Someone might not Throw the Ball.

This makes it much easier when I’m outside to use my super duper handy dandy Ball thrower, which enables me to throw the shlorby, sloppy, slobbery, muddy Ball without actually touching it. I just grab the Ball from the bucket with the thrower and not only do I not have to uck up my hands, but the leverage from the thrower helps me toss the Ball much further than I would normally.

The Tucker Games
Tucker does do non-Ball-related playing as well. He loves to tug, and is always the first to join in when I’m playing with a Pelt (what’s left of a stuffed animal after it’s been disemboweled) with Jasper or Lilah. Though sometimes, he just carries a Pelt Piece around hoping someone will tug it or throw it for him. (Hey, even if it’s not a Ball, you can still Chase it.)

Tucker and a Pelt, which, while not a Ball, is still fun to chase.

Another favorite game of Tucker’s is Stare at the Cat. Which often turns into a fun event called Pounce the Cat. Or better yet, Chase the Cat. Let’s get specific for a moment, though. By Cat, I really mean Athena. (Dawn usually keeps a respectful distance, rarely looking at Tucker; though at Dinner time, everything changes and she’ll rub anyone—even Tucker.) The Stare/Pounce/Chase Game nearly always involves Athena. We aren't exactly certain how Athena feels about it, but we’re laying our money on the idea that she actually likes it. She seems to instigate it, even. And while Athena could easily run to safer ground when the Chase starts, she usually finds a place just out of Tucker reach. Thus turning the game into Stare/Pounce/Chase/Hiss/Swat (the latter two parts belonging to Athena.) 

Athena and Tucker playing the Swat part of The Game.

We all believe that the two of them—Athena and Tucker—have some kind of Thing Going On. They both seem to enjoy The Game, and nobody has gotten hurt. Though I do keep a careful eye on them and put a stop to The Game relatively quickly; I don’t want someone to get hurt by mistake.

Tucker has a very different relationship with Dawn; there's no chasing, hissing or swatting. Here, he is her a kiss while she sits on Aaron's lap.

When he’s not Chasing Cats or Playing Ball, Tucker loves to pester…umm, play with…his brother and sister. He plays very rough with them; I’ve seen him drag Lilah across the yard by her ear.  And he barks at Jasper until the poor Moose feels he has no option but to respond with woofs of his own. Lilah is quite tolerant of Tucker’s shenanigans; she’ll let him bite her, gnaw on her, chase her—until she’s had enough, and with a few loud barks and some strategic growls, along with some champion wrestling moves, she’ll have Tucker on his back saying, “I was just playin’.”

Lilah and Jasper ask for a little Respect from Tucker.

And of course, if Tucker wants to relax, he sometimes joins Athena (the cat) and Lilah (the cat-dog) watching birdies.

Athena, Tucker and Lilah watchin' birds. All three are sure they could catch one, if they were outside.

A Bed of One's Own
One of the first pictures I saw of Tucker before we adopted him showed him lying on the bed in his foster home; I’ve seen him in that position many times since. 

Tucker as a puppy on the bed in his foster home.

 All of our dogs have full run of the house, and are allowed up on all furniture and beds—except in the living room; we like to reserve some areas for people who don’t think dog fur is an appropriate fashion accessory (not sure I know anyone like that, but hey, ya never know, and I try to be respectful.)

Though everyone is allowed on our bed, the only one who may stay the night is Lilah. This is because Jasper, The Moose, is just too darned big, and his legs are sooooo looooong, and he spreads out so much that there quickly becomes no room for humans. Somehow, Tucker, who is 40-something pounds to Jasper’s 60, takes up even more room.  I have no idea how he can expand so. He has this uncanny ability to curl up into a Tuckerball and make himself ever so small. But not when he’s on our bed at night, apparently.

A Tuckerball. Very. Small. Very. Compact.

Thus, a bedtime routine with Tucker goes as follows: when he first comes into the bedroom with me, he immediately leaps onto the bed, gives Brian a sniffkiss if he’s there, and settles down. I do my personal toilette (always wanted to use that word), and tell Tucker, “Off.” Every single night, he slowly opens his eyes, looks around the room, then at me. “Me? Off? Really? You can’t possibly…oh, all right.” He pours himself slowly off the bed and goes to his own comfy (but probably not comfy enough) bed. And gets a couple of treats if he responds quickly enough.

Tucker in his crate demonstrates how much a small, compact dog can expand. Just add blankets.

The World According to Tucker 
Tucker has a unique perspective; he's not held back by any preconceived notions of the way Things are Supposed to Be.

Tucker on Deer
Tucker believes Deer are Evil and Must Be Barked About, which, at first seems very appropriate for a Dog. Except Tucker will Bark About Deer even if he doesn't see them. Even if he's in the house. Even if it's late at night. He can smell them. They're out there. In the dark. Doing Deer things. Thus you have to Bark About Them. Though it's best to Bark About Deer through the fence. Because then you're Barking At them instead of About them. Which is much more fun.

Tucker on Deer Patrol.

Tucker on Size
Size doesn't matter to Tucker. I believe he thinks he's much bigger than his 40-something pounds.  Which is why he'll try to drag an entire tree branch; hey, it's just a Big Stick.

Tucker, champion log-puller.

Then again, Tucker sometimes finds himself in sticky situations because he's just a little...too big. 

"Um, a little help here, Mom."

Or a little too inquisitive. Stick your nose in a bush, and sometimes you come away with a faceful of sticky burrs.

A somewhat abashed Tucker, after a walk in which he stuck his head in a bush full of tiny burrs. It took me a half hour to get every one of nature's own teeny velcro balls off his poor little face.

Tucker on Problem Solving
Always creative, if Tucker wants something, he'll find a way. Whether it's getting a Ball from under the stairs, or finding drinking water on top of a table after a rain storm, Tucker will figure out how to do it.

"Civilized Dogs eat and drink at the table, right?"

Gentlemen Prefer...Hugs
Because Tucker is young—and a terrier type—we still take him to Camp Bow Wow, or as we call it, Puppy Camp. There he can burn off energy and socialize. It’s so funny to see Tucker when he’s there, as opposed to home. At home, he’s a full-bore turbo terrier; once he’s somewhere else, he is, as the Camp Bow Wow people have christened him, a gentleman. He’s calm, chill, sweet, friendly. He doesn’t jump, rarely barks, and greets everyone calmly.  At camp, he’s often paired with the more nervous dogs who aren’t quite used to the routines, and he plays nicely and calmly. (No leg biting or pulling anyone across the pen by their ears, I’m told.) 

When I pick Tucker up in the afternoon, he calmly walks out, sits for a treat, waits patiently while I open the door and stays put until I give him the Release command. Other dogs may come and go through the Camp Bow Wow office, leaping and jumping and wagging because they’re so happy their people came.  Tucker offers me a subdued wag—until we get home, and the two of us are greeted at the door by Jasper, Lilah, Athena--and sometimes, Dawn. I take my coat off, put my stuff down, take my glasses off (it becomes pretty evident why) and then sit on the floor while I’m covered with doggy kisses. Suddenly, there’s Tucker greeting me like we haven’t just shared a car ride home.

And then he sits on my lap. Now, it should be stated, Tucker is not a lap dog. He’s too big. But he doesn’t know that. He just kind of backs up and plants his rear end on my lap. And sits there happily. If there isn’t a lap available because of the way I’m sitting, Tucker will give me hugs instead. A Tucker Hug is where you snuggle up real close and lay your head on the recipient’s shoulder and lean into his or her neck. It is simply the Sweetest Thing. If you’re a little too tall, he’ll put his paws on your shoulders and then Hug you. It’s probably not the best behavior, but it’s just so darn cute and loving that I just can’t resist.

And that’s Tucker in a nutshell: so darn cute and loving, that nobody can resist him.

Mr. Adorable, Tucker.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Patient Jasper

In my last post, I wrote about what a weenie I am about watching movies or reading books where something bad happens to a dog. I avoid those experiences whenever possible. And while today's story is about Jasper and his health issues, I will repeat what I said, so there are no surprises, and no unnecessary tension (though I may be the only one with this weird quirk): Jasper is fine. He is okay. He was never really at risk.
Scene III: Jasper Has Surgery
The operation took place on Valentine's Day. Dr. Christine Newman, from the Harlingen Veterinary Clinic, called me right after the surgery to report, that, while it went well, it took a lot longer than expected because, as she said, there was "nothing normal" about Jasper's anal sacs. Mostly, she cleaned out scar tissue resulting from his previous bouts with infection.

He came home loaded up on pain meds, with antibiotics and additional pain meds to help him.  It was interesting to see how the other animals greeted Jasper. Dr. Lilah (I'll have to write a whole post on Lilah as doctor and diagnostician some time) inspected him from head to toe, and very gingerly sniffed near where the surgery was. She chittered some, as she does when there's a really awkward smell. Tucker examined Jasper as well, and was ever so gentle in his greeting, sensing that Jasper wasn't quite in the mood for the normally exuberant hellos the two of them usually exchange.

Dr. Lilah keeps Jasper company when he first came home from the vet. We got him a comfy cone, instead of the plastic e-collar, hoping it might make things a little less awful.

And the cats: Athena came sauntering into the kitchen, where Jasper was laying on some towels, and she stopped short. Her eyes grew real big. From eight feet away, you could hear the intake of air into her nostrils as she tried to parse the onslaught of new scents coming from an old friend. She leaned forward, stretching her neck out to get closer, but unsure of actually moving toward Jasper. And then she slowly crept carefully in his direction, until she got close enough to really inspect. And she did. She sniffed every individual hair that she could reach with her nose, until he got up and moved. By then Dawn meandered by and stopped in her tracks as well. She, too, was startled by the new smells, but she sniffed them from afar.  Everyone would have to get used to this strange-smelling Jasper.

As his surgical pain meds wore off, Jasper was more and more uncomfortable. Dr. Newman had told me to call her if there were issues, and she took my call; the poor dog was so agitated, he couldn't sleep, he couldn't get comfortable. I had spent the first night on the couch in the family room lying next to him; the only way he would slightly relax is if I hugged him close. Actually, I wound up spending nearly the entire next week "sleeping" on the couch with Jasper. Neither of us got much rest during that time.

We adjusted his meds, but it didn't seem to help, so off to the vet we went to make sure there wasn't something else going on that was causing such discomfort. We put him on a tranquilizer to see if that would help him through the recovery. That did help, but bouncy Jasper was so stoned that when I took him outside, he just lay down on his side. "Ah, what comfortable grass. I think I'll just"

I thought I had everything under control and we just needed to help him through the next few days. Then when I took him outside Sunday morning, I noticed when he urinated that the last few drops were bright red. Bright. Red.

Scene IV: Patient Jasper
Back on the phone with the vet. At this point, it was time to take Jasper to the animal ER, known as Animerge in our neck of the woods.  There was only a short wait until he was seen by the emergency vet. After I brought her up to date with Jasper's medical history, she examined him--and then took a urine sample and had an X-ray done.

Turns out Jasper had developed a urinary tract infection and was bloated and full of gas--possibly as a result of the different medications we were on. Best thing to do--admit him to the Animerge hospital. While I was sad to leave him, I felt like he was in the right place. They'd give him fluids, keep him quiet, give him pain meds through an IV and treat his UTI.

And that's where Mr. Jasper stayed--from Sunday morning through Tuesday night. I visited him in the doggy hospital Sunday and Monday nights, bringing him dinner and give him hugs and pets. Brian came with me on Monday, and by then we could already tell he was improving. Every time we stopped petting him, he would paw for more. One of the techs told me Jasper was their current favorite patient because he was so sweet and well behaved. Okay, so maybe they say that to all the humans, but still...

Jasper hangs out during our visit. We were able to take the cone off while we visted, which made him very happy.

Brian visiting with Jasper at the doggy hospital.

Scene V: Jasper Comes Home
I got the call that I could pick Jasper up Tuesday night--and was thrilled that he was recovered enough to come home. Corinne was on her way in from NYC; we had planned ahead of time to have her hang out with the dogs while I took Wednesday to go be with my mom and dad; my mom had hip replacement surgery scheduled that day (and yes, she's home, fine, recovering, and already speeding around with only a cane). I picked Corinne up at the train station and together we went to Animerge to collect a very happy Jasper who could not wait to get home. The whole dog wagged--not just his tail.

Once again, the rest of the family greeted him cautiously, but they were getting used to Jasper's funny smells. Except Animerge had send him home with a ginormous e-collar since he had figured out how to circumvent the soft one we had outfitted him with; he looked like he was going to pick up SETI signals. And Dawn took one look at that cone, hissed, and made haste to safety in another room.

Jasper wearing his new cone; apparently he figured out a way to thwart the comfy version, so he got sent home with something large enough to pick up satellite signals.

We became nurses to Jasper, soothing his soreness with warm compresses three times a day (which he liked) and keeping him leashed when he went outside to do his business (which he didn't like). Medicines were dispensed mixed into globs of peanut butter (which he liked): Lilah and Tucker performed tricks for some globs as well (which they liked.)

Still on the leash, Jasper looks longingly at his brother and sister, who can roam the yard at will.

Jasper and Corinne spent two days snuggled together on the couch in the family room, watching the first season of Supernatural (well, at least Corinne was watching). This was a Very Good Thing, for everyone loves having Corinne around; she gives plenty of pets and snuggles to the dogs, and provides appropriate laps for the cats. Still a bit gassy, Jasper would startle himself now and again, as strange noises came from "back there." And he became a little wary about sitting on command, as somehow that tended to cause even more breakage of wind. But as long as there were good treats--like chicken--it was worth risking the unsettling poof as he sat.

Jasper relaxing on the couch. We put towels down so it was softer and easier to keep clean. It also helped when we applied warm compresses; if a towel got wet in the process, we just switched it out for a dry one.

By the weekend, Jasper was mostly back to himself. His cone was taken off. And by Monday, he was allowed to be off leash in the back yard. He started playing again. He chased Lilah. He chased Tucker. He chased squirrels. It felt good to be a dog again.

The cone is off...and Athena Must Inspect It.

Scene VI: It's a Wrap
And as the credits roll on this ending scene, I'd like to thank everyone at the Harlingen Veterinary Hospital and Animerge for all they did to help my Jasper Moose through his medical issues, and the nice people at Trupanion who not only patiently answered my questions regarding insurance coverage for this whole issue, but covered a huge chunk of it. And Jasper has wags and kisses for all his varied veterinarians, nurses, huggers and caretakers. He even gave Dr. Newman slobby doggy kisses when we went back for his post-surgical check up. Now he just wants to go outside and sniff and run and play!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spoiler Alert: Jasper is Okay

Scene I: At the Movies
I am a movie fan; I love a good flick. Though I tend to enjoy independent films and those not made by the Hollywood machine, I try to be open to other movie experiences. That said, there is one type of film I studiously avoid: any movie where there is a dog--and the dog dies. I simply cannot sit through something like that; I get too emotionally involved. (I have the same rule regarding books, and it's not just dogs either. The only exception to this is the novel The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, which I read twice.)

At this year's Academy Awards, The Artist took home the best picture honor, among others. Usually, I've seen the film that wins, and usually I like it--though sometimes I think other movies might have been more deserving. But I really, really didn't like The Artist. At. All.

I had gone to see the movie because I kept hearing about Uggy, the little Jack Russell dog featured in the film--and after seeing him do a few tricks at the Golden Globes, I decided the movie would be worth a shot.

But I didn't do my normal research ahead of time. While I hate spoilers and work hard not to expose myself to them (I didn't know the ending to the Sopranos TV show for years, until I watched the whole series), I make exceptions in movies with animals. I ask, "Does the dog die?" And base my decision on whether to watch on the answer to that question.

I don't know why, but I didn't ask that question before I went to see The Artist. Maybe because the movie wasn't about the dog per se, so I just didn't think it would matter.

But it did. Because the story is about an actor slipping into depression as he sees his career and livelihood disappear during the transition from silent films to talkies. And as he withdraws, and cares less and less about himself, only his butler and his dog stick by him. Until he barely even acknowledges the dog. Which, in my opinion, puts the dog at risk.

I know, I know, it's just a film. But I was so uncomfortable during that movie because I didn't know what was going to happen to the dog. It would be just like a screenwriter to use the death of a dog to kick a character into action. I sat there, watching the film and pre-emptively seething in anticipation of what I was ever so sure was going to be the needless on-screen suffering of an animal. My husband, who was sitting next to me, stopped counting my sighs--never a good sign.

Of course any of you who have seen the movie know that nothing bad happens to Uggy. But here's the thing: I think I might have actually enjoyed The Artist at least a little more had I known that small fact going in. Uggy is ok. He was never really at risk.

Scene II: Jasper Visits the Vet
All of this is a long-winded way of introducing the real topic of today's post. And let me begin by saying: Jasper is fine. He is okay. He was never really at risk.

Giving away the ending: Jasper relaxes happily in the yard with Lilah and Tucker.

It all began last summer, when Jasper was running around in the yard, and I noticed there was an open wound on his rear. I thought he had somehow hurt himself--maybe sat on something? Obviously, we brought him right to the vet, who told me that his anal sac had ruptured. Most dogs would have shown signs of this impending health issue; sacs that fill with fluid and become infected are quite uncomfortable, and you'll often see a dog scooting his or her butt along the carpet when there is a problem. (Usually it's your white carpet, or your oriental rug. Just sayin'.)

Jasper had none of those signs. However, it was easy enough to treat. Antibiotics, something for the pain and swelling and off we go. Until the same thing happened two days later to his other sac. Which the vet said was incredibly rare; she had rarely, if ever, seen that happen before. For poor Jasper, it took about a month to recover, as he wound up rupturing the first one again as well.

After that, our vet, the wonderful Christine Newman at the Harlingen Veterinary Clinic, said we might consider surgical removal of the sacs. Just like with tonsils in humans, if you remove them, you cure the problem and will never have tonsillitis again. Remove the sacs and the dog is cured. But surgery is a pretty dramatic solution for what may have been one long--though extended--incident. So we decided to wait. If he developed the same problem even one more time, we'd take 'em out.

And of course, a few months later, we were back at the vet, with the same problem. First one sac abscessed, then the other. The decision was made; we need to fix the issue or Jasper would have chronic, painful infections.

We had to wait until the area was back to normal--no swelling, no infection--in order for the surgery to take place. In February, we finally got the all-clear. Jasper was healed enough to for us to schedule the procedure. The operation was to take place on the 14th.

As you may have gathered from The Artist-themed introduction, Jasper had a few post-surgical complications. And, you already know how it all turned out. He's fine. He's okay. He was never really at risk. However, his story turned out to be way too long for a single post, so go get some popcorn during intermission. And come back to read the rest of Jasper's story next week.

Jasper, after--and okay. You can see the shaved area on his right front leg, where he had his I.V.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Bone to Pick

In my last post, we learned about Bones.

But one reader had a bone to pick with me about how well I covered the topic. My awesome sister-in-law (and fellow dog lover) Randi pointed out that I missed a Critical Part of the Art of Bone Appreciation. She asks, "Do none of your canines hide their bones?"

Randi reports that her dog Hannibal, a handsome German Shepherd (who has offered, I believe, to rid my home of its current "cat infestation") loved to bury his bones in the backyard of her first house. She says it was Very Important task that Hannibal took upon himself to accomplish.

Hannibal, relaxing in his chair, takes a break from chasing rabbits and roadrunners (he lives in New Mexico)--and digging holes.

Funny, I never thought about it, but none of my current pups are buriers. Diggers, yes. All three can put in a healthy dig. (Yes, my garden has suffered.) But it hasn't occurred to any of them to put anything in the holes they create.

Randi also mentioned a poodle she had as a pet when growing up. This dog "would wander the house whining because she could not dig a hole in the carpet to hide her bone. Eventually, she would hide her bone inside someone's shoe."  

And suddenly a wash of memory came over me.

Kelsey and her Circle Bone.

She was the first dog that belonged to me. We had Twinkle in our home when I was growing up, but Kelsey came to live with me when I was on my own, recently married (to my first husband) and living in my first house. 

Kelsey had a Circle Bone. Imagine rawhide in the shape of a donut or a bagel.  This was her Very Special Bone--so special that she never once chewed on it. Every other bone and rawhide would be a fun treat, but the Circle Bone was meant to be carried or buried. 

The Circle Bone was like a security blanket for Kelsey.  Whenever she was nervous or upset, or when there were way too many people in the house, she would retrieve the bone from its most recent hiding spot and wander the house looking for a new place to put it. 

She'd try under the couch. Crouching down, she'd stick her head underneath and very gently place the Circle Bone on the carpet. She'd back out, stop, and reconsider. No, that wasn't quite right. She'd look around. Wait! Someone was watching her and might have seen her put it there. That wouldn't do at all. She'd take it back out.

Maybe on the couch, under a pillow. She'd put her Bone by a throw pillow and nose it underneath. And then push imaginary dirt on top of it. But she could still see it. Kelsey would sigh, pick it back up and look for another place.

You have to imagine the sight; a small, collie-like dog wandering the house with a soulful and concerned look on her face, sometimes sighing, sometimes whining like Randi's poodle. And hanging from her lower jaw--actually encircling it--was a rawhide bagel/bone.

Kelsey would often try out four or five different places for her Circle Bone before she found the Best Spot. She would never leave it if she thought someone had seen her hide it. And sometimes, as she left it and walked away, Kelsey would turn back and look at it, just to Make Sure. It had to be Safe.

Yup, Bones can be quite special. Just ask Hannibal. Or Kelsey.

Kelsey hanging out. Unfortunately, I have no photos of the very special Circle Bone.