Another friend wrote and asked how the three white dogs are doing since it seems like I only write about the puppies on the blog, which isn’t intentional. The big dogs are doing fine, and this is what I wrote to my friend:
Mel is fine. He's still Mel - he marches around like he owns all of Belize, tells us when he wants to go in and out, when he wants to eat, when he wants the pups to be quiet, when he wants some loving, and so on. He's aging and his eyes are failing, but his mind is as sharp as always - no doggie dementia there. He is getting progressively weaker, and he scares us when he goes up and down the steps in and out of the cabin because his hind end is pretty weak. We bought him his own bed (at the people bed store) so that he has his own bed on the floor because our bed is high (I'm afraid of scorpions under the mattress if it's lower) and he's too weak to jump up and down. So, he's happy to have his very own bed. Where we have the bed, the puppies have to go by him to get out in their yard, and even though they're now almost as big as him and could definitely hurt him if they got in a fight, they're still scared to death of him. Every time they try to go by, he just growls - doesn't even lift his head, usually - and they turn tail and run back so Tom or I can stand in front of Mel and "protect" them. It's pretty funny, and typical Mel that he has them so terrified. What’s sort of funny is that Stout, who’s the one who’s really afraid of Mel, is the most like Mel. He gets into the same things that Mel got into as a puppy, and even does things like stand in the kitchen while Nock goes under the counter to catch a mouse, then takes the mouse from Nock when she comes out. When we lived in Canadice, we used to get a big kick out of watching Mel and Nock hunt mice in my ditch jump, where Nock would go in the ditch and catch the mouse, then when she jumped out of the ditch Mel would grab her and shake her so she’d drop the mouse, then he’d grab the mouse. I guess the whole point to this story is that at his age, we know Mel won’t be around for a whole lot longer, but I think as long as we have Stout, we’ll always have a little bit of Mel running around here.
Lou and Nock are doing fine too. Nock is the queen of the pack, and tells everybody where to go and what to do. Whenever the puppies play, she darts around growling and nipping and making sure nobody gets too out of hand. She yells at them if they beg, she yells at them if they jump on us, she yells at them if they're getting too overexcited, and whenever else she thinks they need discipline. That said, I think she loves having somebody to play with like she used to play with Midge. Neither Mel nor Lou are very playful, and I think Nock really missed that. She also seems to really like living here. We leave the door to the fenced yard open all the time so she can go in and out as she pleases, and if we're working outside around the cabin we let her come out with us and she either suns herself or hunts lizards, which, besides being mother dog to the pups, is her favorite activity. She's been really good about not running off into the bush. When we had her vet checked for her import permit to come into Belize, the vet said she's pretty blind, so that may be why she sticks around so well, although it doesn't seem to bother her and she has no trouble seeing the lizards from the porch when they're walking through the yard. We still call her the little slut dog, because whenever a man comes in the house and sits down, she's immediately on his lap, sitting up for a belly rub. Then she'll lean back against his shoulder (who ever the male visitor is), and put her paw on his cheek and gaze into his eyes. Pretty much every man who comes in here loves her. Women just roll their eyes.
Lou is still Lou, and he's in heaven with me around almost all day, every day. He's almost always attached to me, unless I'm out riding or if I go into town to go shopping since I can't take him and leave him in the car in the heat, and as far as Belizeans are concerned, dogs do not go inside. Tom and Selwyn say he's a pain, and when I leave to go riding he sits in the house and whines until I get back, although when we went out to Caye Caulker and left them for most of three days, Selwyn said he stopped whining after the second day. We have a box of books next to the computer desk, and as I'm writing this, he's sleeping on top of the box right next to me. Lou never liked the cold either, so I think between the fact that I'm usually around, and the fact that it's always warm, life couldn't be better for Lou. He's funny, too, because he definitely favors Beli, the female pup. She's sort of like he is, always around me and usually within touching distance, and Lou is okay with her shadowing me, but if Stout gets too close to me Lou yells at him. The sort of bad thing is that the more that Lou's around me, the more attached I get, and he's coming up on 12. So, he should have five or six more years, but I'm already worrying about what a basket case I'll be when he goes.