(Upon returning from an almost five year hiatus, I discovered this post still sitting as a draft in my edit window. It was apparently one I started but never finished. The story seems complete though, so I guess I'd intended to add pics and then publish. When I read it today, it made me smile, and brought back fond memories of these two sweet and quirky girls. Decided to go ahead and hit "publish." :-)
Katie has itchy paws, and this makes Lady anxious. That's my fault. It wasn't intentional, but I created a Licking Phobia in Lady. This is how it happened...
A year or so ago, Katie was having trouble with allergies, and when she was itchy she would lick, lick, lick. Benadryl helped, and eventually the season changed and her allergies lessened. But when she was licking, geesh, it would drive me crazy. I'd try not to say anything...telling myself, she's itchy, and the only way she has to scratch the itch is to lick.
But inevitably, it'd get to the point where I couldn't stand it. I'd say "Katie! No lick!" I'd have to say this loud, because Katie can't hear. More often than not, she still wouldn't hear me. So from my desk I'd crumple up a piece of paper and toss it at her to get her attention. Or, I'd walk over and rub her back, do something to distract her.
Lady came to associate Katie's licking with my reaction. I know, now you're thinking that I was yelling hysterically or throwing magazines at her or something. Not true! Most of the time I would just get up from my chair, go over and rub her back and say "Katieeeee...you're driving me crazy sweetie."
Nonetheless, Lady began to associate Katie's licking with my unease, which then became her unease. When Katie began licking her paws, Lady would jump up and leave the area. It's like she didn't want to be in the vicinity of "wrongdoing."
But this quirky situation has become even more amusing this year. Katie is now completely deaf, and has adopted Lady as her Hearing Ear Dog. She keeps one eye on Lady, and takes her cues about what's going on in the environment from how Lady reacts. For instance, if Lady hears the food bowls clink, she knows it's time for dinner and jumps up from her bed and hurries to the kitchen. Katie doesn't know what has happened, but she jumps up and follows Lady to the kitchen.
Needless to say, this makes Lady's attempts to get away from Katie's licking "challenging.". Katie licks, Lady jumps up to get away. Katie jumps up and follows, close on Lady's heels. I wish I could take a photo of this, so that you could see the look on Lady's face as the licking Katie shadows her around the house. I've tried to reassure Lady that it's okay when Katie starts licking, and I pet them both, but it doesn't seem to help her unease.
Poor Lady. Funny dogs.