When doggie routines get hacked by the time change

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Our Miniature Toy Aussie doesn’t have sheep to herd so she herds me while I clean house.

Remember last week when I submitted those pie-in-the-sky suggestions for a new pandemic routine?

Yeah, well, that list flew out the window today, thanks to the time change.

We humans have a tough enough time adjusting to the ridiculous and artificial manipulation of the hours of the day. But consider how messed up our furry friends get with all this.

It started yesterday, of course. We had not reset the clock on the dresser that we always seek out with early, unfocused eyes. I got up at 6:30 a.m. Sunday…except that it was 5:30. But I only got up because the cat started meowing then. That’s when he always gives us a wakeup call.

‘Poor, poor pitiful Mr. Kitty’

Mr. Cat repeated his routine call again this morning at 5:30 DST. I went to the bathroom, acknowledged a kitty tail curling around my legs, then went right back to bed. Not kosher. He just increased the volume of the “Poor, poor pitiful me” tune. Down the stairs we go, with dog number one standing and staring uncertainly down at us. She seemed to be asking, “Are you sure it’s time for breakfast?”

I got the Gravy Lover’s pop top popped for cat, then hear Number One Fido’s nails on the floor. She’s ready too. Popped the Purina open for her. Meal over. Time to go outside.

When we come back in, I hear toenails belonging to Fido number two click-clacking into the kitchen. Time for her feeding, followed by a pill disguised in chunky peanut butter. Then guess what? Time to let her outside.

Our daily routine calls for dividing a long rawhide chew into three globs of hardened animal fat and questionable proteins; one for each canine. That way I’m assured they won’t overdose on chemicals imported from China’s rawhide industry. When Number Three Fido hears the lid of that snack box open, that’s when I hear her four feet hit the floor and she magically appears at my side…as if arriving by transponder from outer space. She lives for those poisonous treats. Once her treat is gulped down, time to take her outside.

Four animals, four separate feedings now

So, four animals equals four separate feedings equals three separate potty runs (the cat went out the first time) outdoors. Before the time change, we did all that in one group zoom session. And before it got cold outside, I walked with them the entire length of the driveway to pick up the newspaper, usually giving them enough time to potty twice and throw in a number two. Today and yesterday I kept my warm jammies on and made a run for the driveway, hoping the hood on my fleece-lined jacket hid my face enough that the three drivers who went by as I bent over for the paper didn’t recognize the sleepy human inside. The bigger fear was that someone would realize the plaid on my jacket clashed garishly with the plaid on my pajama bottoms. (Oh, the shame!)

The point to this drivel is that all of this was abnormal routine. In fact, it set the stage for the rest of the day to get glaringly out of sync. Instead of eating breakfast at our usual time, after one of us finally answered the tough question of the day (what to fix for breakfast), my husband and I just sat on the couch. He read the paper and I made my to-do list and read a book. Neither of us could wake up.

When we finally got around to eating the meal, I started sorting my weekly supplements and medications into their little cubbyholes and noticed that the time change yesterday had hacked my memory. I hadn’t taken my morning pills on Sunday.

How to get hacked the day before an election

About that time, Wayne got hacked while gathering trash when he received a phone call that the poll workers were waiting at the church to unload their equipment for tomorrow’s election. My husband had agreed to substitute for another church member and open the door for them. The poll workers had evidently forgotten to call anyone with an arrival time. Then one of the workers forgot her phone and forgot to load some equipment, so left a worker with Wayne to go retrieve the lost items.

Back home, I was doing the daily dishwasher loading and kitchen cleanup and noticed a large, spreading stain on the carpet. My screams of “Who did this?” had no effect on any potential guilty party. I decided to tackle Wayne’s undone chore of taking the trash to the curb, reasoning that all three canines probably had not had sufficient time to do their usual morning ritual. I shooed them all down the driveway with me as I pushed the garbage to the road. That did produce the desired result but there was still a stain to clean.

And, it was Monday; laundry and floor cleaning day. While I would prefer to do the task myself, we have an Australian Shepard who has to herd someone, since we have no sheep or cattle. She herds my every domestic chore. Her two sisters used to drive me batty when I swept the floor, as they had to inspect every dirt particle to see if any of it was edible. Now they stay out of Brandy’s way while she herds. And instead of me employing herding calls, I yell, “Brandy, move!” She doesn’t seem to mind a steam mop hissing in her face or a vacuum threatening her leg hairs. She’s just doing her work, herding her mama. Even now, she parks her carcass a few feet from my computer desk, watching the stairs for an invasion.

One of these canines is the party guilty of leaving a stain on the carpet this morning. Their excuse? The time change.

I will be so grateful to crawl under the covers tonight. This time change, while it supposedly gave us an extra hour of sleep, has messed with the bio-rhythms of every critter in this house. We have one clock yet to change…in the bedroom. It will be done tonight. I do not want another reminder of what time it used to be when the cat wakes us up in the morning. I plan to go to bed with something I can throw at him at 5:30 a.m. DST, a twilight zone where my body still believes it lives.

The two early risers; one who likes the mop, the other who heads upstairs to hide under the bed.

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