||Tyler liked his new table
It was like the one outside but not all wet and cold.
Being inside meant a lot of good things. Rusty could groom Tyler
more often, brush out his thick furry winter coat as it shed.
Also he could stand next to his dog while wrapping his arms around
him for a hug. Tyler liked that as much as Rusty liked doing it
because he licked Rusty's face.
Rusty had a "bad back". In fact he broke his lower spine falling on
rocks at Boy Scout camp. The resulting misalignment led to
degeneration caused by excessive labor as a furniture mover. His
orthopedic surgeon called it a "man made" injury.
Such degenerated spines are found in the bones of slaves and even
the people who worked on the pyramids. Well, anyway, it was painful
to do certain things.
Some people said he should lose weight to improve his back. But
Rusty pointed out that his back went bad when he weighed only 160
lbs. His surgeon wanted to fuse the spine together with steel rods
When Rusty said "no thanks" the surgeon told him the should
"Sit for a living! Get sedentary!" When Rusty did that he got
fat because he used to be so active. The surgeon should have said "Get
sedentary and start an exercise plan at the same time."
Now it was hard to pick things up off the ground and Rusty needed a
table for his dog. Tyler enjoyed fetching toys to the table, and
also when Rusty groomed him.
In fact Tyler liked running up the ramp to his table so much that
when Rusty threw a toy in the park Tyler carried it up to the top of
a picnic table to give it to him.
It was funny to see Tyler leaping from the picnic table in the
Oakdale park, then jumping back up on top to give Rusty the toy. He
was a good table dog!
||Dustball, the oldest
cat made Rusty take a time out. That was good because it lowered
his blood pressure.
She thought he typed too much at the computer and took it upon
herself to make him brush her silvery silky fur. He always felt
honored to groom her.
Rusty loved Dustball. She loved him so much it hurt her sometimes.
Her cat heart beat only for him.
She never liked any cat; only Rusty who she thought of as her
mother. Rusty had raised her from an 8 week old kitten because Dusty
was the only survivor of the litter.
The day he got her in 2005 Dusty was flea infested and would have
died like her litter mates. Rusty discovered that the tiny kitten
was literally crawling with fleas.
He put her in a sink of warm soapy water. Then her fur was like a
wet T-shirt where Rusty could see all the fleas. Poor little Dusty!
She looked like an ant hill! Rusty pulled fleas off with
tweezers...he counted over 70.
When dried her she looked at him in a strange, knowing way. She was
finally comfortable not being eaten alive. Rusty cried in sympathy
then as Dusty realized he had helped her. From that moment
forward they were bonded at a spiritual level.
Dusty had been absent from the main room and cat bedroom for
many months. She was afraid of Tyler who took too much interest in
her. As Bobcat tamed the big dog she grew more trusting. Now Rusty
was very happy Dusty felt safe enough to visit him at his computer
table, and even hang out in the sink when he showered.
||Bobcat tried out the grooming table
Within 30 minutes Bobcat tried out Tyler's table. After all, he was
the pack leader.
||Tyler loved Bobcat. If the
kitten wanted to lay on his grooming table that was OK. Bobcat was
his best friend, next to Rusty.
||Unsightly Dog Spill Over
No one liked to see dog spill over. It was unattractive to say the
Sure there were options: Weight Watchers, surgery, drugs.
Or Tyler could be traded in at the dog pound for a smaller size dog;
one that fit the 24" wide table.
Rusty carefully considered all these choices.
||Then Rusty thought of another
solution—make the table wider. Sure, Tyler would still be huge so it
was really just hiding a problem instead of addressing it.
But there was plywood out in the garage...and it would be cheaper to
make a wider top than to buy a smaller dog.
"OK then!" said Rusty. "Tyler you are going to get a wider
table top to end this awful dog spillover"
Tyler was happy that the problem could be solved so easily.
Rusty, he knew, was always thinking too much.
Famous professor of animal behavior
Everyone at Cat, Dog, and Cactus Heaven knew who Temple Grandin was. Rusty
listened to her book, Animals Make us Human, on MP3 over and over again.
Rusty had played the parts about dog behavior and cat genetic
many times. The cats enjoyed her stories about "Lassie moments"
with cats. She recounted how one cat saved the owner's life!
Another cat fought off burglars!
Bobcat was inspired. Raccoony shouted "Yeah! Go cats". Dustball
was amazed that a cat bit her sleeping owner until the woman woke up
to discover she had left the gas on in the stove!
Professor Grandin discussed the key behaviors of dogs she calls
"Blue Ribbon Emotions". For example dogs have a "seeking sensation"
that is like a child on Christmas morning. The seeking sensation is
what Tyler exercised every time he went scootering with Rusty.
Rusty was happy HBO made a movie about this helpful soul who understood the most important things about animals.
Coming on HBO in February, 2010
HBO presents the original film Temple Grandin starring
Claire Danes as Temple Grandin. The film tells the true story of a
stigmatized, misunderstood young woman who learned to channel her
unique gifts into a brilliant career as a scientist, author and
groundbreaking animal advocate.
Based on two books – Emergence (by Temple Grandin and
Margaret Scariano) and Thinking in Pictures (by Temple
Grandin) – the film chronicles her early beginnings as a child
diagnosed with autism, turbulent growth and development during her
school years; the enduring support she received from her mother, her
aunt and her science teacher. Against all odds, Grandin transitioned
into a celebrated academic whose interest in animals, particularly
livestock, transformed the way cattle ranches are designed and
managed in the United States. Grandin’s unique ability to empathize
with the animals she studied led her to devise much more efficient
and humane methods for the cattle industry to manage their animals,
even as they are led to slaughter.
Temple Grandin seems a bit embarrassed, but simultaneously
flattered, by all the hullabaloo about her life and accomplishments.
A world-renowned designer of livestock handling facilities, a
professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and one of
the world’s highest functioning autistics – her movie is set to air
February 2010 in a two-hour production on HBO.
More adventures of Tyler the Wonder Dog...