The Rat Terrier Review: Paul Blart Edition!

May 28th, 2015 10:35 pm by Kelly Garbato

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Last night we ticked another item off Peedee’s to-do list: the drive-in! I’m happy to report that, while it was not an unqualified success – I spent much of the night in a state of hyper-awareness vis-a-vis his big damn mouth – the trip went much better than expected.

Way back when it was just three dogs, we tried taking Ralphie, Peedee, and O-Ren in various combinations – it’s hard now to remember the exact configurations – but all three were such big barkers that we quickly gave up. (I have vague memories of slinging blankets over their crates to keep them quiet, like birds.)

And then I fell in love with Kaylee, and she became a regular. She was happy just to be near me; the popcorn was a bonus. Needless to say, Kaylee was not a big barker; she saved her voice strictly for communicating her demands. Kaylee and Rennie grew so close that we eventually decided to give her a second chance and – surprise! – Rennie was much improved. After Kaylee passed, we handed her spot over to Mags, who was equally well-behaved.

So. Last night I’m loading the van up: blankets, pillows, crate, water, food. Mags and Rennie, both well-versed in the routine, work themselves into the usual excited frenzy: WE’RE GOING OUT! MOVIES AND TREATS AND A WHOLE NIGHT ALONE WITH MOM AND DAD! WALKS AND STRANGE SMELLS AND DISCARDED GREASY FOOD EVERYWHERE!

I can’t bring myself to look Mags in the eye, because it’s her spot Peedee’s taking.

Like, I seriously cannot describe how bad I felt: here she is, just two days off crate rest, and Mom and Dad and her BFF O-Ren are ditching her for the evening. Possibly other evenings to come. And she looked so happy, you guys! OVER-FUCKING-JOYED.

But we didn’t know if we’d be able to handle three dogs, especially when one of them was wild card Peedee.

Shane offhandedly joked that we should just bring her. And so it was decided.

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And it was not a disaster! We gave Peedee a Benadryl an hour before we left – that’s what the oncologist suggested for situational anxiety, at least while he was on chemo; she didn’t know how Kava or Valerian might interfere with the drugs (but don’t worry, we started him on a new herbal remedy today; emphasis on HERB, wink wink) – and he was quite calm on the drive down.

Like, unbelievably so. I can’t remember the last time I saw him so chill in a car. It couldn’t have been the Benadryl alone; we’ve dosed him with it before, and it’s never worked so well. And me being with him? Again, we’ve used the same setup for our trips to the lake (blankets, me in the back, other dogs present), to no avail. All I can think of is that he knew he was going somewhere different, somewhere special, and he was happy of it.

For the movie, we picked a crappy combo – Poltergeist and Paul Blart – so we wouldn’t be too irritated if Peedee misbehaved. Unfortunately, that meant that it was playing on the smallest screen, which made it a little harder to avoid the crowd. Peedee’s barking started in full force as soon as we pulled up to the window to buy our tickets. In his defense, the teller was awfully chatty, and talking over him (RUDE!).

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I could hear her ask Shane how many dogs were in the car, and I thought to myself Uh-oh. This is it. Naturally I assumed that they had a two-dog limit of which we were unaware. But no: She wanted a count so she knew how many dog biscuits to give us. THEY KEEP DOGS TREATS AT THE WINDOW, YOU GUYS! How cool is that?

So we pull up, get settled, and take the dogs out to stretch their legs, get some water, and have a quick walk. Peedee is a little worked up, but more excited than anxious. There’s a little barking, but nothing major. We settle in for the movie: humans in the front, Mags in her usual spot in the back (for all her excitement, she mostly just spends the night napping), Rennie nestled on a pillow on the hump up front. Peedee starts out on my lap and eventually takes up most of the seat. Super-uncomfortable for me.

From his vantage point, he can clearly see passers-by. Even as Shane and I try to block the windows strategically with our bodies, there’s more hysterical yelping than I’d like. He even works Rennie into a small tizzy once or twice. Not long into the first movie, I notice an employee wandering through the lot, even lingering by our van a few times. I get paranoid that we’re about to be asked to leave.

I decide to move the party into the back with Mags. From the floor, Peedee can’t see as much of the activity going on outside. I’m able to prop some pillows up against the crate to support my back; the makeshift seating isn’t half bad. Shane removes the headrest from the passenger seat and I can actually see the screen okay. Rennie comes on back too, and I’m surrounded on all sides by happy, lounging dogs. Much better!

During the second movie, I break out the popcorn, and Peedee is so laser focused on TREATS that he barely notices the people passing by outside. There are still a few outbursts, but nothing food can’t quickly silence. Eventually I realize that I could throw towels over the cracked windows to block most of the view, but by this time the combo is almost over. Next time, maybe?

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(Also crazy exhausted, so I should probably start wrapping this thing up now.)

I CAN’T BELIEVE IT ACTUALLY WORKED! I kind of regret not trying it sooner. Le sigh.

Yesterday morning was hot and humid, but I managed to take everyone on mini-walks around our house.

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The fields are super-overgrown with grass (our neighbor cuts it, and in exchange we let him keep it for hay; but that doesn’t usually happen ’til June)

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and riddled with poison ivy, so we can only walk the mowed paths, but you can still get a good mile in anyway. We only managed 1.84 miles between the six of us.

Jayne stopped for two dips in the pond

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but I was careful to steer her clear of the marshy area where a snake was sunning herself.

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The road running around the pond was covered in goose shit, like a mud slick. It was so thick in some places that I was slipping and sliding all over the damn place.

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Not that I mind. Geese rock. A little shit is totally worth the dramas we get to watch unfold in the pond every year. Jayne, Finnick, and I even startled a heron into flight when we approached the far end of the pond, but it happened too quickly to get a photo.

Today I had to make another batch of peanut butter balls. Since this is likely to be the last one before Peedee passes, I let him lick ALL THE DISHES instead of making him share with the others.

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I locked them outside for the duration, so they were none the wiser. You can see Lemmy creeping in the second photo, though. Carnivore my ass.

(Yesterday I found him trying to climb into the top of a box of bran flakes I accidentally left opened on the counter. True story!)

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