Tag Archives: dogs

Memories

When a loved one is gone, he/she tends to come back via memory at the oddest times. It’s always welcome to remember a favorite moment, saying, quibble or foible.

A couple of weeks ago my sister asked for an old recipe. Since we moved, I found and cleaned up an old plexiglass 3×5 card holder with recipes I started collecting in high school. Many are from my Auntie L, who not only cooked us many family meals over the decades but catered for our family’s formal work receptions as well. She had one rule that moms everywhere should use with young children. “Try it! Then I’ll tell you what’s in it.”

I learned not to ask the ingredients first and allow my taste buds to be the judge. First thing she used it on was a bleu cheese dip for a party. I hated that cheese, but loved the dish so incorporated it into my repertoire.

A prime example that reminds me of her every day is the dictionary in the “loo.” She always placed one in the powder room (she was a high school English teacher) so to use the loo, we had to ask politely, then upon our return give her a word, its meaning and use it in a sentence.

In our new place, I’ve a large powder room so I expanded on the theme. I brought in one of my husband’s nightstands that were hand-made by his great-grandfather and placed several books atop, along with a decorative plate of Mom’s. The current Loo Library includes the aforementioned Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, The City of Florence, The Prince and for a bit of light reading, James Patterson’s The Chef. Also Orwell’s 1984 and Mythology by Edith Hamilton.

Wouldn’t you know it, a friend used the loo and suggested a complement to Sun Tsu’s The Art of War with The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. It’s about breaking mental blocks to unleash creativity, by the author of many books which include The Legend of Bagger Vance. This book is required reading or recommended reading in all the military academies. News to me, so I recently purchased it to add to my collection.

Now here’s the strange one. Auntie L was known, on our annual family reunions, to rearrange hotel furnishings and pictures. She always made it better but we were aghast, as kids, that someone could do that. I came to thank her for it later on. Mom was in the hospital after her first cancer surgery. She was on morphine for the first time and a particular painting on the wall of her hospital room gave her nightmares. Auntie L went to a local art museum gift shop, bought a calming poster and taped it over the offending artwork. It made a difference.

I know there’s no canidae in our family gene pool but my dog has become an Auntie L with bed linens. I make the bed and she always has to help me fluff the down comforter. Once settled, all the pillows situated atop, she waits for me to leave. Then she rearranges everything to her specifications. Mostly knotting it all up in a ball. Upon my return, I merely say “thanks, Auntie L.”

Thanks for the memories. Hang in there, teachers! Especially English teachers. Until we can get the banned book situation under control, perhaps the fact that certain books (even the Bible, in one Texas school district) are banned, it may induce students to read them! Cheers! Dee

All Three Made It!

We moved last weekend. We still haven’t found our normal toothbrushes or silverware yet but I cooked for the first time (pre-formed meatballs, jarred spaghetti sauce) the other night. We haven’t started on our offices yet and bathrooms are still in disarray but my computer’s running and we have made a sideboard and two bookcases once those boxes get unpacked. At this rate it’ll be a couple of weeks.

Today is my pantry, knives, spice rack, coat rack and my husband’s new, still-in-the-box sit/stand desk which he’s excited to open. The cavalry is coming in in the way of my housekeeper and a friend so we’ll bang some tough things out. Like the bumpers on my dining table and my husband’s glass desk. The bumpers came off the furniture so he got new ones, we have to replace them, clean the glass and the movers put both glass tops on upside down so that’s a two-person job at least.

The first, pristine box I packed included the remains of two of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known. Chani was an abused Golden/X from a shelter who I rehabilitated and had for ten years, and Zoe, another shelter dog, this one a pup, an Aussie mix who my husband and I adopted at five weeks of age and had for fifteen years. Chani is in the the heart of a teddy bear she found at a flea market sale in a local park. She just walked up to the largest stuffed animal she saw and picked it up in her mouth so for fifty cents I let her have it. A dear friend who is gone now, a milliner whose husband, a Navy Captain (ret.) married us, thought that bear would be a perfect final resting place. After scattering most of Chani’s ashes in her favorite park and planning a tree ceremonially (which is doing great!) she took a bit of the ashes in a little baggie and sewed them behind a red felt “heart” trimmed with lace and teeny beads.

When Zoe, our next dog, was a pup we moved next door to prove a point and a couple of friends came over to help carry things over. I told her that Zoe could have any of Chani’s stuffed toys save one, the teddy bear with Chani’s remains. Zoe shows up at our new place with my friend and a huge brown teddy bear sticking out of her mouth. “Look, Mommy!” Since then it’s been safely on a high shelf. Zoe died in Texas, while I was in the hospital three years ago. Her remains are in a small cedar box with nameplate and lock and key. We also have her paw print framed in a shadow box that hung in the kitchen over her food bowl, her favorite place in the house.

So now that my two favorite dogs were safely ensconced in a box and the move was on, I told Lulu, our young, dear headstrong full Mini Aussie that if she was good, she could move with us as well. Honestly, she might have been happy wandering the halls of our old tower, happy to be taken in by all the friends she met there! She made it, of course, and is getting used to the new place. I’ve only found two of her three beds so far and there’s not a shred of wall-to-wall carpet in the bedrooms (a good thing) so she’s looking for hangouts by the windows. Same view, well, similar, 300 feet further in from the Lake and 30 feet lower. But it’s a huge place and once we hang the quilts it should be less cacophonous. A better view, actually, with the two balconies and view of the bike trail below,

We needed the extra space for what has become a Zoom career and we just love the view and the old Olmstead parks that dot the shoreline. It’s city but not. It’s our home base for now. Hopefully it’s for a while because moving is a bear that I do not want to repeat anytime soon.

I called my housekeeper a “moving goddess” this morning as we talked time of day for her to slot us in. Two weeks ago she cleaned while her dear big sister helped me pack two sets of fine china and all the crystal. Nothing broke. One of my old-fashioned glass lemon reamers broke, but I’ve two others. I packed that one. Oops. All the china and crystal is put up, and I even have room for it! We’re down to probably thirty boxes to unpack. Most of them are books, office stuff and pantry items.

A couple of weeks and we should be able to entertain should we be up to the task. Lulu made it here. She’ll entertain before next week is out. Rue wants to come over for a play date, and we just met Jack, a toy Aussie just rescued last week. Her date book is filling up quickly and it includes an annual vet visit just before her third birthday on New Years Eve. I’ll be up to making cookies, perhaps chicken liver cookies this year, for her to give to friends on her special day. That’s something for a retired pet parent to look forward to. Back to work, must make breakfast for the gang. Cheerio! Dee

All Good Things

Originally French, attributed to pseudonym Violet Fane, “Tout vient a qui sait attendre.” Technically, all things. I added the word good because in my life, the best times have been the result of a wait.

It took twenty years after college to meet my life’s mate, my dear husband. Yes, I had to kiss a few frogs along the way but he was worth the wait. Along with him came a great surprise.

On our bedroom wall is a photo of my mother, my grandmother (Dad’s side, Mom’s mom had already passed) and me. I was just out of the hospital, a few days old. It was to be the last time I saw that grandmother as she died before I was six months old.

Two months before we decided to elope, we flew to meet his parents. They were OK with my husband’s choice of spouse, as my parents were with mine. Then we went to meet his grandmother. She interviewed me at her home, was very gracious, and welcomed me to the family. She said that since I never had a grandmother, she could be mine, too. That meant a lot to us, to my husband because his Nanny had sat him on her lap as a two year-old and read from the Encyclopedia. She always indulged his love of learning and that it took him to a degree in physics.

So, for twenty years I’ve had a grandmother, of whom I speak of today as she is laid to rest. She was ninety-five when she passed earlier this week, and while COVID will diminish the number of people who gather to see her on her journey, she knows that she has the love of family and friends. She got to spend time with her great-great-grandkids and not many have a chance to do that in life. God rest your soul, Nanny.

Let’s see, there are other good things worth waiting for, like wisdom. I’ve always thought it humorous when a teenager pens an autobiography when their life has barely begun and they haven’t had time to pull all the pieces together to see what they mean in context.

It took me nineteen years to get my husband to register to vote. Last year, he finally did. He still has yet to visit a polling place, but that’s because we dropped off our ballots as a result of COVID.

And then there come our dogs. The first fifteen years we had Zoe, an Australian Shepherd mix from the pound. She was a sweetheart loved by all, who only needed two people to be happy, us. Now at two years is Lulu, a full miniature Australian Shepherd who is still bouncing off the walls unless she has several play dates with other neighborhood dogs each week.

Ah, here she is helping make the spaghetti. We’ve thought of getting her a buddy, but my husband’s been stubbornly insisting that it be a large, sedentary dog who will calm her down. My view is toward a dog of similar type and energy level so they can play, tire each other out and then can hang out and watch Netflix before bedtime.

It took two years of waiting, but just the other day he backed down and said he thought we “needed another.” So good things do come to those that wait! I’ll start looking as soon as things get back to normal, whatever that might be. We’re still awaiting COVID vaccines. There may be a relocation on the horizon so we’ll just wait. After all, everyone is waiting for normal to return, and hoping it’ll be good news. Cheers! Dee

Slowing Down

I have due to arthritis, now our dog is doing so as well. Her right front leg is getting a tiny bit lame or shaky during a long walk. My hips are worse so I miss those long walks she takes with my husband when he is home.

Don’t worry, I am not anywhere near to a having a disabled parking spot! I try and do walk seven blocks to my grocery store, 14 total blocks, three times per week. The more I walk, the better I am, even though my legs hurt and I have to lie down for 20 minutes. I can take Zoe around the block early morning when it’s cooler and we enjoy the walk.

My parents are gone and I’m the eldest and most frail so I am next. College friends, professors and mentors have gone. Do I wish to go? Absolutely not. I’ve work to do here and a little arthritis isn’t going to get me down. An old chiropractor marveled at my tolerance for pain… he’s the one that when I said I had a new car wanted to go out to the lot and see it. He wouldn’t let me tell him what it was and guessed it would be a fancy car and picked out a couple of cars. No, it was a new Army Jeep, 4WD, stick.

He was so excited and surprised at me, he asked if he could drive it, “of course!” My tolerance for pain came in when I needed to drive it to a client 100 miles away and back, same day. No A/C, hot weather, plastic windows and nothing with which to cushion my back or butt. Now that hurt. Plus my hair got messed up for a client meeting that usually lasted three hours before I could drive home.

Dad recently died and spent several years flying to cities that had facilities for his cancers. He spent most of his time at doctor appointments and scans and surgeries and other invasive procedures. I do not wish to start this now, or ever. I am young and strong and have work to do. Please, let me do it. Dee

 

Kindness

Our Swedish neighbor moved out last month kitty corner, he will be missed. He taught me how to make Kottsbullar, Swedish Meatballs, lent me his dad for art and horticultural pursuits, and I taught him true Pedernales Texas Chili (no beans). He left before our “final exams” which is when I would have made his dish and he made mine. Hopefully we’ll see him and his gal someday soon as they’re still in town. I think there’s a wedding coming up. He was a player but found the one.

Zoe has monitored our floor as the only dog for years. Now there’s a Labradoodle “pup” who weighed in yesterday at 2X Zoe’s weight. No worries. He doesn’t care about Zoe, just wants to jump up on “Aunt Dee” and lick my face.

As of last night there’s a new dog, sounded big, loud bark for a long time. I arranged with the pup’s parents to ask for all the dogs to meet and work things out. That will happen on neutral ground.

This morning I met the newest kitty corner neighbor and I knew her years ago from across the way. I know her dog. She agreed to meet and I said that Zoe was 85 in “people years” so would be retiring as hall monitor and crossing guard. It’s between the other two to see who protects us. Of course Zoe will “snoopervise.”

Everything happens for a reason! Who knows where we’ll be in the next few months? Zoe and I do lay claim to two of our neighbor’s grandkids now 8 and 10 who play a lot of soccer now in their home state. They visit a few times a year and stand by our front door and just whisper “Zoe” until she runs to see them. As they grow, Zoe will be a faint memory.

I brought a mason jar to the flower store today and bought a few yellow tulips and mini-daisies in a box with welcome card and purple wrapping. My next door neighbor, a retired architect, asked who might have left that by the door, given the barking dog last night, who was just upset at moving and change and owner leaving to keep moving. Plus I’ve had him for a couple of hours, half the time sitting in front of his new door telling him stories of moving and happy endings. Now they bark every few minutes at every sound they hear.

We took care of B yesterday evening for a few hours. B is blind. Zoe has no hips. What a pair. Everything is new to him but he’s really smart and found his way everywhere. Then he got scared so I let him lead me to their home while they were away, moving, and I made up stories about a dog and a new home with good folks who are moving so took their dog to a safe place. They’ll be home soon. After three different versions of the story (no scary stuff) he relaxed went down and I knew he’d be OK.

Back at our place he laid down on Zoe’s bed and slept a bit. When his folks came to pick him up he disappeared. Where was he? Our place. Zoe was out being petted, of course. Zoe THW (the hip-less wonderdog) learned not to prance around waving her only toy at a blind dog, and took care of him as Grandma all night, even though he was home. B learned a bit of trust of a person and dog he knew years ago and new environments.

Of course it was me who gave the flowers. Turns out she’s an old neighbor from across the way. Other than hearing “I love you” from my husband or my dad, certainly the kindest thing I’ve heard today, from my old neighbor of several years, is “I knew it had to be from you, you’re the nicest person I know.” So we’re getting money back from the feds and three states, but these compliments are worth a fortune.  Cheers! D&Z

Prohibitions

I agree with many, starting with the Ten Commandments. Maybe fifteen but as Mel Brooks broke the tablet in History Of The World, Part I, I do not know that content.

So, I’ll add one of my own, “Thou Shalt Pick Up Dog Poop.” There’s been little snow this season so no reason to have to wear thigh-high boots to traverse through 4′ of snow covered with ice to pick up after Fido. As an irresponsible dog owner, you are littering, being a lemming (just because others do it doesn’t mean you have to so), and inevitably denying the privilege of my dog, and yours, to live here. That is unacceptable. We are responsible dog owners and always have an extra bag for you to pick up.

Saturday is my dog’s 12th birthday, yes, we had her at six weeks, or as Renee Zellwegger would say, she “had me at hello.” No, we’ll not have a party. She only had one, when she turned one year old after having both her hips removed, not replaced. She had to grow her own from cartilage.

Where we were living the dogs and their owners were so kind to this pup who had the worst hip dysplasia her surgeon had ever seen. Even when other dogs chased her before her surgeries, she just laid down on her back, exposed her tummy and because of her sweet, Beta personality they left her alone. No-one knows my name but everyone knows Zoe.

For that party I brought three hors d’oeuvres for the humans, and three for the dogs, plus water dishes and soda. This year I may make dog biscuits and deliver them to the dogs she likes most. Practically everyone in the neighborhood. May as well leave a bowl out!

As to other prohibitions I get tired of them as they are unnecessary and mean. You may not have any ornament on your door, a mezuzah or a wreath or a welcome hanging with bluebirds for Spring. You may not have a door mat. What? This is a land of snow and mud. Where am I supposed to leave my boots for 20 minutes to dry?

A woman has been burglarizing our homes for months now. What says that people don’t really live here? Lack of a door hanging (mine is on a Command strip so I didn’t put a nail there) or door mat. When my husband is away on business I like having a door mat and door hanger and a dog to deter trespassers. Zoe’s Beta so will bark but if I open the door, she will lick. It works for me. I just don’t open the door. “Down, Jezebel!!!” Enjoy the day. Dee and Zoe, Greek for “life.”

p.s. There are enough prohibitions in life. I prefer to live my life. Oh, they caught the thief last week and I hope the people she stole from will testify against her. She’s caught on surveillance video here and elsewhere.

Truth

My dogs never lie. I’ve always kept them on a schedule but they always told me when they needed to go out and it was not to try to kill a squirrel. Not that it wasn’t always on their minds, but after 25 years of dog ownership my dogs have never bagged an SQ. Yes, that’s what we have to call them these days. As is the only ball our dog will ever have, indestructible, a “spherical device.”

Hey, our brains are bigger! Let us use these brains. I like to think we’ve built up enough trust that they just tell us what they need and we figure it out and do it. Sometimes it’s unclear whether they want the ball or to go out to do #1. Other times they may eat something icky/dead from the sidewalk and vomit on our bed. No problem. Six loads of wash here and one at our friends up the street in a huge washer, the down comforter, with a pair of my Crocs to fluff before folding.

Our Zoe never lies. If she needs to go out, she needs to go out. I jump into appropriate clothing for the weather and go asap. Cats lie. I didn’t scratch the other cat, I’m just sitting here minding my manners and licking my paws! “I saw you do that, Mick”. I’m not paying attention to you, Mom, you only feed me and clean my litter box. I never did anything wrong so bring out my dinner or I’ll keep slamming the kitchen cabinet doors at 4:00 a.m. and pooping just outside the box. Cats blackmail.

My children have been four, two cats, two dogs to raise all from shelters, one cat in need of a private rescue. Each one was taken seriously, and individually. Oh, what stories I could tell. I do know that our dog Zoe is a truthful gal and loves us as we love her.

My husband recently replaced a card of mine with one with her picture. Not the best picture, looks like ASPCA and living in a yard with snow and no water and no dog house. Zoe lives indoors, sleeps on our bed and eats frozen raw lamb, rabbit, venison or duck. Our Zoe does go out for 5-6 walks per day. We interact with people and other dogs and that’s good.

When she was a pup my father-in-law said young Zoe could come for Thanksgiving, he’d clean the leaves out of a goat pen for her. I told my new husband I was staying home with our dog. F-I-L found and cleaned old dog crate and put it in my husband’s old room. They ran a dairy and now a ranch. They’ve no indoor dogs.

Zoe never used the crate, slept on our bed. Now she stands on F-I-L’s sofa space and watches out for him coming in from hauling hay or grain or taking out our nephew. Grandpa J pretends he doesn’t like Zoe but she loves him and he knows it.

I can’t have indoor cats (love them) because my husband is allergic to them. I can have dogs if they’re bathed often, which I do. Our Zoe is at the door awaiting my husband from a business meeting. She misses us, but me most because I feed her and walk her. My husband is the “fun guy” so she loves seeing him and she hates to see him leave for work with a suitcase for a week or two. That’s how it goes. Dee

Shame

It’s OK in a human who might find himself/herself in a pickle, like a murder of passion or robbery or such.

To see a dog not come to the door to greet me when I return with nice-smelling groceries is an affront to me, as they are the most transparent creatures. We’ve had our dog Zoe nearly 12 years and she’s never lied. If she needs to go out, she needs to go out. Is she sneaky? Yes. She got an entire aged steak off our counter, but to her credit it was good for this hipless wonder to stretch her new legs for the first time and she was licking her paws, letting us know she stole it. All we could do is laugh.

This is our guest, Miss L. She wouldn’t come see me and stayed away from me. She pooped in my office. Easy to clean. Came right up and I cleaned the carpet with the doggie magic stuff. I took her out alone for a long walk to go last night and she did. She wouldn’t go this morning even though Zoe did and I praised Zoe in front of Miss L. We walked for a while and she still wouldn’t go. She couldn’t help what she did while I was gone running errands for 30 minutes.

I feel really bad for Miss L because she’s not even near me now and she and Zoe never leave my side. She’s exiled herself to the living room (on Zoe’s bed) so I think we need to go for a quick walk to snap her out of this. When I found the poop I found L, and told her she’s not in trouble. We can deal with this. People and their pets don’t call me Aunt Dee for nothing! Cheers, Dee

The Dynamic Duo

I’ve a new name for our repeat canine guest, Miss L, and our Zoe. Sighthound and Chowhound. Yesterday I split a jerkey treat L’s “mom” brought over and Zoe ate it in 30 seconds. L delicately held it in her paws and spent nearly eight minutes on it.

Mom bought me (not the other kids as I was the eldest and an example) multiple etiquette books and made me learn how to set tables, fold napkins and walk with a dictionary on my head. I also had to take ballet, piano and violin lessons. Come Spring I’d take off my shoes and go barefoot down cliffs to a creek and catch crayfish and the neighbor boys would throw snakes at us, me and my little sister.

The first night with guest L, she slept on our bed with her spine against my legs all night. Zoe slept on her cushy bed on the floor. Last night it reversed. But we were watching a show last night on an L-shaped sofa. I was in the middle. They were sound asleep in the same position on either side of me, each with their head on a down pillow. Sisters of a sort, though mine is 80 in people years and L is about 15.

Our walks have been eventful. Luckily both girls have the same Martingale collars and leather leashes so other dogs have not been that big an issue. Winter is on its way so the squirrels are brazen and stand five feet away before jumping up a tree. I had to take them separately for “last chance” last night because Zoe only needed a quick one, L needed a good walk.

Indoors, they chase or play keep-away with Zoe’s favorite toy, or they play-fight with fake growls and running.Then they settle down after 10-15 minutes together and sleep.

It takes Zoe under two minutes to eat her food then I place her and her water in another room. It’s taking Miss L nearly 15 minutes now, to eat her dinner. She is so delicate. Well, not that much as she likes to pick it up, drop it on the floor then eat it. That’s why I’ve a bath mat under her water and food dishes!

Miss L is dressing up for Halloween. Her mom’s flying home to dress her and promised to bring her by for admiration and a treat. I think she has a handmade costume to be fitted. Something about a creature with eight arms……

As soon as I moved to my office at 6 a.m. they awakened and are awaiting a walk. I just have to check the temp and wind and dress appropriately and we’ll go. Here’s to a dognacious day. Dee

Loss

A couple of years ago our dear dog Zoe’s precious toy gave up. Ten years of service. So my husband built another. A rubber lacy cage around a latex gorilla with a squeaker. The cage assures she will not attack the gorilla and take out the squeaker in under 30 seconds. That is what she does and why this toy was invented. There are no stuffed animals here. She would eviscerate them in seconds. But she’s the sweetest dog in the world, loves adults, kids and even errant pups.

After ten years, her only toy deteriorated due to age. So has her bowl stand. I’ve had the same bowl set for her for nearly 12 years and the stainless bowls are fine. While I hate to get rid of it, the stand has rusted out underneath and the rubber on the bottom will not go back into place no matter what I do.

Yesterday I washed the mat that goes underneath her bowls. That may need replacing as well. She’ll be 12 in January and after all these years needs a new bowl set. It’ll keep her spine straighter as it will be lifted by a few inches. She is such a good girl and deserves a $9 bowl set every 12 years!

We try not to spoil Zoe because everyone else does. She’s kind of a mascot around here. Kind of like me not getting into the frat but am still in touch years later with its leaders. Now I’m giving them recipes for their camping trip!

I hate losing Zoe’s toy and bowl stand because I don’t want to lose Zoe. She’ll be 12 soon and while her senior blood panel is good it would break my heart to lose her. I’ll have to make the decision. My husband may be out of town or not choose to participate because he hates this as do I.

Don’t be fooled, he grew up on a dairy that is now a cattle ranch. His dad had to shoot both predators, and cattle beyond saving. So did he. It’s like living in Old Yeller though he hasn’t touched a rifle for years nor do we have any weapons in our home. Oh, I do cook so have knives but take them to veggies. Our young cousin asked to teach me how to shoot last year and I declined. This year, I’ll say it’s OK as long as I have a 22 and we’re shooting at cans, scary.

The first year, we were married, I was in PJ’s getting some tea and his Dad came up in the truck and said “hop in!!” I ran and got a coat and shoes and he took me to see a 14 point buck. All we got to see was the doe. What he told me about his heart and soul, his wife and sons that day is that he is a kind, honest man who doesn’t hunt for sport. If he was poor he would go legally into the woods and kill for food.

Last Thanksgiving he took me on a tour on the four-wheeler to see all the baby calves. One was dead and mama would not leave it. There is a bovine community that sometimes adopts a twin. There are babysitters. It is creepy to be in the bathroom at 5 am and have nine bulls looking at you from 2o feet away but you get used to it. I even fed a twin calf their version of milk. Something like ours…. that they give us daily.

Family is so important. I miss everyone who is lost to us, and cherish all that remain. Slainte to all our human and four-footed friends. Dee