Sunday, May 31, 2020
Mom's been sick a few days with an infection in her foot (She said it was Sell-U-light-US) and has to take these giant horse pills from the dog-tor for 10 days. She hopes this works otherwise she has to go to the Horse-Spittle.
But I got a HUGE birthday cookie (thanks Dad!) that I shared with Abby and a new stuffie!
- Lorelei W. (Wigglebutt) Lab
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Thursday, May 14, 2020
Friday, May 8, 2020
A member of his community who works with seniors posted a selfie with Dad on her last visit before "the world changed (as she put it) and asked for cards for Dad on a County Facebook page since Dad has no family at all in the Pacific Northwest.
Not only were their 90 comments, but about a dozen people that used to work with Dad at his employer of 30+ years who are still in the community commented as to how much they loved my Dad and how they plan to visit him when the restrictions are lifted.
A Patriot Guard has also commented about doing something special for him with all the Veterans on their motorcycles on his big day. I'm also going to try and get one of his beloved Dairy Queen cakes to him. So many people coming together to honor him, even if from a distance.
Monday, May 4, 2020
National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day (Photo from Travels with Choppy Blog)
I love everyone in Blogville but Choppy the dog was a particular favorite and I was stunned today to read he suddenly went to the Bridge shortly following surgery for a torn CCL and meniscus. He was only 11.
I first met his Mom Sarah through social media when I lived in Indianpolis and she lived in the area working as a attorney. We both supported the same dog rescue organization and started to chat.
Choppy was an amazing dog - he went with her everywhere, hiking and walking all over the United States, including Alaska (Choppy's Mom is a Travel Writer of multiple books). When Sarah got married and moved North, North to Wisconsin, Choppy still spent time walking but at home, he was known for wearing silly costumes (which he LOVED to don) and balancing an assortment of things on his head while he annoyed his nemesis Schooner the cat.
He also is the star of a book of corny dog jokes on Amazon which makes me laugh every time I pick it up.
You are so going to be missed Choppy. https://travelswithchoppy.com/
The quiet, serene, pre-Barkley office with white futon.
For my dear friend, Lab Rescue hero and Forensic Science bff Carolyne Poulton of Labrador Retriever Rescue of Scotland http://www.lrrss.co.uk/.
We all come home to different environments. For some, it's the sound of little kids squealing with delight that Mommy or Daddy is home. It's the clatter of footsteps like the thunder of small ponies down a trail, that is no trail, but is simply a hallway rug, worn by that repeated motion of sheer joy.
For some, it's a simple "Hello Sweetie" a hug and a kiss.
And sometimes it's the blissful sound of silence after a really long day when all you want to do is eat a hot meal and have a mug of hot tea while you lay out the thoughts of the day in your favorite spot to write or perhaps watch one of your favorite old adventure movies.
The night in question was the later kind but it was going to be one of those very nights where the tea was a glass of Malbec.
Mom, come quick! Someone pooped on the rug!
Barkley usually greeted me at the back door to the garage, alerted by the door going up, with that terrifying bark that to outsiders sounds ferocious. He sounded scary, but he would let me take a bone right out of his mouth with my bare fingers. I was his protector and his protected and if I wanted it, it's mine. But he would defend to the death, that bone, from any creature of a lower, parallel plane, those that were neither protected or protector that would take what he loves. So even with that quiet temperament that was his nature, I know he'd defend to the death, as well, my safety.
But he knew the sound of my truck and the bark would take on a different tone. I normally heard him before the door was even up, the sound, wild and faint, and incomprehensible but for its meaning. Bark! Bark! "Mom's Home!"
It was later than normal and that night long ago when I came in - silence. He was comfy on the couch, Brinks Barkley, sleeping on the job.
So I poured the wine, put on some barley soup on the stove to heat for supper, and sat down to call Partner in Grime from the couch.
We had just said hello when:
"Oh, Crap! Barkley threw up in the corner earlier! I have to go".
Unfortunately, it wasn't barf. It was from the other end of the dog. Poor thing,
I'm sure he tried to hold it, but couldn't. He'd never done that in the house since his first couple of weeks home as a puppy. Of course, this time, he carefully MOVED THE TOWEL OUT OF THE WAY FIRST before he tagged my floor with the latest of black lab graffiti (in poop!) But I could see the doggy thought process - "Mom gets upset if I grab her clean towels off the counter so I will protect her clean towel even in my indisposition - I'm a good dog!"
Mom, I was just FOLDING these clean towels I found on the counter.
He just looked at me from a distance, as if he expected a scolding, as I cleaned it up (pointing out the large area of tile in the entranceway he could have selected instead of the carpeting, though he didn't appear to be taking notes). There is nothing quite like the look of a dog that's expecting harsh words, no different than a human that somehow knows you are angry, even if they aren't quite sure what exactly they did wrong; a sort of shocked and unbelieving sorrow.
You look at them, your heart beating strongly with the heat of the moment. They look at you, their heart beating a hollow echo as though already retreating, as they wait for your reaction. You look at them again, weighing a hundred expedients, knowing what you need to do, and not necessarily what fatigue and emotion might prod you to do.
"(sigh) It wasn't barf".
"Oh, so the "Oh Crap" was literal then?" We laughed and proceeded to chat while Barkley laid down next to me for an ear scratch, feeling fine physically, but needing the reassurance that all was well.
When people get married they take a vow of "in sickness and in health". I married Partner in Grime after I blew my meniscus out while walking Barkley on ice and he canceled his holiday plans and drove a worried Barkley and me 200 miles home and took care of me during the follow-up surgery and recovery. We didn't marry for another year or so but after that week I knew he was "the one".
In a way, we also do that with our pets. Owning a pet is not cheap, even for youthful preventive care. Then, there are always the things you don't expect, especially as they age, things that result in someone wearing the cone of shame or the expenditure of hundreds of dollars.
Then, on those nights when you come home really, really late from work, your soul weary, the house dark, they will quietly come up to you, leaning into you, drawn from their slumber to your side like steel and magnet. At that moment, there as both your hearts beat in the silence, you realize that every measure of sickness and health was worth it.
- L.B. Johnson
Saturday, May 2, 2020
With this photo memory of Miss Abby when she had her first grooming after adoption, it brought memories of trying to get Barkley bathed, NOT the easiest of tasks.
From the Book of Barkley (Outskirts Press) and some photos of Barkley with my little Point and Shoot that you may not have seen.
CHAPTER 34 - Lady and the Tramp Stamp
I've had some bad haircuts in my time, as with very fine but also curly hair, it happens. Barkley, however, has been spared getting shaved and groomed but for the occasional bath and nail trim.
Why is it a breed that loves the water and will cannonball into any available pool or pond, hates getting baths? When he was a puppy he just got his baths in the tub. He wasn't too happy about it, but I could hold on to him and although I'd end up as wet as he was, we got it done.
When he was older, it didn't go so well. You know those wildlife clips from Africa that shows the lion running and jumping on the zebra, taking it down in a flurry of legs and hair.
It was a lady recommended by his previous vet where we used to live, the groomer working from her home out in the country. I asked if she did larger dogs and she assured me she did all the time.
I left him. She was very friendly; the place spotlessly clean, her instruments shining and well cared for, the other dogs there, waiting to get picked up, looking content.
When I came back, she was there, with another girl I did not recognize. "I had to call for help," she said. Both of them were drenched, with wet hair, clothes, everything. There was water on the table, on the floor, several of their tools had been flung across the floor, and the picture on the wall was all askew. They looked like they'd been in a tornado and flood combined.
Barkley was in his pen, drying out, with a scarf around his need, looking ALL happy but not liking the scarf much.
"I'm sooo sorry, I said, please; let me pay you extra for your services." They declined, but I gave her a huge tip with a second apology.
As we left, she looked at me and said, "Miss, I appreciate the business, and hope you'll think of me if others ask about pet grooming. But please do not bring him back."
So baths got less frequent but we managed. There were no more fashion accessories though, at least until he came home with a square of fur missing from his lower spine.
It was some simple veterinary surgery to remove a small benign fatty growth from that area as well as four little skin tags on a couple of his legs. Common enough in older dogs but if he kept chewing on them it could do some harm, so off they came. At the same time, since he would be under anesthesia, his scheduled doggie dental cleaning and care was accomplished.
Barkley loves Dr. H., and is oh so excited to get in the door and see her. I dropped him off in the early morning and could pick him up after I got off of work. He was not so happy with me when I picked him up.
He looked at me as if to say - "You told me some pretty girls were going to check my teeth and pet me, and I come home with Brazilian Bikini Butt."
Barkley is a "no fuss dog." Although he is AKC purebred and a hunting breed, he's lived a quiet life at home. It's been a simple life of water and dirt and running amok, not constant grooming and bows in his ears and dog couture. If I dressed him in costume as a food object or cute insect, he would likely steal the clippers and give me a Mohawk in my sleep.
He was neutered as a youngster; there's lots of good rescue dogs out there, so he wasn't going to reproduce, bloodlines or not, but he'd had a life of only routine fussing over, just enjoying being part of my family. His not-so-secret canine mission was that of most working dog breeds - to sniff every object in the entire world, peeing on anything that smelled even remotely like another male dog and then having done so, trying to -
(a) eat it
(b) bark at it
(c) carry it around in his mouth
(d) hump it
The veterinary technician said, "With a little practice your dog will enjoy his brushing."
I didn't tell her that the Storming of the Bastille was better received and less bloody than my attempt to apply a few drops of flea medication on his skin between his shoulder blades a couple of years ago.
I'd be wearing the chicken-flavored toothpaste by the time we were through. I won't mention the look of disdain I'd get at a pink toothbrush. But the doctor only has his health in mind and we talked about some alternatives to keep his teeth and gums healthy.
He did fine, though he whined a little when he did not get a full bowl of food the night before the procedure, by doctor's orders, and he was in a little discomfort when he came home. I had pain meds, but I could not give him one until the next morning, so he got much extra care and got to sleep with Mom on her bed, something normally not allowed.
I lay with him while he went to sleep, telling him he was still a handsome boy and even offering to show him the picture of me from the 80's when I had a mullet. He declined, it appeared, nodding off to sleep, happy that this day was done.