Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Once A Year At This Time

I try and wait for the perfect day every year for this post. Last night was the one. Every October there's a windy, pouring down rain, dark, cold day and night just like the night the girl came home with Pony Express.

OK, so I wrote that and then I went back to look for the links to last October and it seems I haven't written a tribute to the day Miss Emily found us since 2005. Jeez, it's about damn time I brought the love back, eh? It is true, at least, that every year in October there is a day like this that is exactly like that night 13 years ago.

She is the exact same dog she was 13 years ago. She's nervous, she's clingy, she's strong as an ox, she's desperate to please and she's gorgeous. She is also a totally different dog. She can no longer walk around on her back legs for minutes at a time. She no longer flinches when another dog barks. She's calmer, much calmer, while still not being a calm canine by any stretch. She no longer bolts her food like the firing squad is loading their guns. As a matter of fact there's a funny story about that.

Tracy at Who's Your Doggy is always kind enough to give goodie bags to all the PUPkin entrants. This year it included a couple of poop bags, a key chain and an huge, frosted dog cookie. Ours is a ghost. On my way to work yesterday I gave the ghost to Emily in place of her normal large sized dog biscuit. She has yet to even give it a nibble but has been carrying it around with her for two days. Every so often I trip over it in a new location, completely intact but for another couple of tooth prints in the frosting. After she finished her dinner tonight she started to lay down near the couch then got up, retrieved the ghost from near the front door, brought it back to the living room and lay down next to it. This from a dog who once broke into a locked kitchen and ate an entire large sized pepperoni pizza in the 8 minutes I took to walk the other dog around the block. Some people, I suppose, would pick up the cookie and either put it away or throw it away but she seems to like having it with her so I'm fine letting it be.

She remains the world's sportiest traveler and was of enormous comfort to me, Auntie Blanche and everyone else during our emergency visit in August. If I could I would bring her everywhere with me because it would make her happy and she deserves that after the here and there life I've given her.

She's almost 14 now so I think a lot about how much time we have left. As far as I'm concerned we've been living on borrowed time since she was 11 or so. She's doing well, though, and I'm working hard with the supplements and careful exercise to keep her well. She still loves and is able to poke Bobby in the neck and chase after him until he begs her to leave him alone she just sleeps a lot longer when they're done. She would still walk to California and back on a cool, fall day if I'd just let her. She doesn't eat as much or as regularly as she once did and she's a veritable hunger striker when we travel or when I go away without her. Overall, though, she's the same as she ever was which is amazing.

Having a dog is at least as expensive and time consuming as I expected. It is also at least as fun and necessary as I suspected. Sometimes when she's lying on the floor near me I just lay down with her and breathe in her stinky dog smell and that is so much better than I ever thought possible.

As I was writing this I got an e-mail from friends in OH about their beloved boy, Hogan. He died yesterday after an illness. There are some similarities between Hogan and Em, not least their age, so I think it's appropriate to share this post with him. Here is a picture of the good boy, please give your pets some extra treats in his honor today. He is sorely missed.


  1. I simply can not imagine my life without Wonderdog. When she had her surgery last month (or was it two? I was beside myself with worry.

    Our lives are so enriched by our four legged family, aren't they?

    Peace to Hogan's family

  2. What a great tribute to your girl. She is very special to us also and I agree with you that she hasn't changed much over the years. She still pines for you when you're gone, still gives Bobby the business, and still takes forever to go #2!!

    RIP, Hogan.

  3. Oh, I ache. One of my beloved dogs is entering his life's winter, and it's so, so hard. And yet so worth it for the love they give us. {hugs}

  4. Kath, she does take forever, doesn't she? I keep thinking, "It's cold out here for you TOO, let's move it along!"

    Gypsy, I'm so sorry about your dog. I hope the whole journey is as easy as possible. Which won't be easy at all.

  5. "Sometimes when she's lying on the floor near me I just lay down with her and breathe in her stinky dog smell and that is so much better than I ever thought possible."

    You and me both, baby! When I think about the possibility of losing Sidney (there's a small chance she won't be immortal), I think it's her smell I'll miss most. That and her ears. The furry part, not the yeasty part.

    Love to both of you.

  6. Anonymous1:32 AM

    This made me cry - you mean dogs don't live forever? Shit. I can't imagine life without my little furbaby.

    Speaking of which, she is laying at my feet happily munching on a rawhide stick in Hogan's honor.

  7. Oh, sweet. We are dogless temporarily, having lost our beloved 14 year old malamute in August 2007 and sent off our elderly Rottweiler boarder in August 2008.

    It's weird not to have a dog around the house.

    We'll get another, but not right away. It has to be the right dog, and you don't just run out and get one.

  8. Jules, my dog made me a deal that she'd live for ever but I have a feeling she's a welcher. Hogan would be glad about that raw hide.

    g, that empty weird feeling of which you speak is how our friend, Tim, the GSD found his puppy self being shipped across state lines to come live in Brooklyn. When his predecessor died the house had too big a hole in it and my friend couldn't stand it. She lasted, I think, 2 weeks before she was online looking for Tim.

  9. Anonymous10:47 PM

    I am sorry for all of the dog losses. They are great companions. Just don't spend time missing them before they are gone. Life is different with an older dog, but it is still good. I've been there. Love them while you've got them.

    I'm a dog person married to a cat person. We have cats and they are great little fur ball companions but they are not a dog or dogs. If our lives didn't involve so much travel, I'd have a dog in a heartbeat. BEW, maybe not so much. Not a dog fan.

    Give your pup an extra hug from me.