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Old dog, new tricks

Dakota gets his 3rd chance at age 9

i had a bizzy day

April10

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i had a bizzy bizzy day and i am so tired! i had a venture and went in the car. but the morning was not so good. i wuz sleepin just fine and then my momma lady called me.

001

when she calls me from the kichen or the living room, i am happy. when she calls me down the hallway, i get nervus. when she calls me from the bedroom, i run and hide. today she called me from the bedroom.

i wuz rite. there was a bery good reeson to hide. she did this.

002

after she dried me off, i did this.

004after a little bit, my momma lady got the leesh. i was bery spishus because of the baff. i was afrade she was going to take me to the v-e-t. you know what? i was rite! dammit! i hate being rite. they put me on the scale again and said oh boy she has lost one haff a pound. i said so what. then we all went into a room and i got so scared. i shook and shook and could not stop. my momma lady got on the floor and kissed me and said sweet things but i still shook. they wanted my blood. they had a hard time finding it. i do have blood. i just like to keep it inside of me.

after the v-e-t, we got back in the car. my nervs were so nervus i did not think i could take any more. we got on the freeway and i did not like that. that ment we were not going home. but you know what? when we got off we went to this place with a funny doohicky sticking up out of the ground. momma shouted at it. i thought why is so so mad at that dookhicky? she yelled some more. then she drove off. but not for long. then she stopped and a arm came out of a window and gave momma a bag. it smelled incred, um, nice. and oh yes i got a treet!

 

sumbody put a burger in a bowl and then put some lettus in the bowl and then put a lid on it. i smelled it and then momma opened it and then i choked on it.

006

 

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then i stared at my momma lady and made the big hungry eyes. it did not work.

010

then we went to pick up something at a warehouse and then we came home. and that was my bizzy bizzy day!

 


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by posted under just fun | 10 Comments »    

Can we have an ampuversary without you?

February10

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Tomorrow is the 2-year milepost on our journey. I have been thinking about it for easily a month, knowing I wanted to write about it here but not really knowing how. I trusted that the words would arrive when the day did, but they really haven’t. I’m kind of at a loss.

Two years on this journey is a very big deal. When you started, you were in fantastic company: Bellona, Lucky, Rio and Bud were in the same week with you. We’ve not seen Bellona or Lucky here for a very long time so we don’t know how they’re doing or if they also crossed the bridge. Rio went ahead of you just before her first year ampuversary. You went 2 months before your second. Bud is here, though. He is holding down the fort and making all the February Furball Family proud. His being here makes it a happy time.

Dakota, I want to let you know the things that have happened in the last couple of months since you left. Evelyn is settling down but she is still confused at night. She is sleeping in her crate in the bedroom. We leave the crate door open and she usually stays there, but not always. She does a fair amount of pacing and searching for unknown things and then goes back to sleep.

The grandpuppy is now on her hands and knees, threatening to crawl. She does a combat crawl at 90 miles per hour and zeroes in on poor Evelyn sometimes. You would have hated this and run for your bed.

We have not had much snow, so you would also not have enjoyed the weather. I’m sorry your last winter with us couldn’t have been filled with the deep stuff you so enjoyed.

Your Boy is still the same, doing his boy thing and growing. Your Man has asked me when I think I might want to take your ashes to the mountains and scatter them around your old hopping grounds. He seemed surprised when I told him I’m not sure I’ll ever want to do that. I wish I knew what you wanted me to do with them, D.

I used to think that when people cry for a loss, they are crying for themselves because of how much they miss the one who’s gone. I’m not so sure I’m right about that, though. I miss you, D, very much–but I’m still very angry that you were cheated out of so much. I am incredibly pissed that you died so young. I realize you were almost 11, but we’ve never lost a dog so young. We were counting on several more years, more time to give to you as a gift. I’m sorry you were cheated. I’m sorry so many here have been cheated. If I could change the rules, I would.

On a happier note, your hated harness is going to a dog in Texas. I hope that’s far enough away for you to feel comfortable. I know you detested the damn thing.

Happy two years, Dakota. I wish you were here to experience it.

portrait

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What the dog said

January5
You speak of things I do not know
like “time” and “loss” and “fair.”
You cannot judge my life by yours.
To do so means despair.
 
My time was then and yours is still
and for that I don’t grieve.
It seems appropriate and right
to take what Life did weave.
 
As for loss, I felt it some
but did not dwell upon it.
I’d rather think of what’s to come–
Have faith that I will want it!
 
I do know fair though not like you.
Fairness is intention.
Your love was right and true, thus fair,
without guile or pretension.
 
So if you judge my life, my friend,
make sure you do it rightly.
Like yours, my love was right and true,
so hold it to you tightly.
 
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by posted under Life without you | 6 Comments »    

Dear Dakota,

December21

It’s very late and I should be asleep. Instead, I lay in bed thinking of you and how you left us so very quickly.

I was not ready.

I’m not sure you were, either, regardless of what others may think. I believe you were very tired and weak and grateful that your doctor owns a gurney. I am sure you were relieved that only women were working at the vet’s office Saturday morning.

I was not ready, though.

Was it hard when Dr. B was out of town and you had to see Dr. S, whom you did not know? I thought she was wonderful. She was so tender with you and she seemed to fall in love with you at first sight.

But I still wasn’t ready.

When you were trying so hard to leave me and I was squatting down looking right into your eyes, you were very calm. Oh Dakota, you gave me such a gift with your peace. As hard as this is, it would be unbearable if you’d been afraid. I was so proud of you and how you demonstrated perfect grace to me. Don’t you think it’s ironic how our roles were reversed in your last half hour? You, who’d always been terrified of getting into the car and going through the vet’s door, ended up being the one who was at ease and without fear. I was not as graceful as you, but at least I let you do what you needed to do. I cried, but I did not blubber. I hope you were proud of me. I put my face next to yours and let you breathe me in even as you breathed yourself out. It was the only familiar offering I had to give you. I wish I could have given you more.

And I was not ready.

I did not expect to say goodbye to you on a gurney, early on a Saturday morning, after a wild ride to the vet’s office. I did not expect to say goodbye to you this year. I did not expect you to go so fast. I did not expect you to go.

I was not ready.

 

There’s a right way to babysit, and a wrong way

November6

You know my pack added a hairless bipawd pup over the summer, right?  It belongs to my oldest Boy and his Woman. Ugly little sucker, but so very interesting to sniff! It spends a lot of time here because its parents work, and my Woman doesn’t trust anyone else to watch it. I understand. Anyone else would probably leave it in the woods because sometimes it’s very noisy, and sometimes it’s very dramatic.

I do like to lay near the pup sometimes and watch it. I find it fascinating. I’m not sure why. I’d make a pretty reliable babysitter because I’m not interested in its toys. Evelyn would take them and destroy them. She has a thing for toys. I do not.

So I thought I’d show you the difference in how Evelyn and I are at babysitting. One of us actually watches the baby. The other one is a baby.

 

by posted under Uncategorized | 6 Comments »    
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What came before

Dakota is our Golden Retriever mix, and he was likely born in February 2002. His full name is South Dakota Watson, and we found him on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in August 2002. The area we discovered him had no homes, no structures, no bodies of water, no shelter. He had his permanent teeth but was still a puppy, so we assumed 6 months was a reasonable age guesstimate. He weighed 12 pounds, which was grossly underweight. Two weeks later, he weighed 23 pounds. He was too weak to eat much so we fed him 6 times a day. Sometimes he would just collapse at his food dish and fall down, and I would have to feed him by hand.

I wish Dakota could write this page because he is the only one who knows the beginning. From his birth until the day we found him, we have no idea what he endured. Well, that’s not entirely true. We know some of it, and other bits we can infer from his behavior. For instance, we know for a fact that Dakota was suffering from malnutrition, sarcoptic mange, assorted internal parasites, flea anemia, dehydration and dental enamel hypoplasia (pitting and staining of the teeth commonly resulting from distemper as a puppy before the teeth emerge). We can infer that Dakota had distemper from the hypoplasia. We can infer that he was deliberately dumped. And we can infer that a man in a baseball cap wearing sunglasses hit him with some kind of stick and chased him off with a hose. Dakota has problems with all of those things.

Dakota has every reason in the world to hate people, but he doesn’t. He’s very mistrustful of strangers, but he is beyond loyal to his family. Once he meets someone and gets the ok from us, he opens his heart to them, too. He is very attached to me, probably because he was isolated (due to the mange) for the first 11 weeks we had him. He had nice digs set up for him in our house, but he could only look at our other 2 dogs and not touch them. I was the one providing all his care during that time, as we found out the hard way that mange can be transfered to humans. To protect our young son, no one but me played with Dakota during those 11 weeks.

Because we feel pretty sure that Dakota survived distemper, and he survived being abandoned, surviving cancer should be no biggie for him.

We know Dakota’s cancer is not an osteosarcoma, and his chest films were clear, one month apart. We are very optimistic about his long-term prognosis in light of those facts. Hopefully we have several more years with him and he will grow old with us, just as he should.

Right after we got home with Dakota, all 12 pounds of him.

Eyes swollen shut, ragged ears, and just as calm as could be.