Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Blue and Bettina greyhound in their finest Christmas duds

From Blue, Bettina and Mumma


It Ain't Book Learnin' People

I always say that the hounds make me laugh every day.  This is true.  And sometimes they make my heart melt.  And sometimes they test the last depths of my patience.  And sometimes they teach me things about life that I should know but have forgotten.  Or perhaps I have become too skeptical and jaded.  Today they reminded me of something pretty simple.

Bettina greyhound is a strange girl
Grab your opportunities where you find them...
With the hounds, we have an established routine.  They get breakfast between 7:00-7:30a and then a potty break.  They get a break at 12:30p and a treat.  They get dinner between 5:30-6:00p with another potty break.  They get a last potty break and treat before bedtime between 11:00-11:30p.  This has been in place pretty much since I was lucky enough to get a job that allowed me to work from home. 

The kids know very well what the schedule is and they have unerring internal clocks.  At 5:31p I have four eyes boring holes into me reproaching me for being late to fix them dinner.  At 7:01a I have one or two wet noses jammed into my face and a chorus of whines to pull me into consciousness.

Since we work at home, if I want a snack or a drink, I get up from my desk, walk down the hall to the kitchen and get something from the pantry or the fridge.  Sometimes I head down the hall to use the bathroom.  It never fails that when I get up from my desk to do anything, bathroom, break, grab a book off the shelf across the room, stretch my legs, anything at all, one or both hounds spring up from their beds.  I inevitably lead a parade down the hall to whatever destination it is I have gotten up for.  This happens every time.

Blue greyhound begs attention at Woofstock
Remember to be super-cute and practice your puppy dog eyes
Blue and Bettina are hoping that I may give in to their charms and give them an unscheduled treat.  And honestly, sometimes I do.  Much of the time I don’t.  But that doesn’t stop them from jumping up and following me every time my behind leaves the chair.  This morning it occurred to me as I turned and tripped over Bettina who had been right on my heels in the kitchen, hope springs eternal for my crazy dogs.  Disappointment may rain from the skies over their little heads when I don’t give them an extra treat.  But they get up again the next time and follow me hopefully. 

What’s more, sometimes their hope is rewarded with something special and unexpected.  Sometimes I give them a marrow bone.  Or a rawhide to chew.  Sometimes it's just a humdrum treat.  It doesn’t really matter what.  Sometimes their hope and patience and optimism pays off.  And it happens enough times to keep that hope alive. 

I certainly didn’t expect to be taught a life lesson this morning while tripping over my dog.  But they definitely seem to have it right.  Rejection isn’t personal, or final.  Keep trying to get what you want because sometimes you do.  Even when you don’t get what you want, keep trying because it might be next time that you do get it.  Or maybe the time after that.  And always, always try to be in the right place at the right time.  You can’t take advantage of an opportunity if you are still lying on your bed.  Oh yeah, and it doesn’t hurt to be super cute and make use of puppy dog eyes. 


The Last Heartbeat

Grammy has agreed to step in as guest blogger again. This particular post has been so very hard to read, very hard to edit and hard for me to release to the world.  But, on this third anniversary of Girly Girl's cancer diagnosis, in her memory and honor, I share this with you.

Girly Girl in orange
Always Grammy's Girl
It was approaching sunset on a beautiful October evening.  The sky was streaked with red and the sun was warm.  Trees were changing and wore brilliant dresses of orange and red.  This was to be Girly Girl's last night we would see her until we passed over the bridge ourselves.  The Vet was there with her assistant and everything was held up until Charlie and I arrived.  As sick as GG was she got up and ran to the gate to greet us.  She had been bleeding from the nose and there was no hope left for recovery.  But the steel magnolia had not given up yet. Someone had to help her over the bridge and her mother, my daughter, was the only one she could depend on.  The fight had lasted a year, loss of a leg, numerous chemo sessions, numerous radiology sessions, numerous blood tests, numerous x-rays, but the outcome was apparently inevitable.  We were saying our final farewell to our beloved GG, the little girl that could.

Veronica sat on the ground in GG’s favorite sunning spot and had GG lay down in her lap.  The Vet gave her the first shot to relax her and then the killing shot, except it didn’t.  This 58 pound dog’s heart would not stop.  Her mother was murmuring in her ear to go, to let it all go, that it was ok, that she would see her again.  But her heart beat on.  The Vet shook her head and gave her another shot.  Girly Girl relaxed and taking a deep breath, exhaled as her mother rocked her in her arms.

Charlie offered to pick her up but Veronica, tears streaming down her face, said ‘No, this is my job, this is my privilege.”  She went inside and got warm wet cloths and bathed her there in the setting sun and then wrapping her in a white sheet carried her inside to her bed and laid her down.  We sat around, amazed that our own hearts were still beating, there was no way they could survive this but somehow they did. 

As an adult I’ve lost many things, my mother, my father, my beloved grandmother but never did I feel pain like this.  I had been in the presence of the last perfect heartbeat of a perfect soul.