Friday, May 17, 2024

Rugs…who needs them?!

  I dreamt of having large beautiful rugs in my home – the plush, light-coloured ones that make a room look open and warm…sitting or lying on a thick rug with fluffy pillows, and reading a book.  But, with a black and white (and used-to-be brown) dog who is non-hypoallergenic, I have settled for small rugs at entries and exits to wipe our feet on, and which all can be put in the washer and dryer.  Then, we moved, and my dream came true…for a while.

At the time of our last move, we no longer had to worry about spills by our small child, leaks from her body, or marker marks from her colouring off pages.  The dog too was older, no longer running in mud, and was calmer.  It was time to try a real rug.  I furnished our sitting room with an off-white shag rug.  It reminded me of the ‘70s (except it was only on the floor, not the walls).  It was luxurious.  It was so clean.  It was so soft.  Until…it wasn’t.  The child wasn’t leaking anymore, but the dog started to at times.  The dog was less active, but that meant she lay on the road or sidewalk, or in the dirt more often.  The rug developed a grey hue where the dog slept on it…the same spot every day…multiple times a day.  The hue deepened into a stain.  The stain darkened.  Then, a yellow spot appeared near the stain…and wouldn’t entirely come out.  Then, another yellow spot.  Paul, the carpet cleaner, used his fancy orange products, but even he could not keep up with the grey, the dark grey, and the yellow….  So, there shall not be any more large light lush rugs, and I’m back to dreaming.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Happy mother's day dog-moms!

  Here is a poem my daughter recently wrote about Charly...

I remember when you were still a puppy and I was small

You were so gentle, licking food off my legs

And letting me use your teeth as an xylophone.

Why were you so gentle?


I remember when we would make pancakes 

You would be whining for your share

We reluctantly gave you a piece.

But, why were you never full?


I remember when you ate the turkey

The only time you were full

We wrestled the bird out of your mouth.

Did you ever think you could get away with your crime?


I remember when you began to grow old

You walked slow short distances

Stairs were but a distant memory.

How will we tell when you are about to leave us?

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Searching for the “golden ticket” – phrase from Raold Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  It has been five and a half years since Charly ate four bricks of chocolate, and then multiple rounds of charcoal to expel the toxins from her system (see OldDogBlog “Brazen” on December 8, 2023).  And in those five and a half years, she continues her quest to conquer and consume any cacao prize.  She needs no promise of a chocolate factory tour…she cares not for fame or money.  She simply must eat chocolate.  She must. 

Our family orders most of our required non-perishable items.  They accumulate in the garage, and as Charly waits for me to tie my shoes or don my rain gear for our next walk, she sniffs, prods, choses, and then tears.  I’ve stopped wagging my finger in front of her dismissive eyes.  Her sheer delight at ripping into delivery packages that host various forms of cacao, force me to let her have those moments…albeit monitored moments.  Then, outer box or plastic strewn about, I snatch away the prize.  She stands among tattered three centimetre squared-ish pieces of the chocolate-housing-exterior, and stares at me with disdain.  She found and opened it after all.  As a dog led by her stomach’s yearnings, she will never stop searching for her “golden ticket”.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

My young dog


Sometimes, I miss my young Charly.  I miss her playful energy – taking a crouching stance in front of me inviting me to chase her.  I miss her game of tug of war with my pyjama pant leg as I’m walking, or with the sock I’m trying to put on.  I miss her fluid movements, and her flexibility.  I miss her muscled body.  I miss her black fur.  I miss communicating with her with words rather than signs and gestures.  More than anything, I miss running with her.  So much.

My head tells me that I shouldn’t miss these things – Charly is old and I should surely understand that…be grateful how loving she is…appreciate what she still can do, and who she is.  But, my heart can’t help it.  My puppy is gone.  My young dog is gone.  My middle-aged dog is gone.  I truly love my old dog…sometimes precisely because she is an old dog and is calmer and slower.  But the realization that I’ll never experience the past again; that I’ll never experience that Charly again, has only just sunk in.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Only dog in the universe

  In her first few years of life, Charly used to go to dog care, and play with other dogs in the off-leash park.  Her favourite game was chase; she didn’t like wrestling or fetching balls and sticks.  She and I lived in the downtown core of a city in her puppy days, and she became accustomed to all sorts of dogs, noises, and people.  Dogs downtown were aplenty – well-behaved dogs and badly behaved dogs.  Nips and aggressive acts by off-leash dogs towards Charly while she was on leash were not irregular.  She tolerated and submitted to that behaviour as a puppy and young dog.  Until she didn’t.

By around age five, Charly seemed to have had enough.  She would see another dog, and her tail would wag.  It seemed as though we could pass or they could meet without incident.  But out of nowhere, Charly would change her mind – and bark harshly.  We enlisted the help of many trainers, used a halti, but this behaviour would not abate.  It increased in severity with age.  Fortunately, we moved into the suburbs shortly after this onset of developing aggression.  We could easily avoid other canine contact.


Now in her golden years, Charly completely dislikes dogs, and we avoid any contact.  If Charly even sees another dog on her walks or something that looks like a dog through her less than average vision, she barks very loudly – even though her deafness prevents her from hearing her own voice.  She has no body or bite to back up her bark…her muscles have atrophied and she has lost a couple teeth.  Regardless, she declares herself to be the only dog in the universe.  It’s hard to tell her otherwise.

Friday, April 12, 2024

"The Sleepster"

  As with groomers, finding dog-sitters to care for Charly as a senior dog also became a challenge – especially when nighttime incontinence began.  So, for our first trip post-pandemic, Charly flew with us to see my parents.  She had always been a good traveller…provided there was some sedation.  But, on that last trip, she did not recover well.  It was apparent that less travelling was better for her.  The hunt for a senior dog-sitter resumed.  

I used a popular website, but was turned down repeatedly by everyone we contacted.  Then, finally, one couple said, “Yes”…even with full disclosure!  And, once they met Charly, and cared for her for a few days, they thought she was wonderful.  Although she required medication regularly, and was at risk of having a pee accident, she was sweet.  She was happy.  She ate.  She was loving.  She walked slowly.  She walked only short distances.  She didn’t bark inside.  She could be left alone.  She could travel in a car.  She didn’t chew or destroy.  She ignores cats.  And, she slept like none other.  The new sitters nicknamed her “the Sleepster”, and it seemed that she provided them some downtime in what otherwise must be an adventurous and demanding side-hustle.  


Slowly, after a few bookings with the new sitters, Charly’s ratings on the website seemed to increase or something.  When the new sitters were not available for our next family holiday, I cringed as I sent out request upon request for a sitter-out-of-our-house.  But everyone replied…quickly.  And everyone said, “Yes.”  Charly, the Sleepster, is a gem!

Friday, April 5, 2024

For Thomas


 Thomas was an old dog owned by workmate and my friend.  He was the inspiration for this blog (with Charly).  My workmate and I would discuss our daily tasks, and then end up sharing the latest story with each other about an old dog event recently experienced…the highs and the lows, the moments of sickness and periods of recovery.  “We should write this down,” I would say to her.  

Thomas was a well-groomed poodle with fur in a pretty shade of brown, but it wasn’t his looks that made you love him.  Thomas was sweet.  He was well-behaved.  He was a perfect role-model for his younger siblings (including his rather large feline brother).  He was the kind of dog that you meet and then say to yourself, “Oh, Iwant a Thomas!”  He put “poodle” on my list of dogs-to-consider-owning-in-the-future.


Old dog Thomas had arthritis, he was blind, he was more than frequently incontinent, and he had developing dementia.  These things happened slowly over the years, and Thomas still loved life…he happily wore his non-slip booties to assist his mobility and avoid “Bambi on ice” moments.  He eagerly attended Thanksgiving celebrations at friends’ even though his bladder emptied on the kitchen floor during dinner.  Thomas was a very amiable, loving old dog.  Very recently, his body just deteriorated to a point of no return, and my friend had to say good-bye to her furry family member…treasuring memories rather than real-life moments.  She keeps his ashes close – the last part of her invisible string with Thomas.

Rugs…who needs them?!

   I dreamt of having large beautiful rugs in my home – the plush, light-coloured ones that make a room look open and warm…sitting or lying ...