Friday, October 27, 2023

Invisible String

Have you read the book The Invisible String by Patrice Karst and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff?  I used to read it to my daughter, but it would have been more useful to have been able to read it to the dog who has always been a little too attached to me.  That attachment made Charly a fantastic off-leash dog, however – especially for running.  She would always come back to me.  

Charly was a cagy escape artist when she was very young…especially when we lived right behind a bagel bakery and store.  She would sniff around the backyard, and then when I was preoccupied with my baby, she’d ooze her body through a gap between the fence and gate, and cross the alleyway.  Mostly, she would eat the discarded bagels around the garbage outside the bagel store, but a couple times she went inside – it’s so hot with the oven baking for half a day that the back door was rarely closed.  Eventually, she’d walk around the block and scratch at the front door, sit on the front mat, and wait to be let in.


Now, as an old dog without the bagel store for a neighbour, when Charly escapes the house, it’s not to chase squirrels or prowl the neighbourhood.  She just comes to find me, watch me, and eventually fall asleep nearby.  This “Find Mom” game starts every morning when I come downstairs and she wakes up.  She follows me, lays down near me, falls asleep.  Awake!  “Find Mom” begins again.  The extra challenge is her deafness – she has to use her eyes and nose, and I think sometimes the vibration of my walking as she hurries around the house to locate me.  “There she is,” she sighs.  Snuggle.  Snore.  Repeat.  And, repeat.  And, repeat.  

The Edivator...for senior dogs with mobility issues...part 1 (note that parts 2 and 3 are separate blogs hopefully later today)

 The Edivator part 1 (a comic by my daughter)

The Edivator...for senior dogs with mobility issues (part 2)

 The Edivator part 2 (a comic by my daughter)

The Edivator...for senior dogs with mobility issues (part 3)


The Edivator part 3 (a comic by my daughter)

Friday, October 20, 2023

Our vet drives a really nice car


As her old-dog-self, Charly’s infections last longer and worsen quickly.  One treatment regime required injections for two weeks at 6 am and 6 pm exactly.  In another instance, I made a chart to track the five different medicines and creams that she had to take.  Various types of blood, urine and other tests, as well as x-rays are becoming regular.  


“Charly has a very thick file!” a new veterinary assistant remarked in April.  What was the correct response to that?  “Yes, she’s our angel – only the best for her!”  Or, “Yes, I should have taken care of her better.”  I couldn’t really deny that she, and we, were well-known to the vet and his staff, and wondered if I had failed as a dog-mom to care for her properly.  Or was I too novice to know how to deal with trite matters by myself?  Or was I easily up-sold?  It’s likely all of the above in varying degrees.  Charly should likely have had her ears regularly cleaned at the vet’s – maybe she would not have gone deaf, or gone deaf as soon.  We shouldn’t have put her on cheap dog food after my daughter was born…when diapers, formula and childcare consumed our paychecks.  But, she was indeed the only member of our family to have her teeth regularly cleaned during the pandemic.  (Again, the vet reminded me of my shameful behaviour at letting her gums get puffy red).


Now, in Charly’s golden years, we’ve established a bank account for her, and feed it each paycheck so she always has medical funding readily available.  Just last week, we had a late night emergency involving a bout of vestibular syndrome.  Thankfully she pulled through.  In times of healthy stretches, Charly’s bank account splurges on pizza night for the family.  Most often, though, it eases our loving veterinarian into his golden years….  


Join next week for a three part comic strip created by my daughter about the “Edivator”!

Friday, October 13, 2023


Years ago, I saw a man in the park walking an old little dog while reading a book.  I was surprised at this ridiculousness – how can someone read a book and walk a dog?!  Impossible, and how amusing!  Sigh.  I came to know that it is possible. 

Walks started to change noticeably when Charly was about nine.  She had been an avid trail runner, but we had followed the vet’s advice of shorter walks and no runs.  Then, she started passing up an opportunity to go for a walk.  She would growl.  I started to receive texts from the dogwalker, her special person, her loving friend, saying, “Charly didn’t want to walk today.  She growled at me from under the bed.”  (She was still flexible enough at that time to squirm herself under).  I would apologize, worry, feel embarrassed, and pay him anyway.  Eventually, we cancelled the dogwalker.  Charly wanted to go out in the morning, and in the evening.  She didn’t want the mid-day walk.  There was no “dog-cuddler” service that we knew of…were we ridiculous for wondering!?


Walks kept declining meter by meter.  For the past couple years they have been to the end of the block, cross the street, and walk back…very very slowly.  If we go 800 metres, it’s a very long walk.  She does not want to be carried…and she’s a bit heavy anyway.  There are pauses to sniff for a looong time.  Pauses to sit on a grassy area.  Pauses to lay down on a grassy area.  Pauses on a grassy area to look at the horizon…the mountains…the sunrise.  Pauses to eat the grass – the broadleaf variety only.  Walks take almost as long as they did when Charly was a young dog.  Instead of taking a book on our walks, I drink a cup of tea.  I use one of my favourite mugs that has a plastic lid …I’m having trouble admitting that I do not need that lid. 

Friday, October 6, 2023

Sunset on surfing

Charly’s dog-mom had a beautiful slightly rounded snout and long lashes that made her look like a movie star.  At first, in the puppy pictures, it looked like Charly may also have this petite nose.  Not so – it just bloomed late!  She inherited a very long square snout from her dog-dad.  This, coupled with what seems to me to be an inordinately long tongue, made her an excellent counter-surfer.  She was long enough in the leg and body to cruise around the counter edges very effectively.  Etched in my memory is that tongue paddling into her mouth tablespoons of butter left near the toaster.  We had witnessed this talent often enough to never leave food within at least 18 inches of the counter’s edge.  And that was the rule that I followed the day before our Thanksgiving in 2017.

My carefully selected turkey that year was not defrosting as quickly as it needed to, so I had pulled it out of the fridge that Friday (we were hosting dinner on Saturday), and put it in a tray on top of a tea towel.  Charly was guarding that bird.  We had a very small kitchen at that time, and she would lay at the only opening. Watching.  Waiting.  She regularly did this with Shake ‘n Bake chicken for the whole hour.  I had seen this sentry activity before.  I knew her tactics – wait for mom’s mistake and catch it on the fall or on the floor!  So, I pushed the tray to back of the counter, and went to pick up my daughter from school.


My sigh of relief that the weekend was here morphed into a sense of hopelessness when on return, I opened the front door.  My dog was waltzing on the kitchen floor with the half-frozen turkey, covered and still sliding in poultry juices.  She had had little time to eat much, and I wrestled that gnarly carcass from her firmly clenched teeth, withstanding growls and tugs, slipping on the tiles and grout that would require suds and bleach to remove their coating of sticky substances.  Then, kindergartener in tow, I raced to the supermarket to find a replacement bird knowing that they would be picked over and we’d be serving a scrawny turkey or one that would require 12 hours to cook.


Only years later after arthritis finally ended all counter surfing, do I admire Charly’s patience, cleverness, and physical prowess on that Thanksgiving eve.  I picture her plotting her move as soon as I exited the door.  I remember and long to see those still flexible hips that could erect her lithe torso high enough to paw the counter.  I imagine that extensive snout and tongue maneuvering to capture the bird.  Every Thanksgiving after that one has seemed too easy now that the sun has set on counter-surfing.  Enjoy yours!!


Stay tuned for the next post on October 13th!!

Practically perfect…even at Hallowe’en

Let’s ponder OldDogBlogs “Practically perfect” from March 13, 2024 and “Brazen” from December 8, 2023.   Essentially, let’s just add them to...