Friday, February 23, 2024

Hot and cold


 Charly loved snow as a puppy and middle-aged dog.  She frolicked, she rolled, she bounced, and she ate.  Snow was snapped at and lapped up as we walked and played in winter.  Cold – ingested as food or water posed no issue.  Neither did hot.  However, as an old dog, although Charly still likes to eat snow, her stomach doesn’t like to receive it.  It revolts.  And, Charly vomits.  For quite a while, I assumed that any vomiting was due to her being sick or having eaten something mysterious and toxic.  But eventually, the connection became obvious:  anything too cold or too hot will only stay down for a minute or two.  Then, it’s heaved up.  Even refrigerated food sometimes is too cold.  

Last night, frozen corn kernels escaped from a bag as I was cooking dinner.  I forgot about this phenomenon as Charly eagerly cleaned up little niblets that had skirted all over the tiles.  So convenient to have a dog, I thought…for a short time.  Then I heard the heaving.  And, I raced into the living room with paper towel to catch the vomit before it hit the floor…and before it was eaten a second time (and potentially expelled a second time).  After that, I knelt in melting vegetable frantically trying to retrieve the rest of the spilled kernels before Charly resumed her clean up…accepting the proscription of this new rule for my old dog.

Friday, February 16, 2024

Friday, February 9, 2024

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.  It would have been more useful to read it to the dog who has always been a little too attached to me.  But, that attachment made Charly a fantastic off-leash dog – 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.  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.  I knew she would always return.  I actually did not worry.  The string stretched but could not be broken.


Now, as an old dog without the bagel store for a neighbour, Charly escapes the house not to chase squirrels or prowl the neighbourhood.  She just comes to find me, watch me, and eventually fall asleep nearby even if her bed is concrete.  This “Find Mom” exercise starts every morning when I come downstairs.  She finds me, lays down near me, and falls asleep.  Awake!  “Find Mom” begins again.  The extra challenge now is her deafness.  She uses her eyes and nose, and I think sometimes the vibration of my walking or the smell of my toothpaste, to locate me.  The pace has much changed, but our string remains strong.

Friday, February 2, 2024

My compass


 I think I’m not alone in having every minute of the day accounted for by some familial, employment, or dog-related task.  It’s hard to accomplish everything that “should” be done, and moreover, to the standard that I’d like.  Now, in the past couple years, “self-care” was added to the list…another box that I will fail to tick!

In my frenetic effort at times to get tasks done, I am stopped by my senior dog.  She cannot be rushed.  She moves at one of two paces – slowly, or very slowly.  She lays down for minutes in the grass to recuperate during walks.  She takes an inordinately long time to sniff the air.  Her small joys remain very important.  They are fewer, and I feel bad wanting to rush her through them, though I do sometimes…in order to get home, to get to the office, to make supper, to go to bed.


The tasks and the time constraints hinder my ability to be mindful.  But lately, I’ve noticed that Charly emulates mindfulness.  And, I’ve tried to adopt certain mindful moments during our morning walks.  She walks half a block, and lays in the grass usually facing the sunrise, the horizon, or the mountain view.  She just relaxes and breathes.  Her long snout points at what I should see – the lights before dawn; the rippling leaves; the starry sky; the beauty of being outside on Earth.  Her restful state exemplifies how to be in those moments – calm, at peace.  She is a compass…I just have to follow her.

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...