Aging ain't for sissies. Neither is chronic pain.

Posts tagged ‘Dogs’

Unbreakable Bond

It has been my experience that a deep bond with a dog is rarely an immediate development. I’m not talking love at first sight as this is not necessarily an unusual occurrence when a human and dog meet. And then for some there is an undeniable instant connection, a kind of knowing that you belong together. But what is not instant, what does not happen at first sight, is a deep unbreakable bond.

The bond between a dog and a human develops as the two get to know each other. When the excitement of the first few days together morphs into a more regular routine, the human and dog observe and learn each other’s habits and quirks. Pretty simple, standard fare in the scheme of things. But it’s what’s happening underneath the surface that really counts…the building of trust. An unbreakable bond is wrapped in trust.

If a dog is important to us we try and do all the right things. We buy the best dog food, the fluffiest bed, the most durable toys. We get them vet care and proper training. These are good things. Important things. But in and of themselves they don’t mean much if we ignore the core of the relationship and that is trust. A dog will forego a meal, abandon a toy and sleep on a concrete floor if it means they get to be with the one they trust. The one with which they have a bond like no other. Trust takes time.

I think we do new pet owners a disservice if we don’t teach them that it takes more than proper, textbook care to build an unbreakable bond. It takes many things like patience, effort and keen observation. Add in love, play and quiet time as well. Above all else it is respect for another living being sharing a place with us on this planet. Sharing each other’s lives, building trust and in return being blessed an unbreakable bond.

Perry waiting patiently for his favorite peep.

Perry waiting patiently for his favorite peep.

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Willow Bean

Adjustment to life with a puppy continues. Willow is very sweet and far too smart for my own good. Just when I think I’ve got all my bases covered, she uncovers another base.

Flurry is not impressed with our new bundle of energy. Flurry isn’t impressed by much to begin with so I’m not surprised really. Willow seems to think Flurry is some kind of whippet anomaly due to her rather harsh opinion of Willow.

What...is it?

What…is that thing?

Perry isn’t sure what the hell this is all about. We had a good gig going here, he owned all the toys and life was quiet. I hang my head in shame when he looks at me like this.

We had it made.  What were you thinking??

We had it made. What were you thinking??

I have a habit (good or bad, depending on how you look at it) of nicknaming my dogs. In this case it’s Willow Bean. With a poorly executed British accent repeated frequently throughout the day. (Don’t judge.)

We got Willow a toy that was intended to make her think. It’s a fuzzy toy eagle that has a tummy stuffed with squeaky balls. It was her job to figure how to get the balls out of the eagle. It took all of about 10 seconds so now I have to spend part of each day shoving balls back inside the eagle so she can prove once again how much smarter she is than me. The other day she took a ball and hid it in my marigolds. I caught myself in the back yard hollering, “Willow! Willow Bean, where are your balls? What did you do with your balls?” (I said don’t judge.)

willow_12

Willow loves Fred. She talks to him. She gets all girly girl around him…coy you might say. She’s a player, that one is.

willow_nap

Life with dogs…never a dull moment. Thank goodness. 🙂

It’s Your Gut Calling

In March of 2012 we lost our sweet greyhound Razz to lymphoma. It was devastating and we miss him every day. A little over a year later in May of 2013 and we were crushed to have to say good-bye to Finn, our first whippet who was with us for twelve years.

Thankfully our home was still filled with canine companionship with Perry and Flurry but our hearts were shattered and we couldn’t imagine putting ourselves out there again with a new dog. Perry and Flurry are seniors now and time goes by so fast. We didn’t want to allow ourselves to think about another dog.

In July we went to the Grapehound Wine Tour event – a weekend celebration of retired racing greyhounds and their adoption near Watkins Glen, NY. We very much needed some time away. I could probably stop right here and everyone would know what happens next but it didn’t happen quite the way I would have expected.

While there I got a text and photo from a friend about a whippet that needed a home. At first I wasn’t going to show Fred the dog’s photo because I assumed (ahem) he wouldn’t want to get another dog. Even I wasn’t sure – I had more mixed emotions than I can describe.

Eventually I showed him the picture. He didn’t say much at first. To be honest neither of us said whole lot for a while. I think he had as many mixed emotions as I did. The way we initially maneuvered this conversation before getting to the heart of the matter was like watching two people play tennis with a delicate crystal ball ornament. Finally we decided to talk to the person who had the whippet in question.

Once we confirmed this was not a dog for sale we moved forward. Due to the previous owner’s circumstances the puppy needed to be placed in a new home. The only thing she wanted was for the dog to have a permanent loving home and we fit the bill. I believe wholeheartedly that with the way the entire thing happened from beginning to end, it was meant to be. So instead of leaving NY to come home we headed west to pick up our new addition.

Enter…Willow. A puppy. Did you hear me? A puppy! I don’t do puppies. Fred doesn’t do puppies. We knew she was a puppy before we agreed to take her but still…we adopt adult dogs. Willow is a PUPPY! Ack! What were we thinking???? We weren’t thinking, that’s what. We were going on instinct.

Willow

Thank goodness we listened to our gut – mine was telling me that this dog, this puppy, was meant to be with us. Due to human circumstances she was 9 months old and had already been in two homes. Three times a charm right? Damn straight.

It’s been a month and Willow has gotten the hang of stuff – lots and lots of stuff. She hasn’t chewed anything but she loves to shake shoes hard enough to bang herself on the head over and over. And over. She has our routine down pat and she has put Perry and Flurry on notice – they might be older but there is still a lot of living to do. I can’t say enough how proud I am of Perry and Flurry for how they’ve handled the transition.

I don’t particularly like to compare one dog to another because they are all unique but Willow has a number of Finn’s characteristics and facial expressions. She’s funny and snuggly. She is going through an independent streak right now. She’s smart and still a little clumsy like puppies can be.

Sometimes I look at her and wonder how the heck it all happened! She’s young and busy, not exactly what we are accustomed to, but she’s full of so much love and she’s brought a youthful spirit back to our home. I’m glad we followed our gut on this one. 🙂

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It snowed again.  It’s cold again.  It’s windy yet again.  All in all, a beautiful day.

I love how big and full our Leyland cypress trees are

I was able to capture some photos of the dogs this morning.  Finn wasn’t quite as cooperative as the others so I don’t have one of him today.

I told Flurry I was going to put her mug all over the internet but she didn't seem to care

 

Razz, my beautiful brown-eyed boy

 

My velcro dog - he loves his mama

How The Finnch Stole Kibble

How The Finnch Stole Kibble
  (by Terri Onorato – based on a true story of our whippet Finn)

Every dog

In the household

Liked kibble a lot…

But the Finnch,

A real chow hound

Liked it more than a lot!

 

The Finnch loved his kibble.  He would eat it all day!

Don’t dare ask why; no one can quite say.

It could be he thought he might never fill up.

Or perhaps it could be he’s a growing young pup.

But I think the most likely reason of all

May have been that his tummy was two sizes too small.

 

But,

Whatever the reason, his strong will or his age

He wouldn’t give in, and he begged and he begged.

Staring up from his place on the bare kitchen floor

At his mama who stood guard by the old pantry door,

He spun and he jumped and he twirled and he whined.

But his mama held fast and said, “It’s not dinner time!”

 

The greyhounds were quiet and willing to wait

For they knew that at mealtime they’d get a full plate.

But Finnch wasn’t patient, his belly rumbled and roared

And he suddenly recalled where extra kibble was stored.

The spare room his destination, he took off like a shot

And pushed opened the door ma had forgotten to lock.

 

The treasure before him was a royal dog feast

Forty pounds of the kibble, all his to eat!

He’d certainly hit pay dirt; of this he was sure,

He ripped and he tugged till the bag finally tore.

Out poured the kibble, piling up to his knees

He munched and he chewed, never stopping to breathe.

 

He was so busy feasting and enjoying his prize

He didn’t hear mama till she was right by his side.

He munched all the faster and grabbed what he could

Till his ma picked him up and surprised him real good!

She didn’t get angry or say he was bad

She laughed and she hugged him and said, “You’re a brat!”

 

And what happened then?

Well the greyhounds they say

That the Finnch’s tummy

Grew three sizes that day.

And the minute his bloated round belly felt full,

He waddled outside, he had business to do!

He sighed with contentment as he lay down to nap

His dreams filled with kibble still left in the bag.

 

Finn

Dogs Have Quirks Too

Our greyhound Perry has some, shall we say, odd quirks.  One of them is his need to lead me around while I vacuum.  Apparently Perry feels I am not capable of such a menial task and that I require guidance and supervision, as you can see in these photos. You gotta love a dog that knows his human so well.

Dog Daze

We have four dogs.  They own us lock, stock and dog biscuits.  Sadly we lost our 14 and a half year old greyhound Patti on November 6th.  Our family now consists of two whippets and two retired racing greyhounds.

Patti

Finn, our oldest whippet, is very smart.  He watches TV like a little man.  When he watches Animal Planet the world around him disappears.  It’s quite comical actually.  On the downside, much to my chagrin, he has this wonderfully endearing habit of pooping at the bottom of the dog ramp which forces me to go out and clean it up before the other dogs walk in it.  Ask me how many times I’ve done this.

Finn

 

There is Flurry, our other whippet who has an “up yours” look on her face pretty much 24/7.  She loves to eat, sleep and cuss us out in ways which only dogs can do.  She is bossy but cute.  She is bitchy but lovable.  What can I say?  She is simply…Flurry.

Flurry

 

Razz is our oldest retired racing greyhound.  We call him Stealth because he is the sneakiest dog we’ve ever met.  He’s a big dog but quiet as a church mouse. Razz has SHS…Selective Hearing Syndrome.  He only hears what he wants to.

Razz

 

And then there is our 6 year old greyhound Perry.  Like Razz, Perry was one of our foster dogs.  As it is with many greyhound people we failed fostering 101.  We have sucker written across our respective foreheads.

Perry

 

Perry is like a puppy on speed.  Some days it’s all I can do to not to ship him off to military school.  But he’s cute and lovable and I wouldn’t trade him for all the hair removal cream in the world.

Perry has a stuffed football that he carries everywhere.  We call it his baby.  When he greets us he has baby in his mouth.  When he barks he has baby in his mouth.  (I have no clue how he does this.)  When he pees he has baby in his mouth.  God forbid I should wash his baby.  You’d think it was the beginning of the Apocalypse.

Perry pulls on my clothes when I’m vacuuming.  Tug, tug, tug.  “Stop it you brat!”  Tug, tug, tug.  “Ouch, you’re pinching me!”  Tug, tug, tug.  Life is one big game for Perry. 

When we got married and adopted our first greyhound I was younger, had more energy and fewer wrinkles.  Before we moved to a more rural area we used to walk the dogs with gusto twice a day.  Now my gusto is gimpy and they’re lucky if we go as far as the mailbox.  We have a big yard for them to play in so they get plenty of exercise.  Better them than me.

I need more naps now.  Greyhounds are well known for sleeping long hours (except for Perry.)  I always have napping buddies when I want to look at the back of my eyelids.

They like treats, I like treats.  When I was younger I had no problem with my weight.  I could eat anything.  How times change.  My dogs are thin and trim (Flurry is a bit of a pudge) but now it would take an act of Congress for me to get the weight off and actually keep it off.

Somebody once said that one reason a dog can be such a comfort when you’re feeling blue is because they don’t try to find out why.  When I’m feeling particularly blue my dogs seem to know I need them near me.   Snuggling up to my dogs is like balm on an open wound.  (Unless they have gas; then it’s not quite so appealing.)

I will leave this ode to my wonderful dogs with a quote from George G. Vest: 

“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog.  He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. When all other friends desert, he remains.”

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