Monthly Archives: January 2014

Canine Love

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I love dogs, always have.  When I was three years old, my family adopted a chihuahua/fox terrier mix from our neighbors.  He was the runt of the litter, and we named him Tuff.  He spent his life trying to live up to his name.  He loved my mother more than anything on earth, and would eat you alive if you threatened her in any way.  He tolerated the rest of us, but hated anyone outside the family.  Every time someone new came in the house, the first thing they heard was, “Don’t touch the dog.  Try not to even look at him.”  I loved him like a brother.  When I was six, he was hit by a truck, and his back was broken.  The vet said we should put him down, because he’d never walk again.  We kids begged our parents to give him a chance.  He proved the vet wrong.  Not only did he walk again, he lived to the ripe old age of 13.  When he died, I thought I’d never stop crying.  I couldn’t really even remember not having him.  And I vowed that I’d never have another dog, because the loss hurt too much.  Famous last words.

I didn’t have a dog of my own for many years, but I loved lots of others.  My brother had a dog with the original name of Dog.  He was a beautiful mutt, never met a stranger.  Then there were Don’s other dogs, Muffin and Loki.  Muffin was a scraggly little thing, smart as a whip, and very loving.  Loki was a Basenji, sleek and beautiful.  My sister-in-law got them in the divorce, but I never forgot them.

My sister had a poodle named Cher.  This was a dog who would eat absolutely anything, except Cycle 3 diet dog food.  I often wondered what in the hell that stuff must have been made from, if Cher wouldn’t eat it.  Yikes.  Cher was a white, curly bundle of love.  When I lived with my sister for a short while, I’d come home from work and lie down on the sofa, and Cher would curl up on my tummy and we’d nap for a couple of hours.  Heaven.

There were other dogs owned by friends…Fubar, Yobo, Samantha, Nicky, Gigi, Cheri, Loretta, Bo.  The list goes on and on.  And then there was Spanky.  Spanky was a little black Pomeranian/Poodle mix that my friend Robbyn got from the Rescue League.  As cute and sweet as any dog you’ve ever come across.  I used to love to babysit him when Robbyn would go out of town.  When Robbyn had her first baby, I officially adopted Spanky.  By that time, he had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and was on lots of meds.  He lived with me for three years, until he was 11 years old.  He died of a heart attack.  Part of my heart died with him.  Again, the vow to never get another dog.  Uh huh.

A mere three months after Spanky died, a friend of mine called and said that she’d found a cute little dog.  She jumped in the car when my friend came home from work one night.  Was I interested in just taking a look at her?  Sure, a look can’t hurt.  Riiiight!!!  I took one look at her and fell in love on the spot.  Shiny and black as the ace of spades.  I named her Scout, after a character in my favorite book.  I took her to the vet the next day to have her checked out.  The doctor took her to the back to do some tests, and when he came back in, he said, “I think she’s got a lot of min pin in her.”  My heart dropped, “Is that bad?” I asked.  He laughed and said that all that meant was “miniature pinscher”.  Whew!!!  Scout was another one who would eat damn near anything, and could get into any garbage can ever invented.  Once I had thrown away a rotisserie chicken that had been forgotten in the back of the fridge.  When I came home from work that evening, Scout had devoured the entire thing, bones and all, and was wearing the bag around her neck.  She was a greasy mess, but happy as a clam!!  When she was almost 13, she was diagnosed with bladder cancer.  A dark day for me.  She lived for another year, and when she was gone, my heart felt so empty I can’t even describe it.  Never again, I yelled!!!

So, of course I didn’t stick to it.  I did manage to wait nine months, though.  A friend at work sent out a picture of a little black dog, almost a mini-me of Scout.  She had been found wandering in park, near a dumpster, scrounging for food.  “Let’s just go see her,” said my friend.  Well, been there, done that.  I was a goner.  She was home with me that night.  I named her Stella.  I’m pretty sure someone abused her in the past.  She was skittish as all hell, and we had a little difficulty bonding.  But now we are joined at the hip.  She’s got the biggest ears you’ve ever seen on a little dog…sometimes we can pick up HBO with them!!!  She’s a chihuahua/min pin mix, a chi-pin.  She’s got her paw prints deeply embedded in my heart…

Sick on Vacation

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So, while on my vacation to the Northland (Minnesota), I came down with a nasty cold.  It sucks to be sick any time at all, but it REALLY sucks to be sick while you’re on vacation.  I tried not to let it get in the way of fun, but I mostly felt like dirty socks for the last few days.  The worst part, though, was getting on the plane, knowing it would play havoc with my ears.  I bought the flight earplugs that are supposed to help equalize the pressure, but they can only do so much.  My left ear is still all stopped up, while the right one gives me occasional relief by popping open randomly, then slowly stopping back up.  I’m also a snot factory, and my throat is as scratchy as an emery board.  Sounds delightful, doesn’t it?

The first time I was ever sick on vacation was on my 5th birthday.  We had driven from my home in Mississippi to my uncle’s house in Chicago (in our new Rambler station wagon), and on my big day, we were going to hit the road again to visit my Aunt Gwinney and Uncle Ernie in Detroit.  Well, I woke up puking everything that I even thought about putting in my mouth.  My parents made me a pallet in the back of the Rambler, and off we went to Detroit, with many puke stops along the way.  When we got to my aunt’s house, she had a Mickey Mouse birthday cake for me, but I could barely look at it.  Aunt Gwinney was a nurse, so she took me to the doctor’s office where she worked, and I got a BIG shot, which totally pissed me off.  Quite frankly, here 50 years later, I’m still pretty pissed about it.  On vacation, AND on my birthday, a shot???  Not right, not right at all.  I must admit, however, that I felt much better after a while, and even managed a piece of cake before I went to bed that night.  The next day, I felt well enough to go on the ferry to Windsor, Canada!!  Not bad for a five year old from Mississippi…