Life With Sharon, or, How Much Can a Dog Take?

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A Long Vigil

September 6th 2010 10:33 pm
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Today we left the nursing home for the last time. Grandma had a heart attack yesterday morning, so we went over there right away, at 5:30 in the morning. There were a lot of people in the room that were helping her, testing her blood pressure, oxygen level, and pulse. She looked pretty bad and she wasn't able to reach down and pet me. Later in the day she was feeling a little better and reached her hand down so I could lick her fingers. Mom said we were going to spend as much time as necessary at the nursing home, so we brought my bed, my rug, one of my bunnies, and all Mom's electronic stuff - e-book, laptop, cell phone, so we could stay connected. We slept there overnight in Grandma's recliner and tried to help her feel better, but she just got worse and worse. Finally, about 6:00, she passed away. I hope she meets Misty, Mack, Duffy and Buttons at the Rainbow Bridge on her way to heaven. Mom and I will miss her a lot and I won't get to visit all the grandmas at the nursing center any more. Well, maybe, Mom said, we could go back occasionally and visit some of the grandmas who really liked me - I made their faces change from sad to happy when they saw me. Today one of the grandmas hugged me tight and pressed her face against mine. I like making them smile and tell me how much they miss their old dogs. Old dogs and old people ROCK!

 

Angel Wings for Grandma

September 15th 2010 8:04 pm
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I went to my Grandma's funeral today. Mom thought it would be only right for me to be there, since I was with her right up until the end. The service was very nice, just what Grandma would have wanted. All the ladies got roses and everyone came up to Mom and told her what a special person Grandma had been, and what they remembered most about her. We're very sad and will miss her a lot, but we know that her pain and fears are gone and she's with the angels in heaven. Tomorrow we will bring flowers to the nursing home where she used to live.

 

Uh-oh! Mom's Packing Her Suitcases!

September 18th 2010 10:49 pm
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I'm nervous. Mom has the suitcases out and she's been filling them up all day. I keep bringing her bunnies to try to distract her, but she only talks to me and isn't enticed to play. Once in a while when I get desperate enough to actually drop the bunny, she would give it a perfunctory toss, but I could tell her heart wasn't really in it. Yesterday Lamoine, my dogsitter, came over - I thought it was just a casual visit, but now I'm thinking it might have had a more specific purpose. If you don't hear from me for a couple of weeks, it's because my secretary is gone.

 

Are You My Mother?

October 9th 2010 4:04 pm
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Life is so confusing. Just when you think you have it figured out, somebody changes it on you. You have to remember that I'm a rescue dog and have had to get used to many new "homes" and many new "moms." So when my mom left me with Lamoine, my dog sitter, a couple of weeks ago and didn't come back and didn't come back...Well, I have to go back to that day and tell you how it all went down.

I told you that Mom had been putting things in the suitcases and that made me nervous right there. Then Lamoine came early the next morning and we all went to the place where the really big, long cars with lots of windows in a row stop and people get on and off. Mom and Lamoine took her suitcases out of the car and LEFT ME IN! A man took Mom's suitcases and put them in the bottom of the big, long car; then she came back to me, gave me a hug, told me to be a good boy and said the dreaded word: BYE-BYE! I watched out the window as the big long car opened up and swallowed her! I watched as it took my mom out of my life.

Lamoine was very nice to me - we played bunny and took walks and she took me almost everywhere in her car. We did everything together for a long time, until I started to forget about Mom. After a while, I got to feeling like she WAS my mom. Then one day this strange thing happened - we went back to the place where the really big, long cars stop and got out and waited until one of them stopped in front of us. It opened up and out came a person I didn't know. She called my name and was really excited to see me, but she had on clothes that smelled strange and when she bent down to hug me, I got frightened. She said, "Patch, don't you know me? Have you forgotten who I am?" I was really confused and didn't know what was happening. By the time the suitcases were loaded in the car, I was beginning to remember, and started to wag my tail - it was starting to come back to me that this person was familiar. I tried to get closer to check her out, but I was stuck in the back seat. By the time we got home and she started playing with me, I knew it was my mom, but she had been gone so long that I had learned to love Lamoine, too. Now Lamoine was leaving and I didn't know what I was supposed to do. I wanted to go and I wanted to stay. Mom loved me up and then we both watched out the window as Lamoine got in her car and left. Mom told me how much she'd missed me and that she was sorry she'd been gone so long. She said she understands that I love Lamoine, too, and that we'd see her again soon, but just for a visit.

I think Mom's feelings were a little hurt, but that's what she gets for leaving me. I know that next time, she'll pack MY suitcase, too.

 

10-10-10

October 10th 2010 8:48 am
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Today is Mom's Golden Birthday (10-10-10). Happy Birthday, Mom!

 

No "Snooze" Button

October 16th 2010 4:13 pm
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Sometimes my Mom is really hard to wake up in the morning. I'm ready to get up and I want my breakfast and Mom just lies around in bed pretending she's sleeping. Well, nobody sleeps when I'm awake, so I lick her eyelids and then her face and then her ears, and if she tries to roll over and ignore me, I lick her hair. If that doesn't work, I climb on top of her head so I can reach her face again. I know if I kiss her right on the mouth I'll get a reaction: "Oh, Patch, that was really a wet one!" She calls me her furry little alarm clock and wants to know why I don't have a "snooze" button. Finally she gives up and starts to get out of bed; then I belly-crawl across the bed so she'll give me a good all-over scratch before we start the day.

On our walk today, Mom got really excited and said, "Patch, there's a fairy ring!" I didn't see what all the fuss was about - just looked like a bunch of mushrooms in a circle to me, but then she told me about the book, Summer of the Monkeys, and how rare and special a fairy ring was. She said this was the first one she'd ever seen after looking for years and years. It was a double row of mushrooms in a perfect circle, large enough for me to walk around inside, so I did - Mom said I was supposed to make a wish, so I wished for CHICKEN!

 

SPAW Treatment

October 27th 2010 12:40 pm
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So much has happened since my last diary entry, I hardly know where to begin. Mom has been spending most of her time putting my book together. It's almost finished. It's my diary entries illustrated with pictures of me and my friends and our adventures.

I had to go to the vet last Friday for a lot of x-rays to see why I was limping. I went to sleep for a while and I don't know what happened while I was out but I sure was sore when I woke up. And it took me a long time to wake up. I was still kind of groggy on Saturday, so Mom, being the worry-wart that she is, called the vet to see if that was normal. He said that often OLD DOGS take longer to come out of the sedation. I was pretty miffed at that, but Mom said to get used to it - she gets that a lot.

Well, the x-rays showed just a little arthritis, nothing really serious, so the next day we went off to the SPAW where I was evaluated for a hydrotherapy program for weight loss and muscle tone. When we got there I wasn't sure where I was - it didn't really smell like a vet's office but it sure wasn't somebody's home. Melissa, who will be my therapist, took us into a back room and asked Mom a lot of questions about me, including when was my birthday. We didn't know the answer to that one, so we just made it up - it will be my adoption day, July 5. Soon the doctor came in and he was a BIG MAN. You know how I feel about men, and this one did nothing to endear his species to mine. He grabbed my back legs and pushed and twisted me around like a wheelbarrow! As soon as I could get loose I ran under the bench Mom was sitting on and hid behind her legs.

Next we went into the hydrotherapy room and looked at the exercise pool. Do you know what it had in it? WATER! I don't like water! I'll have to walk on an underwater treadmill and swim against jets. Don't you think that's going too far? But they think I should still lose more weight and get stronger so my legs won't hurt. I thought I had done pretty well by losing three pounds, but they weren't impressed. So this is my program: walking on the treadmill in and out of the water, swimming (my favorite thing - NOT!), a variety of muscle-building exercises including crawling, high-stepping, digging, push-ups (yeah, right), and some stretches that Mom will help me with. In fact, I'm not doing any of this without Mom. She told me she thought I should do the work and she would sit and watch, but let me tell you, a little activity wouldn't hurt her either.

So we started today. She gives me these miniscule liver treats (crumbs, almost) when I work hard. But the aroma of them drives me on. Part way through I had this great stroke of luck - the phone rang! Listen up, all you pups, when your mom is on the phone, you can get away with ANYTHING! I walked up my exercise steps onto the sofa and found the rest of the training treats! I got a scolding when Mom was off the phone, but it was totally worth it! But now I have to work without treats for the rest of the day. :(

Give me a month and I'll look like a doberman pinscher!

 

One, Two! One,Two! Pant, pant!

October 31st 2010 11:15 am
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We've been working out for four days now - yes, I said WE. I'm not doing it without Mom. She's complaining but it's good for her, too.

Here's what I like:

the obstacle course
push-ups
backing up with my bunny
walks

Here's what I don't like:

high fives
digging for a treat (I like the treat, but I'd rather burrow with my nose)
army crawl

I also don't like it when Mom stretches my front legs, and I don't like ice packs.

On Tuesday we have to go back to SPAW for therapy which means doing a bunch of stuff I'll HATE! Really, all I want to do is eat and lay around - what's wrong with that?

 

Progress Report

November 16th 2010 7:53 pm
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I hate to admit it, but all this working out is paying off - I'm really a lot stronger, leaner and meaner than I was! Now when Mom and I go for a walk, I'm the one out in front. And I'm TROTTING instead of dragging behind! And Mom can hardly keep up with me! I feel like a new dog!

I've had five physical therapy sessions, which includes swimming (!), my most UN-favorite thing and Mom has really been working me hard at home. The latest thing was setting up a series of hurdles for me to step over. The agility dogs have a fancy name for them that starts with C, I think; I don't remember what it is. But Mom, being something of a cheapskate, decided I would never enter the professional world of dog agility, so she would make them. After shopping around for something that would do the job and not cost much, she saw a worker in a craft store throwing away large pieces of styrofoam. Hmmm, she thought to herself, (she told me this later - I was waiting in the car again) I might be able to use these in some way, so after asking permission, she went dumpster-diving for the styrofoam pieces. Having scored big there, we went to that big store that starts with W and there she looked for anything that might work for poles. No cardboard tubes available, but... wrapping paper has cardboard tubes inside it. Since the cardboard tubes at the office store were $2.89, she was looking for a price that was lower than that. Aha, wrapping paper for $2.50 a roll - but let's see if we can beat that. It was starting to turn into a game show! In the Christmas department she found Christmas wrap for $5.00 for a 4-roll pack - now we're getting somewhere! But wait! At the end of the next aisle were $1 rolls! Way to go, Mom! So she piled ten rolls into her cart and we had the makings of our C-poles.

When we got home, she put each roll of Christmas wrap between two chunks of styrofoam to make a low hurdle and then set them up in the hallway so I would have to step over them instead of around them. I caught on right away what to do, except that I wanted to do it really fast like the border collies, but Mom wanted me to do it slowly, so I had to learn CONTROL. Don't you think CONTROL is a really hard thing to learn?

Thanks to George for the yummy cupcake! I won't tell Mom because I'm on a diet, you know.

 

Progress Report of Another Kind

November 20th 2010 2:11 pm
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I hate to brag (well, not really) but I learn stuff so fast! I don't like almost everything at first, but after the second or third time I'm a pro! Right now I'm talking about my travel carrier and how I'm getting used to being in it. I have to be in it for about 10 hours when we go to Paris next spring. I don't know how long that is, but the practice sessions seem long to me, so if we not there yet, it'll probably seem like a really long time. Anyway, I dogress; I'm up to about 15 or 20 minutes now. My Mom throws my very favorite treat into the back of the carrier and then gives me another one when I turn around and lie down. She tells me to WAIT, gives me a carrot and zips up the door. I used to want out as soon as I finished my carrot, but now I've learned to wait until she exclaims, "What a good boy, Patch!", unzips the door and gives me another one of my favorite treats. These treats have become the "carrier treats." The only time I get them is when I go into the carrier and stay there for a while.

I've even stayed calm when Mom carried the carrier to the car and took me for a little ride (three blocks, she said). I've even stayed calm when she put the carrier on a little trolley and wheeled me around the house. Soon, she says, I'll be ready to ride to the airport and get used to the plane noises. I'm becoming more and more confident that this might work out all right! I hope I can sleep on the plane. Mom hopes so, too.

 
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