Friday, September 30, 2016

My Faithful Pup

I'm convinced my Faithful Pup Scout can tell time.  Not just sensing the time of day, like an internal alarm that tells us that we're hungry and need to think about making dinner, or feeling tired and realizing it's almost time to go to bed, but specific, down to the minute, read-the-clock telling time.  For three straight nights she has awakened me at EXACTLY 1:00 am, as if she had a specific agenda she needed to accomplish at that moment.  Given that Scout is an elderly old soul (she's 14), and shows all of the signs of a rapidly aging family pet, including bladder issues that have resulted in wetting the bed (that she shares with me) on more than a few occasions, I am quick to react to her middle of the night nudgings, and I always then rush her to the back yard to take care of business, all the while battling feelings of anger amplified by sleepiness balanced with sympathy and thankfulness that she at least knows to wake me up when she's got to go.  I can live with this.

However, I absolutely have to draw the line at the 7:00 am wake up calls that Faithful Pup Scout has adopted on the weekends.  Again, it's as if she's watching the digital alarm clock on the nightstand and recognizing the figures on the LED screen.  I relish my weekend mornings to sleep in, since I'm up before 6 am every weekday for work.  To wake up without an alarm is a luxury, allowing my body to naturally begin the day when it feels like it's ready to wake up.  I love this little rugrat of a dog, but, brother, I'm frustrated with her right now.

On top of that, the pup just can't seem to let me out of her sight.  She sleeps a great deal anymore, probably more than she's awake, and most evenings find us sitting together on the couch, me watching TV, her snoozing next to me.  But Heaven forbid that I get up to use the bathroom, or go to the kitchen to get something.  Regardless of how deeply she may be sleeping, and her snores are a telltale sign of just how deeply she's out cold, she begins to stir almost as soon as I'm out of the room.  Maybe it's my scent?  Or some kind of animal ESP?  Either way, she knows I'm gone.

But the real problem is what happens after she has come to the realization that I'm not in the room.  She begins to panic, as if she can't stand to be alone, or maybe she thinks she has been abandoned.  She moves to the edge of the couch, looks around the room, and begins to whine and bark.  She's too small and weak to be able to jump off the couch anymore, so she's a captive to her little boat in the middle of the ocean.  So I'll hear her pathetic shrill barking and I have to stop whatever it is I'm doing and rush back into the room and "rescue" her.  And once she sees me, she's okay and all is right in her world again.

I learned a hard lesson once when I didn't perform my rescue maneuver in a timely manner.  I had gone upstairs to use the bathroom, and while doing my business, I began to hear Scout's barking.  There wasn't much I could do at that moment, but I could hear her barking getting louder and more panicky.  I quickly finished, and rushed back down to her, and saw her on the edge of the couch, shaking uncontrollably.  It was then that I noticed she had urinated on our relatively new couch.

So the routine now is that, if I need to leave the room for any reason, I have to either return very quickly, or I take the pup with me.  Even if it's a trip to the bathroom.  And if I know I'll be away from the couch for a while, I make sure she goes outside to take care of her business before I can take care of mine.  That's life with an aging pet.

I love this little dog, as frustrating as she can be at times, but I understand that this is a part of the pet owning process.  You don't stop loving and caring for her just because she's old and requires a lot more work than last year, or even last month.  You make her life as comfortable as possible.  Because she's your family... your friend.  And for her years of faithfulness, it's something she's owed.

I was talking with my father the other day.  He asked, "Why is it that the three pets our family has had over the years have lived to such old ages?"  I thought about Ginger, the wonderful Terrier mutt that I grew up with, who was every bit my dog from the day we got her, when I was 7, until she left this life when I was 23.  Then there was Sam the cat.  Sam was my sister's pet, but I enjoyed his company enough to put up with him.  He was just a kitten when Ginger passed on, and he would go on to live 15 years.  About 2 years prior to Sam leaving this life, my wife, Teresa, and I got our little bundle of white fluff, little Scout.  That's 16 years for Ginger, 15 years for Sam, and, by this coming January, 15 and counting for Scout.  That's a lot of pet years.

Scout and Ginger

I'd like to think, to answer my father's question, that we've always been able to provide a good home to our loved ones, and our pets are able to live lives of good health and happiness, and that results in a long life.  And they certainly provide us, their "people," with the same.

I love my dog.  Oh, does she drive me crazy!  But I love her.

Have a great evening, everyone!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Still Not Ready For Primetime...

Headline news?

Ummmmm.... Yeah.  I'm still not quite ready to go, but the ideas and writing topics continue to grow.  My head is bursting.  I just haven't been able to slow down.  "Frenetic" is a good word for this current period of life.  Please stay tuned...