A GOOD DAY FOR BUBBA

Here’s a sequel I didn’t see coming. Not so soon, at least. And, after all our recent trials and tribulations, it’s nice to write this piece. Remember, it’s day by day. We were just trying to figure out how to say goodbye to Bishop aka Bubba, our beloved Australian Shepherd. That was two days ago.

In our last piece, Bubba was struggling to move around and clearly in lots of pain. We figured it was a combination of  muscle damage and arthritis. He was staying downstairs to avoid the stairs which obviously were too much for him. The vet didn’t have much to say except try to make Bubba as comfortable as possible. It didn’t look good.

Bubba has been getting slow walks outside, to get some air and do his business. He didn’t seem interested in joining the other three dogs in our front yard which is reserved for them.  I cajoled and enticed him to no avail. I even got down on my knees and barked at him. Nothing! He just didn’t want to hang with the other furry kids and bark at things, real and imagined. That was yesterday.

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Today, so far, is bright, sunny and warm. A good day to be outside for folks, two and four-legged. I sent the three little kids, Bonnie, Nan and Amber outside to play and closed the doggie door. Marilyn suggested Bubba might be interested. I didn’t think so based on the past two days. But, what the heck, give it a shot, right?

I led Bubba out the downstairs door and out to the driveway. Didn’t expect much. I turned around and he was right on my heels. Wow! I opened the gate to the front yard and, before I could say anything, Bubba raced by me and joined his pals. I couldn’t believe it. The little ones greeted Bubba with cheery barks and they began looping the yard with fresh energy.

I’m not sure how the day will end for Bubba. Marilyn has just suggested I bring him in so he doesn’t overdo things. I’ll do that. But, at least, for one bright April afternoon, our Bubba is doing okay. We’ll take that, One day at a time!

 

SAYING GOODBYE TO A FURRY FRIEND

There was a very poignant post on Facebook today showing police officers bidding farewell to one of their own, a K-9 partner. You could see the sadness in the eyes of the otherwise stoic law officers. It struck home.

One of our furry kids is in a bad place. The big dog, the affable enforcer in our canine family which includes a Scottie, a Norwich Terrier and a mini Dachshund. We call him Bubba because of his lovable personality. He’s our big, huggable Australian Shepherd.

Painfully shy when he came to live with us, he has gradually become part of our family, both human and 4-legged. Bubba used to be afraid of his shadow, but Bonnie, our unflappable Scottie — ring-leader of the fur people, took Bubba under her wing. Bonnie made it clear shyness doesn’t get you anywhere in our family. It certainly doesn’t get you attention. More importantly, it doesn’t get you those extra biscuits.

Bubba learned. He learned so well he began showing up in my office as I worked on my first cup of coffee in the morning. Not my best time of day.

Bubba’s finest moment came recently when Marilyn was taking pictures. Bubba wasn’t in the shot, but decided he wanted to be included. He just poked his head into the shot making it clear he wasn’t going to be left out of the festivities. Bubba had arrived!

We have a lot of strong personalities in the house. We’re not camera-shy or modest. Bubba made it clear he wanted billing above the title in our family soap drama.

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Something went wrong in the last couple of weeks. Bubba, not the most agile of dogs, has taken several tumbles on the stairs. We thought he had shaken them off but we were wrong. Bubba sustained a back injury while simultaneously has been developing his own serious case of arthritis. Arthritis is something of a plague in this household. Quite literally, everyone’s got it.

Now he’s dragging his rear end. The stairs are impossible for him. It’s painful to watch our big guy struggle to move around. Marilyn says big dogs are more prone to this kind of injury than small ones.The vet says there’s nothing to be done for him but to give him pain-killers and make him as comfortable as possible. Maybe he’ll get better. We can hope.

Bishop

Bubba is now living downstairs with the junior members of our family. He is actually their dog even though we feel he belongs to all of us. Bubba is still eating well and responds quickly to offers of biscuits. But something is different. It’s clear his energy is sapped. He moves slowly. Hard to believe, but we miss his baying at the moon and those furtive three o’clock in the morning shadows.

It’s about quality of life. Some family members are hoping for a miracle. We’ve all been down this road before. It’s not about us or our feelings. Saying goodbye will be difficult and we’ll hold off on it as long as we can. But, in the end, it’s about Bubba.

BISHOP THE BOLD

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Bishop, our Australian Shepherd is possibly the most beautiful Aussie I’ve ever seen. From nose to rump (he has no tail) he’s magnificent. Okay, he isn’t necessarily the smartest of his breed but he may be the sweetest. He’s loving. Passionate even.

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If you look him in the eyes, all sixty pounds of gigantically furry pooch will be in your lap and licking you to death before you can say “No, Bishop, you’re too BIG!”

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MY FUNNIEST DOG PHOTOS

Biscuits have arrived. Bonnie getting ready. Note the giant jaws.

Biscuits have arrived. Bonnie getting ready. Note the giant jaws.

I can be accused of many things, but a lack of tenacity or determination? No way. I do not give up. I don’t give up even when it’s obvious I don’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell. I don’t give up when I’m bleeding on the floor and the referee is about to say 10. You get the idea. I’m tenacious. Stubborn to the point of stupid.

And so, displaying the gritty determination that has so irritated friends, colleagues and family members throughout the years, I set out to get some better pictures of our two terriers. And any other dog that might amble into the picture because around here, you just never know.

Nan has sniffed the biscuits. This also makes Garry happy.

Nan has sniffed the biscuits. This also makes Garry happy.

I did not get classic canine portraits, but these are the funniest pictures of dogs I’ve ever taken.  It’s also a great example of why I don’t put a lot of time into trying to get great shots of the furry family members. As a note, if I’d turned off the lamp, I wouldn’t have that bright flourescent yellow cast in the picture, but hey … given all the other issues, what’s a bit of yellow, huh?

Tired of being overlooked (and finished with HIS biscuit), Bishop joins the party.

Tired of being overlooked (and finished with HIS biscuit), Bishop joins the party.

Good Morning, Good Morning, To You (And You And You And You)

Every morning, as I limp down the hallway from the bedroom to the kitchen, no matter how stiff I am with arthritis, no matter how poorly I’ve slept, as soon as I get to the kitchen, my heart becomes lighter.

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“Good morning, fur children,” I chirp. They woof and growl and gambol and pant. They know it’s cookie time for the canine contingent, but coffee time for me.

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I make a brief detour to turn on the coffee pot. Priorities.

Mr. Coffee

There’s no more time to waste. Eager faces surround me as I approach the huge dog biscuit container on the table in the corner. It’s shaped like a giant dog biscuit — lest I forget.  The dogs , with their acute senses of smell, are more than aware of where to find the biscuits. Eyes not required.

They know my hands are the true source of all biscuits, so they watch me with their eyes. Excitement mounts.

Bishop

Bishop is an Australian Shepherd. Lacking sheep, he stares at me, with the apparent objective of engendering guilt. It works pretty well. He is also Bonnie’s love slave.

Then there’s Nan, the Norwich Terrier. Nan stares, but adds sound effects. Grunts and agonized moans. She’s starving she says. She hasn’t eaten in … minutes. She will repeat this performance whether she is still chewing the biscuit she just got or it’s been a whole night since her last treat.

Nan

And last, but not at all least, there’s Bonnie. She bounces up and down, bounds around the kitchen like a mad thing, twirling and spinning, yapping and prancing. She’s young and full of joie de vivre. Shortly, she will be full of biscuits.

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They all believe if they don’t remind me, I will forget them and their cookies. These dogs have never missed a treat or a meal in their lives but you’d never guess it.

The sun streaks in through the windows, the smell of coffee fills the room. Joyous gurgling and crunching from the furry ones and I’m off to the office to check my email and see what surprises the night has brought. Another day is begun.

Happy morning to all!

Super Bowl of Dogdom: Westminster, Part II

Its day two, and we are not going to miss a thing. It’s our version of the Superbowl, the Westminster Kennel Club show.

Last night’s results were:

An American Foxhound in the Hound group.

Non-sporting went to a Bichons Frises.

The Affenpinscher as the toy group winner.

 In the Herding Group, the Old English Sheepdog won (yay).

Now for tonight’s winners.

For Sporting Dogs, the winner was one of my favorites and it’s the first time the breed has taken the group. It’s the Pointer (German Wirehaired), a handsome dog with a great face. Not a dog for everyone, it’s one of the dogs that needs a job. Failing a job, they will make their own job … redoing your landscaping, reupholstering your furniture, replacing your wiring.

In the Working group, to many peoples’ surprise, the winner was Portuguese  Water Dog. It that because the President has one? It was a come from behind win … the Doberman Pinscher was favored and I think was really the better dog. But at this level, they are all great dogs.

The Terriers were up next, and we had a lot of fuzzy faces to root for here. Of course we hoped for one of our kids, a Scottie or a Norwich, but it was Smooth Fox Terrier — a fine dog with a lot of attitude. Terriers are the ultimate “attitude” group and are not called “terrorists” for nothing.

And then finally, it’s time for best in show. For those of you that love dogs and haven’t seen the movie, “Best In Show,” see it. It’s funny and it hits the nail on the head. The crazy, hyper competitive world of dogs. Showing dogs is a sport, something that people forget, and those that compete in it are as competitive as players in any other sport. The dogs are competitors too. Don’t believe for a moment that you force a dog to be a good show dog. A dog that doesn’t like being shown, that doesn’t play to the judge and the crowd is not going to do well. These dogs are having a grand time.

And it’s Banana Joe (GCH Slyfox Sneak’s A Peek), the Affenpinscher who clearly does not consider himself a small dog. Lots of attitude, with Bugaboo’s Picture Perfect, the Old English Sheepdog as reserve winner (the first time they’ve had a reserve winner at Westminster). They were clearly the crowd’s two favorites and apparently the judge agreed.

And that’s it for another year. Time to give a few biscuits to our kids because they are Best in Show around here!

Super Bowl of Dogdom: Westminster, Part I

Our version of the Superbowl, tonight is the first night of the Westminster Kennel Club show. This is our event. I’ve been watching Westminster since I was a kid and except for years when I lived overseas, I’ve never missed it.

And the first night’s results are in.

It was an American Foxhound in the Hound group. It may have surprised others, but I thought that it was about time of one of the smooth coated pack hounds won, though in my heart, I was rooting for the PBGV because I love the breed. They slid in at number three in the group, which is okay.

Non-sporting went to a Bichons Frises, which was no surprise. I didn’t even have to see the group to figure a Bichon or Standard Poodle would probably win. One of the two usually do. They are flashy and as a friend of mine said, it is so often all about the coat.

I liked the Affenpinscher as the toy group winner. I was very glad it wasn’t another Peke. I admit I am not particularly fond of them. I prefer dogs who can actually move. 

In the Herding Group, I always hope one of the big, solid hard-working dogs like a Bouvier or one of the Belgians will win because although they aren’t flashy, they work for a living. The herding group are all workers.

These are the dogs who guard our homes, manage and protect flocks of cattle and sheep, find buried people, work with police and are among the most loyal dogs. My husband was especially happy with the winner, the Old English Sheepdog. It’s among his favorite dogs. As soon as I saw the look on the judges face when he looked at the dog, I knew it was going to be him. The judge clearly liked that dog. He had an “awww” look. So did we.

Tomorrow will be our favorite group, the Terriers as well as the Working and Sporting dogs and of course, Best In Show. And we will be firmly ensconced in front of the television, surrounded by our spoiled dogs, rooting for our favorites.

Pass the popcorn, please.