MARILYN’S BACK HOME-DOG DAY TUESDAY

The long national nightmare is over for our four furry children. Mom’s back!! During Marilyn’s nearly two week stay at Beth Israel Hospital for heart surgeries, the dogs almost seemed to be grieving. They were quiet. They had to be cajoled to eat. They refused to play all the games that are part of our usual days. Obviously, the past two weeks were anything but usual for the four legged and two legged members of our family. Our spirits had dimmed. Anxiety was high. Each new hospital report cut through our collective morale. It all changed with Marilyn’s surprise weekend rehab therapy work. The projected extended PT schedule was cancelled and we brought Marilyn home late yesterday afternoon.

The dogs usually greet family members with exuberance and enthusiasm. We were concerned because Marilyn is still in the early stages of recovery and very sensitive to any body contact. When we allowed the dogs access to Marilyn last night, they were very tentative. Later, they crowded around her but kept their distance. The two terriers joined Marilyn on our love seat  but were very careful. Dogs have a keen sense of when their humans are hurting. They are protective rather than playful. When Marilyn fell asleep while watching TV, the dogs dozed off. When she woke up, they opened their eyes looking at her. When Marilyn’s pain and breathing issues rose, the dogs made moaning sounds. When Marilyn’s pain subsided and her breathing improved, the dogs visibly relaxed.

Today, Marilyn’s first full day home, the dogs took to barking and romping again but kept a respectful distance from Marilyn. One of the Terriers, as I write, is nestled at Marilyn feet. It’s her favorite spot. Nan is Marilyn’s dog. She’s the one who was most out of sorts during Marilyn’s absence. Bonnie, our vivacious Scottie, is lying atop the sofa, comfortable in her watchdog spot. We believe Bonnie has her own Facebook page. She monitors all street activity and is, I believe, captain of the neighbor dog watch committee. She periodically cocks her head back to make sure all is okay with Marilyn.

The big difference came at chow time. I filled the four food bowls and summoned the kids. They raced into the kitchen, eyed their dishes and scoffed the food down, barely pausing for breath. Everything was okay again. Licking their lips and barking with satisfaction, they raced towards the doggie door, pausing briefly to make sure Mom was okay and then dashing outside to do their business.

Marilyn smiled as the kids sped by, nodding her approval and satisfaction that she had returned a sense of normalcy to our furry kids’ world. Reality set in with a jolt of pain to Marilyn’s right arm which sustained muscle damage during her hospital stay. She winced, muttered something I couldn’t hear and then leaned back to wait for the pain subside.

The dog day afternoon continued with the furry kids outside loudly informing neighbors that Mom was back. Marilyn’s pain gradually subsided and we hoped the rest of her first day home would would allow us to enjoy each other’s company. Beats the hell out of making conversation in a hospital room.

Mending Wall, Robert Frost

Wall by the paddock

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors‘.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

A stone fence along a country road.

A stone fence along a country road.

Editor’s note: Above was originally posted by Marilyn Armstrong