THE DOGS OF OUR LIFE

Dogs we have had and loved. Now, only the Duke remains, but the memories … sometimes, the house is full of the ghosts of dogs we have owned and loved.

Life can’t be all treats, I guess.
This is one cute dog
Gibbs and Bonnie
Bishop with a very young Bonnie
Gibbs and The Duke
Bishop was the most beautiful Australian Shepherd I’ve ever seen, including at dog shows — and also the gentlest dog in the world
Bonnie and Garry
Pagan – Ch. Goose Creek’s Dancing In The Dark

Divot was a champion and she knew it. She was Garry and my first dog and from that moment on, Garry was more in love with Divot than with me.

PETS AND THE PANDEMIC

Fandango’s Dog Days of August #6

It’s ironic that we lost both of our Scotties during this pandemic. Gibbs, who had never shown any sign of illness, simply died one afternoon on the sofa — soundlessly in his sleep and Bonnie, who had been failing for a couple of years, just about a month ago. And suddenly, Duke is the king of the household. He always seemed to want to be the Head Hound of our home, but after Bonnie passed, he was pretty mournful for a few weeks. I think it hit him harder than it hit us.

We knew it was just a matter of time before Bonnie would be gone. We kept her alive longer than we probably should have because she seemed suprisingly lively, even though her hearing and most of her sight was gone and her dementia was pretty advanced.

This is a time when a houseful of happy hounds would be a great thing, but the Duke will have to be our dog. He seems to have passed through his grief at Bonnie’s passing and is a very good boy. A little nutsy, but a lot of fun. He makes us laugh.

I don’t even know how many dogs and cats we’ve had over the years. It’s odd to have just one dog. He’s a very good boy. Furry, friendly, and permanently looking for something good to eat. If nothing to eat shows up? A good cuddle is just fine.

MORE PICTURES OF BONNIE – OUR SMALL BLACK SCOTTISH TERRIER – Marilyn Armstrong

Scotties can live a long time, though most pass some time between 12 and 16 years old. We lost Gibbs at the beginning of February, quietly, in his sleep on the sofa. Now, Bonnie is on her way to that land of rainbows.

Usually, dogs develop an illness you know about. You can’t always make it better, but you can often control symptoms for a while. Often before a disease takes them down, arthritis makes them so miserable there’s little reason to keep a dog in obvious pain alive because you’re too selfish to let them go. We have learned the hard way over many years of having pets who we didn’t let go because we couldn’t make a decision — is wrong.

Bonnie has been failing a little at a time for a long time. Her eyes have been bad for much of her life, but even with a lot of attention, they are worse now. I do not know how much she can see.

She is almost entirely deaf. If you shout in her ear, she hears a bit and certain treble notes seem to reach her. But our voices aren’t there for her and it’s surprisingly difficult to manage a once-hearing dog who no longer can.

She has developed canine dementia. She has good days … or more to the point … she has good hours or minutes. The rest of the time, she’s agitated and barks continuously until she is exhausted and so are we. I doubt she knows why she is barking.

She also isn’t the same dog we’ve known and loved. Garry feels like he is reliving the last years of his mother’s life, but this time, it’s his Scottie and the conversation is limited.

She isn’t friendly and doesn’t want to be petted. She has about two minutes of tolerating being close to one of us. She isn’t hostile, but a lot of the time, I don’t think she is sure who we are or, for that matter, who she is. She knows the house, though. Even with limited sight and hearing, she can find her way around. And she can manage the stairs.

Bonnie Annie Laurie

Her teeth went from fine a year and a half ago to appalling now. Assuming we could manage to find the nearly $1000 dollars it would cost to have most of them removed, that wouldn’t fix the rest of her. Her eyes won’t come back or her hearing. And her furry little brain isn’t going to uncloud.

It’s time to let her go.

The all-night barking is not doing much for Garry and my relationship either. We get very little sleep and we are tired and snappish a lot of the time. Three or four hours of sleep isn’t enough.

It’s hard to keep her in bed with us. Also, she is old enough that a jump from our rather high bed would likely break or tear something. The Duke will jump up and settle down, but Bonnie sleeps for only a few hours, then has to go out. Now she seems to be having trouble catching her breath. I don’t know what it means, but it isn’t good.

We finally decided that there’s not much for her or us to get from this relationship. She is so stressed and confused and this is causing us to stress, too. We aren’t spring chickens either.

It is hard to imagine life without her. She has been with us since she was 9-weeks old. She has been a wonderful dog. Funny, quirky, and full of fun. Last night, I took pictures. She still looks pretty good, though she has put on a lot of weight recently, maybe because she doesn’t do much anymore.

Sometime during the next week, she will be gone. It really is hard to imagine life without her. I still haven’t entirely become used to Gibbs being gone, and now, apparently, it’s time for another one to leave us.

Morrie’s Ball: NaPoWriMo–last day for 2020! – Judy Dykstra-Brown

I see Morrie and I see Gibbs and Bonnie. Bonnie was just 9 weeks old when we got her. Gibbs was much older, but I thought he’d be around for awhile. Dogs get old far too soon. I live in dread of the next loss, but Bonnie isn’t worried. She’s happy every day. The joy of being a dog is to never have to worry about the future. All that matters is now and the joy of the ball and the hand that throws it.

lifelessons - a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown


Morrie’s Ball

I throw the ball and throw the ball,
over my head in an arc to the garden downhill from the pool
where every midnight I do aerobic exercises and yoga,
trying to stem the freezing-up of joints,
the spreading of spare tires around the waist.

I am allergic to the sun,
and so these sometime-between-midnight-
and-3 a.m.-sessions in the pool

have come to be habit,
with both me and the small black shaggy dog
who leaves his bed in the doggie domain,
no matter how late I make the trip to the pool,
carrying his green tennis ball.

It is the latest in a long progression of balls
chewed to tatters until they are incapable of buoyancy
that sink to the pool bottom to be picked up by toes,
toed to hand, and thrown down again.
When they are replaced in the morning with a fresh ball,
he…

View original post 501 more words

Morrie – Judy Dykstra-Brown

Morrie looks so much like Gibbs. I read this and I really missed Gibbs. They are such great dogs. Disobedient, destructive, smart. And they BARK a lot.

Gibbs right before he passed.

 

lifelessons - a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

Morrie

He displays such fierce bravado, barking at the man
who dares to try approach me. He’ll bite him if he can.
If he does not get his nuance, perhaps he’ll get his grasping.
If he can’t heed the exposed teeth, perhaps he’ll get their clasping.

If that human could but read the globes of Morrie’s widening eyes,
he’d need no communication in any other guise
from this dog that has decided he is his only rival
for his mistress’s affection. Every time, there’s a revival

of his barking and his lunging should this man dare approach me.
It’s as though he fears he’s coming with intentions to come poach me.
With everybody else, he is a charmer through-and-through.
He cannot wait to make a friend of anyone who’s new.

His emotions are a crazy-quilt of trying hard to please—
of greeting you with ball in mouth and jumping at…

View original post 125 more words

LOSING GIBBS – Marilyn Armstrong

On February 8, 2020, Gibbs died. We had no warning that there was something seriously wrong with him and until he died, he was eating, alive, and active.A lot of people seem to have missed this post, so I’m posting it again. I miss Gibbs, especially when I’m feeding them. I automatically grab three dishes, then I remember — just two.

Bonnie was the dog who I was worried about. I’m still worried and every time she sleeps deeply and I go to wake her, I’m afraid she won’t wake up.I would love another dog but I think maybe we are too old to be good doggy parents … and too poor to afford another one. Just the veterinary care is getting to be beyond our means. But there are so many dogs who need homes now and we are a good home. Here’s the original post.


Today, sometime around the middle of the afternoon, Gibbs died.

He was having what seemed a normal day. Up in the morning, begging for treats. Barking like crazy at anyone going up or down the stairs. Then, he went to sleep on the sofa.

We were going to a concert and friends were coming over for dinner and coming with us, so I was just getting ready to get dressed for the event. Garry went in to feed the dogs. Gibbs didn’t show up for dinner, so he came in here to shake Gibbs awake, which we often have to do because he was had become a very heavy sleeper, something  I attributed to aging.

Gibbs

Garry shook him, but he didn’t wake up. He shook him again. Gibbs normally woke as soon as you touched him. I had that instantly bad feeling you get when something is very wrong. I went over. His eyes were open and were unresponsive. He was warm and his nose was cool and moist, but he was not breathing.

Gibbs

He had died on the sofa in his sleep sometime between mid-morning snack time and four in the afternoon.

We had him for 3 years and 11 months. He was just about to turn 13 in April. He arrived on my birthday, nearly four years ago. He never seemed as old as Bonnie. I  always assumed he would outlive her.

I hope we gave him a good home. We had him at the vet just four days ago for his 3-year rabies shot and while we were worried about those enlarged glands in his neck, he was on antibiotics in the hopes it was merely an infection.

The vet said it had to have been some kind of cardiac event, possibly a slow-growing tumor — the kind you never know about because there’s no prelude, no warnings. We’ll never know for sure.

On the way back tonight, I almost went to look in the shed to see if, by some miracle, he had woken up. But I knew better so I didn’t.

I’ve had many dogs over the years, but I’ve never had one simply die in his or her sleep like that. I’m a bit in shock right now and of course, we have to take him to the vet for cremation tomorrow. I would have liked to bury him here, but we live on rocks and without a backhoe, we could not dig deep enough to bury him properly.

He didn’t make a sound while he died and I was sitting just a few feet away. He must have been asleep. Owen points out that he died on his favorite sofa without that terrible, prolonged illness that is typical of old animals. I hope we gave him a good home. At least for these last years, he was free to come and go and get some of the love he never got when he was young.

Rest in peace, Gibbs. You were a beautiful boy.

SAD MOMENT OF THE DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

I’m making dinner for the dogs. Usually, they all swirl around my feet. This time, Duke was sitting quietly watching me … and Bonnie was waiting at the top of the stairs for Gibbs to come in for dinner.

And there was nothing at all I could say to her except “I’m sorry, Bonnie, but he won’t be coming home again.”

GIBBS IS GONE – Marilyn Armstrong

Today, sometime around the middle of the afternoon, Gibbs died.

He was having what seemed a normal day. Up in the morning, begging for treats. Barking like crazy at anyone going up or down the stairs. Then, he went to sleep on the sofa.

We were going to a concert and friends were coming over for dinner and coming with us, so I was just getting ready to get dressed for the event. Garry went in to feed the dogs. Gibbs didn’t show up for dinner, so he came in here to shake Gibbs awake, which we often have to do because he was had become a very heavy sleeper, something  I attributed to aging.

Gibbs

Garry shook him, but he didn’t wake up. He shook him again. Gibbs normally woke as soon as you touched him. I had that instantly bad feeling you get when something is very wrong. I went over. His eyes were open and were unresponsive. He was warm and his nose was cool and moist, but he was not breathing.

Gibbs

He had died on the sofa in his sleep sometime between mid-morning snack time and four in the afternoon.

We had him for 3 years and 11 months. He was just about to turn 13 in April. He arrived on my birthday, nearly four years ago. He never seemed as old as Bonnie. I  always assumed he would outlive her.

I hope we gave him a good home. We had him at the vet just four days ago for his 3-year rabies shot and while we were worried about those enlarged glands in his neck, he was on antibiotics in the hopes it was merely an infection.

The vet said it had to have been some kind of cardiac event, possibly a slow-growing tumor — the kind you never know about because there’s no prelude, no warnings. We’ll never know for sure.

On the way back tonight, I almost went to look in the shed to see if, by some miracle, he had woken up. But I knew better so I didn’t.

I’ve had many dogs over the years, but I’ve never had one simply die in his or her sleep like that. I’m a bit in shock right now and of course, we have to take him to the vet for cremation tomorrow. I would have liked to bury him here, but we live on rocks and without a backhoe, we could not dig deep enough to bury him properly.

He didn’t make a sound while he died and I was sitting just a few feet away. He must have been asleep. Owen points out that he died on his favorite sofa without that terrible, prolonged illness that is typical of old animals. I hope we gave him a good home. At least for these last years, he was free to come and go and get some of the love he never got when he was young.

Rest in peace, Gibbs. You were a beautiful boy.

GREAT LIGHT FOR AN ALL BLACK DOG – Marilyn Armstrong

Great light for an all-black dog 


With two black Scotties in the house, getting a good picture of them is really difficult. If there’s too much sun, the sunlit parts look like white patches. If there isn’t enough light, all you see is a fuzzy lump. We recently got Gibbs groomed and he looks very dapper. They trimmed him tightly — not like a show dog but like a dog you are trying to keep clean during a long, muddy winter.

Good light for solid black fur is bright, but not sunny. A day with a flat gray sky with the pictures taken just before the sun came around to the western side of the house. I think this is as good as it gets from the point of view of light for this picture.

Gibbs really looks like the Wolfman. Poor Larry Talbot!
Gibbs has the most soulful eyes.

With the snow and rain coming in waves and the temperature going from bitterly cold to almost spring in as little as three hours — it jumped 40 degrees today between 8 in the morning and noon — gooey mud is a big issue. So are ticks and fleas because we haven’t had weather consistently cold enough to put them into cold storage.

I figured I’d better take pictures while he still looked good. In another week, he’ll look all grubby again.

THEY DON’T UNDERSTAND A WORD I WOOF – Marilyn Armstrong

Today we vacuumed the living room and changed the sofa covers. We moved all the things out of the way, including the step stool Bonnie uses to get up on the sofa. Some hours later, I was doing something on the computer and Bonnie was barking and whining at me. She barks a lot anyway, but she never whines.

It was too early for dinner — even for her — so I finally asked her “What’s the matter? What do you want?”

She walked over to her step stool and walked back and BARKED at me.

I put the stool back where it belongs and she happily jumped up on the sofa. I could almost hear her saying, “Those dumb two legs. They never understand a word I say!”

HUMANS RIGHTS — Marilyn Armstrong

I read an article a while back which announced with solemnity and more than a few pie charts, that dogs — our dogs, your dogs, pet dogs — don’t like being hugged. Not merely do they not like being hugged and display measurable levels of stress when hugged, but they really hate being kissed and nuzzled.

The article suggests a pat on the head … and a treat … would be much more appreciated. Not by Garry or me. We figure fair-is-fair — we get to do our thing, too.

Garry, Bonnie, and Gibbs – A moment of zen

72-dogs-toys2-10122016_031

I know they don’t like being hugged. It’s obvious. They stiffen and put their ears back when we hug them. They also don’t like it when I grab their tail and refuse to let it go.

That’s what all the growling and head butting is about. You can almost hear them sigh, wondering when you’ll be through with this nonsense and get on to the important stuff, namely distributing cookies.

72-bw-sketch-gibbs-13122016_00

I told Garry about the study. He said: “Tough. They’ll just have to cope. Because I like it.” My thoughts exactly.

Our dogs are disrespectful. Messy. Flagrantly disobedient. They are masters and mistresses of selective hearing. Do I believe for a single moment when we tell them to go out and they stand there, in front of the doggy door, ignoring us, it’s because they don’t understand what we want from them? I’m supposed to think if I stand in the doorway calling them, that they can’t hear me? Or — at the least — know I want them to come in? Of course, they know. They’re just playing with us.

Bonnie and Gibbs have gotten kind of deaf, so now I never know for sure if they are messing with me or not. Now that Owen has moved in, they bark at least twice as much as before.

Typically, they sleep until about seven, then they begin barking. Bonnie is the starter because she has NO manners at all and because she urgently wants cookies and attention. Since being put on a diet, her urgency about cookies has doubled, too.

We stagger to our feet. Give them some attention accompanied by cookies. While we are at it, we clear out Bonnie’s goopy eye and Garry takes his early morning medications. I refill my glass of juice and we go back to bed. That settles them down for a while.

Now, though, when Owen gets up — he being the early bird — they all go into a crazed barking frenzy. As soon as he comes upstairs, they calm down. I believe they lack patience.

72-bonnie-sofa-dog-13122016_018

Duke and Gibbs are passionate about him and have their version of a fight over him even though he isn’t in the room yet. They hear him (how deaf IS Gibbs)?  Bonnie barks because she likes to bark. In fact, she barks for long periods every day, which gets the other two barking. You can’t have a conversation, listen to a book, or watch TV when they are barking. It’s deafening.

I should add that they do all this insane barking indoors so as not to annoy the neighbors. Aren’t we lucky?

72-dog-grooming-day-08122016_12

Since they persist in disrespecting us, they will have to deal with our periodic compulsion to give them hugs, nuzzling, and the occasional (“Yuck! Stop that you stupid humans!”) kiss them on their big black noses. It’s a small price to pay for unlimited sofa lounging, high-quality treats, and silly humans getting down on the floor to play with them. Not to mention having to cope with their early morning concerto. Good grief, they are loud.

Garry sleeps through it, the single advantage to deafness. With his head-gear off, he could sleep through a full cannon barrage.

We put up with them, so they will have to put up with us. That’s our part of the deal. Just to add our insult to their injury, we intentionally wake them up when they are sleeping. This morning, the three of them broke open the door and Duke, the only one with long legs, jumped all over Garry. That got us up. But they seem to know Garry is the serious sleeper because they never jump on me.

This might be a good time to mention that we’ve finally got Bonnie’s eyes under control. You know how vets only give you official medications? They never try anything that isn’t (a) expensive, (b) made from chemicals whose names you can’t pronounce, or (c) might be natural and yet work anyhow.

Her eyes were getting worse and worse and she had this big red thing in her eye that the vet said needed surgery and so did everything I could find on the Internet. In a fit of desperation, I picked up a Veterinycyn (probably spelled wrong) spray bottle of natural microbial natural stuff that is supposed to clear up pink-eye and get the goop out of her eyes.

It eliminated the redness within three days — something no other medicine has done. Why didn’t any of the various vets at three different offices consider the possibility of common pink-eye as an issue? She has had this problem for most of her life and never once did any of the vets suggest it. Yet is it incredibly common to all mammals, including us. Not only that, but that ugly red mass began to shrink and is barely visible just one week later.

Surgery? Nope. One 16-ounce bottle of pink-eye spray from Amazon. Good for dogs, horses, cats and guinea pigs. I bet it would work for me. It says it’s for pets only, but I’ve learned that this is not necessarily true. I know, for example, that the Pfizer medication we use on her eyes is identical to the stuff we get for our eyes and ears. Identical ingredients, same manufacturer — but the human stuff is packaged better and is much cheaper.

Also, we bought special baking soda spray for her terrible teeth (and some we put in the water for all the dogs). All the dogs have stopped having bad breath and Bonnie’s teeth are getting whiter day by day. When they breathe, it sure does smell better. The vet assured us it could NEVER work. Only the $800 tooth job could help. It turns out that baking soda is the primary active ingredient (along with fluoride) in toothpaste and mouthwash. For animals and people. Look it up.

She will need work done on her mouth, but we don’t have the money now and won’t for a while. Not to mention that Bonnie’s teeth were done once a year last year and for two years before that, so they should not BE that bad.

If this were one single vet, I’d change vets. But this is four or five vets in three different offices and not a single one considered pink-eye as a problem. Yes, she also has dry-eyes, but the redness and the nasty red thing in her eye were all part of the neglected pink eye.

Bad diagnoses are just as likely to come from human doctors. I can vouch for that.

Getting Bonnie on a diet has given her a new lease on life. She no longer weighs like two cinder blocks. She’s definitely a single cinder-block dog now.

She charges up the stairs at full tilt and she is outside running around as if she were five years younger. She still, sadly, remains deaf, but maybe we’ll find a fix for that, too!