THE CHANGING SEASONS – JUNE 2020 – Marilyn Armstrong

THE CHANGING SEASONS – JUNE 2020 – AND SO MUCH MORE …


What a strange and haunted year we have had. We are living in a world we never imagined except perhaps as a science fiction novel of the dystopian future. We don’t go anywhere, although today we went to the vet to say goodbye to Bonnie … and the grocery to say hello to food.

It’s almost a weird kind of relief that we finally let her go. This has been looming for close to a year. I remember last summer refusing to take even a short vacation because I felt she needed care and no one else had the time to give it to her. I haven’t absorbed it yet, but the Duke is grieving. Lots of sighing and moaning. When they walked her away up the ramp he started to cry and we cried with him.

Good bye Bonnie. Your were the best little girl ever and we will always miss you.



From Su Leslie:

About The Changing Seasons

The Changing Seasons is a monthly challenge where bloggers around the world share what’s been happening in their month.

If you would like to join in, here are the guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them.

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to this post, I can update it with links to all of yours.

ANOTHER WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

We decided we needed another week with Bonnie. We aren’t ready. Also, I discovered a great calming chewy. Basically, they are duck-flavored hemp edibles for dogs.

They aren’t quite strong enough but if you give them about twice as much as recommended Bonnie sleeps though most of the night.

I know nothing we do is going to solve her problems, but she is having some good days and as long as she is able to move around and look happy, we will let her.

Groomed Bonnie

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!”

FATE IS IRREFUTABLE – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Irrefutable

Bonnie has been changing. The relentless barking. Her unwillingness to sit with us on the sofa. She seeks out dark corners and no longer hears me when I call her. She also can’t see well and the other night, one of he teeth just fell out. But she sure does sleep well.

It was vet time yesterday. There was too much that seemed wrong and so un-Bonnie. We learned immediately that her teeth were awful — and considering we had them done twice in a row two years ago, they shouldn’t be that bad. But the teeth of small dogs go very quickly as they age. We have seen in it other small terriers and even though our vets are the most reasonably priced in the area for this work, she’s going to lose a lot of teeth. And she also needs senior dog bloodwork because, as the vet rather gently pointed out (he’s not always a very gentle guy), dogs change, much like aging people change with their years … and they don’t change back.

She isn’t the dog she was been for all the years we have had her, which is from baby dog — 9 weeks — to now. I trained her in the deep snow of winter and she was always the most charming of our dogs.

The vet delicately pointed out that since she is going deaf, is partially blind and to top it all, she appears to be getting a bit demented. Which is probably what all the barking about. These days, all she seems to know how to do is shout.

We need to consider her quality of life, the vet’s polite way of saying “That time is coming around again.”

We’ve had Bonnie longer than any other dog and while I know  — knew — always knew — this moment would come, I always dreaded it. Especially because we are getting too old to take on a young pet and too poor to manage old ones.

We’ve got a few months to think about it. To square up our elderly hunching shoulders and get it together.

I don’t think we’ll be getting more dogs. We are now at the point where our dogs are likely to outlive us. We don’t really have anywhere to send them, either. There’s no one to care for them if we are gone.

We have both throughout our lives had a morbid tendency to wait until too late to deal with the end game properly. We don’t want to let go. There’s nothing easy about it and even though we have two other dogs in the house — and I know part of the reason we got Duke was that the other two were getting old. We were not talking about it, but we knew. We didn’t want to know.

I’m quite sure Duke will be our last dog. I swear, he knows. Dogs know a lot.

I’m not going to make this a crying and wailing post. I have been through this too many times. It’s the worst when there’s no lethal ailment to make it inevitable but just a general winding down of a life.

I thought she would live longer. She’s small. I had hoped for a good solid 15 or 16 years from her, but she has been aging faster than seemed reasonable for the past couple of years. I could see it in her coat turning so quickly gray and odd changes in her behavior.

Technically, Gibbs is the same age but seems much younger. I’ve always wondered if he was really the age on his papers. He was kenneled and they lie about their dogs. So I think he’s good for a while … but I wonder how Duke and Gibbs will get on without Bonnie. She has always been the sweet spot between the two boys.

Talk about irrefutable. The passage through life always ends the same way. It doesn’t matter how well we feed them or how sweetly we love them or how they care for us. Time does what time does. Why do the best ones always seem to go first?

LATER NEWS – JUST A VERY QUICK WORD …

Our little girl Bonnie is definitely not well today. Yesterday, she threw up and refused dinner. But previously, this usually passes overnight and she’s fine by morning.

She isn’t fine this morning. I called the vet and of course, no appointments (Saturday is a half day), but the vet will call me back. I’m not asking for a load of sympathy and I’m turning off the comments key because a lot of comments will just make me even more twitchy than I already am.

Bonnie

She has something with her gut and it is (believe it or not) constipation that has always been the culprit. No matter what we do (and we have done a lot), we wind up waiting. After a day or two, it’s okay. Usually a 3-day cycle and this is day two. I suspect it will be fine, but in the meantime, I reserve the right to anxiously bite my lip. And wait for the vet to call back.

So that is my day, so far. Sorry. Not my best morning. Hopefully later will work out for us. Meanwhile, it simply waiting.

LATER | DAILY POST

BONNIE AND HER BFF

Photography by Garry and Marilyn Armstrong

It takes a village to raise a child. It take two photographers and a lot of coaxing to photograph a Scottish Terrier.

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You could say that Garry and I teamed up … but I think if you were Bonnie, you’d say we ganged up. On her.

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Forced her to sit still. Coerced her into letting us see her eyes. How undignified!

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Although more than half the shots were blurry, we got a few we like. Presenting Bonnie. With and without her favorite person.

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DEAR BONNIE

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Literate for a Day — Someone or something you can’t communicate with through writing (a baby, a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for one day only. What do you tell them? (Thanks for the suggestion, Chic Prune!)


Dear Bonnie,

I know you are a Scottie and have an inbred tendency to attack life head first. It’s charming, in its own way but I’m going to suggest it’s time to moderate your behavior.

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Lately, you’ve been showing up in the house looking like Druid Dog. You’re so covered with leaves and twigs and stuff, it’s hard to recognize you as a dog. You look like a piece of the forest floor that has grown legs. Also, attacking the hall gate by ramming it with you head can’t be healthy. Doesn’t it hurt? It’s not helping the gate stay on its hinges either.

I’m sorry that we can’t have all of you sleeping in our bed, but the bed isn’t big enough and you guys are all much too icky and smelly; frankly, we are too old.

Bonnie Resting

And finally, there’s the whole matter of treats. We humans are not as stupid as you think we are. We do remember having given you a treat mere minutes ago, so hitting us each up for another if we are near the kitchen, is ruining your credibility. How can we trust you when you lie to our faces?

You cannot have an unlimited number of daily treats. It’s unhealthy and will make you fat. You wouldn’t want to lose your girlish figure, now do you?

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I’m glad we had this opportunity to chat.

Tomorrow the well guy is going to be here and we will have to do some serious negotiating about not running up into the road. And not getting in the way of the big machines, or falling into the well (that would be really terrible). It’s just one day … surely you can behave for that long, can’t you? Please?

BONNIE IS BACK!!

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BONNIE IS BACK.

It was a long day for us, but Bonnie is fine. She had, I gather, a lovely day full of biscuits and romping with her new pal, a Boston Terrier. Garry and I are finally breathing!! Yay.

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Thanks to everyone who kept an eye out. She was apparently picked up by a motorist on Rt. 98 and taken home to Douglas where she had a fine mini vacation. Many thanks to the Uxbridge and Douglas Police, both of whom helped make sure she found her way back to us.

And especially thanks to Joyce, Uxbridge’s intrepid Animal Control officer for her support and assistance.

PROTECTION DETAIL

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This is Bonnie’s spot, her lookout post. Up on the top of the sofa back, on her own cushion. Nose on glass with the picture window … which is so covered with nose prints, it is very nearly opaque.

She can see everything. She sleeps here, unless she is on the sofa with us and she would probably only leave there to eat or go outside and bark (and bark and bark and bark) if only we would join her rather than stubbornly insisting on sitting on the reclining loveseat — from which we can watch TV.

All the dogs have a “spot” that is their own. Nan’s is at my feet, under my desk in the office — if I’m in the office. Otherwise, on the foot of the recliner if I’m in the living room. Bishop sleeps outside when there’s snow cover. He really likes the snow. A lot. Inside, he sleeps on the landing at the head of the stairs or on the landing between upper and lower floors. I think it’s a guard dog thing.

Bonnie is the only one who cares about having a view. She watches. She looks asleep, but she is just resting, ready to spring into action in a heartbeat. Our little soldier, protecting her world and us.

A SERIOUS TALK WITH BONNIE

 I feel this is a perfect opportunity to air a grievance still fresh in my mind.

Although we are indulgent dog parents, we don’t sleep with dogs. They outnumber us two to one and the bed isn’t all that big.  Moreover, they hang with us on the loveseat in the living room and in the offices from morning till we toddle off to bed in the wee hours. The bed is ours. Ours alone. I refuse to feel guilty about it. Okay, a little guilty, but only a bit. We have enough trouble getting comfortable without trying to maneuver around you dogs.

Not to mention the dirt and fur that inevitably accompanies our beloved beasts. We have a gate across the hallway. We close it at night when we go to bed, confining our poor, oppressed pets to the living room, kitchen and of course the yard via the doggy door. For the 5 or 6 hours during which I try to catch some Zs, it’s No Dogs Allowed. You guys — yes, I mean you, my black-furred miscreant — know this is our time alone. You know perfectly well that when the gate is closed, it’s “give them a rest” time.

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Except last night, Bonnie, you didn’t feel like sleeping and proceeded to fling yourself at the gate. The whole house shook. I’m surprised you didn’t knock it right off its hinges. The howling and barking and yapping was bad enough, but this was like an earthquake. Totally uncool.

Bonnie, my beloved Scottish Terrier? Listen up. If you persist in flinging yourself at the gate through the night, it isn’t biscuits you’ll get. Just because you’re bored and think 3 am is a grand time for a romp and a treat, doesn’t mean we humans agree. You are going to wind up in a crate. Worse, I’ll take away your computer privileges. You won’t be able to use my laptop anymore. You know I can do it, darling Bonnie, so don’t test me. Last night, you were a wicked Scottie.

When you rousted me out of bed for that fourth and final time — was that just about 4 am?– you knew I wasn’t coming to give you a cookie. Because you ran out the doggy door and didn’t come back until I’d gone back to bed. How did you know I was mad at you? I didn’t say anything. The first three times you got your dad, then me up, you snagged a biscuit. That was supposed to shut you up. How did you know this wasn’t another goody on the way?

But you knew. You ran for the yard. Interesting. Was it the sound of steam coming out of my nose and ears? Or just the way I tread the floorboards?

Bonnie, my darling. You do that again, tonight — or any other night — and your spoiled rotten little life will be in serious peril. Do you understand? Don’t laugh at me. I’m serious. I’m mad at you!

Bonnie Annie Laurie

Bonnie, our proud and fierce Scottish Terrier, rules our world. With four iron paws encased in velvet gloves, she share her home with us. We are grateful.

Recently, we upgraded her sleeping arrangement and got her a new sofa. The back of the sofa is the perfect height to align her with the picture window. Of course, we have also put pillows along the back so that she will be more comfortable sitting there and viewing her realm.

We live to serve her royal self.

Undaunted by vacuüm cleaners or other machinery, she protects us from unrelated dogs that might wander near our property, especially the two mastiffs who live next door.

She saves us from the peril of evil socks and fuzzy blankets, steals those devil paper napkins (she knows the evil that lurks therein).  She will sleep next to us, her big head on our feet, and we know who is in favor today by where she lays her head. She will never sleep on a lap. She is a terrier and her feet need to be in contact with ground in case she needs to launch herself into action.

The Girls and Dad

Since we have a doggy door, she may need to fly out to protect her domain at any moment without warning.

The back of the sofa is Bonnie’s special place, the cushions on the back of the sofa her throne. From her lofty perch, she can see her domain.

Bonnie watches the storm - Marilyn Armstrong

I believe she has a secret Facebook account with thousands of friends. I just haven’t been able to prove it yet.

Meet Bonnie Annie Laurie, who loves us enough to let us fulfill her needs.

Dogs and Doom

We have two dogs. We have had as many as five, but time and age have reduced the size of the pack. Our current crew consists of our two terriers — Bonnie our gallant Scottie lass, and Nan, an attractive older Norwich terrier.

Bonnie is just 5 — playful, smart and very funny. I am convinced she has her own Facebook account, thousands of fans, and is on my laptop the moment my back is turned. She is atypically an extremely friendly, outgoing little girl. Although she is the dominant dog in the household, she’s so charming, other dogs don’t mind that she is a bit bossy.

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We only got Nan last Autumn. She’s heading towards 11 years old and her owner didn’t want her any more. She thought we’d give her a good home and so we have, though I dread knowing that she doesn’t have a long life ahead of her.

She has attached herself to me as no dog ever has before. I sometimes think she isn’t sure how she wound up here. She clings to me because, after 10 years in one home, she is displaced. I wish I’d had her when she was younger. We’d have made her happy. Now, she is my velcro girl. She follows me everywhere, sleeps at my feet in the office and by my side on the sofa. She follows me into the bathroom, sits politely and waits for me to finish, wash my hands, then trots with me to wherever I’m heading. Except while we sleep, she is never more than inches away from me.

All the dogs follow me to the kitchen. Dogs are such optimists. They’re always sure if we are near food, some is sure to fall their way. I’m a sucker, which means they are often right.

For a very long time, when both of us were working full-time, we had cats, then we had a cat and two ferrets, then we had the same cat and one, then two dogs. Then Big Guy, our cat, passed away. We moved to the country and the number of dogs kept growing … and then time started to reduce their numbers. I miss the pack, but we are so short of money that we can no longer afford to maintain so many dogs and even the two we have puts a serious strain on our so-to-speak finances. Every trip to the vet is terrifying on two levels … lest we discover one of our dogs is ill and whether or not we can afford whatever medical care might be involved.

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This sequester that everyone is making fun of and ignoring is going to make our already difficult lives much worse. It’s going to put a lot of people out of work. It’s going to reduce access to medical care for older people living on Medicare. We aren’t going to get through unscathed and just because nothing seems to be happening, don’t believe for a moment it won’t. A lot of people are going to lose their jobs. Not only is our personal security going to suffer, but national security is going down the tubes too. When you have to furlough the army and empty the jails because you can’t afford prisoners, it doesn’t bode well, especially after you lay off the police, teachers, and all the other guardians of our quality of life.

Meanwhile, because I can’t worry about everything, I worry about the dogs. Ourselves too. Our future, such as it may be. Wondering if we really have a future or if we are looking at the end of life as we know it.

In Washington D.C., our elected officials have nothing to worry about. They’ve got medical benefits, guaranteed wages. They have all the things they think we should do without because we aren’t nearly as important as they are. The worst thing that’s going to happen to them is they will lose the use of government jets for junkets! Wow, that’s harsh.

Nan A Norwich Terrier

All this is happening because the people who are supposed to take care of us are more interested in maintaining their political principles than in what happens to us, the folks they are sworn to protect. It’s going to get ugly. We will cling together and hug our dogs against the darkness.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m scared.