In March I got a new knee. Yeah, the kind that requires two nights in the hospital, a mountain of opioids, and a lot of TLC. Chewy was a great therapy dog. During the first couple of weeks when I spent a lot of time on the bed, he was right there beside me. He was such a comfort, I relaxed all my rules and had him sleeping under the covers with me! I knew full well I’d have to retrain him to his own bed, but it was worth it.
Every day (still!) I have to do my #@$% stretching exercises. This one is called the Ottoman Hang. Perhaps it’s not named for what was in Turkey before it was Turkey, but rather for the hassock-like piece of furniture you can hang your foot on. In any case, to me it is an evil warlord–very painful to have my hamstrings stretched by the weight of my leg for ten minutes at a time. As you can see, Chewy does his part–that is adding to the weight by sitting on my stomach and leaning on the leg. It’s our new daily activity.
My dogs always have a special fascination for whatever is under the deck. I had it closed up pretty well after Foxy kept going under there, but Chewy is a very clever guy.
I had no idea what was going on until I couldn’t find him. I called inside the house. I stepped out into the yard and called his name. No answer. I thought I heard a slight jingly sound, like his tags might make, but figured it was wishful thinking. He must have found his way out of the yard. So I went hobbling down the street in my slippers, calling his name. All the way around the park, but no luck.
When I got home, my gardener’s truck was out front and I heard a familiar bark coming from the back yard. Sure enough, Chewy was under the deck–not interested in telling ME, but eager to bark at the intruder in the yard. We couldn’t find Chewy’s place of entry, but Arturo helped me to get him out by digging a hole in the mud. I picked up the mud-covered pup and Arturo kindly closed up the hole and put some rocks there to discourage digging in the wet earth.
Chewy got an immediate bath and was finally mud-free. The gardener went on his way. Relieved the drama was over, I went about my business until I again heard barking from the yard. Chewy had found his way under there again! I now saw that his blue ball was there and he was trying to figure out how to get out with it in his mouth. I muttered a few nasty words and went to get a shovel. When I returned, I saw that he had extracted himself this time. Here’s how he looked:
I picked him up and carried him through the door, headed for the sink, but he wriggled out of my arms and landed on–get ready for it–the sofa! Ohmygod! Into the sink again, then I had to clean up the sofa and the floor full of muddy footprints.
I placed more rocks and boards around the deck and the next day a dear friend came and nailed a new barrier in place, but not before retrieving the blue ball. Chewy could probably still find a way under there, but he no longer has a reason!
There’s no better time to add a pup to the house and put the grief aside than Christmas. Meet Chewy. Seven pounds of attitude. I managed to get his foot caught between the front door and the jamb after having him for just a week. Ouch! One broken bone, a splint for a month, but he functioned very well as a three-legged dog. He’s a barker and we’re working on the way he greets other dogs when we’re out for a walk!
I had no idea how soft I’d become in those four months without two dog walks every day. I’m getting back in shape fast. And I’m learning “Terrier.” The commands include:
I want food . . . what you’re eating . . . try to get that toy away from me . . . but don’t actually take it away . . .I want what’s in that waste basket/cupboard/behind that door/in that closet and I want it now.
More to come. It’s great to have a doggie-induced smile once again.
This blog will remain, as new people find it all the time. Shall I create a book from the blog, to complete Foxy’s story in hard copy? Will I get another dog and start a new writing adventure? Only time will tell. I’m never sure when the next chapter of my life is beginning and it is time to move on to new things.
Foxy is buried at Bubbling Well, the most amazing pet cemetery in Napa, CA. If you haven’t seen the 1978 documentary, “Gates of Heaven,” it’s worth checking out on Netflix. The same family still runs the cemetery. Or see the website, www.bubbling-well.com
The inscription for Foxy’s grave:
I rescued you
And you rescued me
We tamed each other
And you remain to me
Unique in all the world.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for your condolences. Any advice?
I snoozed while Ellie was out this morning. Then she came back and took me for a little walk. Just down to the corner and back. I sniffed the grass, fell down, sniffed some more. Last night was terrible. I couldn’t get comfortable. I kept walking in circles trying to figure out what to do or where to go. Then I’d fall down. I get really upset when I can’t get up.So I’d howl for Ellie to help me.
At bedtime Ellie spread a blanket on the floor under my bed and shut the door. I walked round and round. She picked me up and put me on the bed with her. Usually that’s a treat, but I was so tired I just lay there. It was cozy to rest my back against her big body. Each time I woke up, I wasn’t scared. She was right there petting me. After a while she put me in my bed and I finally had a good sleep. Maybe tonight will be better.
I haven’t wanted to eat and moving hurts too much. Ellie takes me out for a walk, but it is so much easier to just sit down. One foot really is hurting me. I howl at Ellie after she turns off the lights at night. I howl when she goes out. I howl when people come in, but nothing changes.
Then Ellie gets up in the morning and mutters to herself as she moves around the house. I pee on the floor before she can put me outside. So she stops and cleans that up. Then she’s in the hall bathroom making lots of noise. She comes looking for me, picks me up, and puts me down into the bathtub in some warm water. I would rather not have a bath, thank you very much. But the water just comes up to my tummy and she doesn’t do the usual scrubbing with soap and bubbles. She just strokes my back and keeps me from falling down. I relax a little, but then I’m ready to be out of there.
Ellie lifts me out of the tub, without much cooperation from me. I just want to get away, wagging all my legs like I’m still in the water and swimming. She dries me off with the usual big towels. While she’s drying me and I’m struggling, she handles my sore foot again and I hear a loud, “Yes! The water loosened it up!” She holds on tight and I howl as she pulls something that’s stuck to my paw. Finally she lets me go.
That was a few days ago. Whatever was making my foot hurt is gone. I can walk and jump again, although I still fall down a lot. Most days I’m doing my peeing and other stuff outside and that makes me feel like jumping for joy.
I love it when Ellie knows what I need! Time for a long nap…