The Little Dog That Did

I continue to smile with joy and admiration every time I see this video and the heart of this little Boston Terrier, Ripple, as she races with everything in her, only to make sure her handler is okay when he takes his unfortunate fall. Despite losing, at the end these two show the world what real winning is all about.

Finja the Devil Dog and Her Monkey

Don’t let this precious little face fool you. It’s the face of a devil dog, and I created her!

See that thing in Finja’s mouth? Of and by itself, it is an adorable little thing. It is a stuffed monkey made for dogs and it makes the most gosh-awful sound when the dog squeezes it. Finja loves to squeeze it. That’s Problem number 1.

Problem number 2: She is absolutely, unequivocally and resolutely obsessed with the thing. No big deal, right?

Wrong.

My little pupper will not, repeat, will NOT let go of this thing, for anything, except food. What you see here in this picture is exactly how she, and it, look all day long. She carries it in her mouth everywhere she goes. When she has it, we keep her separate from the other dogs because, well, it is entirely possible that there could be an unfriendly discussion among them. So, we remove the monkey from her mouth and put it someplace where she won’t know where it is.

Ha!

So much for that idea. Dogs and their sense of smell. We have since found a fool-proof hiding spot, but until we did, no matter we put the monkey to encourage her to forget about it, no luck. She became a quasi-pointing dog, eyes unwavering on the spot where the monkey was “hiding.”

We are thinking this monkey is her “baby” in a very real sense, but never having bred dogs, maybe someone can tell me if this makes sense?

This whole monkey deal is somewhat endearing, except for when it is really, really not.

Finja’s First Friend

Brinkley

When we brought Finja home, she was “welcomed” by our other three Boston Terriers. Rosie was Finja’s age at 1 ½, Sasha was 9, and Brinkley was 11. Of the three, Brinkley was the one who was showing his age, and of the three, Brinkley is the one Finja attached herself to. Not robust play material anymore, Finja nevertheless teased and cajoled him into playing tag, tug of war, and catch the ball. He’s no longer with us, but I’m convinced Finja added a few years to his life.

After a long period of standoffishness in her new home, Finja decided I was to be her main peep squeeze. She quit growling, sort of, and followed me everywhere I went. During my sacred 4 p.m. cozy time on the couch with the pups, she made sure she aligned her body alongside my thigh. However, she and her “twin” sis have then, and now, had a love-hate relationship, and there have been numerous fights over the years.

More on the saga of fighting next time.

The Last Breath

The hardest part was feeling his soft breath on my arm as I held him, knowing that in just a few minutes his breath would be no more.  Lying in my arms, cradled in a blue and white flannel blanket, he was calm and relaxed, free from the illness that ravaged him and made his body so fragile and deformed.

Brinkley was 15. He’d had a good run, though his last few years were tough. He developed Addison’s disease and had many bouts of illness where, as my vet said, we did not think he’s be going home with you. He always came home. Like a cat with 9 lives, only there weren’t that many for Brinkley.

Brinkley always rallied. He was on long-term prednisone, which kept him going and comfortable, except when it didn’t. He was also blind and deaf. He negotiated where he was going by swinging his head back and forth to catch tell-tale odors that guided him. We had to be ever-so-careful to keep him from falling, but despite our efforts, he had several rendezvous apiece with the water bowl and the window well. Towards the end we had to carry him in and out to go potty. Even closer to the end, he couldn’t poop at all.

It was time. He told me so. He told me so when he turned his nose away from his food bowl, when he had no interest in cuddling, and when it was obvious to me that he didn’t know where he was anymore. It was time for that dreaded drive when he wouldn’t come home.

I will forever cherish the memory of my Brinkley’s final breaths on my arm.

It’s a Small, Small World

Do you remember the song, It’s a Small, Small World  from the wonderful rides by the same name at Disney World and Disneyland? For some reason, that song is stuck in my head– not that it’s a bad thing. In fact, I think it’s meaningful because my world has become very small indeed. Like many of us, I only go to the grocery store, have Zoom meetings with colleagues, friends, and docs, and spend lots of low-key time and reading, reading, reading.

Now that it’s summer I do much of my reading in my little backyard swimming pool. It’s not exactly lap-material, but it is plenty big to let me float with my butt tightly wedged into my inflatable donut. Thus, I drift happily along while absorbed in my latest tome.

I have always been a homebody, so the pandemic didn’t cramp my style, too terribly, anyway. I relish the daily routine and rhythms of our home. I look forward to my everyday walk with my Boston Terrier, Finja, and my regular bicycle rides. Granted, I spend way too much tine scouring for the latest dirt on Trump, wishing that the bottom falls out from his 2020 bid.  

The fall looms, and with it, more time cozied up at home. My classes for the fall will be held online, so no worries about walking through rain and snow, or driving on icy roads. Like so many others, I’ll be working here in our home, with my precious dogs at my feet, my conure-bird in her cage as I grade papers, and being safely cocooned in my very own small, small world.

Timmy and the Turkey Neck

100_0611He’s the tiniest of them all at 10 lbs. and the oldest at 13 or 14. We actually don’t know how old he is because he was a puppy mill dog whom we adopted.

We are lovers of Boston Terriers, and in addition to Timmy, we have 2 others who are younger and bigger than our little squirt. They are also a bit smarter and in fact, they outweigh him by 10 lbs.

Timmy may not be the brightest bulb, but he sure is the most lovable.  He is also the pluckiest. Never fear, where there’s a garbage pail with food scraps, our little man will be found scarfing whatever he can reach and trying to knock over the basket for things he can’t. He never quite manages the latter, but he has been known to tumble down the cellar stairs while trying. Defying the laws of nature, after this fall that inflicted pure terror in my soul, my little fellow simply got up, shook himself off and scampered up the cellar stairs with nary a scratch anywhere on him. I, on the other hand, spent the rest of the day recovering from panic.

We celebrated Thanksgiving on Sunday because my boyfriend and his son are heading to PA to spend the holiday with this family. Dominic is the head chef in our house and he had the honors of preparing the meal.  It was a lovely day with the smells of turkey and pies wafting through the house. I was roused from my revelry and rendezvous with Ken Follet when my sort-of-stepson belted: “Timmy, what in the world?”

And there under the dining table, trying to make himself and his turkey neck invisible, was Timmy. This was a dog who thought he’d died and gone to heaven to have this juicy piece of poultry that was about as big as he.  But heaven vaporized when his treasured turkey neck was removed and little Timmy was relegated to curling up for an afternoon nap.

Not Lost and Found!!

Basha 2I have literally been losing sleep this last week worrying about the little Boston Terrier who was running loose and clearly scared alongside the Erie Canal here in Rochester, NY. After some sleuthing, I found her owner who had given up hope. Little ‘Basha’ had been lost since July 4th when she bolted in terror at the sounds of firecrackers. July 4th  until July 31st – that’s a long time, and bless her little heart, she was spotted in a huge geographical radius that included busy streets and expressways.

I spent the last week riding and walking up and down the path where I saw her. I talked to her owner and we walked the path together. I placed an ad on Craig’s List and blasted the word on Facebook. I even Tweeted several of the local television newscasters.

Then, on Tuesday  I took some chicken and put it in a place I marked and when I went back yesterday, it was gone. Granted – anything could have eaten it, but there are no real carnivores in that area, so my hopes rose. I brought and left some doggie biscuits and put them where the chicken had been. I was going to go check on them today but this morning, I got a call – one of the best calls I’ve gotten in a long time. Little Basha was found! She is currently in safekeeping with the guy who found her and he and her owner will rendezvous later today. She has found her way home at last.

A Lone and Lost Boston Terrier

I started out on my canal-side bike ride today as I often do on Sundays. Today I had to negotiate between rain showers and actually caught our brief hour of sunlight. I hadn’t gone far when I saw something black and white on the path a ways ahead. Skunk? That was my first thought. Cat? Didn’t move like one. Dog? Yep. Boston Terrier? Damn – yes.

Some of you know that BTs are my dog of choice, but regardless of what breed, this was a tiny little dog on the run and I was thus compelled to do something about it.

I tried, I really, really tried. I parked my bike as well as held up some approaching bikers. I approached him, but every time I did, and I never did manage to get close, he took off, and he covered one heck of a lot of territory – on the path, off the path and into the woods, back on, off again.  Crushed, I went on with the rest of my ride on which I was miserable, peddling way faster than usual, hoping I’d see him again on the way back.

Close to the area where I first saw him, a biker passed me and just ahead of the biker was the little BT. Please stop, I wished. He didn’t, and the little BT, who looked to have been resting on the walkway, took off again. I tried.

Home. Lunch – a gulped affair. I scoured the frig for something enticing to a small BT– chicken! I hopped in my car and drove down to the path. I headed down it – no one was around. Maybe. I dropped pieces of chicken hoping the smell would attract him. Nothing. On I walked. Nothing.

Now my thoughts are running rampant with all the awful, tragic possibilities though I am trying real hard to be hopeful. I will go back there – maybe tonight, tomorrow for sure, treats in hand, hoping that a little lost Boston Terrier will find love, safety and warmth.

A Dog’s Eye

Timmy's Eyes Now Open
Timmy’s Eyes Now Open

A dog’s eye is prone to injury and infection, especially so for bulge-eye breeds such as pugs, boxers, Boston terriers, Pekingese and others. We have Boston Terriers, and about five days ago, the littlest (and oldest) one came in from a backyard romp yelping any time someone went near his eye. It looked swollen, so I put a cold cloth on it which seemed to help – a lot! But then a few days later I noticed an oozing slit where his left eye was supposed to be.  In addition, his behavior was ‘off,’ as in more tired and droopy in general.

I scooped all 10 pounds of him up in my arms and off to the vet we went. All the way there I harbored visions that he would lose his eye or need advanced and complicated surgery due to an eye ulceration or worse.  The verdict: an eye infection, better known as conjunctivitis. Our beloved vet, I’ve been going to him for 20 years, sent us home with a small vial of eye drops, and 3 days later, our little Timothy is clearly on the way to recovery. Phew.

We have always had animals, ever since I was on my own and out of the pristine house where a spec on the carpet wasn’t tolerated let alone any happy, tail-wagging  or leg-rubbing creatures. Each and every one of my pets holds a precious place in my heart. But now that I am graying (I am into the natural look and can’t be bothered with the rigors of hair coloration et al), and my human-children have flown the coop, my canine, equine and avian creatures have become my babies even more so than before.

I’ve always seen pets as every bit as important as any other living being, but my emotional attachment to them is now  far greater. I surmise this is a function of being older, wiser, and having more time for them. Or is it a function of days passed when I overlooked them in my hurry to go to work, deal with soccer and baseball games, and do all the other things a household filled with kids requires? Probably.

Now I treasure the simplicity of life and wonderful evenings with the total warmth of having one of my dogs ensconced in my lap while the other two snuggle as close as they can be on either side of me. I love the vigor of a long walk with one or two (can’t handle three) of them prancing along beside or in front of me. And the ultimate is the security of having them warm the bed beside me, two lined up on one side and the third at my toes.

There is only one bad part, and you all know what that is. It is something I cannot write or talk about because I want to love and cherish every moment I have with them right now.