Rough Days

I'm taking a couple of days off to mourn the loss of our dear Jenny. 


15 years is a long time for a dog to be in this world.
And Jenny? Well. She made the most of those years, and enjoyed every one of her days.

Jul09 05

I will always choose to remember Jenny most up north, at the lake.
She loved the boat, the water, fishing, swimming, retrieving flotation devices of all kinds.


I'll also remember her in the garden, as she's always been my gardening companion. She had a true affinity for my hostas . . . from her first puppy-summer (where she flattened everything) to this photo taken last year. I'll miss her out there . . . "grubbing" in the soil with me, and popping out from under the hosta leaves.


Oh, Jenny.

15 years . . . is a long time for a dog to be part of a family.
She'll be missed.
So much.

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”
                                – Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Best Kind of Gift

Sometimes we get big reminders . . . that the best kinds of gifts can't be purchased or wrapped or placed under a tree!


JoJo had her stitches removed this morning.  No more inflatable collar.  And - best of all - no more cancer!  The lab report came back with the words "completely excised" and "favorable prognosis."

For me, that's the best kind of gift!


(JoJo and I thank you all for your kind words and healing thoughts during her recuperation.)

And Then Sometimes the News is Good

Back in the fall, Tom found a little lump in the crease just in front of JoJo's right hind leg.  And then we couldn't find it again.  And then . . . there it was again!  Not very big.  Hard to find.  Worrisome.  But also not so worrisome.  But worrisome enough that I took her to the vet in November.

I expected the vet to say No worries, just a fatty tumor.

But that's not what the vet said.  Let's aspirate that, the vet said.

And it turned out to be . . . not good.  A mast cell tumor.  Cancer.

We must cut that out, the vet said.  And have tests run to see how likely to spread it might be.

Unsettling.  (And JoJo is only 5.)

Last week, JoJo had surgery.  For such a small lump, she ended up with a massive incision.  I was aggressive with the margins, the vet said.  Because I could be, he said.  And because she is only 5, he said.


Frankendog, said Tom.

After being kind of out of it for a couple of days, JoJo bounced back.  She doesn't like to sit still.  She wants to play and jump and run.  No roughhousing, said the vet.  And no running. 

And she really wants to get at those stitches.  So . . . 


It's an inflatable collar.  Better than a cone, by far.  Ahoy there, matey! said Tom.

Last night we got the pathology report from the vet.  Good news, said the vet.  Clean surgical margins and a low probability spread, said the vet.

You know what we said?

  1. Yay!
  2. Yay!
  3. Yay!


Be sure to hop on over to Carole's today for other Three on Thursday posts.

Tell It Like It Is

Somewhere along the line this summer, Jenny misplaced her dog tags.  (I say that like she's a kid who has left her lunch box somewhere.  Or something.)  Anyway, Tom noticed they were missing a couple of weeks ago, and they haven't turned up anywhere either up north or here at home.

So I ordered new and updated dog tags for both pups.


At 11 1/2 years, Jenny finally gets to wear her formal title for all to see!

(Tell it like it is, I say.)

I Scream You Scream DOGS Scream for Ice Cream

It's HOT out there!  

My dogs know how to keep cool, though.  They look for the shady spots!


(Although you can't see her in the photos, Jenny is hunkered down under the hostas.  Since she was a puppy, she has sought the coolest spots in the garden . . . usually under my hostas!)

They also look at me longingly and scream with their eyes . . . for Doggie Ice Cream Treats.

I whipped up a batch this weekend.  Here's how I did it, in case you want to make some for your own pups.

First, I got out my cute little dog treat molds.  (I used to use small Dixie cups - which work just great - but theses are so much cuter.)


Then, I gathered my ingredients (32 oz. plain yogurt, 2 bananas, a few blobs of natural peanut butter, and a squirt or two of honey)  (you can see that it is a very scientific process) . . .


and mix it together with my immersion blender (this amount of mix fits together perfectly in my 4-cup measure).


Then come the hardest parts . . . carefully pouring the mix into the molds (made slightly easier because I mixed it in a measuring cup with a pour spout), then clearing space in the freezer to create a flat surface (it helps to have this ready before beginning actually, but I never seem to remember that), and then carefully placing the full molds into the freezer without spilling (HA!) (I stack them on cookie sheets first).

This amount of mix fits nearly perfectly into the molds.  (There was a bit leftover, so the dogs got to lick the bowl. . . BONUS! )

It doesn't take long for the treats to freeze -- and then they pop right out of the molds.  (So cute.)  (Of course the dogs don't care at all.  The Dixie cups were just fine thankyouverymuch.)


Ready to serve!


And what do they think?


De - doggie - licious!

Happiness Is . . .

Resting and recuperating at home.


Good news from the vet.


And having your bestie nearby again!


I thank you for all the good juju yesterday.  It helped!  Jenny did well with a very nasty surgery.  She got to come home last night, which no one really expected.  And so far (keep your fingers crossed) we are having an easy time with her recovery here at home.  (Her surgery comes with some potentially . . . messy . . . side effects.  So far, so good.)  

I think no one is happier to have Jenny home than JoJo!  She moped all day yesterday, and was just not quite herself.  She even slacked off with perimeter control, which she sees as her Most Important Role in our pack.  (Trust me, this is BIG.)

Happiness is . . . hanging around with your pack!

Hungry Dogs

As I write this blog post this morning, my dogs are looking at me with the mournful eyes.

For they are very hungry.

S-t-a-r-v-i-n-g, in fact.

And I am not feeding them.


Because this diva . . . 


is scheduled for some rather serious surgery in a couple of hours.  (Please send the good juju.  She is 11, and we'd like to keep her around a while longer.)

My hungry dogs remind me of this perfect Mary Oliver poem, from her Dog Songs book.

The Wicked Smile
by Mary Oliver

"Please, please, I think I haven't eaten
for days."

What?  Ricky, you had a huge supper.

"I did? My stomach doesn't remember.
Oh, I think I'm fading away.  Please
make me breakfast and I'll tell you 
something you don't know."

He ate rapidly.

Okay, I said  What were you going to
tell me?

He smiled the wicked smile.  "Before we
came over, Anne already gave me my breakfast,"
he said.

Be prepared.  A dog is adorable and noble.
A dog is true and loving friend.  A dog
is also a hedonist.

Next Up: Adventure

Last month I told you about Jen Tulson's Sacred Invitation Deck -- a set of beautiful cards I won in a random drawing -- that I'm using as a tool in creating an "area of refuge" for myself.

The first card I chose was . . . savor.  And the card did its magical work!  Every time I glanced at it, I found myself thinking about simple things that I savored in my life (looking out the window at the snow, being able to throw a hand knit shawl over my legs when I was chilly, the smell of food cooking in the kitchen . . . that kind of thing).

I liked the savor card!  It brought me comfort and a daily gentle reminder to notice the little things.  I was in no hurry to switch it out with another.  And so it remained, sitting on my desk (in a little stand-up card holder I had stashed away in my junk drawer) for nearly a month.

Until it wasn't.

Over the weekend, it must have fallen to the floor under my desk.  And this pup . . . 


normally so well-behaved - but with a strange penchant for cardstock (and only cardstock) that she finds lying on the floor - decided to, well . . . savor it herself!


I decided, then, that the time had come for me to choose another card!  


But I'm gonna be honest here.  When I saw my new card - adventure - I was disappointed.


In the middle of February?

I mean, seriously?  Adventure . . . conjures excitement and new and plans and going somewhere.  Not . . . exactly what my life looks like right now, y'know?

But I stuck the card in the little holder on my desk anyway.  I'm going to live with it for awhile and see where it takes me.
Because hmmmm.  
You never know.


On Frolicking, Snow, and a Poem

We had our first snow yesterday.  Not much.  But enough to cause some roadway havoc.

I always love the first few snows of the season . . . but the dogs?  Oh, they REVEL in it!  They race around the yard, frolicking.  They rub their faces in the snow and dig and roll and chase each other.  It is Pure Dog Joy!


Watching them play in the snow always makes me think of this perfect poem by Mary Oliver, from her book Dog Songs.

The Storm (Bear)
    --- by Mary Oliver

Now through the white orchard my little dog
    romps, breaking the new snow
    with wild feet.
Running here running there, excited,
    hardly able to stop, he leaps, he spins,
until the white snow is written upon
    in large, exuberant letters,
a long sentence, expressing
    the pleasures of the body in this world.

Oh, I could not have said it better


Have a wonderful weekend!