Archive for the 'pets' Category

Took My Breath Away (Part I)

The massage therapist knowingly nodded, and said several of her clients complained of similar symptoms.  “The body remembers,” she continued, “even long after the triggers are gone”–which is what baffled me.  When I went to her, the week after Christmas, I should have been a model of health and tranquility.  I had started working out at least three times a week, had no major deadlines or responsibilities, and the things that had me so stressed out were months behind me, or at least at the point where I’d done everything I could to make things right and had no personal regrets.  I had wholeheartedly resigned my fate to a higher power, feeling certain that not only what will be will be, but will be for the best.  Yet I still had trouble taking in a good deep cleansing breath.  I was hoping she could rub out some of the knots in my back that seemed to be blocking the air from fully reaching and filling every bit of my lungs.

Hosting foster children is something we had thought about doing for a long time.  Big Daddy seemed to be more apprehensive about it because he was worried we might become attached  to a child that we would have to give back.  I was less worried about that because I expected from the start that it would be temporary and was OK with that.  I only wanted to be a safe port in a child’s stormy life until things calmed down.  In fact, I like temporary arrangements.  I love my two-month a year job.  I prefer open-ended contracts.  I figured we’d provide some fun for a child that needed to laugh and then he or she would return home after a few months.  I had no way of knowing how challenging and unpredictable this choice would be.

We had planned, and splurged, on renting the beach house in July.  One of the reasons was so the girls could see the ocean.  But all along, we never knew for sure if we would still have them by the time July rolled around.  We hoped…but that is the nature of foster care.  We rented a house that slept 8 just in case, though, figuring we wouldn’t have much trouble filling up the extra beds if something happened.  Then J came home with his horribly crushed leg…and with only a couple of weeks to go, we faced the possibility that none of us would be going on vacation.  We spent days keeping his leg iced, helping him with everyday life, and watching helplessly while he dealt with pain that even his prescription pain killers couldn’t dull.  The girls were so sweet, tiptoeing around quietly and trying to help by making ice packs and bringing him water.

Although we had to watch for what could have been gruesome developments, J’s leg seemed to be improving enough that we decided to make the long drive to North Carolina.  J stretched out in our old van that we luckily never sold while Youngest Son did the driving.  J’s girlfriend and my 15-year-old niece rode along with them.  Big Daddy and I took the girls with us in the SUV and we kind of followed each other.  We had a great time there–even though Big Daddy had to lose a full day at the beach shopping around for a competent repair guy–miles from the little island we were staying–to replace the muffler that had decided to fall off the van two days before we had to leave.  Meanwhile, Youngest Son had been struggling all week, long distance, to find out why his car was still sitting untouched and unrepaired back home when he had left it a week ago.  They still hadn’t gotten the part they needed and Youngest Son was stressing big time about having to start med school in less than a week with no car to get him there!  All of these annoyances were quickly forgotten, however, when Big Daddy took a call on his cell phone the night we were packing up to leave for home.  The guy that was watching our beautiful 7-year-old Boxer dog, Sky, called to tell us that he was rushing her to the animal hospital with what appeared to be Bloat, which is a twisting of the dog’s stomach and which we knew immediately was a very bad thing.  We waited teary-eyed and in stunned silence for further news, and our worst fears were confirmed when he called to say she hadn’t made it after suffering from two heart attacks, one while en route, and the other at the hospital.

RIP Baby Girl

 

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Every Girl Crazy ‘Bout A Sharp Dressed Man

I used to sing that old ZZ Top song to the boys whenever they were younger and I got them all dressed up and handsome.  I swear their little chests would puff out and they would actually swagger a little.  But Youngest Son still hates to get dressed up.  In high school, the girls would want him to go to dances but he almost managed to avoid every single formal event.  “You don’t even want to go to the prom?” we all asked.  And of course every single time he would reply that he hates to dance, and he hates to get dressed up.  Why would he want to go to a dance?  (He’s also tight with the money.  I taught him well).

His luck ran out senior year.  He had a very persuasive girlfriend that convinced him to go to not only her prom, but also the one at his high school.  She wanted him to wear a white tux to hers.  I got my way for his prom and he wore a black tux.  He looked sharp both nights, but the suit didn’t help him have fun at his prom.  His date and his ex-girlfriend made him miserable in the midst of their dagger-looks and catty remarks to each other.  He had a lot more fun at her prom even though he worried about spilling stuff on the white tux and getting charged extra for it.

A few weeks ago, Youngest Son had to get himself into a suit again.  He was not excited about it.  He much prefers a pair of basketball shorts and a T-shirt.  But he, along with a bunch of other students at his college, were applying for the chance to become a residence hall advisor at his school next year.  He’s the kind of kid you’d expect to be in charge.  He’s helpful, considerate, and plays by the rules.  He’s tutored other students for years.  I’d hire him–but I’m sure I’m a little biased.  He wanted the job for all the right reasons, but also because he’d finally have his own room.  Even though he really likes his roommate, Youngest Son likes his privacy.  I was excited because the job pays with free room and board! There were plenty of applicants, and the interview process took an entire Saturday on one of his busiest weekends.  And the only thing he complained about was the fact that he had to wear a suit–and that he better not have had to get dressed up for nothing!

I had forgotten all about this until I got a text this morning.  Youngest Son got the job!  He’ll have his own room next year, and I’ll be saving some bucks.  I told him he looked handsome in that suit.

A Beauty Queen In Boots

Sky's New Boots

Sky's New Boots

Even though they’re not cheap, we broke down and bought someone else’s brilliant invention, little Velcro dog boots.  Our gorgeous little girl has an uncanny talent for getting as much mud and gunk jammed between her toenails as possible.  She’s even mastered the art of finding every poo pile we haven’t picked up and stepping in it.  Obviously, it’s easier to wipe this crap off these smooth little boots than to stand out in the cold and scrub four little paws.  I just have to show off my little beauty queen in her new booties.  A mom’s gotta brag!

Sky's New Boots

Sky's New Boots

I'm One Hot Pup

I'm One Hot Pup

You Can Quit Staring Now

You Can Quit Staring Now

_

Christmas Time at the Slackers

I talked to Middle Son J on the phone the other day.  I don’t remember saying anything all that inspirational, but he texted me later and said he felt better after talking to me.  J is stuck in Germany for the holidays, courtesy of the US Army.  Being in Germany might be a wonderful thing sometimes, but when it’s Christmastime, it’s usually nicer to be home with friends and family.

I think J might be missing us a little.  I know we’re missing him a lot.  But Christmas with us isn’t necessarily as special as one might remember.  In fact, it’s pretty much same old, same old with a little added forgetfulness and laziness.

On an ordinary good day when the sun is shining, we border on lazy.  At Christmas, it’s worse.  We finally got our new Martha Stewart artificial tree up on the 19th, but it’s still not decorated.  Thank goodness for those little white lights already on it, and the pretty ornaments Sheri got us this year.  We haven’t gotten around to digging the rest of the ornaments out of the basement.   Every time I think about doing that, I then think about how I’m going to have to pack them all back up again in a week or two.  Saps the life right out of me.

I was going to take a picture of the undecorated tree to post here so J could see that it really is a very pretty tree, even naked as it is.  Big Daddy even admitted that it’s not so bad.  But I don’t remember where the camera is.

I wrapped my first three presents just this morning so I could drop them off at Mom’s after Youngest Son’s eye appointment.  Of course, we were late for the appointment and I had to borrow mom’s tape when we got to her house to finish wrapping her presents.  I’ll be danged if I was going to have to go out in the cold again for ANYTHING.

It’s so cold here the schools all had a 2 hour delay this morning.  It actually hurts to step outside.  There’s certainly nothing to miss about that!  We’re still the same slugs we always are.  We still lounge around in front of the TV stuffing our faces, except now the goodies are even more fattening, like the tray full of Christmas cookies Big Daddy bought last week.  When the phone rings, we still all yell, “Not It,” so that we don’t have to get off our lazy butts to answer it.  (Last guy to yell “Not It” has to get the phone).  One night, Big Daddy jumped up saying “It could be J.” and ran to the phone.  But he had already lost the game anyways so it was his turn to get it.

Just as I started writing this post (to put off making dinner), I heard a little “Woof” coming from outside.  I’m thinking that it sounded like Sky but I’m hoping it’s not.  It’s freezing outside.  The guys have been downstairs lifting weights for a good 15 minutes or more and I just got up from snoozing on my lounge chair.  I looked out on the porch and there was poor pup, dying to come back in out of the cold.  Big Daddy had put her out to pee and forgot about her.  She’s fine, but she ran around full speed for a minute then finally settled in front of the fireplace.  Poor little Pupsicle.

I think we got all the packages you sent us, J.  I hope you get the ones we sent you before Christmas.  We’ll be thinking about you.

I Thought I Might Get Rich

We had snow on the ground for a few days.  I’m not fond of snow.  It’s cold, makes walking and driving hazardous, and limits my shoe choices.  But the one advantage it does have is that it covers the mud in our yard that covers the paws of our dog whenever she goes out to pee.

I have spent — no lie — a good 10 minutes each time she goes out digging dirt and mud out of her little toenails.  We even got an empty coffee container, filled it with water, and dipped each paw in it before we wiped them with an old towel.  Part of the problem is she doesn’t just go out to pee.  She has to run around like a maniac, lunging at delivery trucks or people walking up the street while tied up in the front yard.  So the mud gets ground into her little paws in every crease and crevice.

Big Daddy and I brainstormed for a solution to this problem.  Who wants to stand on a cold porch several times a day digging mud from a pet’s paws?  He mentioned that she needed boots or something that we could remove.  The next day, I dug out some old socks and put them on the dog before I released her into the yard.  I thought we were pretty darn clever, maybe onto a marketable idea.

Well, the little angel had no problem with me putting the socks on.  But unfortunately, they didn’t stay on for long.  The back two came off before I even tied her up.  The front socks ended up laying in the front yard where she lost them after freaking out over the mail lady.  I was thinking about ways to improve on the idea by maybe making fasteners on the foot covers when Oldest Son’s friend, Sheri, mentioned that you could buy little booties with velcro fasteners at the pet store.  What a great idea.  Why don’t I think of these things first??

Sky in socks

Sky in socks

Silly Boys and Playful Boxers

Back in the day, playing with the dog meant dressing her up in silly glasses and rolling around on the grass. Later, it was fun to play keep away with her, but a little scary when she’d jump up high and try to snag the ball right out of your hands. Now, the big tattooed boy, who has no fear and feels little pain, likes to “rassle” with the pup. The sound of this play pru-and-j.jpgfighting strikes terror into this mother’s heart. It sounds like I imagine a pit bull fight would sound. But take my word for it, no dog is getting hurt here. Our current boxer, Sky, is having the time of her life. And my crazy middle son, J, is half-laughing and half-rolling in pain. And he keeps asking for more. Sky’s tail is wagging like crazy, but she sounds like she’s fixing to rip J’s guts out. She nips at him, and swipes at him, leaving red scratch welts and even little bite marks. Even though I know she’s just playing with her pack brother, I worry she might forget she’s playing. So J tries to reassure me by acting like he’s hurt. Immediately, Sky stops growling and lunging, and starts licking J. She really doesn’t want to hurt him. She just wants to give him a good match.

Our Boxer–Mama’s Other Baby

sky-3.jpgsky.jpgsky-7.jpg

When the kids first wanted a dog, I would have no part of it. I didn’t grow up with dogs, and I was afraid of them. I don’t remember the incident itself, but was told that when I was about 2 years old, a large neighbor dog had jumped on me and knocked me down (while my mother screamed helplessly). She’s afraid of dogs, too. I just remember always being a little leery of dogs and even sometimes having bad dreams about them. But life is always full of surprises, and BOY was everybody surprised when I caved and became the owner of our first beautiful two-year-old flashy fawn Boxer. It was fate that could not be denied. First, we had just gotten a house with a big yard. Then, the boys and their dad, and my dad, kinda wore me down a little saying “those boys need a dog”. Also, the neighbor kid had a Lab and when he wanted to be mean, would invite the other kids inside for Oreos (knowing that my youngest was afraid of his dog and would be left out). I didn’t want him to be afraid like I was. Then, the bargain-hunter in me was tempted when my husband’s friend Lou wanted to find a good home for his second boxer. Two frisky dogs was a little more than they could handle. So I agreed to meet Prudence, but did not yet commit to adopting her. Well, it was love at first sight. As soon as I saw those big brown eyes, I HAD to have her. Even after I saw the big pile of poop she had left in Lou’s truck.

I loved Prudence, and walked her and helped take care of her for the 10 years we were lucky enough to have her. But I never really held her or pet her much until she got old and frail and started having convulsions. Knowing we would lose her soon broke down the final barriers. Now we have our gorgeous Sky, and she gets all the hugs and kisses a playful happy soul like her deserves. If your kids are bugging you for a dog, you may want to open yourself up to the experience. You may find out that you, too, need a dog. sky-4.jpg


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