Friday, June 27, 2008


We were on the third walk of the morning. We had huge big booming thunderstorms last night, which cleared the air and cooled things down. It was still overcast this morning, and it was ever so pleasant. I do a lot of thinking on my walks.

Very Old Dogs, Maria and Giacomino

I've been, oh, a little um... down lately. First Aynex moved, then on Tuesday, my dear friend Jeanie moved to California. (I'll write about that later when it's not quite so raw.) I am watching my Very Old Dogs, Giacomino and Maria, get more fragile by the day. Lately, the two of them, who have always been devoted chow hounds, have been skipping entire meals. Also, I've had to help my son financially for the last year, a little more than I could afford to. I cleverly gave up my income for six months to work on the novel. And a week from today I'll be at the World Dog Show in Stockholm, Sweden.

"Oh, Sweden!!!" you say. "How marvellous!"

Yes, to one not so cuckoo as I. Leaving Bill with all nine dogs, even for an evening, always makes me feel like a creep. Like I'm taking advantage of him. Leaving the two Very Old Dogs makes me plain old crazy. I don't like to leave them for a day. Ten days? Psychotic. And then there's that financial stuff. The credit card which was designated to pay the airline ticket to Sweden and the hotel? That's the one I've been using to help my son pay some bills. Oops.

So I've been sewing like mad to pay down the credit card, not spending so much time on the blog (and watching the readership dwindle), and thinking "What on EARTH am I doing trying to write a novel and putting us under all this financial pressure and I am the biggest stupidest dork on the planet." And because of all that, there will be NO dog shows or agility trials for us for the rest of this year. Not one.

A little down.

This morning I was on the last walk with the young'uns - Sam I Am, Swede William, and Lindy Loo. On the first walk with Giacomino and Maria, we saw a stupid city squirrel, and we chased it! I let them run, in their bouncy, teetery exuberance, with me running behind, leashes of course in hand. It was an extraordinarily stupid city squirrel, and I thought Giacomino was actually going to get a mouthful of stupid city squirrel tail. Oh they were delighted with that adventure and they beamed and wagged, and for the first time in years, the Very Old Dog lifted - precariously, but authentically - his leg on the very next telephone pole. I could hear him say, "I still got it."

Next, I played tickle butt with Fat Charlie and Mama Pajama on their walk and they did silly butt scoots and spins, with grinning shiny eyes, appreciating the cool morning. They will turn eleven on Sunday.

The young'uns need no encouragement to enjoy their walk, but I got them stirred up anyway, just for fun. That can be hazardous, as the three of them add up to one hundred pounds of fast dog, which can go from zero to thirty mph in two seconds, and can achieve top speeds of around thirty-five mph.

As we were walking along, being silly and looking out for stupid city squirrels and evil kitties, we passed a bank parking lot. In this town when you pass someone on the street you exchange pleasantries. Always. "Mornin'. Nice and cool, isn't it?" Only this man did not make the prerequisite eye contact.

He got out of his expensive car, in his pressed white monogrammed shirt and his tie and his black pants. He opened the back door to retrieve his tailored suit jacket. He wore a sad, resigned, miserable expression on his face. Like an animal which had been caged for so long that it no longer cared to live.

And there was my epiphany.

I realized that I had been able to help my so deserving son when he needed it. What more could a parent ask? It is a fact that Giacomino will leave us, and probably not too long from now, but I have been blessed with him for fourteen years of delight. And, at thirteen and a half, Maria already has lived longer than either of my first two precious whippets and has made us laugh every day of her life. It dawned on me that Bill is more than willing to take care of the dogs, and, I epiphed, that the trip to Sweden will be a once in a lifetime magical opportunity. I can spend the rest of this year practicing my dogs like crazy, so when we do get back to competition, we will rock!

And the book? You know what? This book is stinkin' good! I was telling my friend and cheerleader and advisor Rhonda about the main events in the climax, while we were on the phone yesterday. "Oh my God, I've got goose bumps all over," she cried. "Seriously, chills!" It is a story which is telling itself, through me. And I know, I know that everyone who cares about their dog will love this book.

So, I looked at the sad caged man with all the money in the world and I decided it would be a crime if I let the financial pressure - which I created - rob me of the incredible blessings heaped on my head. If I let Giacomino and Maria's fragile last days, or even their death steal from me that joy they have so freely given, I do them a terrible disservice. And if I don't finish this book, I believe it would be a crime against the generous spirit of my husband, and a slap in the face of the universe which told me to tell the story. And if I don't enjoy my trip to Sweden, then I'm just stupider than the stupidest of stupid city squirrels.

I don't know about you, dear readers, but I am going to go hug every single one of my nine precious hounds.

Then I'm going to give Bill a kiss.


  1. That's a wonderful epiphany. The worst day with dogs is still better than most people's best days. I hope you have a wonderful trip.


  2. You keep making me cry, but don't stop.
    It's a gift to be able to know how to really enjoy life and not all of us have it. You do.
    Have a great trip, then you can get to work and make some money....Later.
    Sheila & Lady

  3. Have a wonderful trip making wonderful memories.

    If there are problems, have wonderful Bill call muzzer, since we are close enough to help out.

    A moment of truth dawns. But please not while Dad is in the UK for the next few weeks, she has her hands full with Teka(Teca) and can't imagine nine of us! Or eleven!

    kisses to you and the venerable old dogs, hugs to the rest.


  4. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing your epiphany so eloquently. Enjoy the day that you are given, nothing is guaranteed and everything changes.

  5. Patience,
    Those epiphanies really do help when one is in the pits. I'll bet that Bill doesn't consider it a problem, and rather a gift so that a person he loves can have a once in a life-time experience.

  6. Patience,

    Yogi Berra just published a new book whose title is "You Can Observe a Lot by Watching." When I read about your epiphany, I remembered an earlier post you wrote about being observant -- so I thought about Yogi. But then I also thought about the writer's gift you have that lets you observe and describe the slightest detail and bring the otherwise commonplace to life (like stupid city squirrels). And then I concluded that Mr. Pressed White Shirt in his expensve car was a messenger from on-high sent -- knowing that you'd observe his frozen face and draw a conclusion -- to give you the emotional tune-up you needed to put everything in perspective.

    Living in the present is so hard when we're weighted down by thinking of everything that will go wrong or be heartbreaking in the future.

    Enjoy your magical trip! And share every magical detail with us.

    Lots of love,

    Joan (by permission from Jake and Just Harry)

  7. Dear, dear Patience,

    How very true,,,, So well put that we think that perhaps that is the very reason you needed to write that book. It is a gift that we all receive through you.

    And... who is it that said "We don't remember years, we remember moments."?

    It must be time to for a walk.

    Star and his Human heading for the door

  8. This too shall pass.

    Big sloppy licks,


  9. Kiss the dogs then Hug Bill! Better yet, kiss the dogs and then kiss Bill too!

  10. Dearest P-what can I say? I,too, believe "frozen face" was a messenger sent from on high. I have an eerie coincidence/experience that more than once when I've lost an oldster,I come out to a newborn litter of pups in the waiting room-enjoy the trip,think good thoughts,and keep the faith. Martha and P-Doggy

  11. Just so you know, I'm still reading. I just haven't commented much lately. :)

    It's a wonderful epiphany. Enjoy your trip!

  12. What a wonderful post. And I hope that your trip to Sweden leaves you with some of the best memories yet!!

  13. BTW.....stop by our blog when you have time

  14. What an epiphany.

    It is hard to watch them grow older and more frail, but they are still a delight.

  15. What a great thing to realize. I really do hope you go and enjoy as much of your time in Sweden as possible. Eat meatballs until you explode!! We can't wait to read your book so we are very excited you plan to finish!!!

    On another note, totally unrelated, Mom was looking at her boss's quilting catalog and saw that the fabrics come from Paducah KY!

  16. Enjoy your trip! We all know Bill will take good care of the kids.
    Kisses and hugs

  17. Sigh, you did it again. You got right into my heart. I, too, have thoughts I wish I didn't about my cocker mix who is somewhere between 9 and 10. She is healthy enough with the cancer gone for now but she is aging suddenly. Always stunningly solidly black she now has a white mouth. Looks like she has a milk mouth.

    I am sending the best peace and prosperity thoughts I can muster right to your wonderful self.

  18. I had a t-shirt once that said, "change your thinking, change your world".
    You are the smartest of the smartest of the smartest humans on the planet. And the dearest loved one to your family.
    You rock!

  19. That was so true what Wally said!

    And you are such a sweet momma to help out your son.
    The "babies" (as mom calls us) will be fine with Dad. Enjoy your trip to Sweden!!

  20. It rain here this afternoon too. It be became extra humid but I had my weekly swim and it helps to make it more bearable.



  21. The man was put there for a reason and you were clever enough to figure it out. Good for you. Enjoy yourself, life can always be far worse.

  22. that was a great story. as soon as we finish here we are going to your ebay store to buy you signed book and some collars. we think that Wally said it best "the worst day with dogs is still better than most people's best days". you rock!


  23. That was just beautiful, Patience! Big kiss to you.


  24. Ahhh yes, there is nothing like our hounds and a little time observing the world to put things in perspective and make us smile again.

    Enjoy Sweden. One day the bills will be paid and your son will be back on his feet. Meanwhile, you have been richly blessed with a talent for writing, a creative mind, a great spouse, a delightful sense of humor, and a whole pack of awesome, funny, loving, sweet, smart, silly doggies.

  25. I find I am most happy when I live my life through gratitude. Sounds like you do too.

    Have a great time in Sweden!

  26. Right on Patience! I been there, am there, and can't really go to shows nor lure courses this summer, but the power that be, for my own good, brought my delightful Wonder, the 14 month old, smack into her first pink baby Huggies Pull-Ups season.... what a mess, Karen warned me.... I thought she was so tidy that first week. I have entered one show in Duluth, but if it's this messy she is going nowhere! So my checkbook will be in a little better shape with her in season and not running for the summer. Hah! I think I won something, but can't figure out what, Have Fun in Swedeland:) Susan

  27. Patience
    Isn't it wondewful to wealize things like that sometimes..Mommi says she sometimes has moments like that, and they'we wondewful.

    You awe so blessed wif youw doggies and husband and son, and fwiends and talent..enjoy evewy moment..we doggies know how to do that..

    Happy Happy Birfday to Mama Pajama and Fat Charlie!!!!!!!
    I will be thinking of them and singing all day
    love and smoochie kisses


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