Sunday, June 15, 2008

We're Back

[all of the photos are from a couple of years ago, and are all courtesy of Laurie Erickson.]

I went to see my dear friends, Carolyn and Greg, way up in western Pennsylvania. They have whippets and are my source of advice for all things. That's Carolyn (the beautiful one in pink) with me (the goofy one in yellow) and Greg is in the chair in back wearing a baseball hat. Carolyn knows everything about whippets, and I mean everything. And Greg knows everything about RV'ing. And he can tell a story that you end up laughing so hard that your tummy hurts and you have tears running down your face and you peepee your panties. Like the time their pop up camper wouldn't pop up and they had to stay in it, well... Greg tells it best.

Two of their dogs, eleven year-old littermates Easy and Spice are buddies of mine. Easy and Fat Charlie were best friends. They were the same speed, so when they raced, it was often in the very same races. (Whippets race for fun and championships, like terrierists do the earthdog tests, not like greyhounds. No betting, no money, just fun, fun, fun!) I would take Easy and Fat Charlie to the starting box, and Carolyn would pick them up at the end. Or sometimes we'd walk the 200 yards down together.) There is not much in the world whippets love more than racing. So Fat Charlie and Easy associated each other with the bestest fun. And Spice is a perfect mirror image of my Maria, and they were about the same speed and would be in the same races, and I would pick up Maria at the end of a race, only to have Carolyn say, "That's Spice!"

Carolyn giving Fat Charlie a cooling sponge off and a kiss after a race.

I haven't seen Easy for at least four years and it's been more than six years since I've seen Spice.

When I arrived, Greg and Carolyn were still at the doctor's office. At the door, eight whippets were doing their best impression of house-guarding Dobermans. As I peeked in, I saw the recognition in Spice's and Easy's eyes. First a little spark of puzzlement. Then a smile. I said, "Hey Easy Boy! Spicey Girl!" And then full blown Whippet Excessive Greeting Disorder - heaven to my ears.

"WOOO-HOOOOOOOOO," sang Easy and Spice! "It's youuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!


They danced their delight, and then the younger gang, who also know me but not as well, joined in the welcome. Once I was in the house, Easy and Spice turned inside out, and I hugged the living daylights out of them. I had rubbed my dress all over Fat Charlie and Maria before I left my house, so Easy and Spice got a good "sniff picture" of them. (I did the same thing in reverse before I came home. Fat Charlie and Maria and Giacomino and Mama Pajama and Sam I Am who loves Carolyn wagged and wagged as they snuffled in my suitcase. I think when the dogs get smells of far away friends they smile, just like when we see a photo of someone we love who's away from us.)

My visit was purely selfish. I actually stayed at some very kind and generous friends of Carolyn's, so as not to make more work for them, and to let them have their evenings to themselves. Carolyn is fighting brain cancer. We had our booths next to each other the last week of April in Oregon at the National (which we've done since 1997) and she seemed her absolutely usual brilliant funny smart shining self. (She later said she was having a hard time thinking of the word she wanted.) The next week her leg went funny. Now she has had brain surgery and is going through chemo and radiation. Mind you, this week when I couldn't think of a word, she found it for me. And even though I'm an RN, she came up with a better way than I could to keep track of her meds. And she was feeding her eight whippets and fixing our meals and doing the laundry and keeping up with her email and thank you notes. And making jokes. I couldn't keep up with her.

See why she is my hero? So that's why I had to go, and that's why it was for me. No "oh how noble of you to go" comments. Nope. Please, though, if you could send some positive energy, if you could offer a prayer for Carolyn and Greg, I'd appreciate it. Sometimes life just seems unfair beyond our human comprehension.

The dogs have the right idea. Enjoy every day, and rejoice at seeing friends.

[Greg and Carolyn gave me that shirt. It says Official Dog Walker: FREQUENT STOPS]

hug your hounds, and your friends and your friends' hounds


  1. So glad to hear you had a great trip to visit your friends. I'll keep Carolyn and Greg in my thoughts and prayers. My mom is a cancer survivor and I definitely believe in the power of prayer!

    Shannon (TZC's mom)

  2. I am glad that you had a good time with an old friend. When it comes right down to it, the important things in life are family, friends (and of course, dogs), AND cancer sucks.

  3. We will be sending all the good vibes we can muster from our terrier selves. I am glad you had fun on your trip, Mom misses summer nights in Western PA where she grew up!

  4. Patience
    Welcome Back!!!
    Youw fwiends sound amazing ..and I'm sending all my pawsitive stubbown tewwiew healing thoughts and good wishes to must have been wonderful for them to have you come..there's nothingk like good friends to laugh with and share..and seeing mowe and mowe fabulous dogses
    smoochie kisses
    pee ess I hope you had a lovely fathew's day

  5. It sounds like you had a great trip, Patience! We're sending lots of AireZen Carolyn's way!
    Mom is going to be sending you an email about another collar for ME!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  6. We all should have that huge smile seen on Carolyn's face each and every day! She is truly a gem and has found friends like herself that are very special (P!)....

    Hug your friends!

  7. Welcome back! Those pups must have been thrilled to see you but not as thrilled as your pal. That is right,that's what is important in life alright......We send her healing terrier smoochies and love light and laughter.Love A+A

  8. We are turning all of our positive thoughts toward your friend. Well, we did a pretty good job with Asta's daddi, so we are on a roll, ya know.

    Me n Teka know your puppies are really happy to see you. You brought back the very bestest pressie when you brought back friendly smells. NO CAT SMELLS...EVER!


  9. All the most positive whippet energy flowing Carolyn's way!!! Welcome back,dear P,by the way.(Shania promises to send positive Golden x Husky-or as we call it, Golberian Retusky, energy, too!!)martha and p-doggy

  10. I'm not a very religious person (I consider myself spiritual) but I know from personal experience that prayers and positive thoughts really do help. I'll add Carolyn to my bedtime ritual of asking God and the angels to protect those around me and those that need help. How bittersweet your visit must have been but but I know that Carolyn and Greg were strengthened by the laughter and memories you all shared. Hug your friends.

  11. Carolyn sounds like such an amazing woman. Anytime I see a picture of her she is wearing the best grin. She brings photos to life, brings you right there and you can just feel her energy coming through.

    And I definitely agree about dogs, smells and happiness. I have a pair of pants that I wear the most to the dog park and anytime I pull them on, Athena goes wag-happy sniffing. Her bestest friend Spartan the IG's smell is all over them. That was very considerate of you to bring things specifically loaded up with the good smells! I would never have thought of it!

    Glad you had a great trip!

  12. Sounds like you've had one great trip! There's nothing better than good friends, twolegged or fourlegged. ;) And I'll keep Carolyn and Greg in my thougts, just like I have since I first heard on WW.

    Hugs, Ane

  13. Glad to hear that you are home. I never would think about rubbing myself in doggy scent to share with their doggy are amazingly thoughtful.
    And your friend sounds wonderful and she is so lucky to have had a visit from you.
    Michael and Xan are arriving in Paducah today...woo hoo!
    I promise to think nothing but good thoughts for you and yours.

  14. We will add Carolyn to our circle of healing vibes. Good friends always make times better.

  15. I am glad to see that you had fun during your trip.

    Peesss: GoJi berries are also known as Wolf Berries. Here is a link that you can see for more information.


  16. Patience...where were ya in western PA??? You should have stopped to see us!!!!!!!!! Pittsburgh???!!!!!

    Sounds like you guys had a wonderful visit together and that she's doing very well!!

    We will send out prayers and positive energy in her direction!!!!!

    And isn't it funny how dogs remember us after so many years!!!!!

    Marilyn...aka Mumsie

  17. and the Canine Kids said,
    The smiles on your faces tells the story of the wonderful time you had.

    Thanks for sharing the story of the whippet greetings. I think until you've experienced their unique style of welcome, you are missing out on an experience.

    Carolyn is in our prayers and thoughts.


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