Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy 12th Birthday, Mama Pajama and Fat Charlie!

Mama Pajama and Fat Charlie, photo by Laurie Erickson in May '09

Two of the most wonderful dogs in the world were twelve years old yesterday.

My long time readers will know that these birthdays are more special to me than one would expect. (How could any dog's twelfth birthday be any more special, you could rightly ask, but hang on ...)

Fat Charlie had a freak accident at a field trial in April of 2000. His Achilles tendon was severed. That he has all four legs is a testament to the veterinary care (including two surgeries) he received. He even got to race one more time. Watching him chase toys as he wears an I-dare-you-to-catch-me smile on his twelfth birthday face, is oh so good for my heart.

Most readers know that Mama Pajama was scheduled to be euthanized on May 12, 2003. She had a horrid autoimmune disease, neutriphilic vasculitis. She lost most of her ears, a lot of her kidney function, and one of her lungs to the illness. After six years of managing the disease with steroids, she has at long last been able to go without prednisone for the past three months.

She is silly again. She now does whippet spins (just picture a top - if you're old enough, or a speeding bicycle tire gone horizontal if you're not) out in the yard, purely for the fun of it. She takes the time to chew her food, no longer feeling starvation brought on by the corticosteroids.

And, after six years, she's continent again.

The little whippet who was once the #1 AKC Lure Coursing whippet in America, who can tell a story with the best of them, and who is the inspiration for the main character in my novel is twelve and she feels great!

To celebrate, I took Mama Pajama and Fat Charlie, and Easy and Spice (both of whom will also be twelve in October) out to the Kennel Club property to run. No young'uns! Just the four old friends. The weather gods were respectful of the importance of the day; they lowered the temperature by eight degrees and the humidity by 40%, and even threw in a cooling breeze to show their magnanimity.


There were games of keep away. (Easy, left, Fat Charlie with toy)

Easy: "My toy!"

Fat Charlie: "I got this one!"

Spice: Zooooooooom!!! Too fast for you!!!

Summer time, and the livin' is Easy

Easy and Spice stop for a drink

When Mama Pajama was very ill, she wrote this:

My human Patience is a terrible worrier. She worries that she’s not doing enough to make me comfortable. They tried another new medicine, but it started to mess up my kidneys like the one that almost killed me, so they stopped it right away. I have Patience lift me into her lap – I can’t jump even into her lap anymore – and I try so hard to make her listen. I tell her it’s not the length of a life that’s important; it’s the living of it. I tell her how much I have loved every moment of my life, even now. I tell her that those of us souls who are highly evolved enough to have been dogs, know that worry is a sinful waste of energy and life.
And I tell her, as best I can, the Good Universe gave her to me and that I love her, and that I know she loves me, and that is enough. The rest we must simply accept as it comes, with courage and dignity, as all the worrying in the world won’t change a thing.

And then I lick her leaky face.

Mama Pajama: Was there not some mention of steak and ice cream?

Hug your hounds


  1. Happy Birthday to you very special special whippets. I love you both dearly

    Love Auntie Wendy and the Chelynnah Cousins across the pond

  2. Happy Birthday to you both! That last shot of Mamma P just makes my heart SING!! She looks happy.

    Sue, Gracie, and HotRod

  3. Francarrich from WWJune 30, 2009 at 4:13 PM

    Delighted to hear that you had an enjoyable Birthday Mama & Charlie & that Easy & Spice had fun with you too. Did you share your steak with the rest of the Waggle?

    Wags from Banjo,
    Snuffles from Aida
    & lots of good wishes from Carol.

  4. Happy Birthday to both of you...we love your book and the stories Patience tells about all of you. We think steak, ice cream and spaghetti is in order for this one.

    gussie d

  5. Happy Birthday again, Fat Charlie and Mama Pajama!
    I love that last picture of Mama Pajama, she looks great and very, very happy. "Where's the steak and ice cream????"
    Lady & Sheila

  6. Happy, happy twelfth birthday Fat Charlie and Mama Pajama! My Charley will be 12 in a couple of weeks, too!
    I'm glad you had a great day at the Kennel Club property, running and playing and enjoying your day.
    And I hope you got steak and ice cream for your birthday dinner!

  7. Happy Birthday Mama Pajama and Fat Charlie!
    I am sure you had a pawesome day!
    Kisses and hugs

  8. Age is only a number not a state of mind. Happy Birthday to all.

  9. Happy birthday you two looks like it was a wonderful day

  10. Happy Birthday to the two beautiful sweeties. It sounds like everyone had a great day.

    love & wags,

  11. Happy Birthday Guys! Good to see you in fine health and having so much fun!

  12. Happy Birthday!! Sounds like they had a wonderful day. Best wishes for another great year!

  13. What a special day for special Whippets and their special servant!

  14. Happy birthday Mama Pajama and Fat Charlie! No birthday is complete without ice cream! Go for it!

    Love ya lots,
    Maggie and Mitch

  15. Happy Birthday to two elegant and amazing animals.
    Your stories serve as additional proof that we dogs are beautiful souls with indestructible spirit.

    Congratulations to you both on reaching your milestones! Well done!!

    Love and Koobuss Kisses,

  16. Happy Birthday Mama Pajama and Fat Charlie and thanks Patience for making my face leak (in a good way)!

  17. What wonderful lives they have. Reminds me of my two babies. My Annie still takes steroids daily to keep her skin cancer at bay. We had to up it to 2 for 3 days recently because she had another spot on her side. Mama J is right, quality life is the most important. Of course you know that. BTW, I saw you in your front yard Wednesday afternoon about 3:50pm. My son was with me and asked if you were a dog walker..hee hee. I said, well yes but those are all hers. Then he asked what kind of dog they were. He didn't know what a whippet was so I said, they kinda look like a minature greyhouse and have very large and kind eyes.

    I used to get my hair cut there when Al owned it. Ironic huh?

  18. Better late than never right, HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUYS. My human servant is behind on bloggies but we are playing ketchup today. We certainly know how special that birthday was and we are glad we were here to see it, even tho we were SO late. I need a new servant.

  19. patience - i have been wrapped up in stuff and not had time to catch up on the blog world so i am reading all your recent posts at once. nearly every one made me get a lump in my throat. i will hug my hounds even more today.


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