Friday, March 30, 2012

Life with Two Very Old Dogs

14 years

Only my very new readers won't recognize Fat Charlie and Mama Pajama. They are litter mates who were born in June of 1997, which - for the math-challenged folks like me - means they'll be fifteen in June of this year.


3 months

They have been best pals. They grew up chasing each other, curled up together, playing tug of war with countless toys. I don't understand when people say it's a bad idea to keep two puppies. How could seeing the above photo all the time in real life be a bad idea? 

They are fragile now. Our twisting, steep, narrow stairs are a nightmare. Shoot, the four steps from the yard to the porch and from the yard to the breezeway are life threatening. The two old dogs don't want my help. "I can do this," they say. As I approach to help, they get a "Oh no you don't" look on their sweet faces and they hurl themselves -- OH LORD PLEASE WAIT -- with varied levels of success. Or (crash) failure.

My heart skips several beats. 

I congratulate them "You made it!" or I rub their owies and sympathize.

Mama Pajama will feel around with a front foot for the first step up to the porch. Seeing her do this ... I don't know how to share with you, dear readers, the effect that simple action has on me. Can you imagine? I break a little bit, and I'm impressed with her resourcefulness, and I think of her flying in first in a Best In Field run, and of her jumping in my arms light as an unspoken prayer. Landing so softly that I didn't have to catch her; landing with a paw on either side of my neck and a whisper of here I am, your darling Mama Pajama, and here I'll stay in your arms.

Fat Charlie wears Poise Pads in a belly band at night. I spread incontinence bed pads all over the upstairs before we go to sleep, and pick them up in the morning. Fat Charlie, who never once had an accident in the house, and if another dog did? Oh he would look just as guilty as sin. Distraught. Somebody peed in the house, this is not a good day! 

His aim is pretty darn good, and what doesn't get caught by the Poise pad mostly ends up on the Chux. And I have plenty of cleaning products.

And then there are mornings like today. My two Very Old Dogs woke up full of piss 'n vinegar! They were jumping (in a kattywonkus, tilt o' wheel kind of way) and wagging and bouncing Good Morning cheer all over me. 

They raced each other down those Nightmare On Elm Street stairs: clump thump crash made it! I opened the kitchen door and both of the stinkers skipped the four steps to the yard entirely. They launched! OH DEAR GOD, PLEASE LAND ON ALL FOURS!

They did. 

Mama Pajama ran a few strides and then did her reigning horse spins. I think she whirled ten times without stopping. When she did come to a standstill, it was more of a wobble, but she wore a huge grin, from her toes to her sweet little nose. 

Fat Charlie did laps. He ran full speed the length of the yard. A whole 120 feet. Even in his dotage when he pours it on, he covers some serious ground. Only the steering doesn't work so well. I cover my eyes but squint through my fingers. Mama Pajama ducks in the nick of time. I can breathe now; Fat Charlie has stopped to pee. His breath comes in raspy 'hekhs'. Happy raspy 'hekh, hekh, hekhs'. 

And that, dear readers, that makes for a glorious day. Two Very Old Dogs at 6:30 in the morning and my heart is so full of joy and ... oh, bless them.

hug your hounds

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Radish RULES!

Radish is whippetdom's most favorite root vegetable. (Now there is a sentence you won't read every day!) She belongs to a friend and lives in Virginia.

Prepare to be stunned, bedazzled, excited, confounded, awed, stupefied, astonished, electrified. And then, check this out:

Is that not the MOST amazing skill you have ever seen? Yes. It is! It's already got over 202,000 views!!!

Now, Rads has already got a gig on a Japanese TV show, and she's working on Letterman, Ellen (I just think she has GOT to get on Ellen!) and would she not be the PERFECT mascot for the Olympic Volley Ball teams?

You can read more about Radish HERE. And you can help her effort by sharing her video EVERYWHERE, and by going to her store, HERE. Because you know you want the coolest whippet root veggie ball bopping tee shirt ever, and I know it too!

hug your hounds, whatever their talents may be! (Mine excel at couch hogging.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Day In The Life Of A Puppy

Puppy: Pssssssssssst. (waits a second) Psssssssssst!
Human: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz mmph rrrrgh (rolls over)
Puppy: Hey! Hey! Birds are chirping, let's get up! Hey!
Human: Oh for the love of God, Puppy, it's 2:30 in the morning. Damn these stooopid southern mockingbirds, do they not know it's the middle of the night?
Puppy: Well, since you're up, I think I have to pee.
Human: Oh crap. Come on. (takes puppy outside)
Puppy: Cool! Here's my ball and the moon is bright enough, let's play!
Human: Pee.
(puppy pees)
Human: Good puppy. Come on.
Puppy: Throw it once? You know you want to!
Puppy: Okay!
(they both go back to sleep)
Puppy: Pssssssssssssssssst. (waits a second) Pssssssssssssssst!
Human: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz mmph rrrrgh (rolls over)
Puppy: Hey! Hey! Sun's up! Rise and shine, human o'mine!
(human gets up)
Puppy: Good morning, good morning,  to youoooooooooooooooooo! 

Human: yawn
(puppy and human eat breakfast)
Puppy: Done with that bowl?
Human: Here, you can lick.
Puppy: nom nom nom. Oh my stars look at this, it's a SQUEAKY TOY!!!!! Let's play! Squeak squeak squeak. Squeak squeak squeak. Squeak squeak squeak. Squeak squeak squeak. Time for our walk!
Human: Time for our walk!
Puppy: Oh boy oh boy oh boy you are the best human ever ever EV-verrrrrrrrrrrrr!
(they go for a walk. human takes a shower and dresses for work.)
Puppy: I don't like the looks of this. Not one bit. Oh yeah, time to hide. (puts head behind chair with butt sticking out big as day) Phew! Safe. Can't find me here.
(human grabs puppy and puts puppy in crate with yummy stuffed Kong)
Human: I'll be back at lunch. Be a good puppy.
Puppy: Uh-oh. I have to pee. Hellooooooooooo? Um, maybe if I shred this blanket, it will take my mind off...
(human gets home for lunch)
Puppy: ... MY BLADDER!!!!! You're home! I love you love you love you !
(human opens crate door)
Puppy: Oh you are the best human in the UNIVERSE! Hello! Wa-hooooooooooooo! It's a wonderful world!
Human: Oh honey, you dribbled. Out we go, quick quick!
(they go out into the yard)

(human plays with puppy, eats lunch, lets puppy lick plate, returns puppy to crate)
Puppy: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
(human gets home from work)
Puppy: Hello!!! How was your day? Mine's been awesome so far. Shall we go a'walking? It's been forever since we had a nice walkies. OH YES!! That's the ticket! Good good human! I love you!
(they go for a walk)
Puppy: Look! Grass! I LOVE grass. nom nom nom.
Human: No eating grass! It will make you puke. Come on, sweetheart!
Puppy: Look! An e-vile city squirrellie! Bark Bark Bark! Gnash teeth! RAWR!!! I LOVE e-vile city squirrellies!!! LOVE to bite them up to bits!
Human: Ouch.
Puppy: Whatch doin' on the ground, silly human? Here, I'll lick your face because I LOVE YOU!
(human gets up and checks out bleeding palms and knees; not too bad, just some scrapes.)
Puppy: Here we go! LOOK! A big dog! HI BIG DOG I'M ADORABLE!
Human: (shortens hold on leash) Puppy, the big dog might not like puppies.
Puppy: Don't be ridiculous. Everybody loves me! I'm ADORABLE. HI THERE BIG DOG!!! Whoa! That is NOT a nice dog at all. Move along human. A little faster now. Hurry.
(they get home, eat dinner, lick plates)
Human: hmmmm. Wonder what my Facebook friends have been up to?
(sits at the computer)
Puppy: Let's play!
Human: Go lie down.
Puppy: I'm more fun than any stinking computer! I'm irresistible! Wag wag wag!
Puppy: Well, you don't have to get all huffy. Geez. Hmmmmm. what to do what to do what to do. La la la dee da.
(puppy goes off in another room)
(puppy comes back)
Puppy: Oh human? I have a surprise for you!!! [puppy giggle] I have a secret! I made a little poopie in the back of the bedroom all by myself and no one knows but me!
Human: What is that smell? PUPPY!!! You didn't!!!
Puppy: Uh-oh. 
(mess gets cleaned up, puppy goes out, human gets ready for bed)
Human: Come on sweetheart, time for bed.
Puppy: I LOVE bed!
(they go to bed)
Puppy: Have I ever told you that you are the BEST thing in my whole world? Because you are the BEST thing in my whole world and I love you like crazy.
Human: Have I ever told you that you are the BEST thing in my whole world? Because you are the BEST thing in my whole world and I love you like crazy.
Puppy: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Human: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

hug your hounds

Friday, March 23, 2012

Oh My Heart

This is our youngest whippet, Tindra, when she was ten weeks old. (Photo by her co-breeder, Laurie Erickson) Tindra is now six months old.

This is one of our oldest whippets, Mama Pajama, when she was around ten weeks old. She will be fifteen years old in June. Her brother, Fat Charlie, is our oldest whippet. He was born about an hour before Mama Pajama.

Mama Pajama and Tindra have a special relationship. Oh my heart.

A bit of background. Mama Pajama smiled and wagged her way through her youth. She jumped up into my arms and landed as light as a giggle. And if you were a Very Special Person in her world, she would jump into your arms, too.

Mama Pajama was fast. She was the number one Lure Coursing whippet in the country. She was one of the smallest whippets competing, but only in actual size. She had the biggest heart ever. And she told stories. She rarely barked or woowooed or rawred, but after she landed in your arms she would put a paw on each side of your neck and look you in the eye and tell you all sorts of stories. My husband Bill and my dear friend Linda heard the most. They were Exceptionally Special Persons.

On May 12, 2003 we had an appointment to put Mama Pajama to sleep. She had a horrid disease. A vasculitis, stemming from a wasp sting, which made her immune system go crazy and she attacked her own microscopic blood vessels. Her ears rotted off. She lost a lung. Her kidneys stopped working. She was dying. And on the morning of that awful appointment, while her hind legs were swollen to the point of splitting, and her heart rate was over 200, and she could barely raise her head, she looked at me and said, "Not yet."

I cancelled the appointment.

She got better. And better. Four years ago she went into a complete remission. We were able to stop the prednisone. Her life was different than it had been before the disease, but it was an okay life. She stayed to herself. She was afraid to be bumped by any of the other dogs. My fearless Mama Pajama who dusted Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Irish Wolfhounds in Best In Field runs now cowered and trembled and slunk away if her brother's tail brushed her when it wagged. Oh my heart.

Along comes Tindra. Puppy Tindra. Another soul who smiles and wags her way through life. "Hey, Great, Great Auntie Mama Pajama, Your Worship, Your Awesomeness," says Tindra. "Whatcha doing? Want to know what I'm doing? I'm going to dig a hole chase a bug capture a dandelion squeak the ever living daylights out of this squeaky toy, do you want to play?"

If any other dog or human or any living being asked Mama Pajama that question now, she would hunker down and wince a bit and say, "Careful there, I'm fragile."

When Tindra asks, Mama Pajama wags and says, "Oh maybe I would, if only for a minute. Yes, yes, I will play with you, my dear."


hug your hounds