Tag Archives: Ringo

#augustbreak2015: Two

twoTwo. We’ve had just one dog at various times — the long year and a half when our first dog Obi was just a puppy and before we got Dexter, the four months after Obi died before we were ready to get Sam, the six months it took to decide if we would even EVER get another dog after we lost Dexter and Sam was sick but we didn’t know why. Even though we’ve had just one at times — and it’s so easy, so much less work — just one never seems quite right. Maybe it has something to do with Obi having such bad separation anxiety. We did everything we could for him and finally realized the only thing left to try was to get him his own dog, and it was so perfect, exactly what he needed. He was so much happier that we wished we hadn’t waited so long, although I suppose we had to wait for Dexter to be born, the dog that was the perfect fit for him. That set in my mind that dogs automatically are happier if they live with another dog, is where I got the idea that two is always the right number.

That’s not to say two is necessarily easier. It’s way harder to train two dogs, feed two dogs, groom two dogs, bathe two dogs, transport two dogs, calm two dogs, walk two dogs. Sometimes it simply doubles the effort, but there are times when two dogs are three dogs worth of work because you attend to each dog individually but there’s also a third dog, the shadow dog they form together as a team.

One time having two dogs is easier is when you lose one. In your grief, that well of sadness and loneliness, nothing can soothe you like another dog. Some days it’s the only reason to get out of bed, the only thing that keeps you going.

My experience with two dogs has had a strange twist. As much as Sam and Ringo are distinct, they are echos of Obi and Dexter. Sam’s sensitive, sweet nature is so much like Obi’s, and they are similar in shape and color. Obi broke one of his canine teeth in the months before he died, and Sam had a broken canine puppy tooth when we got him, so weird because that’s not a common injury. They are both afraid of loud noises, although Obi was more afraid of storms and Sam thinks it’s the washing machine that’s out to get him. Ringo has the same goofy high energy, the same happy good nature as Dexter did, the same athleticism, and the same body type, which someone once described as a “brick shit house.” Ringo has almost the exact same coloring as Dexter’s favorite toy, a small stuffed cattle dog we called Little D. Sam is content to be lazy, just hang out like Obi was, where Ringo and Dexter were always up for doing something, were either playing or asleep, only have two speeds. Our two dogs now are echos of the first pair, and it makes me think if I keep getting two, they will always be echos of those originals.

Gratitude Friday

1. Sam is getting better. I’m almost afraid to outwardly celebrate, but inside I am all “praise Jesus!” I don’t even know how to communicate accurately what a big deal this is. I lost my first two dogs to cancer in the past four years. Two of those years I spent knowingly caring for a terminally ill dog. So when Sam started to get sick and no one could figure out why, I feared the worst. We took him to doctors and specialists for a year and no one could give us any answers. They were all stumped.

sleepysam02We started having conversations about how bad it would have to get before we’d let him go. Last week, we had an MRI scheduled to see if he had a brain tumor. He’d gotten to the point that he’d go an entire block at the beginning of our walk shaking his head, his back leg scratching at the air. We couldn’t hardly ever let him play with Ringo because that would trigger the same. He was so uncomfortable, and it was difficult to watch.

Finally, we took another approach, looked again at the possibility of a skin issue. Our vet found an overgrowth of yeast on his lips where he’s lost the pigment, using a testing method we hadn’t tried before, and we decided to take a chance, cancel the MRI and treat it for two weeks with antifungal cream. And it’s working! He hasn’t air scratched for at least four days. We can put on the medicine, really rub it into his lips, and it doesn’t bother him. He an Ringo roll around in the back yard playing, knocking teeth against teeth, biting each other all over, and nothing.


We plan to take him to see a Dermatologist at CSU’s Vet Hospital, to follow up and make sure that there aren’t things we could do, supplements and such, to ensure this won’t happen again. I am so so so grateful he’s better.

2. Daycare and training for Ringo. I’ve said it before, this boy is challenging. I am working harder than I ever have with a puppy, knowing it will all totally be worth it. We took him to his first day of doggie daycare Monday and even though he was a little scared and barking too much, he got invited back, called adorable and sweet, and he’s doing really well with training, which is most likely more about teaching us than him.

training3. The noise of birds in the morning, a sure sign that spring is here.

4. The sound of the grade school playground at recess. We live just down the street from an elementary school and I love how at certain times of the day, if we are in the backyard, we can hear the play, the screaming and yelling.

5. Grapefruit juice. I’m obsessed with it right now. And lest you think I’m getting all healthy or something, I’m also obsessed with two bite brownies made with Belgian chocolate from Whole Foods.

Bonus joy: Walking together, all four of us.

It's all about the sticks when you are a puppy

It’s all about the sticks when you are a puppy

Gratitude Friday

ericredsky02

image by eric

1. Eric: He gets out more than me lately, takes more pictures. This one has a funny story behind it. When Eric left our house, the sky was the brightest red and he knew it would only last for about 10 minutes, so he ran as fast as he could to the park to try and get a good picture of it, but by the time he and Sam got to the first open field, it had faded to pink. Still a pretty amazing sky, picture if you ask me. Oh, and he also bought me flowers yesterday, not for Valentine’s Day but for being me, for being a good mom to our dogs.

2. Love. Deep and enduring, unshakable. “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness — and call it love — true love.” ~Robert Fulghum

3. Being a writer. I love it so much. When I’m not writing as much (like recently), the words build up inside of me, my fingers itch and my heart aches, and in my dreams, I’m always writing.

4. My interns at CSU. It’s all the good things about teaching, working with students, without any of the grading or other tedious nonsense.

5. Retirement. I hadn’t had access to my account balance for awhile, set it up to only receive e-documents and then could never figure out how to get into my account. When I finally did, I was so happy to see the amount, so grateful for it.

Bonus Joy: The trainer who stayed after puppy class answering all my questions. All of my dogs have been hard puppies, and a full Blue Heeler is a whole other level of hard. I also seem to have total amnesia when it comes to how this whole puppy thing works, how long it takes for the uber puppy constant attention to be over.

ringoearsBonus, Bonus Joy: Sam. How lazy he is in the morning, how content being walked, fed, and loved. How well he’s made this transition, even though he’s not completely well. How he shifted so easily to not being crated when we aren’t home, mostly just hangs out on the couch and sleeps — we know this because we’ve videoed him a few times to be sure. How good he is playing with Ringo, even though we have to limit how much he does.

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#smallstone: Pile

Things are piling up around here. There’s one particular pile on my desk that includes:

  • Yoga pose cards, homework for yoga teacher training
  • Property tax bill
  • New 16 GB SD card that will hold almost 6000 images
  • Camera battery charger
  • My favorite pair of scissors
  • Chocolate and sheets of origami paper from Germany
  • Puppy shot records
  • Tags from Ringo’s new harness
  • Tags, receipt and harness that didn’t work for Ringo and needs to be returned
  • Paperwork for puppy kindergarten class
  • Microchip info flyer
  • Hearing test results (sometimes Cattle Dogs can be deaf, but Ringo’s whole litter has great hearing)
  • Beaver’s Market receipt
  • Meat processing receipt (we got 1/2 a beef from a friend who raises organic, small herds, of which our dogs get to eat almost 1/2 — spoiled)
  • 2013 Tax documents
  • Feed and grocery store receipts
  • Receipt from Sam’s last visit to the neurologist
  • Corral West Australian Cattle Dogs Contract of Sales and Deposit, in which I promise not to sell, give away, or euthanize Ringo without telling Sherry, and if we can’t care for him any longer, she has the right to have him back, to keep or find him a new home, and I agree that “the dog will reside at their home and will be an integral part of the family.”