Archive for the ‘Canine companions’ Category

Thank You, Tiny.

Returning to Nature

Taking Comfort in our Great Mother

Before you go, I want to tell you how grateful I am to have known you.  I want to say thank you, my four-legged friend.

Thank you for being such a dear loyal friend to my son.  Thank you for communicating with me during times when he, and you, needed me.  Thank you for loving him.

Thank you for your tremendous patience.  You’ve lived a life of many stories, my dear friend, and I will never forget them.  I will never forget you.

I will however remember the fun times, because my girl Free, who lives where you are going, taught me this is the best way to let a beloved Dog go to, “The place that’s the best,” with, “The Spirits in the Sky.”

Thank you for loving my son, especially when he wasn’t well.  Thank you for always thinking of him, letting him know you loved him, no matter how far away you were from each other.  Thank you so much!

Thank you for making people laugh with your playful antics.  Thank you for sticking by us through thick and thin.  Truly, you have, and I am in tremendous gratitude.

Thank you for never biting anyone.  You scared me a few times, but it is best that you didn’t act on your instincts, even though they were correct and the people may have indeed deserved a nip, or two.

Tiny, thank you for loving me.  I wasn’t sure if you would like living with me, but you did,  I could always tell. 

I know you feel closest to my son and I love you for that, but when he wasn’t here, I always felt proud that you followed me around, watched out for me and slept at the end of my feet.  You were such a great little, “Foot-Feller.”

Tiny, I will always love you.  Always.  You will live in my heart because there is a place in it shaped exactly like you.

I’d also like to say thank you for loving my girl.  She was afraid of so much when she first left that stinky shelter and came to live with me.  She sure wasn’t scared of you! 

I’ll never forget what it looked like to see two dogs fall crazy in-love with each other.  I did and it was beautiful.  My new girl’s eyes widened big and her mouth literally dropped open when you walked in our door.  She was stunned!  It was so funny.  I could see the love she felt for you!  It was amazing.

Thank you for always treating her like a Princess.  She thinks she is one now, I guess.

She sure has been a good nurse hasn’t she?  Boy, I’ll have to do something really special for her, like take her for a walk where she can pretend she’s hunting squirrels.

She will miss you Tiny.  We all will.  I will give her lots of hugs and extra love.

I promise, per your only request of me during the past few months, to be here for your true Master.  He is my son and you know I love him with all my heart and soul.  I’m honored that you asked and very grateful that I heard.

I will do the best I can to keep my head up.  I know I got pretty sad when the Vet told me you had cancer.  I did and I have cried a lot, but I promise I’ll be okay.  I may cry for a while, but you know me Tiny.  I do cry.

I will help your best friend get another four-legged companion when the time is right.  I promise.

Thank you, Tiny.  You are the most amazing boy dog I have ever known and loved.  You are my grand-dog!  Thank you for being my friend and sweet foot-feller.

I could say a lot more.  I could.  I could thank you for all the times you’ve been there for us, but I must stop writing.  I want to come lie down beside you.  I guess, it is our last night together.

We will go to the Vet tomorrow.  We will go.

Thank You, Tiny.

We Love You Forever!

Photos of Tiny in this post.

The Dogs I’ve Loved ~ Poochie

Poochie

one cute dog

Poochie was my first four-legged friend.  He was a small dog with sandy blonde hair.  I was three years-old when I knew and loved Poochie.

Memories of my third year are short snippets of time sketched in my mind.  Poochie curled up in a little ball, basking under the sun in our front yard is an image that never faded.  My love for him is a feeling I’ve never forgotten.

I was temporarily in a wheelchair from a childhood bone disease when Poochie was my dog.  I’ve always wondered if I was confined to the little chair when Poochie met his last day on earth.

I’ve always thought it rather odd that I remember anything at all about my third year, but it makes sense now that I’m an adult, considering all that happened and the way things were.

We had plenty of love in my family, but from what I understand, my third year was much like the rest of my childhood.  Our lives were chronically hardened with strife.   On occasion and unpredictably, fear from violent emotional explosions that led to all sorts of trouble visited our family, yet we were familiar with unfortunate circumstances and that each time could have ended much worse than it did.

I had a boyfriend when Poochie was my dog.  He was also three years-old.  We spent a fair amount of time sitting on my front porch steps together.  I remember the way I felt being around him.  I know I loved him.

According to my mother, the little boy and I had deep conversations about life.  “Lord, I couldn’t believe the things the two of you talked about.  I used to stand there at the door listening and just shake my head,” she says.

A child in our neighborhood had thrown a rock that hit my head and knocked me unconscious.  Afterward, even as my mother had made it clear to everyone that nobody would ever hit me with a rock again, my boyfriend and I didn’t play on the days when the child who had thrown the rock was outside.  

Upon reflection, the accident may explain memory problems I had for the best of my childhood and maybe to this day, but I was hit in the head again during fifth grade.  I had decided to play baseball, but the boys didn’t want girls on the team. 

“Easy Out!  Easy Out!,” the boys shouted enthusiastically.  The pitcher tried hitting my head with the ball every time I approached the batter’s box.   Finally, he succeeded, and I quit playing baseball.

The brain is amazing and so is the human spirit.  I later found ways to cope with what I thought was normal, like my less than good memory and, “the bad things,” my grandmother said I had seen.  “You were too young to see what you saw,” she would later tell me.

My third year was in the late sixties.  The place was in the heart of the North Carolina Blue Ridge mountains.  We were not poor by the standards of the day and perhaps we were Middle class.  The stories I’ve heard about medical treatments I endured during those years sound like we came from a time I thought was in history books before I entered this world, which reminds me of the way I met my first boyfriend.

He and I were born minutes apart, in the same hospital room, delivered by the same doctor, separated only by a thin hospital curtain, which the doctor had left open for the laboring hours preceding our births. 

“We talked the whole time we were in labor,” my mother tells me.  “The beds were side-by-side.  Nurses came in to prep us and that’s when the doctor pulled the curtain closed, but we still went on talking.”

The boy’s mother and mine were best friends.   I was due several weeks before her child was, but as it happened, we were born on the same night.  The boy came first.  His mother, lying in her hospital bed, told them to open the curtain again, which they did. 

“What’s wrong over there?”  she asked my mother.  “Why haven’t you had that baby yet?” 

Looking over at my mother, still in labor, the woman noticed that Mother was still wearing her teeth.  “Lord God!,” the woman shouted to the doctor.  “She can’t have that baby ’til she takes out her teeth!”

The doctor ordered my mother to take her teeth out.  “You were born just as soon as I took them out,” she tells me. 

“Why did you have your teeth in?” I asked my mother, many years later as she told me the story.

“Well, I can’t remember, but I guess I didn’t want that doctor seeing me without my teeth,” she said.  “He was a good-looking doctor.”

I realized I was born in pure vanity, but I come from a long line of women who expect good-looking doctors when they get to a certain age in life.  I recently noticed that my doctor is pretty cute.  I’ve seen him for years and have never once thought about his physical appearance.  I wonder if this means I’m getting to that certain age.  Alas.   I’ve truly regressed, if that’s possible in this piece of writing.

My sweet boyfriend wasn’t there the day when I was sitting on the porch steps and saw our neighbor back her car out of the driveway, running over Poochie in the process.  I wanted to help Poochie, but I couldn’t.  I don’t know if it was because I couldn’t walk or if the accident simply happened too fast. 

Later, my mother said the woman wanted to apologize and that she had made me cookies.  I wanted nothing to do with her cookies and doubt if I understood what an apology meant.  My dog was gone.  In my three year-old mind, I fully believed it was the woman’s fault for backing out of her driveway at a speed that I was sure had been too fast.  By the time she heard me screaming, it was too late to save Poochie.

Mother said my boyfriend and I sat on the steps and talked about what happened for days afterward.  “The two of y’all came up with the idea that you would go to her house and poke her eyeballs out like she had done to Poochie’s.”  Mother says I pointed two fingers to show her what I had in mind.

My family and I did go to the woman’s house.  Apparently, I behaved well, but I didn’t like her house any more than I liked her car.  From my point of view, both were way too big for one person.

I did not eat her cookies.  I was sad for a long time. 

For years, it hurt to remember what I had seen and I did remember.  I also missed Poochie in a terrible way.  I’m glad the images of the accident finally faded and that today, my memories only include him basking in the sunshine, and how it felt to love a dog.

The next dog that came into my life was a long funny looking Wiener dog.  I’ll tell you about him, and my life when he lived with us, in an upcoming post about, “The Dogs I’ve Loved.”

 

12/30/12 Post updated to allow ‘Likes’ 🙂

 

Our dear friend, Tiny

A man named Happy named Tiny.  I used to get their names confused all the time.  Happy was my son’s first roommate when my son was only a teenager and decided to live on his own.  He wanted to take our dog, Free, with him.  Of course, I said no.  

I lived twenty miles outside of town in the hills of the beautiful Blueridge mountains of North Carolina when my son left home.  I took Free to spend the night with him two, maybe three times.  Each time I had left her with him, I woke up around 2am hearing Free’s footsteps in the house, only to realize she wasn’t there.  I couldn’t stand the feeling, so I drove into town, knocked on my son’s door and demanded that Free come home with me.

My son was quite serious about her living with him, which I couldn’t believe, but the bigger surprise came when he called one night to tell me he had gone out and found himself a dog. 

“I got a Rottweiler,” he said.

My heart sank.  He was not ready for the responsibility and I was especially concerned about the breed.  Images passed through my mind that I never wanted to see realized.  Fortunately, they never came to pass.  I don’t know how much my prayers had to do with the way Tiny turned out, but I prayed every day about it.

“Please God,” I asked.  “Please don’t let Tiny be a really big dog.”  I remember saying this prayer many times, until Tiny was about a year old.  I knew then that he would never be the Rottweiler my son had expected.  Also as fortunate, is that my son loved the dog Tiny became.

Tiny love here

You can scroll down to the end of this post to view Tiny’s photo gallery.

It turned out that the Basset Hound in Tiny is the predominate trait.  His little legs are somewhat bowed.  As a youngster, he always slept nearly upside down on the end of a bed or sofa , with all four legs in the air and his giant head falling toward the floor.  He hunts like a Basset Hound.  He plays like one.  And of course, he has those eyes!  He howled like a hound dog when he had a girlfriend, and he had several until he moved to the country.  He met Ruthie when he was five years old and she’s been his only girl ever since. 

Tiny recently had his eleventh birthday, which makes him the elder in our home.  He’s also the cutest member of my family.  His soft floppy hound-dog ears and big brown eyes melt most people’s heart at first sight.

Tiny licks his nose!

As you can see, Tiny isn’t so tiny. 

My son was going to name him Wilbur, which would have fit his personality.  The vet once suggested “Hoover,” to honor the power of his large and terrific nose.

For most of Tiny’s life, even with his relatively short legs and cute features, his large head and a healthy dose of Rottweiler has caused men to walk backwards down my front porch steps.  They were repair men who worked for the landlord and didn’t know us.  “He won’t bite,” I told them through the open window by the door where Tiny’s big head was visible.  Most of the time the men left and never returned.

Off the top of my head, I can think of only three times that Tiny has jumped on people’s lap (each were men), after they sat down on my sofa.  He went straight for their throats to smell their necks, which caused me tremendous anxiety.  He learned to play like that in the mornings when he was a puppy.  Every morning he would ‘search’ for my son’s neck under the covers.  Boy those were the days.  I had forgotten about so much, until I started writing this blog post.  Tiny’s life is full of interesting stories.

Other than those few times when he jumped on those men, Tiny has been a sweetheart to every person he met.  He has been and is tremendously adored! 

Tiny hasn’t always lived with me.  For the first five and a half years of his life, he lived with my son, who Tiny remains loyal to in his heart, but he has always communicated with me.  In the most amazing ways, he has told me where he was when he needed help and where my son was when he was not well and for the most part, living on the streets.  He and Tiny both were young and resilient, thank God.

Sadly, Tiny was recently diagnosed with intestinal Lymphoma.  I’ve tried writing about it before now, but my heart hurts too much.  There are a few things in my life that I simply can’t write about. 

I’ve nursed him for several weeks.  My sweet seven year-old girl, Ruthie, has been a good nurse too, which is a big part of her nature.  She has always been a good little friend to Tiny and honestly, I fear the sadness she will feel when that day that I don’t want to think about inevitably comes. 

Alas.

I do think about it.  In fact, not many moments have passed since I found out that Tiny has cancer, that I haven’t been aware of this approaching time.

Over the course of several weeks, Tiny went from having foul-smelling gas to explosive vomiting and diarrhea, which meant an emergency veterinary visit.  After x-rays and an ultra sound, the vet and radiologist said his lymph glands were inflamed and the walls of his intestines are, “thickened.”  With this information, along with his symptoms, they concluded his diagnosis of intestinal cancer.

They said the diarrhea would never go away, but it did.  As I write, he is eating well, but he is taking a steroid, which I’m not sure is working out too well.  He is so hungry.  I can’t stand seeing him starve, so I’ve cut the night dosage in half. 

I don’t know how long the steroid will work.  The vet said maybe two months, and possibly three.

Note: A week or so later, after first starting this post, I realize that each time I come back to it, things have changed.  No day has been the same.  The steroid makes him too hungry.

For the most part, at least during the day, Tiny acts like most older dogs, but with less than his usual amount of energy.  He isn’t taking the bone or dog toys from Ruthie when she holds them in front of him, hoping as she always has, that he will chase her, catch her, finally taking whatever it is she teases him with.  He does enjoy chewing what he loves most, which is a tennis ball, but they don’t last long before he rips them apart.

He Wants my Sandwich

I think I’ll have some Mom.

Tiny is a very loved dog.  He has given us many, many happy times.  He has saved my son’s life several times.  He has telepathically communicated with me when danger was impending and as a result, I was able to intervene just in time.  Tiny is a special dog indeed, and very special to me.  I call him my grand-boy.

In the process of diagnosing Tiny we discovered that he had a Tape worm.  I’m not sure what role this has played in his level of illness.  Part of me wishes (no, all of me wishes) that it was only the worm that made him so sick, and that he would be okay if I stopped the steroids.  I may indeed have to stop the steroid sooner than I had hoped or expected, but I do not think Tiny will be okay.  I can tell.  I’ve known for a while that something was wrong.

Tiny.  Our boy.  Our dear friend.  Ruthie’s mate.  My big guy who protects me.  My son’s loyal companion.  Tiny.  We Love You!

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She knows better,

She knows better, by Rosa Blue
She knows better,, a photo by Rosa Blue on Flickr.

Via Flickr: than to lie on the sofa, but she was enjoying herself, immensely, right in front of me.  And, not just curled up in the corner of the sofa, but she had all the cushions, fixed just right, for a dog!

🙂  My pretty girl, Ruthie Mae.

A wise chew…

I was not in the nieghbor's garbage Mom!I knew I didn’t have much time left when I spotted it on her sparkling clean desk.  A pen was lying on top of it.  I’d seen her use it many times crossing off things she thought she needed to do.

As soon as she left, I’d inspected the place.  I had to search more than usual after all those hours she spent cleaning, but there were still a few things I could chew. 

There were some shoes, one of which smelled pretty good and a tennis ball that I had hidden under the sofa months earlier.

It had to be something different this time.  Something that would definitely make her stop and think. 

She had worked and worked and worked.  I had waited and waited and waited!

I put my front legs on the chair and swept the list off the table with my muzzle.  Perfect!

I thought for a second, maybe two, was it going to be a good chew?  How would I know if I didn’t try?

More importantly than a good chew, I had to save my human mistress from a time warp of never-ending indoor chores!

I would have to choose my chew wisely.  I can get away with just about anything.   She loves me a whole bunch! 

As far as things to chew, it was rather tasteless and boring, but that didn’t stop me.

I chewed the paper into as many pieces as possible.  I spit out the remains, which created a tidy, but easily visible thick pile on the floor.

I didn’t have time to jump up in my chair when I heard the car pulling into the driveway.  I lied down, pretending to be asleep.

She opened the door carrying as many groceries as she could.  She was always doing more than she should.  She put the bags on the counter and shut the door.

“Hi Free! I’m finally home,” she said.

I didn’t move. I waited.

“What are you doing lying there like that?” she asked.  She put away the groceries.  Normally, I would have greeted her at the door.

She walked over to check on me.  She looked around to see if I had damaged anything.  I’ve had to in the past to get her attention, but not in a long time and only as a last resort.

Finally, she spotted my work.  She picked up a few pieces of the paper.  What had been words were now little blotches of ink.

She looked perplexed.  She glanced at her tidy little desk and then back to the floor.  Leaning over, she inspected the small pieces of paper again.

She’s a little slow, but she soon realized that it was true.

Of all the things to chew, it was her list if things to do!

I saw a glitter in her eyes.  She gave me a great hug and started laughing.

Right away she grabbed my collar and even though I’m Free, she put me on a leash.

She says this protects me from the Momma bear who recently became our neighbor.  I’m not afraid of bears like she is, but I admit my powerlessness over my highly sensitive olfaction, as well as my penchant for stealing neighbor-dog toys.

“You’re a funny dog Free,” she said as we set out for our walk to the grassy meadow where I graze and she relaxes on the wide flat rock with a view of the sunset.  “I sure do love you,” she tells me in a way that makes me know I did the right thing.

I am Free.  I’m teaching my human mistress to be a little more like me.

In Memory of Free. “A happy dog” she was always called.

She Lived and Loved from 1993—2006, Forever in my heart and memories.

Taken from my journal, Lessons from Free, May 8, 2006.

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Horse pills and little angels

she calls me an angel and gives me sweet treats when all I do is what I do best.

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.”  ~Gilda Radner

“What’s your pain level?” the nurse asked.

“Nine,” I quickly remarked.  I was too tired to say nine and a half and would have said ten, but that’s reserved for pain that sends a person to an emergency room.  If I hadn’t had a doctor see, then it would have been an emergency.

My blood pressure was high, which for me means severe pain.  The doctor said I needed another round of the horse pills I had taken.

“I don’t know why I feel this bad,” I told my good friend after the appointment.  “It’s a simple bladder infection,” I said, but my whole body ached.

“You started out on the edge of good health,” he gently responded.   “Now your body has to use all it’s energy to fight the infection.”

My friend didn’t have much time to spare, but he made me a wonderful egg sandwich.  It was no ordinary egg sandwich.  It came with such tenderness in his heart, that I felt like the most special person to him in the world.  That right there is healing.

I went home and straight to bed.  My beloved canine companion, little Ruthie, woke me with a gentle kiss on my arm around seven o’clock.  She knows exactly when dinner time arrives.  Ruthie is such a tender dog.  She always asks for what she needs in the sweetest little ways.

Our other dog heard me stirring around and came into the bedroom.  They both wanted to eat and go outside. 

The first thing Ruthie did when we walked outside was spot a rabbit.  Holding her back was hard and it made me irritable.  I raised my voice, which made me feel guilty, but I knew I couldn’t take being pulled by her.   I brought them back inside, fed them and returned to bed.  They both settled on the floor beside my bed, like little angels watching over me.

The dogs don’t sleep in their usual places when I’m sick.  They are more protective of me.  They’re vigilant little guardians.

Living with chronic pain and exhaustion is hard.  Getting sick on top of being sick is depressing.

I decided to rent movies to make it through the next dose of horse pills.  I hoped depression wouldn’t get the best of me, but then I have these little creatures walking on four legs.  They are the best medicine in the world!  Dogs really do rule.

 

Little creatures are great teachers

Dogs can talk and if we listen we can hear what they have to say.

Keeping a safe distance at the dog park

I’ve never met a dog that couldn’t talk but some have a lot more to say than others do.  My girl Ruthie told me just a second ago how much she loves being loved.

Oh she’s the sweetest, and I mean THE SWEETEST 4-legged I’ve ever met!

She talks all the time.  She tells me dog stories.  Mostly they consist of her great insect-hunting adventures.  There isn’t any insect that gets by her, which is at times frightening to me.  She doesn’t say much about the snake I wouldn’t let her kill, which she found underneath my bookcase in the living room.  It was rightfully hers and the animal control officer who I called to come and help me said exactly that.  “You ought to set that dog loose in there.  She’d take care of it long before I could get there.”

No way was I going to set my dog loose to capture that snake!  My friend who has spent a lot of time in Africa ended up coming over, dressed in his Safari hat, which was pretty funny.  He was able to get the snake to exit through my sliding glass door.  He also enjoyed making fun of me for being scared of what he called a little black snake, but believe me, it was not so little.  I guess if you’ve seen African cobras it was little.

I had a mouse in the same apartment as the snake was in until Ruthie came to live with us.  She sat up for two nights straight, just sitting in the kitchen, watching the place where I knew that mouse was.  He, or she, left.  I guess it simply couldn’t find a way out.  Ruthie is as good as any cat.  I never heard from that mouse again.

As to insects, she hasn’t told me yet how she knows where they are, especially in the middle of the night when the lights are all off.  Suddenly I’ll wake up to her running from the bedroom where she sleeps to the kitchen or living room.  I’ll get up and I find her in a corner where she has either discovered or captured an insect.  I can’t figure out if she hears them crawling or smells them and like I said, she has not told me her secret yet.

She’s a great insect hunter with natural eye-liner that gives her a Cleopatra kind of look, earning her the royal title of an Egyptian Beetle Hound.

I don’t know where Ruthie came from before I met her, which was at the local shelter, other than she had been recently returned by a family who had adopted her two weeks before I did.  They had a toddler who was allergic to dog hair, or so they said.

Ruthie was certainly shedding when I first met her.  Within an hour of her being inside my home the floor was nearly covered in dog hairs, which comforted my grieving heart.

I’d lost my Free girl only six or seven weeks before I met Ruthie.  Free is the gorgeous black lab in my post, I AM FREE.   There were still some of her hairs in the corners of my living room.  I had purposefully missed those spots while vacuuming shortly after she had to leave this earth.  I tried to keep any  reminder of my girl around for as long as I could, especially her scent.  I missed everything about her.

When my apartment began to have that kind of house smell that comes with homes without dogs, I felt like it was sterile and empty.  Lifeless.

A house without a dog is a sad lonely place to me.  I learned I definitely don’t like it.  I found myself downtown helping homeless people at strange hours of the night.  I’m really not cut out for that.  It isn’t my passion.  It was however, better than returning to a home without my beloved Free girl.

The first day I got Ruthie I couldn’t wait to show her where she would be living.  I knew she would like it better than that dirty shelter.  She was totally psyched!  She knew it was her home too.

Ruthie knew I was her new owner as we walked out of the shelter.  I didn’t know at the time she had most likely been abused and the shelter couldn’t tell me that information.  I would soon learn that she was scared of people until she knew if they were okay or not.  She was scared of just about everything, except our other dog, Tiny.  Looking back to the day I adopted her, knowing now how scared she was of the world, I’m happy to know that she jumped into my car as quickly as I had opened the door.  The look on her face said let’s get the heck out of here.  She didn’t look back as we drove away.

I needed a shower after the several hours of the adoption process, which had included a trip to my favorite pet store to get her a few toys and of course, I wanted to show her off to the owner.  I was quite proud of my new friend.

She barked at the entrance to the bathroom and ran in circles the entire time I showered.  While I dried off she was calm.  I walked into the living room and saw where she had enjoyed a bit of wine tasting from a glass that was sitting on the fire-place hearth from the night before.  Then I noticed a pack of cigarettes, lying on the middle of the floor, completely shredded.

Ruthie looked quite proud of herself.  She was lying right beside of the tobacco strewn across the floor with the same look Free had the time she brought me a dead bird as a gift after I scolded her one day.  I know… that poor bird.

I had a suspicious feeling that someone had taught Ruthie to shred a pack of cigarettes.

The next day it happened again.  She barked at the shower, ran in circles, and got quiet while I was drying off.  There she was again, lying beside of her destruction and again, with a look of pride on her face.

After only a couple of days the shedding and shredding stopped and I’ve had her four years.  I think she’s allergic to toddlers and that was why she was shedding so much.  She’s still scared of all people less than about four feet tall.  She urinates and then lies on her back when she sees a little person.  I never let her get close so everyone stays safe.

A scared dog is a dog that might bite.

Free always showed me how I needed to be.  She showed me what it was like to be free.  She really did live up to her name.  She was a sweet girl too.  Mostly Free was happy.  That’s what everyone who met her would say, “That is about the happiest dog I’ve ever met.”

Ruthie is different from Free.  She shows me who I am.  She shows me how I am.  She shows me how I feel.  Everyone says, “What a sweet dog.”  One woman who met us said, “She is your tender heart isn’t she?”  I realized she was right.

Ruthie has such a tender heart that if someone gets upset, especially me, well, so does she.  The first signs of her being upset are revealed in her gut, just like mine.  She was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome not long after I got her.

A couple of days ago Ruthie had blood literally pouring from her rectum.   I immediately called the vet.  After several tests the doctor said she believes Ruthie was responding to stress.   The vet said some dogs who get boarded there have this same reaction.  I was certainly glad to hear that Ruthie is okay, but it made me sad to know that my getting upset earlier that day had apparently caused this reaction in her gut.

I can’t protect her from life.  I try hard not to let her know when I’m upset, but she knows anyway.  She’s much better now.  I played with her, rubbed her silky coat, and basically showered her with hugs and kisses.   We are both better now.

Ruthie is a teacher, just like Free was.  She teaches me to calm down.  She shows me when I’m getting too upset and my love for her makes me want to feel better so that she will.  She shows me about forgiveness too.  She loves my son, no matter what.  She wants peace.  Most dogs do I guess.

Ruthie shows me what stress does to the body.  She shows me myself.

Free would show me how I could feel differently if I would only follow her advice, which was to go outside and play with her.  If I didn’t listen she would get a ball, usually a dirty one, and toss it in my lap.

Free would fight too, although the times were few and I was always there to stop her.  She would fight over tennis balls, sticks, toys and for sure, food.  I had to keep a close eye on Free.  She would slip off every chance she got and she got better at this with age.  She’d hide behind a tree while I worked in the garden, staring at me as if I couldn’t see her.  I’d play along with her, but if I went more than two minutes without looking she would be gone.

Down the winding paths she would go and in the mountains a dog’s route is faster than a human’s is.  Sometimes I’d have to get into my car to go fetch my dog.  She knew every house in the neighborhood that lived a dog.  She would go into their yards, especially during the day when the owners were away and the dogs were in the house and steal their toys.  If I caught her doing it she would have the toy in her mouth, her head would drop and she looked pitiful.

Free had a strong spirit.  If she had been human then she would have been an activist who gets put in jail from time to time.  She fought to protect what was hers, what she believed in and what she wanted.

Ruthie is not like that.  She is a tender heart.  She doesn’t fight and instead gives and walks away.   She has shown me once that if a person does something that seems intentionally harmful to her that she will protect herself.  Otherwise, Ruthie is sensitive, extremely loving, funny and has a cautiousness about her that I consider a smart trait, one worthy of my attention.  If she was a human she might be a nurse.

When we go to the dog park she gets a little scared, but she also loves it and runs the other way if I say let’s go.  She keeps her distance from the other dogs.  Ruthie likes to walk around the edges of the fence, which is a good distance from the center of the park where the dogs play together.  She’ll play if she finds the right dog but she’s choosy.  She likes dogs about her size or a little smaller.  She freaks out when a pack of dogs surround her, even though they are usually smothering her with kisses.  Even the dogs know Ruthie is the SWEETEST one in the park!

Free loved the dog park too, but she liked the tennis balls better than the other dogs.  She would gather as many balls as she could get, put them in one big pile and then plop down on top of her collection, daring the others with her growl to come any closer.  The other dogs fortunately did not challenge Free, probably because she could never get all the tennis balls.  She sure tried though.

Ruthie is my little drop of heaven.  I believe Free kissed her from heaven, which is why Ruthie’s snout is black.  She was kissed by an angel.

I’m so glad that child was allergic to my girl Ruthie, who is now, Ruthie Mae.

My dog can talk.  She just told me that she doesn’t care much for the time I spend on this computer.

Little creatures really do make good teachers.