This house sits on the corner at the end of my street. Years ago, I knew the couple that lived there. She had Great Danes. He had two vintage Rolls Royce cars. The fence hiding the house from view was a stockade one, stained a light beige. The family that lives there now has regular cars, a Collie and (I think) a Boxer. Both dogs have beautiful yard manners, quietly coming up to fence to poke their noses through to sniff the dogs on the other side.
I took this photo earlier in the week. It was 7AM, chilly and I was waiting for Lilly, a 14 year old, miniature dachshund to pee. As elder dogs go, she’s set in her ways; still likes to patrol her yard, sniff the ground and scamper back to the side door, knowing that breakfast is not far away. She lives with a beautiful eight year old (indoor) cat named Taz. Taz greets me at the door and waits patiently for Lilly and I to come back inside.
I’m pet sitting while my neighbors are away. It’s an easy, three times a day interlude from my own routines: once early in the morning, back at 4PM and then 7PM. It’s turned into a meditation of sorts, like Yoga and dog walking or long drives along the back roads or a week up in the Adirondacks.
Slipped out of the house around 6:30AM, cell phone tucked into my pocket along with my neighbor’s back door key. Less than 20 minutes later, I’m back.
Closer to warmer days: the winds from last week have died down. We’re perfecting our early morning breakfast routine with Tessa, Josephine and Gracie. Lots more interaction between the three dogs; Gracie’s figured out that after breakfast is “quiet time,” which means she goes back into her crate while her person gets ready for work, Tessa and I head back upstairs to my study and Josephine goes back to bed in the kitchen.
Gracie’s Unexpected, Scary Encounter With the Garage:
Anything unexpected floods her with “overwhelm.” I had her out in the back yard wearing her harness because I was going to take her through the door leading into the garage to get out onto the driveway. As I opened that door, an onslaught of noise poured out from the radio that sits on a wood bench just inside of the garage. Gracie and I both startled. She backed away as I raised my voice to get my husband’s attention, asking him to turn it off. Gracie and I did some quick heeling around the yard and then sat near the grapevines so that she could check things out. The noise from a wood pecker tapping on a tree limb was a new sound for her and, clearly, she wasn’t happy about the sounds coming from inside the garage.
When she stresses, she starts to shake. Unless you’re really close to her, you won’t see it. And, as she trembles, she turns her head away from whatever it is she doesn’t want any part of. So, we sat on the ground, Gracie leaning into me as we waited for her person to come home.
Josephine has a grade 3 heart murmur and has just started taking Lasix and Enalapril every 12 hours. An x ray taken last week showed fluid in her chest cavity and an enlarged heart. This isn’t new information. We’ve known since last November that she had a heart murmur – then it was classified as “mild.” Now, it’s something more.
Tessa has become the dog that Gracie cues to for some things. Later this week, we’ll load both dogs into one of our cars and go off for a mini-adventure to one of the pet stores we frequent. Sometimes, you need a friend to lean on.