Thursday, December 31, 2009

Adios 2009

My neighbor K asked me to come over for a sec this morning. I was standing in her living room and I noticed this cool flat rock sitting on one of her antique pieces. I picked it up and said "This is sooo cool"(It has an eye painted on it). She told me to keep it and said "I've got my eye on you". I stuck it in my pocket. I love those little kind of talismans and usually have one on me at all times. Goodbye 2009. I have luck on my side and here's to The Year of H! Stay tuned...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Heidi is a Girl with a German Name

I'm reading two books right now: Freiderun Miram-Stockmann's "My Life with Boxers" and John P. Wagner's "The Boxer." Both of these individuals were prominent in the formation of the breed. Stockmann's story is fascinating. Art school girl meets boy, falls in love with boy's boxer and the rest became history. I love her prose. And I just identify with her. It really makes me think about my future with a new dog. A new boxer. Lately I'm thinking it would be cool to move somewhere with some space and have a breeding pair.

And then I think, no, Heidi. What you really want is to get a puppy with German parents and go hard core into Schtuzhund training. I think yes, a girl and her dog. I don't think there could be a more satisfying or empowering thing. Grr.

Another Year

This year I got rid of most of my stuff. From top to bottom, tip to tail I got rid of all the physical, cumbersome material stuff that clutters up a small bungalow(and my inner peace). Since my brother died almost 10 years ago now(it started then but just becomes more relevant with each passing year), more and more I see the unstoppable force that life is.

We mourn things that never have a chance at permanence, even at their very beginnings. It's a short battle. Every so often I freak out because my world is so small. Socially small. I inherited a hermit like proclivity for surviving, for taking it as it is. I mean what can you do at 40?

I think the idea of good friend is a flight of fancy for me. A magical whim that only exists in Judy Blume books and the movie Beaches. I indulge that fantasy when it happens. I cry at sad movies or even the obituaries of people I don't even know. Every life is beautiful, even if only for one moment. Here's to all of us.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Moving Forward

One kibble at a time.

Frank, or 'Clovis' or 'Clams Casino' as I like to call him has been having a little bit of a time with The Chidler's departure from this world. He's been slow to get back into the swing of food. As anyone who knows a pug knows, food is King. He's slowly coming around, but Ginger thinks it's just more for her. Damn females.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Extending the Branch

Today I went to the grocery store to get some stuff and ran into my next door neighbor. She raved about the Christmas card I sent(I usually get that) and then I told her about Charlie. She gave me the best hug I've had in a very long time. It was totally genuine.

They're like my cool old hippie parents although they don't smoke pot and probably never were hippies. They've been so supportive through the years. My little neighborhood is as close as you can get to "It's a Wonderful Life" in this waning year of 2009.

Saturday I drank enough red wine to inebriate entire said neighborhood. In the process I deleted my twitter account and knocked off a huge chunk of my 'friends' on Facebook. A few I accidentally deleted. Oh well. In the course of the evening, I decided to check my grades.

Whoa. What's this? A B+ in ActionScript? I was going into shock. I immediately sent an email to the department head and the instructor.

Magically, today it's an A.

WTF. I deserved it so I don't what the hell was up with that. Seriously, I'm NOT a Virgo. I just have a three semester 4.0 going and I'm not gonna blow it. I would never blow it. No, not a virgo!

As an Aquarian, I decided to extend myself The Olive Branch. I smell better, I feel better, I'm smart enough, I'm good enough and damn it, people like me!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


In honor of my dog I have decided to become more authentic. It is what it is. No offense.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Good Night, Sweet Prince

sweet prince
My heart aches. Charlie is gone. This morning I woke up, came down stairs and found him tired as usual. I heard him coughing in the night and thought about what today might bring. Last night I sat down by him and told him all the things I always told him, but especially that I was always so proud of him.

At that moment, he licked my nose a good one.

This morning I took him outside and my friend was coming down the sidewalk. He was so happy to see her. I think he was saying goodbye to her. Really. As we continued down the sidewalk, he just laid down. When he got up, he stumbled. The poor guy's balance was so bad. My heart was just aching and breaking into a million little pieces.

She said he was telling me it was time.

We went to the vet and as we walked in to see Dr. M, I just started to bawl. I brought her up to date on everything that has been happening. She got down on the ground with me and listened to his heart. Then she said we could give him some x-rays because it sounded like there was fluid around his heart. O pain! O sadness!

To imagine that beautiful, perfect heart surrounded by fluid was overwhelming. That big, giving, sweet heart of love and joy and all hopefulness! The heart who was my constant companion the whole time I was alone and pregnant. The heart who used to scramble up the stairs and lounge on my bed and sometimes nap with me. My sweet friend.

She said we could give him some pills, diuretics to get rid of some of the fluid. But that it wouldn't help with his weakness. I asked her what she would do. We talked and I asked her if she ever had an old dog. She told me she did, they were farm dogs and luckily, they all passed away in their sleep...

I told her I didn't want him to suffer. To continually decline in front of my eyes and in front of Snowflakes.

This morning he told Charlie, "I hope they don't give you a shot to make you go to sleep and kill you." He is going to be so mad at me.

I told her that I didn't know what I would do if I came downstairs one morning to find him paralyzed. She said she wouldn't want any five year old to see that either. I think he is just too young to fully grasp the depth of what is happening.

She said only I knew my dog best. Did I know him well enough to make this decision? I hope so. My poor boy hasn't played in weeks. And although he would eat, I had to help him with that. His elegant legs would slide out from underneath him. I decided that I didn't want to prolong this very proud dog's life in that way. The way he looked at me, so calm. Those big brown milk-dud eyes never lied.

I held my arms around his soft, blocky head. I told him how proud I was of him and how much I loved him and how much I will miss him. Warm ears that always smelled like chocolate chip cookies, I nestled into for the very last time as he peacefully slipped away so quickly from this precious life. He was gone.

After some time, I took my arms from around his always gentle body and laid his head down. I couldn't bear to go around to the other side and look into those eyes. I said goodbye to my friend and turned around. My last image is of him lying on his side, those gorgeous, muscular legs elegantly resting facing away from me. They are perfect. He is perfect. R.I.P Sweet Charlie.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

When the Time Comes

Last night I let Charlie sit on the couch next to me and cuddle. It is so difficult to see him coughing, rasping and just so tired. I heard him coughing at 3am and I wondered if he would be alright. This morning he greeted me with his usual gift of happiness, although not as vigorous.

I took him for a car ride to take Snowflake to school. I heaved him up into the front seat with all my might. He just curled up with his head down on the console, glancing up at me every once in a while. I drove out to Petco to see if I could get him some soft dog food. Yesterday, I had to hold his bowl for him. Hard dog food is difficult for him. They didn't open until 9am so I drove home.

We went for our usual walk up the street. One block. He couldn't make it. On the way back down, he just stopped and laid down on the cold, snowy ground. I let him rest. He stopped again a few feet later, in the road. My neighbors came outside and asked me if they could help. I said no. They gave me hugs and I just started to cry. My friend told me that he's telling me it's time.

Tomorrow I will take him to the vet and I'm not sure what will happen. I can't afford expensive tests and that sucks. He is a dog that deserves all the stops pulled out. At the same time, I will not let him just hang on for my benefit. It's utterly horrible to see him this way. I will do right by him, it's just so hard.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'm not Ready

I will never forget the day I jumped into my bright yellow VW GTI VR6 and sped west to an adorable victorian in the countryside. It was pale, creamy yellow and had one of those fairytale turrets. I remember the waist high grass swaying in the late August breeze. A little blond haired girl was on the porch.

As I got out of the car, two giant Boxers came prancing up to me and behind them, a sweet little fawn puppy, wearing long white gloves and a black mask. They mouthed my hands and as soon as I saw the little one, I knew he would be mine. My Charlie. Charleston the Puck of Cheswick.

That little puppy is now 11 years old. In the past couple of months, I've seen him steadily go down hill. At first he just tripped a little on our walks. Lately, he's had more trouble. Almost falling down when he does a body shake, hindquarter weakness and not being able to balance when he goes to the bathroom.

I took him to the vet in August when I began to be concerned and everything sounded normal...lungs and heart okay. But mine aren't. My heart is breaking over my sweet boy. I bought him a heating pad and give him Bufferin, but still. I wonder if he is in any pain. I just don't know how I will handle that moment when it comes.

The pugs just can't compare to The Chidler. I hate imagining my life without him. When he is gone, a huge chunk of my life is gone. He is how I have got on, kept going. He is my best friend where there are none. I wonder if I will come downstairs one morning and find him gone, or worse, unable to move. How do I do it? How do I carry on? My sweet little puppy boy, I am not ready to say goodbye.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009