Eighteen Teeth

I posted recently that Daisy celebrated her last annual physical with the removal of 18 teeth, and Nancy and I were curious how that might affect her overall worldview.

Daisy is a creature of habit. Very firm, well-established habits. I’ve outlined her rituals for going outside. We have the evening dancing that leads to trips Outside while Cheryl and Nancy are foolishly watching television.

This evening I accidentally upset the apple cart again. Our normal habit is to let the dogs out for their last adventure and Greenie at 9 pm. Nancy then goes to bed and I retire to my computer, where I may write or play games or watch You Tube. This evening the dance commenced about 8:45 and when the dancing starts the dogs go out or the carpet gets wet. our choice. So we killed the TV and walked the dogs outside.

We have begun the slow process of teaching the dogs the glories of the dog door, which opened this afternoon. When the Little first came to us, it seemed to us that Pugsy at least knew what it was and seemed confused that it didn’t work. Now that Bennie is free to roam the cornfield we re-opened the dog door. Pugsy is not about to be fooled again. He will stand there and watch Riley go through the hole and then look expectantly at me to open it for him. And it would be wonderful if the dog door worked again, but it tripped Riley today, who is 12 and doesn’t move as well as he once did. Pugsy is not about to use it. Daisy finds climbing over the doorframe challenging (it is, after all, a rise of nearly three-quarters of an inch–there must be an optical illusion there I can’t see.) But then, 8-inch curbs can be a challenge for me, so… We’ll see how it all shakes out.

Anyway. The dogs went out, the dogs came back in, Greenies and cheese treats were had, Nancy went to bed…but I was beading, so I went back to my chair in the living room, flipped the TV back on, and started threading beads.

Dancing began. Happy, happy, loudy, breathy dancing with the occasional attention-grabbing boof.

So I took the littles outside again, and they both came along quite happily. I waited until there was a bark on the back steps (it’s a landing, there are no steps; it’s where the back steps would be if we had steps) and I let them back in.

Went back to my chair. Commensed beading.

Dancing began…

I am not allowed to bead after 9 pm. That is not what we do: we go to the Conservatory, I sit in my chair and Daisy wraps around the chair wheels. She’s there now. No dancing. No cihirping, no heavy breathing, no sharp ‘pay attention to me!’ barks. She is resting now.

Dancing takes a lot out of a small dog.

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Good Bye, Old Friend

Time has a way of slip, sliding along. Huge, traumatic events flare up, wear out and fade away, replaced always by the new. And we remember these older adventures, we just do not always remember exactly how long ago it was that they happened. Sixteen to eighteen years ago a half-grown cat was rescued from her wanderings in a corn field. She appeared in the lives of a group of women a little after Mary Appelhof died in 2005. Or, she may have appeared after Mary Frances Fenton died in 2006. The cat, apparently attracted to the gatherings of women clearing out the Appehof-Fenton homestead, wandered too close and was ‘rescued’.

As a rescue, her capture has never been entirely appreciated. Convinced she was, in spirit, a tiger, Benzonia–Benny–was regarded by the women as perhaps the reincarnation of the spirit of Mary Appelhof; the cat herself considered herself unfairly contained and a creature of the wild held against her will.

This morning, on the 19th of October, 2021, Benzonia Herownfinecat was released, at long last, to roam of the cornfields of her youth. She will be dearly missed by any number of people who can point to fine scars where she bit them.

After her capture, Benzonia grudgingly accepted a position as mouser and property guard of Flowerfield Enterprises in Shaver Road until the business closed down. She tried several times to escape and vanish into the woods surrounding the building, but she was recaptured by wily humans and her own hunger, which reminded her often and deeply of the glories of cat food. When the remains of Flowerfield moved to a less cat-friendly building, Benzonia retired and moved to Three Rivers, Mi., where she guarded and occasionally bit two women, one of who was a former Flowerfield employee. She also accepted responsibility for the discipline and herding of several dogs, having first pronounced them all ‘irrelevant’ and ‘unnecessary’.

In her dotage Bennie was provided with a stuffed donut positioned in the window of her woman’s office. She scorned this silly idea for nearly a year, but then accidentally tried it once and found it remarkably comfortable, as if by sheer luck someone had actually designed it as a cat bed. She spent most of her mornings here for the remainder of her life.

She memorized the indoor/outdoor schedule of the ever-increasing herd of dogs and made her way down the back hall to the door to the Outside, where she batted obstreperous hounds and cadged chicken treats as bribes for safe passage. In her prime, Bennie taught a 60-pound semi-golden retriever to cut a six foot path around her to avoid The Claws of Bitter Justice.

The only dog who was never afraid of her was a 12 pound Pomeranian who is just meaner than cat shit. This is a cat who beat up a pit bull.

Age, however, turned out to be an adversary Bennie could not intimidate, bite, or hiss into submission.

We will all miss her,. She was a good cat.

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Companionship

Daisy has retired to her safe corner where she can wrap around my lamp stand and not worry about attacks from the training turtle. She has tried several times to wrap herself around my chair wheel and sleep, which is the very best possible sleep there is, but I’ve bashed her with a stuffed turtle several times now because–and this seems important to me, if not to her–there is no way for me to safely back up my chair in order to get out of it without rolling over the dog.

It is not an experience she has enjoyed, the few times we have tried it. (It is also apparently nowhere near as lethal as I’ve assumed it might be. I have learned several salty words of Pomeranian, but she hardly limps any more.)

Behind my chair on the other side is one of the joys of ownership of a pug they really should warn a new owner about. It’s called a reverse sneeze, and it sounds like he’s trying to swallow his nose and breathe at the same time. Pugs (or even pugs mixes) are not dog designed with the asthmatic in mind. He snorts. He snuffles. He reverse sneezes, which would be okay once or twice, but a reverse sneeze can take six or seven breaths to really straighten out, and in my mind, at least, I usually have him half-way to the dog ER by the time he calms down.

The vet has explained this to me several times. Apparently pugs have an abundance of unnecessary tissue at the backs of their snouts, where their throat begins, and it takes almost nothing to either stop airflow (or, I swear to God, reverse it.)

When we first got Pugsy it was the middle of the shutdown over the pandemic and we went to the vet, parked in the parking lot, called the clinic, and they sent some poor masked soul out to fetch the dogs; We then sat patiently in the car until the vet called us and we discussed, over the phone, the problems.

“He coughs,” I said.

Silence.

“Like he has bronchitis,” I said. “He coughs all night long. He gasps and chokes and I’m afraid he’s going to asphyxiate.”

She said something that involved a number of technical veterinary terms, but condensed, it came out, “he’s a pug.”

I breathed every breath Pugsy breathed right along with him for almost six months. I still get buggy over reverse sneezes. When my own asthma had bloomed completely out of control I would cough and gasp and hack and suck air through the blocked straw that was my my trachea and I remember people stopping whatever they were doing to stare at me. Every now and then someone would helpfully coach, “Breathe.” And I would wave them off because it was nothing. I was fine.

Sometimes having Pugsy feels a little like paybacks.

Anyway. Earlier today Nancy and I committed High Dog Treason. We threw the Littles outside (which is semi-okay most of the time.) Nancy was working outside and I ran an errand, so we pulled up lawn chairs and took a break in the side yard, in full sight of–but inaccessible to–the Littles.

They gathered at the fence to stare at us like prisoners.

We were fifteen feet away.

Oh, the suffering.

Riley would have walked around the corner of the house to somewhere where we couldn’t see us, but then, that’s why Riley is not our only dog. We love him dearly, but he often has better things to do than hang round us.

And as I write this, Daisy is slowly, gracefully migrating to the back wheels of my rolling chair where, as I have mentioned before, the very best sleeping is to be had.

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The Sun is Out

My neighbor has a power washer.

I don’t know any of these people. They live in the other side of my fence (or across the road, or down the block.) I grew up in the country where we minded our own business, so having all these people bunched up in my back yard has never encouraged me to climb a block and stare down at them over my six-foot fence to find out who they are.

Nor would I encourage slovenly neighboring. I like neat neighbors, I guess. I don’t pay much of any attention to the condition of my neighbor’s lawn or porch or siding or roof, nor do I expect them to waste much of their pondering time on mine. The neighbor on our immediately right, as we face the street, has three chows, which he walks regularly all over town on zip lines. We have conversed, briefly, about his dogs. He seems like a nice man. A few months ago Nancy and I met Holly, who lived with her husband and two children across the street. A week later they put up a For Sale sign, and a week or two ago they moved away. We now have new neighbor’s in Holly’s house. I don’t know them, either.

I am, on the other hand, thinking seriously about various ways to murder a power washer. .The machine, not the man. As I said, it does not concern me that he had a clean or dirty house; what concerns me is that the man power washes something–loudly–every other day. He’s going to power wash the paint off his siding if he keeps this up.

I do not go to his house, however, and discuss his power washing fetish. I don’t do this because I have dogs, three of them. Two of them bark to let me know when to open the back door and let them in. One of them barks because…the squirrels are playing on the fence, someone rode past the house on a bike, or the wind blew four leaves on the third maple tree from the end of the fence line. We do try to go fetch our dogs whenever they start to bark–we are responsible neighbors–but each time I receive the I AM READY TO RE-ENTER THE HOUSE signal I am reminded of my former dogless days when the backyard neighbor released his hound every morning, she dashed off, barking fanatically, across the back yard, causing him to stand on his back porch and shout, “PRINCESS!” Because Princess would rather bark than go back inside. They did this every morning when he got up.

He got up at four am.

So I am plotting evil and under-handed revenge on a power washing machine. I don’t have one, myself, but it can’t be hard to identify; it would appear that virtually every machine he has over there is a power washer, a leaf blower or and air-compressing paint-blowing power sprayer.

So it is October. It is the middle of October. According to the back fence, it is 70 degrees outside (according to my computer it is 63 degrees out there.) My partner is out riding her bike. A small, snarly brown dog is wrapped around my chair wheels, another small black dog is on the floor not very far away. We know where the cat is because Cheryl went out in the garage earlier today on an errand and apparently left the door open. This means the cat could have gone out into the garage, so when Nancy went out to get her bike, the cat could have streaked through the open door and escaped into the wilderness that is our neighborhood. So before that could happen we looked for and found the cat.

She was not in the garage.

Nancy jumped on her bike and streaked through the open door and escaped into the wilderness that is our neighborhood. Because for a day that is supposed to be gray and cloudy, with a strong possibility of rain all day, it is remarkably sunny outside. And the power washer either died or gave up in hopeless disgust, so it is also quiet again. I will spend this day sitting right here at my desk because I get growled at every time I try to move.

Life is all about boundaries.

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The Daisy Way

Recently Daisy and Pugsy went in for their annual physicals. While they were there I suggested the vet take a look at Daisy’s teeth because apparently the vet doesn’t look at their teeth unless I ask. The vet said, “she has five bad teeth that need to come out,” and she scheduled a surgical appointment.

I thought, “OMG–five teeth all at the same time????”

But Nancy and I agreed it needed to be done, and we wondered privately between the two of us what extracting five infected teeth might do for Daisy’s overall disposition.

So we delivered her on the appointed day, and later in the day Nancy picked her up and brought her home. They had extracted 18 teeth.

My jaw dropped. “How many teeth does a dog have?” I asked aloud.

Just like us, they have 32. Daisy no longer does.

So for several days we drugged her and fed her canned food and gave her canned dog food as a treat in place of her beloved nightly Greenie and she slept most of the time. And then she started to feel better.

For any readers who might be tuning in to this saga late, my partner and I rescued Daisy and her ‘brother’ Pugsy (who is a chug; chihuahua/pug cross) in July of the Year of the Covid, mid shut-down. They were advertised on Petfinder as an older bonded pair. We had decided to a.) try smaller dogs, and b.) try older dogs left behind by aging caretakers, and c.) to consider a bonded pair. They seemed made to order for us. I’ve always wanted a Pomeranian. (Pugsy was not well-photographed and we agreed to take him out of mercy as a kind of second-thought. He’s a lover, my constant companion, and we adore him. Daisy is…a Pomeranian. Daisy is now 11 or 12 and Pugsy is 8.

Since the extraction of her infected teeth, Daisy has…if not flowered, then let’s say set some promising buds. She has come to me three times and asked to sit in my lap. (Pugsy sits in my lap at least once a day; Daisy has (at her request) perhaps 6 times in the almost 15 months they’ve lived with us.

Part of that unquestionably is learning how to interpret Daisy’s requests. When she wants something, she gets louder. She is usually a very quiet dog, so if we can hear her, we can assume something is amiss. Exactly what the problem is can be harder to decode. First she snuffles and snorts and moves around. If that fails to get our attention, she begins staring at us intently. If that fails, she starts to dance. Now Daisy is old and arthritic so it can be difficult to distinguish between Daisy’s dancing and her yoga exercises until the excitement ramps up. Once a day, just before I put her evening dish down, Daisy DANCES. She jumps and spins and swirls around the room like a little ballerina, and it is very clear that she wants her food.

That is about the only cue Daisy gives us that is that clear.

In the evenings when we begin to hear snuffles and snorts and find her performing downward facing dog it is always possible she she would like to sit on someone’s lap. It is more likely she wants to go outside, a trip she conducts with ever-increasing enthusiasm and good will because the last Outside results in a Greenie. Even with 18 infected teeth, Daisy loves a Greenie.

Not so much, apparently, sitting in my or Nancy’s lap. Although lately she has been warming to us. It’s only been a year.

Even going outside is a different experience for Daisy than it is the other dogs. Pugsy does ask to go outside, but his requests, even after a year, are only clear when we happen to be near the back door. Riley boofs. Riley suffers. Riley moans and groans and sighs and materializes beside my chair to stick his nose in my lap and say (sometimes quite loudly) BOOF! It would be almost impossible not to notice that any physical movement on my part sends Riley running to the back door.

But then, he’s house-trained.

Daisy dances. We will be watching television and then slowly into our awareness will creep the feeling that something small and slightly asthmatic is moving on the carpet. We look down. Daisy is doing yoga poses and shaking her head like she might be having a small seizure. She looks at us and laughs.

This could mean: I need to go outside. Or, my water bowl is empty. Or, I would like to sit in your lap now. Or, I’m thinking about biting your cat. Or, isn’t it time you came up off my Greenie?

The penalty for misinterpretation is a wet spot on the rug (usually within six inches of the vast array of puppy pads we display for our personal enjoyment) so we often jump up and put the dogs outside..

Well. We open the back door. Pugsy dashes out, stops six inches past the threshhold and says, “wait–shouldn’t I have a treat?” Riley dashes out the door and run across the lawn to water something. Daisy waits on the rug on the far side of the kitchen. Sometimes she dances. Sometimes she just stands there. She checks her watch.

The Opener of the Door reaches for the treat container and shakes it.

Daisy makes a full circle on the Waiting Rug and then slowly, tentatively steps onto the laminate floor, and begins the trot the full length of kitchen to the Safe Rug in the back hall where she stops and waits for the delivery of the treat. On very rare occasions she will make the trek without the rattling of the treat can, but never before the initial full circle on the Waiting Rug, and she prefers to hear the words, ‘Oh, she’s so brave!” by the time she is in front of the stove. If something stalls out before she steps off the Waiting Rug, she has to make another full circle before she can begin again.

Both Riley and Pugsy when called just run to the back door. Daisy cannot get to the back door without first going to the Waiting Rug, and she cannot get to the Waiting Rug if she first needs to cross the kitchen floor; this means if she’s in Nancy’s office, she needs to run–not through the kitchen door–but through the doorway to the hall and down the hall to the Waiting Rug. This trip adds probably twenty Daisy steps to her final venture outside, but it cannot be helped.

I have seen her run across Nancy’s office to the kitchen doorway, stop, backtrack to the hallway doorway and run down the hall to…the kitchen.

I should note, at this point, that while she does not LIKE the laminate floor in the kitchen, she appears to have no more actual problem with it than the other dogs. Also, the floor is extraordinarily problematic when going outside: when coming back into the house, we just run like Pugsy. No rituals required, no special full turns, no waiting on the back hall carpets…it’s just a kitchen floor.

Unless someone moves the kitchen stool.

Or leave the dishwasher door open.

Or is making bad noises in the laundry room, which is just off the back hallway.

All of the dogs are deeply suspicious of the laundry room. None of them would ever voluntarily go in there except…well…the cat’s litter box is in there.

Some things you just can’t ignore.

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NG T VB Day, Take 2

You will not believe what my women did yesterday. Don’t get me wrong–I love my women–but sometimes you just have to wonder what is in their heads! So yesterday they were talking and then they started moving around and this got me excited because when they start doing this it means Something is Going to Happen, so I ran around, trying to watch both of them at the same time and then Nancy said to Cheryl, “mumble mumble mumble Pugsy?”

Pugsy is my name, so I was instantly alert. What about me, women?

And Nancy said, ‘mumble mumble mumble go dog.”

She said it just like that: ‘go dog’, like ‘good dog’ or ‘black dog’, only it was ‘go dog’. What on earth is a go dog?

Cheryl said, “yeah, sure. Let’s.”

And the pulled out my blue sleeveless jacket and tied a string to me!

This almost never happens. I have grown wary of my blue sleeveless jacket because it always means we’re going through the NO Place. Sometimes Nancy takes me to the recycling center (I’m not sure what that is, but it sounds ominous, but we always have a good time when we go. It never takes very long.)

There’s that word again. ‘go’.

And then Nancy picked me up, carried me through the NO Place (every time I go there she says, “NO!” very harshly, even when she’s on the other side of the place) and chucked me into a big metal box. And then she got into the box and Cheryl got into the box and the garage wall fell off and the box MOVED.

That box moved all over the place. Things whizzed past the box–somethings, other boxes, got really close to us–and I was nervous, nervous, nervous because all of the bad things that have ever happened to me happened just outside the moving blue metal box.

One time Cheryl pushed me out of the window into a woman’s arm’s, she carried me inside and stabbed me with needles.

The first time we ever met our women Daisy and I went to the store with some people we didn’t know and one of those people put me in Cheryl’s lap and Daisy in Nancy’s lap, and I thought, “What the hell is this all about?” and I was very worried. Daisy wasn’t any help, because she had gone to her safe place, which is somewhere inside her head. I remember Cheryl said, “He’s a what? What’s a chug?” And then she laughed and called me a little black Guinness.” Anyway, the reason I told you all that is they picked us both up and took us through the NO Place and stuffed us both into a big metal box and we moved for two hours. I was horrified. They put me in a cage with Daisy in the back of the box but I fussed and cried so much they stopped the box, took me out, put me BACK in the box in Cheryl’s lap, and we moved some more.

I didn’t know Cheryl then. She thought I was a black Guinness, and I thought she was a horrible person who had stolen me away from everything I knew. But then, then was a dark time and a lot of horrible people had been stealing me. I run a little nervous anyway, and this was a bad, bad time.

They took us to a new place called ‘home’. Daisy and I live here now. I really like Cheryl. We have rituals. Every morning she drinks coffee and I sit in her lap while she talks to Nancy. I really like Nancy as well and I have to keep track of her all day long. Fortunately they sleep at night so I can get some rest.

But anyway. We got into the big blue box and we moved and we moved and we moved. We came to a place where the box stopped and Nancy got out, but fortunately Cheryl stayed, and then Nancy came back and the box moved and moved and then it stopped and Cheryl got out but Nancy stayed.

I got so I could take little tiny naps when the box stopped on this old blanket I found in the way back.

And then we went to a place and the box stopped and this woman came and talked to my women, and then the woman opened our box and she took me! She took me into her building and she was very nice to me, but she cut off all of my toes! And then she brought me back and put me in the big blue box and we moved some more, and we moved and we moved, and FINALLY we came home.

They took off my blue sleeveless jacket. Cheryl said, “See Pugs–you survived. Now you’re a go dog.”

I still don’t know what that is, but I had to take a hundred naps to get caught back up. I don’t know what this thing is they have about moving around in big metal boxes. I think they should both just stay home.

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NG,T,VB Day

Today was a no good, terrible, very bad day.

It started out quite well, we thought. We approached Cheryl, we bounced, we caught her firmly in the dark pools of our eyes and we requested a lift, and–even as dense as she can be–she picked us up and put us in her lap. She played with our ears. She rubbed our neck. Her hand kept wandering down to our derriere, which we do not like and told her so, but we forgave her with another gentle ear massage.

She is not very bright, so it’s hard to work with her. She never seems to know when we want down and she hasn’t the faintest idea how to put us down, so we have to snarl and thrash around and give her the teeth as we descend, but we forgive her fairly quickly. She’s handicapped. We understand this.

And then. She–AND Nancy–dragged out the big, noisy wet machine and made ALL of the carpets wet. Every last one–there was nowhere we could go in the house without getting our paws wet and stinking to high heaven of that STUFF she smear everywhere we’ve ever been on the floor.

I have actually peed on the carpet to restore its natural odor. They are not appreciative.

Riley said, “I’m out of here,” and led them to the door. (The door sticks. He assures us he used to be able to come and go as he wanted, but then cat moved in and the door broke and now he has to drag one of them to the door every time he wants in or out. We also used to have a door of our own, so we believe him, but this one is most definitely broken. ) Pugsy (who can be a little dramatic) became convinced the big, noisy wet machine was going to suck him up and send him back to the store when they got us, and he became so frenzied with worry Cheryl put him out.

I went into the Conservatory and wrapped myself around the wheels of her chair. She can’t get me there. Sometimes she beats me with the training turtle to make me move and I have to growl and give her the teeth, but I’m going to get that turtle and tear out all of its stuffing someday soon.

So they made the carpets all wet and STINK (OMG) and I hid under the office chair. Cheryl came and said, “Come on Daisy, we need to go out,” (although she almost NEVER goes out, so what is this ‘we’ shit, anyway?) but I told her to leave me alone. She reached down to touch me and I gave her the teeth.

“Oh, don’t even think about biting me,” Cheryl said, “I feed you.” But she left.

I heard something in the hallway a few minutes later that sounded like chicken treats, and Pugsy, who had come inside, raced back down the hall (I hate to be blunt, but he is a treat whore, there is just no other word for it) and I went as far as the kitchen rug to see what was going on out there.

“Come on, Daisy,” Cheryl sang, “come on, come on, look–TREATS, Daisy–come on…”

And I hate to indulge this juvenile behavior of hers, I really do but…

She had chicken treats.

So I ran down the kitchen, down the hall, and got my treats.

“Now you have to go out,” Cheryl said, and she used some meaningless words with me which she often does, something like ‘those are the roles’, and she opened the door and I went outside because I like it out there.

As it turns out, apparently they’ve been running the loud, wet machine on the back yard because everything out there was damp and there was still water falling from the sky. But it’s dry and warm on the back steps, and I stayed out there quite a long time.

Nancy let me back in. I am curled up in my safe place now. The wet machine is gone. Cheryl is tapping at her desk, right above me, but when she moves too much I growl at her and threaten to give her the teeth.

If she really wanted to move, she’d hit me with the training turtle.

I’m going to shred that thing soon.

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Really

She weighs 12 pounds.

She is 11 or 12 years old (a rescue in her later life, her age depends on which pages of her paperwork you believe.)

Her name is Daisy. She has moments of heart-touching fondness for us. They’re rare. (We adore Daisy. We believe it is extremely fortunate that we adore Daisy because she’s not fully housebroken, she’s testy, she snarls and she bites. She’s little, so while her biting is, I believe, heart-felt, its done with some tender teeth that really do not bear down very hard on anything. For a long time I thought she was just bumping me with her nose for no apparent reason. Her snarls, on the other hand, would intimidate a lion. Daisy has seizures.

I’ve never seen Daisy have a seizure. She has lived with us since July of 2020. Every morning and every evening with her meals she gets a small chunk of cheese with one phenobarbital pill buried in it. When we applied to take Daisy (and her co-dog Pugsy, as they are a ‘bonded pair’) the rescuers asked me if I would be willing to pill her twice a day for the rest of her life. It seemed like an odd question (why would I not?) so I asked, “how much is it?” They said, “about thirty dollars a month. I scoffed and I said, “Sure.” They handed Daisy to me and a small plastic pill bottle, and (with that script) we gave her half a pill twice a day from that container for 9 months.

And then we started to run low.

I said, “I should renew her script.”

I called the vet and she phoned in a script for three months (until Daisy’s next annual exam) and I went cheerfully to pick up her meds, very much like I go cheerfully to pick up my own meds.

The pharmacy could not find the script.

They could not find it because the script is in Daisy’s name, but her name is under mine. I have an online account with Walmart so I can order my scripts in advance and just run through the drive-thru to pick them up. I can’t do that with Daisy’s because her scripts are under her name, my birthday (which, as I pointed out, makes her one very old dog) and–as far as I can tell–on a different page. It took me 40 minutes to track down her script the first time I went.

They gave me a 30-day supply. So 28 days later I went to the pharmacy, pill bottle with the script in hand, and said, “I need more than these.” They needed my driver’s license because her script is a controlled substance. Because I can’t order her script in advance, I picked up my own meds in about 7 minutes, and waited an additional 35 to order and pick up hers.

The following month I was going to North Carolina to visit my sister for 10 days, so I went in specifically to pick up Daisy’s meds. Took the bottle with me, handed it to them, said, “I need more.” They said (more graciously than this) “You can’t have it.”

“Why not?”

“It’s too early.”

“But I’m going to North Carolina for 10 days and she’ll run out before I get back.”

“We can transfer the script to North Carolina?”

“Will you be shipping the dog as well? Because I’m not taking her with me and I don’t really need phenobarbital myself.”

“Well, is there anyone else who can pick it up for you?”

“Yes, my partner, who is keeping the dog. On the other hand, I want to take my ID with me.”

“She can use her own ID, ma’am.”

“So I need to show ID to pick up the dog’s script, but it doesn’t have to be my ID?”

The clerk contemplated this, suspecting it was a trick question.

A few weeks ago Daisy went in for her annual physical and I reminded the vet to renew her script. Yesterday I went to pick it up. They didn’t have it.

I called the vet. They thought it was strange they hadn’t called it, but promised to do so. I had barely left the parking lot when the vet’s office called back. Phenobarbital is a controlled-substance, so they can’t call the script in: I need to pick up the slip of paper and physically carry it to the pharmacy. (Really? Until that moment it never once occurred to me to call a pharmacy and order a drug in my own name.)

So I did that. Unfortunately I hadn’t budgeted that extra 30 minute wait for the vet’s signature on top of the first futile pick up trick and the second inevitable wait, so I skipped on ahead on my list of errands for the day and went back later for Daisy’s meds.

I got them. I have them. I learned, in the process, that Daisy needs her own account on the Walmart online pharmacy before I can order her meds in advance.

“You do understand Daisy is a dog,” I clarified.

“Yes ma’am.”

“She can barely type.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

I had to see the pharmacist himself because her meds are a controlled substance. I was sorely tempted to ask the following question: “If I chose NOT to give this pill to a 12 pound dog to control her seizures for half a day, what WOULD I use it for?”

I DID ask, “Not that I’m stockpiling, but when is the next time I can pick up this script?”

October 13. I picked it up yesterday, September 16. The script is for 60 pills, 2 a day, which means I have roughly 3 days a month to pick up her meds before she runs out.

Phenobarbital is a downer (as far as I know.) It says on the bottle that if I take too many of them, I may stop breathing. I am fond of breathing. It’s been a problem for me, from time to time, and it is highly unlikely I would recreationally suffocate myself. And yes, I get it–I live in a big, bad, dangerous world where certain substances must be controlled for my own good. Like, oh, say…the meds I used to take for my allergies, before some chemical wizard discovered he could combine it with fertilizer, arsenic and rubbing alcohol to make my teeth rot. So I want to just say this and get it off my chest: it takes four times the effort, energy and determination to pick up one med for a twelve-pound dog than it takes for me to maintain multiple meds for COPD, A-fib, allergies and GERD. And with one possible exception (which is not a controlled substance) none of those meds are as critical to my health as Daisy’s one little pill.

For a dog.

Who bites, pees on the carpet and whose favorite place in the whole wild world is wrapped around the wheels of my computer chair.

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Meet Charlotte

This is Charlotte (with a plastic bag hung over a bar which undoubtedly has an exotic name; all of Charlotte’s parts have unique names.) In all of the years I have taken photographs I still have never polished the art of actually seeing the distracting details. The pail is full of reconstructing-Charlotte tools, the plastic box is my copper wire collection (which came in handy) and the purple thing is a t-shirt. The black thing in the upper right hand corner is a pillow for a tired back. Oh, yes–there is also a stray tape measure.

In size, Charlotte is slightly smaller than our spare bedroom. As Nancy and I have joked, if nothing else she’ll make an excellent clothes rack.

Before you you see a frame hanging from two chains on Charlotte’s frame, and strung in between the two metal bars are things called heddles. Actually Charlotte has two such frames which are called something. (Word search….word search…”harness”–the frame in which the heddles are mounted is called a harness.) Charlotte has two harnesses, each holding 100 heddles, which are essentially wires with a framed hole directly in the center that the threads go through. So Charlotte is a two-harness loom.

This is all the information I have about Charlotte. She is a Union #36 loom, which means she was built between about 1920 and sometimes in the 1960s; the widest project she can make is 36 inches; and the easiest project to make on Charlotte would be a rug. The aborted project hanging from Charlotte when we brought her home was actually fairly delicate, if not finished. A neck scarf, perhaps.

I know Charlotte has 100 heddles on each harness because I helped string them. Hang them. Wire them. Whatever you do to heddles, I held them and fed them to Nancy while she fed them onto the rod that holds them.

I then went away.

Charlotte still needs work before she can begin weaving. I listen politely. I nod.

See the long black spikes that look like they might revolve (they do)? They also have a name. It’s not intuitive. I don’t remember what it is. Several of them are broken and need to be replaced. This created yesterday’s Great Dowel Search, which culminated in Nancy’s trip to the Home Depot while the dogs and I stayed home and ate kibble. (Well, I didn’t eat kibble, but then, neither did Daisy. It was a low kibble-consumption day.)

The thread flow and exactly how Charlotte weaves has been explained to me more than once, but Charlotte has a lot of moving parts with unusual names and I left my engineering degree back at college, unclaimed. I am assuming sooner or later Charlotte will begin making repetitive noises in the spare room, and eventually a rug will come out.

Daisy will be thrilled. Daisy hates small rugs. Daisy hates a lot of things–being brushed, being touched, being put down (but not necessarily being picked up,) anyone too close to her food, thunder, fireworks, or being told to move (even when this saves her from being run over by the big wheeled chair) but rugs are up there on the list. Right below bare, slippery floors.

It turns out that the videos on You Tube, and the illustrations in how-to books, all feature a faithful hound lying on the floor near the loom. So far no faithful hounds have volunteered. The cat just sneers.

So Charlotte is settling in. We have a lot of conversations about her welfare, her rehabilitation and her history. I, in the meantime, continue slowly gluing little pieces of tile to rocks. I call them ‘mosaics’, but a quick visit to Etsy or Pinterest will clarify my venture into mosaics has been slow, frustrating, and truthfully, not particularly creative.

If you’re very, very good, my next blog with feature a photograph of one of my rocks.

Without a plastic bag.

Edit: Oops. Charlotte has 200 heddles per harness, or 400 heddles total.

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This is an Experiment

This is not a good shot. In fact, that is a horrible shot, blurry, over-blown and never focused in the first place. I also resized it, without a whole lot of understanding what I was doing, so we’ll see if this even works.

The reason I picked this (terrible) picture is to point out that this type of butterfly does not actually have lacey little wing tips like this when it morphs: this butterfly is at the end of his/her life and it’s a marvel to me it can fly at all.

It could, however, fly faster than I could focus for as long as I could see it.

It may not be what butterflies are born to do, but it is an accomplishment.

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