Tag Archives: dogs

Dog Grief

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Dog Grief

I had this cute little red poodle, Ronnie, for nearly 18 years. He was a steady and loyal companion, sitting with me through the writing of my 2 big books. He served to keep my older son from becoming more afraid of dogs after a scary incident when Scott was 2. Ronnie was such a sturdy little gentleman guardian, making sure the whole house knew when there was a dog in our front yard, which was a city park. Imagine the number of times a day he was incensed by the presence of a dog out there in HIS YARD—alllllll summer long when the door was open. LOL.

We got the second dog, Taffy, for Ron–to give him a canine pack, maybe help him chill. Of course, we didn’t know that the very scared girl dog we brought home from the shelter would very soon take over Ronnie’s ALPHA DOG status in many realms, quite blithely and with wonderful humor and verve, making Ron a frustrated little guy. But he trucked on like a trooper with his “sister,” humping said “sister” regularly to show her who was boss. (He was never really boss again.) She didn’t even notice his concern. She was such a love that she got her way all the time, but she’d join him enthusiastically if he got barking loudly at some supposed invader. They were a team. They pulled me on walks like a couple of tiny reindeer on their leashes. Yeah, Ron never learned to heel until we put him on a leash that fastened in front due to painful shoulder muscle pulls. Then for several years, he had to follow instead of lead. We were still a pack, though: 2 adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs–or near-dogs, if you are not a small poodle fan. (Hey, they DO NOT SHED.)

Then the kids left to go to college and live their lives. Taf, by then a socialite mentioned in Irvine Women’s Who’s Who, eventually got pretty sick. One day when I was giving Taffy her heart meds last year, Ron was nearby and I reached down to pet him.

He ducked.

Crap. Not a Ronnie thing, ever. Ronnie loved human attention–my attention.

Crap.

You could blame his near-blindness or his doggy dementia, but I really felt I had lost him right then. Taffy died not long after that. Ron was just a shell, really, but we babied him along for 8 more months. Let him ride part of our daily walks in his stroller. Gave him beef and cheese. He lived for burgers. Picked him up when he fell and couldn’t get up. Then Eveready Doggy’s batteries finally ran down.

And now an era has ended. Now our pack is 2 senior humans and a fresh dog, Jack, who never pulls on the leash–except to lunge at an occasional squirrel. He loves everyone and has nothing to prove. The only thing he humps is old dog beds. He’s the dog I always wanted–happy and content, no barking, no fuss. But the change … Change is good, right? Yeah. Change is good. Sniff.

Ronnie 2015 OBRon cute in bed

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Hideous/Hilarious Christmas Post 3 with Guest Host Laurie Baxter

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By Laurie Baxter, Author of the story “A Charlie Brown Christmas” In our new anthology, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chick Lit. 

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amzn.com/B01MD197DJ   NOTE: This book is currently $0.99, but will soon be perma-free.

Back to our story …
In my last year of college, two days before New Year’s, the family dog died. We had had him since I was a kid. I was very, very sad.
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Author Bio:

Laurie Baxter has degrees in both puppetry and screenwriting because let’s face it, majoring in English would have been no more useful and way less fun. She loves chocolate, ice cream, chocolate ice cream, dogs, New York City, old movies, modern architecture, all kinds of theater, and music from before she was born. Her eighth grade English teacher told her to become a writer, so she did.

 

 Connect with Laurie Online:

LaurieBaxter.com

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Laurie on Goodreads

Laurie attempting Instagram

The Dogs 1

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Ronnie 2015 OB

I have two dogs. One is a mini-poodle. He’s a failure of breeding—too tall to show at 12 inches at the shoulder—though his parents were champion toys. We got him in 2000, paying half price for a “pet-quality” animal. His name is Ronnie. Ronald Weasley Gettinger. Yeah, he’s red. At the time, we were reading Harry Potter on tape in the car on all long trips upstate, and who better to be named after than the best second banana in kid lit?

Ronnie’s a good boy. He learned the rules early and followed them. He looks like a stuffed animal with his shoe-button eyes, curly red hair, and alert stance, but he guarded the house from all and sundry with great ferocity for many years. He guarded us with great ferocity on walks. He took his job seriously—barking at every big dog he saw out the front door of our condo, which faced onto a big park where everybody walked their dogs. Lotta barking. Little Napoleon, that’s him.

When he was 5 ½ months old, one of my extremely intelligent progeny held him up high—and dropped him. This resulted in over $1300 worth of surgeries—one to pin the knee whose cartilage broke (and nip his balls off), and one to unpin it a year later when it had healed. He got to be walked in a stroller for a month. He hated it.

This dog has served us faithfully for 16 years now, and continues to do guard duty on the sofa arm by the front door when we leave, watching for intruders. Though now, when we come home, he chews us out at high volume (because he’s deaf) for five minutes for being gone SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO long and leaving him in charge all that time. The rest of the time, he sleeps really hard and has trouble climbing the stairs. At age 14 or so, he took to sleeping on our bed with us, a no-no in days of yore. But he makes his own rules now. He is the oldest one around, after all—past 80 in dog years. (Actually, he’s the equivalent of an 80-year-old person, so it should be called people years, don’t you think?) I’m not aure I agree with all his rules, especially when he decides it’s OK to poop in the house.

Ron and food

Where is the egg you promised me?

These days, his bluster is pretty well gone. He’s motivated by one thing. Food. Many different kinds. Plus snacks and licks of dirty dishwasher items. His taste changes with the wind, going from Hills W/D dry to Royal Canin canned to Hills I/D canned back to the W/D. He might need chicken or fish or beef or cheese with that, as well. Or an egg. He thrives on variety. I wish he spoke English, or at least read it, since he’s ordering off the menu, and I need to know how to cook that egg.

Ronnie 1

All his (considerable) vet bills have been related to the early leg break and later muscle strain and joint pain. He’s a real Energizer Bunny, except on walks now, when he pulls toward home the whole way—backwards for the first half, forwards for the second. Hey, he knows the route. Because of his size (10-11 pounds max) and his utter cuteness, some might label him a “near-dog” or a “pseudo-dog,” but he’s quite sure that he’s very large and imposing and important. And he is. He’s the military arm of the household. We salute him.

Ron cute in bed

Don’t talk about how stinkin’ cute I am. I’m busy guarding the house. Can’t you see?