All Good Things Have An End

My dog is dying.

As I sat outside with my furry friend last night, grateful for the unseasonably warm weather, I reflected on our life together. This pup stole my heart. He drew me from my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot, implored me to cuddle his little furball body, and begged me to take him home. We already have a dog, I said weakly. We will be great friends, he seemed to answer through his puppy dog eyes.

As these things can’t be decided alone, I waited for my husband outside the store. Please, I said. He can be my Christmas present, I said. I tried the pup’s tactic of pleading eyes. My husband was powerless, and we were the proud new owners of a mottled ball of fur.

True to his promise, the pup and our existing dog, Paintbrush, became the best of friends, and under the caring hands of our kid-riddled family, he soon grew into a beautiful, 60 lb gentle guard dog. We named him Ranger, a good name, but fortunately not a fitting name, as he liked to stay close to home.

One day, Paintbrush, an escape artist who we would lock into the large kennel only to later find on the doorstep, tried to show him her technique for getting out of that kennel. We watched from behind the garage as she coaxed him from the top of the kennel down to a  hole in the field fencing. She looked at him as if to say, Here it is. Follow me. Then she climbed up and slid through. He just looked at her, then sauntered back to his cozy dog house. Ranger was a homebody.

He loved being at home, surrounded by the noise and activity of our young children. When we would spread a blanket under the maple tree to read, Ranger would find his spot and cuddle up next to the kids. He wasn’t the playful type. He wouldn’t chase anything. We can’t say the same for any other dog who has entered and exited our lives. We’ve had cat chasers and chicken chasers. The fun ones are the ball and frisbee chasers. Ranger was happy just to be. He was the Ferdinand of the dog world, content to sit under the shade of the maple tree.

Dogs came and tragically left our family, yet Ranger remained. Over the years he started wobbling as he walked. He fell behind on walks through the field. He looked up at us as if he didn’t understand what was happening. We would call for someone to bring the pick-up to the back of the field, but when they got there, Ranger would find the spark within and begin loping toward home in an arthritic, stubborn old-man way. A couple of years ago, I thought we were going to lose him. The dogs were being rambunctious, knocking him down over and over again, so I opened the gate and brought him to the front yard for relief. As soon as we were on the other side of the fence, he perked up, hopped arthritically, and headed toward the road. In his mind we were going on a walk. What else could I do? If it killed him, at least he’d die happy.

He didn’t die. He’s plugged away for another two years. Like any old creature, he has thought he could do things he can no longer do. It was a sad day when we went for a walk in the field only to have him stop twenty feet from the gate and look around. He couldn’t go any further. He was done. His poor hips had become too stiff and uncooperative, but his heart so wanted to go.

Little by little, Ranger’s world changed. One by one, his kids left or opted for a screen over a smiling dog face. He would lay by the back door waiting for them to come out. Sometimes Goose would walk away from the computer and head outside with his old friend. Through the years he would tell me that we should clone Ranger. I told him I liked that idea; if only it weren’t so expensive. We wondered if a cloned Ranger would result in the same dog. Smartypants and Sunshine would come home for a visit, and Ranger would show signs of his old self. His ears would perk up and he would grin his doggy grin and nuzzle under their willing hands until they went away and left him alone again.

This time it’s real.

Last night I covered my old friend in a blanket. I propped his head on my leg and spent hours petting him and talking to him. I thought about the time gone by and how much both of our lives had changed. I thought of how fleeting love is, of how we take for granted that the good things we hold dear will always exist for us. As he relaxed into my leg, I willed him to let go, but his heart is too tightly bound us.

This weekend we will have to make the hard decision to put him down. I will miss my canine friend, this furry little sidekick to what’s been an amazing part of my life. It’s time to say good-bye, to hug his frail, furry body one last time, to pet that mottled snout and give him that scratch behind the ears he’s always longing for. I will miss this dog, as I miss this part of life, yet in the unfairness of life, clinging tightly to something you love doesn’t prevent it sifting though your fingers.

I hope there’s a dog heaven. If any dog deserves to go, Ranger does. I picture Paintbrush eagerly waiting for him. She must have some really great things to show him by now.

Cee’s Share Your World – 2/13/17

Here are my answers to Cee’s Share Your World:

Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?

The bottom of the sheet needs to be tucked in or it makes me crazy.

Have you stolen a street sign before?

Never. I remember kids doing that when I was young. They would hang them on their walls. My own street name is the same as that of my newlywed niece. She and her husband have talked about stealing one of them, though they would never do it.

Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?

I’ve given up on paper coupons. I used to seek them out and carry them with me when I was newly married with young kids. Our budget was tight back then, and the coupons did help a lot. Thankfully, the economy has released it’s stranglehold on us and we have a little more breathing room. Now it’s not worth the added clutter. I still buy almost everything on sale (which I consider the real price), and I will look  up a coupon on my phone if I’m at a store like Michael’s.

Do you have freckles?

I have a few light freckles. I have larger “wisdom spots,” as my dermatologist called them.

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am grateful for my furbaby. Such unconditional love! If only humans could be more like dogs.

I look forward to surprising my mom with a visit on her birthday. Shhhh! Don’t tell. 😉

Thanks to Cee for this great challenge!



There’s a whisper growing louder
(Have you heard?) –
Voices lost now being found
Sweeping up the scattered words,

Whipped by robust winds –
They are landing in the streets.
Upon people of all walks of life
They’ve found a pulsing beat

The heartbeat of America
A promise to deliver
As immigrants and native souls
Create a human river.

Words splatter over painted signs,
And rise from voices strong
Of dedicated people
Who sing their country’s song –

They sing of lofty principles
Inscribed on fragile paper,
By men of foresight long ago
Lest they dissipate like vapor.

These words are seared upon the hearts
Of freedom loving folk,
We are all created equal
And won’t accept the yoke

Of stubborn inequality,
Of silencing our voices.
Remember soon the season comes
When we renew our choices.

Until then we claim these words,
We use them as our tools,
Of building our foundation
That precludes your silly rules.

We stand together strong and proud
And raise collective fists
Declaring our autonomy
And pledging to resist.

Join us.

Share Your World – 2/6/2017

Here are my latest answers to Cee’s Share Your World:

Regarding your fridge, is it organized or a mess inside?

Funny you should ask…

After retrieving something for breakfast (and having to rearrange the piles to get to it), I made a mental note to clean the fridge today. It’s never organized, per se. Things get shoved in there wherever they fit, and not just by me. I’m beginning to think refrigerators should be shallow. As it is, the boys in this house can’t find anything that’s not right in front of their faces. Move the milk, guys! Check behind things!

Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?

It depends on the food. I’m not picky about my foods mixing. Some things taste better mixed together, such as rice and beans or fish and salad. You can discover some amazing things by mixing your food. Once I tried a piece of candied ginger with a swig of some cold coffee. I thought it would taste nasty, but it was really, really good! It turns out this is a thing!

Moroccan coffee from Ovation Coffee, The Pearl, Portland, OR

Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?

I prefer literary fiction, though I do like well-written non-fiction. Coffee table books can be great eye candy. Alas, I don’t have any. If I did, it would be a photo collection by Ansel Adams or Ray Atkeson.

Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you? 

My body is telling me that it is becoming one with the couch. I think somewhere deep within the message is that I should get up, get showered, and get on with my day. 😉

Optional Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am grateful for my #3 child who celebrated 20 years on this planet this last week.

This week I look forward to seeing David Sedaris speak.

As always, thank you Cee for this wonderful excuse to write something!



Photo credit: marcn via / CC BY

When confronted with the Holocaust, one question many of us have is why didn’t the German people see this coming and stop it? Sane people recognize that Hitler was a madman. He somehow managed to pull people into his cause, to harness the energy of darkness and squelch the light. He was given license to commit atrocities against millions of people in a dark cloud of torture and killing that hangs over humanity to this day. So why didn’t the German people stop it?

Maybe they didn’t see it coming.

I remember as a child playing outside all afternoon. The sun would be going down and twilight descending over the land, but we could still see, so we remained outside. Only after coming into the light and looking out did we realize how dark it had actually become. This is what is happening to my America right now. Twilight is descending in the form of bans and firing of the acting A.G. It is enveloping us with the inclusion of an avowed white nationalist as a major player on the security council. Darkness is encroaching with attacks on our free press. For the moment, we can still see, but for how much longer.

Someone recently told me she couldn’t understand why people are protesting. She made a comment that good people had jobs and couldn’t be leaving their jobs to spend their lives protesting, insinuating that protesters are not working people. I pointed out that when a cause is sufficiently important, even working people make the time to protest. I live too far away from a major airport, or I would contribute one of my days off to joining in to protest the Muslim ban (or travel ban, or whatever alternative reality label you want to slap on it). I recognize the injustice of the EO, and I will add it to my ever-growing list of things to stand up against, policies that are not reflective of our American identity of leadership in the world and inclusion (ultimately) of our immigrants.

May we learn from Hilter’s Germany. Resistance begins with us.

As I finished typing this I got a notification that the senate had approved Mnuchin and Price without Democrats present by suspending the rules. Welcome to your new America. I encourage you to support your free press. Subscribe to a newspaper. Support the ACLU. Above all, resist.