“Dogs lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” ~ Agnes Sligh Turnbull ~
It’s turning out that grooming day, or spa day, as we like to high handily call it in the Burch house, it becoming eventful. Eventful in ways I would rather avoid.
As coincidence would have it, the last two times “spa day” has fallen on each pet’s yearly physical. As I recounted in an earlier post, when we picked them up last time, we were told it was critical BabyGirl, our little Rain Man in a dog suit, have her teeth cleaned.
Boy was it ever critical. Tall & Handsome called me on the way home after he picked her up from her dental visit and broke the news, “They pulled 17 teeth.”
Now, those of you who know me really well will know the next sentence was the occurrence of a minor miracle – I was totally and utterly speechless. For about 45 seconds as images of a puckered face BabyGirl flashed through my head. You can read that post to see how BabyGirl and mom survived the outcome.
So, when we sent Watson and BabyGirl off for their grooming a couple of weeks ago we knew it was time for Watson’s yearly. No problem, just a formality to get out of the way.
Oh, wait – did you hear that shoe anvil drop? Yep, there was yet another surprise waiting when T & H picked our pups up after their “spa day”.
Now, for a little background let me preface with this – we rescued BabyGirl in 2012. She was about two years old at the time. As hard as it is to believe she will be with us four years this coming September. This makes her about six years old.
Watson, our Wonderkin, came to us two weeks shy of his first birthday in 2006. On August 30th he will turn 11 years old. As I type those words not only can I not believe it, but I have an overwhelming urge to go into denial mode because there’s a day in our future I can’t even begin to think about. I’ve even told T & H we need to start a Schnauzer Slush Fund to prepare for that day, because I just don’t know if I can survive without another Wonderkin.
So, T & H walks in the door with two transformed pups – all groomed and looking dog show quality. He on the other hand looked like a man searching for something, and he was.
The right words to tell me what he had to tell me. Oh, snap.
He said, “The vet wanted to talk to me about Watson before we left. Watson has a heart murmur.”
What I felt was indescribable. No, that’s not true. I wanted to rend my clothes, sit in sackcloth and ashes, weep and gnash my teeth and then sit Shiva – and I’m not even Jewish (well, maybe a tiny bit somewhere in my ancestry).
You see this little dog has been more to me than a dog. I know everyone says that, but he really has been. He’s been my friend, my buddy, my pal, my entertainer, my protector, my encourager, my confidant, my child and my angel unaware.
I had that once before in my Ladybug – my little English Cocker Spaniel. I never thought I’d have something like that again.
But, Watson has been that and in some ways has “gone where no dog has gone before”. He’s one of the smartest dogs I’ve ever known in my life.
T & H and I thought we were smart when we started spelling words to keep him from knowing what we were saying. Watson was smarter when he learned what we were spelling.
If I’m sitting on the bed with my laptop working on something and the timer goes off in the kitchen, he jumps down off the bed and heads to the kitchen ahead of me.
He’s crazy about Granddad, my Daddy and will greet him at the door with such excitement – screaming and carrying on like a teenage girl at a rock concert. And, then, they scuffle.
Like any “child” Watson has had his adventures and misadventures – many I’ve recounted here in this blog.
For instance, Watson is a chocolate bandit. Yes, I know! Chocolate is bad for dogs! Try telling that to the Jack Sparrow of the Schnauzer world. He’s managed to eat my one and only remaining Godiva milk chocolate and coconut truffle – and look punch drunk satisfied, sated, happy and not one iota guilty. He’d do it again in a New York minute. And, I’ve caught him mid-bite with a brownie bite in his mouth. He did have the good common German sense to let it drop out of his mouth. It was a pitiful sight.
But, like anyone with charm and charisma – you just can’t stay upset with him very long.
He’s the perfect companion for me, a person who battles chronic illness and disability. He helps me do it with humor, style and cuddles. He senses when I’m having a really hard time and then, like I tell T & H with humor, Watson becomes like a big hairy tick attached to my side.
How do you face the absence of that in your life? Roughly.
Right now Watson’s heart is compensating for the murmur and the vet said he should be fine unless he becomes listless or starts coughing a lot. For now, he seems as right as rain. We are choosing to enjoy each day as a good day, and so far it has been.
It is because of the men in my life I have a love for dogs. My Papaw had dogs and my Daddy made sure we had dogs when we were girls. T & H brought Watson home to me when Watson was two weeks shy of his first birthday.
I could extol the many wonderful qualities of dogs. I’ve always said there’s no mistake that dog is god spelled backwards – they are His ministering angels here on Earth. But, I am finding…”Dogs lives are too short. Their only fault, really…”
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