To My Dog, Fred

IMG_1834Freddie Fred Freddie, you do really try and I truly appreciate that.  It’s quite unfair to you, but I’m trying.

It’s not your fault that no dog could compete with the dog that came before you.  He was awesome.  You would have loved him, but not as much as I did.  He was my best friend, ever.

He was so athletic and strong: he could jump up onto my saddle as I sat on my horse; he could bounce off my chest from a full sprint and leap into the air to catch a frisbee.

He defended me from a thief who broke into my office while I was working and held him in a corner until I called him off.  He defended me against a stalker just after your human sister was born and I could barely walk. There are many adventurous stories I could share about him. He could have taught you so much.  He was good to younger dogs.

It’s very unfair of me to compare your manners to his majestic ways.  Or to expect you to stay by my heel without a leash, to never run away or after any animal ever.  If he were sitting in my car with all the windows open and dogs walking by and he wouldn’t leave his “Stay”.  You’re not quite there yet, little Freddie. But I’m trying.

I’m not really yelling so angrily at you when you chew through my seatbelt, get the steak off the counter, drag all bread outside to the backyard or chase the neighbors cat.  It’s not that I’m so mad at you or expecting great things from you when I haven’t even taken the time to know or train you.

It’s not you.  I just miss him so much.  I expect you to be like him, to behave like him, behave like I’m used to my dog behaving.  Immediately.  Without the 24/7, 10 years without anybody else around to train you.

You don’t understand the expectant looks I give down the hallways because I still hear him coming.  I still feel for him next to me, still wait for him around the corner, still expect him to be waiting in the car, at home or under my massage table.

Even after all these years… July 3rd, 2008, when he slipped running on a wooden floor to slide into a corner wall and broke his back.  A freak accident, even for a geriatric dog of 15 and three quarters years old.  It was my fault.

Thats why I won’t let you run in the house after your beloved ball, Fred, especially on slippery floors. It reminds me and scares me of the awful days that followed of trying to save him with steroids that made his stomach bleed from his mouth and anus.  Sleeping with him on the floor and holding him in my arms as he couldn’t move except to lick me and raise his eyebrows and ears.

He had just gotten an A+ from the vet the week before: “He’s doing great!  For a 15 year old Dog, you couldn’t tell it by looking at him. He is well loved. All he might need is some doggie aspirin if he seems sore.”   That’s also why I don’t take you to the vet very often.  I hate it there. They took him overnight to give him those steroids to “reduce the swelling in his spinal cord.”  It back fired, badly.

I should have said no.  I should have taken him to an acupuncturist or a doggie chiropractor.  At least, I should have taken him home to just be quiet and together.  The look in his eyes when he realized I was leaving that God Awful place without him… For the first time EVER, leaving him somewhere besides at home… Instead, what I chose made him suffer, not just to be paralyzed, but to bleed internally as well.

There was no “goodbye hike”, “farewell frisbee game”,  or “hang your head out the window one last time.”

I miss him, Fred.

Why can’t some very mean people live only 15 years and the good pets live 80??

You are living now, Fred.  Right here, by my feet, every day.  Trying Soooo hard to be good.  I know.  I’m trying, little Freddie, to give you a chance.  To let you learn and be the best you can be.  You are so loving and playful.  You love the kids and they love you.  I love how you hide your toy and then find it, or how you throw your toy and chase it.  You are a good dog and I love you.

My logical mind knows this and tries to notice you.  But my heart is still breaking and I’m mad at you that it’s YOU here and NOT HIM.

But it’s time to accept you as you. I’m working on it.

Wanna go for a walk?

Your Person

Family Car Day-to-Day Summer List

What do you carry in your car day-to-day with kids? It really depends on how big your car is and how much room you might have…and how organized you are. I have been adding and subtracting from my van each year and seasonally. I’d love to hear your ideas of helpful car-hints.  I stay organized for a whopping 5 minutes each season when I re-organize the car.

Year Round:

  • Kleenex
  • Small trash can (as if this matters…)
  • Hand wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Band-aides
  • Neosporin
  • Sunscreen
  • Kids Benadryl
  • First Aid Kit (but, this is so skimpy…a store-bought little box)

For the Summer I add some things:

  • Apis (Homeopathic Remedy for Bee Stings)
  • Water
  • Swim Bag: Towels, Suits, goggles, sunscreen, flip-flops
  • Folder with plain paper, markers & pencils
  • Tennis Bag: tennis requests, tennis balls
  • Golf Bags: clubs, gloves, sunscreen, water (golf stuff is so huge, it only comes in once a week)
  • Soccer Ball
  • Park stuff: frisbee, football
  • Leash, dog water bowl

When we travel in the car:

  • Snacks
  • Lap desks
  • Cards & travel games
  • More water

What are some helpful or cool things you like having in your car?

Happy Almost Summer 🙂

5 Golden Doodle Don’ts

Fred's smile

Fred’s smile & new hair cut

Our Golden Doodle, Fred, is so sweet.  He loves our kids and will play endless fetch with any slobbery mud ball around.  He will also play tag with the kids, and hide n seek.  That’s always fun to watch because Fred will only “hide” for about 30 seconds max before he runs after the seeker. This, of course, is the point for the kids and they wait for him while laughing, running and giggling.

Golden Doodles are, or at least this one is, very attached to his family.  Though he doesn’t tear and chew things up after we leave, he does pull things outside that make noise: Bags of chips, paper bags, noisy wrappers, etc.  He drags things outside and then sucks on them but doesn’t ruin them, per say.  The slobbery Protein Bars, still in their wrappers, which seem untouched at first glance are not chewed on, but are very wet.  Yum.

He’s still learning his manners, but for the most part, Fred is a good boy.  For his first 3 years, we’ve learned a few things NOT to do:

1. Don’t Leave Steaks Ready to be Grilled    Yup, you guessed it.  4, yes, 4 nice steaks, sitting on the counter, on a plate, all seasoned and ready for the grill; we walk to the front yard to say “hi” to a neighbor, and Fred quietly jumped UP ON THE COUNTER 4 TIMES, to gingerly move the steaks one by one outside.  There were still pieces of steak by his tree when I got there, with which he got slapped. John was seriously considering dog ownership that night. But really, it was our fault for setting up a situation where he wouldn’t be a dog if he at least didn’t TRY.  He’d be in the dog hall of shame…”you mean you didn’t even TRY to get the meat? What kind of dog are you?”

2. Don’t use the hose in the mud before running inside     One would hope that common sense would prevail, but, what can I say.  Clean floors, clean dog and kids, “let’s get a drink from the hose” type of idea from the kids which I think I hear as I’m putting away laundry, mopping the floor, putting away dishes, when that idea slowly goes from lingering in my brain to “WHAT???”, but by that time, it’s WAY too late and all three with half the mud in the back yard are giggling and running through the house, plastering my floors, carpet, kids, furniture and TV.  John was overjoyed.  I’m kidding.  And the kids learned to mop with towels.

3.  Don’t play tag or fetch on wooden floors      This is a bit more serious because sliding on a wooden floor was the cause of a broken back in my beloved “Rigs”, our dog before Fred.  Please resist the urge to go in circles around the house or throw the ball where there is that possibility.

4.  Don’t leave Fred in the car while he can see us     A $500 mistake. Ouch. Yes, $500…to replace the passenger seat belt in my fairly new Honda Odyssey which Fred chewed through twice in 10 minutes. He’s usually fine in the car, but we were at soccer practice, I am coaching, so I don’t have much attention for him. Because he’s bouncy and excited, we put him back in the car which is 20 feet away.  I proceeded with practice, ignoring his barking which stopped, so I was proud of him for calming down…until I got to the car.  Again, John was overjoyed.  He actually tried to “Staple” the seat belt back together, to make me feel better, but thank our lucky stars that the seat belt was cut in half in 2 places, so the remaining pieces wouldn’t reach each other.  “Hi officer, yes, this is the newest version of safety in the Cummings world…stapled seat belts.” Fred is still banned from alone time in the car…

I’ll keep adding to this list… and coming soon is the Golden Doodle Do’s.