Last fall, when the grass was green, my pixie cut was just starting to grow out, and a girl could sit outside without the danger of a red nose, Spring came over to shoot pictures for me. She had me pose on the grass, my trusty typewriter next to me. As she readjusted her camera, the mutts meandered over.
I love this picture of the two older dogs; it reflects their personalities so well. Tilly (the dog in the background--blue heeler/German shepherd mix) is a lady. You can't see it, but her paws were crossed. She's funny, sweet, gentle; a real people pleaser.
My Maddie, on the other hand, is a goof ball. She has strong beliefs about what is right and what is wrong (walks at 4:00 sharp=right...one of the other dogs playing with her special blue ball=wrong), and she likes to serve up JUSTICE as she sees fit.
I love all three dogs, clearly (otherwise, why would I ramble on about them so?), but Maddie and I have a special tie, one that comes from hours of walking, just the two of us, and from night after night of sharing a bed, just the two of us, before we moved in with Neal and Tilly. She has protected me and entertained me over and over.
Guess what? Today is her sixth birthday. If I remember the dog years to people years ratio correctly, she is now older than I am.
She may be older than the adorable Olive, but Coco feels that Mr. Jeffries (her no-longer-secret crush) should not squander all of his affections on a mere pup. To entice him, she asked me to post her recent bathing beauty photo. If this doesn't catch his eye, she may resort to sending him half-dead beetles with which to amuse himself, or perhaps even a few slugs in which to roll and achieve that je ne sais quois she adores.
She even plans to donate to the Red Scarf Fund to prove her affection.
Lovely Elisa of Concateknit is running a contest. For every five bucks (the price of a large fancy coffee drink, people) you donate to ARF, her pet charity organization (couldn't resist the pun), she'll enter you in a contest for really fabulous prizes. But, please, don't win the Chevron Cowl kit. That's what I've got my fingers crossed for!
During a photo shoot for my yarn earlier in the year, Spring took this shot of Maddie, the birthday girl. Even though the dogs have been on my nerves all week (mainly Coco, who has taken a step back in her house breaking), I'm grateful to have them in my life.
Less than a month after I moved to New Mexico, I adopted Maddie from a no-kill shelter. My oldest sister was visiting me, and we were headed for a day in Santa Fe. We stopped at Starbucks for a chai to take on the ride, and as MB ordered, I perused the dogs that lined the sidewalk. Maddie (then named Tickle) stopped me in my tracks. I hemmed and hawed, MB sat patiently on a folded chair and made her "I'm not going to tell you what to do" face, and before long, Maddie was in my arms in the back seat of the car as MB drove us back to the apartment.
For the first two weeks, I cried almost every day. Despite Neal's warning that dogs are a lot of work, I had no idea what he meant. I wanted to give Maddie back; the only thing that stopped me was knowing that I would lose Neal's respect if I did. Then one day on a walk around the complex, Maddie barked at a stranger who approached me. He was a new neighbor, but one she didn't know, and she was ticked off that he dared come near. I told Neal about it that night, a little embarrassed by her behavior. He said, "She's bonded to you. She wants to protect you." From that moment on, I knew that we were a pair, me and Maddie. I learned to adjust my schedule, going to bed early so I could be cheerful at her 5:00 wake up nudge, staying home from parties so she wouldn't be alone. During the big hailstorm that fall, she snuggled up to me, just as scared, I think, as I was. When my first husband called to tell me our divorce was final, she licked the tears from my face.
I love my other dogs, no doubt, but Maddie is my first dog, the dog I had as a single woman. She'll always have a special place in my heart, even when she's misbehaving. Happy birthday, chica!
Little Maddie Mulligan has had a rough weekend. If you follow me on Twitter or FaceBook, this is old news, and I apologize for repeating myself. Here's the story.
Late Saturday afternoon Neal heard Maddie give a yelp. This isn't unusual as she and Tilly rough house quite a bit as they romp in the yard. A few minutes later, she sat on the deck in the snow, waiting to be let in. Not long after, Neal took the big girls on their walk while I attended to Coco. Maddie wasn't that into her walk, so Neal cut it short.
As Maddie lay curled up on the living room rug, I noticed she was licking her side. Maddie tends toward compulsive behaviors, and I like to check them out when I see them. Lo! What I found was a raw spot about the size of a half dollar. Neal had the good sense to bring her to the vet's. Our usual vet's office was closed, and we couldn't get through to their phone service. Luckily, just down the hill from us is another veterinarian office, and Neal brought her there. I honestly thought this was a surface wound, just in need of a little topical or dressing.
My heart sank when Neal came home alone. They said it was a deep puncture wound and wanted to put in a drain and stitch her up. As best we can figure, the 14" or so of snow raised the ground enough to make Maddie's usually running paths more difficult to get around, and she must have plowed into a stick or branch that she would duck normally.
We got a call after her surgery to let us know she was waking up, and another call this morning. I nearly fainted when I heard Neal's voice, shocked, ask the vet to repeat the size of the puncture. I knew it must be bad; he doesn't shock easily.
Six inches, people. Six. Inches.
We are so very fortunate that it missed any organs. So lucky that Neal decided she needed a trip to the vet's, thereby avoiding infection. So lucky.
I got to see my girl this afternoon. She was groggy, but happy to see me. After a little walk and a treat (vet approved), we brought her back in. She seemed pretty tired and ready to go back to her crate. I'll call tomorrow to see if she can come home. We have to wait until the drain comes out, and then she'll have to wear a collar, which will make her miserable.
Maddie not having a more serious accident is my best gift this year. I feel so very lucky.
Other than the occasional accident, she's a dream to have around. The big girls still aren't convinced about her, but I think once Coco can run around more (her belly is healing from her spaying surgery on Friday), they'll start to like her better. Me? I like her just fine.
Meet Coco Chanel, fondly known as Coco. She's a four-pound lap warmer who came home with us on the advice of our friend who is a dog trainer. Her eyes are not green and demonesque, but I couldn't straighten that out. Tilly is mothering her, as we thought she would, and Maddie vacillates between amusement, jealousy, and depression. We did manage to seat our family of five on the chair and footstool in my office and have everyone get along, so I have high hopes for a harmonious future in our household.
I'm still giddy over Tuesday's results. Not-Blogless-for-long Spring and I went to NYC on Wednesday, and there were lots of happy folks with Obama pins on their jackets. Nicholas Kristof captured what may be my main reason for joy in his op-ed piece in today's Times. It's about time we moved away from sound bites towards real, robust, meaningful statements.
Coco is snoozing away as I write. Pretty soon I have to get up to do my pushups, but I'll find another way to amuse myself for a few moments longer. Maybe looking for couture dog sweater patterns will do the trick!
She looks so sweet and innocent. She was a pup in this picture, but the look is the same. You'd never suspect the grief and sorrow she has caused her mama.
We use an electric fence in our back yard to allow the dogs a bit of freedom. One or the other of us keeps an eye peeled, but it only takes a split second to lose track of a dog. I spent two and a half hours searching for Maddie, including traipsing through my neighbors' back yards, walking down all the streets around us, slipping on the icy paths of the nature preserve. Neal was ready to come home from work after my teary call to him.
Finally, finally, I heard her bark. I found her in the front yard of R.J. the cat's house. I think R.J. may have led Maddie on a wild chase; Maddie had perfumed herself with some sort of nastiness.
I snapped her leash on and walked her home. After a quick call to Neal (yes, sobbing so hard I couldn't speak was a part of it), I prepared the bathroom for a bath. Maddie was tolerant of her bath, and I was starting to relax.
Then, as I dried her, she stepped on my left little piggy. The broken one. Bottle rocket zambino! The tape and ice had been helping, but I think there are still a few of those cartoon birds whirling around my head.
Want to know what I did learn, though? Even with a broken toe, I can run if it means getting to my little lovey before she gets hurt. That's good to know.
I'm going to try to find a way to quiet myself down after such a big, scary adventure. Yarn and some needles might help, don't you think?