Grace has settled into life in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. How do I know? Dog beds have started exploding.
At least “it exploded” was the excuse Grace gave for the tufts of brown stuffing all over the floor and her dog bed in tatters. She said that I had to believe her because she was the only witness (Sam was hanging with my dad at the time). Besides, she would never, ever, ever chew her bed. Lady Grace of Louisiana is much too good of a dog for that.
July 3rd marked three years since I adopted a six month old, black and brindle puppy. She was Kora then, according to her paperwork, and arrived in Massachusetts from Louisiana by way of Tennessee. She wasn’t the puppy I drove two hours to see. But she wormed her way into my heart and into my life.
None of the names I picked ahead of time worked for her, so I ended up googling dog names on the ride home. She was christened Grace by the end of that car trip.
Getting Grace coincided with a lot of other big things in my life. That means I’m looking back now and thinking Holy crap, there’s no way it’s been that long since X happened. I graduated from college that spring and moved home; it was eleven months since my first dog, Max, passed away; and I struggled to find a job (any job) as a recent college grad.
We’ve had our adventures over the years. Day trips to Plymouth for a walk on the waterfront. A health scare from something she ate and then countless trips back to the vet for heartworm treatment. Walks at the open spaces around town. Inviting her onto my bed in the morning and cuddling until it’s time to get up. Stolen socks with a fifty-fifty shot of getting them back in one piece.
I decided to compile a few of my favorite pictures of her from the past couple years to mark the occasion. She’s my sweet little nugget, and she puts a smile on my face every time I see her wagging tail.
She’s had a bit of urinary incontinence over the past month. In the evening, I either had to take her outside every two hours or risk her having an accident on a dog bed. That wasn’t always enough, though. It seemed like there was always a bed, whether hers or her brother’s, in the laundry.
The breaking point came when Grace had an accident only an hour after going outside. I called up the veterinary hospital and made an appointment for the next day. Part of me laughed when I listened to the person on the other end of the line tell me to make sure Grace had a full bladder when she came in. The full bladder wasn’t the problem. Not letting her have an accident in the waiting room or the exam room would be the challenge.
But it turned out that Grace could hold it in the waiting room and then in the exam room while I talked with the vet tech. She made friends with the tech and practically jumped for joy when she recognized the vet.
A urine test and a couple hundred dollars later, the vet gave me a call with the answer: plain old urinary incontinence. It can happen in otherwise healthy spayed females dogs. The treatment plan is to put Grace on a tablet called Proin for the rest of her life. She’ll get one at breakfast and dinner.
I’m grateful that it’s nothing more serious than that. I can live with spending a few bucks a month on a tablet, especially considering how lucky this dog has been so far in her life. I’ve already been online checking prices and seeing if I can get a three month supply rather than having to go to the vet once a month.
As for Grace, she’s still picking on her brother and napping in sunny spots on the kitchen floor. Plus she gets a “treat” in her food now. That’s about all it takes to make her happy.
She prances the moment that her paws touch snow, and it takes every ounce of self-control she possess in her little body not to take off at a sprint. She bounds through the white fluff, sending puffs of snow into the air. Her nose buries itself deep in the new powder as she chows down on it.
Afterwards, I’m often hurrying a towel over her wet fur before she bolts for the carpeted living room and gets everything soaked.
But Grace also hates winter. Because of all the ice under her feet and all the snow that she eats, she starts shivering within minutes of heading outside. Not that it stops her from diving into the snowbanks. Her spindly legs and muscular body just tremble the whole time. That she struggles to grow any sort of a winter coat adds to her frustration.
So Grace has amassed a small collection of winter coats over the past few years. They’re not her favorite things in the world, and she tries to shake them off every chance that she gets. But they keep her warmer and minimize the amount of fur that gets wet.
I’ve been doing everything I can to encourage her winter fur to grow. I put her out in the kennel for the majority of the day when it’s sunny out and even left her outside for an hour or so after dark (with a light on, of course). My hope is that it’s simply too early in the season for her to grow much of one. Also that her tendency to spend the day curled up in Sampson’s straw-filled dog house won’t hinder growth.
How does your dog feel about winter? Is he out barreling through the snow or would he rather curl up by the fire?
I’m going to start this post off by saying that I love my dogs. I can’t imagine life them. But that being said, they don’t always have the best ideas about how to spend their time. So the majority of my time–the time when I should be writing–often gets spent reminding puppies that the house isn’t a NASCAR racetrack.
Here are thirteen thoughts that I swear go through their minds just before my house goes to the dogs.
“No one’s here, I better go steal her toy.”-Sampson when I’m out of the room and there are Nylabones on the floor
“No one’s here, I should probably chase the invisible rabbits around the living room.”-Grace when I’m out of the room and she’s excited
“I can grab the toy out from under her. She won’t notice.”-Sampson as he steals a toy out from under Grace
“Quick! He’s distracted!”-Grace just before she fakes Sampson out and takes his toy
“You don’t scare me.”-Sampson as he tries to stare down Grace and just before she calls his bluff
“Pay attention to me!”-Grace when she puts her front paws on the couch and shoves her nose into my hands
“Hi, I’m Sampson. Pay attention to me.”-Sampson as he shoves his face in front of me
“Go ahead, make my day.”-Grace the moment before she pounces on Sampson
“I’m bouncing!”-Sampson stomping around the living room
“That noise is wicked suspicious.”-Grace perking her ears and then barking as she charges the door
“This is my intense stare.”-Sampson with his tail flicking and his body tensed to play
“She’s MY person.”-Grace when Sampson tries to get close to me
“I wonder what this paw smells like.”-Both dogs looking for trouble
Do your pets distract you from writing? Do they have any tricks to get your attention?
Watch reruns of COPS and House Hunters (That counts as research into police procedures and setting, right?)
Browse my Facebook newsfeed
Scroll through my Twitter feed
Pull up the “Write or Die” website and stare at the screen
Design writer business cards (I’ll need them eventually)
Scroll through friends’ Facebook photo albums
Browse directories of magazines looking for freelance writers and imagine what I might submit
Watch the latest installment of “The Cal and Emily Pages” on YouTube
Play with my puppy (She has been so good lately)
Daydream about where I might travel and the articles I’d write about the place
Sing along to Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert on Pandora
Watch reruns on Friends
Open my current project on the screen and then ignore it (I’ll work on it when I finish reading this article)
Lament at how my room is such a mess and how I have no time to clean it
Wonder where the heck the past hour went and why I haven’t typed a single sentence
I understand this is a list of excuses, and I’m slowly forcing myself to become more disciplined. I need to get these blog posts done ahead of time. That would leave the rest of the week open for working on other projects which desperately call out for attention.