Friday, May 27, 2011

Loose ends and last words.

There are so many niggly things I've been wanting to write about but, to tell you the truth, I've enjoyed being away from the computer. More than 1000 unseen [and mostly crappy] pictures will now be moved to folders and the recycle bin because the moment has passed to tell those stories.

But I must sneak a few in.

Loose ends.
3 evenings a week, I get on the temperamental Balmain bus that turns up as and when it pleases, and pass this lovely view on my way to capoeira class.
Despite the press of too many bodies [some apparently unwashed] crowded into an overheated bus, who can complain?

The last few weeks of autumn have been beautiful. Too cold for my old bones and stinky knee, but sunny and dry. Perfect for meeting old friends in the park.
Molly, Scotty, Kody and Delle.
Scotty cut his face 2 days ago while playing at Mort Bay Park and had to have surgery. Poor baby [as in distraught dogmom]. Poor Scotty too.



Georgie the lurcher and her friend, Stella the seeing eyedog, on her day off. Apparently Stella's not terribly good at her job because she gets to play with other dogs.
I'm sure she's happier though.


 Coco, still the BGF. Still loco.


Old friend Banjo made a rare appearance one day.


And could this be Serious Boyfriend #3?
Only if Ms Pea doesn't play hard-to-get. And what kind of a dogmom am I? I don't even remember his name.

This week, the weather changed again, sunny skies giving way to fog, rain and gusty winds.

Unlike many dogs, Georgia isn't scared of wind.
 But I don't think she likes it too much.

The Other Half made a rare investment and is now ready for muddy winter walks.

More loose ends.
Remember the magic orange tree? It's grown.
I'll have to move it somewhere soon so it can have its own space and stop being just an unexpected guest.

The basil I inherited from my neighbour, which came from her mum, is thriving, despite having been unceremoniously ripped from the ground.

It's not pretty like the basil from the supermarket and has a much more pungent flavour.
It's already been blended into garlicky nutty pesto, popped onto homemade pizzas, and tossed into Thai basil chicken stirfry. Yum.

The courtyard pavers have finally been stripped off their slimey green moss.
The last reminder of a time when an old incontinent dog and daily hosedowns kept the place constantly damp.

The backyard and the frontyard have been tamed.
The flowering plum and tulip magnolia have dropped the last of their leaves [thank god] and are already budding. Winter is on its way.

The Other Half had a quiet birthday.

Ditto The Never-Before-Mentioned Reclusive Brother.

The capoeira batizado is already a distant memory. If only I could say the same about the aches and pain.

A short break to somewhere balmy has been planned. The holiday camp gulag boarding kennel, organised.

Research has already resumed for a longer holiday later in the year.

Because we haven't been able to travel for 2 years, Georgia has never been boarded [unless you count the time spent at the pound as boarding]. I'm not worried that she won't be able to tolerate commercially prepared dogfood because we're talking about a dog that eats vomit and dead things off the ground. I'm not worried that she'll freeze though she probably will, being A Dog Of Little Hair. I'm not even worried that she'll miss us.

What does worry me, is that she may react badly to being in a confined space with many other dogs, all of which will be unknown to her. Some of them will no doubt be yappy, and may lunge or look at her in some way she finds offensive. Miss Pea does not tolerate dogs that smirk at her these days, and has become quite standoffish with strangers.   
 "Oh! It's YOU, Muddy!"
We've picked a place that does the inverse of what most boarding kennels do. The dogs have free run all day of a large grassy enclosure [which no doubt becomes a quagmire when it rains]. They get to wander on long guided bushwalks in a happy pack. They only get kenneled when it's time for beddy-bye. Most importantly, the place appears to be run by people with a history of working with dogs. 

At least that's what the website says. I shall duly be able to make a report.

Meantime, I have visions of Georgia snoozing contentedly under some shady tree like Fernando, surrounded by equally dozy new friends.

Hope springs eternal.

Last Words.
Many people have been asking us how Georgia's doing.

I was having a chat with the ladies at our local dogfriendly Blooms Chemist just a few days ago. One of them made me weepy by showing me pictures of Rufus tagged onto the counter. Another reminded me of how depressed Rufus had been after Jordan died.

Jordan left the house one day for a trip to the vet and never came back.

How do you tell a dog his friend isn't coming home? Or why his friend isn't coming home?

Rufus didn't eat properly for 2 weeks. Every night, he would wander about the house, panting heavily. Sometimes, if I was up writing, he would keep me company in the study. Most nights, he'd be in the bedroom, checking on us. He would walk up to black dogs on the street, in case one of them was Jordan. He spent a lot of time looking out to sea. One day, walking back from the park, he heard a dog barking that sounded very much like Jordan. He broke from his usual amble and pulled me up the street to the house where the barking was coming from. He tried pulling me into the yard.

Rufus was depressed for 6 weeks. I can be precise because that's when we decided the best thing we could do, would be to get him another companion.

He immediately perked up after Georgia came to stay. In the presence of a cute young thing, his chest puffed up, he started to walk more briskly and to play. He became his belligerent old self again.

We've had no such drama with Ms Pea. She does look sad sometimes, but she's always had a sad face. She's no more clingy than she ever was. There's been no loss of appetite. No signs of anxiety. No grieving. If Georgia were human, I would probably call her heartless. Lucky I'm not silly that way.

In fact, I'm very grateful for the way things turned out and can only conclude that the vet was right in telling us it'd be good for her to witness the end. Georgia got the closure that Rufus didn't. Georgia got to say goodbye.

Having experienced these 2 very different endings, I know which one I would recommend to anyone facing the same situation, and who has a choice.

It's a month today since we let Rufus go. Exactly. Already.
And those are pretty much the last words I have to say on the subject because it's time to be happy again.


dogsmom said...

Sending a great big hug.

Enjoy a little travel and some humans together time. You need to be happy again.

Anny said...

Its time to move on and to be happy again... i am sure Rufus would love that for you. Love the last picture of both of them with sticks.. and Rufus have a big one.. look like a log :D

Have a safe trip and enjoy yourselves... I am sure Georgia will be fine.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Oh! It's sad that Rufus had to go... I am sorry...

Love those photos of the dogs playing around. Sounds they all hada a fun time.

Have a nice weekend!
Tenha um agradável final de semana.

chandra said...

ah, love that view from the bus ... even if you have to hold your nose to enjoy it!

coco loco has grown since we last saw her in your photos! those chocolate labs can stretch out the loco for years, i think daley was about six before his loco levels evened out.

i totally agree that GLP benefitted from being able to able to say goodbye to RBT. As did you and the other half. it's a truly lucky thing.

mmm, balmy holiday. you so deserve it.
-c at ddy.

Kristine said...

I am so glad to hear from you and to know you are all doing well. I am also very glad you shared your photos. The idea of 1000 pictures just languishing unshared on your computer... It makes me sad. But I understand wanting a break, especially with so much to do.

We haven't boarded Shiva yet either for many reasons. I think we are going to try to start small and take her to doggy day care for half a day. If she does well there and doesn't seem overly stressed, we will maybe let her stay for a whole day and progress from there. With all her separation issues I'd hate to ruin all of our progress. Your kennel sounds pretty fantastic. I hope it is as good as advertised!

You all have a lovely weekend! I am glad Georgia is still out there working her wiles on the hotties at the park.

Jan said...

What a wise veterinarian. I would never have thought of a dog needing closure.

Enjoy your away time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this little peek in how you are picking up a daily routine again. Glad everything is moving forward. It is so brave of you to write about what you have gone through. My blog would just go silent if something would happen to Kenzo or Viva. And also thanks for the recommandation, it is definitely the right thing the do.

And now we also don't comment on it anymore, and let you be happy again!

(blogger is giving problems again, so I had to drop this as anonymous...)

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

It sounds like the time for feeling guilty about smiling or laughing is passing and that's great. I well remember the mourning period after losing a much loved family member. You have to grieve but the time does come when you realise that's it's OK for life to go on.

A holiday sounds like a perfect way to get back on track again and Georgia's holiday camp, well can I say it sounds like doggy heaven? Sick joke, sorry! Seriously, if it's half as good as what the website says it will be wonderful and she'll have the best time.

Love all the photos. Frankie is envious of all Georgia's play mates. He doesn't have as many as he used to.

You guys have a great time away and we'll looking forward to reading all about it:) Take care ....

Shawn FInch, DVM said...

Dear Georgia Little Pea's Momma

You sure owe me for all the times I have made you cry this past several months, and now the tables are turned and I am crying (again) at seeing your Rufus pictures.

You bring up Rufus as often as you want to and I will not wear mascara when I come to say "hi" just in case.

The day Ebony Dog died, I added a paw print to my website and post it whenever I really, really miss her. I have only told you that!

Tomorrow I am going to try to be as brave as you in scrubbing the porch and donate my last rodent habitat to the shelter. When I tried about a month ago, I started crying at the front desk in front of Everyone and they couldn't understand what I was saying. It looks silly sitting empty in our living room, and it is Well Past Time to let some other little guys use it. Wish me luck!

I love all your pictures and I am glad your family is healing. I will keep sending (((hugs))) around the world to you anyways.

georgia little pea said...

@everyone - love the hugs, love your shared thoughts, and yes, even the sick joke! :p


hero said...

I'm so happy for you... :)

Licks, hero

What Remains Now said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post. The pictures were lovely and a nice glimpse of all that's going on.

sagechronicles said...

Losing one of your best friends leaves you with such a big hole and you've written beautiful memorials to Rufus. I'm sitting here looking at my Mr. T and know that day is coming here too at some point.

I hope you are planning some fun places to go! Georgia's incarceration won't be so bad--it sounds a lot like the indoor dog park we use. It's nice knowing she'll be somewhere fun and not in a kennel most of the time.

PS: We haven't been out to 1000 acres lately. The Columbia River is at flood stage and has backed up into parts of that park. Sage had her tongue hanging out at another local dog park called Mt. Tabor!

Jean B said...

I know the feeling of a having a thousaand unposted photos and deciding to just move forward instead - not to worry, there will always be new photos and stories to share!

I smiled at the pictures of Rufus with his big stick - I miss him, though I've never met him. There is just something about that face! I'm glad Georgia adjusted well, and I sure hope she enjoys her time away. My Charley frequently used to go to a 'kennel' like the one you describe - she loved it and didn't want to come home at the end of her visit. Georgia, be a good girl and play nicely!

Kim said...

Already a month? Wow. You're an inspiration, for how you handled Rufus in his aging years, and for how you handled his passing and including Georgia in it. She's one lucky pup to have you! Hope the next month is much kinder to you :)

Elizabeth said...

I have been putting off commenting until I had time to properly read through and think about what I was going to say. But, dang it, if I still don't know what to say. :( (I will say that the title of your post scared me and made me not want to read your last words. So, I was grateful when i did and learned that they were "it's time to be happy again".)

So, I guess with that, I'll say Georgia is one awesome pound dog who will surely surprise you with how well she adjusts to the hippie doggie holiday camp. I always felt better (less guilty) leaving my kids at daycare (back in the day) when they just ran off and left me standing in the doorway like a bad disease. :)

Have a great weekend!

P.S. I will be fine if you still fit poop stories into your blog every now and then.

June said...

How the world changes when one of its beloved inhabitants leaves. I do think closure is important for dogs, just as it is for people. Dogs understand death in some way, accept it in a way that we are unable to.

Yes, it's time to be happy again. Doesn't mean you won't have moments when you stop and think and don't move for a moment or two. That will happen, but the flavor of the memories will change ever so gradually.

If you have not read Ted Kerasote's "Merle's Door," I recommend it. IMO, it's for people who try their very best to see the world as their dogs do, and respect their dogs as dogs.

georgia little pea said...

@ June -

I just googled and read the excerpt and saw some pics.

Merle is/was quite old in the last few pics and that probably means the story ended with a big bawl *sigh* Interesting angle though. Thanks for the recommendation :)