Wednesday, October 12, 2011

So I'm Thinking About Lady ... as Usual

Today marks a year since my Foxy Lady died. I tried to keep busy working at my AOL job from 8 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., the time period in which I called Sunnybrook Animal Hospital here in Englewood and told them "I think it's time" and the time Lady actually left me for good.

No matter how much I kept myself busy, my mind kept wandering back to that time period and what transpired. This is all detailed in my book, Chapter 13. I was told that they had a procedure scheduled for 9:45, but that they could make arrangements to prepare for Lady at 8:45. I had no choice. The time had come. She was somewhat active and playful the night before ... that morning she was a mere shell of the Lady she had been only hours earlier.

Lady entered my life early in 2000, a little puffy ball of straggly hair, mostly white with a white, brown and black head that would eventually change to mostly white with a touch of beige here and there.

 Our first meeting, January 1999

Lady's first day in Pennsylvania, visiting my Mother's grave.

February 29, 2000. She'd already learned to sit, stay, heel ... the basics

I learned early on that dogs need their "space" too. One of puppy Lady's favorite resting spaces was under a small table that I had in the living room in Pennsylvania.

As a pup as well as an adult, Lady was always into everything. She loved to get sprayed with water, but she wasn't too fond of the Gulf of Mexico. Maybe she felt intimidated by the huge number of dogs on the "puppy beach" in Venice.
Summers in Pennsylvania were a joy for Lady, especially if I put a sprinkler outside and let her on her own. I had an  underground electric fence installed for her so that she could play all over the lawn and not risk running out into traffic. She picked up her boundaries remarkably quickly. Unfortunately another trick that she picked up quickly was learning that dirt, once wet, turned to mud. Yes, she did go through a "mud bath" phase.

It seems that all dogs have their own personality. One thing that really stands out about Lady is that if I were washing a floor on my hands and knees, she'd hop on my back, staying there until I made an attempt to get up, forcing her to relinquish her "command post."

She also had a habit of "pawing" in a begging manner, front paws flaying here and there in an attempt to coerce a treat out of me. She always succeeded.

Here in Florida, my laundry room leads to the garage. In the garage's side wall (the side that's part of the house, not the outside wall) I have a "half door." It's meant to make unpacking groceries easier. I can open that door from the garage and put my bags of groceries directly into the pantry. Lady never quite understood that door's purpose and every time I used it she'd sit on the kitchen side of the pantry, barking like the home was under attack. I stopped using that door.

Every time Lady would hear my car pull into the garage she'd station herself in the laundry room, tail wagging, to greet me. And that incessant wagging of the tail would only subside after I hugged and kissed her. Then she changed it to her "regular" style of wag. She'd follow me into the kitchen, my bedroom, office or outside to the pool to investigate what new adventure was awaiting her. Except for the day she was spayed, we spent every day of our nearly 10 years together ... together ... a duo. We all have memories like this, don't we?

Lady loved going for rides in the car. I'd "prep" her for a ride by saying, "Lady, wanna go for a ride in the car?" She'd go absolutely nuts. Eventually a simple "Lady, wanna..." did the trick.

Much of my home is tiled with a really smooth granite-looking tile. If we were in my bedroom or bathroom, she'd race out of the room ahead of me, through the great room until she reached the laundry room. It took her some time to learn how to stop on the tile. Before she learned that trick she'd find herself sliding on her butt, way past her goal: the laundry room, leading to the garage. When she "overshot" her mark, it was precious to see the look on her face, as if saying, "WTF?"

Once in the car she'd station herself, front feet firmly planted on the console and back feet on the back seat. That was her vantage point, giving her the ability to see oncoming traffic and ready herself to bark at every motorcycle we might encounter. She loved to hate them! She was always ready for a ride! She was always ready to bark!
Who's driving today? You or me? 

When Lady was tired, or not in the mood for barking, she's plant herself on my left thigh, head out the window. I found it amazing that she learned this one so quickly: There was a time some years ago (in Pennsylvania), that she spotted a cycle approaching us. Instinctively she barked at it, causing a loud ringing in my left ear.

"No barking from the front seat," I told her. "Hopsy backsy," I added, gently ushering her to the back seat (front feet on console). (Yes, I confess to "baby talking" to Lady.) Of course, by the time she got back there, the object of her "barkology" was long gone. But the surprising thing is that she remembered that she was not permitted to bark when on my thigh. I don't think that I needed to correct her more than one or two times after that initial faux pas. She was indeed my "wonder" dog.

I could go on and on. Today is a day that I'm recalling many things … things that I've never forgotten; things that I'll never forget; things that have come to mind in my thinking back on our life together.

Mostly I'm recalling how very much I miss my bundle of pure, unconditional love.

 Merry Christmas everyone!

What's that delicious smell coming from the kitchen? Chicken? REALLY? For ME? Sweet, dude!

Lady stands guard outside: Cats, stay off my turf!

All fox terriers love to relax on the back of a sofa. The ball? I'll get to it later. Now stop pointing that camera at me. I need a break.

Lady loved relaxing on her/our bed, too ... especially with a brand-new chew stick to devour!

Memories are precious and are a constant reminder of a good life, but one that was taken all too soon. I could post (literally) thousands of images that are stored on my computer ... but that won't bring Lady back to me.

Lady, I'm remembering you fondly and I'd like to think that you're happily romping with other furry creatures somewhere over the Rainbow Bridge. That hope helps keep me going.

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