Once more (with caution)

There’s a prolonged heartbreak to loving a senior dog and bearing witness to the sunset moments along the way.

When the muzzle starts to gray

When you switch to mature adult food

When you add supplements

When he doesn’t want to play fetch for as long

When the muzzle starts to silver

When he’ll run after the ball, but not bring it back

When gray appears across his body

When medication is daily

When you realize you haven’t heard his voice in months

When his hearing fades

When you can’t remember the last time he ran

When he doesn’t bound after bumblebees

When the arthritis requires alternative treatments

When long walks become walks to the corner

When it becomes difficult to get up

When car rides are stressful

When yoga mats provide runways through the house

When he can no longer walk up the stairs

When he no longer wants to be carried upstairs

When he restlessly wanders, day and night

When you dredge his dry food into a mushy puree because he no longer has teeth

When he no longer sleeps on your side of the bed

When he occasionally has an accident

When he wears a diaper

When his breathing shifts

When he wears a diaper and a wrap

When you coax him into the yard for fresh air

When you startle him awake and for a moment he doesn’t know who you are

When you try to clean him and he reacts in fear

When he nuzzles your hand with the full weight of his head

With Zozo, there wasn’t a Big Sign. We had to choose the moment for him after weighing the ever-growing list of little signs, hoping that wasn’t too early or too late. Knowing that the air and energy and routine will never be the same again.

Today, he had a full breakfast and wore on a clean, jaunty kerchief. He followed us around the kitchen. He took a couple disco naps. It was a good morning. And then Dr. Abi from Lap of Love joined us. Zozo ate chocolate cake icing with redi-whip. He finally, finally could relax.

Our comedy guy. We love you. Thank you for being ours. Tell MJ we’re ok.

So sly

We’ve made a new friend: Finley the fox.

He comes with a bonus of helping dogs in need: the purchase of Finley will raise funds to help Key To Lion’s Heart Rescue. This fundraiser ends December 8th!

Help 160 Finleys get “adopted” into new homes. To get your own Finley, please go to http://www.avon.com/fundraiser/keytolionsheartrescue

We love ours. To death.

Happy MJ Day!

December 16, 2018

In honor of #MJDay, snuggle up next to your favorite thing and take a long nap. Eat french fries stolen from someone else’s plate. Refuse to put your feet down in the rain. Make friends with someone new. Wiggle like no one’s watching. Be your Most Joyful self, or Miss Jackson if you’re feeling a little nasty.

Her last ride.

We miss her every day.

When dad’s away…

By Zozo

Here’s what mama and I did today:

Woke up! I was so excited for our Best Day Ever that I jumped on the bed and sat on Mama’s head. She “did not appreciate it.”

Had breakfast. I had kibble and she made gross coffee and had a cookie because she’s a grown up and there’s eggs in there somewhere.

Yard works. We weeded and weed whacked and mowed and trimmed tree branches and dug in the mud and ate grasses and maybe/maybe-not ate cat poop.

Showers and baths. I was muddy and she was sweaty and everyone had a rinse.

Thelma and Zo-ise road trip (mama said not to call it that). We took the scenic route to drop off old paint cans. The men were very complimentary of how many cans we fit in mom’s mini-suv. I burped at them.

Home for a rest and then pizza. I love pizza crust.

Couch time.

Best. Day. Ever.

Who doesn’t like new things?

March 2018

Two years ago, we bought a new mattress.  It was an ordeal, trying to determine fill, firmness, pillow-top or not, size, etc.  Although the weekend spent reclining around mattress showrooms was both entertaining and creepy.

This year, we were in the market for a new mattress, but for the grumpy old man who lives with us. Same ordeal, less test-driving: what fill, level of support or cushion, to bolster/bumper or not to bolster/bumper, etc.  After much looking (an Orvis isn’t in the budget right now), we settled on the PupLounge Memory Foam Orthopaedic Bed from Treat A Dog.

 

What we like:

  • The Tempurpedic foam holds its shape, which is good for Zo’s aging joints
  • It doesn’t slip cross the floor
  • It’s waterproof and tear-proof, and machine washable.
  • The price point: we bought this on a steep mark down (60% off and free shipping).  If it had been original ticket price, I may be less enthusiastic.  It feels like it’s more durable and better craftsmanship than something you can snag at a local, big box pet store.

What we less-than-like:

  • As the video mentions, we bought based on his weight.  I suppose I could have pulled out a tape measure to confirm the dimensions, but I assumed (I know, I know) that a bed for an 80 pound dog would be proportional in size to weight.  That’s on me. Next time, we’ll go for the extra large bed.
  • The sound of his nails on the cover is irritating, but that’s a #dogmomproblem more than anything.

 

So far, so good.

Barkselona

February 2018

James and I had the opportunity to travel to Barcelona, Spain with Atlas Obscura. It was a magnificent, once-in-a-lifetime trip.  As with any humans-only trip we take, we miss Zozo, who was on his own adventure first on a mountain and then at our usual boarding spot.

What we didn’t know about Barcelona was just how dog friendly a city it is.  Dogs on the subway.   Dogs in (some) stores.  Off leash.  On leash.  In arms.  Wearing sweaters.  This town is Dog Friendly.  A good quarter of the 600 pictures we took are some pups out and about.  Here are a few of our favorites!

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Zo-cial media

Momma has not been writing a lot about us recently because of human reasons.  BUT I got bored and figured out her computer password.  I am on instagram and twitter now.  Follow me?  I will follow you.  We can sniff each other!

insta: @zozobeanfinley

twitter: @pbncheez

zozo’s log: Lost River, WV

August 2017

summer in washington, dc can give you the blues.  i told mom and dad we should get away for the weekend: enjoy some fresh air, disconnect, commune with woodland creatures.  and so here we are, on a trip to lost river, wv.  i was promised adventures and all the sniffs.

friday, august 4

mom and dad furiously finish packing.  i packed the night before [okay, mom packed for me because 1) i do not have thumbs and 2) i am not allowed to counter surf].  we all exercised this morning and ate a good breakfast so that we’re not “wiggly monsters” in the car.

11:15am.  finally in the car.  i am a road warrior; they are a mess.  see?

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why we can’t take a normal family picture, i will never understand.

we like to travel together and listen to podcasts and sing along to showtunes while we drive.  dad steals my harmonies.  jerk.

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12pm: we detour to the woodstock brewhouse for lunch.  they have barbecue and a patio that i’m allowed to sit in.  dad had some pulled pork and sausage sliders.  mom and i shared some brisket.

one of the tricks to our travels is packing some extra towels.  sometimes, places allow pets but the area does not have any shade. mom and dad have gotten very clever at IMG_4192rigging tents for me, but i usually prefer to be out and about, looking at the people and letting them look at me.  i also like to flirt with waitresses.  i am a lady’s pup, after all.

1:15pm: we get lost so it takes us a little longer to arrive than expected.  someone needs to refresh her map-reading skills.  we rented the hideaway through airBnB.  it’s awesome, and very welcoming to pets.  they left treats for me, and there’s a dog bed and an extra leash and a ball chucker toy.  i spend two hours sniffing everything.

3pm: mom and dad leave to see what’s happening at the lost river general store.  i settle in for a nap.  i wish they had brought me because they said the people were very nice and there was ice cream.  i love ice cream and i only get to have it on the most special occasions.  vacation is a special occasion.

4pm: they return and we rest on the screened-in porch.  mom and i take a nap.

6:15pm: mom and dad leave to go to dinner at the guesthouse, which is just around the corner.  while they’re gone, a big, scary thunderstorm comes through.  i cannot believe they have left me in a strange place by myself during the apocalypse.  this is not the adventure i signed up for.

8pm: between rain drops, mom and dad come home.  they feel bad for leaving me during the storm.  we snuggle and i get to eat some apple because i was a good, brave boy while they were gone.

9:35pm: last pit-stop of the night.  i investigate for bears.  none sighted… yet.

saturday, august 5

8:04am: time to get up and start our big adventure day.  the big, scary storm took away mostIMG_4197 of the heat, and there’s a breeze on.  mom borrows a long-sleeved shirt from dad because it is chilly.  it is going to be the perfect day for a hike.  but first, breakfast.  i choose to dine al fresco this morning.

9am: after being a little lazy, mom and dad go out to get their breakfast at the lost river grill, and then they go to the farmer’s market without me.  this wasn’t the plan.  i was supposed to go, too, because it is dog friendly.  so much stuff here is dog friendly.  i love it.

10:21am:  we figure out which trailhead we will pick up, pack our backpacks, and head out for our big hike.  mom did not bring my backpack, so she has to carry my stuff.  lost river state park is over three thousand acres of wilderness and animals and campers.  we take the white oak trail up to cranny crow overlook.

11am: it is a four mile hike, out and back.  i lead the way and set the pace (doesn’t it look like dad is running to keep up?).  dad walks me up.  mom walks me back.  we encounter horses on the trail, which i think are either the biggest dogs i have either seen, or dinosaurs.  we also meet other hikers who tell me what a nice boy i am (duh).  while we walk, we sing songs and talk about serious things like what else is brown and sticky, other than a stick (answers: horse poop, mud, old bananas, the apple we left on the counter overnight, avocados that have been in the fridge too long.  you get the idea)?  at the summit, we stop for water and protein.  dad has a nut bar; i have cheesy treats.  it is a great hike.

1pm-ish: we are back at the car and i get a good brushing and pat-down to make sure i have not picked up any critters on the walk.  all clear!  the plan was to go to a pond next so that i could do some swimming, but i am too tired.  maybe swimming tomorrow?

1:21pm: back at the hideaway.  we have showers and snacks and a lazy afternoon.

4:42pm: mom and dad start preparing for dinner with the ingredients they bought from the farmers market.  i help dad man the grill.IMG_4219

5:30pm: we eat our dinners outside and i get to have a bite of steak because i was such a good boy today.

for the rest of the evening, we read books (mom) and comics (dad).  as for me, i am turning in early.  only one more day of vacation.  boo.

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sunday, august 6th

8:04am: i am a routine-machine.  the sun is awake and so is my tummy.  time for breakfast and morning hunting for bears.  it is still very chilly outside and today it is also grey, so i think we will not be able to do swimming.

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9am: mom and dad leave for breakfast, and i begin my end-of-vacation sulk.

10:09am: mom and dad come home.  they begin to pack up bags and wash dishes.  we finish digesting breakfasts by reading on the screened-in porch.  no one is eager to get on the road, least of all me.

10:57am: dad is loading up the car and mom is doing last checks.  i am buckled in to my flight suit and acting grumpy.  we lock the cabin and return the key to its hiding spot.  we will be visiting dad’s parents on our way home, which will break up the ride and delay the real return to reality.

best. weekend. ever.  until the next one.

In the neighborhood, in the neigh-bor-hood!

March 2017

About a year ago, I started running.  Voluntarily, with nothing chasing me.  I bought good sneakers that fit my orthotics (my knees have history) and a Wind Breaker and a little belt in which to keep my phone for music.  I used the Couch To 5K app to help me get started. If you were around my neighborhood, you’d see me jogging and walking and jogging and walking and huffing and puffing three days a week.  I did it for exercise and to help prepare for a musical I was in last summer.

(To be clear, I tried to take Zozo with me.  He wasn’t having it.  It could be I was too slow or he was too interested in pooping when there were no cans around.  Either way, opportunity lost.)

I hate running.  I struggle with it, but I keep at it.  I like the fresh air.  I like reporting back on homes for sale or new lawn decorations.  But mostly, I like that I get a chance to see neighborhood dogs.

Bradley is a handsome Sheltie who trots his dad along.  When he sees you, no matter how far off, he sits and waits.  His dad waits, too.  You may not pass Bradley without petting him, for he will follow you until you pet him.  Sometimes coming and going, I get some Bradley love.  Bradley’s dad gets a lot of interrupted walks.

Ariel is a German Shepherd with the largest ears I’ve ever seen.  She moved into a house as a puppy, and it’s been amazing to watch her grow into her feet.  Her eyes are amber. When her dad walks her to the local middle school to collect her human siblings, she’s off-leash, focused and disinterested in sharing the sidewalk.  Disciplined. So disciplined.

There’s a dog– sometimes two– that live in a house one street over.  I refer to this dog as Evil Dog.  I think his name is Storm.  I’m not sure.  He’s a fence charger and a jail-breaker.  From out of no where, he’ll come charging the fence, barking at passers-by, not at all phased by the beeping of the electric fence collar his owners have on him for extra restraint.  Maybe I’m being unkind– I suspect he’s lonely, bored, or poorly socialized– but he scares me to death every. damn. run.  (One time he hopped the fence and walked to Home Depot.  He was found in the plumbing section.)

A Burmese Mountain Dog broke away from his tweenage companion and knocked me over, stood on my legs and licked my hair.  The crackle of a changing voice screaming “MOM”, “HELP” and “HE’S JUST A PUPPY” was heartbreaking.  When I realized I wasn’t being mauled to death, we all calmed down and had a giggle.  And then I cried the rest of the way home.  Run cut short.  (They have a fence now.)

The long-haired Chihuahua.  This little thing, wearing a bedazzled orange harness, came running yap-yap-yap out of an open garage and chased me down the street.  When I turned back to him, he put his tush down and hushed.  I walked towards him and he backed up, turned around and started towards home.  I resumed my run and he resumed his.  I picked up my pace and flipped a corner.  I have no idea where he went, but I hope it was home, along the sidewalk.

There’s a beagle who guards a neighbor’s chicken coop and generally hangs out in the middle of the street.  He’s a weirdo.  People just drive around him, or get out of their cars to shoo him home.

There’s an older Korean gentleman who walks his cat.  I want to make friends with him.