This morning I got a call from my sister-in-law – also named Sharon – that their little dog Tillie was dying. She’d been sick for a few days, throwing up and not eating. They’d taken her in for tests, but the tests were inconclusive. This is a young dog, probably 4 or 5 years old. It has to be one of the ugliest dogs I’ve ever seen, and they joke about that, but Tillie is a really fun and entertaining mutt. Sharon called me as I was sitting in a park in Denham Springs a little disillusioned that I couldn’t walk my dog there because they don’t allow pets. She started crying on the phone, and, for the first time in my life, I was able to ask a family member if they wanted me to come over. It felt weird and made me really happy at the same time. I’m now in a place where I don’t have to take trains, planes or long automobile trips to be with family.
She came to my rescue on Monday when I melted down talking to her. Since we are the only female family members in the Baton Rouge area now, I’m sure we’ll probably be pinging off each other quite a bit. We talked about the options and what would be the best way for her to make the decision on whether to treat her dog or put her down. If you’ve ever had to make that decision, it’s brutal. How do you play God and decide whether a creature should live or die? But, it’s one of the honors God bestows on us as humans. We are the caretakers of these magnificent creatures, and we must be there to help them leave the planet when and if the time comes. But, the responsibility doesn’t make it any easier to make the call.
Click on the pics for captions.
We had to run an errand, and when we came back, a black dog was running through the neighborhood more than a block away. As we drove closer, we realized the dog was Ashok, and she had met us at the intersection and was racing back to the house. When I drove up in the driveway, she was sitting there like she’d been nowhere. If I hadn’t seen her, I’d have had no clue that she’d been waiting for us at the corner. She is a little Houdini. I knew I had put her in the backyard, and the back gate was closed. I drove up to their house last Saturday night, and she was sitting in the driveway. I thought the gate had been left open. But, now I know that little Houdini got it open. She also learned how to unzip the zipper on her kennel door this week. Twice, I’ve come home and she was out. I knew I’d left her in the kennel. I made sure I zipped it the other day, and, sure enough, she unzipped it before I came home. I’ve had her for almost 4 years, and she escapes every leash and every harness I’ve ever used to secure her. She even wiggled herself out of a car safety belt which is extremely secure. She almost hung herself on that one.
Sharon and I were laughing about having to lock the zipper ends together to keep her from unzipping them. I have another kennel at home, but I just have the portable one here. I may try the cage that I brought for the cats to keep her contained. I’m in someone else’s house, and I can’t just let her go crazy. Today, I came home, and she had taken the bag of cat food off the counter in the kitchen, chewed open the bag and ate half of it. Rilo, her new partner-in-crime, seemed pretty happy about this situation, too.
Ashok has separation anxiety. If I’m around, she stays glued to me. She won’t run off. She’ll sit happily in her kennel or on the floor beside me. Leaving her is always a big deal. I have to trick her into thinking that I’m going with her if I’m leaving her, or I have to get somebody to distract her so I can leave. My brother said she was a depressed mess when I was camping last week. Of course, Sharon told me today that she wasn’t too bad until my niece gave her a bath with the hose after she rolled around in chicken poop. Apparently, she may have been traumatized by the hosedown.
Ashok, like me, is also not used to the chaos at my brother’s house. They have 3 dogs, several rabbits, lots of chickens and a cat. They also have two kids. They asked me to look after the animals on Saturday night while they were out of town. They showed me what to do before they left, and I very confidently came home Saturday night to do my job. The first thing I saw was my dog on the loose. Then, I went to let the other dogs in, and they didn’t cooperate. They had assigned kennels, and I couldn’t remember which one belonged to who. In the morning, I got up to go feed the chickens, and I could see chickens leaping 6 ft into the air. WTF? I got closer, and Ashok and their chocolate lab were back there trying to get into chicken pen. Two of the chickens had escaped and were wandering around the yard. Ashok had a hurt foot and kept yelping. Tillie peed on the rug in the living room. I texted Sammy and told him I had failed miserably at my assignment. He asked why I thought that. I couldn’t even begin to put words to how afraid I was that something had died in my care. I just replied, “chaos.” He answered, “LOL That’s our life.”
I’ve been reminding of the chaos that animals cause on this move. My cats cried a good part of the drive down. Bella escaped that first night, and I had to look for her in the dark to no avail. I took them to my friend Jo Ann and Robbie’s house for a few days to give them some quiet time, and her animals and mine interacted in great fun. Throwing animals together is always a trip. My housemate has a Westie, and it took a couple of days for him and Ashok to work it out. Then, I brought the cats home. It’s just been crazy. I can see why it’s so hard to find a place to live that accepts pets. They are a way of life for most of us, but they are animals, and they are unpredictable. I imagine landlords that have had bad experiences just don’t want to go there again.
I feel sad that Tillie is not well. I guess that’s why she was having problems over the weekend. Sharon said she was hoping to cut down on the number of animals she has because something is dying all the time. They put down 2 dogs in the last couple of years. They were all old, but still. The chocolate lab killed one of the chickens recently. And, their cat died in the not so distant past. I have my own chaos over here with the two dogs and the two cats. The guy I’m living with is a self-professed neat freak, and it’s hard to be neat with all of these animals here. I’m trying, but it is making me nervous trying to keep them in line. Sammy is right. Animals are chaos. And, I’m sure this move is making my animals come unglued. At least at night we’re all settling in and snuggling up like normal. There’s nothing like a purring cat and a snoring dog to calm my nerves.