It was a normal morning, with the major exception that Tinker is no longer with us. We had an appointment to put her to sleep this morning, but apparently she was in pain last night and could no longer stand. I had gone to watch the I.U. basketball victory with a friend when I got the call to meet my wife and step-daughter at Dove-Lewis Animal Hospital. By 9 p.m. she had become an angel and Tally, our younger schnauzer, an only “child.” My wife did not sleep well last night, while I was still inclined to step-over the spot where Tinker often spent the night. It was in a direct line from my bed to the bathroom, a route that I navigate all too often every night.
When I got up this morning, Tally and I took the familiar route to the park but without Tinker’s “Air Buggy” stroller. We encountered another dog on the stairway down from our apartment, since there’s no longer a need to use the elevator. There was a lot of barking as the two went nose-to-nose. I actually thought we could avoid the other dogs in the complex by taking the stairs because most of the surprise meetings occur when the elevator doors open. There’s a neighbor’s huge St. Bernard that is of particular concern since Tally is always intent in protecting me with her fiercest voice. I’m sure she’ll miss Tinker, but will take every advantage of no longer having to share.
My wife will do the ten o’clock dog outing on a solo basis from now on. She got in the habit of taking feisty Tally on longer walks since her retirement a few months ago. I would take Tinker out with them but then bring her back shortly after “business” was complete. This way she never felt left out after “Schnauzerthons” were no longer possible. She could no longer keep her balance in the stroller, so our combination walk-run routine changed once we moved downtown. Today is a sad day, but there’s relief knowing that Tinker is at rest. Despite the loss of hearing & sight, and some open sores, her appetite was never affected. She died with a full stomach.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Condo for a week in Las Vegas $330
Pet Sitting $800
For retirees who want to travel, pet sitting is the biggest expense. For our two dogs, it’s about $100 a day for someone to come into our home. A kennel stay isn’t much less, so we’ve always opted for the personal attention and security of having someone stay here. By next year, sadly, we’ll probably be down to just Tally, since Tinker is blind, deaf, and quickly losing her sense of balance. Tally will probably then enjoy the social interaction of boarding. At this stage, it would probably kill Tinker.
Tinker leaves the apartment every day by carriage. When we get to the nearby park I carefully lift her out to do her business. Six times a day it’s a never-fail poop, as even old age has not tarnished her dubious reputation as “The Poopingest Pup on the Planet.” There is little delay when her feet hit the grass, while sister Tally always takes her sweet time. My wife claims that she has many secret canine messages to “decode” with her nose. We miss our precious pups when we travel, so it’s worth it to have someone carefully looking after them. We typically rotate between two sitters, based on availability. One is a little less money than the other, so we tend to favor her a little more.
My wife’s daughter occasionally provides pet relief for us when we travel. This has been complicated by a recent marriage, a new house, and her new adoptive addition, Falco, a mixed terrier. Falco spent time with us during her recent honeymoon, but Tally had some adjustment issues with the new niece. She likes her time with “Mom” after I’ve left our bed every morning. Falco tried to hone-in on this treasured time. To be honest, I’m not sure if Tinker was aware she was even here. None of the dogs have much demand for me when their “Mom” is home.
All Tinker cares about is food, and needs the input to create the output. She has become persistently annoying in getting fed and has an incredibly accurate internal clock when it comes to dinner time. This is about the only movement that we see all day, as she begins to stalk us at about 4:30 p.m., in anticipation of the five o’clock feeding. She also begins to bark when I fail to feed her from the table, a habit that we have to change. Tinker, despite her lack of hearing, has an innate sense for an open refrigerator door. As far as both dogs are concerned, I’m just the guy that takes them outside and often interrupts their comfort in the process. At least, I’m no longer charged with kitty-litter duty, but I do miss Frankie that passed just before our apartment move a few months ago.
It’s ideal when we can take Tinker and Tally along when we travel. They’ve done a few day trips and recently accompanied us to Canada. Tinker has the most travel miles, with seventeen states and British Columbia under her belt, or should I say collar. Tally has been on road trips from Texas to Indiana and Texas to Oregon. They are both great car-riders, even when the cats joined us on major moves. We had hoped to get Tinker to California for a visit with my wife’s other daughter, but we’re not sure if her health with allow another state. We always save money when the dogs are along because there are no sitting fees and we tend to stay in the cheaper hotels that are dog friendly.
Our schnauzer Tally has had a tough couple of months. In our move from condo to apartment, she first lost her favorite sleeping spot, a small sofa that she chewed-up as a puppy. When the move was complete, she adopted another clawed-up chair that was once in my office. However, we replaced that with a new chair that she is not allowed to sit on. Naturally, she would not give up or just didn’t get it, so we finally compromised with a protective covering. Ultimately, she lost interest and found comfort in a dog bed next to where we sleep.
We next introduced Tally to her first niece, a terrier mix named Falco. We housed Falco for the week while her mother, my wife’s oldest daughter, and new husband enjoyed a honeymoon in Hawaii. They became best of friends, romping through the hallways on our floor and teaming-up to bark at other dogs. Our other schnauzer, Tinker, Falco’s elderly aunt, took this all in stride and maybe didn’t even realize that we had company. At over 15 years and without good eyes and ears, she only reacts to food. I take her outside in her stroller several times every day to make more room for more food. Input equals output – this is why Tinker has earned the reputation as “The Poopingest Pup on the Planet.” She rarely fails to discharge on each of our five or six daily outings. It was a challenging week, handling the needs of all three dogs. I would start each day with just Falco on a leash and then make a separate trip to the nearby park with Tinker and Tally. The rest of the day my wife and I would divide & conquer, so the peppy dogs could take longer walks while Tinker would rest and probably dream of food.
After all the other things we took away from Tally, it was time for Falco to go home. Today, things were back to normal for us, but Tally lost her best friend and playmate. Fortunately, she goes to the spa this morning for a bath and grooming. She’ll at least be around other dogs and can continue to romp before she returns to our quiet apartment. Hopefully, it will be an easier transition after so many tough ones. I can almost read Tally’s mind: “You took my couch, my chair, and now my dog.”
If you read the previous Post #1024, you read about Tinker and the inspiration for this poem.
It lurks not in water,
No fin on its back.
Keep your fingers away,
When it’s ready to attack.
There are no shiny scales,
But dog fur instead.
It could be hiding,
Under your bed.
It has sharp teeth,
And gnaws on a bone.
Don’t get in its way,
Leave it alone.
When feeding time comes,
It may start to stir.
Should this occur.
It may try to stalk you,
Start barking like mad.
Be aware of that look,
Of being hungry and sad.
It smells your cooking,
Pleads that you share.
Whimpers and begs,
Fears you won’t care.
Don’t be afraid,
No need for scare
Bark is worse than bite,
When bacon’s in the air.
Beware of the Bark Shark,
It’s craving your food.
Feed it or flee,
It’s got an attitude.
Copyright 2019 johnstonwrites.com
It’s just another sunny day in the glorious world of retirement. For those still working for a living, it’s also Sunday. My wife is getting ready for a business trip to Los Angeles while I gladly stay home to watch the dogs. They see Sunday as FunDay, anticipating their weekend Schnauzerthons. My wife leads feisty Tally on a leash while I run with old lady Tinker pushing her stroller. As we make our way through the neighborhood park, we’ll occasionally exchange dogs in a carefully synchronized spin around the pond. There’s even a designated poop stop, having learned our lesson about giving Tinker a timely break. She is, after all, “The Poopingest Pup on The Planet,” and the fast buggy ride seems to relax her a bit too much. Just like a toddler, we now always carry Wet Wipes just in case. Once I complete my just over three-mile daily running goal, I let her out for the short walk home. Today was RunDay number 3.864, as “The Streak” continues.
Tinker was really gimpy today as she waddled along by herself. Her regular outings are very short any more and often she doesn’t even make it down the driveway before she poops. A few steps later she’ll relieve her bladder in the neighbor’s grass and immediately head home. It’s almost like clockwork. She’ll then wait in the shade of the garage until Tally finishes her business, and will bark if it takes too long. Last night, we had dinner guests and she was very impatient. The neighborhood was so peaceful and quiet except for her demanding bark. It was the most outspoken I’ve ever seen her, so she must have thought that with guests at the table, she’d get more food if she was loud enough. As we well know, input equals output, so extra baggies were needed today.
One of my favorite SunDay morning rituals is listening to Sunday Morning Brunch on KINK radio. Although it’s a subtle reminder that I used to work there, it was a mellow way to start today. It helped me get through a sluggish hangover from too much wine and too many barks last night. I won’t be outdone by the neighbors when I set out my glass bottles for recycling tomorrow. It will look like a job well done, after another of my wife’s successful dinner parties. It may be one of our last at this home once we put it on the market in a few weeks. Who knows where we will be living next? I’m sure the neighbors won’t miss “Old Lady Bark” or the brown spots in their yard.
I’ll be on my own for a couple of days, so baseball, beer and fried chicken with a friend is planned. Tinker will have no one to bark at but Tally, as she quietly dreams of the next Schnauzerthon. I just hope that the Cubs can get their sh*t together after blowing a couple of key games this past week. I’m sure my Cardinal friends are thrilled. They are only “my Cubs” when they’re winning and the Brewers are taking advantage of weak relief work with back-to-back-comebacks. It won’t be FunDay unless they can win in Milwaukee today. Also, the fried chicken won’t taste good unless they can beat the Cardinals. If not, you’ll get tired of hearing my bark!