When our schnauzer Tinker was alive, she always seemed to inspire a poem. Her younger sister Tally all too often got upstaged. Now that she’s an only dog, I thought it only fair to write some words to describe our all-black pup who is often just a dark shadow in photos (unless she poses on a white rug). Tally rarely pays attention to me, but every once in a while she rolls on her back expecting a Tummy Attack!
We have a pup,
Who likes attention.
All you have to do,
Is subtly mention.
Would you like,
A Tummy Attack?
She’ll roll over,
On her back.
Her paws in the air,
To urge your hand.
Exposing her belly,
To something grand.
“Please don’t stop,”
You can hear her plea.
The smile on her lips,
“A little lower,
And to the right.
You can keep rubbing,
All through the night.”
And when she’s hungry,
There’s more magic rhyme.
It’s dinner time.
Backwards, Upside down,
Then comes the look.
She’s got you,
On the Hook.
She’s a black bandit, For scraps or Ham Time. But stealing your heart, Is her biggest crime.
Those eyes meet yours,
It’s clearly Pet-nosis.
Tally gets what she wants,
She’s Puppy Precocious.
Copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com
We’re lucky to have house guests for the weekend. My wife’s daughter and husband have come for a visit. I feel bad that we don’t have more space to accommodate them, having moved from our house into an apartment. They would have had the entire upstairs and total privacy. Instead, they have an inflatable bed crammed in my office. I’m writing from the living room coffee table this morning and feeding the parking meter out front to allow them garage space. These are both minor disruptions in the world of retirement. We’re glad to have the company in these pandemic times of isolation.
We relieved the stay-at-home boredom yesterday by driving to the quaint Oregon Coast city of Manzanita to meet some friends for wine and food. It was like an extension of our long drive to Glacier National Park along winding scenic, forest roads. After a couple of quick views of the Pacific Ocean and a bite to eat in Cannon Beach, we were soon back home. For some reason, Tally our schnauzer had no interest in being near the roaring waves. We still had a few more preparation duties to take care of in anticipation of our soon to arrive guests.
Today would normally be a “Leadership” luncheon, but nothing is normal these days. Next week we’ll return to that Friday tradition. Tonight, we’ll grill outside at my wife’s other daughter’s nearby home. It will be the first time that we’ve all gotten together since their wedding 10 months ago, just before the world shifted and spun out of control. At that time, our schnauzer Tinker was still alive and their pup Falco had yet to be adopted. Now, Tally is best friends with Falco, so the patter of little feet will add to the reunion atmosphere. We might even see our fancy grill in action, since they are not allowed in our apartment building. It’s being stored at their house. Someday soon, it will be the focal point of our Florida outdoor kitchen.
Construction should start soon on this Florida house that will once again allow comfort and privacy for house guests. We’re not anticipating any overnight company in the remaining 6-months of our apartment lease. Most are discouraged by the lack of space and inflatable bed, but family is forgiving. However, they would not be staying here if it weren’t for the fact that the other sister’s house is under construction. They picked the lesser of two evils, and we’re doing our best to be good hosts. My wife loves house guests, especially those tolerant of our limited amenities.
This is probably one of the most uneventful Fourth of July weekends I could remember. In fact, I checked my diary dating back for 20 years to find that we always had something going on this weekend. For the first 10-years of our marriage, while still living in the Midwest, we were usually with my wife’s mother watching their home town fireworks. That all changed when we moved to Austin, Texas and I started temporarily working in the retail business. One Fourth of July weekend was all work and no play. We did at least see the fireworks at Zilker Park and Auditorium Shores.
The following year, 2011, we went to a wedding in my home town, the last time my family was all together for an event. Three years later both my parents died just after we moved to Portland. In that time span, there was one very memorable Fourth on the beach in Port Aransas, Texas. Tinker was scared to death of the fireworks in the sky above us. The last Fourth with my wife’s mother was four years ago in Indianapolis. Portland was just too far away to run back to Indiana, so we explored Oregon, including a hike and picnic at Punch Bowl Falls and a fabulous weekend at Crater Lake.
My wife’s mom passed 14 months ago. This ended all trips back to Indiana and allowed for last year’s Fourth at Canada’s Butchart Gardens. Both Tinker and Tally were relieved that there were few outbursts of fireworks once we crossed the border. It was Tinker’s best and last Fourth of July, including an All-American hot dog in the peaceful garden setting. She was a princess in her special stroller and got lots of attention from passers-by. Tally got to smell the flowers in the dog-friendly grounds. Unfortunately, it was their last together.
Last night, Tally did have company for the noisy night. My wife’s grand-dog Falco stayed with us because the neighborhood where she lives is much louder than ours. In fact, she’d been medicated for days and reluctant to even go outside. On their final outing last night both dogs were freaked out. Falco refused to pee, after not touching her food or water for days. It was quiet once we got back inside, so both dogs slept undisturbed. However, it took a longer walk this morning to get either of them to do their business. We did have our traditional chicken legs and potato salad dinner, while I drank a bit too much wine. Sadly, in these pandemic times, there was little else to do but watch Yellowstone, for me a repeat. For the first time in our marriage, we were stay-at-home Fourth of July shut-ins.
Everyone in our household is getting a little shaggy. At least, Tally our fuzzy schnauzer gets groomed today. She’s been growing her mustache for three months now in these pandemic times. The spa that we took he to for years, Urban Fauna, has sadly closed its doors for good. We’re taking her this afternoon to Coats and Tails, just down the block. Provided they do a good job, we’ll at least have convenience on our side. Hopefully, Supercuts will reopen soon and I can get rid of my shaggy appearance.
One of our favorite neighborhood taverns is the Blue Moon. My wife is drawn by their mini-corn dogs called Scooby-Snacks. They’ve been a welcome to-go choice over the past month, after they were closed during the initial stages of the virus. I’ve written about Scooby-Doo recently (See Post #1310), but failed to mention his lazy cartoon companion, Shaggy. As described by Wikipedia, “Shaggy Rogers has a characteristic speech pattern, marked by his frequent use of the filler word “like” and, when startled, his exclamations of “Zoinks!”. His nickname derives from the shaggy style of his sandy-blond hair. He also sports a rough goatee. His signature attire consists of a green v-neck T-shirt and maroon bell-bottom pants, both of which fit loosely.”
“Both Scooby and Shaggy are readily bribed with Scooby Snacks due to their mutual large appetites, insisting that ‘being in a constant state of terror makes us constantly hungry!'” I guess they have a lot in common with our family, hoping the Blue Moon Scooby-Snacks can ease our terror of Coronavirus. Casey Kasem, of American Top 40 fame, was the original voice of Shaggy, while Don Messick was Scooby, while also voicing The Jetson’s Dog, Astro. “Ruh-Roh!”
Tally, of course, is a fan of snacks, too! She’s not particular, having enjoyed fortune cookies last night from our Chinese take-out order. They always throw in extras for her! It reminds me of one of my favorite poems that I wrote years ago and have adapted for today’s Creature Feature post:
We have a dog named Tally,
Eats everything in sight.
She wants a treat each morning,
Gets ham most every night.
She’s at my feet when dining,
Just waiting for her share.
I simply can’t ignore,
Her impatient stare.
When we take her on a walk,
Her nose is on the ground.
Searching every crack,
For a morsel to be found.
Ice cream is a favorite,
She licks it off the stick.
And if you want some for yourself,
You better eat it quick.
When we order Chinese,
Her tail begins to wag.
And she starts to whimper,
When she sees the bag.
She wants her Fortune cookie,
In no mood to chase her ball.
She’s been known to eat them,
Plastic wrapper and all.
On the morning after,
When I went to scoop.
You’ll never guess what I found?
A fortune in her poop.
Copyright 2009 johnstonwrites.com
The original was written for Tally’s sister, Tinker, that we lost five months ago at age 15. She was “The Poopingest Pup on the Planet.” (See Post #33). Tinker, although a schnauzer, reminded me of Disney’s Shaggy Dog. Tally, on the other hand, will no longer be shaggy after this afternoon.
In the words of the Rolling Stones, we’re living in troubled times:
“When all I hear is doom and gloom
And all is darkness in my room
Through the light your face I see
Baby take a chance
Baby won’t you dance with me”
My baby and I are dancin’ off to Phoenix, despite viral threats, stock market woes, earthquakes, and travel advisories. “The Show Must Go On,” although there are rumors that the upcoming Rolling Stones tour could fall victim to COVID-19, as has Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, South by SXSW, Coachella, and the Pearl Jam tour – just to name a few big events. Many of my friends decided not to join us in Arizona, so I’m feeling the risk of leaving home. However, I’m just getting over a terrible cold and the sunshine is what I need. I’ve been foolish before!
It’s Curse of Oak Island Day, following an evening of Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad. I know what day it is only by the show I’m watching. It’s called boredom, that needs an occasional dose of travel. We have plans to be gone at least a week of every month this upcoming year. This of course is subject to the “doom and gloom” that surrounds us. Can you escape by living your life in a bubble? I’m already in the retirement bubble, enjoying the luxury of not reporting to the office every day. I’ve earned the right to be lazy when I want and adventurous when I’m not a couch potato.
I fulfilled my cooking obligation last night with a dinner of duck and cream corn. It was simply a matter of baking our Hoosier-state-based Maple Farms favorite that we frequently have shipped. Even I can’t screw that up! I’ll get next week off from what is typically the most stressful thing I do in retirement. After all, I’ve managed to stay out of the kitchen most of my life, so it’s both foreign and intimidating. Wine helps take the edge off before, during, and after the preparation process. It pairs well with duck!
Today will be spent printing boarding passes and packing, along with a couple of follow-up visits with vets. Our schnauzer Tally has a heart murmur and has hopefully fought-off some parasites. Pet.Vet. Debt. She’ll spend the week with a new dog sitter here in the apartment, still adapting to being an only dog after the loss of Tinker a few months ago. She’s now surpassed me in age at 70 dog years, while age naturally leads to more medical bills. Tinker lived to be well over 100 and was a constant drain on the pocketbook. Since canines age faster than we do, seven years for every one of ours, they become a reality check on mortality. I would like to think that I have a lot more to look forward to than “doom and gloom!”
Our schnauzer pup Tally is slowly getting oriented to being an “only child.” She had always had Tinker to keep her company, as well as other siblings before we adopted her just before her first birthday. Her 10th is a week away and we need a plan to celebrate. Since Tinker passed away a month and a half ago, Tally has spent 15 days with pet sitters, 2 days at the dog spa, and a week with her niece Falco as a playmate. We’re trying to keep her from being lonely, but you can tell that she misses Tinker, as do my wife and I. Falco is my wife’s oldest daughter’s new pup that is also a rescue. She’s fattened up a bit since we first met three months ago, after the trauma of a hurricane and giving birth.
Falco and Tally love to run and frolic about the carpeted hallways outside of our apartment. It’s about the only real freedom they get, as our actual living space is restrictive of playful activity. They also get to run up and down the stairs before and after we take them outside. I like to use the back stairway that exits directly to the sidewalk, rather than the main way out into the lobby. With this preferable egress, before they can actually get outside, there are two doors that when closed form a small “airlock” that contains them while I put-on their flashing collars and raincoats. There’s also less chance of running into other dogs and the related commotion that often happens in the marble lobby. The third way out is the elevator to take them up and down, but it too empties into the lobby. We don’t use this option as much anymore without the need for Tinker’s stroller. It’s also more fun to watch the dogs navigate the stairs and better exercise for all of us.
Falco is gradually getting oriented to visiting us regularly and playing with Tally. Soon, Tally will be spending reciprocal time at Falco’s house, and hopefully she’ll be more mature around the two cats that once lived with us. Tally loved to taunt Jimmy and Zelda, and never learned to befriend them like Tinker. We’re hoping that all of them will get along better, so we can take advantage of sharing pet-sitting responsibilities and costs. The first experiment will be in a few weeks when we go to Las Vegas. In the meantime, the trials and tribulation of pet orientation will continue.