Posted tagged ‘Duke’

“Taste is the most unexplored sense”

January 16, 2015

When I got up during the night, I swear I saw stars, and was delighted, I stood at the window a while just looking. When I woke up, it was cloudy, and I wanted to scream. Right now, though, the sun is making an appearance, and off to the west are patches of blue sky. I can barely contain my excitement.

Gracie woke me up around 6:30. She wanted out, but when she got on the deck, she couldn’t get down the stairs. They had a topping of ice from the dusting of snow we got yesterday. I put on my shoes and walked her to the yard down the stairs step by step. If the poor dog only knew. Here I was her safety net, and I fall all the time. Luckily this time I didn’t. Before I went back to bed, I threw safety paws de-icer on the steps and also noticed where Gracie had been sick a few times. I won’t get into a description, but I think whatever had been bothering her was on her crate blanket which is now washed and in the dryer. Gracie is back to her always happy self.

In the old days we didn’t take our dog to the vet’s except to get the rabies shot required by law. There was no well dog visit back then. Duke, the boxer we had while I was growing up, was a terror to other dogs, but he met his match once and his neck was torn open. My dad said nature would take care of it. My mother sneaked Duke to the vet’s who took care of it. The dog’s wounds healed, and my father gloated a bit with his I told you so. We all just looked at each other and said nothing.

We pulled many fast ones on my poor dad. My mother would come and visit me, and we’d shop. She’d fill her trunk with boxes and bags. When she got home, she’d bring in two or three packages and show my father what she’d bought. He’d nod but actually be totally uninterested. Shopping was hell on Earth to him. When my dad went to work on Monday, my mother would empty the trunk. My dad never noticed anything new in the house. His spot was at the end of the couch next to the table. That was his little kingdom and nothing there ever changed. He was content.

We knew never to tell my dad some of the ingredients in the dishes he was served for dinner. He would refuse to eat them if he knew. Garlic, according to my dad, was to be used for garlic bread and shrimp scampi. It had no other uses. Little did he know he often ate it in a variety of dishes. He did catch my mother putting it in slits in a pork roast and was horrified. My mother took out all the garlic. My father had eaten that pork roast with garlic several times. He just didn’t see it.

My father used his eyes to determine whether or not a dish could be eaten. Hummus was wallpaper paste. He knew that without trying it. Just looking was enough. It was a huge no on potstickers and anything my mother made for my brother, the vegetarian. My father was the original meat and potatoes man with a few vegetables tossed in like carrots, canned asparagus and corn, either fresh or canned. My dad actually ate a huge variety of things. He just never knew.

“Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.”

March 3, 2014

It was a put a mirror under her nose to see if she is breathing sort of morning. I woke up at 8 and decided I didn’t want to get up so I went right back to bed. Around 10:30 I finally got up, had time for one cup of coffee and one newspaper then got dressed as Gracie had her senior dog check-up at noon. She loves going to the vets. She is so active the vet said without the gray around her muzzle she would have guessed Gracie was far younger than eight. Because Gracie gets a little excited, they take her out back for her shots, blood drawing and nail cutting. Strangely enough, she is quiet while everything is being done to her. She weighs exactly the same as she did 6 months ago during her last senior dog physical. The vet said she seems great. Right now she is sleeping on the couch and resting from her ordeal.

When I was a kid, we had a boxer named Duke. He never had yearly check-ups. I think he only got rabies shots, but I can’t attest to that as I don’t remember. I’m just assuming. After Old Yeller I think all the dogs got rabies shots. Duke was a fighter. During one fight, a massive dog tore Duke around the neck. My dad said time would heal it. My mother sneaked Duke to the vets where he got shots and the wound taken care of. In those days my dad was away all week as he had been transferred, and we were waiting for school to end before we moved. He was home only on weekends. When he saw Duke and how well the wound was healing, he made mention of I told you so to anyone who would listen. We had been sworn to secrecy so we just nodded and let him think he had been right.

We lived by the motto that what my father didn’t know wouldn’t hurt him. My mother was usually a co-conspirator. We could tell her anything, and she’d pick and choose what to tell my father. It made life so much easier. We also learned how to look repentant when he yelled. Most times we were just blocking him out and nodding our heads as he yelled at us for whatever, but we always looked sorry and a bit sheepish. The four of us perfected that look. He never figured it out.

“To lose the approbation of my dog is a thing too horrible to contemplate.”

September 10, 2013

The weatherman said sunny and warm today, mid 70’s. Right now, though, it is damp, dark and chilly with a strong breeze. Later Gracie and I have to go to the dump, but that’s it for chores. At the vets yesterday, I found out Gracie has gingivitis. We knew she had gum issues but it hadn’t gotten to gingivitis before this. Now she is on antibiotics which only cost me $110.00. The other choice was surgery to cut away then cauterize the gums. Before my eyes flashed a bill well over a $1000 so I went with the lesser of two financial evils. The vet said Gracie is in good health and has plenty of energy. She got her ears cleaned and her nails cut as well. Despite being a crazy dog, she abides getting those done quite calmly. I think it always surprises the toe cutter.

When I was a kid, our dog was a boxer named Duke. The only shot he ever got was his rabies shot every couple of years. There were no well dog visits back then or heart worm treatments or Advantix against fleas. My father would douse him with flea powder periodically or give him a bath. He ate horse meat, a component of dog food back then. There were no natural or healthy foods for dogs. Leash laws didn’t exist back then either. Duke was a roamer, and he knew his way all over town. You might have heard this before, but it’s a great story worth retelling. Duke was uptown and found my grandmother. He followed her right into Woolworth’s and while inside he lifted his leg on the comic books. The manager wanted to know whose dog it was. My grandmother said not a word as Duke really wasn’t her dog, but when she left the store almost immediately, Duke followed, a dead giveaway, but my grandmother never looked back. She wasn’t an animal lover, and I can only imagine the embarrassment she felt. To the rest of us, it was just a funny dog story. Duke lived to be fifteen. He was a great dog, stubborn as they come but protective and loving.

I can’t imagine being without a dog. Gracie is always happy to see me. That boxer stub of a tail goes so fast back and forth it reminds me of helicopter rotors, and I half expect her back-end to go air-borne. Sometimes she puts her head on my arm, looks at me and gives me her please eyes, the look which says a treat would be nice. I seldom refuse. She and I are in constant battle for alpha dog. I always win, but she is never happy about it. She sits then talks back to me. There is no mistaking her tone, and it always makes me glad dogs don’t talk.

“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”

August 19, 2012

The sun appeared for a few minutes then went into hiding behind the clouds. The day is overcast but still light, none of the darkness of the last few days. A damp chill is in the air and a breeze is blowing. It’s an okay day.

Gracie’s panting was so heavy that she shook the bed and woke me at 1:30. She was gulping so I knew her stomach was upset. It happens every now and then. We went downstairs, and I let her out to hunt for grass to eat to settle her stomach. She came back inside about 20 minutes later, and we went back to bed. In not too much time, the bed began to shake again so downstairs we went and out she went. She came in and we went to bed but she kept moving around as she was unable to get comfortable and then came the panting. By this time it was 2:30, and I had yet to fall back to sleep. I went upstairs and brought down a sheet and pillow and went to try to fall asleep on the couch. Gracie joined me. Neither of us slept. She started panting again. This time she was out so long I went out on the deck to make sure she was okay. It was around 3:30. When she came back in, I fed her some fronds from the spider plant. She ate everyone and then went back outside. When she came in this last time, she went into her crate and stood looking at me. That is the universal sign for a treat so I gave her one which she ate then another. Gracie was just fine. It was 4 o’clock when we both went back to bed.

My dog Duke, when he was pretty old, got into a horrible dog fight with the huge dog down the street. Duke got the worst of it. He had really bad wounds on his neck where the dog had grabbed him. This never happened when Duke was in his younger days, when he was the scourge of the dogs in the neighborhood but age had slowed him down. My mother wanted him brought to the vets; my father said he’d be fine.

In those days, my dad worked on the Cape all week and came home only on weekends. We were moving there but not until after school was finished for the year. When my dad left the Monday after the dog fight, my mother brought Duke to the vet  who took care of the bite wound with a few stitches and a shot or two. By the time my dad got home at the end of the week, the wounds were well on their way to healing. My dad checked out Duke when he got home and said to my mother, ” I told you nature would take care of it.” None of us ever mentioned the trip to the vet’s.


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