Not All Working Dogs Have Job Titles

Jessie was scheduled for euthanasia as a “behavior problem”–a separation anxiety nutcase, a house destroyer, a crazy bag of bones abandoned. He came to me for behavioral rehab. His intelligence, sensitivity, and 100% reliability with all other animals and humans of all ages was almost missed–until he graciously showed me what he needed. I understood…

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Some Dogs

Some dogs don’t move you to poetry. Some dogs quietly, slowly, meld themselves into literature’s prose; not flowery, not romantic, not shiny. Jessie was a dog who grew slowly into a soul mate. He arrived frantic, anxious—a house destroyer, a wreck of rejection, an abandoned teenager who had lost everything he knew in a dog’s…

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Decision Making in Times of Terror

This morning I was awakened by the annoying screech of an alarm on my phone, which sat inches from my disheveled head. I jerked awake, annoyed. One of my cats jumped off my back, where she sleeps whenever I am splayed in upside-down spread-eagled form. My small dog, who I have suspected as losing his…

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Bailey’s Hills

I almost made it to Bailey’s hills today.  I had hip revision surgery six weeks ago and each day I challenge myself to walk farther, with longer strides and more challenging inclines. Just a week ago I was dependent on a friend’s walking sticks to keep my balance. The week before that, I walked with…

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Bailey’s Disappearance

My fourteen-year-old Wheaten Terrier, Bailey, disappeared. Vanished. Melted into thin air. Somewhere in my own house. The panic that gurgled in the back of my brain wrestled with the logic that I knew she had fallen asleep on my bedroom floor last night. She was still there at 3:30 am when I roused for a…

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The Littlest Role Model

I recently dog-sat for an elderly Dachshund named Cody. He is one of those dogs that wheedles his way into one’s heart by just being around. Cody is fourteen years old and like most old Dachshunds, has back problems. He has intermittent use of his minuscule and crooked hind legs and is fed a myriad…

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Brillo’s Not-so-excellent Adventure

Two weeks ago my little Lhasa/ShiTsu/Schnauzer mix dog and I popped into Parkside Animal Health Center in Aurora, Colorado for a routine anal gland expression. Brillo has always needed periodic but regular “cleanings” and on occasion this repugnant duty has resulted in hilarious outcomes (pardon the intentional pun). Shortly after fostering and then adopting Brillo,…

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Ten Years of Extra Life for Jessie

 Jessie had never been inside a house. He had never been alone or confined in a small box. He felt growing claustrophobia and was unable to cope with the new sensation of isolation. He panicked in the crate. It took him most of the day, but he managed to chew a hole through the hard…

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Jessie’s Dorsal Laminectomy–Part Eight: Home Again

A wet snow and cold wind blew my Subaru south to Parker Animal Emergency & Specialty Center, where Jessie awaited me. He was able to return home on his third day of hospitalization and we were all anxious for his company. Both my other dogs, Bailey and Brillo, had moped around the house, uncomprehending and…

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