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Yesterday was the second anniversary of Flash’s death.

Isn’t it odd, but the first anniversary kind of just slid past. This year I started thinking very strongly of him beginning last week. I couldn’t figure out why he was so much on my mind until I noticed the date.

Stanley has done a lot to help me cope with his loss. Figuring out what Stanley is going to do from day to day keeps me occupied. Yet I’ll always have a space in my heart where Flash used to be.

I love watching vet shows. I especially like those shows like Supervet where the doctor pulls out all the stops and saves the animal. I listen and watch stories of people who love their dogs unconditionally and feel a kinship to them.

Have we always loved dogs the way we do now? Or has our increasingly distant society encouraged – accidentally – a closer bond to our pets? I don’t know.

Flash was the first pet I had all by myself. He was strictly “my dog”. When my other dogs were alive John lived with me. Maybe that has something to do with the bond I felt with him. He became my de facto child, my dependent.

I’ve often tried to analyze the terrific grief I felt at his loss. It buffaloed me. I was stunned at my reaction to his death since it was unlike anything I’ve ever known. I’m beginning to think that there is something to the idea of the cumulative power of grief, that each successive loss is piled on top of the previous one.

Or maybe it all comes down to the fact that we share so much with our pets. We confide in them. We show them our true, authentic selves. They see us naked, sick, lazy, and watch when we eat that something we’re not supposed to eat. For all our flaws, they love us without reservation.

Can we do any less?

So, on this second anniversary I’m conscious of how blessed I truly am. Not only to have known and loved a great dog, but to realize that Flash’s legacy is to remember him with a smile and a deep reservoir of gratitude.

Stanley’s New Friend

Stanley’s New Friend

According to Joni, the manager of Pupstop, Stanley’s daycare, he has a new best buddy. It’s Larry, the standard poodle who thinks he’s a small dog. Evidently, he lives with a tiny dog so that’s how he plays. From the following pictures I can only agree.

Notice that Stanley’s the only one in a super duper harness? Let’s just say that Stanley was born to run. Out of the car, onto the street, anywhere the wind blows free in his hair. Plus, the harness has a handle and that has really come in handy.

The Most Durable Dog Toy I Ever Bought

The Most Durable Dog Toy I Ever Bought

This is the Worx lawn and leaf bag that I bought on Amazon. It’s canvas. It’s collapsible. It’s designed for you to rake up your leaves, bag them, collapse the bag, and then store it in the garage.

I purchased this in 2016 when I was under the mistaken notion that I:

a. Should do the yard myself.

b. Wanted to do the yard myself.

I’ve used it exactly once when my yard guy lost his mind and dumped four bags of leaves into my garbage container without bagging them. I couldn’t move the container because it was so heavy so I had to dump it out, bag all the leaves, and then get rid of them week by week. Yes, I did fuss at him, but in Southern Belle fashion. In other words, no F bombs, but plenty of high dudgeon.

A few months ago I had the brilliant idea of gathering up all of Stanley’s 27 toys and putting them into this, a collapsible laundry bag. I hadn’t used that in a dog’s age, either.

The only problem was that Stanley could chew through it – and did. Plus, he ate the cloth handles.

I saw the Worx bag in the garage the other day and the light bulb went on over my head. I gathered up all of Stanley’s toys and put them into the Worx bag. Stanley can’t chew through it because it’s canvas. Plus, it’s amazing watching him learn how to turn it on its side, or manipulate it in order to get to his toys. At night I’ll toss a few cookies in there and he’ll have to figure it out all over again.

All in all, it’s one of the most durable doggy toys I’ve ever bought – accidentally – and one that keeps him occupied for a long time.

How about you? Does your pet love odd toys, things that were never designed as toys?

My Neighborhood and Dogs

My Neighborhood and Dogs

If you go to NextDoor for my neighborhood you’re going to scroll through at least fifteen posts about Dog Found, Stray Dog Located. It’s become an epidemic this month. I don’t know if people are abandoning their dogs in my neighborhood or if they’re getting dumped here in some other way.

Cats aren’t exempt, either, and there are always reports of a poor rescued kitty who died of feline leukemia which is highly contagious.

One of the problems in helping out a stray dog is that they may carry diseases like canine flu that could be transmitted to your pets. Still, I applaud the efforts of these good samaritans who look out for these poor dogs and cats especially in this heat.

Why do you think people abandon their pets? I know the myriad reasons, from crowded shelters to financial issues to behavioral problems, but what I want to know is why? How can they live with themselves knowing that they took in a pet then when it got to be too much simply let it go to fend for itself, starve, get mistreated, or run over by a car?

I don’t understand. My guilt would paralyze me.

One dog I rescued had parvo and was at the vet’s for two weeks. He survived, but was never, well, manageable. He ran away constantly, ate the carpet, chewed on furniture, and was otherwise a holy terror. I advertised and found another home for him and off he went to be a companion to a little boy. Six months later I was notified – because of the rescue’s records – that he was euthanized for behavioral issues. I’ve always felt horrible about that. I’ve wondered, for years, if he would have been a better dog if I’d spent more time with him, taken him to obedience training, done more. I thought I’d done the right thing, but it didn’t turn out to be right for him.

I see ads all the time to re-home a dog. I understand those. Sometimes, it’s just not the right fit. That’s why I like rescues that offer you a two week no questions asked return policy.

What do you think? How do people abandon a dog that’s come to rely on you for love, food, and shelter?

Scintillating Stanley

Scintillating Stanley

Stanley was at daycare Monday and Tuesday for a few hours each day. He had a chance to socialize again, find a girlfriend, sniff derriere, and altogether have a wonderful time.

I love that they send me his report card with pictures. He really does enjoy socializing, but he hates being put into a kennel space and he still screams when he hears my voice. Hey, you can’t have everything.