This week there was a day called National Dog Day. My friends flooded my Facebook feed with pics of their pooches and #NationalDogDay. I did not participate with a post of my own because I’m not really a dog person. Now, I’m not anti-dog, unless its an unleashed barker chasing me as I run down the road. I’d just prefer not to own a dog.
Other noteworthy dates this week included the anniversary of the band Boston’s debut album, Boston, on 8/25/1976. This is one of the greatest rock albums and bands of all time, and Boston appears in an upcoming post, so keep an eye out for that.
However, another date of note this week is August 28th (today, if you’re a subscriber reading this on Friday), and August 28th, 2020 would have been my mother-in-law Judy Hinson’s 77th birthday. Unfortunately, we lost her unexpectedly 18 months ago to a strange version of pneumonia that sure looks a lot like COVID-19 in retrospect. Makes me wonder…but I digress.
Back to National Dog Day. My mother-in-law, or Grammy as we called her, would have been all over National Dog Day. Unlike my own mother, from whom I inherited my “not a dog person DNA”, Grammy wholeheartedly believed a household was required to own a dog. And, for most of the years I knew her, the dog was required to be a dachshund with an ‘S’ name. Snoopy, Suzie, and Sammy represented about 40 years of Grammy’s wiener dog ownership. Those little guys live a long time.
When Grammy moved in with us in 2005, Sammy, a long-haired dachshund, came along with her. Sammy was pretty low maintenance, but Sammy was on the tail end of her long dachshund life span. This meant it was time for another rule of Grammy’s dog ownership book to take effect: Not only must you own a dog, but you must also obtain a puppy in the latter years of the primary dog’s life, so as to not have any time WITHOUT a dog. I don’t remember the reason, but the dachshund streak finally ended, and Gidget, a Shih Tzu, came home with us to accompany Sammy in her last years.
So everything was mostly good for a long time. Grammy was healthy enough to take care of her dogs, and eventually, Sammy left us, leaving Gidget and Grammy to become best buds. A side note…At one point we had three dogs in the house, but I wasn’t really responsible for any of them, except trying to keep my arch-nemesis CJ, the mentally challenged Jack Russell, contained in his outdoor pen. CJ is another story and the link to that story can be found at the end of this post.
Old Dogs and New Tricks
Then February 2019 found us suddenly without Grammy and, therefore, without a Gidget caretaker. Guess who inherited most of the Gidget duties. You got it. To say Gidget has been a challenge over the past 18 months would be a slight understatement. The biggest challenge was breaking her from using her favorite in-house pee spot – basically wherever she was when the urge hit. No carpet, area rug, dog bed, or couch was safe.
However, through a stricter walk schedule, water intake control, and an initial investment in dog wee-wee pads, Gidget has made remarkable progress. She has learned to go in the yard again, and we rarely have an indoor accident (that we know about). Most of the problem incidents are us missing the schedule we’ve worked hard to establish. This is another example of why I don’t bet – I would have bet against old Gidget changing her ways.
Apparently, many “truths” and teachings from my childhood being rewritten these days. While I’m open and willing to reconsider what I was taught on many subjects (and have already), I’m still sticking by one that is under attack: the seven to one dog years to human years age comparison formula. Because…does it really matter?
Anyway, the traditional seven human years to one dog year ratio makes Gidget 77 years old now in human years, the same age as Grammy would have been this week. And Gidget acts more and more like Grammy every day. Not only can she not see or hear very well, but she also imitates Grammy in another, remarkably eerie way, and I don’t mean the white hair. See, Gidget will stand in the middle of the kitchen during dinner prep time and manage to be in everyone’s way, but yet contribute nothing to the dinner preparation. Spot on imitation.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
So happy birthday, Grammy. We miss you, and as long as Gidget is tripping us in the kitchen, we’ll think about you every day, too. In the end, it would seem Grammy had the last laugh on old son-in-law. Thanks, a lot, Gram. I’m still not laughing. Oh, yea, happy belated National Dog Day.
Thanks for reading,
PS: Writing streak has made it to 94 days. Might take a very short break at 100…not sure yet. Work travel this week made fiction progress tough. Did some editing/revision on the first draft. About 1/3 through this process.
PPS: Here’s the link to the post on CJ, the Jack Russell: http://gregfowlerauthor.com/2019/03/27/thanks-for-the-memories-cj/.