“Do you ever read your mother’s blog?”
I am sure Dearly Beloved thought he was promoting family unity when he asked our visiting son that question. Read my blog? What am I supposed to write about if my kids start reading my blog??? Did Ben Bradley ask Richard Nixon, “Mr. President, do you ever read the stuff Woodward and Bernstein write?” (Understand I’m not making any comparisons here.)
Son’s visit was going to be good for at least three blog entries. It has been an interesting trip–WWJD. Without Wife, Just Dog. The wife (who we adore) was sick and the dog is their new puppy. . . a hyper, not-completely-housebroken Weimaraner puppy. This dog, sweet, and lovable as she is, has one speed: WARP! In contrast, so does Bonnie, our fat, lazy, neurotic cocker spaniel. Her speed I’d identify as STILL BREATHING.
The first morning of their visit I started outside to pick up the newspaper when a bright yellow stain on the white living room rug caught my eye. I did a U-turn and sleepily headed for the kitchen and the cleanup supplies. Dead center in the range/fridge/sink work triangle lay another offering, this one a definite No. 2. I decided to go for the rug stain first and that’s where Son found me, on my hands and knees.
“Who did that?” he asked innocently.
I gave him my best guess of a suspect and he seemed reluctant to believe me. “Are you sure? Puppy has been doing so well on her training.”
“Ummmm. . . go look in the kitchen. You may be able to ID something there.”
Puppy made the mystery much too easy to solve because she followed him and added a postscript to the heap even as he watched.
Two of our offspring were visited by the Puppy Fairy Christmas and both have let me know that they intend to handle their pets’ diets very carefully, feeding them carefully measured amounts of food. Their not so subtle message is that they do not plan to have a fat dog like Mom’s.
I must leap to our defense here, Bonnie’s and mine. Remember, she was an abused, underweight breeding dog rescued from a puppy mill. Food is a big deal to her. Add to that the fact that her next owner, my beloved uncle, was quite befuddled when she came under his care. Accustomed to a routine of driving to Hardee’s every morning for a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit breakfast, he simply ordered an additional one for Bonnie every day. Because she wolfed down the cat’s food too, he took that as a menu request and catfood became her nighttime fare.
When my uncle died a few months later and we brought Bonnie to our house, she spent most of the time hiding under a bed or in a closet even though Howard, our big Akita was surprisingly tolerant of her. The vet prescribed Prosac, then added Xanax for the thunderstorms which rendered her nearly catatonic.
During this turmoil we hired the previously mentioned Apple Dumpling Gang to do our renovation. They decided to make Bonnie’s rehabilitation part of their job, charging only their regular hourly rate despite their extensive psychiatric canine expertise. They began to woo her with bits of their lunch and within a few weeks, Bonnie had come out of the closet and revealed herself as a Miss Piggy wannabe while they enticed her with everything from venison sausage to McDonald’s french fries. On more than one occasion I had to come up with replacement food after Bonnie grabbed someone’s lunch and ran. The vet cancelled the Prosac and put her on weight control prescription dogfood which yes, she’ll eat, but she prefers it topped with a little human food.
That brings me back to the poop on my kitchen floor. We think Puppy found–and enjoyed– the high-fiber weight control dogfood in the laundry room. Except for the laundry, she unquestionably produced the biggest loads of the week. If possible, it made her even more energetic. I swear, if it wasn’t dogfood, I’d add it to my cereal every morning.
After that, Bonnie stayed up at night to guard her food. Puppy, in contrast slept in the bed with Son. (Don’t even ask how I felt about that!) Stella– her name, by the way–is excellent at Hide and Seek. Bonnie couldn’t find a place to hide during the day to get in her naps that she didn’t wake up being sniffed. Outside, Stella made up another game she liked-using Bonnie to practice her jumping. She cleared her with more than a foot to spare every time. Bonnie, incidentally, used their visit to perfect her already Oscar-worthy long-suffering look which could make Deputy Dog look downright jovial.
Son helped his dad with some tough, long-postponed yard projects during his stay, so it is hard to say who was more exhausted this morning when dog and owner left, except that Stella definitely wasn’t in contention. It is always tough to see our children leave these days. They live in other states and have families of their own, so each visit is a treasure. Son had a five-hour drive and a 6pm meeting ahead, but he probably hadn’t reached the Interstate before Dearly Beloved and Bonnie were snoring in front of the tv. I wasn’t sleepy, but no one should bother looking for me in the kitchen for awhile.
I haven’t had the heart to tell Bonnie there’s still another new puppy in the family for her to meet. And by the way, since Son says he DOESN’T read my blog, I can tell you: Stella left one last parting gift in the kitchen.
STELLA BY STARLIGHT, PHOTO BY SON