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Been a long time…..

February 23, 2012

Hello world.

Pamdemonium will be resuming soon. For those visiting after reading about Pilgrim in The Nashville Ledger, if you want to see the story from beginning to end, click “For the Love of Dog” under “Categories” and start from the bottom.

Both Shadow and Pilgrim are still with us, though they are getting a little crazy. Both are developing cataracts, though Shadow’s are more advanced and sounds make her skittish because she has trouble seeing. Pilgrim, on the other hand, is nearly deaf but his sense of smell has only intensified and he sticks his nose in my bag/purse as soon as I put it on the floor. It matters not whether any food was housed within. He just does it. He never used to. He also barks randomly – we think because he can smell us in the house but can’t hear where we are.

As soon as he wakes up for breakfast, he barks. Pilgrim wants breakfast as early as 4:30 a.m., regardless of when he ate dinner. Some mornings I sleep until 5:30 before the piercing, solo “woof” penetrates the earplugs I now wear. Often we go back to bed.

With both Shadow and Pilgrim, we are trying a prescription medicine approved for dog Alzheimer disease. It does not seem to make much difference.

Feel free to check out the new site in progress for Content that Connects. I am adding to the site as I can in between projects. Should you need blogging, editing, web content, PR or social media services, however, the contact form does indeed work.

To the readers who started with Pamdemonium when it launched, I promise more is to come. In fact, I hope to start with at least a weekly random fact. Please feel free to post ideas.

The family says thanks. “We are family. Shaun, Shadow, Pilly and me.”

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Pilgrim woke me up this morning, on Thanksgiving, at 6:15 a.m. Since the accident and his surgery, he’s lost 10 pounds – 20 percent of his body weight, which is a good thing but means he’s mighty hungry as dawn approaches.

He’s not shy about it, vocalizing his want with increasing intensity. Shaun can sleep through it, usually. I cannot. Like most mornings, I rose, fed Pilgrim and Shadow and let them out and then let that back in. Like some mornings, I crawled back into bed.

Before Pilgrim’s mishap, this extended morning ritual involved him jumping up into the bed with us, especially in colder weather, and putting his little red head on or near my pillow. We’d nestle in a cross-species spoon for an hour or so.

It was chilly this morning, and Pilgrim wanted up. He doesn’t “say” it; he stands there and looks. So I picked him up, put him on the bed, he found his spot and settled in. He can’t jump onto the bed or even the sofas anymore; he doesn’t have the muscle strength in the back end to push off and he dangles half-on, half-off the sofa, looking sad and helpless. He won’t even try to jump on the bed.

At this very moment, Pilgrim is sprawled on the sofa behind me and Shadow is nearby on the floor. I am smiling.

I smile at our dogs a lot these days and revel in the simple joy that they are with us. When bad things happen, I try to learn from them. A car hitting Pilgrim and dismantling his pelvis on July 4th was a bad thing, deciding whether to say goodbye or spend thousands to put him back together was a difficult thing and tending to a broken, healing dog round-the-clock for two months was miserable, seemingly endless thing.

I have learned much.

Maybe we all need reminders, even if painful, to appreciate our loved ones, whether they have two legs or four, when we still have them and not take their presence in our lives for granted. Our pets are great teachers, in good times and hard times. They embody unconditional love. They teach us patience. If we let them, they teach us to slow down and take joy in the world around us. If we were so inclined, we could learn where the really bad smelling stuff is so we could roll around in it.

Those long days and nights consumed by Pilgrim care taught me valuable lessons about time and how much of it I waste. As he became stronger, I became more determined. I joined local hiking groups, planned more social outings and got back in the garden. I’ve already got three or four trips planned for the first half of 2011.

Many friends have asked us if we think we made the right decision. The answer is complicated because I don’t know if, given the circumstances, there was a wrong decision. Would I do it again? I don’t know. The surgery and the long recovery were very hard on Pilgrim and the rest of us, including Shadow.

But that damn red dog fills my days with joy, even when he is a pain in the ass. The trauma has aged an already old dog. Shadow, who is about two years older, is now on incontinence meds. I don’t know how long we’ll have them but I know I will appreciate each day, each hour and do whatever we can to keep them happy and comfortable in their dotage.

One of the hardest lessons has been learning that “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer to a tough question. And that in the moment, we make the best decision we can under difficult circumstances. For as long as they are with us, our old dogs will teach us new tricks, and for that, on this day, I give thanks.


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RF: Crazy for love

November 21, 2010

Some creatures get frisky in the spring. Deer get it on in the fall. Random Fact learned, courtesy of a court-ordered defensive driving class, that automobile-deer collisions are three times more likely in November than any other month. “They get crazy for love,” our instructor said. This was not the only peril discussed but it [...]

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RF: Add it up

November 7, 2010

Random Fact wanted to know how many pennies are in a pound because weighing a cookie tin filled with the coins is easier than counting them. Like so many questions in life, this one did not have a simple answer. Metal composition dictates the weight and the formulas have changed over time. It takes 145 [...]

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For the love of Dog, Chapter 7

October 21, 2010

With the worst now behind us, when Pilgrim is acting especially adorable, or not, I gaze at him and say aloud, “Dude, you’ve got to stick around for at least two more years so we can amortize our investment.” Over two years, the cost of saving Pilgrim will be about $8 a day. That doesn’t [...]

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Overheard: Aliens on Main Street?

October 12, 2010

Pamdemonium today launches “Overheard,” a new category for stuff that finds its way into my ears and simply must be shared. Many of these posts will be brief; some will require a bit more context. They will appear as often as I overhear really amazing or odd things, so I’ll need to get out of [...]

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RF: Osage can you see?

October 10, 2010

Random Fact is fairly certain a culinary use for the Osage Orange would go a long way toward solving if not world hunger at least large pockets of hunger in the U.S. Alas, apparently only the seeds are edible and only squirrels have the determination to get at them. They bulky fruit itself is not [...]

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The Pam who fell to Earth

October 7, 2010

After I jumped out of the plane, only one question seemed relevant. Would my face rip off before my head exploded? We had arrived at the jump site before our scheduled 5:30 p.m. “early check-in.” Fran S. was turning 40 in a week and wanted to skydive. I wanted to join her. Shaun wanted to [...]

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For the love of Dog, Chapter 6

September 23, 2010

An anxious dog is a miserable dog. A miserable dog makes for a miserable household. Pilgrim’s broken body was healing, slowly, but the damage to his psyche proved much trickier to treat. Three or so weeks after surgery, the whimpering began. Every two hours, 24 hours a day, Pilgrim became inconsolable. He seemed to need [...]

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RF: Destination salt

September 19, 2010

Odd, quirky museums and festivals are endlessly amusing and Random Fact today makes a stop in Grand Saline, Texas. Grand Saline has a Salt Palace. Morton Salt, the town’s largest private employer, has mined an underground dome nearby for decades. Best estimates put the salt stash at 20,000 feet high and 1.5 miles wide, enough [...]

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