Not the war of Fae and The Geese, although that one was rife with sharp barks that rang through the meadows, and guttural HONKS.
Fae doesn’t think the geese should be in HER pond, even though she doesn’t actually want to go in it herself, because she’s a fastidious little princess who doesn’t like to get her delicates wet.
I mean after TWoo, that funny, strange, sometimes angry little dog who had so much life for so many years. He’s the dog I had to use a GPS tracker on lest I lose him on his hunting escapades. The one who got himself locked in the old abandoned mobile home while hunting rats. The dog who spent two whole days ignoring foster dog Keiren before he realized Keiren wasn’t actually just Dexter being twice as busy as usual (and then, to make up for lost time, thought he might try to kill him). TWooie was such an odd duck because almost everything he felt (except rage) he kept inside himself; he was never pushy about affection, he didn’t like to cuddle, he never got on the furniture and he slept by himself in the other room … it was like living with half a dog, compared to all the pushy, Big Personality dogs that make up the rest of the Crew. Yet somehow he was also a lot of personality. It was hard to watch him fade away to a ghost of his former dogness. At the end, he could barely walk and mostly he just laid (or stood) around staring into space or sleeping – except at mealtime, when he became very animated. Until the very last Sausage McMuffin I gave him in the parking lot at the vet’s, he was moved by food.
I guess I thought that because TWooie and I never did anything together, really – we didn’t snuggle or cuddle much, he didn’t play fetch or tug or interact with toys at all; I only ever taught him a few behaviours, and he only did them for food … I guess I thought he wouldn’t leave much more than a brief ripple of sadness on my soul and then he’d be gone on the wind, just a fond memory. But he was a much harder loss. Every time I open the freezer and see his last frozen baggie of the pasta and mackerel I used to make for him every week, I feel a little gut punch all over again. I still wait for him to catch up when I’m walking the WooCrew. When I pull out bed time cookies, I still count out 9, every night.
I hope I gave him a life he enjoyed. I hope he got to be the dog he wanted to be.
But with his absence also comes a serenity in our home that wasn’t there before and I guess had not been for many years.
Dexter, whom TWooie always hated, is so much more relaxed. He can walk around inside without baring his teeth at his nemesis. He has stopped jumping from chair to couch barking at the little 30lbs of Aussie who used to pull his hair. The near constant huffing and growling and almost silent snarling that was the background music to much of the last 11 years is missing from our day to day. Right after meal times I can open the babygate and let Dexter out of his private dining room (AKA the bedroom).
Wootie doesn’t seem to miss him – he seems to have come to terms with his brutha being gone long before I did. Addy still finishes her food and then runs to where TWooie used to eat to try and steal some of his meal (I used to keep an arsenal of stuffies on the counter so I could peg her with them to shoo her away from his bowl while I was trying to clean up the kitchen after food prep). But otherwise nobody seems to notice he’s gone; it breaks my heart a little, but when I see Dexter walking around without looking over his shoulder, I feel a little guilt too. Sometimes it’s hard to share my life with all these dogs and try to make all of them happy.
Although it’s pretty easy to make Maisie happy – give her a stick and she’s good to go.
Except for whatever is making her eat her own legs. You can see the damage she has done to herself. I have spent a fortune on vet wrap; every time I manage to keep her away from one self-inflicted wound to give it time to heal, she starts another one. I haven’t taken her to the vet yet because a) WHY does is always have to the holy trinity of expensive vet visits at once? and b) thanks to Covid, we still can’t go inside with our dogs (well, except TWoo, they let me for that) and since I don’t know if she’s cannibalizing herself from something physical or something mental, I am afraid sending her into a building with Strangers who well then Touch Her (I mean we are talking about a dog who still won’t go outside with Auntie Fiona when she lets them out midday while I’m at work) will cause her to eat any part of herself she can reach.
Any idea what it could be? She doesn’t limp or favour any legs and she doesn’t seem to be in any kind of pain; it’s a weird ass place for allergies to manifest – I can’t figure out why she’s chewing herself up. I wish she would stop. She’s such an odd little duck.
I also love that she has one ear from her labby heritage and one from her border collie side.
I am relieved that TWoo has gone on before Wootie, because I think if the reverse were true I’d be left with a very upset TWoo. He was always more attached to Woo than Noodles was to him. Wootie is doing great, considering he is hovering somewhere around 16 years old. He still plays fetch from time to time, though I notice his bunny hunting days are over – when the other dogs take off after a bunny, he just watches like an indulgent grandpa.
He even swims a little sometimes, though he picks his way into the pond very carefully, and if the ball is too far out in the water he yells at me and won’t go get it.
It’s almost time for his annual shave down, as he is one shaggy mess!
Everyone is else is business-as-usual …I basically never see The Seasons, all they do is hunt All The Things that are waking up and moving around in the long grasses. Every time I think about having to give them up, and them living a different kind of life, I get a little more depressed. I am now looking at jobs in other parts of the province, and other provinces altogether, where I might be able to afford to live on a little piece of land we could call our own.
It’s weird to be down to eight dogs. It’s strange how one less dog can feel like I’m missing so much.