Gentle Reminders of Goodness

I stayed away from Twitter for a very long time. Although my feed was mostly filled with positivity, I did follow a few controversial people just to keep abreast of what was trending in my world. When I decided out of curiosity to see how much of my time was spent on that platform, I was flabbergasted and felt guilty that I was spending that much time scrolling through nonsensical and often-infuriating content. I decided to close my account.

Fast forward a good six months, I remembered that I had a second account that I had not closed and hardly ever opened. I had to dig deep in the repository of my memory but I finally remembered my password and signed on. That second account has zero followers and I follow less than 20 accounts. My feed has been interesting. I get lots and lots of pictures and short videos of animals and some inspirational quotes. I spend very little time on that platform, reluctant to follow more people or interact for fear that I will get followers. I am enjoying, however, the pictures of cats and dogs that remind me how much a part of our existence these creatures and and how fortunate I am to have been able to nurture almost a dozen companions in the last 20 years.

I observe Lila lying at my feet as I type, serenely sleeping. She knows she is safe and I know she is well. For today, that is a beautiful feeling for both of us.

A Little More Procrastination

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I don’t know what it is about shredding documents and putting things in the recycle bin that paralyzes me so much, but here we are.

Much could have been accomplished on Saturday morning but instead I chose to give Lila a very much needed bath. She was not happy about it but she was so completely compliant and obedient that I had to give her two extra cookies just because. It does concern me that the last two times I have bathed her, she just sort of takes it. I should be happy but my concern has to do with whether or not the groomers we used to take her to somehow got her to be compliant because they were nasty to her. Not possible, right? We stopped going there because my husband was convinced they were using a dry shampoo. I don’t know about that but I am okay with bathing her myself.

The hundreds of files containing documents that I should have been shredding will sit for another week but Lila is clean, her dandruff is not unsightly and I burned some calories during the event and afterwards when we took a nice long walk. Tomorrow is another day. Lila’s grooming could honestly not await another day.

A Special Month

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I noticed on the Fourth of July that lots of references were being made to how bad for our furry friends fireworks are. In this day of post-covid and finally easing restrictions, I know people were out and about and looking forward to celebrating the evening gazing into the sky and seeing gorgeous lights there. Alas, many were disappointed but I bet the dogs of the vicinities were happy.

Here in Costa Rica we will celebrate our independence in a couple of weeks and I wonder what will happen here. Fireworks are expensive and businesses everywhere are claiming that Covid-related costs have made them rethink the places where they spend their discretionary budgets. It will be interesting. I watch Lila as she lies on the floor next to my feet, her favorite place when I am writing. Her breathing is steady, she is deeply asleep. I feel content, knowing she is calm. I think I vote for no fireworks this year. Wouldn’t you?

Monday morning, Tough for Lila

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I am having so much trouble with my technology these days, I refuse to believe it is me! Lately, the internet goes in and out and our country is courting the “technological nomads” which I think is a huge risk. My “work” is writing for myself with an ambition to get published so it is not as crucial if the internet is down because I can do my work on a laptop without a connection for a while.

However, if I had to be responsible for getting heavy digital work across borders, I am not sure I would be able to keep my job. Although these things should not concern me because I am not the one offering the services or needing them, I still feel awful about my country going after these specialists and then failing to give them what was offered. Sounds like an embarrassing breach of contract, but then again, it’s really not my problem.

Lila lies at my feet. She is not aware that I had to take one of my laptops to the technician. The browser is behaving oddly, typing of its own accord. Of course, when I brought the laptop in to show the expert, it wasn’t doing it. Fortunately, I thought ahead and brought a recording of the nonsensical typing with me. Let’s see what happens.

But back to Lila since she is supposed to be the subject of my Monday writings. In a couple of days, she will have been with us for 12 years. It seems like just yesterday. Where did the time go? She does act her age, I suppose I am slowing down too. My back is sore today from bending and lifting things on the weekend. I never used to suffer but these days I notice I can’t do as much as I once did. I glance at Lila. Today I offered her the chance to accompany me back from the pool and she seemed interested until she noticed that I was headed for the stairs. She turned around and opted to wait for my husband who was taking the long way around, the pathways seemed a much better option. I chuckled and understood and if it hadn’t been for the fact that I needed to make my way to the laundry room, I too might have gone the long way.

Happy Anniversary in a couple of days, dearest Lila. Faithful and loving companion.

Lila’s Anniversary!

Lila showed up at our house 12 years ago the end of August. We already had 3 dogs and I had been very forceful in telling everyone that we would not be adding any more pets. In this small town, there are lots of homeless animals and the organizations that help them are always looking for volunteer foster homes but since that is how we got the other 3 dogs, I was reluctant to accept any more.

At the time Lila showed up, our “main” indoor pet was a cocker/golden retriever mix who was sweet but moody. She was queen of the farm and was barking without pause until my daughter and I stepped outside to see what was going on. There was Lila (not her name at the time), a puppy of around 6 months, shyly sitting under a tree. My daughter and I approached carefully and she didn’t run away. We noticed she had eaten herself free from whatever post she had been tethered to and that one of her paws was injured.

I looked at my daughter and saw her instant bond with this new arrival. I knew immediately that I was in trouble. I agreed to take her to the vet, have her paw mended and foster her until she healed before we would look for her owners. Of course in those couple of weeks, no owner came to claim her and the bond was by then too strong to even contemplate looking for another home for her. She became our pet.

In the years since Lila arrived, we have lost our other three pets to old age and only Lila remains. She has been an incredible companion which goes to show that one never knows. My husband and I (now empty nesters as well) sometimes talk about getting another dog to give Lila a companion but we have not made a decision. We are older and would not like to have our companion outlive us. For now, Lila is a wonderful fit as we are all three slowing down, and smelling the roses!

picture of Lila taken earlier this week. At 12 1/2 she looks pretty good.

Country Living and Pets

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I love living in the country. When I was a teenager, my parents bought a house in upstate New York. It was a foolish and great idea at the same time: foolish because we (their four children) were too old to be forced to travel there each weekend; great because the summers could be spent there in idyllic surroundings that were perfect to nurture the heavy heart resulting from winters in Brooklyn!

My time there was wonderful. I can still smell the clean air that filled my lungs as I made my way along Main Street. Perhaps that is why I chose to settle in a rural area in my homeland years ago when my husband and I moved here. Every year that passes brings more city folk to our neighborhood. I lament that we have had to add fences and walls to our property to discourage trespassing but that is what it has come to.

Yesterday on my way to town, I passed a dead chicken on the road. I was saddened to see that. From the way she was lying, it was unclear if a vehicle (driving too fast) or an animal got her. There were feathers all about. Although she was not my chicken, I still feel protective about them and don’t mind seeing them wandering our property in search of food. One of our recent neighbors feeds them on the road and I suspect that is why this particular one might have ventured into territories that were dangerous, in her case, deadly. But that is the cycle of life. I am glad to know that our pet, Lila, had nothing to do with this sad event.

A Missing Iguana

I like to brag to people that our property is a safe haven for the many creatures that decide to stay here. We have all sorts of birds, geckos, a stray cat, recently a baby boa constrictor that was adopted by a herpetologist and many, many iguanas. I have written about the iguanas before, how they used to run from me and now they accompany me while I swim my laps.

A recent picture I took (above) shows three of them sunning their bodies. I delight in the company and the fact that they let me talk to them (gently, softly) and pose for me. I was extremely upset and sad that my husband and I discovered that our ancient (12 years old) dog, Lila, can actually be motivated to chase and harm the iguanas. She does go after birds but unable to fly, she can’t do much.

Last Saturday, we tried to rescue an iguana from her grasp but it was too late, the damage had been done; it was too much for the iguana to survive. I had mixed feelings about this, very mixed feelings. On the one hand, it is her natural instinct. On the other hand, the iguana was simply feeling part of the environment, much like her siblings and parents have done.

We gave it a burial. It took Lila a couple of days to fully recover. And now we are more careful to walk her on the leash even on our own grounds. She lost a bit of privilege but we don’t want to unnecessarily lose more iguanas.

Fancy Dogs vs Rescue Dogs

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I had a miniature schnauzer once. Her name was Penny…well really her official title was Princess Penelope and she came with all her credentials! I don’t recall whose idea it was that we invest in her except that we had adopted two rescue dogs that had to be taken back to the rescue center because they were violent and not suitable for our situation. I don’t know what made us think we could have a pet, we both worked full time and attended night college. The dogs were home alone most of the day. In retrospect, it seems like cruelty and I am ashamed I took part in it.

But back to Penny. She was delightful. We picked her up at the breeder’s and it took no time at all to see why the breeder was selling her. She had a tiny defect in one of her eyes that would render her less than suitable as a breeding mate. I loved her from the start. We lived in New Jersey but moved to Puerto Rico when she was about 4. By that time, she and I had a strong bond and I knew all her moods and vice versa.

My life circumstance change abruptly and I was unable to travel back to New York with Penny. Fortunately, I had a good friend who took Penny in. I provided a year’s worth of financial support and even paid for surgery when it was discovered that Penny had developed kidney stones. I lost touch with my friend after a decade but she still had Penny well into old age. She was a rare and wonderful companion. I remember her fondly not because of her pedigree but because of her wonderful temperament. Our Lila, now 12, is not pedigreed but she is just as lovable and loved as any furry companion we’ve ever had.

Lila

Surgery!

Poor Lila has to wear a cone for a few days. When I was grooming her the last time, I noticed a growth on her hip that gave me some concern. We brought her to the vet and he determined that it was a tumor that had become infected and needed surgery.

I am always reluctant about surgery. It’s the anesthesia that concerns me, especially when our pets are older. Nevertheless, I bravely confronted my fear, placed my faith in our surgeon and all is well so far. We have not received the results of the biopsies but I am hopeful that the four tumors that were removed from Lila are benign.

Lila has behaved wonderfully throughout although she does run away from me when I am approaching to spray the antibiotic on her wounds. I don’t imagine it stings or hurts but it is cold and probably startles her. I am going to have to sneak up on her, it’s not something I like doing but I know that the spray is meant to ward off infection. Poor Lila but there is no choice!

Grooming at Home!

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We’d been bringing Lila to the groomers regularly for a while. Lila is 12. She doesn’t really enjoy the experience and I felt terrible about doing it but when I was bathing her in the past, her constant struggling and tangling herself around me dangerously was beginning to scare me. I began to feel old and feeble.

We were originally very pleased with the groomers, Lila seemed okay about going and enjoyed the treats she received from them and us afterwards. I don’t know when it changed, really. We began to notice that she didn’t look as clean as we hoped. Her hair was getting a reddish tint. Her nails were not as trimmed as we liked. We began to suspect dry shampoo was being used.

So the last time we felt she really needed a bath, I volunteered to do it and bravely set everything up to bathe Lila in one of our shower stalls. The poor creature was horrified and although she behaved decently enough I was certain I would fall and break something. Breaking something at 66 is never a good idea. Lila did not enjoy the adventure and I did not look forward to repeating it.

This weekend, I knew we could wait no more to bathe her again. She was pretty dirty and beginning to smell. I took a deep breath, set up the outdoor area I used long ago, regulated the water so it was warm and comfortable and got to work. Lila’s behavior was stellar. She didn’t pull, she didn’t fight, she let me bathe her and it was such a pleasant experience I am sure she has forgotten all the other times.

For now, I will try to keep a regular schedule of grooming. It’s cheaper and at least now I know that she is clean because I did it myself. Hopefully future baths will be equally rewarding for us both.