Archive | March 2012

That’s One Thing My Mother Taught Me

“I have to go to physical therapy,” I said to my Mom.

“What happened?” she asked.

“I have a herniated disc.”

“That dog is too much for you,” she said.

“Oh, no, that’s not it,” I said.

One day, after trying to get out of bed, I realized that I couldn’t bend.  There was a pain that went from my bum to the back of my knee.  I couldn’t figure out what it might be.  Since the pain came and went for quite a while, I decided to go seek medical attention.  The doctor prescribed physical therapy, and after about four sessions, I felt much better.  The physical therapist said that my problem could have been caused by a bunch of different things combined.

Mom’s words still echo in my head when Lila pulls me along on our walks.  Even though I am starting to feel much better, I still feel that nagging little pain in the rear when she pulls me along.  Other things can bring a dull ache too, but being pulled this way does not help me feel better.  I have been working with Lila and am trying to teach her not to pull me along so much.  We learned this skill at the class that we took at the Animal Humane Society.  The trick is to stop walking when the dog starts pulling.  The dog turns around and looks like you have some sort of problem.  Lila hasn’t quite figured out why I keep stopping on our walks.  My rear and I hope that someday soon she will walk with me instead of pull me along.

The other day Mom wasn’t feeling very well.  I told her that I thought she might have overdone it when she was working in the garden.

“Oh, no, that’s not it,” she said.  “I don’t think so.”

It’s funny how we stick up for the things that make us happy.  That’s one thing my Mother taught me!

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For the Love of Dogs

Music After Hair Do

“Mom, you better come home.  Your dog is acting weird,” said Laura.  “The carbon monoxide detector was going off when I got home, and I found Music in the basement.”

“I’ll be right home.”  Our dog, Music, did not like loud sounds.  Laura figured out that the battery was going out on the detector, and was making noises just to annoy us.

When I got home, Music was sprawled out right smack in the middle of the kitchen floor sleeping.  One of her curly ears was flattened out on the floor.  I walked softly pass her and felt what I thought was a pebble on the bottom of my foot.  I looked down, and I found another little pebble and another.  I picked them up and looked at them very closely.  I thought it was strange because I never saw such white pearly pebbles before.  I threw them in the trash.

I cleaned the dishes, made up some snacks, helped with some homework questions, and thought about what to make for dinner.  We always fed Music right about the time we sat down to eat.  Music ate up all her food and drank her water without any problems.  She wandered into the family room with her head resting on her stretched out legs while watching the rest of her family eat, talk and laugh at the kitchen table.

Laura scooped up some vanilla ice cream, and Music made her way over to where Laura was sitting.  Music sat right next to Laura and stared up at her.

“Mom, what is that?” Laura asked.

Music’s face was all puffy right by her cheek bone.  It looked as if something was poking out but didn’t make it through the skin.  I realized that Music’s eyes looked a little sad.  Had I been too busy and not paying much attention to her?

“Ouch, poor baby,” I said.  I put some ice in a baggie, wrapped a little towel around it, and rested it gently on the swollen part of Music’s face.  I didn’t get to hold it there for long because it must have hurt her.

“I don’t know what that is,” I said.  “I wonder why her face is so swollen.  I’ll take her to the vet in the morning.”

We went to the vet right after the kids left for school.  Dr. S examined her face and opened her mouth.

“Did she hurt herself?” Dr. S asked me, while he looked at the ground.

“I don’t know.  I know she was scared.  She was home alone for a little while yesterday, and my daughter said she found her in the basement because our carbon monoxide detector was beeping.  She doesn’t like loud noises.”

“Was she outside digging up anything?”

“No.”

“It looks like she’s injured herself somehow.  I see that she has broken off a few teeth right here, and that these teeth look broken too.”  He pointed to her gum line.

“Oh.”  I remembered the little pebbles.  Those were teeth.  “Yesterday, when I came home, I noticed what I thought were pebbles on the kitchen floor.  Those must have been her teeth.  The noise must have scared her so much that she tried to get into the basement, but the door was closed.  I bet she tried to turn the doorknob with her mouth.”

“I’d like you to bring her in tomorrow morning.  I’m going to have to get a closer look at those teeth.”  Dr. S gave Music some pain pills and canned food.

After I dropped Music off the next day, my Mom and I ran errands.  While we were at the grocery store, I started to wonder why I hadn’t heard from Dr. S yet, and my cell phone rang.  It was him.

“We just got out of surgery,” Dr. S said as he let out a big breath.  His words all strung together, and some of them didn’t make any sense to me.  My hands started to get a little sweaty when I figured out what he was saying to me.

“I had to dig out 10 of her teeth on the one side.  She broke off all of those teeth.”

My heart felt as if it had sunk into the pit of my stomach.

I went to get her right away.  Her cute face looked a little droopy on the one side, and she had a squeaky cry.  Music was so out of it from the medication.  When we got home, we cuddled together on the sofa.  She rested her head in my lap, and I petted her.  We sat like that for hours.  It’s what we do for the love of dogs.

The Lifesaver

Sailboats on Lake Pepin

The boat bounced up and down cutting through the waves. White sparkles of sun reflected briefly on the water and disappeared as quickly as they came bouncing and dashing away from the boat. My arm dangled down into the water and cooled me off some. I wanted to dip inside the lake to cool my back where the sun had left its mark.

Maiden Rock

I walked from bow to stern using my bare feet to balance. Dad stood holding the rudder, his white Navy cap covered his head, but I could see that the sun was burning his shoulders too. Mom sat with her head resting on her propped up hand, staring off towards the bluff that was known as Maiden Rock. The straw from her hat was uneven, and some pieces were coming undone. She reached up to grab the one that was tickling her face, and broke it off. The piece landed in the water and was swallowed up by the lake. Little green pieces of algae buried the straw piece in one blink of an eye.

“Dad, can we go swimming?” I asked.

I could see the wheels turning in his mind. Never a quick answer was to be heard!

I looked to where Mom’s eyes were pointing, and I thought about Maiden Rock. I felt so sad for the Indian Maiden.  Her father planned on forcing her to marry someone who she did not love. The Maiden loved another, so she flung herself off of that very tall bluff and fell to her death. It was a sad name for a rock.

“What do you think about using the lifesaver? I could tie a rope to it, and you could go for a ride on the back of the boat. Do you want to try it?” Dad asked.

“Sure!” That sounded great to me.

“Here, you man the ship, and I will find the lifesaver and the rope.”

It wasn’t a very windy day, so the idea of hanging onto the lifesaver sounded like a great one. It seemed like waterskiing, but not really. The only thing that was the same would be that I was travelling behind a boat!

Bowline - A Knot!
Bowline – A Knot!

Dad dug out a rope and lifesaver. He tied a large bowline to hold the lifesaver in place. He pulled the rope tight to make sure that the knot wouldn’t give and he threw the lifesaver behind the stern of the boat. We watched it splash into the water and bob along on the waves.

It would feel so good to be in the water too, I thought.

Dad got the ladder out, and placed it on the stern of the boat and in the water making sure that it was taut too.

“Jump in!” he said.

He pulled the rope and lifesaver closer to the boat.

“Hold onto the lifesaver.”

I climbed down the ladder step by step, getting cooled off along the way, and I grabbed for the lifesaver. I held on tight.

“Okay, you can let go now,” Dad said.

Mom looked at me too, her white long-sleeved blouse covered up her milky white skin.

I let go of the ladder and the distance between the boat and me grew farther and farther apart. I never saw the boat from far away while it was sailing along. She was a beauty. I wished Dad could see her too. Her sails were taut, and she was clean after just getting a swabbing down earlier in the day.

The water splashed over me, but it was too quick, the way the Karisan glided away from me. The wind was a little stronger than it felt when I was on the boat. The rope held for a while. Then it snapped a very loud snap.

Mom steered the Karisan, and I saw Dad’s face change when he heard the snap. His mouth was a perfect O.

I must have looked frightened.

“Don’t panic,” he yelled. Mom turned around too. She held the top of her hat in place. I think the wind picked up!

They went along and they were travelling farther and farther away, going towards Maiden Rock. I held onto the lifesaver. I tried to swim to them, but there was no way I could reach them.

“You’ll be okay! Remember, you’re a good swimmer,” Dad reminded me.

I tried to calm myself. Yes, I was a good swimmer. Dad taught me everything I knew about that.

What if a speed boat came along and didn’t see me, I started to wonder. The blades would cut deeper and deeper, I worried because I heard about those things happening.

Dad got up on deck by the mast, and he let the jib and the mainsail down. Karisan was no longer moving farther away.

I let out a long breath and started swimming towards them, still holding onto the lifesaver. I got closer, but I felt a little shaky.  Little spouts of water splashed into my mouth, and I spit it out quick.

Another sailboat glided along, and I could see that the sailors aboard saw me too. I kept going, and when I reached the ladder, I climbed up into the boat, my body feeling like a weight, and not as light as it felt going in.

Dad reached out his hand to me and I held it tight.  His hand felt warm, and now feeling warm felt good.

“I think the wind picked up,” he said.  “You are a good swimmer.”  Dad patted my back.  That’s what Navy guys do.

I was glad to be back on deck with the other mates.