Tag Archive | Lila the Dog

Staying with the Dogs

Whenever I see the little torn patch in the blue and white comforter, it makes me think of my grand dog, Bauer. Bauer is a beagle and blue heeler mix and lives with my son. I watched Bauer for five days during one of the coldest Januarys about seven years ago while my husband and son went on a trip to Florida. After the rush of the holidays, I didn’t think I would mind staying with the dogs. I took a lot of time off for Christmas and felt guilty about taking off more, so I stayed in Minnesota.

While at work, I thought about how I wouldn’t have to cook when I got home, because no humans would be there. I went to one of my favorite downtown lunch spots, which makes homemade Italian food. I rarely ordered the lasagna, because it’s quite large, but I thought how great it would be to eat half for lunch and go home and eat the rest for dinner. When I arrived home, two dog tails wagged wide while they jumped up to greet me. After I took off my outer layers, I carefully pulled out the white styrofoam container from my work bag and put it on the kitchen counter. The dogs took a quick trip outside, and I fed them both at the same time, in opposite corners of the kitchen. They have learned to respect each other’s space, so long as they get their food or treats at the same time, or more so when Bauer gets his food or treats first. Even though Lila, our lab, outweighs Bauer by at least 50 pounds, Bauer has a stance that lets others know who’s in charge.

As they munched away at their food, while eyeing each other closely, I opened up and looked through the mail. While walking over to the kitchen counter, where the delicious lasagna sat, Bauer raced ahead of me, jumped up, clawed the container, which caused it to fall to the floor. Since it fell so far, the container couldn’t help but open, and Bauer stood over the scrumptious feast, slurping up every last bite. ☹️ I stood there in awe and wondered how a little dog could jump so high and what would I get to eat for dinner.

Any other dog would have chucked it all back up, but Bauer has an iron gut. He’s gotten into my son’s refrigerator and eaten raw steak without any problems arising afterwards. Bauer likes to sleep in people beds, so I knew we’d be bunking together. I prayed he wouldn’t get sick. I slept pretty good even though I worried Bauer would suffocate since he likes to be under all the blankets. As far as I could tell, Bauer’s nose didn’t pop out once to get a good whiff of air. Lila was the smart one; she slept in the family room. Thankfully, the rest of the night went well, with only a few tears to the comforter, which happened when Bauer tried to get comfortable.

Staying with the dogs is a fun memory, but next time, I’m going along on the trip!

The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread. ~Portuguese Proverb

Another Mile…

While on a walk the other day, our dog, Lila, acted like a puppy with the way she jumped about after my husband found a stick for her to fetch. A tiny thought came to me of how agile Lila is for her age of 11 years and that maybe we shouldn’t be playing fetch any more. As we watched her run happily through melting tufts of snow, I chased the thought from my mind. She looks great, I thought. That expensive dog food must be working its magic on her.

Not too much longer after that run, my husband and Lila came home after a quick jaunt, with Lila limping. It looked like something was bothering her front paw. No whines escaped from her during the incident where she was running and suddenly came to a stop. The quick halt must have been too jarring for her. We didn’t find any swelling or bumps on her legs, paws, or ankles. Since it was Sunday, we called the vet the next day. Betsy said to watch Lila for a day and call if it got worse. We waited until that evening and made an appointment for the following day. Even though Lila could climb up and down steps okay, it seemed her limp was getting worse, or we were imagining it was getting worse. Plus, we didn’t want to delay any repairs, if there was something that needed to be fixed.

Lila was excited to go for a car ride the next day. Lila’s tail slammed against the back of the car seat on the way to the vet. When we arrived, we saw this silly sign.

We called the office, and one of the techs came out to our car to get Lila. It felt strange because it was the first time we let Lila see the doctor by herself. People are not allowed in the office, due to the coronavirus.

A short time later, the doctor called to let us know Lila seemed all right, but he thought it was some sort of soft tissue issue and that perhaps arthritis was the cause of the limping. “She is getting older,” he said.

“How long do you think we need to wait before we take her out for a walk?” I asked.

“Why don’t you wait until Saturday, and take it slow,” Doc told us. We were told to only give Lila leash walks for the time being. The tech delivered our girl back to us, all wags and smiles. She got two treats and a bottle of pain killers, which have been helping her.

Lila and I took a very small walk the next day. Lila looked up at me when we got back to our front door. She gave me a look like, You’ve got to be kidding me. Is this all the further we’re going to go? I dropped her off at home, and continued on for a longer walk by myself. Not holding onto a leash with a dog at the other end felt awkward, when I walked without my faithful companion. It was a straight walk, with no stops, no sniffing, no pointing at squirrels or chipmunks, no head tosses to show me the birds, no picking up messes.

The next day, we went for a little longer walk – about a mile – because the limp was gone and has stayed away. Today we will go about another mile. Maybe next week we can go three. Every mile together is a gift. 🙂

Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really. ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

The Door is Open

Our First Selfie

On occasion, Lila, our dog, seems to think that going in and out of doors is a form of entertainment.  There are times when she likes to slumber next to a tree or inside some hole she’s dug but other times, as soon as we let her out, she wants to come back in again.  

Warm weather going ins and outs are different from cold weather going ins and outs.  In the summer, when we let Lila out in the backyard, we hook her up to the leash that’s tied with rope around the big oak tree.  We end up leaving the patio door open, so we can run in and out quickly.  When Lila is ready to come back in, we’d unhook the clasp, and she’d run lickety-split into the house. 

One early September night, I got back into the cold weather going ins and outs habit.  I closed the patio door on my way out to get her. We decided to turn the heat on because the temperature inside got down to a cool 64 degrees.  Over the months, Lila forgot about the cold weather habit of mine.  After I unhooked Lila, I heard a thump, as Lila fell, when she tried to go through the door. 😭 Thankfully, the door did not break.

Lila was stunned.  I immediately thought of stories about people running through glass doors, so I was concerned.  I opened the door, and Lila walked in.  Yes, she was definitely stunned. When I sat on the floor with her, apologizing several times, petting her fur while hugging her close, she sat still taking it all in, which is unusual.  Lila is not one to cuddle.  That night was the most she ever let me cuddle her.  She even let me look into her mouth.  She showed me her straight bite. All of her teeth were evenly laid out, as usual.  Her face felt fine. No bumps.  I had no idea how she was holding her head when she hit the door.  Her head might have been pointing downward, but there were no bumps anywhere on her head.  Lila is one who likes to cry and moan when she’s not feeling well, and we were relieved she didn’t cry or moan that night.  

The next morning, I mixed half a can of dog food with half of her dry food.  Lila was so happy to have a different meal.  She went back to visit her food bowl several times to make sure she didn’t leave any crumbs behind.  Lila ate canned food mixed with the dry for a couple of days. Everything else worked fine from head to toe. 🙂

Now, when she gets ready to come back into the house, she stops to make sure the door is open.  Sometimes she lets us go through first, just to be sure.  We’ve been leaving it open now, during comings and goings, no matter how cold the days or nights get.  

A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of. ~Ogden Nash  

Elvis’s Mom

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When we first moved into our neighborhood, many years ago, we would often see a lady either walking through our yard or along the street yelling “Elvis.”  Elvis was a black lab retriever mix with spots of gray.  Lila, our dog, is beginning to turn a little gray around her mouth and has longer legs than Elvis, but she is starting to make me feel like our neighbor, Elvis’s mom, who moved away a long time ago.  

The other day, when we brought Lila home from the kennel, and when we were about to grab ahold of her by her collar, she took off running in a southerly direction.  I grabbed her leash, headed in that direction, calling her name every so often, but I didn’t get a response.  I headed home to find that a different neighbor, who recognized Lila, and who lives in a northerly direction, brought her back to our house.

Today, a little storm was brewing, so I delayed our walk.  I brushed Lila before letting her back in the house.  Just as I was going to open the door, she took off running in a southerly direction again.  I yelled to her, as sweetly as I could, in my sudden bad mood, but it didn’t coax her back, as usual.  This time, since I was home by myself, I went on with my chores and hoped someone would come knocking or calling.

About 15 minutes later, our phone rang.

“Are you missing a dog?” the lady asked.

“Yes, she got away from me,” I said. 

“We have her here.  She’s so friendly.  We gave her some water.”

“Thank you.  Where are you?”

The lady gave me her address, which is not very far from the southerly direction Lila headed.

“I’ll be right over.”  I grabbed Lila’s leash and drove to the neighbor’s house, because the raindrops were getting quite large.  I wondered why Lila kept running away lately.  It is a common trend for her, which lessened the last couple of years.  Maybe she misses her three mile walks.  Since it’s been warm with high humidity, we whittled our walks down to a mile.  If only Lila could understand the risks of heat stroke. When it’s cooler out, Lila likes to sit under the ash tree in our front yard and is the neighborhood greeter.  She might be missing the delivery people and mailman who all give her treats.  Maybe she misses our friends who used to come over.  Not many other visitors have been stopping by, because of the pandemic. 

When I got closer to the address, I spotted Lila in the neighbor’s front yard on a leash.  The nice lady was there waiting with Lila.  A little poodle watched from behind the glass storm door, jumping and wagging its tail. Congratulations 2020 High School Graduate signs spotted the yard.

“Thank you.  Thank you,” I said.  Lila jumped up high and acted like she hadn’t seen me in months!  The lady unhooked her from their leash, and I got Lila hooked on mine.  

Lila has been getting us to socialize with our many nice neighbors.  I can’t help but feel like Elvis’s mom whenever I run around the neighborhood in search of our girl. Maybe we were meant to keep up with that silly neighborhood tradition that Elvis created.

No matter what was meant to be, have you ever met a dog named Elvis? 🙂

The Big Commotion

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Lila, our dog, has the habit of sticking around the kitchen during cleanup, in case scraps of any sort of morsel end up on the floor.  Lila doesn’t like to see anything get wasted and polishes it up immediately.  One Sunday, a few months ago, my daughter and son-in-law offered to tidy up after dinner.  Papa and I went into the family room with our grandson to connect wooden toy train tracks.  From the kitchen, we could hear conversing but couldn’t make out the words.

As the three of us were concentrating on getting train cars in line, a large bang came from the direction of the kitchen.  The three of us looked at each other trying to imagine what the noise could have been.  It was a noise we’ve never heard.  It was much more than the sound of a drinking glass shattering on the floor. Loud laughter and a small squeal came from the same direction.  I got up to see what was the matter.  When I got to the scene of the commotion, I discovered that Lila’s dog tag clasp had gotten attached to one of the brackets in the dishwasher.  She must have gotten spooked when she noticed she couldn’t move very easily and tried to run away.  When she attempted to run, the entire bottom rack of the dishwasher went along with her.  I went over to Lila, who was in the dining room by that time and unhooked her collar to free her.  Lila’s tail was down and stuck between her legs letting us know her very sad mood.  Amazingly, even though the entire rack was full, not one dish broke, and all living beings were left unharmed.  Ever since that day, Lila has never put her nose or collar inside the dishwasher again.

That’s not to say she hasn’t been tempted to lick some plates.  Sometimes she will walk by the dishwasher, when I’m loading it, with her eyes suspiciously looking in the direction of the dishes.  She decides against licking any plates.  Obviously, Lila doesn’t want to experience the big commotion again.

No matter how often I chided her before that day, she would never stop licking those plates.  Now, when I’m loading the dishwasher, I give her a little nod to remind her about what happened the time her collar got stuck to the bracket.

It wasn’t the best way to train our dog, but it seemed to have worked.  Do you have any stories of how you accidentally trained your dog to do or not do something? 

A dog can express more with his tail in seconds than his owner can
express with his tongue in hours.
~Author Unknown

What Little Beauties Will Appear?

20180708_0922495491600727189644411.jpg20180708_0923127802616713461733185.jpg20180708_0924051615899125882250094.jpgThis morning, I was surprised when Lila and I were out for our usual walk because we came upon a field of blossoming flowers. Walkers passed us by as I snapped some pictures.  One couple stopped and admired the field right along with us.

“Do you happen to know what kind of flower that is?” I asked as I pointed at what I thought was a poppy. Its delicate petals fluttered in the breeze.

“We think it’s a poppy,” the man and woman said in unison.

“I don’t remember this field of flowers being here last year,” I said. Lila’s nose and paws were going farther into the field as she munched on some tall grass.

“They must have planted these wild flowers last year when they were fixing up the place,” the man reminded me.

“It’s going to be fun to watch,” said the lady. We smiled and nodded at each other as we went along our way.  I thought back to when Lila and I walked about the park last summer.  The walkers and bikers were only able to travel one half of the park, and the part where the wild flowers were was unreachable because of the rebuilding.  A bike path was added to hook up with the current one, plus a wooden foot bridge was built over part of the brook.  Most people do not go down to that part of the brook anymore because of how the foot bridge was constructed.  Many large rocks now hug the shoreline there, which makes it difficult for us to climb down to the water.  We now admire the brook from the bridge.  Since there was much digging going on last year, mice, moles, and turtles scampered around the paths looking lost and missing their homes.  Sort of like us because we weren’t able to walk around our usual way either.  Once I heard what I thought was a deer bounding about in the woods, crunching bushes and bramble as he ran to find some shelter.

This year, the creatures have settled in and are back to hiding in their homes, and we get to walk around the entire park because no part of the path is blocked. The wild flowers took the place of some beautiful towering trees that are missed, but there were never any wild flowers in the park before.  It’s nice to see them growing in the July sun.  At first, I missed the natural look of things and the way they were, but now I wonder what little beauties will appear in the field by the brook when August comes along.

I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds and bowers,
Of April, May, of June, and July-flowers… ~ Robert Herrick

 

Sparkling Spring

 

Eighteen inches of snow is never a welcomed sight, especially in the spring. Memories of last weekend, when the snow fell on us, lingered in my mind yesterday morning.  It felt like winter was never going to leave.  That snow was heavy and swirled about in the blowing wind.  It blanketed everything around and made me dread it even though it left sparkling flakes in the night.  Those sparkles would have appeared more beautiful early in the winter instead of early in the spring.  It felt awkward to have to stay in during a blizzard when all winter long Lila and I have been going for long walks on Saturdays.

Yet, not everyone was disappointed by the four letter word that begins with the letter “S.” Lila loved it.  Even though the snow was all the way up to her belly, she ran and jumped around like she was going through an obstacle course.  As she came back into the house, she ended up bringing a bunch of the snow along with her.  The flakes clung to her black fur.  She must have liked the cool feeling it gave her because she didn’t shake it off.  Lila tends to walk in the snow when we go for our winter walks.

After Lila and I left the house for our walk at 8:30 yesterday morning, the birds greeted us with happy songs. (We didn’t hear a peep out of any birds last weekend.)  The sun was peaking over to warm us and the bright snow spotted the grass making us wonder if winter was still holding on.  The temperature was 30 degrees.  We still had to trudge through some snow piles when we walked to the path.  The more we walked, the warmer it got.  My winter jacket, hat, and mittens were no longer needed, and I tied my jacket around my waist.  Others walking around the park had been more confident in the weather and wore lighter clothing.  The sun was warmer than I thought, and the wind was nowhere to be found.  It got to be 40 degrees by the time we got back home.

In spots, the green grass sprung out at us. Some trees had buds to show us.  Cardinals chirped a lovely tune to us.  Canadian honkers honked at us.  Robins hopped close to us.  Other birds dove in and out of trees around us.  Squirrels hid from us.  Wild turkeys flew up into a tree branch to get away from us.  The day brought us temperatures in the 60s.  It looks like all these things in nature think spring is sparkling through to leave winter behind.  I guess I think so too?  Whatever happens next, Lila will be happy.

Under the giving snow blossoms a daring spring. ~Terri Guillemets

Better Than a Rat’s Tail

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Lila & Kona

I thought Lila, our dog, looked fine, but we kept hearing comments about how she looked “plump” or “overweight” or “is she getting bigger?” which made my heart feel sick since my husband and I make a point of exercising her regularly. Last summer, it also seemed like her energy level decreased.  Then, last November, we noticed her tail looked like a rat’s tail.  There were big splotches of fur missing.  We thought she might have a thyroid problem so we went to visit the vet.

Doc felt her fur and agreed that it didn’t have the luster that a Labrador’s coat usually has. Lila stepped on the scale, and her weight was the highest it’s ever been even though we cut back on her food.  The vet took a blood test to see if Lila had a thyroid issue, and sure enough, a few days later, he called to tell us that she needed to go on thyroid medication. We were surprised, since no one else in the family has a thyroid problem.  😉

Last weekend, Lila had another checkup, and when she hopped on the scale, she was 12 pounds lighter. Doc and his assistant were surprised to see that she lost so much weight since her now luxurious fur can make her look a little puffed out.  “Her fur is so soft.  She looks like a stuffed animal,” the assistant said.  Her fur is as soft now as the day we brought her home, and thankfully, Lila’s energy has increased too.  Doc would like her to lose a little more weight because it’s hard on dog’s joints and they can get arthritis if they get too heavy, so we’ve been instructed to cut back a little more on her food.  Of course, we’d never let her get too skinny, and she wouldn’t let us do that either, but I’m hoping the sticks and whatever else she munches on in the backyard don’t have a lot of calories!

Now with spring arriving, Lila’s beautiful coat is shedding and blotches of fur are showing up on the carpeting, but the fur loss is not as bad as it was before she went on medication.  Seeing the fur on the carpet is so much better than looking at a rat’s tail!

Hiding Among the Trunks of Towering Trees

The minute my husband walked into the door last Monday night, I could tell something was wrong.

“Lila really got into something,” he said. He did not look happy. They had just come home from their walk, and according to my husband, Lila, our dog, was covered in something disgusting.

“It can’t be that bad,” I thought to myself because Lila’s not one to get into too much stuff.

“We have to give her a bath. She couldn’t go back in the van. The van is still down by the park. She’s covered with whatever it is she got into.”

Lila can get into a bit of something small in the yard, and she rubs her neck into the offending odor. Like that’s not good enough, she turns to rub the other side of her neck into it too. Usually, it’s not that bad and we can’t even tell she’s trying to smell like something else. This little routine usually happens after a bath, but it’s been a few weeks since she’s had one.

Since the hoses are tucked away for the winter, and we didn’t want to drag them outside, turn on the outdoor faucets and freeze the little girl into an ice cycle, I opened the basement window while my husband attached the hose to the laundry tub. We pushed the hose through the window out into our backyard. While my husband went to get Lila from the front yard, I went to turn on the flood light in the back and then went to the linen closet to grab some towels.

Once I saw both of them in the back yard, I couldn’t believe what I saw. I was surprised to see the entire side of Lila’s beautiful black coat smeared with something orange. We’ve never seen her get so covered with anything before.

After I got the thumbs up sign from my husband, I ran downstairs back to the laundry tub, and turned on the water. Lila didn’t mind getting a bath outside even though it was cold out. The water was warm, but I wondered if she was confused as to why we were washing away the treasure she found. She must have been disappointed that we didn’t like her discovery.

20151011_072854Lila after a bath at Lulu & Luigi’s
a few weeks ago.

A few days later, my husband and Lila went down to the park in the light of day to see what it was that Lila had gotten into. Our suspicions were confirmed when he saw two rotting pumpkins sitting in the park hiding among the trunks of towering trees.  We know she likes pumpkin because we give it to her as a treat either frozen with plain yogurt in her Kong or just straight from the can into her food bowl. We were surprised she liked it enough to glide through it with one side of her entire body – especially when it was rotten.

“That’s okay, Lila,” I said. “You needed a bath to be ready for Thanksgiving company.”

Perhaps she just wanted to be a part of all the festivities!

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

Dance of the Season

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A dainty trot and prance is what Lila, our dog, likes to do when we go on walks in the fall. Lila is a black Labrador retriever mixed with Chesapeake Bay retriever (we think). Since we adopted Lila from the Animal Humane Society and there wasn’t a lot of background information, our vet guessed that she’s mixed with Chesapeake Bay retriever.  Doc thought this because she has a large barreled chest, and, when she was younger, her curly fur traveled down the length of her spine. Her happy, affectionate, and quiet temperament must be from her Chesapeake Bay side, and her outgoing, kind, and even-tempered traits must be from her Labrador side. But when we get to the path between the bridge and the main walkway on our way to the preserve, her moves become similar to what a smaller dog would do during a circus act! She lifts her paws trying not to step on the scattered leaves. The texture of the leaves or her fear of there being something underneath must make her afraid to step on them. Lila struggles and tries to place her paws on the dark spots where the leaves aren’t covering the way.

That path doesn’t get maintained like the main path. In the winter, the snow doesn’t get removed, but we manage to walk along without having to trot or prance. Other walkers’ footprints make a pathway. The ones who traveled there before us make a manageable trail. Our footprints help to make a trail too.  When we get to the main path in the fall, Lila relaxes because most of the leaves have been swept away.

Watching her walk among the leaves is like watching her perform a doggy hopscotch. No need for drawing numbered boxes or throwing rocks to play this game.  I guess we’ll never know which side the prancing and trotting comes from.  Maybe it’s just Lila’s own dog dance of the season.  Her rhythm matches the fluttery way fall leaves dance to the ground and how waters of the babbling creek randomly hop over jutting rocks.

Lila’s performance is always something to look forward to this time of year!

Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances. ~Maya Angelou