Pippin, New Beginnings Part #2

 

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(Cont. from previous post)

After what seemed more like forever than the 30 minutes it actually was, we arrived at the warehouse-like cargo site of Delta airlines. It appeared deserted. There was one man standing out in front looking for us. It seems we were given the wrong arrival time and poor Pippin had been waiting in his little crate for a half hour already. He was the last of the cargo to be picked up. I ran over to the crate that held him to look inside~ My heart absolutely melted seeing  him sitting there, calmly looking back at me, probably thinking, Who is she, and where am I, I want to go home! I wanted so much to hold him and hug him tight and tell him he was going to be fine.

I loaded Pippin in his crate into the back seat of the car then climbed in next to him and opened the door to his crate so he could come out. Curious, he’d take a few steps towards the front of the crate, but then quickly retreat. I put a little of his kibble in my hand and offered it to him. That got him to come forward again but only for a few secs and then he backed up. It took a little while before I was able to coax him out of his crate, but finally he came out.

In an instant I had the softest, sweetest,  little furball in my lap! I held him tight in a hug, he wrapped his front legs around my neck and we rode that way all the way home. The rest of the trip home is a blur.  I was aware only of the softness of his thick coat, the warmth of his hug, and the beat of his heart against my chest; soothing the dark emptiness left by the loss of Pascal-  Pippin too, had losses-

Feeling his little arms wrapped around my neck I knew everything was going to be  fine-  We’d found each other~

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2014~ A New Year~ New beginnings….!

And here comes Lamb Dog #2!IMG_8356 copy

(This is an introduction to an ongoing series of posts about adventures with my new puppy, Pippin, that I plan to include in my blog whenever possible.)

If you’ve read my blog before you may remember that I often wrote about the antics and quirks of my funny beloved best companion; my Bedlington terrier, Pascal. Pascal came to me when he was 4 1/2 months old and I was fortunate to have him with me for fourteen and a half years! Though that’s considered a nice long life for a dog, compared to a human life it’s way too short! Pascal died on November 7,2013. On November 13, after spending a very sad week desperately searching for a Bedlington pup, I was at the cargo drop-off station of the Oakland airport to pick-up my new puppy! I was so excited anticipating seeing him for the first time that I felt like I was about to burst with impatience. Fortunately, my parents offered to drive me there. The way I was feeling I think had I been driving I never would have made it~  or if I did, it would be with a streamer of traffic violations  waving like a flag from the antennae of my car.  (to be cont.)

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It’s been awhile since my last post, but in my last post I wrote about the goings on in my Bunny Garden. I have continued making bunnies for the garden and over the past several months, little lambs have come to join them. The little guy pictured here is Wooliam. He is the result of my own design and experimentation with combining knitting and embroidery. Wooliam’s head consists of two days of embroidering individual layers of French knots over his knit head- a painstaking job, but one with very pleasing  results. I wanted to make a knit lamb that had the gentle warmth and loveable quality that’s commonly associated with lambs.~   More on the happenings in the bunny garden in my next post!

A New Year~ A New Pascal Story~ Nice Job, Pascal!

~*~ For some reason, the large photos at the beginning of my posts are getting distorted. Until I can resolve the problem, if you click on the photo, you will see it the way it is supposed to be. ~*~

To really get 2011 off to a good start, I think a new Pascal story is in order~  Though he turned eleven in July, (4th,)  Pascal hasn’t lost any of his funny quirks; if anything, he’s been busy adding new ones & refining the old ones.  Last night was a perfect example of a classic “Pascal” maneuver~

Every night, I prepare his dinner when I prepare mine, so we both eat dinner at the same time. He eats very slowly for a dog, but being a slow-eater myself, he always finishes eating before I do. Every night as soon as he’s finished his dinner, he comes over to where I’m sitting at the table to let me know he’s finished so I can wipe his face- ( I discovered early-on  that he really likes to be clean, so if I don’t wipe his face when he’s finished eating, he’ll wipe it himself- by running his chin along the cushion of the couch!)  Once I’ve cleaned his face I finish my dinner while he sits on the floor at my feet,  patiently waiting for me to finish eating.

Because he’s always been such a “picky” eater I have to have something I can use as a bribe to make sure he eats his dinner,   as  his medicine is mixed into his food. Once I’ve finished eating, I take both of our plates into the kitchen & if he’s eaten, give him a treat to eat in the other room while I wash dishes. Normally his treat is potato, but occasionally I’ll give him a small dish of sherbet,  which is what I usually eat while I do dishes, however he doesn’t usually see me, because he’s in the other room eating his potato.                                          

Last night I brought him his potato & went back to the kitchen to wash dishes. I had taken sherbet out of the freezer but hadn’t put it into a dish yet. Standing at the sink while it filled with water, I had the feeling that I wasn’t alone.  I turned around, and guess who was standing there staring at me?  “What are you doing?” I asked. I had just given him his potato, he couldn’t possibly have finished it! He continued to stare at me. I thought maybe he needed to go out,  so I asked~  No- that wasn’t it. He wouldn’t follow me to the door. He just stood where he was, not moving . I walked into the dining room where I had given him his potato.

At first I didn’t  see his dish where I had left it. I walked closer to take a better look. Nope! No dish. No potato! BUT I saw the plastic bag that I lay under his cloth placemat,  & his placemat-  both were pushed way back under the wooden stand that holds his water dish, carefully arranged in a lump-  over the dish with his potato in it! He had done a great job! He hadn’t left one bit of dish sticking out from underneath the placemat & plastic bag!  I lifted the placemat. There was the dish with his potato-  completely untouched!

While I was in the dining room looking for his dish,  Pascal sat totally still in the kitchen. He hadn’t budged-  I knew what this trick was about, he’d done it before,  but I pretended that I didn’t. With his dish in my hands,  I walked up to him & said,  ” No potato tonight, huh? What do you want?”  He stared at me~ “What, Pascal?  Show me what you want! Do you want ice cream?”  Suddenly the statue broke it’s silent stance! He  stood up,  tail wagging in circles excitedly-  I showed the carton of ice cream  to him and asked,  “This? Is this what you want?” I got a chorus of barks & a fanfare of tail wags. Clearly, I was on to something-  something good!

Pascal got a small dish of ice cream~  and oh! Life was good!

Nice job, Pascal!

Pascal And His New Sweater

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Sew? I haven’t. I’ve been knitting Pascal a sweater-  For the past ten years I’ve been knitting Pascal a sweater! So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I finally finished it last week. Ten years to knit one little dog sweater is, well, at the least, a long time—–  but it’s not quite as bad as it sounds. It’s not like I’ve been working on it non-stop for ten years & just finished. This is what happened.

I actually started the sweater eleven years ago, and it wasn’t for Pascal. It was to be for the dog I had before Pascal, a schnoodle named Shadow. Shadow lived to be 18; a long life for a dog, but not long enough for his sweater to be a reality.

The first winter that I had Pascal I thought,  it’s cold and we have a long winter ahead. I should finish the sweater I started for Shadow, for Pascal! I pulled the bag with the beginnings of Shadow’s sweater in it, out of the closet. It was indeed a beginning. I’d knit only about 4 inches of the back- and that was it!  I had started the sweater on a whim, thinking it would be a good way to use up left-over yarn as well as help Shadow stay warm during the cold months. I had never knit a dog sweater before, but I decided that I didn’t need a pattern to make one- it couldn’t be very difficult-  I measured Shadow’s back and started knitting.

When I picked-up the beginnings of Shadow’s sweater a year later to finish it for Pascal, I had nothing written down to follow- I hadn’t even left myself notes.  I hadn’t gotten very far on it for Shadow, so I measured Pascal, and continued knitting-  for a few days. I had planned to knit the sweater in my time off from  hand-smocking & embroidering the girl’s dresses I sell. As the days passed I got busier & busier with my dress-making and never seemed to find “time-off” for working on the sweater. After weeks of dusting around it, I finally put it back in the closet to wait for “time off”. Each succeeding year I’d pull the sweater enthusiastically from the closet telling myself- and Pascal-  “O.k.! this year- soon- I’m going to finish your sweater!

But every year the same thing happened-  although each year a little bit got added to it. This year when I pulled it from the closet I realized that all I had left to knit was a small portion of the underside and the two sleeves. THIS was going to be the year!~! Pascal was going to find himself toasty-warm in the middle of a new sweater!! This time I put my sewing aside to finish my knitting. And finish, I did! Twice, actually!

Here is a photo of my first finish~ (Notice, he’s smiling~)

IMG_1407 I couldn’t wait to put it on him once I got the pieces sewn together. Interestingly, he seemed to be as excited to try it on as I was. As I slipped it over his neck I saw right away that the neck was too wide. Four inches too wide! Hmmm…….

I made a tuck on each side with my hands to see how that would work. Perfect! I slipped it back off his head so that I could figure out how to make a permanent tuck on each side & still be able to easily stick his legs through the sleeves. I needed something that I could open & close~ like a tie-  Aha! I’d crochet a tie, make a tuck again at each shoulder & tie it shut! That worked perfectly. If Pascal were a bit concerned about having a bow on each shoulder, he didn’t show it. He actually seemed very pleased with it. In fact,he did something he never does; he sat there willingly and posed while I took pictures.

The more I looked at him the more I was aware that something just wasn’t quite right. Pascal’s sweater from the front, looked more like he was wearing a pair of pants. It wasn’t yet quite a sweater, it was a “pantser”. The neck of the sweater looked more like the waist of a pair of pants. His sweater needed a turtle neck!  I took his sweater back off, picked up my knitting needles and started knitting again~ Two days later Pascal had a full-fledged, turtle-neck, soft warm sweater~  It was everything we both had hoped it would be! I pulled out my camera and once again, Pascal did what he never does; he sat still and posed, looking very proud~  the perfect model!

Pascal in car going to park in new sweater!

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Pascal; All Season Dog~ Fall

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Perhaps you are wondering as I am, where the time has gone~ It’s so hard to believe that Christmas will be here in a few weeks. It was just summer! Since we seem to be flying through the seasons, and I’ve been too busy to write until now,  I apologize for being a season behind in my Pascal stories. You may remember a story I posted in July titled, PASCAL; All Season Dog~ “all season dog” meaning, in Pascal’s case, no matter what season, he’ll find an excuse to NOT walk!  If you are wondering about the  photo above, I placed that large leaf on Pascal’s head one day while we were at the park to show him that leaves don’t bite; they’re really not scary things! Even more puzzled? Read on……..

I love fall. It’s my favorite season. I love the way the air is crisp and seasoned with the delicious scent of smoke-curls wafting from rooftop chimneys. I always look forward to our walks in the fall and I was eagerly looking forward to the many fall walks we were about to be taking.

If you were to ask Pascal, I’m sure he would tell you that our walks for the first part of fall were wonderful. The temperatures were perfect for brisk walking and there weren’t many days that were windy. We had great walks down to Heather Farms where we could watch the daily  changes in leaf color- or I could. I brought my camera and stopped in awe every few steps, to take a picture. Pascal thought that was great because it meant that he could stop and sniff around while I took pictures- one of his favorite outside occupations. He was as ecstatic with this freedom as I was with the potential to “preserve” every minute shade of the color spectrum. Our walks were mutually wonderful~ until about mid-way through fall-

One day  Pathway to Fall 11/2009

we started walking down the sidewalk, and guess what happened? The leaves were  falling off their branches and were headed straight for US!! Yikes!!!  All of a sudden Pascal  darted  in front of me, straight out to my side.   I almost tripped over him. They were  coming to get us, those beautiful leaves!

Our walks became difficult. Pascal was convinced that we were under attack. There were a couple of really bad days. It got windy and the leaves became really aggressive-  and what was wrong with me, Pascal wondered as he sat down in the middle of the sidewalk with leaves shooting down all around him. Didn’t I see what was happening? How could I be so stupid as to consider walking at such a time. I called him towards me to make him continue walking, and gave a little tug on his leash. That only convinced him that I had become just plain lame and needed a more powerful message or we were both going to become victims of this ruthless assault from the sky- My second tug on the leash made him budge! He stood, turned around  so that his back was towards me and,  with all 18 lbs. of his little body tugged hard in the direction of the car. O.k~ I got it!

For the next two days I didn’t even try to go walking. The morning of the third day was sunny, warm, & perfectly calm. Great! A wonderful day for a walk. Surely the leaves must be off the trees now.  “Let’s go! I said, standing at the door with his leash in my hand. He came bounding to the door; unusual for Pascal- for a walk. He wiggled excitedly as I fastened his harness. All right, I thought. Two days without a walk. Now he really wants to go. I felt excited too. This was going to be a good one. I could feel it!

I just barely got him out of his car-seatbelt and he was off and running down the sidewalk, pulling me behind him.  This lasted just long enough to get us partway down the  block. Then he abruptly slowed to a walk. It was such a beautiful morning. The sky was sparkling blue and not a single leaf was falling.  They were lying in scattered  piles that covered the sidewalk. Like always when I bring my camera, I was looking  for the “perfect shot” and not paying much attention to Pascal.

As we continued down the sidewalk  I became aware of erratic little tugs from the other end of the leash. With the next tug I looked down at Pascal and saw one hind leg raised high in an attempt to hop over a leaf. I kept watching as we walked and when I saw what he was doing, I couldn’t keep from laughing. First it was one leg up high, &  then another. If he had been able to figure out how to do it, I’m certain he would have very quickly been airborn. As it was, he was doing what looked like a complicated jig down the length of the sidewalk, trying to avoid stepping on those evil leaves! Oh Fall, you most perfect of seasons, whatever has happened to you?

Looking out the window at the 5:00 darkness moving in to blanket bare tree limbs, I’m reminded that it’s Winter now! Somehow we made it through Fall! We actually survived our walks!  Now, I have a feeling, we are about to see how we fare with Winter. It snowed last night. It almost NEVER snows here-  We didn’t walk this morning. My decision. Too cold!  Hmmmm~!

Leading the Life of Pascal

9/19/09 Recouperating

It’s been awhile since I’ve written.  Pascal and I had a little ordeal to get through,  but we made it and I’m happy to say, everything turned out well!  Pascal managed to avoid two weeks worth of walks, as well as a trip to the groomers,  so, with the extra attention and as much sympathy from me as he could get, I think he didn’t consider it a totally bad trade-

One evening I noticed that the upper corner of hisl eft eyelid looked red. My first thought was that it must be an eye infection.  I hoped that I could put hot compresses on it and it would go away. After applying hot compresses several times a day for five days I saw no improvement at all. I started to think that maybe it was something else;  a spider bite, perhaps, or-?  I was stumped~!  When my daughter saw it she said that one of her dogs had something that looked like that & it turned out to be a tick- Tick? I hadn’t thought of that-  Uh-oh—— I don’t deal with ticks! I decided that I’d better make an appointment with the vet.

I brought him in the following day and was shocked to hear that this little red bump was a tumor. I was told they are usually benign and it could possibly remain there as long as it wasn’t touching the cornea~ and his wasn’t. We decided to try antibiotic drops in his eye for a week and see if maybe they would shrink it a bit. I was supposed to call back the following week & report on how the eye was doing. The day that I brought him in, (the picture on the right,) it really didn’t look very big to me-For blog But six days later, after using the drops to shrink it all week, this is what it looked like~(the photo on the left.) Not a pretty sight!

Eye after 6 days When I reported this to the vet he said to bring him in & he’d remove it. So~ I spent 2/3 of the next day in the waiting room at the vets while Pascal was in surgery. Finally, after what seemed like forever, they brought Pascal out to me, groggy & miserable,  with stitches in his eyelid and a “cone” around his head. I carried him carefully to the car and strapped him into his seatbelt, where he lay down, moaning & breathing funny; making the entire 10-minute ride home feel more like 30 minutes.  It was awful to see him like that. The first two days were rough, but I could see improvement each day and by the third day he was  himself again, running to the window to bark at squirrels, and picking through his dinner, Pascal-style, scattering it around the dish so that it would look like he’d eaten more than he actually had- and thus garner his favorite treat, some baked potato.

**Pascal 9/26/09

I took this picture two days ago and you can see, other than the skin being a bit pink,-  and that’s probably because all of his fur hasn’t grown back yet from where it was shaved, his eye looks “like new!”

The weather has finally cooled off, so I’m hoping  he’ll be ready to  go for walks again~  as long as it’s not too hot or too cold, or raining, or windy, or muddy- or too many prickly stickers, or~~~~~never mind! Feeling good!! C’mon Pascal,  let’s go!

This Goat Says “Woof!”

** Today is Friday. Tuesday I brought Pascal to the groomers to have his usual, every 5- weeks,  haircut. When I picked him up the groomer told me, “When I gave Pascal the choice of having his hair brushed out, or my cutting it short, Pascal said he wanted it short!”— which really means that his hair was matted and it would be much easier to just cut it off.  Okay- whatever. This has happened before and even though it doesn’t look as cute as when it’s long,  I know that it’s difficult to brush the mats out and that Pascal hates to  have it done. It grows in quickly anyway~ and besides,  it was already done.

By today, I’d already forgotten about it.  I took him for a walk downtown and it seemed like everyone we passed was staring at us. I am sort of used to that, as Pascal, being a rare breed, always draws stares, but today seemed much worse than normal.  A few people actually stopped us, after staring at us for half a block. Looking at Pascal, one said,  “Is that a, a, a terrier, a,   one of those?” “Yes, he’s a bedlington terrier” I replied, as Pascal started barking his own response . The next person was waiting on the corner for the light to change and she stared at us until we reached the corner. “What is that?” she asked, her eyes on Pascal. I told her and she looked again and said, “Is their hair always cut like that?” I explained that this was a bit shorter than usual  and she looked at him again, like she couldn’t really believe what she was seeing. Then she asked me if he was a showdog – like maybe that would explain his eccentric looks. I told her no, he wasn’t, but the breed is seen in dog shows.  This time she just looked at me, looked at Pascal, sort of shook her head and muttered, “unusual~”

We were walking the final block to get to our car-  Towards the end of the block a woman was putting money into the parking meter, but I’m not sure exactly how she managed it, because the whole time she was feeding it coins, she was staring at us. As I got closer I had a feeling that a comment was coming- (I’m getting pretty adept at predicting upcoming comments-)  Just as we got opposite each other,  she got a big grin on her face and let out a little laugh- “I was about to ask you what kind of dog that is, but now that I see it up close, it looks like a goat!!”—–and she laughed again, as did I. Pascal barked and then she really started laughing. I could hear her laughing all the way down the sidewalk. I’d love to hear the story she tells people about what she saw downtown today!

That was it for Friday’s collection of comments. We reached the car. I opened the door and scooped “Billy Goat Woof” into my arms, deposited him into his seat and strapped his seatbelt. Driving home I was lost in thought, my mind replaying our morning’s encounters. I realized that I was smiling to myself. I glanced at Pascal sitting next to me and had to laugh out loud. He was looking at me with a HUGE smile on his face.

I imagine that he too had been thinking about the morning’s walk and laughing to himself. I really believe  he has as much  fun being a bedlington terrier, garnering stares and comments from every person he passes, as I have, watching people watch and enjoy him! Oh the joy of having an eccentric dog!!!

*Birthday Smiles!

Let’s Go!

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This is the second part to my last post on, ” Pascal, all season dog”-  the “all season” meaning, no matter what the season,  Pascal will have a reason not to walk. His most-used,  weather related excuse is the wind. The wind is a great one because he can count on it to be around no matter what the season. It’s definitely his most reliable source,  followed by  summer’s heat and winter’s cold . Fall and Spring are always good for wind,  and the few days that are left free from the elements are, believe it or not, actually good for walks! We have even had some very good walks on those days. But it’s the days, the ones that actually have “weather,”  where the problem occurs, and it’s of those days that I write.

Assume for this post that it is a typical windy day- ( I’m choosing windy, since those are our most prevalent encounters, but the things I’m about to describe here occur equally as much on any weather-related day.)  I also should state that “wind” for Pascal can be anything from high velocity, sway trees, , shake leaves off branches,  to the slightest puff of a breeze- anything that can be even remotely experienced as air moving-

So——I left off in my last post,  where we’ve gotten out of the car, Pascal has chosen a few “lucky” bushes to water, and now he’s ready to walk. He takes off,  quickly- eagerly, ahead of me. For a few fleeting seconds, following him, walking as fast as I can, I think, could it be that he doesn’t notice the wind~ or maybe,  finally he just  doesn’t care?~  No sooner have those thoughts crossed my  mind than I notice that, while still out in front of me, he has started hopping with one back leg raised every other step, so that it  looks like he is either skipping or has a seriously hurt leg. By now we have almost walked/hopped, to the end of the first block. As we approach the corner I notice he has slowed  down and is no longer pulling  in front of me, but instead, has fallen behind and is walking so close to the back of my leg, ( I think he’s walking in my footprints- ) that if I were to suddenly stop, he’d crash right into me. I realize then, he’s using  me as a wind-break;  actually pretty clever!  Apparently walking in my footprints doesn’t offer enough protection-

The tension on the leash has shifted from him pulling me, to me  pulling him. This is only good for four or five steps. I know what’s coming next, and it’s more than just reaching the end of the block.  A sudden sharp tug stops me mid step and I know it’s happened. I turn around and let my eyes roll down the leash  until they meet Pascal’s-  (He has seated himself firmly in the middle of the sidewalk and is staring up at me,)  “What is it, bud? Come on, let’s go!” I try to muster as much enthusiasm into my voice as possible. He looks at me  a few seconds, then looks away, but doesn’t budge. “Come on Pascal. We’re almost there! Let’s go see-” I plead,  giving  the leash a little tug. Nothing happens. He’s dropped anchor. I know once we’ve reached this point, I can tug on the leash and cajole him forever, he’s not going to budge. I’m left with only one alternative-

I bend down and scoop him into my arms saying, ” You need a little jump-start, do you? O.k, I’ll carry you, but just for a little bit-” I carry him half of the block until his 18lbs. feel more like 100 lbs. “That’s it, bud,” I say, setting his 4 feet firmly on the sidewalk. He immediately sits down-  “I can’t carry you any more. Time to walk. We’re almost there!” I say “heel,” give a little tug on the leash and start to walk forward- only to have the leash slacken when I reached its end.

I turn around and face him again. He’s still sitting there, but refuses to look at me. He knows I’m not pleased with him. As I talk he looks off in one direction, then turns his head to look in the other direction- anything but look at me. Finally I decide this is definitely not a day to be going for a walk- (not with Pascal, anyway.)  “O.k!” I say. “Fine. Let’s go home!”I turn around  and before I can say “heel,” Pascal is off, once again in the lead, pulling me! He holds his head high and moves quickly, prancing with polished Bedlington grace.

“Slow down!” I yell after him, as I chase his wagging tail–

straight into the wind–

the entire length of the block back to the car—–!

“Good walk, Pascal!” I say, trying to catch my breath. He looks up at me as I strap him into his seat belt for the ride home and in his eyes I see a peaceful sense of calm-  That had to be a sign of agreement!

Pascal after a walk- in the car ready to go home-

Quirks and Flowers

redturtlejpg copy I promised a Pascal story for this post, so here he is, quite proud of himself in his new sweater!

Pascal has been alternating back and forth the past two weeks between being absolutely delighted to go out walking, and pouting, to be inside, lying around while I ‘ve been busy working on the dress I finished this past week-end.

He has so many funny quirks; many of them centering around food. Besides the fact that generally, Pascal could care less about food, he has a genetic liver disease called copper toxicosis. This is very serious because it means for dogs that have it, that their livers can’t process copper. If left untreated, the copper builds up in their systems until it becomes fatal. I was so lucky to have caught it in its early stages, and he is fine, but it means that besides having to take a lot of medications, his diet has to be very strict to make sure that he consumes as little copper as possible. To make matters worse, the most essential element in controlling this disease is zinc. Zinc comes in large tablets which I have to crush and mix into his food- but only after first giving him a pepcid a half hr. before – otherwise, the zinc upsets his stomach so much that the minute he swallows it, it all comes back up. Anyway, I mention this only because having to mix zinc into his dinner makes it even more important that he eat. I have to do my best to disguise the zinc-   and it’s been a real challenge. He does well with chicken, so every night he gets cooked chicken with crushed zinc, disguised with chicken gravy and shredded cheese, in a bowl along with his dog food. There are those nights, (few,) where he actually is hungry and will go right up to his dish and eat-  and then there are most nights where I just cross my fingers and hold my breath, hoping that after he runs through his “quirky routine, he will eat. It’s absolutely essential to his life that he have the zinc. We had another one of “those” nights last night, so I thought I’d give you a little glimpse of the quirky routine he puts us both through ~

Pascal and I eat with our backs to each other, his dish being about 6′ away from where I sit at the table. This gives me the advantage of being able to see his reflection in the window.  With Pascal watching, I set my plate on the table, go to his placemat on the floor and put his dish down, saying something like, “Ummm- looks good!”  I get a “ya right!” look in exchange and instead of going to his dish he comes and sits at my feet, staring at me.  I immediately show him the baked potato on my plate which is both my dinner and also my source of bribery. “Go eat your dinner and you can have some potato,” I tell him,  to which he feigns his best blank stare that I’m supposed to interpret as meaning he’s clueless as to what I’m saying. Only I know better! So I start eating my potato, but only after first scooping out a generous portion of the inside to save for after he eats his dinner. Still right next to me, he lies down and stares at his dish, as if carefully weighing the pros and cons of eating his dinner. After mentioning the bribe a few more times, I pretend to ignore him, while at the same time, sending mental telepathy saying, “Go eat, go eat!”  Finally after what seems like forever, but really isn’t more than 5 minutes,  he gets up and walks very slowly towards his dish- but then he stops about 2 feet away and stares at it again- like he’s expecting something to jump out at him. Still watching in the window to see what he’s going to do, I just hold my breath and think, Come on, keep going~  And he does! He actually goes right up to his dish, but he stops again and looks at it. Then I hear him take a bite, followed by a few more. I am so relieved. We’ve made it through another night, I think, and start reading my magazine to the pleasant sound of his slow eating in the background. But a few minutes later, he’s sitting by my side looking up at me as if to say, O.k- I ate! I’m ready for my potato! I look down at him and say, “You’re done? Already? That was awfully fast! He keeps staring at me like he’s very pleased with himself, but I’m on to him-” Let’s go check your dish,” I say. He follows me with his eyes as I walk over to his dish, knowing exactly what I was going to find. “You aren’t finished! All you ate was your chicken. You need to eat the dog food and the cottage cheese, too. You’d better go back and finish if you want your potato! I say, “Here. I’ll fix it for you,” and take a spoon and scrape it into two neat little mounds again. I bring the spoon into the kitchen and when I return he’s happily munching away at the rest of his dinner! I quickly walk past him so as not to disrupt his eating, and return to the table and my magazine.

After several minutes I hear the tag on his collar clinking and he comes running over to me. This time when I look down at him I know he’s finished- he’s wearing the last telltale blob of cottage cheese on top of his nose!  And he knows when he looks up at me and sees me smiling, that I know he’s eaten- we both know we’ve made it one more night. He gets his potato! But wow that was hard work!!

My very favorite thing to do when I’m not making my dresses is one that meets with much more approval from Pascal than when I sew, and that is gardening! I adore gardening and Pascal loves to be my “little helper” by keeping me company while I do the work! I few days ago I went around the side of the house, intending on pulling out the tall array of weeds that had moved in over the winter, and was greeted by these beautiful iris!! There is a huge clump of them over there and for most of the year I forget about them because they’re not in bloom, but when I saw them a few days ago, they were so breath-taking, I had to run back to the house to get my camera!——–Which brings me to one last thing, and that is, I enjoy taking photos so much, especially photos of flowers, and I also love writing. I’ve always dreamed about making cards, and I’ve been seriously thinking about combining my love of flowers, photography and writing, and creating some small, (4 or 5/pack,) gift packs of photographic blank notecards, with perhaps a sentence or two below the photo. So don’t be surprised if one day in the near future you see added to the handmade dresses in my etsy shop, and in my website, a new section of note cards for sale!

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