After eighteen years of wear and tear on our living room carpeting, and having a dog for 15 of those years, we are replacing the carpeting with hardwood flooring. It was started this morning and should be completed by day's end on Friday. I am quite excited. If I had my way, we would have hardwood flooring throughout our entire home. It is dog friendlier, and it makes life easier for allergy sufferers. Husband and I, both, are the latter. I was anxious to observe and see if my dog had been using the carpeting in any places that we were unaware of for the purpose of elimination, so I watched as the carpeting was removed, and next the padding. I was really thrilled to see that he had not. There was no stain, not even one on the padding beneath, or on the subflooring. I know he had tinkled on it a couple of times when he was a puppy and at least once that I knew of since then. We were always quick to soak it up, then neutralize it with white vinegar and water, and then completely soak that up with dry towels. It has always worked beautifully and inexpensively. Of course, we would get it professionally steam cleaned on a quite regular basis, too. Now we know we have an obedient dog to the tenth degree. You go, Sprout!!!!!
I’d like to introduce Sprout to you. He is my 15 year old Yorkshire Terrier, as of March 2, 2017. He’s a real cutie, for certain. I’ve had him since he was right around 7 to 8 weeks old. He’s been the proverbial faithful companion to me, never allowing me to question his love and devotion. Thank you, Sprout, for these many years of togetherness.
He has been healthy and lean through the years. That might be because he has been a pretty selective eater. I’ve loved that he did not become a little chubby dog, as so many other dogs that I observe do. His agility has amazed me. He has scatted about like a cat, jumping higher onto places than I would ever have imagined that he could. Husband and I often joke in whispers that he was a cat in his last life. We dare not allow him to hear us say THAT!
Sprout is a male dog, and he is territorial. Yeah! How dare another canine walk across Sprout’s sidewalk! He has never believed himself to be a little guy, either, and he is little, but he is not a teacup size. He has pretty much hovered around 10 pounds his entire life. He believes himself to be a giant among dogs, without a doubt. The challenge has always been to guard him from himself, that he not try to match himself to the giant labradoodle in the house behind us, or any other such monstrous sized dog.
Sprout’s favorite game has always been tug of war with a squeaky toy. As a puppy, I preferred to not encourage that sport, but hubby would not listen and heed my warnings. They loved playing this game together, and Sprout’s love for it only grew over time. We knew he had mastered it when he treated a bunny in the back yard in the identical fashion that he does his squeaky toys.
The funniest memory that I have of Sprout is the day he came upon a chipmunk on our back porch. That porch is about 12 by 12, so when the chase began, there was plenty of room for them to run in circles on that porch. He didn’t catch that chipmunk, thank goodness, but it was the funniest thing to see. It was like a real life Tom and Jerry cartoon.
I have to say that I believe the Yorkshire Terrier has the most beautiful of faces of all canine. That is my prejudice, of course, but oh well. I won’t deny it! Sprout’s adorable face is not an exception to my firm belief of this opinion.
I am told that the longevity of a Yorkshire Terrier is right around 15 to 18 years. I had hoped for the 18, but Sprout began failing this past year. He appears to have lost a good deal of his hearing. He seems to not see so well anymore, either, although the vet says he does not have cataracts. The worst thing is that his hind legs collapse on him pretty regularly now. He has arthritis, and hobbles around on many days. I suppose that just like humans, he can predict the weather better than the weather man.
In the past couple of months, he has become less controlled in his elimination processes. It is challenging to keep our patience. Additionally, he licks everything these days, almost like it is a compulsive addiction, which is something he did not do the first twelve or so years of his life. He has also begun to inappropriately chew up things again, like the carpet flooring. He never did that before.
In a short space of time, our living room carpet suddenly became so damaged from him that we are now scheduled to have hardwood floors installed in about two weeks.
My husband and I always vowed that we would have him “put down” when these kind of events developed, and yet, here we are; we are struggling with doing exactly that.
We’ve had many conversations about it. We wait. How bad will it get before we decide to pull the plug?
Everyone who loves a pet goes through this. It is never easy.
There are financial consequences to consider, as well. We have faithfully taken him for annual checkups, shots, teeth cleaning, and lab work. It gets pricier each year. We love him, though. He is our baby. We have justified that he is worth it, and so are we.
Now, it gets more questionable. Is it morally ethical to invest more money in his health or into prolonging his life? We think not. We consider that he has had a better life than many of the humans on this planet, and there are so many ways to use the money we would continue spending on him to help actual “people” in need. These are people with a hope and a future. Our Sprout is running out of hope and a future.
Yet, it is still tough. We still procrastinate.
At this moment, Sprout stands in the middle of the living room, looking at nothing, and yet barking his head off. He isn’t barking at something outside that he sees through the window. There is no noise outside or inside, apart from him barking, and if there was, he could not hear it. This is senile behavior. This is also something new.
I think the time is fast approaching when we must take action, and until it does, I am praying that God will cause him to slumber right into the beyond, to wherever friendly, loving pets spend eternity. I wish him no pain, no anxiety, and no sadness, just happy endless dreams of chasing chipmunks and bunnies.
It took a little while, but the baby birds on our front door finally flew away. There were three, originally, but one seemed to have died. We don’t know how or why, really .
Yesterday, I took the bucket of flowers with the nest inside down, cleaned it all out, then power washed the front door and the porch. They had made a little mess, for certain. I will surely miss peeking out the window and watching the mother bird feed her little ones.
I was out in the yard walking my Yorkie, Sprout, earlier today, and my next door neighbor walked over to talk to me. Now, I was very happy to see her in a very friendly mood, as she does not often socialize with me. I have no clue why, really, but when she is in the mood to talk to me, I always enjoy talking to her. She made some small talk with me, then asked me if she could have some of my irises for a table bouquet. I told her they were not quite popping out yet, but as soon as they did, she could have a bouquet.
Now this picture below is from last spring. They look this beautiful every year, though, and right now there are even more blooms on the stems than last year. The fuchsia colored phlox above is in bloom right now, and what a show of color. We have three colors of this filling in much of the border area of our front flower beds. One just wants to pick it and eat it, it is so luscious.
I can’t take the credit, not really, for our gorgeous yard, and it IS gorgeous. My husband, John, works so hard on it, keeping things watered, fertilized, trimmed, and shining. I pick out what I want in my garden at the nursery, after much thought and deliberation, then show him where I want it. He plants and cares for them.
I know, I sound pretty spoiled. I think I am in that regard. I used to work hard alongside him, but he gets pretty picky about how he wants things, and after developing hurting knees and other aches and pains, I decided I should allow him the privilege of doing it on his own. I think you know what I mean. He’s a perfectionist about how he plants things. He did grow up on a farm, so I will give him some slack here. Meanwhile, my knees thank him, too.
The point is, he knows what he’s doing, and I get to reap the beauty of a gorgeous yard.
The real joy is truly when others also express appreciation. When an unsociable neighbor breaks her silence and resolve to walk across my yard and ask for some of my flowers, well, that feels pretty special.
My first instinct is to protect my flowers and ask her, “What? What are you thinking? Cut my beautiful flowers?” A second later, I realize this could be the way to her heart, and it could make her feel loved and special to give her a bouquet liberally and with joy. That’s just what I did. I said, “Yes”, enthusiastically.
We get many walkers who stop and comment on our yard. It is very gratifying.
John and I wonder how many more years we are going to be able to keep up this flowery show. Just last night, he was saying how exhausted he was getting the mulching completed. This morning, I prayed about it. I asked God to renew his strength, as well as my own. I also asked God to give us the wisdom and will to know when to simplify. Until then, we will continue to enjoy our beautiful spring flowers in bloom. If we can reach out to others by giving bouquets, then our joy is even deeper!
While we were basking in the sun in Florida two weeks ago, a bird built a nest in the floral basket that hangs on our front door at home in Ohio. When we returned, at first we didn’t notice it until we discovered some broken eggs on the front porch. It occurred to us that a nest might be on the door, so we looked, and surely enough, one was there, with more little eggs tucked inside.
We made a few signs, one for inside our door and one for outside, requesting guests to please use another door and why. The sign inside was to remind us to avoid opening the door. Old habits die hard and we surely didn’t want to cause more eggs to bounce out and break.
We waited and waited, then yesterday when I checked, little birds were inside the nest. They had finally hatched!
I have a leaded glass window on my door, so I placed the inside sign right behind the nest so that the mother bird would not be disturbed by movements on the inside of our door. I lift the paper to peek into the nest, but no more often than necessary to keep track of the progress. I don’t want to frighten the Mother bird away for good. She flies away every time I do that, but she always comes back.
This evening, I did my peeking again, but I was armed with my iPhone on video mode. Above is the video clip of baby birds fussing for their dinner.
So cute! Just precious! We will give them time to learn to fly away before taking our signs off of the door.