The Dog Chronicles: Andie Sunday 10/30/2016


The season is upon us, wet, glistening, luscious, and the heavy downpours of rain from the water laden skies are absolutely delightful! On our early morning walk Andie gets soaked running with the streams, pouncing and capturing Liquid Amber leaves. It has been years since we’ve had rain like this. The drought had dried us out, made us weary and peckish for its life draining, annoying monotony. The autumnal garden is confused and thinks maybe it’s a joke Mother Gaia is playing on those doubters of fecundity. Deep green and splashes of crimson, gold, burnished copper and yellow have created a magnificent brocade of beauty this season. The yellow roses in the memorial garden have decided to bloom again and for personal reasons related to grief bring me great joy.


Andie doesn’t seem as interested in the garden at present, because the good gleaning stuff has been canned and put away in the pantry. Compared to apples, plums or walnut shells dropped by our crabby squirrel, path bark seems just to have been a phase. The good news is that Andie is feeling better and wants to play. She trots in and drops Leo the Lion or her new Bean Bear near my feet as I churn away at the computer.

There have been complications. Andie’s ears became badly infected and it has been nearly a month of treatment. I had already been washing out her ears every ten days, because this is a common ailment with Cockers. Still, for all that maintenance, she managed to get worse, but is now vastly improved as of this writing. OhMyGawd, the vet bills. I wish Andie were on Social Security and Medicare.

Worse though and a situation I hesitate to share is the fact that she was injured by the new groomer to whom I entrusted her. We lost our old beloved groomer, who would park her dog trailer in the driveway and spend an hour or more making Andie gorgeous in that summer-cut country sort of way. Andie’s fur is so beautiful, curly and as fine as angora, but fox-tail weeds are a curse for animals here in the country and the number one enemy of exploring dogs. The burs literally corkscrew into the skin and in some cases cause fatal injuries.


So when our groomer friend found she couldn’t afford to live in glamorous wine country anymore, even though she worked full time, she sold out and moved to Texas and the embrace of her family. Meanwhile I shopped diligently for a reputable groomer and found one given a cosmos of stars by YELP. It was a disaster. Andie came out looking lovely, but the next day, second time around I found that the groomer has gouged a hunk of skin out of her neck the size of a quarter. When I took her in for the ear infection, the Vet found an older gouge on the other side of her neck that must have originated from the first grooming. To make short the business, the vet also found scabs on the back of her neck and cranial ridges where the clippers dug into her skin.

You pet lovers out there can just imagine how enraged, furious, and incredibly sad I felt having left Andie in those incompetent unprofessional hands. If the groomer had just leveled with me and apologized or reduced the fee as a professional courtesy it might have smoothed things over a bit. Knowing probably that I would never come back, they withheld the information. I unknowingly  did come back that second time and the injury was repeated so I have no qualms in warning against any business in our area that has the name Four Paws in it. This fiasco has cost nearly $300.00 in vet bills and grooming fees and this business is still in business….silent to my repeated requests for accountability. To my way of thinking YELP is just so much yellow snow!

Andie’s old man, which would be me, also has had his moments this month. I am at that stage of life, where I am officially elderly, yes, it’s true….OLD! I must say it’s been quite an experience so far. Because I tend to isolate being quite comfortable in the solitude ( Plus Andie) of the magic of our little cottage and garden, I didn’t realize that sleek Porsche I used to be has now become a broken down junker Corvair  antique. To wit: After a lifetime of perfect health and vigor I have become a prime example of Irish in the late stages of genetic implosion.

Speaking of the implosion, I had a doctor’s appointment the other day. My blood pressure was 188/45. The doctor came in with a look of cow eyed compassion. “this is alarming ,” he said. “Well”, I said, “that explains why I often get dizzy and fall over at inconvenient times,” (only partly true and eerily prescient as you dear reader will soon realize ) and am so often exhausted ( very true) and retire to my couch at about 6 o’clock  in the evening and fall asleep watching Lawrence O’Donnell as he’s pontificating and shredding a politician known as the ‘shrieking orange Cheeto’. That good old boy Trey Gowdy calls the same politician the ‘anus mouth leathery tangerine’. Because the Dog Chronicles hold dear the sanctity of the confessional, no names are here within revealed, but I have often imagined that Google knows everything Gawd does. Hint Hint.

I took another BP test and it returned me to the mortal realm for awhile. It all ended with Doc telling me to eat broccoli, drink lots of water, remember to breath, rest and stop watching Lawrence O’Donnell. Oh, and if I have a stroke and die, call 911 and they will take if from there. It is my first hand experience that Doctors do not appreciate snark.

The other exciting adventure was an invitation to read at a ‘Poets For Peace’ gathering in the nearby city. It was an exciting event for me, a chance to mix it up a bit, meet interesting people, and share my own experiences through poetry. After the above experience at the doctor’s office I had some misgivings about stamina, but decided it was a chance to spent quality time with an old friend and have some fun.

What I did not expect was that my old Porsche turned Corvair betrayed me.  I started out OK, but then my legs started to shake uncontrollably and if it weren’t for the podium I might well  have fallen over. Even as it was happening I had to ask myself, ‘Is this some strange stage fright?’ I don’t know, for over the long years past I lectured to students in auditoriums holding hundreds. It was a strange business to realize that my body betrayed it’s brain. My old friend had to help me off the stage, because I had temporarily lost a sense of space. The audience, some of whom were finely accomplished poets were not able to hear my voice or the nuggets of nuance tucked into the stanzas of my offerings and thus missing my colorful musings on the subject of love.

The whole business came and went like a minor seasonal storm. I sat and enjoyed the rest of the evening, hearing the voices of my brother and sister artists create great beauty out of the simple experiences of life. Later another dear friend opined that Mercury must be in retrograde AGAIN.  It’s our private joke for ‘shit happens’ and in that context, the dreaded Mercury is filed away in the yellow snow category. I remain more convinced than ever that living in the moment is the best way to stand still at the speed of light.

img_5397The next morning I explained the whole story to Andie, but I could tell from her expression, that maybe I had embellished or imagined the whole event. She livened up when I inserted the word ‘treat’ into the dramatic narration just to see if she was really paying attention. She was.

Halloween is just a ghost away and so Andie and I are getting prepared. Ordinary candy is so yuck looking I couldn’t in all good conscience hand out such dregs to the kiddies. So we bought little packets of raisins for them. JUST KIDDING! We settled on our local bakery cookies that look like pumpkins with a glob of orange frosting and black jelly bean eyes.

Andie’s not so sure that Halloween is her thing, but she is a trooper. Maybe we’ll just hide in the studio until the candy racket has passed by and watch Lassie movies.

img_5622ANDIE: Halloween Mouse

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6 Responses to The Dog Chronicles: Andie Sunday 10/30/2016

  1. rainnnn says:

    Interesting as always and infuriating about the groomer. Maybe you need a GoFundMe account for Andie 🙂 Not really joking and if you start one make sure you let your friends know.

  2. robin andrea says:

    The rain, the rain if only it would wash away all the bad news… all that yellow snow that has built up during this endless horrific mind-blowing retrograde mercury election season. I’m hoping I’ll be able to breathe again someday. I hear breathing is good for everything! Poor Andie and that horrible groomer. That is outrageous. I hope things have calmed down and healed well for both of you. This getting old stage of life does have its downsides.

  3. Tell Andie to respect her elders and not yawn while you tell her stories! I have people who also share the Mercury retrograde joke (well, for some it’s a joke). And in poetry class last Monday we discussed “that living in the moment is the best way to stand still at the speed of light.” Ah, poets, how we need them, another perennial classroom topic that enables us to feel we aren’t wasting our time. I was delighted to get you out for the evening and enjoyed even more our time in the studio, haunted in a loving way by Trace.

  4. Emmers says:

    Sorry to hear your “chassis” is acting up – or out! Love Andie/Minnie and hope her real ears have settled down .

  5. Tara says:

    bodily injury and frailty is a bitch. Poor Andie, and I’m sure your guilt is terrible, be really, undeserved. You are a loving puppy father. I’m glad to hear you stayed and listened to the other poets after your on-stage faltering. It probably was the best medicine, after all. As it usually is, as is beautiful music, loving friends, and a good pumpkin soup.

  6. Karmanot says:

    There are wonderful occasions when the comments of friends are such good medicine! Thanks

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