— Relationships —

LOVING A DOG

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Who else, but your dog, watches you with utter love and devotion while you floss your teeth? Even when I was in the “pair bonding phase” with the two most important men in my life, those first couple of years when we couldn’t take our hands off of one another, other than showering together, I drew the line at watching my activities in the bathroom. For the last two months, Annie’s been confined to her condominium as she recuperates from ACL surgery to repair a torn muscle in her knee. Day after day, she’s watched me do everything. 

She’s spent so much time watching me, I’m convinced if she had opposable thumbs, she could blow-dry her own hair.

Annie’s ACL tear came out of nowhere. On the first Tuesday in November, she was hot on the trail of Mr. Squirrel, but the next day, she was limping and yelping, unable to put her weight on her right rear leg. That Friday, a canine orthopedic surgeon implanted a two-inch metal plate, held in place with screws, into the bone of her knee. For the first two weeks, Annie could only leave her condo to go outside on a leash to potty. Since she wasn’t allowed to put her weight on her back legs, I made a sling out of a long scarf so I could lift her up and cradle her back legs as she walked.

But she’s a 50-pound girl, and my neck and my back went wonky, but that’s okay. Anything for my Annie.

I know she’s feeling better because this is her “I’m bored stiff” look. She lets out a loud sigh, then rests her nose on the bars and just stares at me.

Annie just had her fifth birthday. She has many years ahead of her, so I want to make sure she’s healthy and fit and able to enjoy every last lizard and squirrel she meets! To that end, I’ve tried to be a responsible and diligent caregiver. I made an Excel spreadsheet so I’d know what times she needed her three pain meds and set alarms on my phone to wake me at 12:30am, 3:00am and 4:30am to administer her meds with a morsel of food and then hope I could get back to sleep. I put cold compresses from the freezer on her knee to help with the swelling, and when it came time for meals, I sat on the floor in front of her condo and hand-fed her so she wouldn’t have to stand up. Through all of this, I heard nary a peep out of my girl. She’s so good!

If you’ve ever loved a dog then all of this makes perfect sense to you, including taking her to physical therapy—in another city—twice a week for cold laser treatments on her knee and where she walks on a treadmill underwater. I don’t want to think about how much all of this has cost me. Probably a first-class, roundtrip ticket to Bora Bora, but I can’t put a price on loving a dog, in sickness and in health, and having them love you in return. That’s just what you do when you love someone. 

Love, Brenda

46 Comments

  • Reply Antoinette de Janasz January 8, 2022 at 7:18 am

    I totally get it, I would do no less for our dogs and cat. Prayers for Annie for a speedy recovery ❤️‍!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2022 at 2:17 pm

      Thanks for your note and your prayers. Would you believe some neanderthal emailed me and said I should have helped the homeless with the money I spent on Annie! Grrrr…. Obviously this person has never loved or been loved by a dog, and I’m positive I don’t want to know them. Brenda

  • Reply Sue January 8, 2022 at 7:48 am

    Reading about Annie just made my day so much brighter. You and Annie make a great team. I wish her a speedy recovery.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2022 at 2:18 pm

      Awe, thank you, Sue!! She’s a sweetheart. Don’t know what I’d do without her in my life. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Tara Dillard January 8, 2022 at 8:03 am

    Annie KNOWS your are LOVING her, and all will be well.

    Hope you never know the literal amount of money spent, repairing/healing Annie’s leg.

    You’re doing the right thing, spend-spend-spend, as you nurse-nurse-nurse. How thankful you are, can be felt thru the internet !

    God is good.

    Godspeed Annie’s long healthy life with you.

    Garden & Be Well, T

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2022 at 2:20 pm

      Thank you sweet Tara! Yes, God is good, and I’ve asked Him to help me heal my girl. She’s my family. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Lynn January 8, 2022 at 8:05 am

    Right there with you! Annie looks like a great dog; you are very blessed as is she!

    • Reply Jann Colabella January 8, 2022 at 8:51 am

      we went through the same thing with Roxie. Carrying her up and down the stair in snow and ice. It’s a brutal surgery.

      • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2022 at 2:24 pm

        Jann, You DO know! I’m just grateful the surgeon could mend her knee, and I’m hoping we don’t have a winter like we did last year–snowed in for over a week without power and water. How did Roxie do with her surgery? Did she heal well and resume normal activities? xoxox, Brenda

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2022 at 2:21 pm

      Thank you, Lynn! Annie’s a pistol. She makes me laugh, keeps me company and loves me in return. What more could I ask for? xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Lee Peterson Baker January 8, 2022 at 8:54 am

    Annie, Ask Brenda to put a laptop in your condo so you can start blogging! Get well soon.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2022 at 2:26 pm

      LOL!! No way, Lee! She’d tell everything!! I think I come close to that. My mother sometimes used to say, “Brenda, you don’t have to tell everything you know,” but obviously I do, or I wouldn’t be blogging and writing a memoir. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply jeannette January 8, 2022 at 9:21 am

    I also totally get it! I would do anything to keep my dog healthy and happy. Our Gracie is our 4th dog. She turns 8 in February and is quite the character. I’m so glad to hear Annie is one the mend. You certainly have gone above and beyond for your girl.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2022 at 2:30 pm

      I appreciate your note, Jeannette! As a child I wasn’t allowed to have a dog, so I didn’t get my first dog until I was about 30. Phydaux Ray was his name. Actually I’ve thought about writing about him because he changed my life. Maybe he was a child substitute, but he opened my heart in ways I didn’t know it needed to be opened. And every dog I’ve had since then has done the same thing. God bless dogs! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Jamie January 8, 2022 at 10:44 am

    You’re a great dog mom! My pets have always been a member of my family. My last dog lived for 16 years and now I have a cat that I inherited from my son and he’s quite a character!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2022 at 2:37 pm

      Thank you, Jamie! Cats are hilarious and sometimes inscrutable! Such different personalities from dogs. I’ve had a number of cats and loved them all madly. They, along with all of my dogs who are no longer here, are in little urns and wooden boxes with their names on them on a shelf in my library. After I die, my instructions are to add their ashes to mine and use us all to plant a tree at my church. James used his Father’s ashes to plant a tree at his church, and he continued to prune and fertilize that tree until he died. I’ve always thought that was a sweet gesture. Brenda

      • Reply Jamie January 8, 2022 at 8:57 pm

        I think that is a wonderful way to make memories live forever ❤️

      • Reply Laureen January 9, 2022 at 10:36 pm

        I think that is a MARVELOUS idea, Brenda. So right in the whole scope & measure of how to best be with them forever.

        • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2022 at 11:08 am

          Laureen, I’m trusting that dogs and cats will be with us in heaven and that they don’t go to their own place over “the rainbow bridge.” Dogs love people. They wouldn’t want to be by themselves. xoxox, B

  • Reply Katherine January 8, 2022 at 11:39 am

    Annie is “over the top” adorable. You both are completely dedicated to one another, and that is exactly how your lives together should
    play out. Brenda, you are an amazing mama to Annie.
    As you so well stated, “in sickness and in health.”
    Thank you for sharing the saga of Annie’s surgery and her recovery and all you have done to help her HEAL.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2022 at 2:41 pm

      Thanks so much, Katherine. I’ll tell her you said she was adorable. I tell her that all the time. We’re a pretty tight little family unit, and I would do most anything for her. I believe “do unto others applies to the animal kingdom as well.” I appreciate you reading my blog and leaving me a comment, sweet lady! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Donna O'Klock January 8, 2022 at 1:53 pm

    I’m so glad you two were brought together! Wishing you strength to continue to do all you do, and wishing her a speedy and complete recovery!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2022 at 2:43 pm

      You’re a love, Donna! I’m glad, too! I fell in love with her little brown face the moment I saw her. Hope you’re staying well during this recent Covid uptick in cases. I keep thinking I’ll get up your way, but then Covid or Annie’s surgery changes my plans. Love to you and T, Brenda

  • Reply Donna January 8, 2022 at 2:48 pm

    I’ve always had cats, but my sister has a dog I’ve fallen in love with and have started keeping her when Sara goes out of town. It’s made me think about getting a dog but I’d have to get it trained. I don’t know as much about dogs as I do about cats.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2022 at 11:12 am

      Donna, By having a cat, you’ve already shown you love animals. While a dog’s personality is different from a cat’s, they all want love and affection. If you get a puppy, get a book about raising a puppy. Have someone train it, then water and feed, shower with love and they will love you in return. I didn’t get my first dog until I was almost 30. I immersed myself in reading about dogs, and that dog changed my life for the better. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Debbie January 8, 2022 at 2:49 pm

    Awe – Sorry about lil Annie I know how hard it’s been for both of you –
    Just did it with Stormy!! We love them so much and they love us more❤️

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2022 at 11:13 am

      Debbie, What! Did little Stormy have an ACL tear as well? I hope not, but at least she’d be easier to lift her up and take the weight off of her back legs. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Cathleen Hoffman January 8, 2022 at 3:16 pm

    Well, we know that Annie would do the same for you. You are a wonderful dog lover. They deserve nothing less.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2022 at 11:14 am

      Thanks, Cathleen! I’m just doing what I hope someone would do for me when I need love and care.

  • Reply Sandra January 8, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    That is absolutely what you do. Good for you and Annie. Bless her heart. She is so lucky to have you. I adopted a basset hound several years ago and she came down with an illness that cost me several thousand dollars but I was more than happy to spend the money to get her well and she lived a good life for 4 or 5 years longer. Anything for my fur babies. Just so happy I could do it. Praying for Annie’s recovery.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2022 at 11:17 am

      You’re my kind of woman, Sandra. It’s hard to see them struggle and in pain. They can’t tell you where it hurts, so we become better able to intuit their needs. Like you, I couldn’t think about doing anything else. Thanks for your prayers for Annie. She’s a blessed little girl. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply [email protected] January 8, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    Brenda, your sweet girl appreciates everything you do for her! She is so sweet and obviously loves and adores you as you do her. There is nothing like the love of a pet. We have spent a lot of money on our pups and they are worth it. A pet is a member of the family, just like a child, why do people think you should not spend money on them? Take are and have a wonderful weekend. By the way, how is the book coming along?

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2022 at 11:26 am

      Thank you, Elizabeth! I chose not to have children and dogs and cats have filled that desire to have someone to raise and care for, and I would have done anything–and have–for them. Like children, they’re all so different, and they fill me with such delight! My book is in the hands of a well known editor for her second go round of comments and suggestions. I’m waiting to hear from her this week, then will make any changes she suggests and send it off to a copy editor to check punctuation and word choices. Then the scary part starts: Looking for a book agent. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for asking! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Heidi January 8, 2022 at 9:25 pm

    Aww, Brenda and Annie are a pair and take care of each other! She needs you right now, and you need her every day!
    Believe me I’ve been there with our little rescue dog. No expense spared and no explanation for her problems, just a cut-short vacation, many trips to the vet and emergency vet and then boom like that Maggie went from near death to all better. We still aren’t sure what the problem was but are so glad she is still with us.
    Remember to ake care of yourself too, while you’re nursing your sweet Annie! Hope she’s back to her full mobility soon.
    Xo Heidi

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2022 at 11:31 am

      Heidi, Annie’s a rescue dog as well. All of my dogs are rescues. I loved reading how much you love and care for Maggie, and I’m happy she’s doing well. What an angel you are to tell me to take care of myself! Awe… Thank you, Heidi! Actually, Annie’s rehab has been great for my figure. I walk her, twice a day, 15 minutes each. As a result, I have very little extra body fat. If I were to give “get in shape” advice, I’d say walk your dog every day!

  • Reply bonnie January 8, 2022 at 10:12 pm

    annie is a lucky pup! our dempsey had been thru similar travail, and this kind of loving is what it takes!
    (all i have to say is thank god for pet insurance). between back surgeries, physical therapy,
    and his pesky habit of eating bad things…it totally pays for itself!
    love to you and your beautiful girl.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2022 at 11:49 am

      Hi Bonnie, Like Dempsey, Annie has a history of eating things that aren’t good for her, especially until she was two or three. She was like a magnet for things like wires, aluminum foil and thick, orange rubber gloves. I’d just moved into my house shortly before I got Annie, so I was stunned to learn there was five inches of “stuff” in the yard. I actually raked my SMALL yard with a hair comb and hauled away nine big trash bags full of stuff, and when things still kept turning up, I had another four inch layer of dirt removed by my yard man. Love to you and Dempsey, Brenda

  • Reply Linda January 9, 2022 at 12:44 pm

    This made me smile from ear to ear! We’ve talked about our Annies and our love for them but to see Annie’s photo and put a face to her …. priceless! I suspect if you have a dog or cat or bird or bunny you love you realize they have saved you really …. they see you as their whole world … lucky us! Fabulous post again!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2022 at 11:52 am

      Hi Linda!!! You’re so right. They’re so dependent on us, and they give back to us more than we give to them and rescue us in so many ways. You can’t put a price tag on that. We–and our Annies–are so lucky to have one another!

  • Reply Nancy Stordahl January 9, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    Hi Brenda,

    I love how you love your dogs. The pieces you write about them are always my favorites. Give Annie a pat on the head from me.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2022 at 11:56 am

      Love seeing you here, Nancy!! I’ll tell Annie you said hello. Except for instances like yesterday when I was hanging onto my neighbor’s brick mailbox so Annie wouldn’t drag me down the street to chase after the black Poodle, she brings me such joy and love. She weights 50 pounds, and my biggest fear is she’ll put me in a position where I break a hip! Hope you and yours are well. Love, Brenda

  • Reply Yvonne January 10, 2022 at 8:51 am

    So sorry to hear about Annie and wishing her a speedy recovery and lots of fun in the future. You don’t know how it makes me happy to hear how you’re taking such good care of Annie. Makes my day because I know that many animals are not being cared for by their owners. All animals need a Brenda. I have LOVED many dogs and cat and I was devastated when they died and some people couldn’t or wouldn’t understand why I was so deeply affected by their loss. As you said they obviously have never known the love of an animal. So good to hear you say it. I feel understood, at last. Thank you for sharing! Take care and prayers for both of you.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2022 at 12:05 pm

      What a sweet note, Yvonne! Thank you very much! It breaks my heart when I hear about dogs who are neglected and abused. I would have ten dogs if I had the money and time to take care of them and make sure they know how much they’re loved. People who’ve never had an animal are missing something inside. I also know a few people who do have dogs, but they don’t love them like I love mine, and they don’t get why I mourn so when they’re gone. I have friends of almost every race and friends who are Democrats, Republicans and far right and far left radicals, gay, straight and lesbians, Christians, Jews, Hindus, agnostics and atheists, but I don’t have friends who aren’t compassionate to animals. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply LA CONTESSA January 10, 2022 at 10:21 am

    OF COURSE WE DO IT!WHAT OTHER CHOICE IS THERE?
    THOSE PAIN MEDS WERE PRETTY CLOSE TOGETHER IN TIME??
    HOPE YOU WERE ABLE TO GET BACK TO SLEEP!
    BANKSY THE PIGGY HAS NOW TAKEN OVER BETTY THE PUPPYS NEW BED!
    I AM NOT ALLOWED TO COVER THE PIGGY WITH HIS JOHNNY WAS BLANKET SAYS THE ITALIAN SO HE WILL LEARN NO COVERS IN BETTY’S BED!I SAY JUST GET THE PIGGY THE SAME BED!HE SEEMS TO LIKE IT AS HE WENT BACK TO IT EARLY THIS AM AFRER BREAKFAST!THE BLANKET DIDNOT BREAK THE DEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!
    XOXO

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2022 at 12:12 pm

      Elizabeth, For those of us who love animals, there is NO OTHER CHOICE! Two of the pain meds needed to be within three hours of one another, but not together, and the third one helped the other two “kick in.” Believe me, I called the vet to double check that. I’d never forgive myself if I’d OD’d my Annie girl. Banksy sounds like he has some jealousy issues going on. He wants to be king of the roost and sees Betty as an interloper on his territory. He’s making it clear to everyone where he ranks. Since Betty’s getting to be such a big girl, from now on, perhaps you get them both new beds and blankets at the same time, although Banksy may still want to claim hers. As my late father-in-law used to say: Dogs (pigs) are funny people! xoxox, Brenda

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