Losing Mr. Pickles wasn’t my first dead pet rodeo. i’ve had canine companionship my entire life – losing Slightly and Rupert dropped some darkness in my heart. They were the dogs my ex-husband and i had before we started breeding, and they were the first pets for my children.

Rupert died first. Shortly after we buried Slightly my husband and kids began lobbying for another dog. i wasn’t ready right away, but they started the marketing campaign within a month. It was three months later before i succumbed to pressure, and we stumbled upon Turbo the Wonder Dog.

Mr. Pickles came to us a couple of years later as a companion for her – eventually becoming my canine life partner as my husband claimed Turbo as his road dog when he moved to our place up north.

When Mr. Pickles died last August, i had no plan to get another pup – some combination of shattered heart and lifestyle. Too much travel to commit to a dog. It wasn’t until late November that i noticed something happening. The feeling of missing A Specific Dog was still there, but there was another feeling. The sense of missing having A Dog.

The lifestyle issue remained – so much travel, and hating having to rely on a pet sitter to take care of a dog. i reached out to a friend who works in rescue, and let her know that i could probably foster an old dog, or a hospice dog, for a few months. Within a day things went into motion…

An urgent need for placement of a big doggie, about 5 years old. His owner had a terminal illness and was no longer able to care for him.

“Can you manage a big pit bull mix? He’s a low-energy sweetheart, good with other animals, who likes to sleep and ride in the car! Really need a foster – he’s a big boy and would likely end up as a bait dog if he goes into a shelter”

“Ummm…. sure?”

In December, Tank arrived – delivered by the dog rescue network, and his owner – man with cancer who wanted to meet me in person before handing over this dog. i took one look at A Very Large Dog With A Head the Size Of An Anvil and said “i will do right by this dog” as i shook his hand – even though i had no idea what i was doing…

Tank arriving

When a smallyappydog has a bad day and bites you? It’s an annoyance. Looking at Tank, and getting a sense for his strength, i realized quickly the responsibility of such a powerful creature. If he has a bad day? It’s more than an annoyance… This dog could eat my face.

Within a couple of days, Huey the cat was sleeping next to him in bed. A sweet, resilient and easy dog, Tank got comfortable. At first neighbors were crossing the street as we went about our daily walks, but over the first few weeks, a few came up to meet him – and he charmed them all.

Huey and Tank

Pet Sitter was also immediately charmed – and asked if there was any possible way he could adopt this goofy dog. So nine months later, this short-term foster dog is still part of my life. Pet Sitter is working on getting his own place, and will take full custody in a few months, but in the meantime is happy to take The Tanker out on play dates, and stay at my place with the manimals when i’m on the road.


My life is better with a dog in it – this particular dog. The most important thing i’ve learned after this episode of “I’m Never Having Another Dog Because I Can’t Take the Heartbreak When It Dies”? So many good dogs out there. So many… the best way to honor a beloved rescue dog is to find a way to rescue another one…

Tank smile

Flu Survival Tips

Perhaps it’s because i had my children in daycare that i have developed the immune system of a cockroach.  i don’t get sick.  The last time i called off work for an actual* sick day was in 2007 when i had mono.

i left work Thursday afternoon with chills… and NOT because i was so enthralled with the work i’d accomplished.  Fever.  102 F when i got home.  Yay.  The Flu.

Maybe because it’s so infrequent, but when i do get sick?  i’m a big damn baby difficult patient.  i wish to be alone in my misery.  Friends have offered to bring me this or that, but i prefer to wallow in the solitary confinement of my sweat-drenched sheets.  Besides, moaning is so undignified…

The animals have been great company.  i’ve learned more about the differences between cats and dogs along the way.  While curled up on the floor of the bathroom on the fluffy bath mat, the cat came by to investigate.  He immediately discerned that i was in no condition to either (a) scratch him or (b) feed him.  So he knocked the bathroom scale into the bathtub and proceeded to make noise there, hoping i’d come around and make with the scratches and cat chow.

The dog, on the other hand, knows that when i’m down on the floor i want to play with him.  Bringing me all manner of gnarled bones, and gooey chew ropes, he felt compelled to pelt me with toys.  The sweet, slobbery bastard…

The fever may have finally broken.  Or not.  But i’m vertical after two days of mostly horizontal.  While these tips are fresh in my fever-addled brain, thought i’d do a gentle public service and share them.

DO:  Drink plenty of fluids.  Staying hydrated is essential to manage a fever.

DON’T: Drink leftover eggnog.  While it is technically a liquid?  It will curdle the moment it hits your roasting belly.  You will immediately regret it.

DO: Eat a little something when the fever drops.  Saltine crackers, light non-acidic fruit, or applesauce.

DON’T:  Bash a couple of Skyline** cheese coneys on the way back from a doctor’s appointment.  Oh, you will regret this later.  Very. Much.

DO:  Moan.  Loudly and as needed.  If you are feeling miserable, and the simple act of turning from your right side to your back is posing a grand challenge?  Let loose with a hefty groan.  Martial artists know the power of releasing visceral noise.  It isn’t just for Ninjas…

DON’T: Get irritated when your dog moans along.  He was born to sing.  He prefers a chorus part.  Don’t be a killjoy.

DO: Get fresh air.  Taking the dog on two short necessity walks each day is an opportunity to ‘blow the stink off’ and get crisp, clean, winter air into your lungs.

DON’T: Forget to put on something other than shorts.  While you’re rockin’ the snow boots and down jacket, exposed flesh in sub-freezing weather is generally a bad plan.

i miss nursemyra

delicious image found here

* As opposed to ‘anal glaucoma’ days – where i just can’t see my ass at work.  These happen on a fairly regular basis.

**  Skyline Chili is a regional delicacy.  Not so much chili as it is a Greek meat sauce, if you were raised on this yummy delight, it becomes the mother of all comfort food.  It also is quite disgusting on the return trip…