Friday, May 04, 2007

The Noble Truth of Impermanence

Did you ever read that wonderful story called "Tear Water Tea," from the Owl At Home book by Arnold Lobel? In order to fix himself a cup of tearwater tea, Owl has to force himself think of sad things so he can cry enough tears to fill the teapot. A champion anthropomorphizer, he thinks of such heart rending tragedies as books that can't be read because some of the pages were torn out, mashed potatoes left on a plate because no one wanted to eat them, mornings that nobody saw because everybody was sleeping. Next thing you know the pot is full of tears. It's a wonderful little fable.

If I ever wanted to make myself some tearwater tea, I have three personal triggers that are absolutely guaranteed to make me weep big salty tears by merely thinking about them: saying goodbye to my sons at the airport; the Abraham Lincoln Brigade; and old dogs.

Excuse me a moment, I can barely see to type. [snffle]

Anyway, the subject of old dogs has been on my mind a lot lately, because my beloved Dixie Rae is noticeably getting on up there. Since she's a rescue dog--I adopted her from a rescue group that took her in when somebody found her abandoned in a dumpster--I'm not sure of her exact age. I'd guess it's somewhere between 12 and 15. She's 98% deaf, her eyes are starting to cloud over, she has arthritis in her hips, and there's only one molar left in her head so her tongue dangles out of the side of her mouth most of the time, collecting all kinds of lint and cat hairs and other disgusting schmutz. But she's still the most cheerful, loyal, intelligent, and shamelessly horny dog I've ever known. In spite of the arthritis, she still manages to spend several hours a day vigorously humping Mr. Bingles, her long-suffering teddy bear.

Yesterday my idol B. Dagger Lee wrote the most touching comment over at Twisty's on the subject of older dogs and their inevitable ailments, in response to a post about Twisty's 13 year old Zippy who has just undergone emergency surgery for an extremely dangerous condition called gastric torsion. Reading about poor Zippy, and then this BDL comment just about did me in. B. Dagger Lee said:

"As I’ve been saying to Miss Patsy for the last three years as her ancient poodle tramps over us all night long and pees on his feet: After 12 years, every day is frosting and gravy my dear, frosting and gravy."

Indeed. So before I drown myself in tear water tea, I 'd like to dedicate today to a celebration of my beautiful Dixie Rae, and all old dogs everywhere. Do y'all want lemon or kleenex with your gravy and tea?

Dixie Rae (left) with her loyal companion Dolly Louise

Dixie Rae enthusiastically humping the ever-compliant Mr. Bingles.

Dixie Rae's life is a bed of roses.

Dixie (left) and Dolly (right)

Bathing beauty shows off her girlish figure in a hot pink bikini

The Mona Dixie Smile captured by the artist in residence

Dixie Rae shaved her head in solidarity during my chemo

Dixie Rae even wore an embarrassing wig in solidarity during chemo.

Dolly (left) and Dixie (right) gave me lots of moral support when I was sick.

Dixie Rae makes sure it's really me under that stupid wig.

Dixie Rae swings!

Dixie Rae sports some serious PRODUCT!

Dixie Rae and Dolly Louise curled up patiently at my feet as I write this post today.


Blogger Elan Morgan said...

What sweethearts you have. I am a cat lady, personally, but pet love is like no other. I wish your horny little girl well.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Trasi said...

Awww, that made me so sad! We just had to have our 14 year old lab put down about 6 weeks ago, and I could have filled up one of those big fat orange Gatorade dispensers you see on the sidelines at football games. Sitting and holding his paw as they had to put him to sleep was heart-wrenching. Old dogs are definitely special and I'm glad we had him. But that subject absolutely guts me when someone brings it up. Snif.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...
Gene Weingarten, WashPost columnist and dog lover extraordinaire is compiling a great book on this subject. Don't know if they are still taking entries, but take a look.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Grumble Kitty said...

I love your blog. I had to sign up to post this comment. Your dogs are adorable, house and garden are gorgeous, your talent is amazing, your strength is inspiring. Check out my sisters dog art blog. She's looking for new talent to feature.

What kind of dogs are they? They are so cute. I'm personally a fan of my little mutt, but you never know what you'll find at the shelter.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hee hee hee

BDL is one of the most eloquent blog commenters ever. I often wish she had a blog of her own.

And your dogs are wonderful, worthy of celebration.

10:25 AM  
Blogger sumo said...

The "this is not about dogs" post at sweet-juniper makes me tear up:

11:13 AM  
Blogger E :) said...

I have cute overload now. So cute.

7:02 AM  
Blogger Omar Cruz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Lt. Obtusely Rev. B. Dagger Lee said...

You are too sweet and kind.

We had a fright because Lou-lou (MIss Patsy's poodle, also blind and deaf) fell down a full flight of stairs the day before yesterday. Then, at the bottom, as Miss Patsy wept over him, and I went tearing around the house looking for my car keys, he had a fit--he's epileptico--and then, by god, he was fine. Miss Patsy was distraught all day because she'd left the door open. But he wasn't even bruised.

Now we call him Raspulou, after Rasputin. And because he smells.

But here's to Dixie Rae and Raspulou!

yrs, the idol with the giant feet of clay, B. Dagger L

9:51 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

Liz--well, you made me both laugh and cry this morning (I can make my own cup of tea!) with your post about old dogs. Laughed so hard over your dog humping the stuffed animal.

Something else we have in common: my dog Constant, now in serious training to get over his idea that he is the alpha dog in the family (when it should be me), was also a rescue puppy. He is one of only two survivors from a litter of 13, due to the neglect and stupidity of human beings.


Link to photo of my dogs:

PS: I think you could carry those two up the ladder to the tree house.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Thanks for posting these great photos. Found your blog over at The Gimp Parade and am so glad I came over. I have a big fluffy cat named Buddy who is my companion - a very large cat (over 25 pounds) who gets in the shower with me so I don't fall over - has learned to avoid the wheels on my wheelchair even when I occasionally back up into his path, and uses his paw to hold things down for me when I'm struggling. And I don't have to pay him either! What a concept :)

9:56 AM  
Blogger Ya Looblue said...

thinking about you today Liz...not sure why...just a feeling. i hope you're well...

3:10 PM  
Blogger Carny Asada said...

Things that make me fill the teapot include the final stretch of a horse race, the Spartans at Thermopylae, wondering what Jimi Hendrix would be doing if he were alive today, and seeing the flowers bloom each spring on my Stella's grave. I still have a tiny tuft of her fur that I sealed into the back of one of her photos.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is unusual blog.I appreciate your short summary of the above. It is more food for spiritual thought. Thanks,
dog ramps

5:45 AM  

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