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a brief ride on my train of thought

musings of the homebound mind by jim "shu" carroll

gentle passing

(note to readers: this is from a column i had many years ago in the sanjuanislander) last night my family all had barbecued rib steak for dinner. i mean the whole family. me too! usually my humans don’t share their food with us. it doesn’t make me angry or upset, but some of the smells are just so interesting i can hardly stand not knowing what those things taste like! but i am a pack member and i understand that different positions in the pack involve different responsibilities and privileges. i am responsible for home security and unconditional love and listening. it’s my job and i love it. i am told that i am good at it.

lately i’ve been having a lot of trouble getting around. something has gone wrong with the back half of my body. my humans have taken me to the tile-floor dog-smell lady quite a few times. she pushes and massages on my back and sometimes it feels good and other times it feels funny and my back legs just collapse. i’m not even trying to sit, and the next thing i know i’m sitting. i’m not going to talk about the worst of it too much, but i don’t always know when i am going to the bathroom, either. 1 or 2. that is really embarrassing. my humans are kind and clean up after me, but that is not the way i want to be. so as i was saying, last night we all had steak. it was wonderful! it tastes even better than it smells, if you can even imagine that. then it sits in your tummy with such a weight and power that you know that if you had to defend the house you would have all the energy you needed. it does make me a little bit gassy. i can’t always feel it, but i can sure smell it. the boss says my name in a frustrated way and sometimes leaves the room, but he doesn’t sound mad. i don’t know what he does with his gas, because i never smell it unless i go in the “wait outside oscar” room, and i almost never go in there.

oh! i forgot to tell you! my family also had some of my old family up to visit for the last few days. back when i was first rescued from the noisy chain-link place i had a different family. they were great. but about 8 or 9 people-years ago they asked me to go protect and take care of the neighbors for a while, and i just stayed with the neighbors from then on. my old family moved, i guess. i could still smell them, but i couldn't find them anywhere. well, here they were again! two of them, anyway. it made me really happy to see them again, i can tell you. all day yesterday everybody was petting me and talking to me way more than they usually do. it was fun, but it also made me really tired. we went for a couple of walks, but i kept falling down so mostly everybody just hung out in the living room and talked. it was awesome.

this morning we all went for a boat ride. it took me a long time to get to the boat. everybody was really nice and helped me up and waited for me. tooley kept licking my ear and telling me not to worry about hurrying – she would keep the humans busy while i tried to keep up. lately my front legs are getting pretty tired from carrying almost all my weight. talk about weight! my humans have been giving me a special tiny little food called prednuhzone. i don’t know what it is, but it sure does make me fat for such a tiny food. for a while i think it made my back legs a little better, but now being so fat makes it worse. it’s all very confusing to me. i am so tired and really just want to sleep all the time, but i still have to watch the house and protect my family. the other day i used my big bark because a stranger was coming up from the dock, but my little bark came out and i couldn't fix it. my big bark just wouldn’t work, and it’s my best thing. that sucked.

so anyway, after we got off the boat we went to the dog park for a little while. i was too tired to run, and there was a german shepard there i really liked but i kept falling down when he wanted to play. my family was really nice and helped me get back up into our bus. i love being in the bus. i have my own seat in the back and i can stretch out all comfy and still see my people. we rode for just a tiny while and then we parked next to a big grassy field. my families (both of them are still here!) are sitting all around me and talking to me and petting me. man, this is great! it’s like it’s my birthday or i just stopped a bad guy who was coming to bother our house or something.

the tile-floor lady i like so much came out to the bus with one of her friends just a few minutes ago. we are having the total bus party! everyone is all in a circle around my seat and they are all scrunched in here trying to pet me at the same time. tooley is sitting up front looking out the window because she is jealous that i am getting all the attention. usually when this happens she will push right into the middle of it and try to hog all the petting and get in all the best licks. i don’t know what is up with her today, but she seems like she’s ok with me being the alpha for a while. who am i to complain? the tile-floor lady (now i remember that my family calls her dr. sonia) just shaved a little spot on my ankle. she does that sometimes and it doesn’t really hurt. it just feels kinda funny. even dr. sonia is petting me more than usual today. man, this is awesome! i wish i had more energy because i am just so tired and worn out that all i can do is lay here. i sorta felt a little poke on my leg, but even though i thought it should have hurt, it really didn’t. oh, my family is so great. everyone is so nice to me. i really shouldn’t fall asleep. i don’t want them to think i don’t appreciate them and the really great day we have had together. in fact, my whole life with this pack has been really amazing. i am one lucky dog. one lucky dog indeed. i can hear my alpha-mom saying she loves me and that i am the best dog in the whole world. she wants me to go find a good spot for my family out in these woods, and i’m going to go do that, for sure. in fact, i think i’ll go right now!

i hate to leave all this love and petting and stuff. tooley even jumped down off the seat and licked my foot before she went back up in the front to look out the window towards the woods. right now i can see her looking at me as i run across the field, bounding over the logs and big rocks between me and the woods. funny, i didn’t remember that i could jump this high. and run? man, i haven’t been this fast since i was a youngster. my ears are flapping like they used to. this is awesome! my families are all still back there in the bus hanging around my special seat, but i can’t focus on that now. i have a job to do! i’m gonna find the best place ever for my wonderful families. when i do, i’ll make sure to find a spot where i can see all around, and i’ll just hang out until they get there. well, when i’m not running and jumping and stuff. i can’t believe how good i can see and hear! this is great!


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