Things should be better soon

One of the reasons we’ve been having some problems with housetraining Beulah is a urinary track infection that was diagnosed yesterday on her trip to the vet. Now that she has started medicine to treat the UTI, things should hopefully improve soon and she won’t have to go as often. Poor thing. Too bad dogs can’t talk to you and say “something’s wrong here!”

Lest any of you worry

Let me be perfectly clear … we (nor I) are NOT considering getting rid of Beulah Mae (not that the decision would be mine to make anyways). Not by a long shot. What you read here a few days ago was a honest expression of the frustration I was feeling at the time. Some days are just bad days. It’s OK to voice frustration. In fact, it’s probably healthier than keeping it all stuffed safely inside. But just becase I feel something and express it doesn’t necessarily mean I am going to act on it. In fact, we had a very good weekend together, the four of us. It’s all a process. We are all learning how to adjust and cope. There will be bad days to come. No, the experience with Beulah is nothing at all like the experience with Coco. There is a world of difference between the two dogs. I’m just kinda stuck in my ways, addicted to the comfort and relaxation of being at home, and I’m slow to change and don’t always react well to disturbances in my living environment, OK? So I’ll whine sometimes. That’s OK too. Doesn’t mean I’m about to do anything stupid or senseless. Beulah is still getting a lot of love and attention from both of us. Yes, she’s very good about entertaining herself, so she doesn’t have to be the center of attention. And once we get the housebreaking down pat, my stress level will go way down immediately, I know. No worries, mon!

The Eyes of Beulah Mae

The picture is kinda spooky, but on a recent night while watching television I snapped a photo of Beulah sitting on the couch and coming over the armrest to get a better view. You can see how long her ears are getting in this photo.

And this is just a plain cute picture of her taken while snarfing down one of her treats in the living room.

True confessions: I don’t do well with anything that disturbs my peace at home. I’ve realized this before, but I forget it too often and too easily. And when it came to having discussions about getting a dog we didn’t spend enough time in serious talk about how disruptive it would be. Harald is doing far better than I am at adapting to having a new puppy in the house. Yes, she’s cute beyond words at times. And it can also be fun at times to watch her personality and body develop. She’s so smart too, figured out the other night how to climb the stairs so she could reach the cat – whom she wants to play with very much but who wants nothing to do with her. But the truth is that raising a puppy can be very demanding and I’m short on patience. (Yeah, I know, no one saw that bit of personal insight coming!) I’m a cat person. Show them the litter when you bring them home and where to find the food – there, you’re done. Last night, I had serious fantasies (though fantasies only) of packing her canine puppy butt in a crate and shipping her back to Iowa. I think Harald may think I’m a terrible person for having such thoughts – I’m not sure. Anyway, it’s how I deal with the unmitigated stress of puppy raising. This is definitely not what I wanted for my summer, not this summer. But, of course, it isn’t about me anymore. Yes, I forget that part. What I want or need is completely beside the point now. Stuff it all down, subdue your own needs completely (heaven forbid you should take care of yourself first!) and give everything you can to raising the new life under the roof. Feh! I’m done now (or not). I just needed to get that bitch-whine out of the way. There, I feel much better now that I’ve drained my spleen a bit.

One more thing about Beulah Mae

You know what fun we had picking out the name “Beulah Mae” for our little puppy, right? Well, I left out one detail you ought to know. When we got home from Iowa on Sunday and took out all the AKC registration paperwork the breeder had given us (which we didn’t bother to look at before we left Iowa), Harald immediately caught something that is almost spooky. What do you think her paternal great grandmother’s name was? Come on, take a guess. That’s right – it was Beulah Mae! Now what are the chances of THAT?

Beulah Mae & Iowa

We drove the almost 300 miles to Cedar Rapids on Friday afternoon and were both surprised by how much we loved the scenic rolling hills of eastern Iowa. We must have seen millions of square acres of corn fields – many miles of it as far as the eye could see. I had never been into Iowa further than the Clear Lake exit off of 35 where I head west to a favorite quilt store – and even that trip had been years ago. It was a delightful trip really and we especially liked the rolling hills area between Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids. We even passed the National Dairy Cattle Congress in Waterloo and the big John Deere tractor factory they have there. When we arrived and checked in, we went for a little walk because five hours of sitting was too much. Of course, it was after 5:00 on a Friday in small town America, so not a thing was open except for bars and restaurants – and there weren’t many of them even! We especially liked see the Veteran’s Memorial building in downtown Cedar Rapids built in 1927. It sat across a long green mall from the county courthouse, built in 1923 in the neo-classic style. In between, a much smaller memorial to Vietnam veterans in red granite. It was a surprisingly moving experience and we wondered allowed at what this town must have been like in the 1920s – a hub of vital agricultural life for the area. Here is a page that has some good photo links to check out. You can see the mall and courthouse from a citycam atop the Veterans Memorial building, now the city hall. There is a large Czech population in Cedar Rapids and we were hoping to get to the Czech neighborhood to eat because we both love eastern European cuisine, but it would have meant more time in the car and we weren’t up for that.

Saturday morning we got up early, ate at the breakfast buffet, and headed the 47 miles northwest to a tiny place called Center Junction. About 10 miles west of Anamosa. Between Anamosa and Cedar Junction, we passed a little, white, one-room schoolhouse that proudly proclaimed itself Grant Wood‘s first school. Do you recall the famous depression era painter known for his somewhat idealized imagery of middle-America farm life, especially the work “American Gothic” for which he is most well known? It wasn’t hard to imagine how someone who was born and raised in that area might, in the face of the severity and hopelessness of the depression, wish to offer a more optimistic vision of American life as he knew it. Both Harald and I seriously talked about making more trips to Iowa to explore more, just to travel into the little towns to see what they are like and what life looks like for the people who haven’t made the push to the big city.

We picked up Beulah Mae and visited with the breeders for a while before leaving. You could tell the three small girls, one especially, was having a hard time with Beulah leaving. Eventually we waved goodbye and took off down the gravel drive and back to the highway for the long ride home. Beulah was only fitful for the first 20 minutes or so. She settled down after that on the pillow on my lap and half-slept for most of the ride home and we were both so pleased with how well she did in the car, especially considering she’s not had much car travel at all in her young life. The six hours home was a little much for her, I’m sure, but we stopped for potty and water breaks along the way and she really bonded with me – she needed to be in contact with a piece of my skin at all times. When you would put her on the grass, she would potty right away – a hopeful sign for sure. And everywhere we stopped, people would ooohhh and awwwwwe over her to no end and tell us stories of bassets they had loved. That was all very good.

Saturday night she wasn’t too loud going into her kennel in the bedroom and she settled quickly for a long sleep, until she woke up at 4:00 half-crying and half-howling to be let out. I took her into the guest bedroom after Harald took her outside to potty and she curled up right next to me and promptly went back to sleep for another few hours. I was gone yesterday afternoon in class but she was calm and seemed even more settled last night when I got home. She most definitely did NOT like going into her kennel last night and I laid there for a while wondering “how long are sane people expected to put up with this racket before caving in and putting her in the bed?” She did settle down after some time and we had the same routine this morning – wake up at 4:00 a.m. to go potty, then back in the guest bedroom to sleep a while longer. Of course, I had to put her in the kennel before I left for work today as Harald was already gone – and I feel a little like the worst human in the world upon hearing her cry as I left for the day. All I can think of is a silent prayer to St. Francis to comfort her and to help her make the transition and learn that it is OK to be alone because we will always come back. But she’s been in a home with constant human companionship and play for the first eight weeks of her life so this is all terribly frightening for her I’m sure. I’ll try not to lose my mind in the process!

Pet Loss and Grief Resources

Here is the list of resources published in a local pet lover’s newspaper:

Animal Humane Society Pet Loss Support Group – 763-522-4325

ASPCA National Pet Loss Hotline (24 hours a day)
Enter PIN #104-7211 then your phone number. The call will be returned promptly.

College of Vet Medicine at University of IL/C.A.R.E. Pet Loss Helpline

Grief Recovery Hotline

Iowa State University Pet Loss Support Hotline

UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, Pet Loss Support Hotline

Animal Love and Loss Network

Animals in Our Hearts

Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement

Argus Institute for Families and Vet Medicine

Cornell University Pet Loss Support Hotline

Eternal Animals

Gardens of Memory

Grief Healing

In Memory of Pets

Kindred Spirits

Pet Loss

The Pet Loss Grief Support Website and Candle Ceremony

Rainbow Pet Memorial

I can’t vouch for any of these sites – I haven’t checked them out yet. Just thought I would share them in case you or anyone you know might benefit from this info.

Pictures of Jasper

As a tribute to my furry friend, I thought I would post some pictures taken of him soon after I got him. He came home with me only a few days after the 9/11 tragedy. Those who knew him knew that he made himself completely at home in my house (as these pictures clearly attest) from the moment he arrived. He even started answering to his new name from the time I brought him home (his prior owners had boringly named him “Kitty”).

Jasper is gone

My worst fears about Jasper’s prognosis were realized this morning. When I woke up, Jasper was crying from downstairs and didn’t come up like he always does and I knew something was wrong and rushed downstairs to find Jasper on the floor, the back half of his body completely paralyzed. Ever since the last episode, I knew this day was a possibility. But you’re just never ready. I rushed him to the vet and long talks with the doctor about his continued prognosis, his worsening heart disease, left me with the difficult decision to make. In the end, I decided that Jasper was too good of a friend, too much of a love, to allow him to die slowly in bits and pieces as these clots from his heart broke off and stole his life bit by bit. I held him at the end and he was purring loudly and nestled his head in my arm as the doctor gave him the shot.

I feel like I’ve lost my best friend in the whole world, the one who listened to every complaint, endured with patience every bad mood, and always was there to love me and anyone who came into our home. I am bereft. This house is going to be so lonely without him. Who will cuddle quietly next to me now when I lay down to rest?