Will the real magician please stand up?

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There is something about magic that forever binds us to our childhood. We recall birthday parties with the guy who retrieved the quarter from our ear, had a continuous cloth of many colors that he miraculously pulled out of his mouth and live animals he made disappear and reappear. These are the tricks we talked about incessantly when we were young and kids today are still engaged by those people who have the gift of magic and who can keep the illusions alive.

Every Thursday, we have a magician come to the lodge to entertain our guests. He has been a staple at the lodge for many years and the kids are always wowed by his pre-show antics during dinner. He hooks them with his sleight of hand, rewards them with a token of his wizardry and has them lining up to see his full performance when dinner has ended.

One particular night a few weeks ago, I received a text message from a co-worker. It was a message I never thought I would read and it simply said, “Frank forgot his rabbit”. The finale of his performance, the only live part of his show, was in a travel carrier and left at the lodge with nowhere to spend the night. I asked my co-worker to drop the bunny off at the staff house and we would deal with him in the morning.

The next morning came and the only place safe enough for the bunny to be harbored, until Frank could return, was my office. As cute as the bunny was, I was quickly pulled back to my childhood when I learned I was allergic to rabbits and the rest of my day was not so magical. Frank could not pick up the bunny until after his shows had ended and the bunny and I spent the day acclimating while he adjusted to being stuck in his travel cage and I adjusted to itchy, swelling eyes and sneezing.

Regardless of my allergic reaction and my utter disdain for the smell of his travel cage, that bunny became my hero. The more time he and I spent together, the more I laughed, because the more I laughed, the more I realized he held powers far beyond the cuteness of his twitching nose and his soft fur. That bunny, after years of being the victim of a disappearing act, had finally fulfilled his lifelong wish and made himself the star of the show by making the magician disappear!

Like sands through the hourglass…..

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Yesterday was a very important calendar date.  It had been looming and, as each day brought me closer to it, the dread I felt increased exponentially.

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Last year, on that precise calendar day of October 18th, my dog had her first Petit Mal seizure.  I was a mess and I called my friend in a complete panic.  He calmed me down and made me realize that I must control my hysteria.   I needed put on a brave face so my dog knew that I had my shit together.  It was tough, but I did it.

Poor Callaway lost a great deal of her freedom after that, only because I was too afraid to let her out of my sight.  What if it happened again?  And if it did happen again, what if she was somewhere on the property I couldn’t see her and didn’t know what was happening?  We bonded a great deal more over the weeks that followed her seizure because I was afraid to leave her alone.

As the days turned into months, I became less of a “helicopter parent” and eased the reigns a bit on her leash.  And then April 18th came – six months to the day after her first one –  and she had another seizure.  Like the first, it was a Petit Mal seizure.  But unlike the first, I kept my composure and soothed her through the episode.

Yesterday was October 18th.   Callaway has not shown any signs over the last six months of having had any incidents while I have been at work (or at home) but that date glowed in neon on every calendar in my peripheral vision.  It was my waking thought yesterday.  The number 18 hovered above my head like a cartoon balloon and spent the entire day threatening, like that too-close pair of glowing eyes in the dark.

But thankfully the day ended with as little commotion as it began.  And as she sits chewing on her rawhide sticks, I am thankful – thankful because I am now able to focus on all of the days she hasn’t had a seizure and not just the two that she did.

 

What is THIS lovely fragrance?

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There was no sweetness.  There were no flowers.  And the only thing that was stolen was my breath.   What began as a restful few hours between a long day and an abbreviated sleep turned into a rolling profusion of expletives followed by a few moments to regain my sense of composure.

On any other occasion, these moments could have been used to describe a much more pleasurable evening.  What really happened will live in my mind, and my nasal cavity, for years to come.

It was a routine outing.   Callaway never strays far from the house for her late night relief before bedtime so I didn’t think twice about opening the door to let her out.   But I certainly thought twice about opening the door to let her in when the pungent stench of skunk met the sensory cells of my nose.  She looked extremely pleased with herself and I’m certain she sensed that I was not so pleased.

I scoured the cupboards for the age-old remedy of tomato juice but came up empty-handed.  I glanced at the clock and it read 10:30 pm, so a trip to the local, small town grocery store was out of the question.  I then relied on the only endless source of information I had readily available – Facebook.

As much as I have expounded in great detail about this social media icon being a complete mind sucking website – it became my lifeline and my hero.   After a bath of Hydrogen Peroxide, baking soda and dish soap, the putrid odor dissipated to the point that I could tolerate her and allow my dog to come inside.   Since I would never leave her out at night, I wrapped her in blankets to help her dry off and put her to bed.

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The “lovely fragrance” still lingers on my dog and in my house.  And I’m sure it will be a phantom smell that follows me for months.  But I have since forgiven her for the reminder that she is more canine than human, and she has forgiven me for forgetting that she is a dog and that she will continue to behave as a dog.   Lessons learned…..and from now on, we walk together….Callaway on a leash, and me with a flashlight looking for any eyes in my peripheral that may pose an olfactory threat!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s a few grey hairs between friends?

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The grey whiskers appeared almost overnight.   In the blink of an eye, my dog had matured beyond the youthful puppy I have known for 9 years.  Sure she still has the spunk of a young pup on occasion but I can slowly see time creeping up on her faster than I would like it to.

My solace lies in the fact that our affection for each other is timeless.   Her devotion to me, whether her joints are currently aching and she has no desire to jump on my bed, is endless.  She is, and will continue for years to be, my true companion.   She is happy to see me when I have returned home after four hours or four minutes.  She never judges my idiosyncrasies and she still manages to hear my soft sobs when I am trying to quietly cry and she comes to clean away the salty tears.

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I thought my life was full before she came along.   I was dead wrong.  We have always had dogs.  Growing up, my life was filled with hairballs and doggy kisses.   But Callaway is a unique soul.   There is not a doubt in my mind that she was meant to be my dog.   The picture we fell in love with on the adoption website (the one above) was a picture of her brother but it was Callaway who came into my life and into my heart.  I fought for her during my divorce because I couldn’t imagine my house without her in it.

I know I must face the inevitable – time will not go backwards and those grey hairs on her muzzle will slowly multiply, but so will the grey hairs on my head.  We will face this truth together knowing that however long we were destined to be in each other’s lives, we will make the most of each moment.

 

My catnaps are something completely different

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It was a marginally illegal happenstance born of complete innocence.  Our Chef made the familiar turn onto our road and noticed the owner’s cat in the woods about a kilometer from their house.  He did what anyone else would do in his situation and he put Lulu in his car to bring her home.

Although the cat seemed mildly disoriented, she seemed to settle back in relatively quickly and made her way to Nanny and Poppa’s house.  Having just returned from south of the border, they were happy to see Lulu and reached into the treat bag they kept at the house.  The cat seemed content to stay there for a couple of days but was finally taken back to her home.   Upon putting the cat on the porch outside of the sliding glass door, Nanny realized that Lulu was inside the house staring back at her doppelgänger on the other side of the door.  Both cats immediately puffed up to twice their size and the interloper was brought back down to the lodge for her own safety.

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The new cat, who I affectionately referred to as RuPaul, lived the Life of Riley for the next few days.  She sauntered around the property, drank lake water while standing on the sandy beach, joined a young conference who had an outdoor meeting session on the lawn and became one of the group.  She was fed, loved and seemed like she would fit right in.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I found out how RuPaul had come to the resort.  We realized the error that our Chef had made by erroneously abducting our neighbor’s cat and she was then returned to the property from where she had been cat-napped.

When the owner realized that Snipey had returned she called her husband immediately, commenting on how well the cat looked and that Snipey wasn’t even hungry.  After reading my message to her on Facebook, Sue called our resort and I told her the story of how her Lulu-lookalike became a part of our lodge family for a few days.  She was a great sport about the story and was extremely happy to have her cat-napped family member home safe and sound.

From now on, we’ll just have to make sure that our Chef sticks with the cat naps that I am used to and not the ones that can get him in to trouble with the neighbors!

 

I’ll bet you think this blog is about you, don’t you?

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She’s so vain.  I didn’t think it was possible but my dog has begun to show narcissistic tendencies.  She is absolutely one of the sweetest dogs I have ever known and I never thought I would be writing these words about her.

Our routines have changed since she had her second seizure a few weeks ago.  She came through it just fine but I wanted to keep as close an eye on her as I could, so her outdoor adventures became shadowed by my presence and an extendable leash so I could monitor her well-being.

Three or four times a day, we walk to the end of our road and back and she thrills in discovering new smells each time we travel along the same stretch of pavement.  She has been trained to sit down at the side of the road every time a car passes so they are not concerned about getting too close.  But lately after each car has passed, her smile widens and she leaps from her seated position to follow the occupants of the vehicle that she has convinced herself are on the road only to see her.  I am loath to admit that my dog has become a Kardashian.

Tail wagging, she veers into the middle of the road to catch a whiff of the humans in the metal can on wheels.  If the car is going in the opposite direction, I suddenly find myself the one being walked down the road.  And, much to my dismay, several cars stop to chat only reinforcing her belief that they have stopped just for her.  After her faithful subjects have curtsied and paid their respects, her head swells slightly, I feel moderately deprived of oxygen and we continue our walk until we are securely tucked back into our humble abode (which I’m sure she now feels is beneath her).

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(image: Callaway as a puppy)

As I’m sure it happens in Hollywood, Callaway’s fame happened overnight.  Three or four times a day, I apparently walk a movie star.  I missed the memo explaining my new role in this relationship but as long as I still have that smiling face in my life, I’m okay with it!

We’re both shaken up

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“Happiness is a warm puppy.” ~ Charles M Schulz

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I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with this beautiful creature for the past 8 1/2 years.  She has been my companion and my confidant without question.  Last night she had her second seizure in exactly six months to the day.  I must admit I handled this one much better than the first but it is still a very traumatic event.

It is a horrible sensation to feel helpless, unable to control what is happening to the one living thing that has given me unconditional love since we first laid eyes on each other.  The only thing I could offer her in the moment of her worst distress was the return of my unconditional love.

I remembered to remain calm.  I kept her out of harms way as her body remained rigid under the gentle touch of my hand.  Once the sound of my voice could be heard again, she began to relax.

You don’t have to have a child to feel like a mother.  I lay in bed after she finally went to sleep, hyper-vigilant to the point that I remained awake for hours after the event.  I listened for any odd sound in her breathing and for any strange noise similar to the commotion that originally alerted me to the seizure at the beginning.  Once I did drift into slumber, any unfamiliar discord woke me with a slight panic but the puppy continued to snore softly in her bed.

This morning, she is the same puppy in a dog’s body.  She is full of energy, eager for her walk and her treats and acting happily like nothing ever happened.

We see the vet in a few days and fingers crossed we get a relatively clean bill of health.  I’m not ready to imagine my life waking up and not seeing that face.