Monday, May 28, 2018

I love you, too, Miss Lady Ma'am

(NOTE: I wrote this for a magazine shortly after Lady's death in September of 2016. They didn't run it; they said it was too sad. And they were right.)
I LOVE YOU, TOO, MISS LADY MA’AM
By Tom Gillispie
For nearly 14 years, my wife Holly and I had planned  nearly everything around Lady, my first dog (we later rescued three others, but they predeceased Lady).
MISS LADY MA'AM
When I went into a store, I thought of something Lady might need. I worked around trips to the vet or the groomer. I wondered if it was cool enough so Lady to go with me to a store or somewhere else (unless it was PetSmart, she stayed in the car).
We went to Collie Rescue of the Carolinas to pet the collies (we rescued two of them) and so Lady could run with them. When we went to Charleston, S.C., for a journalism clinic, we found a family member to look after her.
But she was nearly 16 years old — we count Oct. 1, her Gotcha Day, as her birthday — and we knew her days were probably short. I quit taking her to the Horizons Happy Hounds Dog park recently because I was afraid she might not be able to handle it. She might not even survive it.
Then on Sept. 17, she passed. It was the worst day I’d suffered through since March 11, 2003, the day my dad died. I remember that day vividly. I was upset, but I felt I had to walk Lady as part of our routine. I had her in the backyard, and we were going to go through the gate, through the yard and into the neighborhood.
But I was emotional. I bent over, with tears running down my face, and Lady reached up and licked my face. Maybe she was just getting some salt off my beard, or maybe she was trying to ease my pain. No way of knowing.
Until the end, Lady was interested in everything. She ate and drank well, sniffed people and machinery, watched whatever was going on around her. Most of the time, I’d go to the kitchen door and grab my cap, and she’d be right there (often with a bounce in her step). She figured I’d take her for a walk or a ride.
The last evening of Lady’s life, Holly and I were watching TV, and Lady was laying at my feet to my left. She’d been suffering with a hacking cough, and we’d gotten medicine for her. She was quiet that evening, but she seemed unsettled, so I tried to calm her.
As I rubbed her head, she sat up, and tried to lick my wrist at the same time. We’d soothed each other this way before, but this was the last time.
Six or seven hours later, she was gone; and I was inconsolable.
Now, I only have memories and reminders.
When I look in the cupboard, I see the canned meat we bought to go with her medicine. I see the Waggin’ Train treats I got a couple of weeks ago because the dog on the cover looked remarkably like Lady. (The difference was its tail was straighter and not as fluffy as Lady’s.)
I’d go into the kitchen and want to add water to Lady’s bowl. Her favorite toy (she busted out the squeaker) is still in the hall. I get in the car and see the bowl I used for Lady at the dog park or bottled water I got when they turned off the water at the dog park.
I get on my Facebook page or my Twitter page, and Lady’s there. She’s all over my Dog Blog, of course.
We built a cage against the house so she could go through the dog door and be outside whenever she wanted to. It’ll be there until someone else buys the house and tears the cage down.
When Lady showed affection, I’d say “I love you, too, darlin’.” I don’t know if Lady was loved as much as other dogs, but I couldn’t have loved her more.
I look around, and it’s like she’s everywhere and nowhere. But there’s no dog to soothe my pain or lick away my tears.
I love you, too, darlin’. You are, and always will be, missed. And loved.

EMAIL: tgilli52@gmail.com  TWITTER: EDITORatWORK


Blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)


More blog entries by Tom Gillispie
• Advice for be and would-be novelists

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Three Stooges

LADY POSING AT THE DOG PARK
Twelve or so years ago, we had three dogs, Lady (mutt), Katie (collie) and Buddy (dumb mutt).

One evening, I had accidentally left them out in the yard with the gate closed to the fenced-in area against the house. When I opened the gate to let them in, they all charged forward and got jammed together in the gate.

They looked like Curly, Larry and Moe as they struggled in the gate. After a few seconds, Lady had the sense to back out, allowing Katie and Buddy to charge forward. Then she followed.

Sadly, I never took a photo of the three of them together.

I didn't have a camera and didn't even think of one at the time. Now, I wish I had a picture of the Stooges. Nyk, nyk, nyk.

EMAIL: tgilli52@gmail.com  TWITTER: EDITORatWORK
Blog entries from The Auto Racing Journal
(a book of great stories about the Intimidator)
(the book of great NASCAR stories)


More blog entries by Tom Gillispie
• Advice for be and would-be novelists

Anecdotes by Tom Gillispie