CUR-rent Events chez Mois

The door is shut. The space heater is against it. I’m on the floor, on my yoga pad, doing crunches followed by a series of exercises I learned in physical therapy to help prepare me for hip replacement. There’s a big balance ball in front of me. I have ridden the Sainted Air-Dyne for 8 miles through the early spring landscape of a high pass in the Dolomites as Youtube has graced me with some songs I like and some songs that the band must be paying them to play.

I think the curs are outside (if that’s where they want to be), then I hear a bang against the door. When the door doesn’t open right away, there is a second bang, then a third, a resolute push followed by a large black snout on a long white nose. A big white head juts into the room. The blue eyes wear a wild and panicked expression.

I push the space heater against the door and get back to it. The rumor is that everything is going to go better for me if I have done this up to the 11th hour. A little time passes. There’s another bang at the door. This time it’s a black snout followed by grizzled black nose. It pushes its way into the room and looks around. I think they’ve conferred in the living room and decided I’m in desperate trouble and need their help.

“I’m OK, Dusty. I’m just doing my physical therapy.”

Without me?” is his telepathic message.

“There just isn’t room in here, buddy.”

He backs away. I leave the door ajar. I rotate and I look through the eight inches of the opened doorway and there they are, lined up in the living room, watching me with concern. I start to laugh. They are so funny. What would they do if I WERE hurt? If I HAD fallen and couldn’t get up? Dusty has been trained to help me up if I fall, but Bear?

I’m about to learn…


Bear gets up from the living room floor and comes into the room where I’m sitting on my yoga mat, laughing. She sniffs all around and decides I’m OK, but there’s still the puzzling problem of my being on the floor. Well, if I’m on the floor, I must need to be protected. She stands over me and leans against me.

There, Martha. Now you’re safe from freezing, bears, and wolves.

“Thank you, Bear, but I can’t get up with you on top of me.”

The Morning After…

Yesterday morning was frantic and sad. This morning calm and a little disoriented. I appreciate all the kind thoughts yesterday. They really did help. I know everyone who’s loved a dog knows what it’s like to lose one.

Bear is having a hard time — partly, I think, because she hates change to her routine. As a livestock guardian dog, she has to make sure everything and everyone in her world is fine and where they’re supposed to be. Mindy is supposed to be outside the front door right now, but she is not. Bear is worried. I think it will take her a few days to get used to it. She wouldn’t eat her breakfast until I put Mindy’s bowl back on the floor. Last evening, she wanted to jump up on the sofa (Mindy’s place) but didn’t. She slept on it in the night, though.

Dusty was close by me all day yesterday, but now he’s back to his usual places. That should help Bear calm down. Yesterday we took a walk on the golf course — still snow covered with frost on the trees.


It was beautiful, then I returned to cleaning. A dying dog makes messes, but that is now pretty much done, too.

The photo above is Mindy coming into our house the afternoon of the first night we stayed here in October 2014. We both slept on the sofa. Sometime — after the hip surgery and all the other events looming ahead of me — another dog will show up. I’m sure of it. ❤

Gray Day in Heaven

Not much in the mood for writing about “quartets” this morning. Mindy is very ill. I’ve called the vet and someone is coming out either to help me transport Mindy or maybe even the vet will come and examine her here. I can’t lift her up into my car. When she can stand on her own two feet, we do it together, but she can’t. She staggers and falls. She’s disoriented and scared.

My philosophy with old old dogs (and Mindy is one) is not to force them to live when they can’t do anything, are suffering and in pain. The outcome could be that Mindy gets to see her friend Lily later on. I don’t know.


UPDATE: The vet said Mindy probably had a massive stroke, very likely in her sleep before I got her up to pee last night before going to bed and another one this morning. She had no use of her back legs at all, could not find her food bowl and couldn’t find me. The vet tech came and got her, and I went down after them. I held Mindy close to me the whole time, and all she knew at the end was that I was there and that I love her. I’m very sad, but I know it was right. As the vet said, “This is a very old dog. She must have been well cared for and loved very much to live so long.”

Brown Penny

“Stay out of the kitchen.”


“Penny is eating her supper.”

“But I want to pet her.”

“No. You don’t pet Penny while she’s eating. You’ll provoke her. You can watch.”

The little girl stood in the doorway. Penny chomped away on her dog food in the back room, but Elizabeth Ann could see her.

“Why’d you name her Penny, Grandma?”

“Because she’s the color of a new penny.”

Penny was old, overweight and fractious. Grandma was seldom affectionate to her, telling her to “Shoo!” more than she asked her to “Come!” Elizabeth Ann was sure if Penny was HER dog, Penny would never get provoked. Every once in a while, though, Elizabeth Ann caught her grandma scratching Penny’s ears while Penny’s stub tail wagged in delight.

In grandma’s mind, a dog was a working member of a farming operation even though, in her old age, all that remained of a farm were a few chickens. The cow and its calf were sold when grandpa died. Mostly it was fruit trees and the vegetable garden. She still put up vegetables — tomatoes, corn, beans and fruit — peaches, mostly. Plums were for eating and jam; apples for pies, apple butter and jelly. Wherever grandma went out to the yard, Penny followed on her short legs.

“She just wants to be fed,” said Grandma.

“I think she loves you,” thought Elizabeth Ann who was always trying to pet Penny but Penny was not interested. Grandma interested Penny, not the 20 odd grandkids who came and went “of a summer’s day” and tried to pet her.

When Penny was old and sick, and it was clear she wouldn’t make it, Grandma called her son-in-law, Jack. He brought his 22, but couldn’t shoot the dog. He stood over her, shook his head and said, “I can’t, Mother.”

“What are you going to do then?” Grandma’s lips set in a tight line, as if by closing her mouth tightly her feelings couldn’t escape.

“I’ll take her to the vet, Mom.” Jack wrapped Penny in a blanket and set her in the trunk of his car. It wasn’t far to the vet. When Jack came back he had the blanket and Penny’s collar. “Here Mom,” he said. “I’m sorry about Penny.”

“I’m not getting another dog,” said Grandma, her lips still narrow and pale.

She meant it, but that left her all alone in her little house smack in the middle of five acres. No one thought that was a good idea, so Jack and Florence appeared on Christmas Eve with a wiggly brown puppy with curly fur and bright eyes. “This is Brownie, Mom,” said Florence.

The whole family was there to open gifts, all nine children, all 20-odd grandchildren. They stared at Grandma, wondering what she would do.

“I don’t need another dog,” she said. “Penny was enough.”

“You need a dog, Mom,” said her daughter Mary Ruth. “You’re here all alone. You need a dog to bark if something’s wrong.”

The puppy walked around the room, sniffing, undoubtedly finding the ghost-scents of Penny. Then she went to Grandma. The argument went on, the “kids” (all people in their thirties and forties) trying to persuade Grandma that she needed a dog, and grandma resisting. What no one saw was that grandma was scratching Brownie’s little, silky ears.

Mindy T. Dog Speaks on Important Matters

The opposable thumbs found on humans are definitely a useful adaptation, setting them apart from all other animals except raccoons. Those of us who get to live in close proximity to a human can benefit from those appendages, too. My advice is, if you don’t have opposable thumbs yourself, find a sympathetic human who does. Then, train your human to show off his or her opposable thumbs by teaching them to give you a cookie. It will make your new human feel accompished, and, of course, you will get a cookie.

Secretly, I have my own stragedy for grasping articles. Here you can see me holding onto my rawhide with my forepaws so that 1) Dusty or Bear can’t steal it and, 2) it’s in a convenient positiion for me to put into my mouth.

Yesterday our human friend from next door came over, and the two humans had a very good time employing their opposable thumbs with little rocks. I, personally, like to chew small rocks so I understand that anyone could be fascinated. A good rock is hard to find.

Your pal,

Mindy T. Dog

Big(ish) Day

There are so many people now out walking at “our” slough that it’s kind of no fun, especially if Dusty is along. He has to bark at other dogs (which he’d love to play with) and people, especially if he hasn’t met them and he’s on leash. He’s 12. This is not behavior that’s going to change.

A couple of days ago the slough was crowded. We kept going off trail (which I don’t like to do — “off trail” is for animals who have their own trails) so Dusty wouldn’t see people and dogs. I did find a really beautiful game trail with myriad tracks and felt guilty for adding ours. 😦 People can destroy a trail almost as fast as cattle or sheep. Ultimately our trail WOULD intersect with people so I called out to the couple who were just beginning their walk, and were between me and the car, “Do you like dogs?”


I unleashed Dusty who’s super friendly off leash. I said, “He’ll bark, and he’ll charge you, but he’s friendly.” Thank goodness he looks more lab than dobie. He ran barking over to the people who were calm around him and patted him. Then they met Bear. And me. I ended up saying, “Thank you.”

“What for?”

“Oh, being nice to Dusty. It’s hard having to hide him all the time.” The people looked at me like, “Why would you do that?” But I’ve seen Dusty scare people.

Today we got there and we were alone. We hit the little trail (a 1 mile loop) and I hauled ass. I walked that thing in 15 minutes. For the past couple of years, it’s been taking me 34 minutes to walk a mile. The cortisone shot continues to perform its magic. As we were leaving, I saw a young woman with two dogs, both of which we “know.” A golden retriever and an elderly bassett whom we’ve “dog sat” when his male human took off and left him in the shade of the cottonwoods one summer afternoon. We ducked off the main trail and went to the car, Dusty barking madly in recognition but which sounded like blood lust.

As we reached the car, the other people were arriving. The people we met the other day pulled in and, seeing me, waved.

I doubt I will ever completely get used to life here. Honestly, in my California life, that would probably never have happened. The people would probably not have been happy to meet Dusty or to see me a second time.

But the big(ish) news is that the ONLY thing holding me back has been my hip. I am now convinced that it hasn’t been right for a long time, it’s just that last fall it started demanding attention through pain. I’ve walked awkwardly for a while. My walk today showed me that all the work and “training” I’ve done has actually made a pretty strong and fit little old lady, and I HAVE made progress. A 15 minute walking mile is decent, and I’m very happy with it. Sure, it’s not 6 mph (the average speed of my former self) but I’m not running even the slightest bit. For me, walking was always a form of transportation, but 2 miles an hour? That’s just grueling. If you add pain to it, it’s Sisyphean, truly. I did it (and would continue doing it) but it was really as if I were pushing a giant rock (my body) up a mountain through the force of my will and imperfect abilities.

I will begin physical therapy next week and sometime later, in April, I’ll set the date for surgery. I was dreading it, fearful of it, but now I understand all that dread was related to the experiences I had last time AND the demoralization of a couple years of diminishing abilities and increasing pain. We humans are complex little things and can be as inscrutable to ourselves as we are to others.


Messy Quotidian Update 4/2.8.c

When I went to Colorado Springs this time, I only took Mindy along. I boarded Dusty and Bear in the new boarding kennel — Noah’s Arff — that’s actually in my town. Well, kind of in my town. It’s out on a paved county road about six miles east of town. It’s a brand new, beautiful kennel with a large indoor play area and a big outdoor play area. It’s simple, clean, attractive and the people running it are great people who love dogs. Dusty and Bear have had two nights of boarding and baths. I’m not big into bathing dogs, and the only other bath Dusty has had (that I know of) was after he was skunked several years ago. They were glad to come home, but I think they had a good time.

I learned that it’s a lot easier to travel just with Mindy. Of course, boarding the dogs isn’t free, but out here it’s not expensive.

My friend came down from Colorado Springs last evening with the Airdyne. Today we’re heading down to Abiquiu to see Georgia O’Keefe’s house and whatever else we find to look at. It’s a longish drive — 2 hours — but it’s a gorgeous morning promising a gorgeous day.

It appears that the cortisone shot has worked. When you have a messed-up hip joint, you don’t just get out of bed, out of the car, or out of a chair and walk wherever you want to go. You have to assemble your body, so to speak, then take a few halting lopsided steps. Your back and legs hurt, but you move. This morning I got up and walked around my room getting my stuff together. I feel  an inch or two taller because I can stand up straight. There’s no way to know how long the effects of the shot will last, but right now I’m surprised and happy.

I Could Use a Little Help

I’m asking if you’ve read My Everest and enjoyed it (or not) if you could leave a little review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, I’d be very grateful. I’m not trying to make money on this book, but I’d like it to have a high enough ranking that others who might enjoy it can find it. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!

Goodreads link:

Amazon Link:,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=detail

Cover My Everest small

Snow Day for Bear

We ended up getting a decent amount yesterday, not so much I was stuck in the driveway, but enough for this, for which Bear has waited since October 9. One of my blogging pals, Tabby T. Cat, has described Bear very accurately as a “Blue-eyed Wonder Dog with a Snow Addiction.” Here it is in action.


It’s been a bewildering winter — very warm with virtually no snow. Considering that this is Colorado at 7600 feet you’d expect… Apparently it’s a “la Niña” year which means the snow has shifted to the north and we are high and dry down here. I can’t say it hasn’t been pleasant in its way, but as the Blue-Eyed Wonder Dog and I love snow, and the farmers need it, it’s been a little troubling. OH well. March is usually the snowiest month of winter and August is the wettest month of the year down here, so we still have hope.

Dusty’s Bewildering Morning Moment

“I’m alone with her. Just me and my human. Oh joy!”

“Hi Dusty Boy, my sweet old boy.”

“Where is everyone? I’m so bewildered. Well, best not to look a gift human in the mouth. I think I’ll put my head on her knee. Oh, she’s scratching my ears and saying nice things to me.”

“Sweet Dusty T.”

“Oh dog, however this happened, I don’t care but IT’S THE BEST. I love my human. I’m so  lucky she found me. I’m going to get closer to her.”

“You’re such a good barky boy, Dusty.”

“Oh she’s scratching the other ear. Uh-oh, I smell Bear.”

“Good morning, Bear!”

“I don’t care. This time Bear isn’t going to push me to one side. Not this morning.”