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Archive for the ‘dogs’ Category

Ernie and Grieving

He lived a long, good dog life, with many adventures, even joining me cross country when he was a year and a half old, going to Minnesota, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Louisville, visiting Graceland in Memphis and the Grand Canyon (which he did not care for).  He traveled to Vancouver, Canada, to Santa Barbara, and up into the Sierra foothills often. And he knew the southern shoreline of Alameda Point, between the USS Hornet Museum and Encinal High, like the back of his paw.

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Ernie, in early November

Our sweet old German shepherd mix, Ernie, became very feeble toward the end of his life. I kept waiting for a sign from him, but his appetite never diminished.  A dog-walking friend described how “the light went out” in her dog’s eyes, and she knew it was time. The light never left Ernie’s eyes:  he was always alert, attune to me, the shepherd in him ever watchful.

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Shortly after dawn this morning I was walking Edie along the shoreline of the old naval air station, when I noticed a large, circling flock of dark birds overhead. (more…)

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It’s time. I’ve saved for years. I bought five extra years’ service with the state, bolstering my pension. I don’t have to work in the court system any more. The judicial process is painstaking, and as a citizen I appreciate the serious efforts of the courts to apply the law, to resolve conflicts, to get things right — at the same time, I don’t have to take those pains myself any more.

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I’ve had insomnia for years. Our old German Shepherd dog, Ernie, has perhaps learned this. He certainly monitors me closely enough.

He no longer merely approaches me during the early hours, between 2 and 4 a.m., but he has devised signals to roust me. Including scratching vigorously enough to rattle his collar. More recently, he has taken to smacking his lips.

I know, you wouldn’t think it would be that loud, would you? But just try and get back to sleep in the quiet, dead of night with a big dog going smack, smack, smack.

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Panting for Relief

We had a heat wave recently, and it snuck up on me. It stays cool in our house, so when I stepped out to run to the supermarket I wasn’t prepared for the heat inside the car I wanted to use.

Which was my first mistake—after giving in to the hounds, who watch my preparations to leave and crowd my knees at the door, begging to go. I herded the canines into the vehicle that had been sitting in the sun, and as soon as we hit the road  it was time to roll down the windows. (more…)

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Coopers Hawks

I’ve seen the hawks in our neighborhood more often lately. At first glance and moderate distance I always assume they are red-tailed hawks, just because red-tails are the most common. With the wide open areas of the former naval air station runways nearby, it’s good red-tail habitat.

And then I noticed the body shape, long and lanky, with short wings, and I realized it’s a sharpy or a Cooper’s.    (more…)

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How We Spent Our Summer

 It’s been quite a summer; I’ve meant to write about it since late June, and you can see all the good that intention has accomplished. In mid-June a good friend lost his job in rather spectacular fashion, a week later my mother-in-law suffered a stroke serious enough for the doctor to recommend she stay in a hospital, and then our Edie girl fractured a bone in her foot when she got hit by a truck.

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Leader of the Pack

I’m better with dogs. We understand each other. They aren’t much for semantics or grammatical distinctions, but they get emotion right away. And body language.

Dogs are fascists in the best sense of the word. They don’t like democracy. Equality just means uncertainty to dogs, and once they’ve sorted out a pecking order the unpleasantness can end and canid wisdom kicks in; to wit: my pups look at me and grok they are linked to this character for food, shelter, warmth and companionship. Their conclusion: It’s a good idea we get along with that pale biped. (more…)

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 One of the nice things about starting my day by walking the dogs along the bay shoreline out at the former naval air station is watching the birds out over the water. (more…)

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