I spent Saturday afternoon clearing out the perennial bed beside the house. It was overgrown with phlox, bee balm, black eyed Susan’s, and other plants that bees and hummingbirds like. The wygelia bushes were barely visible any more. It’s always a challenge for me to keep the foliage in the beds under control. It seems as if I am keeping up with things and the flower beds look good. Then one day I look over and it’s all out of control and overgrown. I don’t know how this happens. I should have taken a before picture so you could see the difference but I found that idea to be too embarrassing.
The impetus for all this clearing and getting the plants under control is that we are going to have a Fall Gathering here for our Sheltie Rescue group. And their dogs are welcome too so I hope to have some wonderful photos of the dogs to share with you in a couple of weeks. Hopefully some of our past foster dogs. We are very excited at the prospect!
I got a surprise last week from one of those plants that came up as a volunteer. The white trumpet shaped flower is a Daturum. We planted those last year and several returned to put on a show for us this year. I knew the plants had come up but I didn’t think they would get big enough to bloom, but they did. It was a most pleasant surprise.
This cleome is also a volunteer. It took hold in between the sandstones. It impresses me with its tenacity.
There are still some beautiful flowers in bloom even though it is late in the year. The mandevilla and pinks continue on.
As does the hydrangea that I purchased three or four years ago at a discount store for $3. It was a single, bare twig. Now it is several bushes. I’d say that was a good investment.
I found this fuzzy caterpillar when I was looking at the flowers. I wonder which type of butterfly it will be next year? He is chewing on the plants, I imagine, getting fuel to try and survive the winter.
This burning bush is turning red already. The others aren’t, just this one. The others have been planted for a number of years in their current location but this one was just moved last year. That must account for the difference.
The petunias are putting on their last hurrah before frost comes. To be honest, by this time of year I am looking forward to frost. I get tired of working in the gardens and beds but feel too guilty if I stop while plants are still growing. Fall and winter come as a welcome break. Although by the middle of February I am chomping at the bit to get started again. So I will enjoy it while I can.
Things are changing noticeably around our property as fall approaches. In fact tomorrow is the first official day of fall. The plants in my large urn have completely filled in the space. The trailing, pale green vine is that of a sweet potato that now reaches the ground.
The cleomes continue to provide quite a show. I’m very glad to have them in my rose bed because the roses barely bloomed at all this year. I am thinking that it was due to uncooperative weather and they will be back in full force next year.
The cleomes are blooming in the bed back by our garden bench too. It seems that things we did not plant are doing best this year. That would be the cleomes, snapdragons, and butterfly bushes. What a gift they have been.
This butterfly bush was so prolific that we can’t use the walkway here. We couldn’t bare to trim it back earlier because we took such joy from the hummingbirds, butterflies, hummingbird moths, and even bees that frequented it. It is later in the year and not many come now so the bush will soon get a haircut. These flying creatures provided some of my favorite entertainment over the summer.
The verbena and hydrangea are still putting on quite a show. The hydrangea started from a small root piece that I bought for $3 at a discount store. They have grown into four large bushes that take up half of one our raised garden beds. Plants are amazing.
My favorite part of the garden this evening though was seeing this new bed around our Harry Lauder walking stick. That’s the name of the tree. The species was named after a Vaudeville actor who had a curled walking stick, just like the branches on this type of tree. The stone in the back is from a burgundy vein of Pennsylvania blue stone. The new bed is what appears when you have a very impressive husband toiling while you are away. Also amazing.
What conclusion do I come to after my evening walk of seeing so many plants that grow by chance doing well rather than the ones that I planted? And new garden beds that appear as if by magic? Life is good.
Losing a pet is nearly always a painful thing. They were a member of our family who is no longer with us. This death of a pet leaves a void, an emptiness that will leave us forever changed. I’ve heard those who say they will never have another pet. That it is too much pain to go through again. Or that they could never replace their beloved with another. Of course they can’t. That’s not the point.
I don’t understand these people. That’s ok, they probably don’t need for me to understand them. I try to reframe the loss of death in a different perspective. The void that death leaves is a gift in a way. We were blessed to have a presence in our life that was so great and so valued that it was capable of leaving such a void. Over time the pain lessens. It becomes less sharp and eventually becomes more of an emptiness. But this emptiness one day begins to fill with wonderful memories. These memories will be with us forever.
I feel that it is a tribute to our lost one to some day have another pet. Of course they do not replace the one who has gone before. They are a new being that offers their own gifts. I feel that it would be selfish of me to never have another. Love should be shared with the living who can benefit. The love that I shared with previous pets, like my beloved Duncan pictured above, was such a wonderful thing that I want to have something similar with another. Even when Duncan was still alive I called him the greatest love of my life. Our bond was so meaningful and strong that I recognized it even then.
I’ve heard people say “I can’t get over the loss of (insert name).” I’m not sure that I want to get over such a loss. Pain does indeed lessen but pain also shows the importance of what was lost. If I didn’t have a great love, I wouldn’t suffer a great loss. Needing to recover from this pain and fill a void makes the loved one become a part of you forever. And with each memory that is melded into my heart, it mends. With each addition my heart grows. Until one day I hope my heart will be big enough to be filled with nothing but love . This is the legacy and tribute that I want to leave to the ones who have gone before.
Time for another look into the inner workings of my mind. Scary thought, isn’t it? The brave among you will keep reading.
I got another lesson in self control over the weekend. Someone called and wanted me to take their parents’ dog into rescue because said parents had their house re-carpeted. My first thought was, you’re kidding, right? Sadly, no. The caller went on to explain that the dog was now living outside in a kennel but it had a dog house. Like the dog house was some great gift that made them caring, compassionate human beings. Never mind that the dog was now probably wondering why he was suddenly relegated to live his life outside, away from his pack. Winter was coming the caller informed me so they wanted to turn the dog into rescue before it got too cold. Did they want a gold star? It seemed so.
I’m proud to say that I did not let any of the comments racing through my mind come out of my mouth. Some of the kinder among them were: idiot, moron, are you serious? I bit my tongue and kept them to myself. Why? Because I’m a good person? No. Because I knew that if I alienated them, I would not get the dog who would then spend the winter cold and alone. So as is always the case for people who do dog rescue, it’s about the dog, not about me or anyone else. It’s about saving the dog. That’s why I continued to be pleasant and helpful.
Whenever something like this happens that my mind can’t come to peace with, I try to frame it by Gandhi’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World. If I can’t deal with it, I look to another source. Prayer sometimes helps me but I want to change the world so I put it into this formula.
- Change yourself. I’m trying to change myself, that’s why I didn’t blurt out my feelings.
- You are in control. I was in control for that moment. Yay, me!
- Forgive & let go. Well I don’t hate these people. That’s something.
- Without action you aren’t going anywhere. I referred the people on to our rescue intake coordinator to get this dog to us.
- Take care of this moment. See #2.
- Everyone is human. Maybe when these folks were younger they were better able to deal with having a pet. Maybe they have health problems that make a dog too much for them.
- Persist. Well, I will continue to rescue dogs. I don’t know if I really persisted in this instance.
- See the good in people and help them. Even though I don’t agree with the decision, I will try to help these people rehome their dog.
- Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self. Not sure if I did this by keeping my mouth shut. Helping the dog is what I do and who I am though.
- Continue to grow and evolve. I’m working on it.
Somehow I can’t help but feel I fell short with this interaction. I didn’t teach those involved anything. Maybe that is not my purpose. I will have to learn to be content with whatever comes of the situation. I will have to put more effort into learning how honor number 3 on the list. At the very least I got a notable story.
I thought I should check in lest you wonder what’s happened to me. All is well. It’s just too hot for my brain to come up with anything clever. As you can see I’m finding ways to survive. Right now I am floating in my lounge chair with beverage and reading materials.
We were fortunate enough to be able to celebrate Labor Day with family. Baxter, Shelby, Phoebe, and Nikki were happy to be able to join us. There was plenty of frisbeeing so they thought the day was a success.
I am intending this to be the last installment of What the Dog Ate, but I know better so I am just calling it Part III. I’m sure that some of my current or future dogs will eat some amazing things as well.
Pictured above is Phoebe. She looks so innocent, doesn’t she? Don’t be fooled. One day, when she had not been with us very long, we were looking for the cable remote to turn on the tv. We thought we must have really misplaced it because we couldn’t find it anywhere. Eventually we did find bits of it but couldn’t be sure where the rest of it was. We had seen Phoebe pick it up before so we knew it was her. Some time over the next few days my husband was picking up after the dogs and came across a very incriminating pile. It was covered with numbers and buttons that said things like “menu”. If only we had a digital camera at the time! That would have been a photo for posterity. Or at least a good laugh. Phoebe is older now and doesn’t get into much trouble anymore. The only thing she did recently was take fur bundles from dog brushings out of the trash can and distribute them around the living room for decoration every time we left her in the house. Just bought a trash can with a lid on it.
We also had a strange dog eating conundrum in our rescue a few years ago. We got a call from some adopters who took their recently adopted dog the vet because it was passing a pair of lacey thong panties. The foster home and the adopters vehemently denied owning any such garments at any point in recent memory. We can only assume that the item was ingested at the dog’s original home. All ended well with the exception of one vet bill with a never to be known cause.
Then there was the foster dog above that some of you may remember. This is Miss Sassy Pants. She came home from the vet’s with one of those stretchy, self adhesive bandages on her leg. I put her in her crate for the night, as I have done with many a dog, and in the morning the bandage was gone. I never did find hide nor hair of that bandage so I have to believe that it passed unnoticed and all is well.
Skylar was another foster pup who had a remarkable digestion. This boy loves his toys. Especially those he can chew. I had to take a tied and knotted polar fleece bone from him one day because he was destroying it. Apparently, I was too slow. Skylar liked to go to the mail box with us. One day on the way back to the house he stopped to make a deposit in the drive way. It went on and on. This turned out to be because he was passing a piece of that pink polar fleece bone that was about six inches long. It snowed that same day and many days thereafter. I saw that pink remnant during the spring thaw and got another good chuckle.
I’m sure we’ve had other “passings” over the years but none stick in my memory banks as well as these. I hope cleaning up after your dogs is a mundane and unimpressive task.