My Dog’s Teeth

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Sometimes you realize that you’ve hit a “marker” in life, and today was one of them in Slicker’s…Slicker is my min pin, whom I rescued from the street. He’s just past what we think is his 8th birthday, and the min pin’s tendency to have tooth problems hit him today.

He had had his teeth cleaned a couple of years ago and things seemed fine. But on his annual visit just before the holidays, the vet scheduled an appointment for a dental, no if, ands, or buts.

Slick Around the Time of His November Check-up

I noticed that Slick’s gums were red but he was chewing on bones and they actually looked like they were getting cleaned up.  Not as easy as that, however…

When I brought him in yesterday morning (Friday, 2/26) the tech ran over the procedure and then warned me that about this age, some dogs start requiring extractions.

I went home and waited for the call…and about 2 p.m. the vet called to tell me that he really needed teeth taken out…a bunch of them.  Apparently, an infection had set in and spread around his gums.

It must have grabbed pretty quickly. I had noticed that Slick was a bit listless over the past couple of weeks and was a bit more testy when the two little ones, Toro and Tico, hassled him. He wasn’t jumping onto walls very often, nor did he go nuts over the thrasher hanging around the back yard.  His stomach was a little queasy, too, because over the last few days he was looking for grass to eat…We had the little patch of grass removed a couple of  weeks ago and replaced with gravel, so he had to search hard. I got some wheat grass yesterday, just in case.

Well, all this must have been because of the infection.

I worried all afternoon, then made some rice and went to get some soft food on the way to the vet when it was time to pick him up. I didn’t know what I expected.

When I got there, the assistant reviewed what had been done.  Of 40 teeth, 20 were gone!  However, most of them were the little front incisors, apprently so loose that the vet was surprised they hadn’t fallen out of his mouth!  A couple of molars were gone and a a few of the smaller canines, one of which apparently had an infection that had spread up to his sinuses.  But, thankfully, his main chewing teeth are still there!

I was shocked, but it was not because I had neglected anything.  But, at least he had been fighting the infection. He pre-op blood work was fine and he was very stable during the procedure. In fact, after he woke up, he was standing, looking around, and acting like he wanted attention.

When they finally brought him out, I half expected to see a lethargic dog, but there he was running out with his little bandana on, trying to make friends with another dog!  I was so relieved because he looked like my Slick!  I had been very melancholy, however, because I felt that needing teeth removed really meant he was, indeed, an aging dog.  I even shed some tears over this realization.

In a sad twist, as I was waiting to pay the $845.00 bill, a man, girl and woman came out of a room to the side, all in tears. Obviously, they had lost their pet. It made me grateful that we had taken care of Slick and that, according to the vet and tech, he would really be feeling a lot better now that the infection was going to be cleared up.

Coincidentally, an orthopedic foam bed I had ordered from Drs. Foster and Smith came while Slick was at the vet! So, I got it all ready for him and was so glad it was there for him when he got home!

Slick came into the house and went straight to my room where he sleeps and plopped right onto the bed.  Toro, who is the ornery 11-year-old chihuahua, sat next to Slick’s bed and whimpered. I think he was a bit concerned.  Tico, the chi-corgi mix, sat in the crate in the corner and growled, as usual, so I moved him out of the room!

Slick Crashes On His New Bed Post-Op

We go back in 2 weeks for a follow-up visit and in the meantime, it’s pain meds, anti-inflammatory meds, probiotics and soft food for about 7 days.

Slick's Post-op Pharmacy

I’m just thankful he came through it all OK and that we caught things in time before his health was damaged.

So, we have more precious time with our precious boy, Slick.  Gosh, I love this guy!!

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 28, 2009) First Hummingbird and First Cactus Flower!; Wisconsin Robin; Happy Birthday, TORO the Dog!; Trooper Shows Off)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Just because we’ve been enjoying some great spring weather lately (although the last couple of days have been cool and windy), it doesn’t mean there aren’t signs of spring in other places, too.

Kenosha Marge sent in this report from way up north in Wisconsin after reading last week’s Saturday Sanity:

SO and I have seen a couple of Robins the past few days and were getting that “Spring Is Coming Soon” spring in our step. Yes, yes I know that the offical first day of Spring was Friday the 20th. That’s what the calendar says. When a Robin is in your backyard birdbath and on one of your backyard bird feeders that really means Spring is coming. Or maybe not. Here’s some expert who just had to rain on my parade.

Steve Lewis of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Division of Migratory Birds in Minneapolis said some robins in northern Wisconsin might have come south from Canada, “but they’re not birds that are coming back early from their wintering areas.”
Some may wonder how a bird weighing under 3 ounces can survive in a climate that can drop below zero degrees without warning.
For robins and other winter birds, it’s simply a matter of sprouting a few more down feathers for extra insulation and finding a steady source of food.
Frozen ground means no worms and frozen air inhibits crowds of insects, so robins and other birds like cedar waxwings will seek out fruit from crabapple trees and other berries still hanging on branches.
If they can keep their stomachs full, they see no reason to leave, said Dick Verch, a retired DNR employee who organizes the annual Christmas bird count for the Chequamegon Audubon Society.
“If you look at a lot of the fruiting trees – mountain ash and others – they still have fruit on them, and very often at this time of the year they’ve been stripped by birds,” Verch said. “That’s an indication there’s a good quantity of food, so maybe as the birds went into the winter with a lot of food around them, it kept them here.”
Verch said participants in the 2008 count spotted 76 robins – 56 more than the previous record of 20, set in 2004.
A few weeks ago we had this in WI...

A few weeks ago folks in in WI were doing this...

Wisconsin Robin!

Last week...a Wisconsin Robin!

While we’re on the subject of our animal buddies, I thought I’d share a pic of  Toro, our first dog, who turns 10 on March 31st!  Happy Birthday, TORO!  With spring in the air, Toro has taken a fancy to eating al fresco!

Birthday Boy Toro

Birthday Boy Toro

Here’s an update on TROOPER, my betta fish.  Over the last few weeks he seems to have really “grown up” in his behavior….he’s gotten larger and more aggressive about going after his food. He’s probably reached maturity and he certainly is robust in health, especially since I change him every 4 days!  I picked up a calendar at my State Farm office which feature golf courses…and the greens and traps seem to bring out Trooper’s colors very nicely.  He’s such a dark blue that he needs the contrast to be seen at his best!

Trooper likes to hang out on the 18th hole...

Trooper likes to hang out at the 18th hole...

Disappointing news…I’ve had to give up hope that I could entice Mario, the runaway chihuahua. The food was being eaten by birds, so it seems Mario is gone.  Best of luck, little guy…

But, some good news…On Tuesday (3/24) I was buzzed. A few moments later I saw my first hummingbird of the season!  The feeder is up and it looks like it’s being used.

The desert plants are beginning to wake up and within a couple of short days, the cactus in the front yard started blooming!

Cactus flower

Cactus flower

The NM privet that was flowering last week is now leafing out and the larger privet in the front yard is also starting to show some leaves.

Backyard NM privet

Backyard NM privet

The peach, fig, pomegranate and apricots are all continuing to bud out and the baby figs and peaches are really growing fast.  And my oldest grape vine is really starting to rev up:

Flame grape

Flame grape

Finally, here’s a shot of my garden beds with a lot of the plants waiting for transplanting under the sun shade. I cover them at night because it still gets chilly and the wind over the last few days dries things out in a very short time.  By the way, I found Ichiban eggplant and those fantastic pimiento peppers this week, so I can’t wait to get all these wonderful things into the ground!!

Waiting for a little less wind...

Waiting for a little less wind...

Hope spring is happening wherever you are!

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 14, 2009) (Lost Dog; Budding; Pruned Grapes; A Robin Visits; Clouds Around Town; Biker Chic) Pics!

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Last week a little chihuahua from across the street was roaming and I picked him and returned him a couple of times. Then, he disappeared and it seems that the owner is happy to get rid of him; she prefers the large Rottie she inherited from her son.  This angered me a great deal, to say the least, because if I had known I wouldn’t  have returned him to her.  Last Thursday and Friday neighbors told me that they had probably seen Mario about a block away.  I’ve been walking in that direction with my dogs but haven’t seen him.  I decided to put out some food and water just in case a few days ago.  This morning the water dish was pushed off the big rock were I had put it and the food looked disturbed. I thought it might be the birds.  Then, just a few moments ago when I was taking Slick out for his last short walk before bed, I saw that the food was gone (except for one kibbie) and the water was almost gone and the bowl was lopsided again!

I don’t know who’s visiting, but I’m hoping it’s Mario. I’ve talked to the neighbor across the street who just lost a dog and he said he might consider taking Mario if I find him, depending how he gets along with kids.  These folks already have an old boxer named Sugar who has met Mario with no problem. Mario, used to big dogs,  has just strolled through the gate on one of his jaunts.

So, I’ve moved the bowls to be in the range of the cam. I bought the cam to try to spot another dog (to no avail) so we’ll see what happens this time!

***

I’ve been following the little flowers near the adjacent driveway for the last couple of weeks.  A couple of the original blooms have died, but…Now there are 7!!!  From 3, to 4, to 7 and still going strong!

Now there are 7!!

Now there are 7!!

In the backyard there’s a lot of budding and flowering going on and today I saw the first flower on one of the sage plants!

2009_03131stsagecloudsmall0042

This week I finally pruned the main grape vine. This vine yielded about 25 bunches of “Flame” grapes last year…

Flame Grape after Pruning

Flame Grape after Pruning

We don’t really have robins that stay for too long up here at about 4500 feet although we have a pair or two that seem stay for part of the winter. They seem to stay down in the valley but up here they pass through in late January on the way north.  I happened to catch this bird up in the tree in the arroyo behind our house a couple of days ago, but I think he/she was just passing through.

A Robin is a big deal here...

A Robin is a big deal here...

Today I was out doing errands and wound up at the Mesilla Valley Mall.  Since I had my new camera handy, I decided to take a few pics.  When I first moved here about 10 years ago, I remember feeling constant awe every time I came out of the grocery story and saw the Organ Mountains looming beyond the parking lot.  I’m still amazed!  And yesterday the clouds were rolling in.  One thing I’ve noticed is that at a mile high, you see the SIDES of clouds, not just the bottoms, like in Jersey. It’s another thing that often amazes me even after all this time…

Here’s a view from the back of the mall looking out toward the west…That’s Picacho Peak, the remnant of an old volcano…

Looking West

Looking West

A closer look at Picacho Peak…2009_03131stsagecloudsmall00102

JC Penney and the Organ Mountains…

2009_03131stsagecloudsmall0013

As I went home I caught this biker in front of me at a traffic light…she went into my development so she must be a neighbor!  Wonder who she is??  Look at that helmet with the pigtails attached!

2009_03131stsagecloudsmall0029

Finally, I got home and checked out how the clouds were looking from the backyard…

2009_03131stsagecloudsmall0032

This weekend I have to get the garden planted and set up the plastic covers again.  The temperatures still go down into the 30’s sometimes although the days are lovely. This is typical and soon the spring winds will really start, so the plants have to be protected so they don’t get battered and dry out…

Even though those clouds look ready to burst, usually they don’t give us any rain…just great excuses to take pictures!

Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 7, 2009) (The Many Faces of Pansies and Other Garden Delights; Tico Goes Belly Up!) Pics!

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Another miserable week in Obama’s Land of Hope…but let’s not dwell on that…we’re here  today to forget about it!

My old camera died and I went out and bought a Canon Power Shot SX110 IS.  I bought it because I wanted more zoom.  It’s already paid off because I got a really great series of shots of the mystery thrasher this week. I thought it had left, but he/she was at one of my feeders yesterday. This pic is so much better than the one in last week’s Saturday Sanity because with the zoom I could get the “close-up” shot from my usual spot at the kitchen window.  I think it’s a “cressal” thrasher for sure…with its beak open.  This bird is apparently endangered…

Cressal Thrasher (I Think...)

Cressal Thrasher (I Think...)

Last week I posted a picture of a flower that had sprung up next to my neighbor’s driveway, where a tire had formed a tread in the sandy soil.

Well, this week, we now have FOUR flowers, all lined up!

Now there are FOUR!

Now there are FOUR!

The little cacti are starting to bud out…

Budding cactus

Budding cactus

The stars of the garden are the pansies, which are rejuvenated in the warmer weather…at least until the heat gets to be too much for them…

Violas

Violas

Interesting pansy color combo...

Interesting pansy color combo...

Love the color contrast...

Love the color contrast...

Unique...

Unique...

I love the black lines and the yellow/blue combo...

I love the black lines and the yellow/blue combo...

Cool an elegant...

Cool an elegant...

Most dramatic of them all...

Most dramatic of them all...

The purple stock is really beautiful this year…

Purple stock

Purple stock

And so is this first bloom on the verbena…

First verbena bloom...

First verbena bloom...

And, to finish up, here is Tico in one of his more unusual poses…He loves belly rubs, but yesterday he was especially…provocative!

Tico Belly Up!

Tico Goes Belly Up!

After the belly rub ritual, I went out and took advantage of the overcast day and cool temperatures to prep my two raised beds!  All I have to do is add some compost and we’re ready to roll!  I’ve already planted the thyme and cilantro, so now it’s time to get the artichokes, tomatoes and peppers in soon.  I’ve also got a couple of sprouting sweet potatoes sitting in water, in hopes of getting some slips so I can try a crop out this year.

Enjoy the day! And get dirty…

I’ve Been Tagged…So Here Are Six Things About Me….

A few days ago (or was it MANY days ago…I forget, I’m losing track of time these days), I was TAGGED by our ex-pat in Italy (my ancestral homeland), American Indy in Italy….

Which means I have to write 6 things about myself and write to 6 other people. I’m going to include the crew at IA in this, too, just to cover all the bases here at IA.  I’ve probably broken the chain, but here goes:

1) I graduated #1 in my class in Automotive Technology back in the mid-80’s and then was given jobs like fixing water leaks on convertibles instead of the money jobs like brakes.  See how long my being pissed goes back??? (and it goes back even further, believe me!) (At least to my undergrad and graduate student days at Cornell and Rutgers School of Library and Information Studies, which is now called something else…)

2) I really love COOKING!  My latest kick is watching Gillian McKeith on BBC America. The show is “You Are What You Eat” and it is brilliant!  The one recipe that I have adopted with gusto is here Sweet Potato Pie Pizza….that crust is AMAZING!!  I top it with greens like fresh-from-the garden steamed mustard, kale or collards, or stir-fry up some broccoli and top the crust with that and lots of olive oil and garlic.   I’m making it tonight!!

3) I’ve gardened for at least 25 years and really got into it while recovering from foot surgery. I read lots of books since I couldn’t walk for awhile.  I had a huge garden in Jersey complete with a Troy-built rototiller. I canned tomatoes for the whole winter.  I’ve had to re-learn everything for the Southwest (high desert) and have two raised beds (about 3 feet high) to spare my back (had surgery 9 years ago).  You can see pictures of my winter garden on this site in various places.  I planted more lettuce yesterday, by the way.

4) My doggies and betta fish are my babies. Toro, the oldest and the one we bought via the vet, a chi but with lots of rat terrier in him (a “deer chi”).  Tico, who is probably a mix of chi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and Slick, the min pin rescued from the street.  The fish is still unnamed and I could use a  few suggestions.  I’m trying to learn chess, and still listen to shortwave radio.  But I’ve just found a new site that I will be writing about that is really great…foreign TV!  My favorite TV channel is Turner Classic Movies, especially anything they air that’s pre-1970.  Preferably black and white.

5) I lived in London during the mid-80’s and made a lot of trips there before and after that experience (and the rest of Europe, too, including behind the Iron Curtain, including a foray alone into East Berlin). I had a work permit and had a blast working around London. I also attended Vidal Sassoon to perfect my haircutting (I had graduated from a local “academy” and got a work permit for the UK since I had been a student at 35!)  The only time I ever got sick traveling was when I went to Paris for a quick few days. On the train to the Hovercraft, it started.  So, I actually got sick in London, not from the traveling!!  I had also planned to go to Moscow and Leningrad and had my tickets all set from the official tourist bureau…but Chernobyl blew up.  The Russians decided to refund my money….I guess I was caught in the radioactive cloud as I walked around Kew Gardens that day…

6) I started inviting folks to contribute to the blog and wound up with the crew you see on the sidebar! Kenosha Marge is a really talented seamstress!  Grail Guardian is a history buff and works with computers!  American Lassie has worked in the tax field!  And Leslie works in a Chicago hospital setting and is a long sufferer as she deals with the media there!

So now I have to write to 6 bloggers…I don’t know who’s been tagged, but I’ll find some folks and tag them as soon as I eat lunch!!!

These Gray Days of December

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

It’s nearly winter in southern New Mexico.  For the most part we’ve had sunny days, but lately we’ve had our share of gray.  Earlier in the week we actually had rain and there was snow up in the St. Augustin pass and the peaks.  A couple of weeks ago I took my short trip up to The Other Side of the Mountain…these days, that excursion wouldn’t be so inviting.

First Snow on Organ Peaks 12/08

First Snow on Organ Peaks 12/08

It’s always shock when the gray sets in this time of year because it feels so PROFOUNDLY gray.  Growing up in New Jersey, going to college in Ithaca, New York, and spending a year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin I accepted the rain, the snow, and the raw weather.  The occasional blizzard, too. By March, however, it was downright depressing. Sure, spring was around the corner and a 40° F day seemed warm. But it was the continuous gray that got to me.  It just hung like a shroud…

A series of gray days or days that start out sunny and turn gray with a low cloud cover is hard to take here in southern New Mexico. Maybe I’m just older. Maybe I’ve just gotten spoiled. But when what I call “Jersey weather” descends, so do my spirits.  A single day of completely gray weather affects my mood to the point where I am praying for the Sun’s return so that I don’t have to feel like I need to curl up into a ball and hide. I often wonder how I managed to tolerate the winters back East and the one in Milwaukee, which was just plain brutal!

The webcam has been showing the back and forth between bright blue skies, wispy clouds, and heavy clouds that look like it will rain any minute. By Christmas, the really “bad” days of winter set in. Sometimes we will have a rip-roaring wind and rain storm or perhaps an inch or so of snow that melts almost immediately.  It will feel like winter back East for about a week, then we get usually pleasant days with very cold nights through January and into February.  As long as the days are dry and sunny, I don’t care much about the nights, except for what the coldest spells might do to my garden under the “greenhouse.”  In that case, I throw a few blankets over the vegetables for a bit more protection.

The dogs know the weather has changed. Tico hates this time of year.  We adopted him on February 1, 2002, the same day that he was dumped in the cage outside the animal shelter after being kept for a month by people who had found him by the side of a road.  We had our name on a list for a small dog to be a companion for Toro, and when the shelter called I rushed right over. Tico was sitting in a box of shredded paper, alternating between shaking like a leaf or growling with bared teeth.  The attendant begged us to take him, as he wasn’t making a very good impression and most likely would wind up being put to sleep within a few days.   Once I held him, that was it.  Since it was a Friday, he couldn’t be picked up until the next Monday after his neutering surgery, so we brought Toro over to play with him and the two seemed to get along.  We took Tico home and since then we’ve seen that winters are hard on him. He curls up as if he’s hibernating and refuses to go out when he senses a change of the weather. He’s as sensitive as a precision barometer.  He is so upset that it’s even hard to keep him on a schedule to go out to the bathroom. He must have some very bad memories from being out on a cold road during the winter as a pup. Toro, on the other hand, is a New Jersey native who grew up playing in the snow and has no problems during the winter.

Slick, of course, was rescued from the streets at the end of 2002  just as the weather turned cold.  Now that he’s older, he doesn’t protest too much when I put on his little “jackie” for his early morning walk or his nighttime pj’s made of a cut-up sweat pants leg.   As a min pin, he really feels the cold to the point of shivering and it’s not unusual for me to wake up in the morning to find him out of his bed and under the covers with me.

This year there’s a real difference in how I’m feeling as winter approaches.  It’s just a few days shy of the two-month anniversary of the death of my ex-pat friend who lived in England.  Sharon and I never met in-person, although we talked on the phone and then via Skype.  We  first “met” while I was doing columns over at Buzzflash (ca. 2001). We started corresponding and kept at it until this October.

I  knew she had been having health problems, but she was very private. She told me she had pneumonia (which turned out not to be true) and that she was getting better. But her emails, which had been an almost a daily ritual, became less and less frequent.

Suddenly, she wrote and told me that she loved me.  A few days later, I received an email that she had died.

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Today, A Stress-Free Post! What Could Be Better Than a TRUE Story About a November MIRACLE DOG!! (With Pics)

Today, IA is a “safe-haven,” a place for heartwarming thoughts, inspiration, and love!  We will NOT ALLOW any negative thoughts about the campaign or the election intrude on this shelter from the media hysteria today. It is a place of comfort being provided for all PUMAs today!

Let me take you back EXACTLY 6 years ago to November 4, 2002.  It was the day before Election Day that year, an off-year, of course, from Presidential politics.  The weather here in Southern New Mexico had been getting very cold at night for a few weeks.  It was the time for everyone to start getting cozy as the sun set. It became a very special day….

Toro and Tico, both chihuahuas,  were happily ruling the roost here. We had adopted Tico in February of 2002 as a companion for Toro, who had come with us from New Jersey to New Mexico a couple of years before. Everything was proceeding nicely, except for one thing.

I had had back surgery two years before in 2000 and had spent Thanksgiving in the hospital. It went smoothly, but recovery was slow.  Two years later in October 2002, I was still in severe pain, drugged to the gills, hardly moving and depressed.

Over the summer my mother, who was doing the dog walking, started talking about a little black dog that was roaming the neighborhood.  As I tried to walk down the block, I would run into neighbors who also reported on the little dog.  One woman told me she thought he slept on a house porch on another street…that turned out to be untrue.  Another woman told me he would drink from her bird bath. Yet another neighbor told me he was in his garage sitting on a stool cleaning his car wheels when the dog came into the garage. The man reached for him and fell off the stool…and the little dog ran off.

The reports kept coming. Finally, I called Animal Control, only to be told that they had been trying to catch the little guy for 8 months. Cages, traps…they couldn’t get him. Doing the math that October, I figured he had been “on the road” since February. That means he had been without a home through the cold spring, the extremely hot summer, and now was heading into another season of cold nights.

He was seen in the arroyo, near the highway and under cars.  In fact, a man a block away told me he was sleeping some nights under his mothballed Corvette.  New construction was starting next door to our house and I began seeing him resting underneath the construction trailer. Occasionally, I saw him with other strays, but he was usually alone.

One day as we were driving out of the development I saw a man sitting on an electrical box with a big dog biscuit in his hand.  I stopped the car and asked him what was going on.  He told me that he was trying to feed the little dog. Just then, at the corner, we saw him. He was licking the sidewalk. He ran off when I approached the spot…and I saw that he had been licking a smashed egg that had dried. Then, a few days later, my mother saw him in the middle of main street out of the development in the morning during the rush hour…he appeared confused and cars had stopped but he managed to escape unharmed.

Something snapped right then. I knew I couldn’t let this little guy continue like this. It was getting bitterly cold at night as we headed into the last couple of weeks of October. My mother said he was limping.  I was afraid a coyote would catch him if he was down in the arroyo. Something had to be done. He actually began trailing after my mother and our two clannish chis, who took an immediate dislike to him!

I noticed that he seemed to come down our street in the morning and the late afternoon. I got some food and water and put it down near our front wall that was next to the lot next to us where the new house was going up.  That was in the morning. It was gone almost immediately.

I then moved the food and water bowls to the end of our driveway. And then a short way up the side of the driveway.  He’d come by around 4 o’clock every day. I got into the routine of getting up early and putting out the food in the morning at around 6 AM.  Sometimes he’d come down the street from the direction of the arroyo around that time and would eat. Other times he would come from the opposite direction, from the  main road.

This went on for about a week. Then, I started opening the garage door and placing the food just outside the lip of the garage.  Sometimes I’d leave a treat.  One day I left tuna fish in the morning. He ate it, but when I left it in the afternoon, he skipped it. Not a tuna fan, apparently!

After a few days, I set up a folding chair. I put the food down outside the garage, but sat in the chair.  He was tentative, but he was hungry, so he ate but he left immediately.  Then, he got to the point where he ate but would take a treat and bury it across the street.  Then he started sitting in the driveway in the sun for awhile.  All this time I sat quietly and talked to him.

When he wanted more, he would stand by the dish. I calmly got up and went inside and brought out more food.  He would dart away, but return and eat.

One morning I didn’t see him around. Worried, I got myself down to the corner and called, “Sweet-ie”!  Down the hill he came and he followed me home.   This became a ritual over the next few days. One day, he didn’t return at 4 P.M. and I was worried that something had happened to him.  Not only was he limping, but I could see that he had patches on his coat. He seemed tired and run down.  I thought he was ready to get picked up.

By this time I had moved the food bowls into the garage a few feet away from where I sat.  On Saturday, November 2, I moved the bowl right next to me.  He ate without a problem.  But the next day, he didn’t show up in the morning and I was panicked.  Had I waited too long? Had he wanted me to pick him up but had given up on me because I hadn’t moved then? Was he hurt? Or worse?

On Monday, November 4, I set up the chair and the food and went down to the corner. I called “Sweet-tie” but he didn’t come! Upset, I turned to go home…and there he was , coming toward me down the sidewalk from the other direction!

I sat in the chair, and he came up right next to me.  Before he took a bite, I quickly scooped him up and ran into the house! I had set up a baby gate so that he would stay in the kitchen. Toro and Tico, the clannish chihuahuas, were going nuts.  The little black dog jumped over the gate and promptly deposited a gift under the piano bench.  I put a halter on him and put him outside and he immediately went over the wall! I fished him up and knew I couldn’t take my eyes off him for a second!

Things settled down as I took him for a walk. He did fine. And then we came home and he went to sleep on the couch. That night and for several nights after, he howled at the back door. But during the day he slept like he hadn’t slept in a long while.  He was under the covers, warm, well-fed and safe.

I scheduled a vet appointment to have his limp and skin checked out. In the meantime, I called the no-kill shelter, Safe Haven, but they had no room for him.  A man in the neighborhood who had tried to catch him once and failed said he wanted him…but he went out to work everyday. I couldn’t see the little guy thrown into a yard…he’d get away somehow.  And I refused to bring him to the shelter because I figured he’d be adopted…but would wind up roaming again! He could jump any wall and walk it with ease!

I wasn’t really sure what he was, but the vet confirmed he was a fairly big miniature pinscher!  His limp was going to be fine and we got started on clearing up his skin.  The vet thought he was about a year old.  Still not sure what to do with him at the “logical” level of thinking, I scheduled an appointment to get him fixed.  Of course, by the time he went in for that a week or so later, my heart had made the decision. We were going to keep him!  Toro and Tico weren’t too happy about it, either!

What to name him?  We went through a couple of names until I looked at him and commented that since he had roamed everywhere around the development, he was really a “city slicker.”  The name stuck–from then on he was SLICKER (Slick for short)!

Then came the problem of walking him! My mother couldn’t handle all three, so I took charge of Slicker. I started to walk, painfully, down the block with him.  At the corner we started getting into some hilliness.  Slick wanted to go there, so we’d go a short distance. Everyday I’d huff and puff a short way up that low grade hill.  Gradually, the huffing and puffing disappeared and my weak leg and back started to get stronger. Soon, I could walk up that hill!!

As I started walking with Slick, my energy came back and I started doing more. Instead of sitting around in pain and depression, I as now getting out and about. My little MIRACLE DOG had restored my interest in life and had started healing me, physically and mentally!

Six years later, Slick and I are celebrating our anniversary together tomorrow, November 4th. No matter what happens on Election Day, we’ll be happy about being together!  Toro and Tico have made an uneasy peace with “the intruder” and Slick has matured into the most loving, appreciative dog one could hope for!

Now, you won’t believe this, but a week or so ago I saw a little black and white dog with something draped around him/her in the street. I stopped the car, but he ran way down the road.  A couple of days ago, a neighbor about a block away told me he had seen the little dog and what he was dragging along was a plastic bag with ties that had been caught on his neck! The little dog probably got tangled up while searching for food in the bag that was set out on garbage day. I’m keeping an eye out to see if he comes this way again…

So what have I done? Yesterday I put out a bowl of water and a bowl of food near the wall at the side of the driveway near the sidewalk. Maybe it’s time for another November miracle…in more ways than one!

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Here are some pictures of my darling, sweet boy…SLICKER!

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And waiting for another November miracle….

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