Isn’t today Friday?

I think I thought today was Friday and it was time to write a post, but apparently, yesterday was Friday and the dog went to the vet. Remember?

Oh, yes. Which means today must be Saturday and I don’t need to write a post. Or, it means I’m a day late, and two dollars short, and nothing in the head to discuss. Except the dog. Have you met Pepsi, the Tenterfield Terrier?

Pepsi, not long after she first came to live with us.

She’s an old dog now, not sure exactly how old she is, but when she adopted us they said she was about 3. The vet we go to said about 6. So, she’s somewhere between the two. And that was a long time ago. I had to go back to the original papers to see how long.

12 years ago, Pepsi came into our life. After the old cat (his name was Slim, after his singing voice, which was a perfect rendition of the sounds that came from Slim Dusty, famous Australian country singer), who was boss of the house, passed onto the rainbow bridge — and didn’t look back, I might add — Pepsi tried to become an authority in the house.

Slim, in full voice

She failed. There was another cat. Mini — also named for her voice, or lack of. Should’ve called her squeak. Now, Mini was a strange cat. She had no understanding of body language and often got into trouble for not understanding the signals the other animals gave her. She found friends, though. A moth would do. She’d follow it around, purr at it, squeak, bat it until it flew, run around like it was a great game to chase the moth … and then Slim would come in and eat the moth, switch his tail in Mini’s face, and stalk off to sit in the sunny window position. The boss position.

Mini would sulk, and then she’d chase the dog. Pepsi didn’t like Mini, and Slim barely tolerated her. She didn’t know how to ‘speak’ animal language and often barged in where she wasn’t wanted. She didn’t understand.

Slim and Pepsi had a moment of tension, Pepsi bowed to Slim’s rule, and they got on well.

Mini destroyed all relationships. We had to lock her in the laundry when we had visitors. Some people would occasionally sneak in there to give her a pat. I’d hear them talking, saying things like, ‘she’s such a beautiful cat’ and similar. But then one day, the person who snuck in there didn’t close the door properly and Mini walked out into the crowd. A little girl grabbed Mini’s crooked tail, and Mini lashed out. She missed the face, but blood welled on the ear and scalp.

Mini, the Monster

Who got into trouble? Was it the person who disobeyed the house rules of not going into the laundry, not bothering the cat; the person who didn’t check the door was properly closed? No, it wasn’t their fault, apparently. It was mine, and I shouldn’t keep dangerous animals. They complained to the authorities who requested I do the final deed. I didn’t.

What did I do?

[this is the edited version] I told them not to come back. All of them. If they don’t understand why the cat was in the laundry, if they don’t understand [deleted], they can go elsewhere to do and say whatever it is they feel is their right.

The cat stayed. Pepsi and Mini learned to mostly keep their distance. Neither of them took over the boss roosts on the window seat or the big chair. Slim’s presence was evident in the grey hairs and indentations.

Mini wasn’t a healthy cat, and she eventually succumbed to the illnesses that came from her desperate early days. She was found as a week-old kitten in a plastic bag in a bin. She was kept alive in a cage with no contact with other animals. She never learned self-control or language skills. She never learned how to use her tail to speak. But she lived a reasonable life, with moths for friends (and the occasional lizard, but that’s another story).

Pepsi remains, but she’s getting old, and my heart is trying to prepare me for another end to a story.

The visits to the vet get more regular, the problems less treatable. She’s allergic to lots of stuff, and is very good at pill disposal when no one’s looking. I don’t blame her. Some of those drugs have horrendous side-effects.

She’s fading now, the grey almost hiding the tan-coloured heart shape on her side (she has two, but one needs to have her curled up to be visible).

The old dog drags the walker out to do the sniff test of the trails

She has both our hearts, and though we try not to think of that bridge coming ever closer … it does, and our hearts break a little bit more, day by day, knowing what’s to come.

However, no one told the dog. She goes outside and climbs up the rocks to the top level of the garden, and then leaps down. It’s not a low wall. She leaps across about a metre of rock, and from a height of two metres. Onces, the front legs collapsed under her and she skidded along on her right side. She didn’t move, didn’t struggle, but her eyes were wild.

My panic had to stay hidden, and I calmed her down, checked her over, held her stable until she regained some confidence. She was battered and bruised, but okay. No limps or lumps or breaks.

The biggest problem with her never-say-die attitude is that I think she blames me for the pain, and when I try to touch her now, she shrinks away.

And, yes, I’ve put up a barrier to the high part of the garden, but this morning … where do you think she was?

Terriers seem to like to tempt death. Or to give their owners a heart attack. Now I have to think of a way to ensure a sneaky little rat-dog can’t climb the mountain again.

Miss you, my man Slim

21 thoughts on “Isn’t today Friday?

  1. Pepsi is looking good despite her tumbles and age Cage and l know your fears all too well. As Di says above when they go, they take our hearts and souls with them.

    i would love another dog, but after losing scrappy last year, l still miss her terribly and as the last pack member next to me, it broke me in two, l have lost all my dogs now and as much as l would love another … my heart hasn’t the strength for the loss.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m feeling the same at the moment. I have a cupboard with all the ashes from the hearts I’ve known and lost, and I’m not sure if I could do it again. But a heart is so lonely without that unconditional companionship. They teach us love, but also that there’s more than enough love for more than one love, and each love is different in its own way, a lesson to both parties in how to be.
      Either way, it’s hard.

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  2. I remember listening to Slim Dusty when we were driving on our Australian adventure. And Tenterfield. I remember a song by Peter Allen about a Tenterfield saddler. I hope Pepsi will not take any more wild leaps. They find such a place in our hearts these animals!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also have the Slim Dusty rose bush, where Slim the cat’s ashes now reside.
      I don’t know how to stop Pepsi searching out the high side of life, but there must be a way. How to stop a dog who loves sniffing out the trails of mice and critters from following them regardless of where they lead? Will have to keep working on that.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh, yes, the horses. One that boarded with me, a retired racehorse, liked to wander. Several times the police would call me to collect him from various locations. Library, Council park, local fig grower (how do horses develop a taste for fig?). I caught him one night, and he’d step on the bottom layer of timber, shuffle up close to the fence, then leap straight up with his front and push the back legs closer to the fence. A bit of a hop and skip, and he was over the fence. He liked a bit of attention, pats, and constant adoration.
        And he liked to walk along the verandah, too, stick his head in the kitchen window and whinny for some toast (who taught him that, I’ll never know).
        Gus lived to be 41, I think, never grew up, but his wanders brought dozens of notes of condolence when he decided the fences were too high and let go of the struggle. They even held a memorial service for him that went from the police station to the council park, and gave his name to a bench there. One day, I’ll go back to see if they still remember the friendly old horse who liked to get around.


  3. Two years ago they told us Riley had cancer in his anal gland, and that that particular cancer was fast and mean. We took him home to enjoy his last few days with us. Turns out it was a bad guess and the lump disappeared. Now he’s relatively healthy, except for the tumor on his foot, but lately he’s had more difficult standing up, and he seems not to be entirely sure where his feet are. Vet says that happens with bigger dogs. He’s such a wonderful dog. Soulful. I wish they had mentioned the possibilities with his foot before the tumor started to die. Anyway. Pepsi seems like a delightful companion. And indeed, terriers love to tempt death.

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  4. That’s so cute, picturing the cat purring at the moth! The poor bug was probably scared shitless.

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  5. I have selective amnesia when it comes to the birth dates of my little friends. But like you, I can’t help noticing the small changes. But I guess I’m wearing some small changes myself. We live and love each day. -hugs-

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  6. There is something beyond the life urge, the deep connection, something I describe as sacred between us as cat and human, or dog, whatever, that becomes compassion and a deep connection, I really felt this post.

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