A very unusual thing happened today (regarding Minnie).

I had laid down for my usual afternoon nap at about 2pm, but I couldn’t get my mind off the way Minnie is visibly getting old. To be frank, I was lying there thinking about what is to happen and how I’m going to handle it, and the tears were flowing, but I swear they were silent tears. I wasn’t making any noise, apart from the odd sniff.

I could hear Minnie, out in the dining room, moving around a bit, and after about half an hour, she came into the bedroom and stopped by my bed for a pat and cuddle, then she lay down on the floor beside me.

She never does this! Unless there’s a thunderstorm, and there wasn’t. She usually won’t sleep in my room unless it’s a really stormy night.

Had she detected my distress? I have no other explanation.

It makes it even harder to bear, of course. Don’t misunderstand, she’s not dying yet (any more than I am), but she’s slowing down and won’t even try to go for a walk. She’ll sit outside the gate for a while, and she wants to go in the car, but I can’t get her up there very easily. When she sits, it’s a slow and obviously painful movement, but she’s still smiling. She eats and drinks normally with a good appetite. She pees and poos fine. But there are lots of lumps and growths. She doesn’t do anything about them – she doesn’t scratch or lick them, or pay them any attention at all, so I’m not too worried.

But the time is approaching… She’s twelve and a half. This is the downside of dog ownership. It’s very hard.


Spring is Sprung

The 1st of September 2011. Today is the 25th anniversary of when I moved into this house. I can remember that day. I was knackered at the end of the day, but the movie, “The Killing Fields” was on TV that night, so I rigged up my TV antenna in the lounge room and watched it.

I think I must be one of the longest term residents of this street. I’ve had four sets of neighbours on the south (left) side and five sets on the north (right) side. I’m still in touch with several of them, and even with a couple, Phil and Sally Litton, who were neighbours in Gwelup St, Karrinyup in the early eighties.

I can also remember saying at work, “This is my last move. I’m staying here. You can bury me in the back yard.” Bit illegal, I think, but I’m still here.

There was a roadside meeting last weekend to discuss the council’s move to fence off some of the walking trails in the bushland nearby. I heard the result yesterday; the meeting resolved that the council be asked NOT to install fences and to remove what they’ve done. It’s the nanny thing again; because of a very few people who are using off-road quad bikes or whatever, we’re all to be prevented from using the tracks. I was very pleased to see that people said no.

Since early May, I’ve made a concerted effort to minimise my electricity use, and boy, has it paid off! I was rocked by my previous bill, covering that hot spell we had from January to April where I was using the aircon every day. I used nearly 700 units for the two months.

This last two months, I used only 121 units compared with 750 units for the same time last year. Excellent! Got rid of the bar fridge, you see, and switched lights off. It works. I used the reverse cycle for warmth a few times this winter, but obviously it didn’t raise the bill too much (the bill was $50.85 for two months!).

You probably know I dote on Minnie the Labrador. She’s got arthritis badly enough now that she doesn’t even want to go for a walk some days. One day last week, she wouldn’t come out, so I left the gate open and went for a walk myself, up on the footpath along Marmion Ave. I could see her just sitting behind the fence as I went. I figured she might go out on the lawn, but didn’t worry about her.

But when I got back, she was gone! I called several times, then out on the street, I just caught a glimpse of her disappearing through the undergrowth way up the road, where I’d been. In pain as she was, she had wanted to go and find me! I rushed up there and called her down, and with some long rest stops on the way, got her home. I’m not worthy of that dog. She is just fantastic.