Tag Archives: Maggie

Artifacts to Memories: Bunny Rabbit

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This bunny rabbit is not a personal artifact, but it’s been in my home for quite a few years now. Memories attach themselves to objects, and this little raggedy soft toy is no exception.

I brought two of these little bunnies home, when my dog family consisted of Maggie and Clover. Clover was a joy to watch with a new toy. She tossed it in the air and caught it in her teeth; she gave the toy a good shake before tossing it up again; she’d bring it to me coyly, inviting me to play, too. Maybe tug-of-war? What about fetch?

Maggie, on the other hand, was just a hoarder. She’d impatiently watch Clover play, until she could grab the toy away from her. Then she’d stand, chest out, on her bed, daring anyone to try to take anything away. She was the oldest, and largest, of the dogs, so she always got away with it. While I was away, she’d settle in and chew the stuffing out of any soft toy, but she didn’t otherwise engage with them. She just wanted them. All of the toys. On her doggie bed. All the time.

By the time Maggie passed on, Clover had lost interest, mostly, in toys. I’d try to engage her in games; she try to comply, for my sake, but the joy was gone. She preferred just a good walk. The collection of beat up chew toys and stuffed animals sat neglected in a corner.

Then, little Rosa Parks came in to our household. She was young, curious and ready for adventure. What were all these toys, gathering dust? Could she, with her keen young nose, detect a whiff of another dog…one that she had never met? As the toys were dragged out, one by one, Clover engaged with them as well, just to let the little dog know she knew what they were for. Mostly, they just got them all out, and strewed them around the living room.

As the years went by, though, both dogs lost interest. By the time Clover died, the toys – with a few additions – were occupying the neglected basket again. Rosa Parks, who had engaged in all kinds of games and play with Clover, was a hard dog to entertain, on her own. Often, I’d drive her down to Fox Lake, just to see her tail wag. There the water, and the memories of squirrel-chasing play, always put a spring in her step.

It seemed like Rosa Parks needed a companion, besides me. So, mainly as a gift to my little dog, I adopted Darla. Turns out, both Darla and Rosa Parks would have preferred to be the only dog in my house. Or so they thought. For my sake, they put up with each other. It took a few months for them to learn to enjoy each other’s company.

The toy basket, though, was an immediate success! Darla loves a toy. Her tail wags just snuffling through the basket, trying to pick just the right one. If she has gotten into the trash while I was at work, and she hears displeasure in my tone, she’ll bring me a toy. If that doesn’t do the trick, she’ll go get another. Once, having exhausted the toy basket while I was still picking up scraps of paper from the floor, she brought me a throw pillow!

Darla always likes to carry a toy outside with her. When she goes tearing out of the house, growling, to chase wild turkeys out of the yard, she often has a cute toy dangling from her jaws. Stuffed animals come on our walks with us. Until a chipmunk or a smelly piles of leaves distracts her, Darla will carry a soft toy in her mouth for a mile or more. I try to pay attention to where she drops it, so that I can tuck it in my pocket for the walk back home.

This stuffing-less bunny rabbit and all of his soft companions have a new lease on life, and  are getting out more, now, than they ever did before!

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Dog Comics, Part I

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Maggie

A dog is a joyous addition to a household. There is mutual love and devotion. There is loyalty, trust and companionship.

Having one dog is a pleasure.

Having two dogs is an on-going comedy show.

There is something about the way animals respond to each other, independent of how they relate to their human, that is hilarious. They jump into competition for affection, treats, the best spot on the sofa and the title of “good dog.”  They align with each other to fool me, or to try to finally catch that elusive squirrel. Perfectly dignified dogs become “Mutt and Jeff.”

My first pair was Maggie and Clover. Maggie was a 100 pound lab-malamute mix who loved to walk and loved to swim. Clover was a fifty pound pit-bull, boxer mix, the younger and friskier of the two.

Maggie was too arthritic to get up onto the furniture. She had comfortable dog beds at her level in bedroom and living room. Clover wanted to be in the bedroom, too, when I was there, but Maggie refused to let her. Her stern growl would send the smaller dog back down the stairs every time.

One day, Clover was sleeping in my bed before I got there. Maggie came up the stairs with me. She noticed the infraction, and grumbled her displeasure, but Clover kept very still and held her place at the foot of the bed. When morning came, and she realized she’d gotten away with it, and had spent the entire night in the bed. she grinned (no other dog could grin like Clover could!) and jumped on me, covering my face with kisses.

“Grrrrrr…..” was Maggie’s response.

Maggie would stroll down the Fox Lake Road, tail wagging like a flag, pausing at every interesting odor. Clover would run, full blast, flinging her head from side to side. I imagined her thoughts as the smells registered:

“Dog…squirrel…another squirrel…chipmunk…snake…another squirrel…deer…”

Meanwhile, Maggie would stand in one spot, her nose doing a thorough assessment, like a connoisseur of fine wine:

“Hmmm….dog…a beagle…neutered….five or six years old…eats a diet of dry Purina dog food…chewed on a beef bone recently…probably chasing a squirrel…”

When Maggie would start barking at something in the yard, Clover would blast out the door with her, looking for whatever threat was out there. I imagined, then, Maggie taking on a John Wayne tone, as she offered advice:

“Yeah, that’s good, keep barking…no, it was just a wren, no big deal…She doesn’t know that though…bark like you mean business…could be a coyote…could be a snake…hell, partner, it could be a bear, for all she knows…just keep walking…bark…bark…bark…out the back door and bark your way around to the side door…keep that concerned look on your face…scratch and she’ll let us in…here’s the point, now…wait for it…a biscuit! I tell ya, little buddy, she falls for it every time!”

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