August 24 was the fifth anniversary of the death of my one and only dawg, the late great Boogie Girl.
I was watching a local TV news program one Sunday morning and the stories shifted from the latest house fires in the Bronx to animals up for adoption at the Manhattan ASPCA. One of the animals was a 17-year-old cocker spaniel named Boogie Girl. . . and I knew that that was my dawg.
I adopted Boogie Girl in November, 2013. “You can change her name”, the manager of the shelter told me. But I thought Boogie Girl was a fine name and besides, she’d had it for 17 years already.
On the day that I adopted Boogie Girl, I drove two blocks away from the shelter before my hands started to shake. I had to pull the car over on Second Avenue, and collect myself. Boogie Girl and I looked at each other. I have a dawg!, I said to myself. What have I gotten us into??, I wondered.
I had never had a dawg before, and having a dawg in my life turned out to be harder than I thought. For instance, I hadn’t been told that Boogie Girl was not housebroken. So, after much trial and error, I figured out that I had to lay down two layers of plastic sheeting down on the den floor, over which I put up a flexible “fence” to keep Boogie penned in at night. Every night, I covered the plastic sheeting with newspaper, and over that I laid out Wee Wee pads. By morning, the pads and newspaper would be covered with all manner of doings, so I would put on rubber gloves and ball it all up into a bundle and trudge out to the garbage cans with it.
Boogie would soil her bed every night and day, forcing me to wash her beds daily, so she had a roster of five beds, each one maybe a tad too small for her but that’s what would fit into my washing machine.
Boogie was nearly totally deaf, and her eyesight wasn’t good. She needed professional grooming every six weeks, and frequent vet visits (she was old and I was a nervous new dawg owner), and outings in every miserable weather. Top Cat and I had nine cats in and out of the house at the time, but Boogie Girl never noticed them, not once, except for their food (which she loved). Although I kept her under constant supervision, she still managed to crap in every room in the house, and in two hallways. Boogie Girl was a lot of work.
Also, she was not a very affectionate dawg. She would not sit on my lap or let me hug her much. This is the best picture I have of her tolerating me:
And I was totally crazy about her.
There’s something primal about the way dawgs touch our human souls, and Boogie Girl got to me on a cellular level. She was my dawg for nine months, two weeks, and a day; and when she died on August 24, 2014, my heart broke in places that I did not know a heart could break.
I gave Boogie Girl’s beds and dishes to our local animal shelter, but I still have her adorable pink Winter coat. I still have her leashes. Most days I am very busy riding herd on my usual herd of cats, but some days I stop and remember that I used to have a dawg, Me! Of all people! And she was the worst dawg ever! And I miss her, my sweet Boogie Girl, my dawg, in a way that I never thought I would.
In cat herd news: Lickety had a very good week!
He’s mooching for hugs and kisses! He’s eating his regular food!
In every way, he’s acting just like the Lickety of old (but skinnier) so we did not make that dreaded trip to the vet after all.
The only annoying thing he does is that he will not come into the house. I’m fine with that — if this were my last weeks on Earth I too would want to spend as much time as possible in the great outdoors — but Lickety annoys me because he sleeps on the hard, cold cement in the garage, under the rear bumper of Top Cat’s Saab. I want him to come inside and sleep on the soft pillows in the den, like he used to do, but noooooo.
So I put a mat down for him and he figured out how to use it, which is the best I can do for now:
In fact, since Lickety’s been doing his Great Outdoorsman thing, the other cats have been keeping him company. This is how they line up for breakfast:
About my non-rickety duties, I was very busy this week and I’ll tell you all about it but first, I have to show you this house that I drive by each day on my way to my job at the used book store that I manage for the benefit of our local library:
This is the house of a local veterinarian, who is working out of a trailer while his house is hoisted into the air. There are men commandeering huge heavy machines digging a big hole under the house and if you ask me, there is not enough money in the world to get me to dig a hole under a house that is perched 20 feet above my head.
At the used book store that I manage for the benefit of our local library here on the north shore of Long Island, I have been clearing out the shelves, getting rid of books that have used up all their chances to sell in the past year.
I reduced our hardback fiction section by 251 books:
So far, I have removed 128 books from the History section, and I gave the heave-ho to 168 books from the Memoir/Biography section. In total, I packed up 547 books into about 30 boxes, loaded them (one by one, one miserable box at a time) into my car, drove the car to the backside of the library, pulled them out of the car (one miserable box at time) and lifted them over the edge of the dumpster and let them crash into garbage. It was a lot of filthy, heavy, boring work and I am never doing this again.
It was during one of those dismal dumpster sessions that the thought came to me: I don’t have enough fun in my life.
And then I read this news item:
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A prominent Mississippi businessman is facing serious charges after he admitted to stealing luggage from the Memphis airport.
Dinesh Chawla is charged with felony theft of property.
Arrest records show he was seen taking a suitcase off the baggage claim belt on Sunday. Police say he put the bag in his vehicle, then returned to the airport to catch a flight.
While he was away, police towed his car and say they found several bags that had been stolen, containing thousands of dollars worth of items.
Chawla was then arrested Thursday when he returned to Memphis.
Chawla is 56 years old. Police say he confessed to investigators that he stole the bags, adding that Chawla explained that he stole the bags “for the thrill. “
I get that.
When I was in my 20s and 30s, even in my early 40s, I knew how to give myself a thrill. Traveling to distant lands on a one-way ticket was thrilling, dating was thrilling, falling in love was super-thrilling, shopping for dresses was thrilling (the clothes of the 1980s were great!), staying out all night was thrilling, etc. Every wrong choice and every right choice was a thrill, because it all led to adventures, and adventures were fun.
But now I’m 63 and those things aren’t fun any more. The most fun I have is when I get to sit with a glass of ice cold white wine in my backyard after a dreary day of book store managing. And that’s not enough.
Now, I’m not desperate enough for a little excitement in my life to start stealing bags at JFK, but I get why a middle-aged man would resort to felony theft. That’s big thinking, in my book; I know of little old ladies who dabble in a little shoplifting but this Chawla guy, he goes for the stuff that comes with serious jail time.
So I’m back at the book store today (Friday) for one last round of purging so that the store will look brand new when we re-open on Sept. 3 (did I mention that we were closed for the month of August, like we were French?).
And I’ll be thinking of ways to stop doing the dirty, boring, worthless stuff I don’t like to do, and how to spend more time doing the thrilling, fun stuff I need to do.
All memes stolen from Yellow Dog Grannie. Thanks, Jackie Sue.
Have a great holiday weekend, Dear Readers. All you Floridians — have a fantastic hurricane party! To the rest of us, Remember: it’s not over ’til it’s over.
P.S. To Rachel in Texas — are you still interested in hosting the Stromness Rock? Check your email’s spam file; there might be a message from me in there.