June 9, 2015

Loving My Little Life With Two Wonderful Dogs

A room full of dogs and books is my idea of happiness.

Happy Ruby Tuesday! While I don't do it on a weekly basis, my aim with the Ruby Tuesday updates is a more "old fashioned" blog post of the journaling type. Back before blogging became so popular, I had a LiveJournal account where I shared thoughts, poetry, pictures and travelogues. My account is still active, in fact, and while I don't write there regularly, I love having more than ten years of my life chronicled there. Some of my very favorite blogs lean toward the wordy, honest and personal, and so I like to have an element of that here, where I can look back on the daily details of life with Ruby and Boca, these two precious dogs that have been with me through some of the most difficult times and also at a time when I am doing some serious introspection.

Recently I said to a friend, when asked what my big life dream was, that I thought I would like to move to Spain and rescue dogs. She looked momentarily surprised, and I realized that wasn't what most people expect, especially now that I am single. No babies, no weddings, nothing very ambitious or extraordinary, but something very definitely including dogs. I'm incredibly grateful that I live in a time when that is becoming increasingly acceptable, and increasingly normal. Lately I've been simplifying, reevaluating. I'm finding that some things that used to be important to me (like fancy shoes and late nights out dancing) have fallen by the wayside, and some things I thought I'd never want (like living somewhere rural) have become suddenly intriguing. While  I occasionally hear things like I'm too wrapped up in my dogs, the great majority of my friends and family are supportive of my somewhat solitary, but personally satisfying lifestyle, and they get it when I just want to stay home with my dogs. (Either that, or I make a point of surrounding myself with only people who do).


During the week, life is largely routine, especially when incorporating the care and feeding of The Ginger Sisters into the few hours between waking and work, work and sleep. I find comfort in this routine, and waking up as I did this morning to find Ruby laying on her back, nestled into the crook of my arm and gazing up at me, is often the best part of my day. Right now my dad is living with me, and I'm blessed with knowing my dogs have company while I'm at work and can spend these warm afternoons sunbathing outside. The weekends are when the real fun happens: sitting on the patio playing ball with Ruby, making them special treats like the frozen goodies pictured above (Freezy Pups mix and Merrick PowerBites treats), walking through our little slice of wild marshland between the light rail station and the town house complex, photo shoots and silly trick training sessions, trips to visit family, outings to new places, or blissful reading breaks on the guest room daybed in the best light.

The girls are doing splendidly overall. Ruby has had some great moments (passing people fairly close on walks and not barking) and some not-so-great moments (going berzerk over horses on TV despite my efforts to DS/CC with peanut butter). I took her out for a training walk this weekend and she did very well with checking in and maintaining focus on me (which is a huge deal for her). My secret was using some of Boca's "pill cheese" - more on that in a moment - good old processed American cheese product. Her reactivity means a lifetime of management, but when I look at the big picture, I can see some remarkable changes. She is never relaxed outside, but I am seeing little moments when we are close to home where her body becomes looser and even get a tail wag once in a while. She solicits pets every evening (with very particular requests: inner thigh and back scratches).  Her relationship with Boca is beautiful to watch, and while they can get carried away sometimes with their play, I see a lot of really sweet, gentle interaction, too.


Boca remains her delightfully easygoing and goofy self - she is the first dog I've had who can happily take a nap at the vet's office. Unfortunately, we've still been spending quite a bit of time there. We had only a short reprieve from the Ocular Ordeal before she started developing an opacity in the other (left) eye. At this time it is not causing her any problems or discomfort, but the ophthalmologist is still unable to determine a cause. We are trying a long course of doxycycline in hopes that it will slow down any progression if there is a bacterial component. I'm not as stressed out about it as the first time, because at least we know the treatment/surgery route to go if it does get worse. After our appointment on Saturday, Boca and my dad and I discovered a pretty park full of little lakes and streams. It was refreshingly serene even though it was in the middle of town, and a place I could safely bring Ruby, especially on one of my Fridays off. We even spotted a huge turtle in one of the ponds!

Time seems to go by faster and faster - just like people are always telling you it will - and I want to make the most of this summer. Everything is gorgeous and green right now following our more than twenty consecutive days of rain. This weekend I hope to get a lounge chair for my patio, so I can read out there while the girls sleep in the sun. I have planted marigolds and tomatoes in containers and I am going to plant some herbs and lettuces as well. I want to scout out more places to take Ruby - taking Boca first is a perfect way to do so, and also gives me the opportunity to have some one-on-one time with her. I am hoping to attend BlogPaws in Phoenix with Boca next year, and need to be sure she is comfortable in more busy and crowded situations. We have some fun events coming up - a potcake fundraiser at a sports bar and a graduation party at a local park - which will be perfect practice! It's my favorite time of year (from now until October), and I'll be spending it with my two favorite girls.

What little things about life with dogs make you the happiest?

12 comments:

  1. That's a beautiful post, Lara!

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  2. I love this post so much! I can totally relate to the just wanting to be with dogs. They are the best part of my day, too. Same here about Spain and I've found that I am only surrounding myself with understanding dog people, too.

    I'm sorry to read about Boca's good eye. I hope that the meds help!

    Those events you're planning on going to sound fun!

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    1. Thanks, Lauren! Yeah, I think they will be great for Boca as she can be a little on the shy side. As long as I have lots of treats on hand she will be happy!

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  3. I like just hanging out with my guys too and nothing makes me happier than waking up and finding one of them with their head on my shoulder. Honestly, I will sleep in an "L" shape if it will keep me from disturbing my dogs.:-) Walking, training, sleeping, whatever they are doing, I'm all in.

    I'm glad Ruby's eye has recovered and you have a good plan in place to get the other one healthy as well.

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    1. It's so sweet! Ruby very rarely relaxes on her back like that so it was especially endearing. I'm always making sleeping arrangement accommodations for the girls, too. As long as they're comfortable!

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  4. This post sounds so much like my life! There was a time when I loved to go, go, go and now I just want to be with my dogs ... I still go, but they are with me when I do. I get told on lots of occasions that I spend more time with them than anyone else. If I could find a job where I could spend my days with them and just relax and read it would PERFECT!!!

    Good to hear that Ruby is showing some improvement. I really admire the people that take the time to really deal with re-activity and manage it well and positively. I have been fortunate to never have had to deal with it but with all the resources out there *blogs and such* I feel better prepared if it does happen. Thanks for sharing that part of your life with Ruby with us.

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    1. " If I could find a job where I could spend my days with them and just relax and read " Dream job! I think that might be retirement...

      I wish that I could bring them both more places, but my options with Ruby are limited due to her reactivity. She'll never be a "normal" dog, but I'm happy as long as she feels comfortable and safe as often as possible, and do what it takes to ensure that.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words

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  5. Wonderful post! Life gets hectic for everyone - no matter what stage of life you are in - and it is so nice to be able to rely on your dogs for peace and comfort. Our home is very similar to yours, and we wouldn't have it any other way!

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  6. I love that you can admit to having less traditional dreams for yourself. So many people answer these questions with what they think people want to hear. I have no huge ambitions either. Live quietly. Be happy. Figure out how my dogs tick. That's all I want. All I need. Thanks for sharing such a lovely post!

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  7. I am really hoping you can make it to Blogpaws next year! I think the littlest thing that brings me joy is how excited they become when I walk through the door, even if I only stepped out for five minutes... it could have seemed like a lifetime to them :)

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  8. This was a beautiful post. I appreciate that you still write. Sometimes I have to stop myself and make myself actually read because I'm too busy bouncing from post to post, so thanks for that.

    I'm saddened to hear that Boca is having more eye issues. I hope that they don't cause her much difficulty. Glad to hear you have planted some marigolds! Definitely plant some herbs. We used our fresh basil last night and YUM!
    -Jessica from Beagles & Bargains

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