Ed is fond of houseplants and cats. When he and Betsy became serious about life together, she told me she couldn't stand Ed's houseplants and made him throw them out. I was impressed because Ed didn't seem upset. It was true love. I did notice as the
years went by that houseplants quietly reappeared in their house.
Cats were no problem. They both love cats and usually have two; an senior and a junior. When the senior one dies of old age, he or she is buried in the backyard with a sweet ceremony. The junior is thus promoted and a kitten adopted.
A few years ago they decided they needed a dog to provide them with exercise. They live by the beach, a perfect place to walk a dog and socialize it with all the dogs that race around Sandy Beach. So Hannah, a mix of a Black Lab and something smaller but
just as friendly, came into the family. She was black with a white stripe on her chest, a foxy face, perked ears, and watchful brown eyes. A friendly young summer guide adopted her sister and named her Lucy. I was a bit startled when another young guy was
in my shop and recognized me as the friend of Lucy's sister, Hannah. I guess it was a compliment.
A bit later Betsy talked me into getting another dog. When our old family dog, Tojiro, had died at going on 20, I decided no more dogs. Too many memories. But Betsy can be very persuasive, so I found myself asking a friend who volunteers at the animal
shelter here to find me a dog. Sadie, a blend of Basset Hound and Yellow Lab, according to the shelter, is cinnamon-colored and has the amiable disposition of Hannah. We often took the two dogs walking on Sandy Beach. As part of the bargain, Bets had
said I could leave Sadie with them when I traveled, so I did and Hannah and Sadie became fast friends. A few years ago I was walking downtown when Sadie stiffened and tugged at her leash. Yes, there were Betsy and Ed and Hannah just across the street.
We joined them and it was sweet to watch the two dogs greet each other. They rubbed their muzzles together and generally made it clear how pleased they were.
Last year, when I returned from my annual month's trip, I heard how the dogs had taken to trying to steal each other's bed. Therefore I wasn't too upset recently when both Bets and Ed had to travel and I had Hannah for four days. As dogs and small children
will do, both dogs were convinced the other's water and food was far superior to theirs and longed to drink and eat it. There was no real skirmishing or growling; just each staring at the other's bowls. I fed them separately in the utility room, a bit of a problem
as Hannah ate slowly while Sadie gobbled her food and then tried for Hannah's. I pushed Sadie out and closed the door. Hannah ate some more, then waited patiently by the door.
The first evening I spread out the Sadie Towel, actually an old blue bathrobe of mine, as every evening , on the white rug in front of the couch in the living room. I pulled Hannah's round bed to the edge of the rug and the dogs settled in. Well, Hannah just lay
with her head on the bed's rim, but she seemed happy. Sadie settled down on her towel and I read and watched television.
At bedtime , I returned Hannah's bed to the utility room, and set it beside Sadie's. I guess the dogs amiably settled down; at least I heard nothing in the night.
The next morning I took the dogs for a walk; not too far because Hannah's fat tumors made walking hard (she had several removed until the vet said it would be dangerous to take out more). Sadie and Hannah had a fine time sniffing and exploring together.
I take Sadie to work with me, but as my house has dog doors and a fenced yard, I didn't mind leaving Hannah home. When we returned, the pups greeted one another with muzzle rubs until it was time to eat and try to snatch the other's water and food.
The last morning I got up as usual around 6:00 a.m. and wandered into the living room. There, looking as triumphant and smug as a dog can, sat Hannah on the Sadie Towel. I was sorry when Bets and Ed returned for her.
When I went over to Hannah's house for a family gathering, it was sweet to see Hannah as interested in treats from me as ever. Sadie had to stay in the yard until food was finished as she has a bad habit of wanting finger foods as much as humans do.
Last week Betsy told me Hannah's medication was no longer working and it was time to have the vet put her down as she was in great pain. I asked her the next day if Hannah had gone easily and she said she had not. I asked no more and she volunteered no
more. It will be hard for Sadie to have no Hannah.
I will always cherish Hannah's appropriation of the the Sadie Towel.
July 23, 2010