About Me

My photo
Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Old Dogs Children and Watermelon Wine"


This morning I'm thinking about some poignant lyrics written by Tom T. Hall, Kentucky's singing storyteller. In "Old Dogs and Children and Watermelon Wine" Tom T, who wasn't known for turning down good whiskey, writes about meeting an "old gray, black gentleman" cleaning up a Miami bar while he was "pouring blended whiskey down." The bar was empty, so the old gentlemen sat down and shared his thoughts on what's worthwhile in life:


". . .'Ain't but three things in this world that's worth a solitary dime. But old dogs and children and watermelon wine.' He said, 'Women think about themselves, when men-folk ain't around. And friends are hard to find when they discover that you're down.' He said, 'I tried it all when I was young and in my natural prime. Now it's old dogs and children and watermelon wine.'


'Old dogs care about you even when you make mistakes. God bless little children while they're still too young to hate.' . . . "


Right now I'm worried about my Old Dog. By rough calculation, since Willie was a rescued puppy, I think my old boy will be 15 years old in September. He's been extremely healthy and steady all these years, needing to visit the vet only for yearly checkups. Every day he's eager for a walk whether a short one to the newspaper box at the end of our driveway or a longer stroll through the parks. Every morning he dines on his ration of two beggin' strips and a milkbone. If he's not particularly hungry, he buries his milkbone under the sofa cushions for later. Every evening he cleans up his bowl of dry kibble. And he still has room for the odd bite of egg yolk (which I can't stand), toast spread with nutella, or a bit of cheese and apple.

That's all changed in the last couple of weeks. He's not eating his food or drinking much water. He breathes heavily on walks and, in general, just seems unsteady on his old props. Before, if he wanted to lie beside me on the sofa he just hopped up there. Now he has to take several run 'n gos and sometimes just decides that it's not worth the effort. This morning I noticed that his collar slides easily over his ears. And he's lumpy as a bad mattress--some of the tumors are large and growing fast. And he's distant, going off by himself and getting confused.

I am scared. I know what it means when dogs get bony heads and too many lumps to count. Cancer. So, this week I'll take my Old Dog in to the vet for his annual checkup. But I'm not expecting great news. Regardless of the vet's verdict, we'll just concentrate on enjoying the time we have left because like Tom T says, this Old Dog has been worth every solitary dime--and more.

9 comments:

ari_1965 said...

I'm sorry.

laurie said...

oh dear, i know your fears only too well. here's hoping it's something relatively simple to fix. it could very well be. boscoe boo needed a higher dose of insulin and is now feeling somewhat better. these dogs are resilient. all the very very best to you and willie. it's hard not to fear the worst, but the worst does not always come true.

Jan n Jer said...

Oh my Faye...so sorry to hear this. Willie is like your own child and he has been a constant companion for a long time. Keep us posted on his condition. If his time on earth is near...I hope he goes in peace n does not suffer. Life can be so heart breaking sometimes.

Sayre said...

Oh, Faye... I'm so sorry. Enjoy the time you have left with him and when it's time, say goodbye to him as easily as you can. He was obviously a GOOD dog and he deserves a good passing. He was lucky you found him and made him your own - and you were lucky for the exact same reason. I'll be thinking of you and Willie.

The Church Lady said...

Oh my dear Faye. I am so saddened to hear that Willie's health is deteriorating. You have been such a great caregiver to him and he a loyal companion. It is my hope that he will not suffer. I know you will keep him comfortable. If we only lived a litte closer, I would send Cooper over to lift Willie's spirits. Sending virutal hugs to you and Willie.

Debs Carr said...

Oh bless him. Dogs truly are 'man's best friend'.

Hugs to you.x

Susie Vereker said...

Oh dear, how sad. He sounds such a star.

karisma said...

(((HUGS))) I remember Maxi being like this and it was so hard. I would like to suggest regarding the food that you try some boiled rice with a raw egg mixed in. Sometimes like humans, the hard food can be a bit rough on old teeth. I know Maxi did not like it while the younger dogs did. It might just be that its hurting his teeth so he won't eat it.

Sending a little healing love your way. xoxox

Janice said...

Sweet, precious Willie. And, my precious friend, Faye . . .