nourishment

Before rescue-mix husky Lily’s surgery 3 weeks ago she relished her food. No sooner had I put her bowl down for her than she had vacuumed up every morsel. Even during the 2 weeks before her surgery after the injury. She ate everything.

She has always been all about food.

So part of the reason she tore her acl was her weight. This is my fault and I need to correct it. After all it’s not as if she can get her treats out of the cupboard. So I have been trying to be careful.

But her regular food? Completely turns her nose up at it. After her surgery the vet changed her food which might be part of the problem. She’s never been picky though, so I had no concerns when they sent me home with an enormous 30-pound bag of kibble that this would be a problem.

Most days though, later in the day she will go to her bowl and quietly eat her food. So maybe she just wants me to think she doesn’t like the change.

When I was little every Sunday after church my grandparents who moved from New York to be nearby would join my family for Sunday dinner. These were my mom’s parents (I never met my father’s, they were in Colorado, a long way from North Carolina), and I adored them.

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I was a picky eater. After everyone had finished, even dessert there I’d sit, my plate with remnant peas or whatever it was I did not care for staring back at me and as everyone else left the table I was told I had to sit until I finished my plate. My grandfather always sat with me.

He would not berate me, maybe offered a word or two of encouragement, but the important thing, for me, was he thought enough of me to not want me to be ashamed. Or alone.

This is something I think many of us do not understand. We have our comfy homes, our lovely friends and we do not see the ones who are alone. In our comfort we simply don’t see them.

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Nourishment comes to us in so many ways. Our physical food, the joy of a familiar voice, the wag of a dog’s tail, a favorite symphony, an unexpected note in the mail, a good book, a phone call from someone checking in, the family member who remembered something and wanted us to remember, too.

There is a hunger though, deep in each of us that no one else and nothing else can fill but God. His love that has known us since before we were born. He is with us every moment. In our fast-paced lives we may try to fill this empty need with many things… human attention, any number of substances that are bad for us or, at least, in excess are not good. All of which are fleeting, inconsistent at best and capricious at worst.

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So we move forward, day by day. We make our plans, work at our jobs, all the while knowing ultimately it is not we who are in control.

I know this for certain when I put Lily’s food in her bowl.

she thinks the car is that way

Rescue dogs Lily and Lulu and I have several parks where we like to walk. Lily is a great walking companion and can manage 2 or 3 miles. Lulu, being smaller therefore having much shorter legs is not. So sometimes we drive to wherever we are going for a walk.

This particular day Lulu was dragging her feet. Even squirrels did not interest her. We had come to this park but came in through an entrance we don’t normally use. So the only shortcut is a path through the woods. When we come out on the other side if we go in a certain direction we will have to walk the trail that goes completely around the park again.

A couple of ladies walking the opposite direction noted Lulu’s reluctance to keep pace with Lily and smiled, “she doesn’t seem too happy about her walk today,” one commented.

“She thinks the car is this way,” I replied. “It isn’t.”

So we went on.

To distract Lulu I headed for another pathway entrance into the woods again. She was having none of it and found a bench.

IMG_0747.JPGSo Lily and I stood by waiting for her to rest until she was ready to walk again. We ducked into the woods and came out nearer where the car was, and made it back home.

Another morning we walked along the now-deserted beach, since summer people have gone. Lulu is not happy at all about the sand that gets between her toe pads. So this walk did not take very long. Not even a  large collection of shorebirds, mainly gulls and pelicans interested her.

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Which got me thinking… I know a group of finches is a charm, it’s a murder of crows, a wake of vultures, a banditry of chickadees, and a dance of herons. So I looked up pelicans, which are a pod, scoop or squadron. I like their being called a squadron because they fly just like fighter jets, in a v-formation, low over the surface of the water and dive sharply to go after their prey.

Even so, Lulu was not impressed as I was and soon a few other beach walkers disturbed the birds enough to set them back into flight.

It’s funny how we tend to personify dogs as though  we know what they are thinking. We love them, and want them to be comfortable and happy. I know their companionship for me has been one of warmth and ease. I have never been without a dog in my life. And each dog is different. But one characteristic is profoundly evident in each one: they love. As utterly dependent they are on their person, there is a sense of comfort and freedom about them that gives me peace.

Even when Lily makes her silent demand for “walkies”

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No spoken word could be quite so insistent.

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Lulu

So I went to the pet store a week ago to pick up some of Lily’s favorite treats. Every weekend there are pet adoptions there and we walked over to where the puppies and dogs were. There, by herself in a crate was a little white dog with a black face. She looked so much like my little rescue dog Murphy I thought for a minute it was Murphy. But she was very sweet, so playful. I asked the lady if I could foster her for a week. She said to come back at the end of the day, if Lulu was still there I could foster her. I said I was pretty sure she wouldn’t be there if I left without her so the lady said I could take her right then.

Thank you.

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The first thing Lulu did was confiscate all of Lily’s toys. She especially loved the squeaky ones. Now mind you, Lily has ignored her toys since the day I bought them. Every one of them. But now that Lulu wanted them they were precious to her. Well she had to get over that, and she did.

Next Lulu appropriated every bed in the house that belongs to Lily, which would be 6 beds. Lily was not happy at all but eventually once she saw that I found ways to encourage Lulu to sit on one while Lily could have another it all worked out.

I discovered that long walks in the woods or on trails is a good way to encourage camaraderie between dogs who are strangers. This works well, especially when one of the dogs is friendly, playful and wide open about life and all things new. Lulu is this dog. Lily loves life, but not when it encroaches on all she knows and loves. Still, she was open to this new friendly little dog.

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So this week also was the week the Arboretum, where I’ve just finished the Master Gardener program is having their annual plant sale. They needed lots of help, and people to staff the plant clinic. I had signed on for this for a couple of shifts which put me out of the house for 3-hour stretches. Praying that I would not return home to blood spatters and wounded souls I managed to get through these as well as a tour of a local historic garden to find all quiet on the home front and 2 pair of beady eyes very happy to see me.

Today I returned to the pet store to properly adopt Lulu and was told by the very kind and friendly lady that 3 others had asked for Lulu after she, Lily and I had embarked upon our foster week. She added I was very lucky that she had agreed to allow me to foster her.

Yes, and I thank her.

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