The Moment I Knew

This morning we said our final goodbyes to Meg.

It was terribly hard. But it was finally time to let the old girl go.

The image at left was shared here before, in a post from July 2013, where I said, “Meg’s health is slowly failing. She’s deaf, has arthritis, some strange problem with her biliary tract, which we keep under control with a strict low-fat diet, and her muscles are weakening. She could be with us for years still. Or something catastrophic could happen and take her sooner. I hate to think of that day.”

I’m actually quite surprised that she was able to stay with us as long as she did. Her health really has been declining slowly over the last few years. She’s had a couple of really close calls, the most recent few episodes involved her biliary tract, and were sort of like pancreatitis, which is very painful and life-threatening.

After the last episode late last year, we resigned ourselves to the fact that Meg was getting old. We told each other that, as long as she was relatively pain-free and enjoying life, she would stay with us.

I guess it was earlier this year that she really started losing muscle tone and weight. It became harder and harder for her to navigate the steps. And she was getting slower and slower on our daily walks. I guess it was a month or so ago when I decided she was too slow to walk with the younguns, so I did two dog walks each evening.

Meg hated being left behind, but she enjoyed her solo walks with me. I let her go at her own pace and sniff stuff for much longer than I would’ve if the younguns were with us.

I always told myself that when her bad moments outweighed the good, it would be time to let her go.

Earlier this week, the scales started tipping for her. There’s a cold front coming through and I think it really affected her. She was sleeping even more than usual, seemed much weaker, and had even more difficulty than usual on the steps.

It really became clear yesterday. I was in the front yard with her, waiting for her to poo. She found a spot, squatted on her weak, wobbly legs, and pooed. I could tell she hadn’t quite finished, but her legs gave out on her and she collapsed onto the pile she’d just made. I hurried over and helped her up. Then I had to clean a matted pile of poo off of her rear-end and tail. She was not pleased.

I couldn’t get her to stay inside, though. So we went back out into the yard. She just stood there, all wobbly-like, looking really pathetic.

I had my phone in my pocket and took this short video so you can see what I mean.

She was weak. And she looked frightened. That special light had gone from her eyes.

That’s when I knew.

I dreaded walk time. I couldn’t bear making the decision for her, so I hooked her up as usual and told her, “This is your last walk, Meg. Let’s make it a good one.”

Much to my surprise, she wanted to walk. And there was more pep in her step than there’d been in days. She was sniffing everything. Even more than usual. And every now and then she’d just stop and look around.

She was tired, but moving well and did not want to turn around until she was ready.

I’m glad there weren’t many people out and about to see me sobbing along beside my sweet, old girl.

She had an even more restless night than usual. And this morning, I could tell she was very uncomfortable. As much as I would’ve liked to deny it, I knew it was really time.

So we took her to the vet and stayed by her side as she crossed the Rainbow Bridge.


She was a special dog. Stubborn as all get-out, even to the very end. She never stopped eating. She never stopped looking forward to her special treats. And she especially never stopped wanting to be with her people.

We will always remember Meg for the laughter she brought into our lives. And for her absolute, unabashed joy that was so obvious when she was running, something she hadn’t been able to do for quite some time.

Here’s a pic from April 2006. She was young (not quite 7) and her face was still orange.


She always liked to make a game of running at me at fast as she could and racing by. I called it Buzzing Mama.

I imagine Meg is buzzing around at the Rainbow Bridge right now. With CeCe, our first dog, at her side.

We will certainly miss our Crazy Girl.

Meg and Me, Christmas 2010

Goodbye for now, baby girl.

Life With an Old Dog

Meg is 15. She hears very little any more. Her eyesight is failing. She suffers periodic bouts of cognitive dysfunction (doggie dementia). Her legs are getting weaker and weaker. While she still enjoys our daily walks, she’s been moving slower and slower.


As I’m sure you can imagine, this requires special treatment. But Meg is a special dog, and she doesn’t make it easy.

She has always been very stubborn and headstrong. She’s the sort of dog that will ignore an invisible fence when it suits her, gritting her teeth and taking the shock so she can go where and when she wants to go. (Don’t worry, we no longer use an invisible fence.)

She doesn’t like to be told that she has to stay in a room (even with company) or can’t use the steps. Put a gate at the top or bottom of the steps and she will do everything she can to tear it down. Close a door to keep her in a room and she will scratch at the door, snort, huff and puff, whine, etc.

Meg has good days and bad days. But she still has a healthy appetite. Although she sleeps a lot, she still enjoys our company. She’s always happy to greet us, enjoys her slow walks, loves greeting people on said walks, enjoys her daily treats, etc.

We just watch her closely and take things one day at a time.

We have hardwood floors in most rooms, which can be slippery, so we have rugs everywhere. Even on the steps, in a special pattern that looks weird, but works for Meg. When she uses them.

You see, Meg enjoys laying on smooth surfaces. I guess because they’re cooler, as in temperature. No as in, “Look at how cool I am on this wood floor.”

She especially loves sleeping on the ceramic tile in our bathroom. But it’s slippery. And sometimes, she can’t get up.

Around 3:00 AM on Wednesday morning, I awoke to this odd, rhythmic sound. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, bump, thunk. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, bump, thunk.

It took a while for my brain to register the fact that Meg was stuck somewhere. I stumbled into the bathroom to find Meg splayed out in the middle of the bathroom floor, trying to get up. The swooshing was her feet on the floor. The bump was her foot hitting the tub. The thunk was her ID tag hitting the floor. Behind Meg was a pile of poop.

She looked embarrassed. Poor thing. I don’t know if she was trying to get up because she had to poop, or was so freaked out by not being able to get up, that it scared the crap out of her.

She was quite relieved when I helped her up.

It wasn’t a runny “I’m sick” sort of event, so it was easy to clean up and flush away.

What wasn’t easy was going back to bed after all that. So we went downstairs. That’s when I shot the picture shared above.

Doesn’t it look like she’s thinking, “Sorry, Mama”?

Don’t worry, though. She’s fine.

Just old, and achy.

She’d probably be mortified to know I shared her dirty little secret with the world.

But it’s just part of life with an old dog.

One of my favorite pics of Meg from a few years back.

The Big One Five

All of our dogs are rescue dogs. Hubby has been known to call them “used” dogs. Cast-off, unwanted pets.

Our oldest, Meg, turned 15 yesterday. She is the only of our current dogs who came to us with papers, so I know for sure June 9 is her birthday.

Party Girl
Party Girl
One of Meg's "adopt me" images (Feb-2005).
One of Meg’s “adopt me” images (Feb-2005).

Her health has slowly been declining over the past few years, so today is a big day for us. I didn’t think she’d be around this long. And I don’t know how long she has left. She has good and bad days, so we’ve been taking things one day at a time. As long as she’s relatively comfortable and happy, she’ll be with us.

Meg is sweet — she loves everyone — but has ALWAYS been a challenging dog. She’s very stubborn, extremely food-driven, eats weird stuff (Belle poo, sometimes her own poo, used Kleenex, chocolate (sometimes still-wrapped), butter, birdseed, etc.), and will steal food or some of that aforementioned weird stuff in a heartbeat, whenever the opportunity presents itself.

She has kept us on our toes since day one. But we love her. She’s given us lots of laughs over the years.

She was so difficult that, after just a couple of months, we were seriously considering giving her back. The girl would NOT listen and was always getting into trouble of one sort or another. Terrorizing our cats, stealing food, eating cat poo, digging in the trash, etc. Then one of my rescue friends told me about the dreaded squirt bottle loaded with vinegar water as a disciplinary tool. One shot to the face was finally the thing that got the “no” message across.

To this day, if we even pretend we have a squirt bottle in hand, she pays attention. And we haven’t actually put vinegar in the water since around 2005. LOL.

Anyway… I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite Meg pics captured over the years.

On the ride home, the day we adopted her. (Feb 2005)
On the ride home, the day we adopted her. (Feb 2005)


She has always loved snow.
She has always LOVED snow.


Meg in a stare-ff with Moses. She hated that cat.
Meg in a stare-off with Moses. She hated that cat.


Meg during a construction break at the WV Place.
Meg during a construction break at the WV Place.


Enjoying a car ride.
Enjoying a car ride. (She is the absolute WORST car passenger.)


Food-obsessed dog. She especially LOVES chocolate.
Food-obsessed dog. She especially LOVES chocolate.


My clunky lap dog.
My clunky lap dog.


"Hurry up and fix it, Mama." (I was repairing her favorite toy.)
“Hurry up and fix it, Mama.” (I was repairing her favorite toy.)


Meg has always had the most expressive face. My friend Carol often says, “I swear, she’s going to start talking any second.”

Relaxation Interrupted
Relaxation Interrupted


“How dare you not share with me?”




Her crazy sleeping positions have always amazed me.


Elegant old girl.


“Yes, I’m in your bubble. Is that a problem?”


Scholarly Meg


Back when she could run. She loved to run.


Happy to be at the WV Place, her favorite place in the whole world.


Can you tell she loved to run?


“There’s an effing cat on your lap and I do NOT like it.”


Meg and Me


A post all about Meg wouldn’t be complete without everyone’s favorite slideshow.


I have no idea how long Meg has. The heat is hard on her. She’s still going on daily walks with me and the two younguns, but she’s getting REALLY slow.

I love my old girl. Seeing her deteriorate is hard. As long as she’s comfortable, we’ll continue to take it one day at a time. 🙂

Surrogate Children

Having dogs really is like having kids.

Sit still in a room, and the dogs find a cozy spot to lay. Unless it’s close to meal time. Or time for a walk, snack, mail run, etc. They are creatures of habit, too. Meg has her routine down, and you’d better stick to it.

Weed the flower beds, and the dogs investigate the flowers, too.

Go into the bathroom, and God forbid, close the door, and the dogs wait anxiously for you to emerge. Don’t close the door and they join you, of course.

Make a phone call and the dogs suddenly become noisy and/or playful.

Relax on the porch, just sitting, watching the world go by, and the dogs do the same.


Not that I am complaining. It’s just that the parallels humor me.

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring–it was peace.”
― Milan Kundera

I can’t imagine life without dogs. Really.

Seeing these images this morning, which were shot at the end of May, is what inspired this post. I’d gone out into the yard to capture some flower shots and, of course, the dogs followed. They apparently wanted to look at the flowers, too.

Meg (age 14)
Meg (age 14)


K (age 7)
K (age 7)


Belle (age 6)
Belle (age 6)

Meg, K, and Belle. “Old Girl,” “Middle Girl,” and “Little Girl.”

How odd it would be not to have them around.

Meg’s health is slowly failing. She’s deaf, has arthritis, some strange problem with her biliary tract, which we keep under control with a strict low-fat diet, and her muscles are weakening. She could be with us for years still. Or something catastrophic could happen and take her sooner. I hate to think of that day.

"What are you looking at, Mama?"
“What are you looking at, Mama?”

For now, I’ll just enjoy all of them with their silly little quirks. And continue to marvel at their insatiable curiosity…

Reflecting on the Past Week

I’ve been neglecting you all again. I know it. And I am sorry. Sort of. The truth is, nothing has really moved me to write. And I’ve been busy.

First, I had to get ready for the Tag Sale.

Tag Sale #2
Tag Sale #2

I’m happy to say, I sold both big, galvanized tubs, the chamber pot, the lard cans, and the enamelware, among other things. Those were all big items that really put a crimp in my space here.

Oh, and Aunt Bertha was here.

Aunt Bertha and Me
Aunt Bertha and Me

She stopped on her way home from the Carolinas and ended up staying for several days. It was a lovely visit. She’s always fun to have around.

There were some miscellaneous strolls around town, as usual.

Spring is in the Air

That bear is a fixture at Amy’s at Rhodes, a gift shop on Main Street.

Meg Supervises My Painting
Meg Supervises My Painting

I’ve been painting, too. The girls like to hang out with me when I am in the basement. Only Meg is in the picture, but the others are nearby.

The color in that picture, captured with my phone, is a bit wonky. The bench is not nearly as purple as it looks. I am about halfway done now. A picture of the completed project will eventually be shared here.

As an aside, like my new workbench? That’s one of the treasures I acquired at auction during my crazy inventory binge. It cost me a whopping five bucks.

ToadMama Reflection
ToadMama Reflection

So that’s what I have been up to. Of course, there’s also work, which keeps me busy during the day. And some other miscellaneous stuff.

There’s not a ton of excitement on the horizon over the next few days. But I’ll try to be back sooner.

Can you believe February is half over!?!