Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Animal House

Miss B.B. La La

Whenever I pickup up a book or watch a movie about animals, I know there will usually be some kind of tragedy that unfolds. Bambi and Old Yeller taught me what it felt like to have my heart disintegrate into a dusty powder when the finger of death pointed my way. More recently, Marley & Me and The Art of Racing in the Rain gave me a refresher course.

You know. The sad tales that force the tears from your eyes to run, in salty rivulets, to the basin of your mouth. The ones that make your breath heave and shudder and your chest ache, but not so much that you won't go on to the finish. Tales that find the perfect ratio of sadness to joy.

That's how I feel whenever I accept a dog into my family. I know that the pleasure of our journey far out weighs the grief over their loss. Every time one dies, I say never again but, a few months later...here we go again. One of my dogs, Miss B.B. La La, turned 10 years old. She is strong and healthy and full of snarky playfulness. This decade of human years equals some kind of fuzzy canine time that's supposed to make her about 70. Her life span is dwindling.

This 10 year mark is one that I notice, not her. I notice how her already white fur is turning just a shade whiter. How she turns her back to me, puts her ears down and pretends she can't hear me when I call her to go outside. How she'd rather watch the other dogs play than join in as much as she once did. Her breathy whisper, "woof woof," as she gently wakes us in the middle of the night to go out, no longer able to hold her stuffin' until morning.

But, I also notice how she still puts on her 9:30, nightly Butt-Scratch and Sniff show. The funniest show on Earth. As regular as clockwork, she gets up off her pillow, eyes glinting with mischief, scratches her butt on the floor and shoots straight up, more than a foot, while turning and sniffing her butt in mid-air.

I wish I could catch it on video. In that moment, she's as agile as any gymnast. She contorts as well as any pretzel bending contortionist during her, thrice repeated, high flying aerial act. Then she comes over to me, nuzzles my head and schnarfles up the jasmine scent from my hair into her nostrils. For her finale, she hides her head under the sofa cushion with a curtsy as she waits for applause.

We're still enjoying the laughter together. The tears, gathering like a thunder storm along the periphery of my emotions, are still a ways off. Even though I know tragedy will surely unfold, this is a story I'm glad I didn't put down.

Miss B.B. La La getting a birthday kiss from Maaco the Thunder Dog

22 comments:

Gemel said...

I know what you mean, beautifully written.
I said the same after Blossom passed over, but, now I have three more cats, as they get older our heart often aches with what is coming our way, yet, how can you not share your world with as many animals as possible?
Give her a special cuddle from me n my crew xox

Brian Miller said...

wonderfully done ronda...our cat is getting up there in years and her time is coming and when it does it will be tough...

Dave King said...

I'm sure that's the only attitude to take. I'm n ever sure about parents who go in for pets specifically to train their children to get used to loss, though. Interesting post.

TechnoBabe said...

You must have so much fun in your house, you have built in entertainment. This sounds like a riot of laughter. Your beautiful dog has already given you her best years of love and laughter.

Reya Mellicker said...

Happpy birthday Miss BB La La!

That dog is so lucky to live with you, Ronda. Your post is beautiful. I remember very well the decline of Jake. Bittersweet years they were.

Much love to you and your lucky, beautiful, funny dogs. xx

Nessa said...

beautiful although i don't want to think about it. my pupping is nine this year. he has a bit of gray in his muzzle.

Tales on Tuesday - Lost in Space

DUTA said...

Your dog looks beautiful and calm in the first picture; in the second one there's definitely a change in appearance - seems skinny and irritable.

It's very hard and painful to watch one's pet gradual deterioration. Enjoy her as much and as long as you can!

Ronda Laveen said...

Gemel: I will most definitely give her a special cuddle from Scrappy!

Brian: Animals are such a gift, aren't they?

Dave: I had no idea people thought about having pets to "specifically" teach their kids about death. I think they teach us more about life.

TechnoBabe: She is a riot. And you haven't even met Squalor Pup or Bony Marony.

Reya: I was thinking of Jake as I wrote this, knowing that you just went through this with him. He was a mighty fine dog and is still with you on your blog sidebar.

Nessa: I know...it is hard to think about them not being around.

DUTA: Those pictures were taken near the same time. I think she was just irritable because Maaco was bugging her. He's younger and gets her going, often to her annoyance. Thanks, I will enjoy her.

Baino said...

Ah she's beautiful. Mine is now almost 9 and I lament the grey hairs on her muzzle but bring out a ball or a stick and there's no sign of ageing.She's my constant companion so I'm not thinking about losing her just yet. It will be too hard to bear.

Jai Joshi said...

All life is precious and to be treasured.

I hope your dog lives on to perform many more shows!

Jai

Ronda Laveen said...

Baino: Your dog is beautiful too. They are just the best companions. May they live as long as doggy-wise possible with good health.

Jai: Thanks for the blessing.

JGH said...

LOL!! Schnarfling is definitely the best word I've read today.

My dog is looking at me funny. She's afraid I'm going to ask her to do a buttsniffing trick now.
Don't worry Betsy. This is something unique to Miss BB Lala.

Enjoy her, Ronda - she's very special.

Megan said...

We had our one and only dog when I was very small and I don't remember him. He was killed by a motorist and my father was so stricken, he would never allow another dog in the house. He couldn't bear it.

Ronda Laveen said...

JGH: HA! I'm still laughing. Yes, tell Betsy not to worry. I've had many dogs and Miss BB is the only one who's done the Butt Scratch and Sniff trick. But you should see Maaco the Thunder Dog stand on his head. I need to catch that on video too:-)

Megan: That is so sad! I feel sorry for you and your dad.

Dorraine said...

Miss B.B. La La is quite the lovely!

Your description of her slowing down yet still doing that nightly "gymnast move"- well, that just plain made me smile.

We have to love them while we can. We've got two dogs here. Annie, the puppy, who runs circles around our nine-year-old, Lucky. I didn't realize how much he had slowed down until she came to town.

Precious write up! :-)

Ronda Laveen said...

Dorraine: Nothing shows off a dogs ageing like having a younger one around.
Sometimes I think how carefree and clean life would be without them. And then, I also think how boring.

otin said...

I have 2 dogs. One is 12 and one is 13. I dread the day.....

Ronda Laveen said...

Otin: Oh! You are a lucky man but, yes, your dogs are on a short leash. May they live as long as they are happy and healthy.

Felicitas said...

I agree: Having animals in our lives is worth every bit of pain that comes with eventually losing them. Just the same, I hope you and Miss B.B. La La enjoy another 10 good years together!

Barbara Martin said...

Dogs bring special joy and companionship to their owners over the years. I, too, tend to get another dog time after time. Each has their own personality and yours shines through.

Ronda Laveen said...

Felicitas: Thank you. Miss BB Lala is a force to be reconed with. She definitely has her own karma to fulfill.

Barbara: Yes, time after time, after time, I tend to sign on for inter-species relationships.
what up?

sewa mobil murah said...

cute and sweety dog