Wags n Words Healthy Dogs & Happy Tales

November 25, 2014

Gratitude = Attitude with a Grrrrrr…

Recently someone used the word “gratitude” in reference to me. I don’t remember the context, but for some reason the wordbadasses stuck in my head. Maybe it stuck in my head because, while I’ve heard the word, I’ve never heard my name and “gratitude” in the same sentence. Or perhaps it’s because, when I heard it, I heard the “grrrrrr” as separate from the “attitude” and I was stumped as to the meaning.

Then I looked it up: Gratitude: The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

brothersOkay, I am thankful for many things and I do often express it in my blogs. For instance, I’m thankful for my job (dog walking); I’m thankful for my friends (always growing in number); and thankful for my family. But somehow, gratitude feels like a much bigger word than thankful and while I can see thankful as a quality I exhibit, gratitude feels far more out of my league.IMG_20141118_093058_454

And yes, I show appreciation, but I have to admit that I tend to be kind of persnickety about who I show my appreciation to. Full confession: I can be quite a grouch if given half the chance.

IMG_20141120_093848_226Sure, I look like a cuddly stuffed animal and everyone (dogs included) want to squeeze me and sniff me and get all mushy with me, but that’s not the kind of fellaIMG_20141118_082914_482 that I am. I’m a grrrrr fella and that can sometimes get me in trouble.

Take, for instance, the sharing of the backseat of the car. If you’ve been reading my posts, you know I have a new older brother (kind of an oxymoron — new older IMG_20141105_091536_536– but he’s new to our family and older than me, so you get the picture). Because of his age — 13 — he is afforded some “comforts” and “privileges” that I am not. Yes, we both get to lie on the couch though Dezi gets the prime corner and first pick and yes, we both get to sleep on the human bed though I am forced to move to my dog bed when the lights go out. True, my dog bed is luxurious by any standards, but it’s not the human bed and it’s not, dare I say, equal to the spot Dezi gets to sleep — right next to my moms…all night long.IMG_20141111_114333_652

And so it is with the backseat of the car. We have a pretty nice set up there — cushy bed, safe sort of hammock to keep us from flying forward in the event of a crash, and prime window spots — but when it’s time to get into the car, Dezi is allowed in first and I am allowed in second. This might not be a problem for anyone else, but Dezi, as he’s grown more comfortable, hogs the backseat. He jumps in and lands right in the IMG_20141024_115937_464middle and instantly, plops down. He will not move. Even when I jump in almost on top of him, he doesn’t move. He holds his spot, stubbornly and weightily.

Sometimes, though the occasions are rare, I am allowed in first and when Dezi jumps in after me, he aims for that middle spot again. This is the hard part to admit, but I growl at him and at times, when I am really annoyed, and snap at him — not to bite him, but just to make a lot of IMG_8831noise to let him know he needs to respect my bubble.

And my bubble is big.

And I make a lot of noise.

A lot.

Oh, and Dezi is pretty much deaf.

Dezi isn’t the only one I snap at. I snap at my best buddy Monty, too whenever we have to share the way-back of the car. Monty HATES riding in the car and so Gretchen puts me back to there to “relax” him. Instead I snap at him every time he tries to get close and because he’s nervous, he always tries to get close.

My bubble is big.IMG_20141120_105338_765

This does not mean that I don’t love Monty or Dezi. I love them ore than life itself, but remember my “gratitude” begins with a grrrrr and I am quicker with the grrrrr than I am with the thankfulness.

Still, it is the season for Thankfulness and Gretchen tells me I must let go of my attitude and shrink my bubble a bit.

But it’s hard. Often the grrrrr escapes before I have a chance to stop it.

Gretchen also tells me that this is the time of year when we’re supposed to reflect on our behavior and decide what we want to change in time for our New Year’s Resolutions.

So I am reflecting.


IMG_20141120_120953_320It’s hard to know if the grrrrrr in my attitude is a problem for me or a problem for others and therefore, do I change it to please others or do I expect them to just lump it.SONY DSC

I’m leaning towards lumping it, but now that I’m older and keep getting water squirted at me (especially in the car) when I let the grrrrr escape, perhaps I need to spend more time reflecting.

How does one shrink their bubble? That’s the big question and I guess before January 1st, I should figure it out.

Or not…

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!! May your gratitude not be filled with any grrrrrrrs.



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October 2, 2014 (Addition)

ReflectionsSierra Exif JPEG

There’s a temptation to think the world is against me these days. So many losses so far this year; I’m not sure I can take much more. I feel like every time I decide to write a blog there’s another loss I must talk about with this most current loss one of the most difficult to share.

On June 10, 2014 my dearest Grandpaw passed away. I couldn’t be there with him, but luckily Nori was (a dog who worked at the Hospice facility).

This is a big loss for me because Grandpaw was a very special person in my person world. He loved me from the moment he saw me and every time I visited him, he had something special for me in his pocket. Even when Parkinson’s made it difficult for him to reach into his pocket or even hold the treat, he did it for me and I’d wait at his feet for the blessed snack.DSC00019

Gretchen wrote all about Grandpaw HERE, but this is a human’s perspective and I think it’s only fitting to offer up a dog’s perspective and as his Dogson, I am taking it upon myself to let you know what a huge loss Grandpaw’s passing is not only for the humans in his life, but for the dogs, too.

Grandpaw Bob was born in Wisconsin in a town that sounds a lot like a place I might enjoy — Mill-walkie. He had dogs and goats and geese and chickens who lived with him and when Grandpaw Bob and I talked about his childhood, it was the Irish Setter of his childhood that he remembered most. I’ve never met an Irish Setter, but I do have to English Setter friends, Carter and Kali, and I think they’re pretty special so I imagine that Grandpaw’s Irish Setter was pretty special too.

SONY DSCGrandpaw Bob was a really smart guy. He read all the time and when his eyesight started to fail, it was really really hard on him not to be able to pick up one of his huge books and read it. I wish I had known how to read it to him because I would have, but alas, while I can write and I can understand what’s being said, it’s difficult for me to both hold a book and to read the words out loud to someone else.

But Grandpaw Bob understood that. Instead of reading, we’d talk and all the while he’d scratch my chin or stroke my head and I liked that very very much.

Well, until a squirrel raced by outside or their neighbor’s cat showed up on the doorstep. When that happened I got a wee bit distracted.

Still, Grandpaw Bob understood that barking at critters is what a dog was supposed to do and so he’d tolerate it pretty well. Of course, if I barked at my own reflection in the sliding glass door, he’d laugh, but most of the time, he’d understand my need to be the protector of the household.

Grandpaw Bob and I liked to watch TV together. At times we’d watch the Dog Shows that were on the TV especially around holidays. We’d each pick our winner and see how our choices stacked up against those the judges (in their funny, fancy outfits) picked. If there was an Irish Setter in the show, Grandpaw Bob always chose that one to win even if he knew that the Rottweiler or the Poodle or even the funny looking Affenpinscher looked better. He had a soft spot of those Setters.SONY DSC

He also had a soft spot for me. Whenever we’d call to talk with him, he always asked how I was doing. He read this blog too and offered up sage advice if he thought I was having a problem.

When we visited my Grandparents, I’d always sit next to¬† Grandpaw Bob either by his favorite chair or under the dining room table. He liked that. I liked it too. Sometimes he’d even drop a piece of food for me or reach in his pocket and give me another treat when no one else was looking.

Grandpaw Bob loved to garden. It got really hard for him later in life and the last year or so, he really didn’t garden at all, but he’d push his walker outside while my moms would work planting something or digging up weeds and I always stood next to him while he inspected their work.

The best times (and there were many) were when we drove my grandparents down to Oregon to visit my Uncle Paul. We did this in the summer and then during every Christmas and that car ride down was one of my favorite adventures of my whole entire life. We’d take two cars — Grandma and Momma Ann in one car and Grandpaw and YoungDadGretchen in the other. I usually rode with Grandpaw because he liked that I was really good in the car and had a quiet presence so, if need be, Grandpaw could take a nap on the long ride down. We listened to music, talked politics, and shared snacks all the way to Oregon and Grandpaw would always tell me I was the best dog.

He was the best Grandpaw and I can’t really believe he is no longer with us. After his passing, I got to go visit Grandma to make sure she was doing okay. Grandpaw’s special chair was still in the living room and it was kind of odd seeing it there without Grandpaw in it. I sniffed it and though it still smelled like him, the smell was faint and that made me sad too. To hold onto that smell though, I laid down by his chair — just like I always did — and hoped that his scent would stay with me for just awhile longer.

I know humans see death as an end, but dogs have a different view. Sure, I know I won’t see Grandpaw like I used to — won’t be able to cheer on the Oregon Ducks or scowl at the political shenanigans of the government with him anymore — but Grandpaw is with me in a way that I don’t think humans ever really experience. It’s hard to explain and according to the Dog’s Code of Ethics I’m not supposed to explain it to humans, but let me just say this: I still feel as if I am lying by Grandpaw’s feet and in those moments when I miss him the most, I can still feel his gentle scratches on my chin and the soft pat on my head and yes, I can even taste the treat he hands me from his pocket.

I will miss you Grandpaw, but I feel very blessed to have known you, been loved by you, and to have been your faithful, funny Granddog for these past seven years.

Much love,


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