Category Archives: caleb


Song Lyric of the Day:

But they tell me / I’ll be fine / That it will all get better / Just try to write it down / Or put it in a letter / But the words won’t play / And there’s no / Easy way to say / Goodbye, goodbye

Natalie Imbruglia
/ “Goodbye

I had to step back for a while, pretty much from everything. On July 26, only 31 days after losing my baby Yum Yum, our sweet, 13-year-old girl Snoops left us, too. I imagine a lot of non-pet owners can sympathize some, but my fellow pet owners know how devastating losing a pet is. And to lose two of my babies only a month apart … I can’t even express it in words. Especially when the two of them were so close — Snoops falling in love with her kitten from the first day she set eyes on him; Yum Yum playfully swatting her on the butt to get her to wrestle; the two of them sleeping, side by side; right up to Snoops’ obvious mourning once Yum Yum was gone, which we watched hasten her decline.

While Rich and I were heartbroken over having to take that final trip to the vet with Snoops, we did what we could to make sure her last afternoon was filled with her family’s love: We called our family, and my parents and sister Vanessa were able to come over to say their goodbyes to her. Snoops responded to that, even raising her head and smiling, which she hadn’t been able to do for a while. So she definitely felt her family’s love, despite all of our tears.
And when that awful time came at the vet’s office later that afternoon, I gave her countless kisses, one for each family member and friend who loved her, and many more just from me and Rich. I think that actually helped a little, really, just a little in the grand scheme of things — but it helped nonetheless — knowing that so many of the people close to us loved her and would miss her, too. But nowhere near as much as we would.

Once home, I cried as I showed Caleb his big sister’s collar, which I had very gently removed from around her neck once she was gone (she would’ve hated feeling naked without it). I think he’d already figured out that she wasn’t coming back, and that was all I could think to do to help him really, truly process it. Because if there was one certainty, it was that Caleb knew his big sister always, always had her collar on.

Rich, Caleb, and I dealt with our grief in our own ways. So did our cat, Belle; having known Snoops since the day I brought her home, and having grown even closer to her dog since Yum Yum’s passing, Belle walked around caterwauling the first few nights, looking for Snoops. Troubadour, being just under six months old at the time and having only been with us for three months, didn’t feel Snoops’ absence the way we did. But, if anything, he ended up helping the rest of us. Because it’s impossible not to laugh and smile when you have a puppy. And in the weeks following her death, when Caleb would sit quietly by himself in a corner, looking as heartbroken and depressed as a dog can look, it was Troubadour who got him playing again.

*My little dog – a heartbeat at my feet. – Edith Warton


Filed under caleb, dogs, goodbye, grief, pet loss, snoops, troubadour

Terror at (My) Two Feet

Song Lyric of the Day:

Well I have been quietly standing in the shade / All of my days / Watch the sky breaking on the promise that we made / All of this rain / And I’ve been trying to find / What’s been in my mind

Alexi Murdoch / “All My Days

For those of you who have e-mailed asking me to write more about life with our new puppy, Troubadour, I have three words for you: tiny manorexic insomniac.

That’s right — Satan’s puppy is now trying out a third brand of food (Eukanuba was too hot, Purina Pro Plan too cold). We’re hoping Iams Smart Puppy food will be the one that’s just right. Never have we met a less food-motivated dog than this one. Granted, he’s obsessed with eating his big sister, Snoops’, food, but that’s about the extent of his interest in lowly dog food. Oh, and he throws tantrums whenever we dare to eat people food in front of him. Because nothing makes dinner more special than a puppy yelping as he hurls himself against your leg.

And it turns out Caleb spoiled us by sleeping for long stretches as a puppy. If Troubadour naps for 40 minutes, we call it a victory. He fights sleep like it’s his arch-nemesis. He’s even waking up earlier each day. He’s the Energizer Puppy — he just keeps going and going and going … Which is why his mommy and daddy are exhausted.

Caleb was by no means a perfect puppy; I never thought he’d get the hang of potty-training and I still haven’t quite forgiven him for destroying some of my precious movie posters (Backdraft! The Fugitive — with a typo!). But, boy, does he seem like a saint compared to his new baby brother.

At least they’re getting along really well. While Troubadour likes to bug Snoops by pulling her tail or grabbing her hind legs as she’s walking, he definitely has Caleb on a pedestal. So while Rich and I are going crazy trying to train him, we’re really enjoying watching his and Caleb’s relationship grow and deepen on a daily basis.

The true turning point for the two of them came five days
after we brought Troubadour home. That night, Caleb let his little brother sit between his front feet outside on the deck. Not only that, but he let Tru play with one of his Frisbee shards as he sat there. And if you know Caleb, you know how big a deal that was. So that’s when we knew they’d be OK.

Their relationship has progressed to the point that they now have nightly wrestling sessions, with Tru’s head fitting neatly inside his brother’s mouth. Today heralded another breakthrough: Tru learned how to play tug of war. Caleb is thrilled that Tru can now hang on to the rope to the point that his feet leave the ground when Caleb shakes it. Sure, Caleb has occasionally snapped at Tru to scare him and/or put him in his place. And Tru definitely knows how to yelp like you would not believe in order to summon us to placate him after having the crap scared out of him. Rich and I have actually had minor heart attacks when he does this; his yelping is so dramatic, you’d swear Caleb was eating him alive. Of course, as soon as Tru opens his mouth to scream for help, Caleb usually walks himself to his crate for a preemptive time out. Smart boy, that one.

The sharing of toys is still a work in progress, although for the most part Caleb leaves Tru’s tiny toys alone. There is an almost nightly session of keep-away, though, typically over the smallest bone in the house of their new mid-sized rope (given to them by their Auntie Caren).

Tiny Tru with Tiny Teddy
While Tru still has a lonnnnnng way to go in making friends with the cats, at least he’s on his way to becoming really well-integrated with Snoops and Caleb. And as soon as he takes a nice, long nap this weekend, I’ll start putting some of the tons of photos I’ve taken up in my Flickr album. In the meantime, here are a few to enjoy.

I wasn’t going to pull her tail, I swear.

Ooh! A kitty!

Hey, big brother.

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Filed under caleb, dogs, puppy, troubadour hobo

Wednesday Randomosity

Song Lyric of the Day:

Some may say I’m crazy / I may say that’s true

Chrisette Michele / “Work It Out

I know our trip to Uruguay is just around the corner, but, God, it cannot get here soon enough. I need a break. From everything.

I’ll Finish … Someday
I am the queen of the unpublished post. It’s a direct result of working on a computer all day, day in and day out. By the time I get home most nights, I don’t even want to look at a computer, much less log on. So I’ll start a post, get tired, and leave it saved and unpublished. And I don’t even remember the last time I uploaded pics to my Flickr account. Because lord knows, I have a lot of new ones to add.

Walking & Getting Nowhere
Rich and I bought a treadmill last Friday after work. And it’s the most fun piece of exercise equipment we’ve ever owned (built-in fans, stereo to plug the iPod into). Whereas I was ready for a heart attack after 10 minutes on the stationery bike, I can power-walk on this baby for a half hour and barely break a sweat (and burn 130+ calories per session). Of course, the treadmill scares the bejesus out of Caleb. He smiles and then barks his head off as he slowly backs away and runs back upstairs. Snoops could give a rat’s ass, as is her naturally cool disposition. The treadmill is in the Florida room, which is nearing completion thanks to Rich and the invaluable help of his dad, Doug (and a nice assist from Ken the other day). We’re aiming to blow the room out and get everything finished as soon as we get back from our vacation.

Raise What’s Left of the Flag for Me
I’m listening to the Flogging Molly album Whiskey on a Sunday as I blog this. And wishing I were in an Irish pub enjoying a sing-along. Must go back to Irish Times soon… Man, how awesome would that be if Flogging Molly played Knoxville? Hey, I can dream.

Left to His Own Devices
Caleb started his own blog the other day, The Amazing True Tales of Caleb, the Pitiful Bull. And he’s already kicking my ass with updates. Go figure.

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Filed under blogging, caleb, dog blog, flickr, vacation