Life and Pets

Blue …

First thing I did today, before breakfast, was buy Chester a sofa. Okay, the furniture is for any dog that will reside in the indoor kennel that this special doggy occupies this week, but in my mind, it’s “Chester’s couch”. I might nap or have coffee breaks here occasionally, at least until some boarding dog/s demolishes it.


Went to a big auction today. I told myself that I was going “for the visiting” and that I didn’t need a thing.

One pile of items came up for bidding within a few minutes of me seeing it. These were giant shepherd’s hooks, for hanging plants, bird feeders and the like. The auctioneer was so fast and efficient, that whole lot was sold before I could take my bidding card out of my pocket. If I was more alert, I still could have bid, as one of spotters was looking right at me.  One hook would have been worth three times what the pile (of 4-5 hooks) went for.

That’s okay. It was my claim to fame to go to an auction today and buy only a lunch. The visiting was also good, and I caught up with several people who I like but rarely see.

I chatted with the hairdresser who cut my hair and put a subtle purple stripe in it yesterday , saying I was “Rockin’ it!” . I don’t know that I’ve ever heard that said of me, at least not by someone who didn’t want to bed me. Presumably, Vicki wouldn’t. And this hairdresser traded a hairdo for garlic, though I have been faithful to another stylist for 40 years. Hey, we all have a price. 😉

I’m sitting here in the recliner listening to old rock, feeling nostalgic and again blindsided by bad news. I was told at the auction that another friend of ours has died. This fellow was a long time resident of McBride, was 58 and had a heart attack. Ben seemed fit as can be; I guess there’s no hope for anyone to get out alive.

I don’t want to seem melodramatic. Ben was a family man and cherished … of course it is awful for those who are closer.

Gary and I really don’t have a “crowd”, as in a group of like-minded adults with whom we hang out. We do have treasured friends, quite a few, so don’t get me wrong, but we don’t really have card dates or golf dates or any other kinds of play dates. Ben was one of those fine people with whom I enjoyed talking; he had so many interests, but he was also engaged with what others had to say.

I think I feel crushed by empathy. It is bad enough when folks reach a venerable age and are infirm and “pass away”. It’s never enough, as my late friend Menzie would say after her husband of six decades died. It’s not enough, even when people live to be 100.

It seems worse when people are “taken” from their loved ones at birth, or during childhood or …

… wait a minute.  It always seems most tragic to me when the dear departed is anywhere up to or close to my age! I am 62. Even 70 to 80 seems awfully close. I overheard a conversation years ago, where a young adult remarked about someone’s death, “Yeah, well, they were 76, they were old …”, and a friend chimed in, “Not to someone who is 75.  Don’t say that.”

I’m not realizing or saying anything new. But this afternoon I can hardly stop crying over those who have gone before, close friends and distant friends and estranged friends and passing acquaintances.

I joke about my own eventual death at times. I must say, I had some friends laughing at the Dunster Market once this summer, saying, “I can’t die yet, my back bedroom is an awful mess and my taxes aren’t up to date!”.  To this, Julian queried , “Ann, is there something you need to tell us?”. This led to a whole conversation about purging junk and whether our kids wanted any of this shit. After Julian had shared my quip to a small crowd about me not wanting to die before I had certain things done, she averred, “Do us a favour, Ann, do NOT clean out that bedroom!”.

Every time someone dies, even if I didn’t know them, I think that I must get my Will up-to-date. I wouldn’t want to be resented for that, or the late taxes, or the junk that my family would have to sort out. Would I even know on any level, after I’m gone?

Our pal Patty once said, “If you could just get ready to go on vacation, but then stay home, you might feel halfway caught up”. Maybe we should all get ready to die, and then not die!

The Pet Hostel is quiet these days, with only nine boarders. I don’t mind. If you had told me 33 years ago when I launched the business that 9 doggy guests would be a slow weekend, I would have been surprised and encouraged. Even more so if I knew I would still love it so much.

We have the handsome dudes Gally and Patch (their owners don’t believe that the dogs are little trouble), dear old Chester, pleasant Zoey, huggable Pepper, playful and mischievous Ghost, and two new doggy friends, a rescued mother and pup, Tinker and Bravi. Also, tiny old Chelsea, who seems so frail that I’m afraid to babysit, and yet she loves me and eats well and in spite of being quite blind, never fails to come right to me when I whistle or call.


Patch & Gally




Pepper in his new camo jacket


Bravi & his mom, Tinker


Next week is filling up with grooming work, and that’s nice. Every day is different.

I’ve distracted myself a bit while chatting with you, and listening to new music that Gary bought. Supper is ready soon: just some incarnation of goulash made in the crock pot. I am hungry, never too blue or bereaved to eat.

Hope you are all okay or better.

Love, Ann

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