If Ernie hadn’t died, she would have been headline news much earlier this week. She’s been the topic of discussion in print before — I once sold a piece about her to salon.com for enough money to buy a red Kate Spade organizer, which I carried for years. (You can read the piece here: http://archive.salon.com/mwt/feature/2002/03/08/pet_names/index.html)
But instead I pretty much ignored her — in writing, anyway. Ray says I ignore her in real life, and it’s true that I don’t spend as much time with my 12 (at least) year-old spaniel/retriever as I should. I think part of it is that in Ray’s family growing up, where normal things happened like camping trips and music lessons and chores and spending a lot of time with an assortment of pets that over the years included a turtle, cats, at least one enormous snake and, like Rosy, a black dog, my family was a little different.
Just a little, but as we raise kids together I notice the differences more. In our family, the pets did not sleep with the humans. We did not camp all over the country, we went to San Diego each summer. My sister and I were perhaps a teeny tiny bit spoiled — no forced music lessons (maybe Jenny took a minute of piano) and not a lot of chores, although I remember ironing a lot during my preppy phase in high school. My choice, I’m sure. (I haven’t ironed since.)
I think Ray and I both turned out just fine, thank you very much, but yeah, a little different.
I digress, as usual. The point here is that last week, Rosy licked herself a big sore (stemming from these yucky cysts she’s been getting — sign of old age) and so Sophie and I (and this part’s big, I kept them both alive together, out of a controlled environment, for more than an hour) took her to the vet, at Ray’s behest.
Rosy took a dump in my car on the way there or on the way home, I’m not even sure, and also rubbed her bloody butt on the inside of the back seat passenger door — neither was her fault, but it was still pretty gross. Sophie found it hilarious.
The vet gave Rosy what my friend Tim once called an “Elizabethan” collar. I like that reference. I also smiled when I heard Rosy referred to this week as a “vacuum cleaner” and an “ice cream cone”. No smiling on Rosy’s part, she’s adjusted to the collar the way she’s so graciously adjusted to the other unfair parts of the Dog’s Life, but that doesn’t mean she likes it.
I find the collar comes in handy when I give Rosy her pill, twice a day. I wrap it in a piece of cheese or hamburger bun (she turned down whole wheat bread, smart dog) and hand it to her. If the pill falls out of her mouth, she catches it in the collar and I retrieve it and try again. Nice and neat and it makes a cool sound like a roulette ball.
The collar also serves as a reminder that I do need to spend more time with my dog, my first real pet, the dog (I’m not proud) I threw a first birthday party for. She used to be all black; now her whitening muzzle gives away her age, and so does the way she struggles to get up off the ground.
Annabelle’s middle name is Rose, per the salon.com piece. Sophie’s is Rae, but lately she’s been announcing she wants it changed to Rose. Actually, she’s been saying that for weeks, now.
An homage? Or just copying her big sister? Sweet, either way, like our dog.