At Christmas, among the many special gifts from friends and family, were two very special calendars. Now who would think that calendars would rate so high, but these did; both for different reasons but both because the giver had been so thoughtful in choosing their gift so uniquely for me.
The calendar relevant to this post was from Susan, and was among the gifts from her that I opened when I finally calmed down at the end of my crazy-stressed Christmas Eve.
I unwrapped the flat rectangular package which was the C.O.P.E. Service Dogs Calendar! Some may remember that in August 2009 Molson sired a litter of ten puppies and how excited we were that November when we heard that 3 of them were being sponsored by McDonalds to be trained by C.O.P.E as service dogs. I was thrilled just to have a C.O.P.E. calendar, but as I leafed through it, there were Big Mac and Mc Flurry, now fully grown. Mac is the image of Molson. He has the same pink nose and could pass as his double. I treasure the calendar so much that it is already upstairs, ready to take it with me to England when we leave this Friday to spend two weeks with Mum and Rob.
I am sure that Mum's carers will all smile politely as I accost them, calendar in hand but I shall not be deterred! They all know about Molson and saw the video clip of his other son Archie (or Golden Arches,) which is on the C.O.P.E. website; when I was in England last July.
Today I arrived home from church with exercise on my agenda. The azure sky was cloudless but the unusually mild temperature meant that although the ground was covered with the remains of the last snowfall, the roadsides were lined with muddy puddles. I thought of the state that Molson would be in if I took him with me and for the briefest of moments thought about going for a walk without him. Brenda works so hard to keep her apartment ship shape and I knew she wouldn't be happy if he came home covered in mud and undid her weekend's work downstairs.
But I heard his gentle scratch at the door when he heard me come home; his mom and dad were out--and I could no more leave him behind than say no to a grandchild!
When we got home though, the long hair on his underbelly, and the beautiful feathered fur on his legs was wet and gritty. I couldn't let him in the house like that let alone downstairs to his home, so I told him to wait in the sun porch. I soon returned with a big bowl of warm water and some towels and set to work cleaning him up. Then he came inside and I dried his fur with the hairdryer, while he rolled to allow access to all body parts while expressing his pleasure with sounds that approximated a human voice groaning in ecstasy!
Three dried chicken strips and he was on his way downstairs. A moment later Brenda popped upstairs to ask, "You haven't by any chance given Molson food have you Mom? He's just brought up all over the carpet."
I admitted to the chicken strips, but we concluded that it was the sheer excitement of the walk and the hairdryer (two of his favourite things) that did it--oh, and the fact that he got into some chocolate the day before. And after all that I did to maintain the hard won pristine condition of Brenda's carpets!
The next thing I did was make a gigantic quantity of stew to put in the freezer for future meals. And while I peeled and chopped vast piles of carrots, leeks, onions and potatoes I finished listening to an audio book that I got from the library on Saturday: A Big Little Life, by Dean Koontz, about his dog, a golden retriever named Trixie a.k.a. "Short Stuff." Now I had never heard of Dean Koontz before and chose the audio book because it was about a golden, but I now realize I need to read his other books!
His memoir about Trixie was so moving that by the end I was crying into my stew! She was originally trained as a service dog but had an operation that meant that another dog had to be found for the young woman with disabilities she was trained to assist. Dean Koontz and his wife Gerda adopted Trixie and she transformed their lives and his writing.
I share Dean Koontz's belief that dogs have souls; that they are often "sent" to specific people (Rob is convinced of this in the case of Bruce coming to him,) that they long to, and try to, "talk," and that they understand much more than we might imagine. He believes that they have long term memory of people and events and that they have a perceptiveness that goes beyond that of humans.
In spite of the fact that I ended up sobbing in my stew, I loved the book and the time I spent with our own golden guardian angel today.