Friday, October 29, 2010


Frost stretched across the clearing behind our home this morning, and true mist hovered just above the stream.  The mist stretched across the clearing, obscuring the far side.  I imagined coyotes stealing away a few more undetected minutes before the sun rose, watching us, watching for them.

Fall is brief in northern Texas, but it's my favorite season.  There's a feeling, an essence to each season that sets the tone for the days ahead.  Winter is a time of rest, of survival.  We dig deep and layer, holding close to those we love.  Spring reminds us that life weathers on, regardless of winter, regardless of pale legs.  Summer days and nights have an air of electricity, of life, of having reached a pinnacle of sorts.  Our weary, sunburned shoulders testament to how hard and long we played in the sun.  When we lived in Maine, spring was like an oasis in the drought of winter.  We were moles, ascending from our caves into the bright sunlight.  Pale skin and sunglasses on, we ventured out to see the neighbors that we scurried past all winter, back and forth into our respective warm homes.

The seasons define the cycle of growth, life, death and rebirth.  We lose sight of this fundamental cycle in a world of iPads, highways, and work schedules.  There's a disconnect there.  Sadly, I think we all feel it, and to get us back on track, we need holidays.  I'm not referring to the commercialized urge to shop, to decorate and to guilt ourselves out of our honest-earned income.  I'm referring to the essence of the holidays themselves.  Each one, starting with Halloween, gives us the opportunity to stop and think, to catch our collective breath and think about the greater picture.

Halloween is the direct descendant of the Celtic celebration of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).  Samhain marked "summer's end", and was the time the ancient Celts believed ushered out the "light half" and ushered in the "dark half" of the year.  Also referred to as the Celtic New Year, this was a time when the veil between the world of the living and the dead was thin.  Both good and bad spirits could pass through more easily.  Family and friends now deceased were honored, while bad entities were warded off with masks and costumes.

There are many people that get sucked into the chaos of each holiday, but like all life's lessons, dogs seem to have it sorted out long before we've considered it.  When a member of a pack dies, the survivors mourn.  When the pack is reunited, they celebrate.  Dogs don't need a certain time of the year to be reminded of the gift of life.  When they wake, they bound about, licking faces, rejoicing in seeing it through to a new day.  They don't set aside a day to be thankful for their life as we do.  They thank us continually with muzzle licks, cuddles and tail wags.

Why am I posting this today?  Two nights ago, I had an awful scare from Arwen.  She ate her chicken and Honest Kitchen blend and promptly began vomiting.  Arwen never gets sick- not really, at least.  She's got an iron stomach and a tough girl's attitude.  She horked up three times in 30 min, driving me to panic.   As many of you know, we feed raw, and with raw there are certain risks.  I suspected that a bone had become lodged in her throat, or further along, and she was in dire straits.  I started imagining myself calling her Dr, my boss and friend at home, then rushing her to the emergency clinic.  I imagined her deteriorating and losing consciousness.  I imagined the enormous vet bill and racked my brain devising financially creative schemes to cover the expenses.

During a break in the vomiting, I saw she still looked uncomfortable so I did the one thing I knew would change her demeanor if at all possible.  I leashed her up, and along with Matt (not leashed), took her for a walk.  Slow at first, gaining momentum and speed, she finally raised her enormous plume flag of a tail and dove headlong into the walk.  She would be OK.  No more vomit.  No more panic.  I put my cell phone away and realized how thankful I was of having this amazing animal in my life.  I was thankful for my Matt, who indulges me through thick and thin.  We should never wait to celebrate life.  It's fleeting and precious.  Remember those that are gone and celebrate the sweetness of each moment.  Dogs do it with or without pumpkins or costumes.  In fact, they strongly discourage costumes!


  1. Glad Arwen's doing better!! That's scary when they start throwing up. Riley has an iron stomach too so I get super freaked out if she gets sick.

    Elyse and Riley

  2. We were very scared throughout your post but we are glad there was such a good outcome. Mom is considering a switch to raw for us sometime in the future. We have been taste testing Nature's Variety raw patties and we really like them. Even Phantom. We think she is going to do the patties and the Honest Kitchen along with some bones once a week. But first we have to finish off the two bags of kibble she bought before she decided to try this. We would love to hear you opinion of The Honest Kitchen products.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  3. I gess it be better when a dog not has an iron stomach. My Dixie horks up regularly and that be normal fur her so we think nuttin of it. But if'n I were to do it, mom would be in a panic coz I neffur puke. Glad efurrything be OK with Arwen now.

  4. Glad it all turned out so well - I know those horribly panicky minutes when things look dark.


  5. OH WOW!

    Glad to see the floooooofy tail signaled all was better!

    As fur 'holidays and that khrap', Mom wishes more humans would be like us - and not feel one day a year or time of year is the only time to be nice/etc -

    Why do humans SOOOO khompliakhate things?

    Khyra and The Golden Khousins

  6. whew, we sure are happee Arwen is feeling better. So scary
    Benny & Lily

  7. Well description about the seasons and the cycles of life. You're so right that dogs never need a special day for celebrations as they celebrate life everyday.

    I'm so glad that Arwen is feeling better now.

  8. So glad that Arwen is okay! That sounds very scary. *Hugs*

  9. I feel the same way that you do about the seasons. Going into winter, I feel like the world is going to sleep around me. In fact some animals are, like my faves, the bears.

    I couldn't agree more about the way that dogs don't need reminders to celebrate life and express their love for their pack. They remind me daily.

    I'm so glad that Arwen is alright. I know that feeling of panic - we've experienced far too many times. Or, when things are only slightly awry, that insidious bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. One concrete thing that I can suggest is that we've had great experiences with our pet health insurance - Pets Best. For example, we've had the "bone lodged in the small intestine" emergency, and they covered their share (80%) of a $4000 surgery without question. In fact, last year, our accident-prone dogs had 5X more paid out in benefits than we paid in premiums. And, the company didn't drop us or raise our premiums. Just a thought for you... I hear insurance getting a bad rap so many places that I like to speak up for it when I can.


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