Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Muffin Saga, Part XV

I’m sorry, but your dog is just too old. She won’t be able to keep up with the younger dogs.

Cattleman 1: I suppose I have to do what you’ve got to do and put down my old bull and get another.
Cattleman 2: Maybe not. I’ve decided to keep my old bull.
Cattleman 1: But why? That bull hasn’t performed in a year.
Cattleman 2: Well, I called the vet to talk about humanely putting down the old fellow and the vet suggested that I try this new miracle tonic first. So I bought a bottle of it and forced a quarter cup of it down the bull's throat and by the third day he’d serviced a cow and by the fifth day he serviced three more. He’s got the vigor of a five-year-old!
Cattleman 1: Amazing! I wonder what’s in that miracle tonic?
Cattleman 2: I don’t know, but it tastes like very sweet Coca-Cola.
I didn’t sample the “tonic” that Muffin’s veterinarian prescribed for her. Whatever it was, it put pet into her—lots of pep. I became concerned that she was locked in the apartment most of the day while I was pastoring the church. She needed to be outside, playing and running around, as she had before we moved to Louisville. Then I remembered that the doggie hotel where Muffin stayed while I was on my road trip to Tucson advertised doggie day care. I telephoned and made an appointment to enroll her in the program.
When the woman who ran the program refused to accept Muffin because, she said, that Muffin was just too old. She won’t be able to keep up with the younger dogs, I was flabbergasted. I told her that she just didn’t know Muffin. She might be fourteen or fifteen years old, but she was behaving like a four-year-old!
That didn’t help: the woman said that the doggie day care center had “rules” and the cut off age was something like eight years old. I looked for other doggie day care centers, but never found one for geriatric pooches. I suspect that if I had found one and enrolled Muffin in it, she would have run circles around the other dogs.
About a month later I had to go to a denominational conference in Indianapolis where I would be from Thursday afternoon until Sunday morning. I was reluctant to leave Muffin at that doggie hotel, even though she seemed to enjoy it while I was in Arizona. Perhaps she wasn’t allowed out to play with the other doggies during the day as I had thought. Perhaps they considered her too old. I was in a pickle.
About that time I was surprised by being contacted by Gina, who had been my secretary at the church in Indiana for a year or so. She and her family had moved to Louisville from Connecticut where she had moved from southern Indiana about six or so years earlier. Gina asked me about Muffin, who had been her good buddy when she worked at the church and I brought her up to date on the Muffin saga.
Gina is the kind of person who collects animals—dogs, cats, cockatiels, etc. When I told her about my upcoming trip to Indianapolis, she actually begged me to allow Muffin to stay with her, her children, and her pets. Of course, it sounded great to me and, when Muffin and I arrived at Gina’s house and saw the very large fenced in back yard, I knew it would be perfect for Muff. And, to top it off, Muffin remembered Gina and they got on like two girlfriends who meet after years of not seeing each other! So, I drove north feeling very secure that both Gina and Muffin would have a happy time together.
When I returned late Sunday morning, I went home and carried my luggage into the apartment. I planned on having lunch and then picking up Muffin from Gina’s house. As it turned out, lunch was postponed! I telephoned Gina to say I’d be by to pick up Muffin in an hour or so.
Gina: Come now! I’m at my wits end.
Me: Is something wrong?
Gina: You’re damned right there is something wrong! Muffin won’t eat or drink or play with my dogs or me or the kids. All she does is whimper and howl. All night long she howls! She’s been doing this since Thursday evening. Come get her. NOW!!!!
It seems that Muffin had reverted to the behavior she had evinced while I was hospitalized with pneumonia just after we moved to Louisville. Remember. She must have been terrified that I had abandoned her. When Muff saw me come through the gate into Gina’s back yard, she scampered to me, jumped up on her hind legs with her front paws on my body, and licked and licked and licked me. She was still licking me as I thanked Gina—and apologized for Muffin’s unladylike behavior.
On the drive home Muffin continued licking my face so that I had to continually push her over to her side of the car so that I could drive. When we arrived at the apartment complex, she wanted to go for a Muffin-walk and we took the grand tour, even watching—from a "safe" distance—the mallard families in the creek. Once in the apartment, Muffin consumed a double-sized—or was it triple-sized?—portion of doggie food and continued to keep both her eyes on me, literally not allowing me out of her sight.

Note: Previously I wrote that this installment of The Muffin Saga would be about the road trip that Muff and I took to Michigan. However, as I write I realize that quite a bit happened that summer that I don’t want to leave out of the saga. We’ll get to Michigan, probably in the installment after the next one. OK?


  1. There is nothing better than to be loved like Muffin loved you.

    Thanks for another installment of The Muffin Saga!

  2. Nick, I've always wondered how dogs know we're coming back for them when we leave them at a dog resort. In general, our Trudy has done quite well. I remember one experience years ago when we had taken her on vacation but wanted to do some activity we couldn't do with her. We left her with this farmer who advertised such services, but he turned out to be a cold, neglectful person who just wanted to collect the cash. Otherwise, we've had really good luck. Most people who doggysit are in it because they love dogs.

    And thus far, we haven't had to leave her for such experiences as being hospitalized. I believe in cases like that our dogs pick up on the inherent possibility of loss. Like your beautiful Muffin.

  3. Been waiting this Muffin story since you wrote you were going to post it today. Thank you for again sharing Muffin with me.

  4. Geez, all that animal expertise and no one figured out she was homesick?

    Poor baby...

  5. awwww...poor Muffin was a pastor!! lol, just kiddung, i know you didnt do it for that purpose!

  6. The story about the cattlemen had me grinning even before I started reading about Muffin. I do wonder what was in Muffin’s tonic. I need some of it.

  7. Poor muffin. Muffin truly loved you Nick. Even a sleep over with an old girlfriend couldn't keep her from worrying about you. She must have seen herself as your guardian Angel. Can't wait for the next Muffin story!

    take care,

  8. I have to find the time to read ALL these! Great dog stuff.

  9. Very nice story. I will read more about Muffin.

  10. Muffin is a beautiful dog.

  11. I bet Muffin would have given the youngsters in day care a real run for their money.

  12. Don't worry about Michigan Nick as I enjoy each part of the Muffin Saga and would rather you extend the saga rather than shorten it.
    I would have love to have known Muffin.
    You were her person and she was lost without you. Poor Muff.

  13. Don't you dare leave out any details in this riveting saga, Sir. Michigan can wait.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  14. Oh poor little Muffin...but she was happy once she was reunited with you. Anxiety separation, that's what it was.

    And how are you and Alex, Nick. I know it's been a while, but I'm back again, or as often as my back lets me until I get it seen to.

    Hope you're keeping well and that Alex hasn't run you too ragged!

  15. BTW, just happened to read your Aquarius sign...someone's been reading my mail!

  16. Poor Muffin, last time we left FAZ with friends we got home to find one very thin cat who's behaviour in the car on the way home sounds just life Muffins. She now comes with us or stay home with a sitter which seems to be less stressful for all of us.

  17. Muffin Mania grips us, Nick. Awaiting the next instalment.

  18. I'm loving the Muffin Saga. But I know there has to be an end at some point. It's already making me sad.

  19. I sure was nice of Gina to offer to take the dog; too bad it didn't work out for her as planned. Poor Muffin; she just missed you so much.

  20. You know Nick, you could put all of these together and get them published. I think it would make a great book.

    Can't wait to get the next installment.

  21. You've got a great way of storytelling Nick. It's very easy to see how great a dog Muffin was, and how much you loved her. Keep these coming, and I hope your computer woes are over soon.