Sunday, February 16, 2014

Return of 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 in a future installment.

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