The first thing to go….

She started eating grasshoppers in her 112th Dog Year of life.  I guess when you’re that old, you have run out of new things to try.

She stalks the live ones sunning themselves in the middle of the street in her stealthily wobbly beagle way, determined and low to the ground until she is close enough to pounce.  Stalking the dead ones is easier. Her new hobby has made walking her both more interesting and frustrating since there are some days when her walks take twice as long for the humans at the other end of the leash.  But I’ll say this.  She is the best Grasshopper Dog I’ve ever seen and if there was a Grasshopper hunting season she would be in high demand.

On our daily walks, she will not eat the brown Wooly Bear caterpillars and will barely even make eye contact with them. This is sad. They would be so much easier for her to catch.  They rarely jump. Maybe it is a texture thing. Perhaps she just likes that satisfying “crunch” a grasshopper makes when she bites down on it. Or maybe it’s the thrill of the chase for a hound no longer able to chase much.

Maggie is deaf and lame and is becoming more and more forgetful in her old age. This makes her a perfect companion for the two of us still left at home since our kids say the same thing about us sometimes.  Every morning after she has been fed her breakfast and let outside, by the time she comes back in the house she has completely forgotten that she’s had breakfast.  And she isn’t pretending.  She really, truly cannot remember that she’s just eaten. She is living the same ten minutes of her life over and over, all day, every day.  Her day looks like this. Get up.  Eat.  Go outside. Come inside.  Then, using a form of beagle telepathy, try to convince the human lady who not only has thumbs (thumbs!)  but knows how to open the door that the dog food bin lives behind to open it and feed her again.

She is more than just a little annoying and if there was a nice nursing home for Beagles with advanced hardening of the arteries, I’d pack up her stuffed toys and haul her there tomorrow.  Unfortunately, I think we’re probably stuck with the old girl.

Last Saturday  was cold and drizzly,  a perfect day to make soup.  I started a big kettle of chicken soup and let it simmer on the stove for most of the afternoon. Is there anything that smells better than soup on the stove in early autumn? Once it was done,  I decided to transfer it to a crock pot.

I set the pot on the counter and began to pour the boiling liquid into it slowly so as not to splash broth all over the kitchen.  Suddenly, I realized that the soup was leaking from the bottom of the pot!  Leaking from the bottom? How could that be?

I looked more closely and then it hit me. I had completely forgotten to put the ceramic CROCK in the pot before pouring in the soup.  I use that crock pot at least twice a week during the autumn and winter months for stews, and soups and all things warm.  It is my crock pot.  I know that the inner crock comes out for cleaning.  And yet, there I was…..watching chicken broth pool on the counter and slowly creep toward the edge (and the floor below) while I tried to figure out how to get everything to the kitchen sink without scalding myself in the process.

As I cleaned up the hot mess, I sensed the presence of someone else in the kitchen.

The dog was watching me.  Worriedly.  Knowingly.

Yes, Maggie.  Me, too.  Maybe both of our mental hard drives are full.

On our next walk together, I promise not to be impatient.  Hunting grasshoppers is about all either one of us have left.  You just take all the time you need if it makes you feel better about this aging thing.   I’ll wait.

And when you catch one I won’t even make you share.

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One thought on “The first thing to go….

  1. If those are the same brown wooly caterpillars that I ran into as a child, there’s a reason she won’t go near them! The “wool” on them sheds off onto what ever it touches! And ITCH??? Ugh! I captured one and put it in a bowl. The bowl looked dirty so I took the caterpillar out of the bowl and blew the dirt out. At the same time i was blowing all the tiny fine POISONOUS hairs from the caterpillar right into my face! My eyes, nose, and lips swelled up in minutes! It was horrible!

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