Grace, Gratitude, and Grandma Greta

Grandma Greta was jumping like a bunny when I told her it was time to go to church.

Every Easter morning one of the dogs joins me for a community sunrise service over at the beach in town.

I zipped Greta up inside my down jacket and we hustled over to the already raging bonfire.

“You’re the 100th canine parishioner,” Greta was told as she popped her head out long enough to greet the ushers who gave her a dog biscuit and me a program.

“And you’re also the smallest!”

Greta showed that toothy grin.

Luckily, they didn’t remind her she was by far the oldest.

Greta and I scanned the crowd of hoodie clad teens, loving labs and boisterous border collies. We both then found a spot and settled in.

Greta and I especially loved the guitar music and the sweet young singers.

And Greta’s ears grew wide as she listened to the short sermon on gratitude.

I do know she was mighty thankful for that dog biscuit as we’d rushed out the door without breakfast.

But soon it was time for communion.

And that was definitely a first for Greta.

Due to the amorous and glamorous Doberman behind us, I thought it best if I continued to keep Greta zipped up while we patiently waited our turn in line.

As we approached the minister, Greta showed her head, and her grace by sharing a piece of bread with me and politely passing on the red wine.

“Good girl,” I whispered.

After the service, Greta chased after a crazy collie on the sand for a while.

Then she sat down.

I caught her looking up at the sky as the brillant sun rose overhead.

Greta appeared grateful to experience another beautiful sunrise in her 16th year of life.

Maybe she really was listening to that sermon after all.

Shake it off

It seems that Grandma Greta has a hangover this morning after a little too much partying last night.

The soon to be 16 year old, 6 pounder spent New Year’s Eve perfecting her new sport of channel surfing.

She tweaked her tiny toe tapping technique just enough so she could seamlessly switch back and forth with the remote watching Pitbull, her favorite rapper, while ‘shaking if off’ with Taylor Swift.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Once Greta managed to come to this morning, we decided to catch up on some reading together.

While conducting a Google search on her beloved singer Pitbull, Greta pointed out an article indicating pitbulls, black dogs, and chihuahuas are the hardest canines to place in homes.

Greta, being a black chi-doxie mix herself looked a little anxious and blue with that news.

I thought I better take action.

“Hey Greta, but check this other article out. It seems as we grow older, people who volunteer for two or more organizations have much better health. Maybe we should step up our altruistic efforts again and see if we can help out our canine friends”.

I then pulled up a website for an animal rescue group we have assisted before by fostering dogs.

Pedro, one handsome 12 year old chihuahua with ears even bigger than Greta’s, immediately caught her eye.

Greta’s always had a thing for younger men.

“Greta, he surely is a looker but apparently has a foster already. But take a look at the smiling handsome senior black pug in this pic. He’s only 11!

With that, Greta joyfully jumped off the couch doing a perfect happy dance.

I just love how that girl can still just shake it off.

Month of Gratitude: Day 30

I admit I am grateful this Sunday for Grandma Greta.

It was four years ago today that I met up with the graying gal at a holiday adoption event. The shaking four pounder ran away from me, and the store Santa, hiding out beneath feathered red and green Christmas cat toys.

I finally lured her out an hour later with a candy cane raw hide.

Greta was yipping in laughter as she recounted the story to her brother Tuck, the terrier, this morning. She was trying to console him after the vet pronounced that Tuck has now joined the ranks of my senior canine clan and is eligible for his own senior discount.

Tuck was not at all amused.

So Greta then offered Tuck her tried and true tips on aging from the perspective of her 100 plus dog years, barking them off loudly so he’d listen:

1. Naps are bliss. Like a zen moment, they’ll help you find your joy.
2. When life gets too stressful, just ‘shake it off’, or…
3. Pull a blanket over your head, or…
4. Twirl like crazy, while you still can. (Wearing a tutu, of course, or a maybe a tie).
5. You’re never too old to wear pink, or baby blue.
6. Keep traveling to new destinations, be it below the toy rack at the pet store, or chasing even smaller critters in a canyon.
7. Keep strutting your stuff. It’s all in that attitude.
8. Shriek, sing or howl at least once a day. Just to be heard, and because you have something to say.
9. If you bat those gray eyelashes, you’re sure to get a treat at the Golden Arches’s drive thru.
10. Always snuggle with family or friends as much as you can. You’ll stay warmer, especially in your heart.

And you’ll be forever grateful.

Upon hearing that last tip, Tuck jumped right up on the couch next to Greta and gave her a big sloppy kiss on the nose.

Bat woman

Grandma Greta’s been cranky the last few days.

Normally she doesn’t yip much, except when it’s time to eat.

But our girl’s been sharing some ear shattering shrieks, and she won’t tell me why.

Though I think I’ve figured it out.

Greta lost her best friend Sunshine this week.

And just like Sunshine, Greta is fifteen and also has a heart murmur.

So I asked her tonight, “Greta, are you sad?”

She slowly nodded.

“And a little scared?”

She nodded again.

I knew I needed to take some fast action.

Pulling my pumpkins lights out for the season, I also flipped the calendar over to ‘Miss October’, another darling of a doxie.

But Greta still looked down.

“Hey Greta, I have a great idea!

“How about you dress as a black bat this year for Halloween? Those beautiful ears would be just perfect!

I saw her grin return.

She immediately jumped down, and twirled into her happy dance once again.

Only stopping long enough to beg me for little black boots for her costume.

Blue to pink

Grandma Greta’s been grouchy lately.

And more than a little blue.

It all started when I told her we were skipping the annual dachsund races in town this year due to her weak knees.

“So what if I’m over 100 in dog years?” the aging diva queried.

She wasn’t satisfied at all with my answer.

And to make it worse, the list for the best costume contest was already full.

Then this morning, due to thinning hair loss, I told Greta she better wear her parka for her morning walk.

Grandma Greta growled.

She just hates cold weather.

In an attempt to appease the girl, I suggested she add her beloved pink garage sale tutu to her morning ensemble.

She reluctantly agreed, peeking at herself in the hallway mirror as she sashayed out the door.

But a rosy glow started slowly to return to our glam girl and I thought I even detected a smile.

“You go girl,” I told her as she happily trotted down the street in search of her Great Dane beau.

And go she did, twirling away in that tutu.

Still blooming after all these years

I wasn’t quite prepared for the conversation I had today with the vet when I brought Grandma Greta in for her rabies appointment.

We’re estimating Greta now has to be at least 16 years of age.

I don’t know her actual birthdate, as I was her third owner when she joined up with me at age 10.

The vet commented that her low grade heart murmur is no worse, and is not uncommon at her age.

But she then added, “It’s good that she is still enjoying ever day, and is comfortable”.

I know that Greta has outlived many chi doxies mixes and is slowing down some.

But I hadn’t thought much about her eventual end of life until this morning.

“So what was that all about?” Greta asked in the car afterwards, looking up at my melancholy expression.

“Oh, the vet just commented that you’re getting a little older,” I replied.

“Whatever. Let’s hit the beach,” she barked.

Since I had the day off work, I obliged.

Greta immediately jumped up on her favorite boat, as soon as we landed at the water’s edge.

“Now don’t you go thinking I’m going to sail away anytime soon,” Greta yipped, looking me straight in the eye.

“Aye, Aye Captain Greta,” I replied, with a salute.

“You know, it’s all about living in the present,” she added.

“And this day I choose to enjoy the blue sky above me, the monarchs, and watching one good looking Golden over there retrieving a big stick from the water.

That’s my girl.

Somehow I believe that Grandma Greta will always remain quite young at heart.

Ay caramba, Greta!

Grandma Greta was not happy at all when she realized I’d missed National Dog Day again.

At a minimum, she was expecting a new garage sale tutu.

But she was even more annoyed by the serenade she heard as I dialed each of the familiar phone numbers to the vet.

She knows them all by heart.

“So what’s up with that?” she barked in my direction.

“Well Greta, it’s time for your rabies shot.”

With that Greta leapt out of her dog bed, hitting the high road for the local Mexican grill down the road.

It’s her favorite hide out.

And miles way from the vet’s office.

I found her 30 minutes later, finishing up a siesta inside an empty burrito bag.

I could still smell the salsa.

But we’ve worked it out.

She’s agreed to go to her appointment.

And I’ve agreed to a full buffet dinner,

Complete with a mariachi band,

Where she’ll twirl in the brand new tutu I just bought her.

Ay caramba, Greta!

You’re one very smart cookie.

Sweater time?

Grandma Greta woke me up at 3 a.m. this morning.

Her airplane wings ready for take off, yet again.

“Make it stop, make it stop,” she yipped.

“Make WHAT stop, Greta?”

That’s when I heard the start of the annual tap dance performance on the roof.

“Oh Greta, that’s just the acorns dropping from the oak tree again.”

“You know, just like they do every year.”

“Does that mean summer’s gone and no more ice cream cones at the Golden Arches?” Greta shrieked in a panic.

“Not to worry, girl. They sell cones all year round,” I replied.

Smiling and content, Greta buried herself deep under the covers again.

But I’m mighty glad she didn’t notice that our sumac is turning red, and the annual return of wild turkeys on the hill.

Or that the road to ‘cone heaven’ is currently closed for road construction.