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July 2, 2018 / philosophermouseofthehedge

No excuses accepted. Carrying on.

She hasn’t asked for permission to leave.

The dance at the door.

Dereliction of duty is not in her vocabulary. Considered totally unacceptable.

“Get the darn door open. The fools are out there again. Where is Staff when you need them? Finally. Get out of the way. I may be a Skinny Minnie, at this point, but that tiny opening is ridiculous. Oh, faster if I just nose it wider myself. Come kid, they haven’t gotten the message yet. Gotta save them from themselves.”

And as usual, The German is leading the charge to the fence.

“Get back inside you idiots. Don’t you know there’s a heat advisory right now with a heat index of 107F? Get back inside! Ella, kid, run up and down the fence line a couple of times to add some emphasis. Yes. Back inside. AND TAKE YOUR LITTLE DOG, TOO! YOUR LITTLE DOG, TOO ! There. mission accomplished. Every summer the same thing. Fools. You’d think they’d catch on.”

Exhausted from the effort, The German collapses on the deck in the shade. Her trainee, Ella, hurries to her side for debriefing.

“That’s how you do it. This neighborhood will become yours to manage. No excuses.”

Staff interrupts and insists everyone return indoors.

Ella runs to the door, shoves it open with her nose, then steps back waiting in deference.

With great dignity, The German stands with a little assist from Staff and walks inside.

She will rest now, she says, until needed….there’s bound to be mail and packages arriving…perhaps a small child in a stroller wanting to wave at the big doggie at the porch gate.

German Shepherd on bed smiling (© Image: all rights reserved, copyrighted, no permissions granted)

“Yes, it’s a little smile of contentment. Mohawk Wu is chasing trainee Ella instead of me. And I can smell my bacon cooking.” (© Image)

The German is as perky as a terminally ill dog can be. If we can just keep getting enough calories in her. 

She shows no signs of pain or discomfort.

Happily lurches up with her visitors are here barking. Happily greets friends before heading back to her bed by the fireplace – getting on the couch is a bit too much effort (She demures if someone tries to help. Never one who wants to be a bother.)

She has her good times and there are bad.

By night, she’s very weak and wobbly. Too tired to go to the food bowl. Her breathing once so labored I was afraid we wouldn’t see dawn.

I have stretched out beside her and shoveled yogurt into the side of her mouth onto her tongue – blueberry is always her favorite.

When she goes out at 2 am (yes, someone sleeps close to her all night) she may try to stretch out on the deck – you have to help her to sit up and then hug her around the middle and “walk” her back inside as she mumbles complaints. (You have to understand this may be one of her tricks…she’s always loved the outdoors. The “I need to use the facilities” was often a ruse to get outside and avoid coming back inside…how many times chasing her – begging her – to come in from the rain, sleet, or snow as she ran around laughing “fooled you!” But now, it’s just too hot even at night and the mosquitoes are too much of a danger or we would sit out if it pleased her.)

Girl and stubborn mule. MAry Pickford 1921 film. (USPD, artist life/

Yes, on a cool night in her prime, it was just like this.(USPD/

She’s put a little weight back on. If we can just get enough calories inside her. 

During the day, we swear she grinning as we scurry around looking for what might entice her to eat more. “Oh, I loved that yesterday, but today…” As bad as satisfying cravings of a pregnant mom to be. But it is not a problem.

Whatever she wants.

Including attention or none. She does seem to smile as her Little Person, Mohawk Wu, plops down beside her – and touches her nose, then  his and says “nose”. Then repeats with “ear”, and “foot”. We try to keep him from draping himself across her as he as always done, as they are best friends.

Best friends stay close and watch.

Ella huddles – sometimes close – sometimes at a distance – depending on The German posture – always within eyesight.

I’ve tried to assure The German that  she can rest, her work is done…only to have her narrow her eyes with purpose at her trainee, her young charge,  – and the fence.

Stout of heart and will, she says, “Not quite yet.”

Best Friends- girl, dog, mule Maud (1921 Mary Pickford film promo shot/Exhibitors Herald/USPD, aretist life/

Even as three amigos, Trainee Ella often chooses to sit protectively between The German and Staff. Oh, of course we aren’t comparing The German to Maud the Mule. But now that you mention it, the rear views are sort of reminiscent….(USPD/

So far The German hasn’t asked permission to leave.

Hasn’t looked up and plainly said, “I’m sorry. I can’t go any farther.”

Hasn’t given The Look.

The vet was quietly told, “You do not know her.”

Whatever she wants. She deserves to decide.

Quietly on call for the last dance,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

(Production note: still a bit erratic. When there’s time, Molly Malamute deserves a bit of attention for being understanding. We won’t talk about RC’s antics…yet. Thanks.)



  1. pensitivity101 / Jul 2 2018 10:31 am

    Bless her. My thoughts are with you, having been there for the night shift with a poorly dog. ❤ ❤


  2. Kate Crimmins / Jul 2 2018 10:55 am

    Hugs to everyone. I’ve done this dance, waiting for the signal. Sleeping in weird places. Anything they want including juice from multiple tuna cans. Humans cannot complain about too many tuna meals.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 2 2018 12:43 pm

      The thing is that 90+% of the time she’s doing so well if a person just walked in they’d simply go “Oh, look. What a magnificent old dog who sleeps a lot.” And she is old and rather thin, but still grinning, greeting and waggle tail. (I did suggest tuna. Maybe some of this high dollar protein packed canned cat food RC refuses to even consider. Vet-in-law says cat food is higher quality and dogs can eat it fine, while cats can never/should never eat dog food…which of course is what RC Cat heads directly to if she feels attention is not coming her way fast enough…).
      I am searching for that invisible sign on the porch that proclaims, “Person who is easily bossed around by animals here.” It’s out there somewhere…probably need stronger readers…
      Thanks for carrying in a comment

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate Crimmins / Jul 2 2018 1:50 pm

        There is a tattoo on your forehead that reads SUCKER! Only animals can see it. Good luck to the German.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. ShimonZ / Jul 2 2018 1:34 pm

    Comfortable and content is enough. That’s life. Towards the end, it gets kind of thin. Re weather, isn’t it wonderful that the technology lately accused of frying the planet provided us first with air conditioners?

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 2 2018 8:27 pm

      I grew up in this area without air conditioning. Life has to be lived very differently under those conditions. Clothing and houses were different. AC now is not a luxury, but a necessity.(How smart is it to build houses with little or no roof overhangs, with big windows that don’t open – or have any screens to stop mosquitoes? One step forward, two back…)
      The German isn’t complaining. She’s where she wants to be and with her friend – on her own time schedule. We should all be so fortunate.
      Thanks for checking in with an astute observation


  4. shoreacres / Jul 2 2018 2:07 pm

    Dog-tired in the dog days of summer — that’s the German, doggone it. Thank goodness she has People ready and wililng to dog-trot up to the metropolis to dog her every move. Well done, you!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 2 2018 8:33 pm

      So far so good. I knew you were watching for an update – meant for it to be shorter, though. I have to come home to catch up on sleep…and face getting grilled by RC who is tottering up to 14 yrs herself – and having lapses ( I know. How can I tell HAHA)
      I feel like a vampire: only going out very early or after 7:45 at night. Cabin fever can’t be far behind.
      Is it true that summer is halfway over on July 4th? – the stores are already shifting to school and college dorm stuff.
      If the wild fires weren’t so prevalent(and crowds so bad), I’d say it’s time to head for the Mts…NW Ark. doesn’t sound too bad.
      Thanks for keeping an eye out for signals


      • shoreacres / Jul 2 2018 8:35 pm

        Ha! the high tomorrow in Mena, Arkansas is projected to be 95F. We need a higher mountain.

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 2 2018 8:48 pm

          No hope for the wicked, an ancient relative used to say fanning himself on the summer porch.


  5. The Coastal Crone / Jul 2 2018 3:19 pm

    Oh, so sorry to hear of your German failing. Perhaps the little human friend knows her canine friend is near the end. It is so hard to let a friend go but it seems yours will go on its own terms…perhaps when duty is done. So sad for you. May your German go peacefully. Stay cool in the summer heat.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 2 2018 8:36 pm

      The German’s Person is already grieving – and little kids sense something as they, too are strangers in the adult world and go more in instincts. Most of the time, a person walking in would simply see a large old sleepy dog without a clue she’s so sick. Always been a sunny personality. That tail still has wag. Thanks for the cooling soothing wishes


  6. Anne Mehrling / Jul 2 2018 5:48 pm

    Your sweet German couldn’t be in a better place right now.


  7. cat9984 / Jul 2 2018 6:58 pm

    It kind of stinks that it’s too hot for the German to go outside this close to the end. Unfortunately it really is dangerous. (We had a heat index here – Michigan – of 105 on Saturday. I do not understand why all of you folks are not totally melted.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 2 2018 8:43 pm

      I saw how hot you guys were! No fun at all. There’s a huge oak tree covering a good part of her backyard, deck, and patio so she can go out very early or in that narrow window between sunset and the mosquitoes show up at dark. She’s always loved sitting around watching birds and squirrels. Nothing like having big windows and AC to do that comfortably from her bed. She just grins.
      Thanks for heating up the comment stack with a note. Stay cool!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Carrie Rubin / Jul 2 2018 7:01 pm

    How difficult it must be to watch The German’s decline. She sounds like she’s weathering it with dignity though. Glad to hear she doesn’t seem to be in too much pain.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 2 2018 8:46 pm

      We’re keeping a close eye on her. As long as she’s eating, using the outdoor facilities without difficulty, looking comfortable, and enjoying company we’ll float along. 90% of the time she just looks like and old dog that gets stiff after sleeping too long. That tail still has wag. We’ll let her pick the pace. Thanks for swinging by to check in

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pied Type / Jul 2 2018 9:38 pm

    Thinking of you and your crew with love, sympathy, and understanding. And a reminder I read somewhere (maybe here): Try not to waste time grieving while your baby is still here.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. leggypeggy / Jul 3 2018 2:39 am

    Thanks for keeping us up-to-date on German. Such a pity that dogs don’t live as long as we do, so we wouldn’t have to go through this. We could all drift off together. Cherish every moment as I know you will.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 3 2018 6:54 am

      You know how summaries/cliff notes are shorter intense versions with only the important parts included of the longer piece? Somehow dog and human life spans are like that. Thanks for curling up a comment to sit here


  11. LordBeariOfBow / Jul 5 2018 6:32 pm

    I am getting very upset, I cannot imagine how you must feel German is so beautiful,


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 6 2018 7:11 am

      Well, she’s rallying this week. Up and on patrol at the fence. With all the rain it is cooler so maybe that helps. She’s setting the pace with her usual grace
      (Sorry for slow responses-computer crash and these little devices have tiny keys)
      Thanks for trotting along

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordBeariOfBow / Jul 6 2018 4:21 pm

        She looks such a sweet natured lovely loving dog, I admit to getting teary-eyed each time I see the pictures of her knowing she is dying and its getting closer with each post. I’m dreading the day it arrives.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Littlesundog / Jul 19 2018 1:20 pm

    It wasn’t all that long ago I was sleeping in weird spots on the floor, cooking all hours of the day to get one crumb down Bear… or Zoe. Lingering with these sweeties is just so hard. But, it’s what we do.

    Liked by 1 person

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