Leaps & Unexpected Bounds

I learned that runt meant Sadie was just behind the doggie curve… not destined to remain inherently mellow.

Miss Fred learned she could hide under the wooden rocking chair, shoot her left paw out and slap Sadie’s face as our tireless pup ran by in pursuit of her red ball.

We doggedly tried to get that on video tape, sure we could with $10,000 on America’s Funniest Videos. Back then video meant a large clunky machine with a blinding light near the lens. It didn’t help that it needed to be retrieved from the office closet, either. We left it out on the dining room table for a very long time. Freddie never cooperated.

Jeff learned something, too. “Hmm,” he said self-quizzically one day, after Sadie got into what Jeff humorously named the “no-bake doggie buffet.” She’d root around in Fred’s box and stealthily eat the crunch-coated brown stuff. The thing is she wasn’t as stealth as she thought, but by the time we saw the cat litter impacted in her nostrils, the deed had already been done. “Ya know,” he said thoughtfully. “I don’t think I’d ever heard you yell – before we got a dog.”

At about 6 months old Sadie had appropriately doubled her width, but something wasn’t quite right.

As she grew, her legs grew to twice the expected height. She wasn’t quite sure what to do with her long limbs, either. Instead of a low-to-the-ground JR scoot, Sadie pranced around like Bambi.

I said to Jeff, “I don’t think she’s normal.” Jeff glanced over at me and asked, “What do you mean?”

“I mean… her legs, and her tail…” I pointed to where Sadie stood smiling. “She shouldn’t be that tall. She’s like a Jack Russell on stilts! And her tail? Is it supposed to be that long….?”

 Jeff tilted his head to that doggie-don’t-understand angle. After a beat, he peered over his glasses at me. “I told ya she looked different and probably wouldn’t get adopted…”

I tilted my head to an unnatural angle even for a dog and said, “What?”

“Yeah,” he said shrugging his shoulders. “She didn’t look like the other ones…. and her tail didn’t get docked because she was too tiny and weak.”

I struggled with this news. “She was weak?” I asked. “Sickly?” I asked. “We got a defective dog?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Jeff said eyeballing me cautiously. He gnawed on his bottom lip, took a big breath and sighed. Looking at the floor, he pressed his lips together like he was trying to come up with the just right thing to say. Nodding once to himself, he looked up and continued on patiently, “That’s what runt means.…”

Quote for the Week:

2017 08 14 you should always know the meaning jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

The First: Dictionary

Word of The: Day

Definitions: Runt

 

 

The Switch

I held the quiet girl for a little bit. She was content to stay there. Then I set in her down into my cross-legged lap. She was content to stay there. The other one was alternately exploring and then running back full speed that usually ended with him crashing into me.

Little Miss Mellow stood up at the sound of Jeff’s voice, reporting. “Well, they’re both healthy and vaccinated, that but one probably won’t go,” he said. “She’s the runt, and she looks different.” Her white fur was all-over dotted with rusty-reddish spots and a few large black and brown cow patches laid over. She looked like a regular JR to me.

I watched the other possibility tearing around performing frantic puppy antics, and glanced back down at the placid little lap dog. I scooped her up, handed her up to Jeff and lifted myself off the ground. He cradled her in his large arms, but she had other ideas. She crawled up his chest, snuggled up to his ear, offered a few licks, and with a serene sigh, closed her eyes.

We named her “Sadie.” There were a few other choices, but after a bit of name-calling testing that seemed to be the one she liked. Yes, we ‘asked’ her through testing and response rate. It was Jeff’s idea. He said it helps to name a dog something they’ll respond to.

Her name confused my mother a little. “I thought you said she was a girl,” she commented. “She is a girl,” I replied. “Oh, you know that’s Yiddish for ‘grandfather’ right?” she asked. “No, no,” I clarified, “Sadie! Not Zayde.” Jeff got a knee-slapping kick out of that.

She was sweet and social but strangely low-key. I mean veeerrrryyy low-key. She had a good appetite for such a petite pup. She stayed near us and moved at good walking pace whenever one of us left the room. She wasn’t a barker or a whiner and she had no interest in Miss Fred, at all.

She happily and quietly greeted me when I came home. Mostly, though, she followed Jeff. Mostly, because he was the one with her all day.

“I don’t think she’s normal,” I said to Jeff after she’d been with us a week.

“She’ll catch up,” he said. “Remember she’s the runt.”

Sadie’s first real play visitors were Jeff’s sister’s girl and boy. Used to having dogs of their own, the two got right down on the floor with her. Through the ear scratching and belly rubbing and tickling and the children making whelping puppy noises, Sadie widened her eyes, but stayed put.

She seemed confused, and didn’t seem like she was enjoying any of it all that much. I was just about to ask them to give her a break. Before I could get the words out, though, Sadie barrel-rolled away from them, jumped to her feet, gave a small hoarse bark (her first) and took off running. In between flat out sprints from one end of the house to the other, she’d circle the kids, drop to her front elbows and startle herself by barking.

Sadie’s hyper switch had been activated.

Quote for the Week:

2017 08 08 The Switch jakorte final

Enjoy This Weeks Discovery Links:

Find Your:  Happy

Get Your: Happy

Be Your: Happy

 

 

In Decision

The medications weren’t really helping, so his doctors decided to try alternative measures. TENS units, TED hose and PT were added to Jeff’s mix. None were working as well as hoped. When a sleep study proved he had alarming apnea, an oxygen concentrator and a PAP machine arrived in our home.

After our dog excursion, Jeff mentioned the puppies a few times. I shook my head each time. I thought we had enough troubles.

More than two weeks had passed and I couldn’t get the pups off my mind. Jeff was bored and lonely and, according to his doctors, beginning to show signs of depression.

As far as I could tell, Jeff was still Jeff. Still, I began thinking maybe a dog wasn’t such a bad idea. It’d keep him busy, provide companionship.  I was a little worried about what a puppy would put Miss Fred through, but then again, it was a big house. Freddie wasn’t fazed by much. She wasn’t a constant attention grabber or a snuggler. With the exception of drive-by leg-bumping, she wouldn’t get that close. She’d sit near you – maybe close enough for a pet, maybe not, and definitely not often. 

On my way out the door to work each morning, I left Jeff his daily list of to-do tasks jointly devised as a way to keep him occupied and helpful. We’d talk about it the night before and hand note what was needed on a pre-printed form I created. On Thursday night we wrote: make a grocery list, make dinner, wash bedding. Friday morning, finally in decision mode, I added an extra line item: call to see if any puppies are left. 

Within hours, he found out there were only two puppies left. On our weekend way back to the farm, Jeff of the Big Heart said, “You know… I’ve been thinking… maybe we should take them both, because they’re the last ones, and then one wouldn’t have to be lonely.”

I said, “I’m not even sure about one. I don’t think two is a good idea.”

“Well, how will I decide?” he asked. “You’ll just have to,” was my answer.

There was no commotion in the kennel, this time. Inside the barn, two babies slept peacefully in a hay-lined, low-sided wooden crib. Jeff lifted one in each hand, and set them both down both in the morning sun. While their tiny eyes adjusted into squints, I decided I’d try the ‘Kelsey’ test and plopped myself down on the ground to see what would happen. The next thing I know, I was playfully attacked by a little black and white streak. He ran around me in circles, jumping in and out of my lap and zealously yapping. Continually, and quite normal for a Jack.

The other simply one laid down near Jeff’s feet. The yapper bumped into her a few times, so Jeff picked her up to get her out of the way.

“Is she sick? Could she be contagious?” I asked, comparing her docile demeanor to her energetic brother. “I don’t think so,” Jeff answered. Because I was me, I adamantly encouraged him to ask. Because he was Jeff, he handed her off to me and set out for the house.

Quote for the Week:

2017 08 01 Comparing apples to apples isn_t always fair judgement jakorte 07 31 2017

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Apple: Facts

Apples: Applause

Puppy Diseases: To Watch For

 

 

 

My Dogs Are Barkin’

While Nannee was staying with us, Jeff was attempting to sort out his medical problems, as well.

In December 2003, his feet became too painful to walk on and moved from sometimes-pain to constant-pain. Original suggestions of taking time off for pain management and keeping his legs raised for two weeks straight had not helped.

By February 2004, Jeff was still off work and having to use his short-term then long-term disability benefit. The diagnosis of Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy sparked a series of long trials attempting to ease the constant 7-8 pain rating on a scale of 1-10. On really bad days, when the pain jumped to a 10 or 11, Jeff used his sense of humor remained. He’d explain to me, his doctor, a nurse, anyone who really needed to know why he was moving so slow, “My dog’s are really barkin’!'”

In addition to his Type II Diabetes Mellitus and Venostasis (bursting blood vessels), the Neuropathy, Hypertension, pitting Edema, skin ulcers and possible Sleep Apnea were added to his diagnoses, as well. Jeff’s medication list began to grow: Percodan, Neurontin, Elavil, Lasix, Lipitor, Humalog Lantus insulin, Zestoretic, Lopid, Glucophage, Celexa and a multivitamin.

That was in 2004. By the time Jeff passed away 2.5 years later, the number of drugs he needed to take had grown to over 20 daily, with many taken multiple times a day. Those cute little regular daily pill containers were uselessly too small, and only had compartments for morning, noon and night. Jeff creatively converted two tackle trays into his medication monitor. He’d fill them up once a week and it would take him about an hour.

I do believe having Nannee with us was more of a blessing for us than for her. Up until then, Jeff had been spending his days mostly alone, trying to handle the pain. Weekdays, we spent about 4 awake hours a day together – one in the morning and three at night. Weekends, though, we were inseparable, much like our 24 hours a day for two days courtship.

On one of those weekends, Jeff casually suggested we stop by a local farm where a new litter of Jack Russell puppies had been born. I reminded him we had a cat. He said we were just going to look, because they weren’t ready to leave their mother, yet. The only reason I agreed was that I knew there was no possibility we’d be taking one home.

My only previous puppy litter experience was gained in Tennessee. A friend’s dog had gotten out in a storm and had a clandestine canine affair. The adorable yelping squirmers were contained in a makeshift arena for adoption. It was entirely up to you whether you wanted to lean in and pet them, or not. With no intention of adding a dog to my life, I simply leaned in to scratch a few ears… and came up with Cab.

Quote for the Week:

2017 07 17 Let_s Just Look jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Why Do We Love Puppies: Scientifcally? Oxytocin

Neuropathies: There’s More Than One

If You’re Diabetic: Pay Attention!

Milk and an Air Horn

About the milk:

I found this sweet-sad note from my father to Jeff. I don’t have Jeff’s original part of the email, but the subject reads, ‘Carnation Milk.’

From: Dad

Sent: Monday, May 27, 2002

To: Jeff & Jodi

Real funny! Keep them coming!

I really enjoyed your visit. I wish we could have spent more time doing things together that guys do. Maybe things will turn around someday for the both of us. Let’s keep the faith and try real hard.

Miss you already,

Dad  (It’s not often that a guy has three dads)

P.S. Jodi, are you going to change your email address to “Korte.”

About the air horn:

There’d rarely been a night when Jeff hadn’t woken up at least once. He’d wander the house, have a snack, watch tv or get on the computer. I’d gotten used to that and barely noticed anymore.

one night in early June 2004, Jeff had decided that he did not want to possibly disturb Nannee by using the computer in the office room next to hers. Instead, he’d gone to the den and fallen asleep to the TV.

In the morning, Nannee let Jeff know she’s had a very rough night. She thought she might have been having a heart attack and called out to us repeatedly. At the other end of the house, we had not heard her. She insisted she felt fine that morning, and p’shawed the suggestion that she visit her doctor, saying it hadn’t been that long ago that she’d seen him.

It was Jeff’s idea to provide Nannee with an air horn. I wasn’t home when they tested it. As we went to bed, I worried that we might not hear it with our bedroom door closed. Jeff assured me, we’d hear it, but left the door open to ease my mind.

The next night, I heard the air horn. Jeff heard the air horn, and with the windows open on that cool June night, most of the neighborhood probably heard it to. I was already jolted half out of bed, when Jeff took off from his side, closest to the bedroom door.

He got there first and called back to me to call 911. Nannee went by ambulance to Bixby, then by ambulance to Toledo. The Bixby doctor was quite angry when he spoke to us following some tests. He ordered a stomach pump, curtly demanded to know who her doctor was and then left us in the curtain-divided emergency room.

When he came back, he was more subdued. Nannee and her doctor must have known her digestive system was failing. She hadn’t shared that with us. She had told us, though, that she didn’t want to die in a hospital.

Quote for the Week:

2017 07 11 Not every profession can laugh at the jokes jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

An internet search found this joke. I’d wager this was likely it. ;-):  Carnation Milk Joke

Not true, but: Carnation Milk Snopes

Air Horn: There’s an App for That

Laugh Draft

Years ago, I chose to laugh.

I  have forgotten to for a while, now, over run with stressors and tragedies. Every coping muscle needs exercise, especially if neglected too long.

So, I’ve re-decided.

I choose to laugh. I laugh because I understand some things I could not comprehend, before. It’s the only way to keep sanity among the long shadows the change has forced upon on our lives, pulled along  into the wake of it’s draft.

There are things I was able to immediately laugh about, that others stll may not be able to. I’ve laughed at inappropriate times in my own life and it’s taken years to gather up the courage to explain. I laugh at the bizarre situations that occured, that we endured, that we created. I laugh about serious occassions, because I am remembering how we got there. I laugh at he who had the last laugh, because, boy did he ever!

I laugh to best demonstrate a sadly acquired knowledge: Humor is a great teacher and a better companion than melancholy. I should know. I learned from the best.

Quote for the Week:2017 06 20 humor is a great teacher jakorte 06 19 2017

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Humor is Tragedy Plus Time: But, How much time?

You’re A Genius If: You Enjoy Black Humor

What’s Your Humor Type: Test It Here

The Shift

Humor is a veil and sometimes it gets a little hard to breathe under mine.

It’s also a protective shield that deflects from the intent of going deeper.

I’ve been thinking I’ve given myself a little more leeway than I probably should have with the sarcasm defence.

Having to dig for the spin from tragic to trippy is tiring. There are so many more funny stories waiting in the wings. Excerpts fly at me daily sparked by a song or a smell or a taste or a breeze that ruffles my hair.

I exercise my mind a lot trying to see around my metaphoric road block. I’ve heard enough that it doesn’t go away; as you move along, it dimishes. Every time you turn back to the way from which you came, it’ll be there – just as big and ugly as when it landed in your path.

Of course, you’ll go around it. It might not seem like that now, but you will. You might not notice the shift right away. You’ll spend a lot of time maneuvering in its shadow. Then one day, it will be beside you instead of in front of you.

That’s when the decision has to be made. Stand in the at-best momentary warmth of the sun knowing that it won’t always be that way; clouds will come and go. Retreat to the at-worst constant shadow of coldness where life doesn’t change much, but your back is always reliably covered by what it’s flattened up against.

Eventually, movement: until then timing rules the court. It holds us back or propels us forward. Timing is what drives us from soulless to soulful. For some, passing time is counted by continuing little claw scrapes, love bites.

For others it’s the proverbial bandage ripped from the anchoring erroneously unstable flesh surrounding our shredded hearts.

You can cry, but you  can still laugh, too.

Quote for the Week:

2017 06 20 Humor is a veil jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

The healing power of:  laughter

Mark Knopfler:  The Last Laugh

Might as well: Laughter Yoga