Cairn Terrier

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A Handful of Miracles

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No. 111, Whimsy.

Whimsy didn’t start out in this direction; she didn’t even start out with this name! But something happened of great significance in my life and it caused a little hitch in my step. My little buddy Teddy, that feisty, stubborn, cairn terrier companion of 12 years passed away. A creature named Whimsy was the source of two smaller creatures that are helping me to heal. Therefore, No. 111 is a Rainbow Bridge of sorts; named for Whimsy and dedicated to my little Teddy Bear.

Thus begins the description for Whimsy the Witch. You can see her page HERE.

I wasn’t going to write about this, but Teddy was such an important part of my life that I simply have to. Because how things went at the end of Teddy’s tale were nothing short of a handful of miracles.

Teddy came into my life less than a year after I moved here to Iowa. Being a newly single, newly working mom was tricky enough. Trickier still when school let out that first summer. Adam was still reeling from the divorce so there was no way I could leave him at home alone at barely a decade old for hours on end. Enter my friend Jennifer to the rescue. She had relatives with a farm just outside of Rolfe where several children, cousins all, would spend the days playing. Would Adam like to be part of that group? What, hours in the country, running through cornfields, helping with the garden, not to mention there was a pool? YES.

Teddy and Adam in the early days.

In addition to the children, it was a play group for all the pets of the cousins as well. I had long been trying – and failing – to get a dog for Adam. The two that we’d had were left behind with my ex. I felt their loss almost as keenly as I did the loss of my marriage. We’d searched for just the right dog everywhere with no success.

One morning as I was walking Adam to the front door of the farm, a passel of dogs came bounding up behind us. I only had eyes for one. The cutest little Cairn terrier I ever did see. Not too big, not too small. Just right.

“Now, THERE’S a dog!” I exclaimed.

This apparently set off an idea in his current owner’s head. Teddy was one of several dogs in this family, and though he was the smallest of them all, he wanted to be king. This was never going to happen. So she offered him to us. And for $10 and a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies, Teddy Bear was ours.

Being an old-fashioned, modern Witch, of course Whimsy rides a vacuum instead of a broom.

Years later, when Adam needed to stretch his wings and so moved to live with his father in Massachusetts, Teddy was mine alone. I work from home so we were together more than most. Through the good times and the bad, the feasts and the famines. The noisy days of his sitting by the window and barking at leaves, or the wind, apparently. And the quiet nights when it was just he and I alone in the dark. He was my confidante, someone to say “I love you” to, another heart beating in the house.

We grew old together. I found I could no longer simply leap off curbs when walking. Teddy, the dog that I used to walk for miles and he still wanted to play fetch when we got home, could barely make it around the block.

For several weeks he was on a few medications and didn’t want to walk at all. I was consumed with whether or not his quality of life was good. He wasn’t in pain, but was he having any joy?

Since Whimsy was an unconventional doll, that helped to distract me because she took some thinking. This vacuum for example, made from a plastic silver butter dish. It took some doing to get it to balance and stand on its own.

Needing a second opinion, I took him over to my sister Julie’s house. She knows him well. Julie and Scott’s dog Toby is Teddy’s best friend. For the first time in a long time I saw Teddy’s tail wag again, and he even barked! Julie thought he was doing fine. And he was still enjoying the treats I baked for him after all. Comforted, I took him home.

The following day was beautiful. I put Teddy outside so he could enjoy the Autumn weather. But I knew he was an old man, and I noticed he wasn’t sleeping. He seemed to be spending all his energy on simply breathing. Finally in the early afternoon I could stand it no longer. I took him to the vet to see if they could help him breathe.

Because it was harvest, our vet, who is also a farmer, was out in the fields. Cheryl called him and told him what was going on and he recommended some shots. I carried Teddy into the little room and placed him on the high table and wrapped my arms around him in preparation for the treatment. Cheryl was rummaging through the cupboards looking for the medication, so it was just Teddy and I alone for that moment.

I kissed his head and Teddy looked up at me and into my eyes in a way that he hadn’t for a very long time. It was such a direct, thorough look. Then his whole body relaxed, and the heavy panting that had become the soundtrack of my life, ceased.

I thought he was slowly going to sleep. Cheryl took one look and knew what was happening and told me. Teddy was dying. As he took his last breaths, with me still not believing that this was the end, I thanked him for everything and told him how much I loved him, just in case. And then he was gone. Just like that.

I included a little picture of Teddy on Whimsy’s adoption page. I’m not one to take a lot of pictures, so this is just about the only one I have.

Reader, I knew the time was coming and I hadn’t planned to be there when it did because it would have been too hard. But because of how things unfolded the choice was taken out of my hands. It was, in it’s way, a small miracle; one of many. A miracle I happened to take Teddy to the vet at that moment so I wasn’t alone when it happened. A miracle he got that last visit with Toby the night before. A miracle that I didn’t know he was going to die, so I was there to hold him and say goodbye. I’m so grateful for that last look from Teddy. As painful as this has been, I wouldn’t have changed a thing

Gracie and George. It’s impossible not to smile with two kittens afoot.

Finding the right dog can take awhile but I needed another heart – or two – beating in this house. Enter once again Jennifer, who let me know of a friend whose cat had just had kittens. She and I connected, and now George and Gracie are helping me to heal. Their mother’s name is Whimsy. So, thank you Whimsy! Thank you Melody! Thank you Jennifer! And thank you Teddy. I’ll see you again, little buddy.

No. 110 Blossom the Geisha was adopted by Linda L. of Portola Valley, California. Linda’s becoming quite the O.L.D. friend! Thank you, Linda. And thank you truly for all of you.

And with that, I leave you! On this Halloween eve, you’re my favorite!

If you haven’t read the poem “Rainbow Bridge” and you’ve ever lost a pet, I highly recommend it.

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Reigning Cats and Dog


Yep. This is exactly how I sleep.

You know what makes it hard to get to sleep? Fear of bats. I have this theory that if I don’t see one in my house by 10:30 at night, I won’t see one. Therefore, 10:43! I’m good to go!

You know what makes it hard to stay asleep? Two stray cats and a keen eared dog!catscontemplate

Teddy to the rescue!

CairnHark1I’m secretly only 29 years old. This explains a lot.

Bless his heart, his intentions are good. I can’t get mad at that face.

But oh, what it does to mine…


Note the fairies seemed to have fled…

It’s like Thunder! Lightning!

Time for Marley to start clanging his chains again! (April 2nd post: My heaters rattle like the Dickens…Comedy GOLD!)

Iowa, I love you! Day before yesterday it was 80 degrees. Now, today: rain and thunder. Tonight: SNOW. Up to five inches! And howling wind throughout. Could things get any better?! I’m being 100% sincere here, my favorite seasons are fall and winter and from my first lawn mowing to my last I am eagerly anticipating that hint of chill in the air, that hint of color change in the trees. Winter is having its last hurrah and it shall be glorious.

My assignment from my dear brothers that I love so much: Watch the movie ‘Apollo 13,’ because apparently “Somebody needs a lesson in perseverance.” I’m no Sherlock, but I think they mean me. So yesterday as soon as the library opened and I learned they had it (on VHS. Not to brag, but I have both VHS and dvd playing capabilities. What is this “Blu-Ray” I hear talk of?) I trotted on down the street in the hot weather with my faithful dog Teddy in tow.


Toto from “Wizard of Oz” was a Cairn terrier too.


When I sent these pictures to my Mom, she thought Teddy was a toy. It was only the slight movement of his head between the two pictures (see it?) that convinced her otherwise.

Poor Teddy! He’s afraid of thunder! I know I’ve mentioned him before, but here’s his story: Normally, I’m a mutt snob and I would never have a pure-bred, but this little dog fell into my lap. When I saw him running so happily at the farm where Adam spent his summers I said, “Now there’s a dog! Not too big, not too little, just right.” The owner’s ears perked up. They were looking for a home for him (he wanted to be king of the castle and their three other dogs felt the same way) so for $10 and a plate of chocolate chip cookies ‘Teddy Bear’ was mine!

We tried to change his name but couldn’t. Besides, he looks like a teddy bear! The blonde, mohair, old-fashioned kind. He’s gotten me through many a hard time so I’m glad I can help him in turn with today’s storm.


Might I recommend the Nina spa? It does WONDERS for one’s face!

I’m also going to work on the final editing of “Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway.” We’re starting to get the color illustrations for this final version of the book and it’s truly getting exciting. Nina does great work. Here’s an illustration she did from the now defunct first version. It’s all coming together! All it needs is a little more perseverance.

Knock on wood. (If you’re lucky, you will have that song stuck in your brain all day. Yer welcome.)