About Me

Twenty years ago I asked a Tarot card reader what would I be doing when I was 50. She replied, “I see you doing something so wildly creative, it defies a job title.” Only recently did I realize that was a slick way of saying, “I have no idea of what you’ll be doing.” But that prediction kept me charging ahead to the fifties with zeal and anticipation. Now that the future is today, I’m ready for anything!

The Caninization of Jerry:
Our Rescue Dog Becomes a Dog

Jerry, then.
Groundhog Day is the day we chose as the birthday for Jerry, our rescue dog who came into our lives as a malnourished, neglected pup in fall 2010.

Jerry, now.
Two years later, he seems more like a dog and less like an injured soul. We call it the caninization of Jerry.

Like any dog, when he hears the words “do you want to” or “go,” he cocks his head expectantly and waits with bright eyes to hear the rest of the question. He also gets excited when I bag up the recyclables because he knows that means a trip to town.

Jerry looks like a chocolate Lab, but in reality he's a Weimaraner/Chesapeake cross. And like any Weimaraner, Jerry loves to roll in smelly things, such as the swamp that’s near the gravel pit or anything dead on the road. One day he found a half-dead garter snake and finished it off, afterwards anointing himself with the remains. Later that day he slept and woofed, his paws twitching in imaginary chase, undoubtedly dreaming that he was slaying the Basilisk.

Like any country dog, he has faced perils and will continue to face them. Last fall as Jerry splashed in the creek, he stepped into a raccoon trap. (There were no physical injuries, thankfully, but he was pretty shaken up. So was I.) Another country peril is skunks. In the past skunks have come up to the patio door, so an encounter with a skunk isn’t a question of “if,” but “when.” Three bottles of skunk removal shampoo are waiting on a shelf in the mud room for that inevitable day.
Steps like these are
no problem for Jerry.

Jerry has come a long way in his caninization. When he first came to us he weighed 61 pounds. At his last veterinary checkup he weighed 73 pounds, which the vet said was “just perfect.” At our Bruno house he never climbed a staircase. Now he bounds up and down them with ease.

He won't do that again.
I hope. 
In the past two years Jerry has tangled with a porcupine, run headfirst into a tree, and swum after a beaver. And he's managed to come away an older, if not wiser, dog. As Jerry has progressed in his journey, so have I. 

I was at the kitchen table filling out paperwork for community college and job retraining, feeling wistful and uncertain about the future. I began singing Diana Ross’s 1970s hit “Do You Know Where You’re Going To.” Immediately, Jerry cocked his head and looked expectantly at me.

What a great way to live: not knowing what the future holds, but knowing it’s gotta be something good.

Has your pet made the journey from rescue dog to just plain dog? What have you heard along the way? I’d love to hear your story about your pet’s caninization. Please share it in a comment below!

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