My trademark iris

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Briley, the old guy.

Briley is getting old. He is 14 years old. He had a close call this past week. I thought he had a stroke because he couldn't get up and kept leaning to the left. I had to help him walk by holding him up with a towel under his midsection. He has always stayed near me and was still trying to follow me around in the house. His eyes jerked back and forth all the time and his head swayed even when he was laying down. I took him to the vet yesterday expecting to be told it was time to put him to sleep. I had tried to tell myself I had to let him go.

Briley is still with us today. The vet asked if he was still eating and relieving himself, and said we ought to give the old guy a chance. Briley is suffering from vestibular syndrome, which is a common ailment in old dogs. Dr. McCormick said it's like being on a carnival ride, spinning round and round, without stopping. We're trying him on medication for 5 days.

This morning, Briley's eyes are not jerking back and forth. He is still wobbly and needs to be carried down the steps. I had to hold him up with the towel while he peed. He stood on his own while he ate and got up to get a drink of water by himself. Right now, he is in his usual spot beside me. He is able to lay down comfortably and actually sleep.

I am grateful that Briley is still here. Making the decision to euthanize a beloved pet is one I hope I never have to make again. Briley had a rough start in life. He was rescued by my brother as a six month old puppy tossed from a truck on a busy highway. My parents had him for 4 years, until my mother passed away. I brought Briley home with me and he went from being an outside dog to living indoors. He made the transition very easily.

Briley has been my guardian and companion for the last 10 years. He has always protected me from male strangers, but loves women. He sleeps in his bed near my bed. He has always been eager to please and seems so grateful for the attention. Wherever I go, he is shadowing me. I will never be ready to let him go, but when it is his time, I hope he goes peacefully in his sleep.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Bluebird House

We've always had bluebirds passing through the neighborhood. I've seen them waiting on the phone lines to fly down and catch insects stirred up by lawn mowers. Last year we put up a bluebird house at the back of the property line. We mounted the cedar house on an aluminum fence post to keep squirrels from climbing it. The only thing that tried to nest in it was the house sparrows. I did see a bluebird go inside, but no nest.

This spring I cleaned out the trash the sparrows brought in almost daily, until last week. I opened the nest box and noticed a neat nest constructed of pine needles from my garden. I kept my eye out to see what kind of bird was building this nest and soon saw a bluebird with a mouthful of pine needles lighting on the box. Another quickly lit on the top of the nest box. They are fiercely guarding their nest. A bluejay lit on the top and was attacked by the bluebird pair.

As I sat on the deck watching the pair yesterday, one dove from the oak tree to hover directly in front of me. I noticed a big caterpillar on the railing and moved it a little farther away from me. The bluebird came back and grabbed the caterpillar.

Just now I saw her fly into the next box with pine needles and now he is standing guard on top of the box. I hope they succeed!