Background Switcher (Hidden)

Treasuring Every Day

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Any day I walk, trot or jog down Dean's Fork is my lucky day. 

There's always something there to stop me dead, and stopping is what I do best. I do not run. I perform a punctuated lope, often amply illustrated.

A crayfish on a still-damp morning road stopped me short. 


You're about to have two problems, Sir Pinchalot.

Any time I stop to photograph something, The Dean's Fork Bomber has to come see what it is.

He will pinch you, Chet Baker.

 He smells interesting. I can't hear you warning me, so I'll just go in for the full snuffarooni.

Oh! Look at you! All right, I'll back off. You smell of creekmud, fish and mad.

We will leave you be if you're going to be that prickly about it.

I had plenty of time to discover little things like day-walking crawdads, because Chet was moving very slowly on this cool, 65 degree morning, June  6. I kept having to stop, turn around, and wait for him to catch up.

It was clear that something not so good was going on inside him, and had a feeling it had to do with his heart. He kept glancing back up the road as if he was wondering if he'd have to walk all the way back. We turned around after only a mile and a quarter and headed slowly back to the car. There would be no more loping today.

Dr. Lutz worked him in that afternoon and agreed that he'd had some sort of episode, related to the heart murmur she picked up when I brought him in for his ear infection in February. The day we figured out his thyroid wasn't working right, either. That was not such a good day. Neither was this one, beautiful cool morning and Dean's Fork notwithstanding. Now it's his heart. She put him on blood pressure medication so his heart won't have to work so hard. So he's taking a thyroid pill and a blood pressure pill morning and evening. It still feels funny to shake little pills out of a bottle for Chet Baker. I started taking eye vitamins and fish oil in solidarity, so we'd take our pills together.

Needless to say, this new revelation about Chet's health sent me into a weeklong tailspin. I'm having a hard time accepting the fact that my sweet Bacon is mortal. Since you're wondering, he'll be 12 in December. I suppose it's time for him to have some signs of aging. But any time they show us they're aging, we're never ready for it. That always comes much too soon with our beloved dogs. I don't know what I was thinking--that he'd keep that smart trot going forever?

The only place I really want to be lately, the only place I feel at peace, is down Dean's Fork. There's no cell service down there. My phone becomes nothing more than a fabulous camera, all ties to the outside world cut. There are rose-breasted grosbeaks singing down there, zippity doo-dah all day, and it suits me fine.

The light and landscapes there soothe me. I so want my buddy by my side. But I have to accept that there will be days going forward that he can't come along. He'll tell me if he's up for it, and he'll tell me if he's not.

I am delighted to report that, after taking it easy for a week and sitting my last Dean's Fork six miler out, Chet was trotting smartly out in front of us for most of the five mile hike we did there today, June 12. If punctuated loping is too much, we'll walk. If walking is too much, he'll stay home, sit it out. We'll take it day by day, and treasure every single day we have together. Because that's how we roll.

His strong showing today is the only reason I'm back here, writing you a Sunday post, however belated. Kind of lost my heart for blogging when I had to leave The Bacon home. Not yet, not yet. He's got some more hikes in him yet.

This is my 2100th post on this blog. When I started in December 2005, Chet was a wasp-waisted googly-eyed pup, romping up and down frozen creekbeds. Thanks for being with us the whole way, or however much of it you've followed. We do appreciate it.


I've been thinking about Chet ever since his hearing problem. Our beautiful aging furry friends, they just get so deeply into our hearts, don't they? I hope Chet knows how much love he has from all around this crazy internet world. If love added years, sweet Chet would go on forever. Adding my love to the sum of love. Thinking of you.

Hugs to you and Chet. You're in my loving thoughts, Julie. I wish you peace in this new stage of your relationship with such a remarkable animal... And friend. -- Sydnee

Posted by Anonymous June 12, 2016 at 4:39 PM

I thought things had been a little quiet for a bit. I'm glad the pills have helped - but of course, in the long run, nothing will be able to prevent the inevitable. But oh what a glorious relationship it is - you've been so lucky to have him in your life! And here's hoping for several more good years. Kisses for the both of you!

My beloved Andie dog (age 12 or so) has needed twice daily shots for two years now, and there have been bad days, but so many more good ones. I wish you and Chet the best as you find a new normal. Taking care of a dog as it ages feels like some sort of bittersweet but vital life lesson to me.

Old dogs, they have our hearts.

I've been recently reunited with Luka, 9 years old just last week. The contrast with him and Sadie (14+) is startling, but I'm so glad to have them both to help me appreciate the easy joy of a swim, a walk to the park, a bowl of healthy food. They each enjoy them differently and I'm sure there's some lesson for me in it.

It's so difficult to accept that our four-legged loved ones have fewer circuits of the sun on this plane than we do. It seems you are learning from soulmate Chet to live in present as he does, appreciating whatever can be enjoyed - a short walk, a long run, or a few hours alone. He knows he's beloved, and so do you. Tears, though.


Not only have you been fortunate to have Chet Baker in your life, but he also is very lucky to have such a caring family who love him so dearly and dote on him. And then, there are all his fans out here on the internetz, who are sending love to all of you.

Posted by Anonymous June 12, 2016 at 6:09 PM

Oh dear. I have been noticing the signs of aging on my own self and not liking it at all. Mostly just a hitch or two in my getalong. I know you think deep and enjoy the details of life in this wonderful world so I won't urge you to enjoy these days. When I take my eye vitamins and fish oil I will think of the two of you.

"Any time they show us they're aging, we're never ready for it. That always comes much too soon with our beloved dogs"
Yes, yes, oh yes. That is it precisely.
The longer I live, the more pets I have had to say goodbye today. Never easy. And I keep them in my heart and mind forever--as long as I have "forever."

Sending love , peace and strength for now and in the future from Texas...

Posted by Anonymous June 12, 2016 at 7:42 PM

Enjoy him, love him as you always have.
It is all we can do for our small friends, and for ourselves.

It is funny, strange, and hard, to start missing a loved being long before they are gone. It must be a deep instinct for survival that prepares our mind, heart, and soul. I think Ric is right -- we have only today and we must enjoy that. Chet is too amazing -- I think he is the world's cutest dog!

Posted by Andrea Holbrook June 12, 2016 at 7:55 PM

Sending you both so much love. Fingers and paws crossed for many good days to come. I think we've all adopted Chet Baker into our hearts. Thank you for sharing him with us.

Hi Julie, Wishing you and Chet Baker many, many more adventures together. How I wish Love and Pain were not so intimately connected. Thank you so much for all the hard work you devoted into this blog. It is truly, truly appreciated. Sincerely, Beth S.

Posted by Anonymous June 13, 2016 at 4:00 AM

If it helps, heart meds do amazing things for dogs. We had one, Peter, who took heart meds for years for a murmur and he made it to 19. Every case is different, but Enalipril, Lasix in later years and Vetmedin all contributed to a good quality and long life.

Bless the Bacon! He has become the "senior statesman" of your household, and I know it feels like an honor, however bittersweet, to care for him as he ages. They get sweeter with every passing day...

@Theresa, it helps! Enalapril it is. All of this helps. The Bacon is feeling fine this morning, made long morning rounds taking his cicada breakfast, trotting smartly on another cool sunny morning in Paradise. We're taking it day by day. Thank you for all the good wishes. I haven't done this since I was in high school. Chet is in infinitely better shape than our 11-year-old dachshund Volks was, because I've always thought about the nutritional value of everything that goes into his mouth--quality and quantity--and because he's been an athlete all his life. The thing about having a dog with a high public profile is this: I feel compelled to to disclose what's going on with his health, whether I feel like it or not. I know that probably sounds silly--he's a dog, not a head of state--but being considerate to you and including you on our journey is something I take very seriously. I know how much you care. Thank you.

Aww, poor Chet! We recently put our 12 year old cat on thyroid medication and it has done wonders for him. He was scarily skinny after being a fat and happy thing for so long. And nearly two years ago we put down our 17 year old cat a month before the toddler was born. Such a difficult decision. It's weird being on this side of the pet care situation, having been the kid watching my parents put down my pets as I was growing up.

I hope Chet gets a few more years of back roads wandering and running in!

Hug and Kisses Chet Baker. Hugs for you Julie. I also hate to see pets age. I have a beautiful black cat, Sam, going through final stages of cancer. He is still active, eating and drinking well. His vet said that he will let us know when it's time. Chet has a lot of good years\times ahead of him. Looking forward to reading about many more of his adventures. Lynda in Michigan.

If he develops joint problems hip& joint / magma naturals (Amazon)have kept our 11 yr old Chorgi.(Chow/Corgi)going for years after bum hip went out chasing larger boxer. She did it again tearing after raccoon - darting thru Dads legs before he could tie her out as she can't help herself late eve pee IF a critter shows up!!
Seem to have the heart thing w/ 11yr old cat. Runs & coughs...hope it's not heart worm.
Run free & long Chet!!

Well crap. If it's not one thing, it's another. You have the right attitude though. Do what you can and enjoy it. My favorite lyrics to quote this year are from a Tim McGraw song (Humble and Kind)
"Don't take for granted the love this life gives you
When you get where you're goin
Don't forget turn back around"

Hugs to you and The Bacon.

Aw, no, hard times for sure. Hope the medicines give him what he needs for many more good runs.

I don't know if this would help or not, I actually saw a woman riding her bike today with a little dog (about Bacon's size) tucked inside a carrier that she wore on her chest. The dog looked thrilled to be on the ride. Maybe try something similar walking with Bacon? At least for the very long walks. I imagine it would be a little hard to run like that.

Praying your lovely Bacon improves.

Sending a heart full of love and hope. Full.xom

It seems to me that it's usually harder for us humans to deal with our pets' aging than it is for them--they seem to just take it as it comes, and adjust to the new normal as just being what it is... On some days a little less running or ball-chasing, shorter walkies, a bit more rest as needed. As you and Chet Baker ramble down this road of life, be assured that you are surrounded by Internet friends who do not think it's crazy to take a dog to a vet cardiologist (been there, done that) or do any other thing that gives them comfort and as good a quality of life as possible, because, after all, this is a family member we're talking about. Wishing you both happy days together, all the way down the road.

What about a bike and a basket? :-)

Hard to watch, prayers for health and many more hikes with the fabulous Chet Baker. Love that little soul.

Chet will never be with us long enough but he has blessed the lives of so many people via your blog and Facebook postings. Praying for a happy and pain-free end life.

I think you will find that Chet does great with his new medicines, much like Grandma feels better when some things are attended to. Everybody is talking about Chet aging, but we are ALL aging daily, and are all traveling down the road of life. You just have a terrific traveling companion! Cheers for Chet!! What dog has a better life?

Julie, I have/had Bostons too and each Sunday we would walk the northern end of Long Beach Island known has High Bar Harbor, state land, and it was just me and my Bostons, enjoying what the world had to show us. So I know how you're feeling and my one Boston Simba knows how Chet's feeling. Simba still enjoys his walks, sometimes we travel as far as 6 drives away from the house on the sidewalk, but I keep my eyes open and my heart light, enjoying the walk with my puppy! And Simba stills marks his favorite spots and enjoys a good scratch!

[Back to Top]