My Last Great Hunk Of Tansy Observations

There are still a few things I wanted to write down, even though Tansy has moved on to the next chapter of her life. A few? Who am I kidding? There’s a lot here. I hope you have some time.

Tansy has taught me that I haven’t spent enough time with old dogs. By the time our family dog was getting old, I wasn’t around as much, and Trixie moved on to Brad when she was 7. Whenever I would see Tansy do anything unusual, I would get paranoid. “She forgets why she’s out here to pee. Is she developing dementia?” No, she’s getting old and doddling around. “She keeps changing direction when we’re walking. Is she losing her vision?” Nope, I think she’s bored.

She definitely started thinking like old people do, not having patience when they need something. When she was younger, she would stand and let me talk to people as we headed out to go pee. Not anymore. If I stood too long, she’d try and start moving. I often didn’t think Tansy had a voice, but when she would do this, I would think I heard an old lady saying “Bla bla bla…I have to poop! Let’s go!”

I’m glad that she still sort of enjoyed working sometimes, even though I could tell she was less and less keen to do it. In fact, one day, she tried to trick me into believing we couldn’t get to the mall at all. There was a bit of snow near the exact spot where we would usually cross the crosswalk, but all we had to do was walk a bit over and we could have crossed. But she acted like “No, I just can’t see a way to do this. I don’t think you’re going to the mall today.” Once we had someone’s help to convince her it could be done, she was ok, although draggy, and was especially keen to come back home, but that was one of those moments where I had it driven home that I was not a fool and it was time for her to retire. But sometimes, we would go into places like the office, and she would get so excited. I’m just happy she didn’t grow to hate working. I didn’t want to scar two dogs.

The need for extra pees never stopped, even though the numbers seemed to indicate the urine was concentrating as it should. So since things weren’t getting any worse, whenever it looked like she had to pee, I just took her out. Somebody asked me if she had a schedule. I had to say “define schedule.” I have a schedule that I plan to take her out for, and I always did, but there were usually extra trips.

One thing that surprised me was that the vet suggested that I give her more food! We’re not exactly lighting the world on fire with our amount of activity. But somehow her metabolism is devouring the amount I was giving her and she was losing more weight than she should. So we did, and her weight got better. The vet also said her eyes had gotten more cloudy, and she had a bit of arthritis in one hip. I didn’t even notice. But when the vet was doing the range of motion tests, she said she could see discomfort when she played with the one hip. I did notice that one time, when the fire alarm went off, Tansy did not want to go down all the stairs, which was a new development from the last time we had to do that giant stair descent.

Another thing was nobody had talked about Tansy having dandruff. Trixie had that problem, but Tansy never did…until this April. We went from no one saying a word to everyone having something to say. The vet said the flakes were mild and not to worry about them. But what flipped the flake switch? She had been having fish oil for years. I had just bathed her. I groomed her regularly. Why did they suddenly become obvious?

For a bit, she developed a persistent cough and I was worried. But eventually, it just went away. But sometimes she would start hacking and coughing at night and I would wonder what I would do if it looked like she was in serious distress and I thought I had to get her somewhere.

She also got out her barf bingo dabber and harfed back in April. The only thing that was new was we had been playing at the dog park with the person who eventually adopted her when she retired. But there’s nothing else I can think of. She’s so silent about it…and then…one of us finds it. Yuck!

Some days, she would really ask to play, and you’d think that she was full of energy, but usually she was only good for a couple of laps up and down our hall. This was a lot different than the way she used to be, but I guess she is much older now.

Also, she would run around like she used to, except she just couldn’t stop in time. You would hear her tear down the hall, and then…wam! Right into the corner! Her eyes apparently were getting cloudier, but I think she just couldn’t put the brakes on fast enough.

The circle of life continues. It was happening a few years ago when dogs Trixie’s age were passing away, but even younger ones are getting older and passing away, because they’re older now. It really makes you realize how old Tansy actually is.

This spring, she got more frisky when it looked like spring was coming for real. I said that she was talking to the groundhog and she got the early predictions. I don’t know how accurate she was, but she got more frisky than usual and really wanted to play more. She even thought a pair of big fuzzy socks would make great dog toys and I had to hide them.

The Shmans never managed to win the nephews over to liking her. They’re either indifferent, or they’re scared. Seppa can’t figure out if he likes her or not. As long as she isn’t trying to lick *him*, then he might be kind of sort of ok with her. He even giggles if she’s licking someone else. Once he laughed and said she was licking me like an ice cream cone, and another time she was spanking me with her tail. But he just finds her super unpredictable. One time, when we were going to stay there, he tried to find a way to uninvite me so the dog wouldn’t have to come. He said I looked different. I looked stinky, in fact. Apparently, the way to look stinky is to get a short hair cut. But he eventually decided maybe the dog was ok. For some reason, he was really excited to go out in the yard to find the “two dog poops that Aunt Carrot’s dog Tansy put there.” I’ve never seen anyone so excited to pick up poop.

He’s really watching things, because he noticed the sing songy way I would say her name when I would call her to me. Later, he said “Aunt Carrot,” say her name like when she listens to you.” And then he would pat his leg and imitate me. Yup, he’s watching everything.

Sukie is kind of like Seppa. He giggles when she’s running around…but if she gets too close, he gets worried. He called her “the evil dragon.” When we asked him what he would think about taking the evil dragon home, he said “No, that would be worse!” Poor Shmans doesn’t want to be evil. She might have dragon breath sometimes, but that’s about it. Poor, poor, misunderstood Shmans.

Talking about Tansy’s interactions with the little guys makes me wonder. How am I going to explain this retirement thing to them? Adults have enough trouble. How will kids take it? When Trixie retired, I never had to go through this. The only kid I had lots of time with was the huppy, and we moved away right after Trixie moved in with Brad, so didn’t see him anymore. But these little guys are going to have questions, and how do I find the right words?

For most of Tansy’s career, I didn’t have those abandonment dreams like I did with Trixie. All the dog dreams seemed to stop after Trixie passed away. But while trying to figure out where Tansy was going to go, I had a couple of them.

One of them consisted of Tansy going to the dog park with me to meet up with the person who eventually adopted her. In real life, we did go to the dog park so she could play with her other dog and we could see how they got along. Sometimes, Tansy would try and hump this dog, and she got told off by the dog, and by some miracle, Tansy listened! So, she would stand beside the dog and hump the air as if to say, “Can I get away with this?” Well, in the dream, I guess Tansy got a little overzealous, and before the two of us could stop it, she had humped this poor dog to death. That would never happen, but I guess I was worried Tansy would be too rambunctious.

The other dream I had involved us taking the dogs to play on some kind of trail, and us losing sight of Tansy. When we found her, she was trying to cross a busy street, and dodging cars. Gees! My mind knows how to let me know that this decision I’m making is weighing heavily!

This next thing is funny and sad. These 9 years I have had her, whenever I use dictation on my phone to write messages, it can never get her name right. It usually writes “Tansey” or “Kenzie”. If I say “Shmans”, it’s usually hopeless. Sometimes it rights “She mans” or “Shermans”. Well, pretty much as soon as she left, it started reliably writing “Tansy” and “Shmans”. What the heck is up with that?

I was sitting and thinking about how crazy she was when she was young. I was thinking about how hard she would run around the house after we finished a route. Then I was listening to some old recordings I had, and I found this gem recorded after she had just finished a meal. I had to laugh, because at one point I said “Aww, this is more subdued than I’d hoped!” Meanwhile, when I’m listening to that now, I know that her post-meal celebrations aren’t nearly that vigorous. Yes, the immortal Tansy is getting older. That is definite proof. Oh, and if you’re wondering what I referenced in the second recording about the sports broadcaster running commentary on his dogs eating, here it is.

Once Tansy left, I braced myself for the barrage of “Where’s your dog?” “Where’s your buddy?” “Where’s your puppy?” that I knew was coming. But I think I saw another dog do it, just like in the Trixie days. Back then, the dog came towards me, then froze and backed up. This one looked at me and barked a few times. It was like she actually asked “Where’s your dog?”

I just have two more things she did recently that made me laugh, so I had to write them down. The first was when we had COVID. As each of us had the worst of it, she couldn’t stop licking us. I had just heard about COVID-sniffing dogs, and wondered if that was what she was picking up on. We’ll never know, but she stopped being so obnoxious about the super licking as we got better.

But the goofball was obsessed with me whenever I would climb the stairs. I’ve started going down all our stairs for exercise, and then coming back up. Whenever I would get back, she would run over and lick me. Yuck! I know I’m sweaty, but I don’t want to be a human salt lick.

And those are all the notes I have. It was hard doing this one, because I know that she’s off starting her new life, and I won’t have nearly as much to say about her. I’ll pass on updates when I get them, but this will be the last time I have a big bunch of notes. We hope to have a little party in a park to let a bunch of people who loved her around the office come and say goodbye, and we might get some pictures and I’m sure I’ll have stories, but for now, this is it.

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