I swear that our dog can understand everything we say. Zeppelin (the dog) is a 17-year-old black Lab/Rhodesian mix who’s named after Led Zeppelin because of their song “Black Dog.” Yes, I said 17 years old. Like any dog of that age (equivalent to about 96 in human years) her legs are weak, she has cataracts and fatty tumors and is, apparently, deaf. Her back legs can no longer lift her off the hardwood floors, so when we’re home, my wife Sandi and I have to pick her up often. We leave her alone when we’re at work and many times we’ve come home to find the poor pooch sprawled out in the middle of the floor, a pile of poop nearby.
Sometimes Zeppy stands and stares at nothing in particular, but most of the time she paces. Our house is 2,000 square feet and the dog must pace every square foot of it dozens of times a day.
And she sheds. Always. I don’t know how any animal could produce so much hair. My Roomba robot vacuum cleaner gets clogged after just a few seconds of trying to hoover it all up.
Sandi will take her on long walks, hoping to make her tired, but when Zeppelin gets home, she continues to pace…and shed…for a couple of hours until she collapses, hopefully on a rug. At least she isn’t a constant barker. When she does bark, the windows rattle! Zeppy still has major lung power.
Last week, after a particularly difficult day of having to constantly pick up our dog and constantly trying to get her to do her business, Sandi and I had “the talk” about our sweet teenaged pet. We discussed who would drive her to the vet, how much euthanasia will cost and how “that dog has gotta go because she’s driving us crazy!” Zeppelin was snoozing on the floor between us as we planned her demise.
The next day, though, she was like a younger version of herself. She managed to not fall down and she began notifying us that she needed to go outside. She started running and jumping like a puppy, albeit a clumsy one. Now we come home to a dog who’s happy to see us and who’s still on all fours and who has not relieved herself inside the house! It’s as if Zeppelin heard every word of our chat and decided to be her old self. Weird.
I used to scoff at those who said, “Dogs are people, too.” Now I’m not so sure they’re wrong.
Welcome back, Zeppy!
The San Diego Troubadour and Me
I don’t even remember when I began writing for the Troubadour. It was at the holiday party in 2003 years ago when Ellen Duplessie commented that the paper needed writers and I blurted out, “I can write!” (About WHAT, I still can’t tell.)
I first realized that people liked my writing style when a local singer approached me on a Gaslamp street and said something to the effect that he felt like he was “there” while reading one of my columns.
I am still the only staffer who doesn’t play acoustic music. Hell, I’m no longer in a band, for that matter! And soon I may no longer be a writer because I am trying to lighten my load. I’m getting kind of tired of working six days a week at three jobs plus this column.
But, then again, I may NOT quit! We’ll see. I love this rag!