I'm gonna go a little off topic here, but that's OK; it's my blog and I can do what I want. 🤣
I have some really awesome neighbors, and I haven't been able to say that for a long time. There's a lady that lives in the carriage house across the alley, and every now and then when she walks her dog, if Freckles is out, she'll let her dog come up to the fence for a few minutes and Freckles loses her shit with excitement. On one side of me, there's a retired guy that lives in 1 unit of a duplex and his mom lives in the other. Both are super friendly and I see them out and about all the time; they both take frequent walks around the neighborhood together. A littler further up the road there's an older guy who lives in the big apartment building and he always spends a few minutes talking to me - mostly rah-rahing my rehab work - when we see each other. On the other side of me, in the goofiest of coincidences, it's a guy (and his wife) who loves old buildings as much as I do (he runs the Landmarks Association of St. Louis), loves dogs, is the same age as me, and played hockey in his younger days much like I did. We always chat across our shared fence and occasionally drink beers around my fire pit. He's always super cool about Freckles' complete lack of any sorta chill when he's over.
That neighbor I just mentioned, his 14-year-old dog Oscar passed away yesterday. I didn't get to know his dog other than what I could see through the fence, mainly because Oscar didn't get around too well anymore and he was probably traumatized by my home's previous occupants and their ridiculous pack of unruly dogs. But hearing about a dog passing away is always tough because 1, you obviously feel awful for the person who lost their pet/buddy/family member, and 2, if you've got a dog, especially an older one like I do, the situation hits home pretty squarely.
So that's a bad deal. It also may have snapped me out of the lazy funk I've been in for the past couple weeks. I think I might just spend a day this coming weekend building Roscoe a new bed.
I get the dogs Christmas presents every year.
Freckles' primary gift, and it's really a gift to me I suppose, is a DNA test. I got Roscoe's DNA tested when he was 10 and I thought it was super cool to find out what breeds he is, what breeds his parents and grandparents were, etc. I figured I'd do the same with Freckles, but not wait until she's 10.
Then there's Roscoe. What do you get a dog that has 42 of everything, has been on 17 million hikes and adventures, has a diet that's just as much salmon and chicken and sweet potatoes as it is dog food, and could no longer care less about toys? A new bed, of course, but there's more to that story.
Roscoe has always been allowed to pretty much lay wherever he wants to, be it the floor, my bed, the couch, wherever. He's always had big pillows and dog beds and stuff like that but when he was maybe 3 or 4 years old I wanted him have something a little more formal. Something a little off the floor. Something different. Something unique.
So I went to the local big box dog stuff store and got a big dog bed pillow thing and then sorta built a half box around it with a little platform to elevate the bed, kind of a crate-lookin' thing. Make no mistake, this wasn't high-end woodworking or anything like that, just a fun little project I threw together. And ya know what? Roscoe slept in that bad boy every night for years and years after that.
Ol' Roscoe, he had thick back legs, and hair on his tail, and he wasn't all calloused up and lumpy back then. Different story now, unfortunately.
Anyhow, I guess I never noticed it until Freckles came along, but that bed has become sort of a living piece of furniture. You'll see what I'm talking about in a second, but there's a spot on the side, near the front, where Roscoe always laid his head and over time wore away the stain. There are a million little claw marks, accumulated a couple at a time, on the front board from Roscoe stepping on it every time he got in and out of bed. There's a spot on a corner where I wore away the stain from using it to put my boots on before work every morning.
And, a more recent acquisition, there's a little spot by one of the handles where puppy Freckles tried to eat the bed.
See, the first night Freckles lived with us, she zonked out from all the excitement and slept in her kennel with zero problems. The second night, when it was time to go to sleep I put her in her kennel and, in a sign of things to come from the little alpha girl, she wasn't having it. At all.
So I brought her into my room and she slept in my bed for a few nights. No problems, aside from the one time I woke up at like 3am because she had fallen between the bed and the wall, got stuck, and was SCREAMING.
But then, one night, she just plopped down in Roscoe's bed and it's sort of been hers ever since. Roscoe's never been a very aggressive dog - unless the line eventually gets crossed, then watch out - and he's too old to want to fight over much of anything, so he's let Freckles have his bed.
He's kind of transient throughout the night now and he bounces around from one place to another, but he typically sleeps just outside the bedroom door, facing the front of the house, protecting the house and its sleeping occupants. Roscoe has the "protector" gene times about 600.
But, I think part of the reason he sleeps outside the bedroom is because he doesn't have his own bed in the bedroom anymore.
So...I got Roscoe a new dog bed pillow thing. BUT, it's not just ANY dog bed pillow thing.
Last Christmas I got the dogs a big pillow, for the front room of the house, from Big Barker. It's plenty big for both dogs, and one of the best dog-related investments I've ever made. Roscoe spends more time on it than Freckles, but it's plenty big for both of 'em.
I wound up getting the first Big Barker bed because that brand seemed to consistently rank at the top of best dog bed lists, particularly for aging dogs with joint issues and/or pain. Roscoe seems to like it quite a bit so I figured I'd get him another one to sleep on, albeit not another XL size, and I'll make sure Freckles knows its his, not hers. That has to be better for him than sleeping on the floor.
Roscoe's 2 months away from turning 13. On our weekly hikes, which Roscoe still seems to enjoy as much as ever thankfully, it's like dealing with somebody with Alzheimer's. He walks really slowly behind me and Freckles and I have to stop pretty frequently to let Roscoe catch up, a far cry from his younger days as a frontrunner that would outpace me. But every now and then, like every 10-15 minutes, he'll get a little burst, pick up the pace, pass me, and proudly walk like he did as a younger dog. Those moments are fleeting and only last a few seconds, then it's back to the slow pace at the back of the pack.
It may be impossible to do anything above and beyond the current regiment of Vetoryl, fish oil, joint supplements, and a diet high in legit good, healthy proteins and fats, but if a new, proper bed will help, I'll always be willing to try.
So really, Freckles didn't steal Roscoe's bed so much as she just got a head start on inheriting his hand me down. And maybe a quick, fun, pressure-free little build will get me back on the construction horse and I can get back to work on the house.