Addie’s Journal – Chapter 5

On Addie’s second day, our walks were delightful. On our first morning walk, I fastened her leash, opened the sliding door, scooped her up to take her down the three steps to the yard. As soon as she stood on terra firma, her nose dropped to the ground and sniffed as her tail began to wag. Her happiness was contagious. We went for a long walk around the back yard, the front yard and then inside the dog pen, where I kept her still leashed when she actively tried to find a way to get out beneath the wire fencing and the wooden door. I learned I could not yet let her run free in the pen, but hoped the time would come so that she could have the simple, sheer pleasure of running free. Not yet, though. If she got loose, that could be a potential disaster she or we didn’t need.

Flower and Ed came to visit, the adoption counselors from Almost Home. I described the bad start Addie and Button had gotten off to. As we talked, sitting near Addie’s crate, Button walked in at the other end of the room and hopped up on the coffee table. He faced us and watched closely. Flower observed by his actions that Button was not afraid of dogs. It was true he’d not been afraid of my recently re-homed dog, Beau, and I was pleased this would hopefully carry over. Clearly Addie was not afraid of the cat, either.

Flower and Ed had brought a dog bed, a gate, cat treats, and some shredded chicken breast, which they liberally reinforced both respective animals with for their good behavior  I enjoyed a long conversation with Flower and Ed who, retired, volunteer many hours a week, sometimes full time, to assure successful pairings between humans and animals. They gave me so many helpful tips for success, the most important on that day reinforcing that I spend lots of time with my cat, so he didn’t feel displaced and resentful, and with Addie, so she could feel warmly welcomed into and part of all that went on in our home. Before leaving, Flower decided to give the new bed to Button and said she’d bring another for Addie in a few days.


    Button in his new bed

I forgot to return the chicken yet was glad to have it to give to Addie for treats. I pulled some frozen chicken breasts from the freezer and decided chicken would be her food for the next few days as I tried introducing other foods. In a few days I’d make some of my homemade dog food, I thought. Then Addie and Button and I lay down for a long rest, all of us suddenly very tired.

After our nap, Addie and I walked along the tree line outside the dog pen, where a small (because it is so dry this year) stream trickles along. She wanted to step in and so she and I enjoyed several minutes of walking together in the clear shallow water. As she padded around, sniffing and looking at her surroundings, she stopped to take a long cool drink. In time, we stepped up about a foot onto the grassy bank and worked our way back to the house


The stream with a large dry patch in the right front corner. Normally, the water is several inches deep.

I cooked the thawed chicken and diced some for Addie’s dinner. I measured out half a cup into her food bowl and mixed ¼ cup of kibble with it, then put it inside her open-doored crate. She poked at the dish briefly and then, to my delight, cleaned the entire dish spotless. I praised her and stroked beneath her chin. She curled up for a nap as I sat nearby recording her day in her Journal. Half an hour later she looked up at me, awake, and I asked if she wanted to go for a walk. She didn’t answer, of course, but easily complied as I slipped on her leash. I carried her down the deck steps and we had another nice half-hour walk around the property. She had a bout with loose stool. So her small battered, bruised body was beginning to work the way it should, thankfully; it just needing a little tweaking.

Before we settled down for the night, I gave her a small portion of mashed sweet potatoes, a natural remedy for loose stool, with a little diced chicken. She left some sweet potato but ate all the chicken. As I praised her and scratched beneath her jaw, Addie stunned me when she rolled over to expose her belly for a rub. I softly cooed and my heart sang as she let me rub her belly.

At day’s end, I reflected that Addie had eaten lightly but well, and I felt we were moving in good directions. “I love you, Addie,” I told her as I closed the door to her crate and dimmed the living room light by the hallway. Button waited in my bedroom to hop up on the bed with me as he did each night. Addie was quiet all through the night.

Thank you for a good day together, I silently said to my Creator.


About Mary Jo Doig

At the turn of the millennium, I arrived at a cross-road that brought me to a splendid, if unforeseen place, almost as if I were a traveler on Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled. I was single again, my three children were grown and building their lives, I'd experienced a health issue and was working on an improved lifestyle. I also ached to do two other things: (1) change my long human services career in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains, where winter seemed to be at least seven months out of every year, and (2) move to a warmer place in the universe. My decision: did I want to continue on the path I'd been following pretty much all my life, or could I gather my then-fragile courage and start life brand new somewhere else? These were scary thoughts for a single woman in her late 50s. Five hundred miles away, though, I fell in love with a new mountain range, Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, where I knew not a soul except my daughter who was attending college in the Shenandoah Valley, and I moved. I rented a tiny cabin on a mountain in the woods and lived there in solitude for two years, working in a new career by day and, when home, communing with the incredible natural beauty that surrounded me. There I also began to write my life stories, which were aching for release. I joined the Story Circle Network in early 2001, a rich place in cyberspace for women life writers, where I strengthened my written voice and began sharing my stories. I found so many opportunities to grow: 10 year facilitator for an online writing circle of women writers across the country; thirteen year editor of the "True Words from Real Women" section of the quarterly Journal; a reader and reviewer of women's memoirs for the SCN Book Review site; program chair for two Stories from the Heart national conferences in Austin, T. Presently I'm teaching Women's Life-Writing and Older Women's Legacy workshops in my part of the world in Central Virginia and facilitating the ongoing Circle of Memories Writing Circle (formerly an OWL workshop that continued on) at the Crozet Public Library. I am blessed with three wonderful children, a son and two daughters; a small, huge-hearted family; dear friends; my beagle Addie and cat Button. My hobbies include reading, writing, editing, cooking, gardening, quilting, knitting, biking, and simply being with the profound beauty of the mountains that embrace my small two acres in the Blue Ridge. The life stories I began writing in 2001 have grown deeper with time, re-writes, and personal growth. All these years later, I'm scheduled to publish my memoir, Stitching a Patchwork Life, in 2018.
This entry was posted in Animal friends, Compassion, Gifts, Grace, Gratitude, Mother Nature, Simplicity. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Addie’s Journal – Chapter 5

  1. Beautifully told – I love that the two of you went wading!
    Looking forward to further interactions between Button and Addie.


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