Addie’s Journal – Chapter 6

The next morning when I peeked around the hall corner toward Addie in her crate, I said, “Addie, Good mor-ning! I’m so glad to see you!” I couldn’t resist clapping my palms together and raising my shoulders with joy.

She lay on her side and wagged her tail, slowly, but an undeniable happy little wag.”Oh, little girl, I love seeing your tail wag. It lets me see a day when you will grow into a joyful spirit!”

She walked out the door and down the steps for our morning walk, enjoying morning coolness, sunshine, and patches of sunshine breaking through treetops to sprinkle shards of yellow spots on the mountain floor. Addie and I spent an enjoyable half hour together: she sniffed all over the yard, discovering deer scent here and there. We went into the pen where I unleashed her, watching her carefully as she occasionally looked for places to get beneath and outside the fence. She ran and I walked, smiling as I watched her tail wagging from adagio (moderately slow, in absence of a scent) to prestissimo (very, very fast in presence of a scent.) Later, back at the gate, I said, “C’mon, Addie. Time to eat.” She didn’t yet understand what that meant, and tagged along reluctantly with me to the house. One day, I knew that would change.

Inside, Addie spotted Button in the living room and immediately chased him. He jumped over the baby gate into the hallway and stayed in my room.

Flower and Ed came by later in the morning to bring a new bed for Addie that blended nicely with my living room colors, and some treats for Button. Addie didn’t want to try out the bed; rather she retreated to her crate with the thick fleece-covered pad, lay her head on it and watched us as we talked. I brought up her chasing Button, which isn’t a large concern, yet I didn’t want it to escalate.  As he had done on their last visit, Button hopped over the gate and jumped on the couch. Flower and Button observed and continue to feel Button is not afraid and will retaliate, if he needs to. He hissed and Addie paid attention. We all gave each animal lots of attention, praise, and treats; we were rewarded with  the return of peace between them.

As Flower and Ed were leaving, she placed a red, round, hard plastic something into my hand. “This is a Kong,” she said. “I have a friend who fills it with food and holds it in place with a dog biscuit. Each time she has to leave her dog home alone, she fills the Kong and puts it in the crate. It’s gotten so the dog loves to see her leave these days.”

“Now that’s very cool,” I said and thanked her for yet another gift to help with Addie’s transition. Later, I put some turkey mixture inside the Kong and sealed it with a little peanut butter. The Kong held her attention and was soon empty.


After Flower and Ed left, Addie and I went for another walk. When I encouraged her toward the house, she pulled hard to go in the other direction, any other direction, so I finally picked her up and carried her inside. She napped for awhile, then I lifted her into her new bed and sat with her to scratch her chin and belly. Her body felt tense at first, yet as time passed I could feel her begin to relax. I gave her a treat.

When I got up, she did, too. Once down on the kitchen floor, she headed straight for her crate and curled up in a corner, watching me as I took the Pyrex bowl of homemade dog food and scooped some into a small bowl. I loved making dog and cat food for my pets before Addie joined us, and hoped she would like this mixture of ground turkey with a few  mixed vegetables and brown rice. I lay the bowl next to her kibble and she suspiciously approached it. She sniffed and then licked at the mixture. Soon, the bowl was empty and I was delighted. She was eating better. Such a good sign. She ignored the kibble I’d offered, so later that night I mixed several pieces of kibble into the turkey mixture. The bowl quickly emptied and I smiled broadly.

After a nap, she stepped outside her crate and followed me around as I moved between the kitchen and living room. When I was making a cup of tea, Addie jumped up to put her front paws on the bay window. She seemed to want to hop up but her legs were too short, so I placed a broad wooden step in front of the window and showed her how to step up onto the broad surface. She wanted to get down immediately, so I moved aside, praising her.

I brought my tea to my computer where I sat down to write and heard her moving by the bay window. I returned to discover Addie was standing up in the window; she’d traversed the two steps up herself. I went over to pet her and talk with her and, as I did, she sat down for awhile. I returned to my keyboard and she followed me. In awhile, she returned to the kitchen and I found her taking a little nap in the bay window. This little girl keeps me smiling throughout the day!

IMG_20170712_101428630_HDR (1)

To wrap up today’s activities, I will share that Addie yawned while Ed and Flower were here. Flower broke out into a big smile and said, “She’s breathing out butterflies.” Now that’s an image I’ll never forget whenever I see Addie yawn. Or anyone else, for that matter.

Such a good day!20-free-butterfly-clip-art-l



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.
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4 Responses to Addie’s Journal – Chapter 6

  1. Breathing out butterflies! Delightful metaphor, and definitely one I’ll remember.
    This episode is heart-warming, Mary Jo – especially Addie’s return to the ledge on her own after you showed her how – independent streak in there, surfacing bit by bit, in spite of all she’s suffered. You are her angel.


  2. face what you know says:

    So loving this unfolding of Addie’s personality as trust builds ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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