I’ve been watching the Westminster Kennel Club dog show this week. And thinking about the dogs in my own life.
So many of them — recently Samson and Auggie, and the childhood dog Snowball. And the 1990s dogs Elmo the Bassett Hound, Sam, Goldie, and Phantom, the latter two West Highland White Terriers. And Delilah.
Auggie is going to a new home today. I’m a mess of tears, but I know I’m doing the right thing in loving him so much that I want him to have more opportunity for outdoors, and companionship.
His new humans are a delightful couple who are home more than I am. They also have a 10-year-old female miniature Schnauzer, and the two are fast friends already.
I’m going to miss this little guy, though.
Here’s the post that started the conversation:
I have come to the difficult decision that I must find Auggie a new home.
After 10-plus years of dog owning in St. Louis, the sad reality is that my schedule and lifestyle are just not healthy for a dog.
While I am in no hurry, I am starting to put out the word that Auggie is available for adoption with the right placement. He needs someone who is home more than I am, and who can happily tolerate his noisiness toward other dogs.
The ad might read like this:
Auggie is an 8.5-year-old miniature Schnauzer. He is loving and affectionate. He does not like other dogs. He needs regular walks several times a day. He is up-to-date on shots (October), and is neutered. He loves to run outdoors, and to tug at his leash on walks. He also loves to bark at other dogs as they walk by. Auggie was a rescue; his early life led to some abandonment issues that have now mostly been resolved. He is on a special diet (Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Urinary SO Dry Dog Food) for some crystals in his urine. He’s a sweetheart, and loved by all who meet him. His current human is facing a lack of hours to love on the little guy, and wishes to place him in a home where he can receive the attention he craves and deserves.
9.40 p.m. Friday evening. Auggie is looking out the window in vain. Nothing moves except the snow. No dogs take their evening walk. The world is still and laden with wet snow.
I think it’s been hours since I heard a car on my street. No car tracks are present, so at least in my neighborhood, we have all taken the sage advice of those who know. “Stay off the streets.”
This is our first big snowfall of the year, and I’m delighting in being indoors with the fireplace and the candles and the silence.
My last big chart for Circus Harmony is complete. Now to arrange a few ditties for some small things in the show, and we’ll be ready for a rehearsal. On Sunday. When the forecast calls for freezing drizzle.
I made homemade bread today. And homemade noodles to go with the chicken I had in the freezer, creating a lovely mirepoix-based chicken & noodles. The house is still scented with the deliciousness that was dinner and yeasty bread baking this afternoon.
Now time for a call with Yufei, and then an early-to-bed evening, I think.
The story in short: I got home on Thursday to find that he’d really been licking his right hind paw. A lot. The skin was raw. So this morning we went to the vet. Possibly allergies. Possibly anxiety. He got an antibiotic shot; is on anti-itch pills for two weeks; and is in the cone until he can stop chewing on his paw.
Greetings to friends and family around the world. I write on the day of the winter solstice, and note with sadness that this world seems particularly darker than it did a year ago. I pray for light and truth to again be kindled in the hearts of those who lead, and who alone can set to the tone for this world.
May it be so.
Even with the death of my father in the waning days of 2017, my own 2018 has been significantly brighter than national and international news might allow!
Winter. A solo cabaret act. Loads of teaching and concert-going and the robust time of the year at the office. A quiet winter without any significant travel except for a quick trip to Naples, Florida to see Spencer go on as Prince Chulalongkorn in The King and I.
Spring. Begins with a trip to Moscow to discuss collaborations. Attend a concert in Tchaikowsky Hall. Tourist for full, long day in Moscow. Holy Week in London, with services at St. Paul’s and Westminster Abbey. My former student sings Gerontius at King’s College Cambridge. Wrap up the school year with a sizable graduating class. Pack up and finish work on my father’s estate. A week in NYC, and confirmation of a budding relationship. Solo/ensemble contest brings solid results. Senior recitals with three voice students. Attend the Tony Awards. Celebrated the completion of 10 years at Webster University.
Summer. Begins with a week in Lincoln at a conference. Then to Vienna on the Messing Faculty Award for three weeks of research and curriculum development. Side trips to Stockholm and Florence. Allergies abound in Vienna! Wept copious tears at the sight of Michelangelo’s David. Start the new school year with days of meetings, and a robust new-student class. Yufei visits Saint Louis. Start work with Variety Children’s Choruses as the new conductor. Celebrate my 57th birthday with a day of museum visits in Vienna, and a screening of The Third Man at a kino.
Autumn. Auggie turns 8. Sabbatical begins in mid-October. Accept a gig with Circus Harmony as composer and music director for the big January show. Start traveling immediately. Chicago with Yufei. Toronto and Niagara Falls with my nephew Luke. Washington, D.C. (pandas!!) and NYC with Yufei. Chicago again. And Christmas at home in Lee’s Summit with my sisters. Attend multiple Circus Harmony classes and practices. Conduct a holiday concert with the Variety Children’s Choruses. Attend Joffrey Ballet and Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Over the course of the year I’ve witnessed powerful live concert performances. Viewed some of the world’s greatest artworks. Learned more about cooking. Kept up the slow renovations on a 100+ year-old home. Enjoyed some stunning meals (Stockholm, Vienna, Chicago, NYC all were gastro-delight locations). Worshipped in grand and beautiful spaces. Composed some decent music. Shot loads and loads of photos (I’m starting to understand light much better). Whipped up homemade plum jam and blood orange marmalade. Taken various architectural tours. Read more books than the year before, and also a big chunk of the Bible. Extended my cufflink-buying spree with a dozen new pairs. Imparted lessons about singing, and about life, with students. Loved on my dog. Caught up with friends in far-flung places. Bought more new eyeglasses. Fallen in love.
Not a bad year indeed.
May 2019 bring us comfort and joy and challenges that we can together address.