Our Life in Dog Years
This month marks 40 years since I moved to New England (first Providence, then Rehoboth the next year). Am I a New Englander now? I didn’t think so. However, I certainly qualify as an adopted New Englander and I feel at home here. I left Cincinnati at the end of one of its worst winters, so I thought I was all set for winter here, though “The Blizzard” the next year proved me wrong on that.
Rehoboth has grown more crowded in the past four decades (more houses, more traffic) but still retains its country-like feel, or so it seems to me. I have to note that I thought the town offices were shabby when I first saw them in 1978, so I am definitely in favor of the new municipal building complex. Town workers should not have to work in substandard conditions, and the current decrepit old offices do not speak well for our town.
Looking a bit further afield, I don’t see why Tiverton needs a casino (haven’t we reached a saturation point on gambling around here anyway?) and I think even one skyscraper on the land near the highway in Providence is one too many. Providence itself has certainly changed over the past 40 years. One of the new features on the East Side that I’ve been watching with interest is the new dog park near the ramp to the Henderson (Red) Bridge. That’s certainly proving to be a popular place for dogs and dog-lovers.
I haven’t been to the dog park yet, but we now have a new little buddy who would like it. Lucy is a four-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel we have had for a couple of months. She is loads of fun and loves people and other dogs; this is a very social breed of dog. I had thought they were lap dogs and while they love to snuggle, they are also very active and energetic. This is just what I was looking for (that is, a furry little exercise machine to motivate me.)
We were very distressed to lose our beloved mutt Teddy about a year ago. He was a special little dog and so playful. (We love Lucy but if you toss her a ball she just looks at it.) So now we’ve had six dogs over the past 35-plus years; three were shelter dogs and three purebreds (the other two were Shetland sheepdogs, or Shelties). We loved them all, each in its own way. However, finding a new dog that was just right for us was a long process.
For one thing, it is daunting to realize that you have reached the stage of life where a dog, especially if it is a puppy, might outlive you. We did adopt a senior dog last time. We think Teddy was older than the folks at the Northeast Animal Shelter said, though we have nothing but praise for this well-run shelter on the North Shore. Still, we only had Teddy for four short years before his back and legs gave out entirely.
The low point in our dog search of 2016 (it can now be revealed) was the day last spring when we impulsively brought home a little terrier from one of those adoption day events at a Petco in Warwick. This rescue group was from Georgia, I believe. I had neglected to make sure the critter’s leash and collar were secure and the little guy managed to make a break for it the minute his paws touched the ground in our yard. Of course he had no idea where he was and no ID on him. We chased him around the neighborhood for a while, to no avail.
I called Animal Control to leave a message explaining the problem. Lord knows where the dog had gotten to by this time. We got a call from someone about half a mile away at 11 p.m. saying they had found the dog. So we thanked her profusely and went to retrieve the little wanderer, who had enjoyed his day of running free. The next day we returned the terrier to the nice ladies from Georgia (thank heavens they were still in Rhode Island) explaining that while we hoped he would find a new home, we really could not keep this dog. Apparently, he tried to bolt every time you opened the door too. So all’s well that ends well, but that was a nerve-wracking day. It taught me not to be too impulsive in our dog search.
But we finally got lucky with Lucy. Having an energetic little canine buddy is a great way for people to get exercise. It’s a good way to get away from things for a little while too, especially all the turbulence we find ourselves in these days. But regardless of what is going on in the wider world, it is always good to stop staring at those glowing screens for a while and to get out in the fresh air (another advantage of living in Rehoboth) and see the natural world from the point of view of a happy-go-lucky little spaniel.