Life in general has been doing all it can to keep me from writing. Throughout the school year, work makes certain that most of my energy is spent before I get home. But this is summer vacation, and so far, it’s been anything but… summer OR vacation.

My partner and I began our summer with a trip to the beach to eradicate a massive nest of yellow jackets. She had been attacked the previous weekend as she left her mother’s cabin, so we offered to take it down. Four and a half cans of spray later, the nest was still active.

I did get to spend a little time with my manuscript and some difficult passages have been smoothed out and details added for clarification. They were hard areas to change, simply because much of the story hinges on particular characters and their unique traits. Any changes made would have to take all of that into consideration in order to remain true to the rest of the story and the plot.

While I slaved until midnight under the steady glare of a table lamp, my efforts were interrupted by an odd scratching sound coming from the door directly under the recently poisoned wasp nest. I blame lack of sleep and too much poison in my own system for the following thoughts: zombies. Or vampires.l

Yes, I was that tired. My manuscript contains neither of those monsters, so… yeah…

After regaining some control over my bodily functions, I managed to peer out the window and saw… not zombies. Not vampires. Just a juvenile raccoon foraging for more dead bugs to munch.

Once we gave up and returned home, we began cleaning our house, a task that is indescribably odious. I hate cleaning. Actually, it’s more of a de-nesting for me, especially in the corner of the office where I do most of my writing.

The good news, however, is that I’ve run across several notes, bits of poetry, and a quote that I thought lost forever. One of my favorite quotes surfaced and I would like to share it with you here:

“What the best stories awaken in us is yearning and recognition: Yearning for something longer ago, further away, or yet about to be. Recognition of something we have never met, but have always known.”
Maureen McQuerry

That’s why I write. There are landscapes and characters in my mind that I want to bring out and share, places that I want to visit over and over, to make as real as possible by putting them to paper.

On a very sad note, however, one of our dogs has suddenly become gravely ill, and after two days of suffering, the decision has been made to have her put down. It has not been an easy time, and my grief is deep.

Her story is one of extremes: her first owners abused her by giving her drugs; her second owner rescued her, but eventually had to give her up when she was moved to an assisted living facility; her third owners barely tolerated her before they declared that they were tired of her and were going to put her down.

By the time she came to us, she was a very sad 4-year-old dog. Afraid of men, she cowered before my husband. But with gentle patience, we helped her come out of her shell, and soon, not only did she adore my husband and sons, but would tolerate other men being around her. In the nine years we had her, she became a silly, fun addition to our family. We learned how to recognize her seizures, and what to do when she had them and she learned to trust our presence during those times. When my husband and I parted ways, she missed him and would greet him warmly when he visited.

I always thought she would go quickly, so when she began to refuse food and water, I began to worry. Within one week, she had gone from simply acting like an old dog (she’s 13 or 14), moving slowly but able to function, to being unable to move.

The decision to have her put to sleep was not an easy one for me to reach, but it finally occurred to me that her spirit may be willing to move on, but her body hasn’t figured it out yet. We have been standing at the foot of the Rainbow Bridge, and I can no longer keep her from crossing, I must help her take her first step.

She will be missed. There were lots of fun times with her, and for so many years, she carried an enthusiasm that was contagious, if not a little painful at times (she has very sharp toenails). There were dog parties on the bed, car rides, runs with her sister (a 16-year-old lab mix), and of course, the cats. Chasing the cats was just the best thing. Most of the cats. The ones that ran, anyway. The two that didn’t run, were not fun to chase. They tended to balk and scratch. Not fun. Not fun at all, even for a silly dog like her.

So, my writing will have to wait until I can stop crying every few minutes. I can clean while weeping, but I cannot write if I cannot see the monitor, nor can I focus on anything but my heartache.

Go in peace, sweet doggie. You will be missed. Thank you for blessing us with nine years of your company. I’ll see you again…



About Ms. Karen

This is what happens when you live with a writer: there are pens everywhere, except by the phone; notebooks...so many notebooks with strange scribblings that make no sense but must never be thrown away; and long rambling monologues about what certain characters would, or would not do in a given situation. It's almost as difficult as living with an artist. Man, THOSE people are bizarre...
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5 Responses to Update

  1. Heather says:

    Oh, MK, I’m so sorry, lady. What a wonderful blessing for her that you all came into her life…and what a blessing for you that she was such a joy.


  2. daoine says:

    I’m so sorry Karen. Is that Younger Hound? She was blessed to be taken in by you. You gave her many happy, silly years.

    I love that quote you quoted. I feel the same. I write because every time I read a story I’m expecting to read a “lost” story that hovers just on the tip of my brain. As much as I enjoy the story that another author has written, I never find “my” story. And so I have to write it. And I haven’t found exactly what I’m writing just yet, but that is just an excuse to keep writing new stories hunting for that elusive tale.


  3. Ms. Karen says:

    Heather, thank you. She certainly brought an interesting joy into our lives (and I mean that in a most sincere and good way).

    d. Thank you. Yes, that was Younger Hound. Elder Hound is still with us, as long as you consider 22 hours of sleep every day (on the couch) as “with” us.

    That particular quote resonated within me so deeply, I nearly fell out of my chair when I first heard it at a writer’s conference in Oregon. The author of the quote had the best class there. She loves her craft deeply, and it shows.


  4. Selma says:

    Oh, Karen. I am so sorry about your dear dog. It is heartbreaking to think she was so mistreated before she came to you. But what a lovely life she had with you. I am crying just thinking how sad it is to lose our beloved pets. It is so hard to say goodbye to them. I am terribly sorry XXX


  5. Ms. Karen says:

    Thank you, Selma. I’ve had a mixture of emotions surrounding this whole experience, and I’m hoping to come to grips with at least a few of them soon. Mostly it’s an equal mix of relief and sadness: she’s no longer in any pain, she’s having a ball with all the other pets I knew that have gone before her, and (FINALLY) no cat hair in her water dish; but I miss her.


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