Posts Tagged ‘Cleo’

Cleo at her command post
This dog is guarding the house.

We had to put our dog Cleo to sleep yesterday. She had been gradually losing control of her back legs, but her descent had accelerated and she was spending more time just sitting, inspecting the grass around her and taking sensor readings of the air. It was five months to the day since I first saw her wobbling at high speed around the pen where she was being held. How can one undersized corgi become an oversized part of your life in just five months?

On her last day, Cleo slept on the bed, ate lots of treats, rolled in the grass, took a few steps on her favorite trail, charmed one last stranger, and (briefly) chased a squirrel. That would be a good day for most humans. I’ll miss the war she waged against the chickadees in our backyard, the way she swam through the undergrowth in the forest, and how she would kick me awake at 3am because she was dreaming about chasing down a moose. Like most of us, in her dream life she was invincible.

Cheryl Strayed wrote in Wild, “The universe takes things away and never gives them back.” But the universe also gives you gifts. Cleo was a gift to us in a dark hour, and we’ll never regret taking a chance on her.

Cleo's tulip parade 041414
Tulips on parade.

Horace Silver, 1928-2014
Horace Silver was my favorite jazz pianist, though I didn’t discover him until his 1996 release, The Hard-Bop Grandpop. The man was a jazz institution and I came to him very late in his career. Two earlier albums that I know and can recommend are Blowin’ the Blues Away (1959) and especially Song for My Father (1964). RIP.

I was dreamin’ when I wrote this/forgive me if it goes astray
Let’s change the mood here. The Prince Project is on hold (just when were getting to the most notorious albums) because I am once again participating in the Clarion West Write-a-thon. I’m not going to blog about it because doing that last summer was insane. Instead, I’m signing off. See you on August 2. Enjoy your summer!

Random Pick of the Day
The Beatles, Revolver (1966)
Four things strike me as I listened to Revolver after many years of not listening to it:

One is that The Beatles embarked on 14 separate explorations of new musical pathways and brought each of them home in a concise 2-3 minutes. Arcade Fire or Pink Floyd would still be playing.

Two is that the album begins with something as mundane as taxes and ends with the Tibetan Book of the Dead. (Do the Tibetans read any fun books?)

Three is that “She Said She Said” would fit into any alt-rock radio playlist in 1986, 1996, 2006, and probably in 2166.

Four is that The Beatles’ experiment with Indian music is like punk’s flirtation a decade later with reggae – interesting, but only to a point, which in The Beatles’ case will come the following year on Sgt. Pepper.

A must-own album. But you already do.

In January we adopted an undersize corgi in need of rescue. Cleo is the abridged version of this type of dog – instead of weighing in around 30 pounds, she only weighs 20. She’s so small that we thought she was not far beyond puppyhood, but our vet says she’s a senior citizen – 10 or 11.

Cleo’s miniaturized frame works well for her because one of her back legs doesn’t work well at all. She probably has the same degenerative nerve condition that struck our last dog, Teddy. Her light weight makes it easier for her other legs to do most of the work. And they do!

Cleo running Jan 2014

This dog streaks like a missile across lawns and beaches and through any open door. She can outrun me in a sprint but not in a marathon. It was when I saw her racing around the perimeter of the large grassy pen where she was being held that I knew I wanted to give this dog a chance. She has a rage to live.

Cleo running looks from behind like a hook-and-ladder fire truck, except there’s no one steering on the back end.

When she’s not charging into the forest to chase another squirrel or racing around the base of our quince bush scolding the chickadees and goldfinches that perch there, she’s happy to curl up and sleep. On the bed, on the couch, on a pile of towels. She loves everyone and expects them all to love her. When we walk her at Reed College, she elicits a cascade of ooohs from coeds that we call The Sopranos Effect. She doesn’t like being left out. She can’t handle stairs, so if I’m downstairs she comes to the landing at the top and makes clicking sounds like the primitive drumbeats in Battlestar Galactica.

Manz Mar 14 Steve vs Cleo
Run-DMSteve takes Cleo for an al fresco editorial conference.

Yesterday we let her off the leash on a baseball field to play with another corgi. This other corgi owned a ball. It turns out that every ball Cleo sees belongs to her and she immediately transformed into Bilbo face-to-face with the Ring. The two dogs ran in circles, barking and snarling, with all of the humans shouting, which to dogs sounds like now we’re all barking. I cut off one of their circles (I haven’t owned herding dogs all these years without learning something) and tackled Cleo with a last-ditch slide. This is too much raging.

I’ve put off writing about Cleo because frankly, given her age and what’s going on with her back leg, we don’t know how long she’s going to last. But she’s already become a valued team member here at the Bureau. She’s probably going to win Employee of the Month for March. It’s time I introduced her.

Tomorrow: What I did on my mid-winter vacation!

Random Pick of the Day
The Smithereens, Blown to Smithereens (1995)
If The Beatles had stayed together, and if in the 1980s they got tired of listening to Simple Minds and Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark and decided to record something hard and dark but closer to their rock ’n’ roll roots, they might’ve come up with something similar to this.

The Smithereens are a solid band, though some of their songs do trudge along. If you like sad, they can deliver. “Beauty & Sadness” and “Only a Memory” touch the heart. “A Girl Like You” and “House We Use to Live in” rock so very hard. “Miles From Nowhere” borrows riffs from but none of the fun of The B-52s’ “Roam” and Duran Duran’s “Rio.” “Time Won’t Let Me” is a really bad cover.

And now that I’ve twice put “Rio” in your head, let’s all enjoy one of the funniest videos of all time. Oh, to dress in a tailored suit and engage in lip synchronization on a sailboat! If only they could’ve worked this into All Is Lost.

Emma: Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine

Flying baby

Sailor: Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction

Teddy: Blue Cheer, Louder Than God

Emma and Sailor are gone but Teddy barks on!

Addendum from the future (2016):

Manz Mar 14 Cleo in flight

Cleo: Quicksilver Messenger Service, Happy Trails