In this time of COVID-19 when cases of the virus skyrocket and people are urged to stay at home to reduce COVID-19's spread, it is easy to feel lonely. That sense of loneliness kept growing and growing in me until I finally made the decision to adopt a dog from the local animal shelter.
I have had Peanut, a 31-pound mixed breed who's two-and-a-half years old, for a week now. She has banished loneliness totally. I discovered after walking her on a leash for several days that the leash approach doesn't work for me. My body protested with all sorts of aches and pains. But I do have a large back yard that Peanut loves to explore. She races joyfully around the yard, which she couldn't do on a leash. She and I go out several times a day. I watch her play, and she loves to run huge circles around the yard and around me.
In my back yard I have a garden plot, empty now that freezing weather has come, and Peanut likes to sniff around in it, finding all sorts of smells that tantalize her nose. This afternoon, one of those tantalizing smells was a baby elm tree that grew between my chain link fence and the cement wall that separates my property from my neighbor's back yard. She poked her nose through the chain link as far as she could and stretched her tongue out until she managed to wrap it around the baby elm. She snagged a leaf or two and ate them with relish.
A tall elm tree grows in my neighbor's back yard, and, as most elms do, it does its best to reproduce itself. Unfortunately, this summer I found hundreds of elm sprouts in my garden, many hiding under carrot and beet leaves. I had to methodically pull them up before they grew bigger. It was an endless task. And even today, in the last half of November, I occasionally find baby elm trees taking root.
How interesting that the dog I chose to adopt from the animal shelter likes to chow down on baby elm trees. That is icing on the cake. Peanut is a friendly, lovable dog who came to me housebroken and obedient. And now I discover she likes to eat baby elm trees too. Extraordinary!
At first, I wondered how I would survive having a dog in the house, because she was triggering my asthma symptoms. Then a friend told me she'd had a similar reaction with her dogs until she shampooed them with Douxo, a chlorhexidine shampoo that is antiseptic and helps to kill bacteria on the skin of dogs and cats. I ordered it on the Internet, and it arrived today. I wasn't sure how well it would work, but I put a reluctant Peanut in a bathtub of warm water and shampooed her. She graciously put up with the shampoo, and now she smells so good. She is no longer triggering asthma symptoms, and I am so thankful to my friend who shared how well this shampoo worked for her.
How lucky can I be to have a dog who likes to eat baby elm trees and a friend who shared such helpful information with me. As Thanksgiving approaches, I am feeling so thankful for my dog and my friend! They have both made life much easier and enjoyable!