Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An Autumn Walk With My Lab Delilah Dog

We've had a nice run of beautiful weather here in "Steeler Country," so we've been taking full advantage of our Summer like days. Last Saturday we drove up to Fort Ligonier Days and spent half the day looking at crafts. We dined at the First Wok Chinese restaurant, I had shrimp lomein, which I couldn't taste much because I still had my cold! We had a wonderful day out enjoying the sun and all the Autumn sights.

Today another beautiful day, I can say almost like an Indian Summer day. I took my Delilah to our favorite cornfield for a walk, photo above. the farmer alternates between planting corn and soy every year. You can see the trees are starting to change, but colors were more prominent in the mountains when we were in Ligonier . There is a path which goes all around the his cornfield, and down in the center treeline is a creek. A hunter had left deer guts along our path, and of course Delilah was right on it chomping away as fast as she could. The guts were fresh on the ground a couple days ago and were smelling pretty ripe by now. I had to pull her off them, gaging at the foul odor. It's archery season here, and very often we come upon guts and carcuses of deer on our walks in the woods. There are numerous hunters in my area, including female ones!

Delilah couldn't wait to venture out to cool off in the creek water. You can see the leaves were blowing around and floating on top. She doesn't wonder out too far anymore, because her swimming legs are not what they used to be. She swam in our home swimming pool up until last year, she just lost strength in her front paws to pull herself up the ladder. I miss swimming with her. Tears come to my eyes watching her happiness, knowing our time together may come to an end someday in the near future.

Delilah will be 14 years old in January 2009. She was my birthday gift, and my pick of the litter. We had bred our male Sampson with another black Lab Jiggs, and the puppies were beautiful. There were three chocolate Lab pups, but Delilah had the nicest coat and femine face. Delilah is still beautiful with her chocolate and white fur. She has hip dysplasia, arthritus in her paws, and fatty tumors. But she can get around quite well, and she never misses a bite of food we toss to her. Delilah loves her walks, food, and naps more than anything in her world. She's not the lady she once was, she hacks very loudly, pants in constant hotflashes, and she has developed bad manners regressing back to her puppyhood! She likes to steal butter foil wrappers out of the garbage, and drolls big time when you're eating something good. Since she is so old, she gets away with alot of stuff! Delilah is very spoiled and will be until her dying day.

I just had to post this photo of my Sampson and Delilah. We sadly put down Sampson in 2000. He was only 9 1/2 years old. I was devasted to lose my baby. Labrador Retrievers have a lifespan of 10 years. Sampson had the most beautiful coat, onyx shiny black. He had extraordinary puppy dog eyes, with whites underneath which always grabbed at my heart strings. Delilah has his eyes too. They were a pair together, Sampson taught her everything he knew. They ran away together, rolled in cow patties together, rolled in dead animals together, and slept together. We had double trouble with these high strung Labs, but I loved every minute of being with them. I knew when Sampson passed, I would still have Delilah. Now when Delilah goes, all of my Sampson will be gone! Aren't they too cute.? More photos of my Sampson and Delilah can be found on my PassionsFlame site here.

A couple days ago I happened upon another blogger, Maureen ~ water:: earth :: wind :: fire She has a Sam dog too, and her Sam is going to be 20 years old in March 2009. His amazing story is on her site. He looks much like my Sampson did when he reached maturity. What a phenomenal dog, I hope he makes it to 20, and her Sam gives me hope that Delilah may still have some time!


Jo Janoski said...

An autumn walk with a dog in the autumn of her years...I know what you mean about these good older dogs. My Peepers is in remission with her cancer at the moment, but she has trouble getting around. And I know to take every day as precious.

Jo A. T.B. said...

Yes Jo, getting those walks in there. She has trouble walking in the snow, especially when it freezes out here and gets real hard. I'm glad to hear Peepers is hanging in there. What a cute name. Everyday is precious with those you love!

Maureen said...

Jo, your Delilah is where my Sam was a few years ago -- so I hope you really do get to enjoy many more years with her sweetness. :-) It is a bittersweet thing to live with and love an old dog. I often wish we had puppies by Sam and another flattie, that we hadn't neutered him so early. Because he really has been, for our family, the best companion ever. I wish I had a Sam-puppy now, who had learned alongside him like your Delilah did with Sampson. A Sam-puppy who might expand to take up his place in my heart when Sam does leave us. But I guess that's not really the way it works.

In my unscientific opinion, I believe that part of the secret to Sam's longevity is the diet we have been feeding him for 10 years. The only change we have made in this diet recently is to cut out the rice, because we think he might have been getting too much "grain." We also give him a big scoop of plain cultured yogurt with each meal, for intestinal health.

Here's a flickr set of Sam pics, with links to some of the stories I've written about him. I'm off now to see more pics of your Delilah. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

ochikeron said...

Nice post. I like your day with Delilah. She is so sweet! I don't have a dog, but I could feel she is one and only. I believe she wants to be with you longer, too!!!

Archery season? Isn't it dangerous to walk outside?

I just saw Maureen's recipes for Sam. Cool!!!
jo, you have many cool friends!!!

Jo A. T.B. said...

Maureen, I just loved your site and Sam too! I'm so glad to know yet another who loves animals as I do.

Thank you for sharing with me his diet, I was going to ask you. What wonderful things you feed Sam, no wonder he's still here. I'm going to post how I take care of Delilah in another post!

My childhood dog lived until he was 16! I love how you did Sam's pictures, and I want to do one of my animals past and present someday! I'm adding your blog to my list.

Long Live Sam & Delilah Too!

Jo A. T.B. said...

Hi Ochi,

Arigato! Glad you liked the post. Delilah is very sweet, and ornery too! I love her very much.

Yes can be dangerous in Archery season, but I knew the area was clear, because no vehicles. Now shooting season is another thing, I can't walk in the woods until hunting season done.

Yes I've met so many wonderful cool- blogging friends! You are welcome to visit any of their wonderful sites! You are one of them! :)

terrymcdermott said...

I like the pic with puppy. That is so touching.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jo,

I like your dog,even though I never dare to walk near them.I heard other peoples said that dog's life was 20 years,right?

Dog is man best friend,right?I thought that maybe one day I will have a dog too,I will try to get off my fear to dog.

Jo A. T.B. said...

Hi Terry,

The picture of Sam and Dee as a pup has always been my favorite too. My animals have brought a lot to my life, I love them like my children.

Jo A. T.B. said...

Hello Jose,

Labrador Retrievers like my Delilah and Sam make great pets. The breed is very gentle and good for kids too! I've lived most of my life with dogs, I can't remember not having one!

You must really love them, you never know how long they will live like Maureen's Sam!

Maggie said...

Well, now, Jo...I can't say I've loved every minute of Molly's life with us, but I do love her.

If I had it to do over again, I would not get a puppy. I would adopt a full grown dog.

Molly is a full-blooded Irish Setter--full of life and energy. We got her when she was 7 weeks old. She'll be 2 this Christmas Eve. The puppy years were horrible! Chewing up everything in the house and making such a mess.

She's still quite obnoxious (jumping on people, etc.), but she's calming down. She has such a pure, unbridled (to use a KY quote) spirit, but she sure can be a pain in the arse!

There is such a purity in the way she loves others that it is hard not to love her, but she tries my patience every day.

All that said, I can tell you I can't imagine life without her.

Hope you are feeling better!

Jo A. T.B. said...

Hello Maggie,

I sure know what you mean, the puppy years are very hard. When we got Delilah I just gave birth to my daughter, and a fulltime job. The dogs were hyper as ever.

I miss going on long walks with Delilah, she does pretty well, but tires easily!

Did you ever watch that show on animal channel with the lady dog trainer. She has a lot of great ideas to train your dog. They run on channel 50 here! My Sampson always jumped on people too, even kids.

Irish Setters are so beautiful too, and a very loving breed.

Nazarina A said...

Awwwww Jo,

Your Delilah is too precious! What else can we do but to love these creatures.I have much admiration and love for you, loving these creatures, the way that you do! I have four cats, three from the Dumb friends and one that just adopted us. Last week this stray cat was attacked by goodness what or who! We rushed "Smokes" to the animal hospital and the bill came to $300.A stray or not we paid gladly, because we have come to love him. While there, the vet scanned him for a chip and sure enough, he had one!! I called the former owner but he said it was fine that we could have him.The former owner was only too glad that he was not eaten by fox! Smokes ran away about 15 blocks and we both live very close to the mountain.
Forgive the lengthy comment, I felt like telling you!

Dan said...

Enjoyed the story and pics...Sampson really was beautiful. Hope you have some good years left with Delilah!

Jo A. T.B. said...

Thank you Nazarina, Delilah is very special to me, along with my new O.P. Cat from the shelter. I can't see my life without animals, if I were rich I'd have more!

You know Nazarina, your story is the very reason I don't want to leave my new cat outside. There have been sightings of fox here too, along with owls, hawks ext..
So I don't want anything to happen to my new baby O.P. I know he will always be safe here with me.

I hope your baby Smokes make a quick, and full recovery. He was lucky to find a good home! :)

Jo A. T.B. said...

Thanks Dan!

Sampson was one of kind, a real trip. He lived as if he knew he wouldn't live too long. I buried a big part of my heart with him. Delilah is good girl, ornery but good! She's hanging in there! :)

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

I should take my dogs for a walk...I am glad you found Maureen. Isn't she a great and talented lady. She is my favorite photographer--I think she is a genius. She is allowing me to use one of her photos as cover art on my next book, A Book of Fours.

I love that you have a favorite cornfield to walk in with your beloved old dog!

Jo A. T.B. said...

Hi Joyce,

You should take your dogs for a walk, don't know if you have a private place to take them. The cornfield is one in which I can let Delilah walk without a lease. She is free to run, and not get into too much trouble except for guts!

Maureen is wonderful, I did visit her for the first time through your blog. I immediately had a bond with her, with our love for animals, especially dogs. Sam and her are quite unique.

Congrads on your book! :)

Nazarina A said...

Dear Jo,
It is with great sadness in my heart that I write this comment, but I need to tell you because of the previous comment I left about our adopted cat, Smokes.
He was healing so rapidly and would just lick my hands and my husband's all day long, almost saying "Thank you for caring for me".
He went back to the norm by adamantly crying to go outside again. He was after all a kitty that refused to be locked up indoors! He went back to terrorizing the other cats again!
He was fine up till today, when we again rushed him to the hospital. He had gone into a seizure and the doctor said that it was some kind of toxin that caused this. I am sobbing really hard as I write this and I might not seem coherent. He passed away at the hospital. He was part of my family and I am truly going to miss him. My husband cried too when we said goodbye to him in the back of the hospital. We sobbed so hard that the tears literally fell on the ground. My husband called him his "dog" because he acted like one. I am sorry for this sad comment but it made me stop crying telling you!

Jo A. T.B. said...

Hi Nazarina,

I'm very sad to read this post, losing my cat of 16 years last xmas, I certainly know your loss. But your kitten had many more years left, to have his life shortened.

Be assured you did everything possible to help him. No one could've loved smokes more than you or your husband, what a lucky cat he was to have found you! My first cat was a stray, and my OP now was also a stray dropped off at the shelter. I found OP cat online, and knew immediately that he was a special cat because he was a stray. Strays make the best pets!

Check your foods, and make sure they were not recalled. Also watch your other pets, poisonings are going on in another county here. THey are warning to keep watch over your pets, especially if they go out. My OP is never out, and my Delilah is old and frail so I'm very protective of her.

Love your other cats, or go and get another one from a shelter to cheer you up in the future! My OP has brought me much joy, and like your Smokes thanks me daily for picking him. Don't cry to hard sweet friend!

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