Stump passed away on Friday 30 December at 11 a.m. My friend and veterinarian Michelle Leatherbury and her assistant Beth were very gentle and kind with him at the end, and I stayed with him until his heart stopped beating. Stump had been suffering from dementia as well as arthritis, and it was the cognitive impairment that led to my decision to let him go. He no longer recognized anyone, although he was still comfortable with me, and he was afraid all the time since he lived in a world of strangers and unexpected noises and events. Stump was a great little fellow, with a huge heart and a lot of attitude, and I tried to give him a happy life since he had apparently had a pretty difficult time in the past.
Until I adopted Stump and Teddy, I had never had such small dogs. Here is Stump in 2014, commandeering a lookout point that had been dominated by cats for many years.
Here are Teddy and Stump in a photo taken soon after I adopted them both in 2013. Ted still had a few teeth at that point. My vet determined that they were unsalvageable, so now he is a gummer who gets along quite well without them.
Other Members of the Household
Meet Sidney. He’s an African tortoise, and I’ve had him since 2006, when he was a tiny hatchling. He was born in southern Delaware, and I purchased him in a small pet store in Kent County that no longer exists. I should have asked for the name of the breeder, since I do not have a clue how large he is going to get. I have been told that he will get very large, but he weighs about 12 pounds right now. Sid is a very pleasant fellow. He likes to have the top of his head stroked and comes when he hears my voice. I swear that he knows that the refrigerator is the place where the vegetables are stored. His favorite treat is peapods, and he LOVES fresh figs and peaches, although too much of them can have an unfortunate effect on his insides. Sid sleeps under a bookcase or the kitchen butcher block island in the winter and has both indoor and outdoor pens in the warm months. If he continues to thrive, he will outlive me, so I’m going to have to plan for him in my will.
This is a studio portrait of Patti and me taken in the summer of 2006. Patti died in September 2013 of congestive heart failure; she was 14 years old. The circumstance of this double portrait was a professional shoot for the cover of Pets in America. I wanted to put Patti on a tabletop or in a chair (as in a Victorian pet portrait) and she was having none of THAT. She went limp and kept oozing off the table! I wound up taking my shoes off and getting down on the floor with her. Patti always had a way of working things out to her satisfaction. I still miss her every day.
This summer (2014), Sidney spent a lot of quality time in his pen on some lush grass near the back door. Ruby decided that she liked hanging out with him, and they often lay in the sun together on either side of the fence. I rescued Ruby from a barn where I kept no horse Sipper. Someone dumped her, and when she turned up in my tack locker, it was clear that she was not a barn cat. We have had her for five years now.