Connected through Habit

When my one remaining dog died in April the habit sized hole of daily dog walking vanished like Alice into Wonderland. Conections severed.

Flynn going for the windswept look (mrscarmichael)
Flynn going for the windswept look (mrscarmichael)

My boys spent their lives together and Flynn, the younger and well behaved edition of Dogs Carmichael, was bereft when Bertie died in 2012.

Bertie and Flynn taking the waters (mrscarmichael)
Bertie and Flynn taking the waters (mrscarmichael)

His canine companion gone Flynn started following me round the house standing in any room I was in. Waiting for me to come back and be in the one room where he could relax. It was odd and, it must be said, a little annoying. I guess it was an old age thing. When you’re 98 and your best bud vanishes it’s not really too much of a surprise that you become a tad peculiar.

I vowed I would keep walking. And for a while I did. But when it’s raining and there are no big brown pleady eyes guilt tripping me I’ll admit I have struggled to force myself out the front door. My connection to the Chess River, Chorleywood Common and Old Shire Lane is disappearing. I would like to move.

I vowed to do more with my new freedom. This I told myself, and anyone else who would listen, is my time. My time to travel, to work, to learn and not to be tied to hearth and home as much as I have over the last twenty four some years.

I also vowed not to get another dog. Getting a puppy would swirl me right into a time warp. I’d be back in Kansas whereas I’m hoping for a taste of Oz.

But habits die hard. I’m feeling disconnected.

best foot forward (breeder's photo)
best foot forward (breeder’s photo)

Last Thursday I almost got a puppy.

How could anyone resist her? The cuteness, the colouring and the pose. She is giving off Carmichael attitude in bucket loads.

I’d chosen the flowery Bella Bean collar and I’d shortlisted her names to Desirée or Lettis. Mr Carmichael would have had a conniption over both those choices but that, I can assure you, is not why I stopped myself.

I didn’t get her because right now, at this stage in my life, I need to stick to my guns. To make new connections and create different habits. I need to do more and different stuff.

Tell me I’m wrong.

Related Posts:

I would love you to read these posts written about my beautiful boys if you haven’t already.

This post has been created in reply to both the Weekly Photo Challenge: Habit and Ailsa’s of Where’s my backpack?, connection.


60 thoughts on “Connected through Habit

  1. Beautiful story about Bertie and the pull to get another. I feel it too but so much going on. Dogs add so much to life !

  2. I feel for you with your loss of Bertie and Flynn. For me life seems to lose purpose without a dog. I love walking but I find excuses not to when I don’t have that face looking expectantly at me. And you never feel as though you are alone. Perhaps travel first and then think about it.

      1. Good luck and best wishes to you. We went a couple of years after our golden retriever Buddy passed away. I would’ve crumbled sooner – I need at least one dog and one cat in my life but the guys weren’t ready. Finally one day I met the Princess and told them like it or not, she was coming home with me. Fortunately for me, they love her too.

      2. They truly are. We were always big dog people (collies for me, German Shepherds for hubby). A friend raised goldens and gave one to the children for their birthday. We called him Buddy the Wonder Dog. We had him from the time the children were in elementary school until they started college. Strangely enough, we’re in a little dog phase now. The Princess is Japanese Chin – big dog attitude, tiny body. I’ve fallen in love with this breed as well. Smart, friendly, entertaining. She’s a treasure.

  3. Take that time to travel and do other things. I’m sort of opposite to you in that I haven’t had a dog for over twenty four years (more like thirty) but we did have cats until not so long ago. In the last few years it has been so much easier to travel when we want to, even a weekend away, as we haven’t had to find a cat-sitter.

    Saying that, I think I am almost ready to take the plunge again once I have fulfilled my dream of visiting New Zealand and my son in Australia (we want to take a couple of months) – then watch out: dog, cat, walks oh yes!! 😀

    Stay well Mrs C, and stay away from cute puppies.
    Jude xx

    1. I know I must stay away from the puppy ‘porn’ pages. So many yummy offerings. She is a cockerpoo and it was her stance that drew me in. Her siblings looked like puppies. She looked like the Queen.
      When you plan your NZ leg talk to me I am full of ‘excellent’ advice and feel I have missed my vocation.

  4. Both of your dogs were beautiful! They do leave a hole in your heart when they leave this world. We’ve been without dogs for quite a few years now, and I miss them, but fill the void by babysitting a son’s Boston Terrier that I adore. Then, like a grandchild, I give her back and am happy once again to be free of the responsibilities for another little while. Take your time now to travel without worries of the pet you’ve left at home.

    1. Yes I have put myself on a pet sitting web site and have dogs here. The last one threw me so badly tho’ when she came to pick him up and with her 3 kids present asked me to keep him!!!!!!!
      I kept it together ’till he’d gone and tried desperately to find him another home. Always scary getting involved in other lives.

  5. You’re wrong! A puppy iercomes the best things to lift your spirits every day and make you smile. All the practicalities are easily overcome. Do it!!

    1. Bless you, Mrs but I’m the only one in the house now. it all comes down to me. I’ll never be able to come to Israel with you if I get a puppy 🙂

      Seriously I was so close. She’s gone elsewhere now.

  6. Well I’m definitely the wrong person to ask….currently living with three bearded collies and loving it 🙂 I say get the puppy and travel. She’s so cute it will be easy to get a dog sitter, and while travel is fabulous it’s not the whole if life… to day walks with a wonderful furry friend, that would be important to me!

    1. Well she’s gone but of course there are plenty more – perhaps not with such queenly demeanour.

      I cannot imagine never having a dog again but I am going to try and give myself some space and see what I make of it.

      Your post has not helped matters it must be said!

  7. Unlike everyone else in the world, dogs aren’t my thing at all. But I do understand the gap that is left when a pet dies. They become part of the family and it’s hard to say goodbye. I remember many years ago when our cat died I felt guilty because I was so upset over an animal, and not a very nice one at that. She was a nasty piece of work and used to bite people and attack dogs, but it was still hard when she got sick. Apart from goldfish that the girls had, the cat was the only pet we have had and we’ve never got any more. We had a fish who lived for more than nine years, aptly called Fish, and it was sad when he went too. We used to talk to him in the mornings and I swear he used to talk back in his own fishy way.

      1. I am certain that you are wrong. When I was three years old the neighbours had a German Shepherd that used to bark and growl and jump up against the fence at me every time I was playing in the back yard. It terrified me. I don’t remember anything else about being three but I remember that dog very clearly. Goldie and Fish are excellent names for goldfish. When I started learning French the first thing I learned to say was “J’ai un poisson. Ill s’appelle Poisson.”

      2. Well the fish thing is sorted!

        If I’d had a neighbour that ghastly I’d have felt the same!
        What a shame.
        Having met you I still think you could be a convert.

      3. I don’t think so. I am totally unconvertible when it comes to dogs. Come to think of it, I’m really fond of any animals really. I don’t mind looking at them, but I don’t want to touch them or hold them or feed them…

  8. The last time we said we were going to work toward only having one dog instead of two, as the senior one reached her life’s end, we ended up with three for a year or two! (and then a couple years later it happened again, but we are back down to “just” two large labrador retrievers now!) . . . Sometimes life takes you to where you should be, and the fact the little pup is no longer available perhaps says it was not meant to be right now– and if it is in the future, you will know when that right addition to the family comes along.

  9. Oh, maybe you did the right thing…trying to live without a dog. I tried for one year when our bearded collie died, but that was my most miserable year ever. I got totally devastated and lost laughter and happiness – as well as a couple of years in looks. (A bit exaggerated, but still…)…I made it for that one year, but then I bought a new one – Mille! Now we have two dogs, Totti too.

    I think it’s good to try new ways if you feel that would be exciting. There will always be a pup waiting for you. But never a new Bertie or Flynn.

  10. You are wrong….I have Buster who is the joy of my life…each dog brings his or her gift of total love to you in different ways- hence Buster will never replace Percy,,,but he makes me laugh and smile every new day. Walking with a dog who bounds through the countryside oozing joy with the world is my daily pick me up. And I have to confess he now sleeps on the bed. Terrible. Like you, I am free now except I don’t have a MrCarmichael…I was going to break free from the life I have built up piece by piece over the years, kick over the traces and be DIFFERENT!

    I would rather have Buster.

    Buy your cute puppy but be prepared for nights of not sleeping, chewed everything, pee on the carpets and puppy training…I was exhausted. So Buster will be my last dog- I figure he will see me out. Can’t think of anyone better to do that with.

    Looking forward to the photos!

  11. I know exactly how you feel. I avoid all situations where I may be tempted to succumb to a new dog. The perfect solution would be a dog share but finding the right humans would be difficult! I have found a part solution by volunteering for Cinnamon Trust: old and sick people need people to help walk their dogs and you can commit to as little or as much as you want. Worth a look to assuage your withdrawal symptoms!

  12. Mrs C, you’ve not said ‘never’, what you’ve said is ‘not now’. Enjoy your freedom to travel and do all the things you feel you’ve been denying yourself, secure in the knowledge that one day you will be dog walking again…

    Sweet x

    1. Thank you for your sense – i flick flack so rapidly. But the peripatetic life I want is not really conducive.

      Funny there’s a ‘pat’ in the word for travel – christ need to get out I think I’m going a tad mad 🙂

  13. Please, do not go to a breeder – go to a shelter. There are wonderful dogs there! And they deserve a new home with people who love and understand dogs! I got both my cats from a shelter, if I was a dog-person, I’d take dogs from shelters. Adult ones, preferably with some time spent at the shelter, so the shelter knows how they are ticking. The good shelter will always be honest about the dog’s character, to avoid the dog being returned.

    1. We have wonderful shelters around us – Battersea and Dogs’ Trust to name but two. Don’t worry I have spent hours on those sites as well.
      But I’ve got over the hump now so will revisit in a year or so.

  14. Living in an apartment, my princess, Audrey, is more suitable (she being of the feline-nature; I daren’t call her a C-A-T!) but I grew up with both dogs and cats and I do miss having a dog meet me at the door. Sensing this, Miss Audrey has taken to greeting me when I return. Probably out of cupboard love, but still, it warms my heart to hear her little mew when I am fumbling with the keys.

    I honestly don’t know what I’ll do when she finally leaves me. She’s almost 9 and I know cats can live until they’re 18 or 20, but she has filled a place in my heart I didn’t know was there.

    You’ll know when the time is right – you’ll come across a little creature who just speaks to you and you the choice will be made for you 🙂

  15. More and different stuff can be done with a more and different dog. A rescue one is ideal. Even if you get a wanderlust and leave for a while, the boarding will not be strange to the dog, and when you return you come home to companionship.

  16. Tough decision. We never had dogs until our younger daughter got old and then we had several rescue dogs, which we loved. We’re now in a rental house that doesn’t allow dogs and although we miss having one, it makes travel and other things much easier. Maybe one day…


    1. Thanks for your thoughts. I am in such a quandary.

      Something interesting though – of the many people who have commented on this post you are the first gentleman!

      It obviously spoke more to women but you should be proud to be the individual.

  17. Such a difficult decision Mrs C, but how about compromise, try house sitting… You get a pet or pets (our last sit was 6 cats) to love and care for. You can choose an interesting place to explore as you walk the dogs, cats are even better you just feed them and explore the area on your own…Then off you go home, love them and then leave them and you are free to travel.

  18. Oops a daisy!!!!!!!!! I just sent you a comment via Jack’s blog re the house sitting. The computer was still operating under his name I forgot to switch it over…..

    1. Hahaha. Well the funny thing is that I replied but the spiral just spun and it didn’t go through. Wasn’t meant to be 🙂
      Funnily enough of all the commenters he (if it actually had been him) would have only been the second gent to respond – it’s a real feminine post apparently.
      And My Dear I am already registered with Trusted Housesitters and waste hours checking places, photos, weather etc.
      Mr C thinks I’m nuts.

      1. Just do it, we love house sitting and now plan to use it every time we travel. We are with house carers, I will check your site. Have a re-sit planned for April-June in WA. We couch surfed with Naomi in 2010

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