All posts tagged: Sussex Spaniel

The Value of Ritual

Do you have a morning ritual? If you look at the Wikipedia entry on ritual, one might wonder why I’d ask the question.  Ritual is described as inflexible, where one is governed by rules, and the term is sometimes used by psychologists in a technical sense for a repetitive behavior that is seen as a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorders. That’s not my experience with ritual.  Writing in Forbes, the author Alexandra Douwes encourages millennials to establish a morning ritual.  Her reasoning is aligned with mine. “Establishing a morning ritual, preferably one that does not involve a screen, can set the tone for your entire day. Whether your morning ritual takes place at home or in the office, it’s important to ease into your day, and do it on your own terms. Before you let external factors such as screaming children, urgent emails, and smartphone notifications send you into a state of anxiety, start the day by focusing on the things you can control. A consistent morning ritual will put you in a proactive versus reactive …

Saying Goodbye to Lilly

Lilly is our 13-year-old Sussex Spaniel.  We’re spending this weekend saying goodbye to her. On Friday we took her to the vet for a “Quality of Life” visit, and the news was what we’d feared for some time.  The slow-growing tumor is getting bigger, she has fluid that has swollen her belly, her breathing is labored, and she’s lost most of her appetite.  We had seen that Lilly could no longer navigate our stairs without help and that her hearing and eyesight had both deteriorated over the past few months.  She has some medicine to help her with the fluid and keep her out of pain, but… It is time.  It isn’t easy. Candice and I had promised Andrew and Claire a dog when they were old enough to help care for one and when we had a proper house (having lived in an apartment for our first two years in Washington).  When that time arrived more than nine years ago, Claire (who drove this process) did a lot of internet research and use to …

Lilly is Our Best in Show Every Day

We all jumped for joy this morning when we opened the Washington Post and saw that Stump, a 10-year-old Sussex Spaniel, won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club show at Madison Square Garden last evening.  That’s because we have a 12-year-old Sussex Spaniel, Lilly, who we consider our Best in Show every day of the year. Lilly came to us after life as a show dog, having won all the competitions her breeder thought possible.  The weekend before Thanksgiving in 2000 we went to a dog show to begin to get an idea of what type of breed we may want.  Like President Obama, I had been promising Andrew and Claire that we’d get a dog once we found a permanent home in Washington.  As seven-year-olds, they were searching the Internet nightly for information, and Claire would often bring printouts with pictures and information about a certain breed’s “kid friendly virtues” to the dinner table. Sussex Spaniels were not on our radar screen, but as we stepped into the main building at the show …

Lilly is blessed…and so are we

Yesterday, on a beautiful fall afternoon perfect for the Feast Day of St. Francis, our Sussex Spaniel Lilly took a trip down to the Washington National Cathedral for the blessing of the animals.  Dean Sam Lloyd gave Lilly her annual blessing in front of the beautiful Gothic cathedral.  Since I was traveling, Claire reports that Lilly took it all in stride.  Of course, as an older dog Lilly sleeps a lot these days and takes just about everything in stride. The custom of blessing pets is conducted in remembrance of St. Francis’ love of animals.  It is great fun to join together with other owners of all manner of pets.  (I’ve even seen goldfish blessed in past years…not sure they felt the drops of holy water.) Shortly after posting this picture, Andrew told me there was a great Gene Weingarten article in today’s Washington Post Magazine called Something About Harry:  Old dogs…are the best dogs.  I read it and knew immediately I had to update this post to link to the article.  Because Weingarten (a writer Andrew …