Red poodle

Dog Talk

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Jazz and me on a walk

Our senior dog, Jazz, is quite a chatty one. He’ll bark occasionally, but that’s not what I’m talking about. He is 15 years old, almost completely blind, and almost entirely deaf, so he is never on security detail. When he was younger, we had mastiffs running household security. It was Jazz’s job to run the house when we were gone. Perhaps due to this responsibility, he is much more likely to communicate with me vocally.

red poodle
You can tell Jazz just got home from the groomer in this picture.

When Jazz was only a year or two old, his only dog companion, Jenna, died. The whole family was devastated, and I recall sitting around the dinner table that night, quietly in shock with minimal conversation. Jazz’s howl ripped through the silence. He sat in the living room and was howling and crying. We rushed to comfort him, and he immediately stopped and turned to comfort us in return. I wonder what we denied him by distracting him rather than letting him process his grief in the way of the Dog. I felt like we interrupted a social ritual that I hadn’t known existed before, and I’ll never know again. We’ve had other losses since that time, and we’ve not heard the same howl of grief. Perhaps Jazz learned to hide his grief like the rest of us.


For the past few years, Jazz has slept with me most of the time, occasionally sleeping on the other side of the bed beside my husband. For some reason, when he gets off the bed at night for a potty call or a drink of water, he stops at the corner of the bed when he returns. He doesn’t jump up on the stool and then onto the bed until after he yips or whines to get my attention. He will wait until I get out of bed and stand beside him, and then he will jump up and return to bed. I’m not really sure what this ritual is about. It started when we still had our silky terrier, Nutty, and I wonder if Nutty was trying to intimidate Jazz from returning to bed. The little whine or yip would never fail to wake me. My husband, of course, sleeps through all Jazz’s vocalizations. (I’m a little envious, there.)

Red poodle
Here’s Jazz when he was a little younger, on a walk in the mountains.

Jazz has impressed the fellow walkers with his vocalizations during visits to the nature trail near our house. When we take him for a walk, he gets so excited he seems to forget his arthritis. He screams his enthusiasm as we get him out of the car. He’s so pumped up that he yips, yodels, and yaps until he begins to tire. I am always afraid that people will think we are abusing him or something, but if they get close enough, they can tell he is just really excited! One walker called him a “talker” and I liked that. She seemed to understand that Jazz was just sharing his excitement with the world.

Dogs going for a walk
Garnet, Tribble, Jazz, and River.

When I take him for a walk, Jazz can only see colors and really large shapes. If we‘re on a sidewalk, he knows by the feel and he’s fine. It gets a lot more iffy if we walk across grass or on a less-defined trail. No worries, we have a large enough pack, four dogs, that Jazz can play bumper dogs! It’s a lot like bumper cars, but instead of running into other cars, he runs into the other dogs. He tries to walk straight, but invariably will veer left or right. When he bumps up against another dog, he heads back the other way until he bumps into another dog. Our pack takes it in stride; I think they understand the problem. Well, except for long-legged River; she has been known not to see him and run right over him. It doesn’t phase Jazz too much; he’s back to yipping and telling his love for the walk soon enough.

red poodle
You can see Jazz’s black moles on his nose. The high altitude here does this to a lot of dogs – like very large and dark freckles.


  1. Jazz you are soooo adorable! You and Nymeria could probably sing a duet, she’s very vocal too when she knows we are going into the forest. It’s really annoying actually because she’s really high pitched and our humom gets really annoyed. But I bet you and her would have some fun harmonizing BOL!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sigh. If only that was the only time Jazz is vocal. If I just put my shoes on, he starts squeeling – just in case it means a walk or car ride! I’ll bet a duet with Nymeria would impair our hearing permanently! So loud! So high pitched (with Jazz)!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Our small dogs have totally taken over the bed. The cat has quite a few places to get away from the dogs when she wants to. My husband has engaged in some “catification” of our home, giving the kitty vertical space and a spare bedroom with a baby gate across the doorway so that the cat can jump over and go in, leaving the dogs behind. We have a great blended pack of dogs, cat, and parrots. I’m sure Apollo is happy with you! Everyone makes the space work for their family in a different way. The important thing, is how much we give and receive love, tight?

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sure you do meet a lot of talkers in your mind if work. Jazz is doing great, all things considered. He does so well that sometimes I forget how blind he is. It when we’re walking him someplace new and he walks into a pole (or my hand giving him a treat) I realize how much courage he has to go about his daily life. He really trusts us to keep him safe.


    1. I’m so glad you liked it. Yes, Jazz does enjoy his life, which makes him wonderful to be around. He never complains about his arthritis, blindness, or deafness; all I hear from him is joy. Happy Valentine’s day to you all too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I could only wish. One reason I agreed to start this blog was that I would finally have a chance to use an adjective or adverb – something not allowed in my legal writing (all facts and regulations). I am always worried that my blog writing is too sterile. Thank you for your kind words.

      I’m thinking about you today. I’m not sure if you are across the international date line or not, but I recall the 14th being a big day for you in a totally different way.


  2. What a lovely thought to honor Jazz on Valentine’s Day.
    It is an exceptional post which is befitting my favorite of your dogs. I still
    remember him as a puppy. I am so glad that you still have him.

    Liked by 1 person

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