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Cricket’s Struggle

            Cricket had great plans to help her grandma with her exercises after hip replacement surgery back in May. She also planned to be the heating pad after each workout, and she was going to bark Grandma awake every hour or so to walk up and down the hall, and then bark her Grandma down the stairs and outside, once she could go without the walker, and she was going to remind her to bend her knees instead of bending at the waist to put on the leashes, and she was going to sit on Grandma’s lap to keep her from lifting her knee too high, or crossing one leg over the other.

Cricket, the guard dog

            Alas, right from the beginning, Cricket was told no. She was told no when she tried to sleep on Grandma’s hip, to keep it warm; and she was told no when she tried to guide Grandma’s walker down the hall; and she was told no when she woke Grandma up at six o’clock in the morning to go for a walk.

            It was devastating. And to make matters worse, a stranger came into the apartment, called a physical therapist, and Cricket was told that she was not allowed to stand next to him and bark her critiques of all of his work. Instead, she was sent to bark in Mommy’s room with that other dog. Nothing could distract Cricket from her work of barking, though, since it was the only thing she could do to make sure that Grandma survived her physical therapy session with that STRANGER!

Cricket and that other dog (aka Ellie)

            After two weeks, a new physical therapist came, a woman, and she took Grandma for walks outside, without Cricket. She took Grandma to the garden and watered and weeded, without Cricket. She even took Grandma to the car, to practice sitting down and getting up again, without Cricket. And there were new exercises for Grandma to do, in the living room, that required Cricket to be SOMEWHERE ELSE. 

“This is unacceptable.”

            But finally, after what felt like years, Grandma could go for walks again, and hold the leash again, and the stranger didn’t come to the apartment as often, and Cricket could finally relax. But then, disaster struck, and Grandma left again, to the hospital, Mommy said, for what felt like forever!

            Mommy said that Grandma was on the phone, but the phone didn’t have a lap; and it didn’t smell like Grandma, and it couldn’t hold a leash, and it never gave scratchies.

            And then Grandma came home, and Cricket was thrilled, but Grandma started to say no all over again. No to sleeping on Grandma, no to walking in front of Grandma, no to holding leashes and sharing snacks and having cuddles. No to everything!

            And then the physical therapist came back AGAIN! And Cricket was trapped in the bedroom with that other dog AGAIN, with only Mommy there, giving not enough treats, while Cricket knew that Grandma was in the other room with a STRANGER.

            Clearly, more barking had to be directed at Mommy, to make her do the right thing, aka get the stranger to leave so that Cricket could be in charge of physical therapy. She could get Grandma in shape in no time! But no, no, no, no. All the time, no. When Cricket woke Mommy up at six o’clock in the morning, no. When Cricket barked at Grandma to share her snacks, no. When Cricket barked at Ellie (aka that other dog) to tell her to start barking too, no. Everything was no!

“Why is it always no?”

            But Cricket is confident that, one day soon, she will get a yes, and then another yes. She will get her lap back, and she will get her Grandma-walks back, and she will get her life back. In the meantime, it’s no, and can’t, and don’t, which is an awful, terrible, horrible disaster. But one day soon, things will get better. Cricket is sure of it. All it will take is persistence.

Ellie’s not so sure.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out my Young Adult novel, Yeshiva Girl, on Amazon. And if you feel called to write a review of the book, on Amazon, or anywhere else, I’d be honored.

            Yeshiva Girl is about a Jewish teenager on Long Island, named Isabel, though her father calls her Jezebel. Her father has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with one of his students, which he denies, but Izzy implicitly believes it’s true. As a result of his problems, her father sends her to a co-ed Orthodox yeshiva for tenth grade, out of the blue, and Izzy and her mother can’t figure out how to prevent it. At Yeshiva, though, Izzy finds that religious people are much more complicated than she had expected. Some, like her father, may use religion as a place to hide, but others search for and find comfort, and community, and even enlightenment. The question is, what will Izzy find?

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

79 responses »

  1. Poor little sweetheart. You do such a wonderful and humorous job of sharing Cricket’s plight. Hope it all goes well for Cricket and Grandma. Cheers

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  2. Love how you have gotten into Cricket’s head! Sounds like your mom had the posterior surgery. I was fortunate to have the anterior, which has no restrictions on bending, crossing legs, etc. I was off the walker within days and never could really use the cane (I’m too uncoordinated to get the hang of it), so I was walking unsupported within a couple of weeks. I get my second surgery in 19 days (yes, I’m counting down) and really looking forward to (this time) knowing the drill!

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  3. Poor Cricket! I hope she and her grandmother are back in their old routine soon!

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  4. Spike and Charly said to tell Cricket they’ve been through this routine before so they totally get it and can commiserate. Carl really has no opinion because he hasn’t been through this nightmare, but he’s sending best wishes to all anyway.
    Hope Grandma is back to herself very soon!

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  5. What is wrong with those people, Cricket?! Don’t they know you are the boss?! Obviously, they are clueless and need to be gone away soon enough. And I do hope it is soon–real soon.

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  6. Cricket just messaged me. She said, “Tell them: Do. Not. Say. No. XOX Xena

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  7. The story explained through Cricket’s perspective is cute and eye-opening, too.

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  8. Very much enjoyed Crickett’s point of view. Well done.

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  9. Sending healing vibes to your mother and patience to Cricket.

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  10. Cricket is a lovely dog.

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  11. Poor Cricket. Great post!

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  12. Cricket, you are welcome to come sit on me and go for walks with Toby while Grandma gets better!

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  13. They don’t like change, do they? They’re still sweet dogs though.

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  14. Oh, I do feel for Cricket (and that other dog), Ellie! Here’s hoping life gets back to normal for all of you, real quick. 🙂
    A great read…

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  15. Once again your humour comes to the fore. This looks like a dog’s caring instinct in play.

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  16. Some dogs need routine, as our Ollie does. It seems that Cricket is the same. Disruption to their routine feels like unwarranted punishment to them, and that makes us feel guilty when they are upset.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  17. My JT would have done more than bark if she could not be with me bless you xo

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  18. Poor Cricket, it has obviously been a confusing time for her. I hope your mum is soon as good as new and things return as usual for Cricket.

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  19. So we read how cricket is taking it, more importantly how are you taking it Rachel ? 🤗

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  20. Poor Cricket. A dog’s life is difficult.

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  21. I am crying for you Cricket ❤ How sad and rude!lol

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  22. Please tell Cricket I am rooting her on … and Grandma too! PT is good, for sure, but there is nothing quite like like being wrangled by a loving canine. Blessings all around!

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  23. So glad that Cricket has a mommy that understands the reasons and motives behind her barking.

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  24. Aww, poor Cricket. There is nothing worse than being told no all day. Just ask my 3 yr old grandson. It wears on a person…or pup. I hope grandma heals soon and life gets back to normal for all of you!

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  25. My dog is a bit of a pest too. He LOVES to eat and bugs me the very second I wake up in the morning. He licks his chops. He also stares at me uncomfortably as I walk around, hoping I’ll think to open the refrigerator. Plus he likes to lick any pot or plate I cook in. OMG! One other thing that’s annoying is that he will eat the fertilizer I put under the trees if it has any natural and edible component to it. He doesn’t have a tapeworm and he has food in his bowl, but he wants a treat. I’ve probably spoiled him by giving him a can of sardines sometimes. So he saves his bowl food as a last resort. When I eat I often have to put him outside in the yard. My kid took him for a hike and found that when she sat and ate, she had to have him tied up.

    He also loves play and sleeping. But feeding his face is his number 1 priority.

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  26. Poor Cricket, she so wanted to be chief rehab officer.

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  27. Cricket sounds like a teriffic physical therapist. Too bad her talents are unappreciated. Hope grandma is back to normal soon so Cricket can get the attention she deserves.

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  28. Love this piece! You really do express Cricket’s deepest desires!

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  29. Poor Cricket. Everything is of course always all about the dog.

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  30. We hope that Cricket get to spendi Grandma time again real soon. Healing energy being directed her way. For Cricket’s sake. 😉

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  31. our rescue dog, Piper, is undergoing a similarly difficult challenge as re-ablement workers call in to help his mistress. He hates being in a separate room!

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  32. Awww…hang in there Cricket!

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  33. Aww sweet…
    – Good for you trying so hard, Cricket! –

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  34. Hoping it won’t be long before Cricket and Grandma are back to normal ties.
    Art

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  35. Sorry to hear about your Mom, Rachel and sending hugs and blessings all round. Wishing Mom a speedy recovery.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Reply
  36. I can relate! Same surgery, but the cat has been more frustrated than the dog!

    Reply

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