Thinking of Siena
Lately, I have been thinking about our dog Siena. She moved to Italy with us, which for a dog who had never traveled that much, she handled the whole process with grace and dignity. It was in August, six years ago that she died.
I have been thinking about her because every few days, I cut some fresh flowers and put them in Chinese beer bottles by the entrance to our house. Just a little cheer for us, for our neighbor and for the mailman. When we lived in Virginia, I had a large cutting garden that produced something blooming from March until October. When there was an abundance, Siena had a flower stand that she sold bouquets from. Not exactly a lemonade stand but along that idea.
She would sit out front on Saturday mornings and watch me cut and arrange the flowers. I had a big Styrofoam cooler with holes for plastic bottles cut in the top and a slit to drop money in. I put the bouquets in the holders, carried in it down to the corner (in front of our neighbor Jane’s house), propped up her ‘Flowers by Siena’ sign and left it. A few hours later I would go back and pick it up, usually with nothing left but the empty bottles and $20 or $30. She was very successful. In late summer she had me pick the hydrangea blooms that were remaining and supervised while I strung them up to dry in the room next to hers. These we sold in bulk to a lady who had a stand at the farmers’ market. For .50 a bloom, normally about $45 or $50 worth. As I said she was very successful.
A few of this year’s hydrangeas hanging to dry.
She used some of this money to maintain her fish pond. It had been her birthday present one year. She knew that she had to contribute towards the upkeep. Most every morning she would sit beside it for a few moments. We lived in the suburbs and there were raccoons. The fish pond had to have multiple strands of electric wire around it the keep the raccoons out. (it looked like it was Ft. Knox) Occasionally, the charge on the wire would be lost and I would be awaken by Siena’s shrieks when she went out and discovered the carnage. She would be so upset. There was one time, (honest to God, true story) one of her larger goldfish had been caught by the raccoon, bitten through, but dropped on the ground by the pond and was STILL ALIVE! So there I am, in my pajamas, with a dog moaning and crying and a wounded gold fish flopping around (all before I had had my diet coke). I decided that rather than traumatizing the fish any more I would just put it back in the pond and let it at least die in more comfortable surroundings. Siena is watching. I put the fish in the pond. Immediately, about 8 smaller fish came and surrounded it. They steered the fish down to the shallow end of the pond and nursed it back to health, taking turns I guess, propping it up, until the wound healed. The wounded fish lived several more months. All the while Siena was shaking her head up and down giving her regal approval.
With some of her earnings, each year she would throw herself a birthday party. It was quite a do. One year, her friend BK even came up from North Carolina for it.
And then in the midst of all this thinking about her I saw this online. She finally made it into a magazine. Click on this link
She is on page 46, you can flip through to get there or you can click on Pets Abroad (page 42) in the table of contents and then you only have to flick a page or two to see her.
Here she is, contemplating her future, right before we moved here. She was a wonderful dog who touched our lives in so many ways.