Thirty Little Mags and Finnick Things

September 3rd, 2019 10:00 am by Kelly Garbato




So you know the purpose of this exercise, right? I list one thing I love (or love-hate) about you for each of your birthdays. Either until I run out of things or I return to starstuff with you. The thing is, I think I could keep this up forever. Seriously, I can’t imagine ever running out. I don’t know how she did it, but the great Dog above packed so much sass and ferocity and Manic Pixie Dream Grrrl and just sheer personality into such a tiny package. Like, it defies expectations. Or physics. You were one of a kind, sweet babygirl.

(By the by, I discovered Nitty Scott over the summer. Whenever BBYGRL comes on, I imagine a video starring you: “no I ain’t bossy / I just be the boss.”)

I miss you so very much. Seriously, not a day goes by that I don’t think of you. Whether it’s the Dogsure-stained sweatshirt in my closet (which I will never wash!), the wheelchair sitting in the corner of the bedroom, or the Batgirl jammies hanging in the office, the house is brimming with reminders of you. You were such a huge part of my life, and I hope you know that I fought for you as hard as I could. I’m talking bare knuckles, knock-down, drag-out, straight up brawling. I’m just sorry I couldn’t do more. I loved you so, so much, and in that I never failed or faltered.

I wish I could have you back – healthy and whole, of course – but, failing that, these memories will have to suffice. To misquote Lucinda Williams, your memory may not keep me warm, but it never leaves me cold. (Sometimes it does, though. Keeps me warm, that is. Only sometimes, but we’ll get there.)

Say hi to the rest of the pack for me.

Love always,







It’s been a rough ride, hasn’t it? I hope we at least landed somewhere good for you, a nice, cozy place where you can enjoy your senior years. I know I’m not dad, but I hope I’m doing right by you. You’ve turned out to be almost as much of a handful as your dog mom, and I promise to fight for you the way I fought for Mags. Even though I’m exhausted beyond reason and don’t have too much fight left in me. Whatever’s left, it’s yours.

I know we haven’t always been BFFs, but the last few years have brought us so much closer, and for this I’ll always be grateful. You may be an AGGRESSIVE PATIENT who’s prone to sudden outbursts (which makes snugging difficult, just sayin’) and has his own monogrammed Hannibal Lecter mask (j/k), but you’re my crazy ass dog, dammit, and I love you. For however long we have left together, and then for infinity after that.

Okay, it’s time I sign off. It’s almost time for your eye drops, CBD oil, and anti-seizure and pain meds. (so many issues!) Happy birthday/gotcha day, my grumpy old man.


Your human mom



Sixteen Little Mags Things

  • All that extra skin!

    2013-05-06 - Outside with the Other 6 - 0002

    2014-03-11 - Birthday Girl Rennie - 0018 [flickr]

    Mags is a fat dog trapped in a skinny dog’s body.

  • Biting her nails instead of letting us cut them. Usually in bed! I know gross right?

    2015-02-16 - Enjoying the Heated Blanket - 0017 [flickr]

    2011-09-11 - Mags! - 0001

  • Long afternoons spent sunbathing.

    2011-09-11 - Another Afternoon Sunbathing - 0217

    2014-08-14 - Mags - 0002 [flickr]

    2014-03-15 - Peedee's Gotcha Day - 0020 [flickr]

    2015-12-10 - Enjoying the 60F Temps - 0011 [flickr]

  • Sometimes when waiting for meals or a snack, she’ll start to huff and puff and kick her legs like a bull about to charge. More adorable than scary.

  • Also meal-related: How she grumbles and growls and nudges me while I eat, demanding a dirty dish or – better still – straight-up handouts. It’s like she’s entitled or something. SUCH a little diva.

    2011-10-25 - Demanding Dogs - 0004

  • That golden patch of fur under her right armpit.

    2016-02-04 - Mags & Rennie (Temp Office) - 0003 [flickr]

    2013-08-21 - Mags - 0034

    2015-09-11 - Little Paws - 0003 [flickr]

  • Delicate Mags kisses.

    2012-06-13 - Dogs Outside - 0012

    2014-03-11 - Kelly & the Ladies - 0004 [flickr]

    2013-11-17 - Kelly & Mags - 0009 [black and white]

    Unrelenting yet gentle.

  • She’s the smallest dog in the house, yet everyone is scared of her.

    2012-12-04 - Mags - 0001

  • How she patiently and methodically cleans boogers from the other dogs’ eyes. Finnick’s the only one who resigns himself to it completely. (Reason #274 why I think she’s his mum.)

    2015-06-29 - Kelly & Rennie & Mags - 0001 [flickr]

    2011-09-12 - Dogs Outside - 0013

    2015-06-29 - Drying Off, Post-Swim - 0027 [flickr]

    2015-06-02 - Going to the Drive-In - 0017 [flickr]

    2015-10-11 - Retro Night at the Drive-In - 0006 [flickr]

  • Precious Moments ™ eyes.

    2015-07-29 - Walking Smoke & Davey - 0016 [flickr]

    2013-06-25 - Mags - 0003

    2015-06-19 - Post-Walk Mags - 0001 [flickr]

  • Since we started doing water therapy in the summers, Mags refuses to go within 15 yards of a body of water – even natural bodies she’s never swam in before.

    2014-07-23 - The Dogs - 0062 [flickr]

    2016-03-11 - Smithville Lake at Bonebender - 0039 [flickr]

    2015-09-11 - Walking at Bonebender - 0028 [flickr]

    2015-09-30 - Walking at the Lake - 0048 [flickr]

    2015-09-23 - Walking at Smithville Lake - 0126 [flickr]

    It’s like she thinks I’m going to toss her into the lake, even if it’s in the mid-60s, and without a life jacket. I AM A MONSTER, Y’ALL.

  • Her “get bent” face, which so closely resembles Kaylee’s.

    2013-11-17 - Mags Leaves - 0014

    2011-04-02 - Kaylee Macro - 0005

    (I’m sorry Mags I’m done making this all about Kaylee I swear!!!)

  • Our good morning routine, which we started a few years back.* I kick it off by sidling up next to Mags, spooning her and rubbing her back and just generally trying to ease her awake, get the blood moving, and work some feeling into her stiff joints. Then it’s kisses and, when she’s finally up and raring to go, Mags does a little lawn dance on the bed and nips at my fingers (playfully, of course).

    2015-09-05 - G'Morning Mags & Rennie - 0015 [flickr]

    2015-09-05 - G'Morning Mags & Rennie - 0018 [flickr]

    2015-09-05 - G'Morning Mags & Rennie - 0017 [flickr]

    * It might have been after Ralphie and Kaylee passed away – to compensate for the morning routine Kaylee and I shared – or it could have been as recently as when Peedee was diagnosed with cancer. I wish I could remember, because it’s basically the best way to start the day. (Incidentally, the worst way to start the day? Is with Mags deliberately peeing on the bed on account of a perceived slight, like me paying too much attention to another dog.)

  • That time she wore the assless chaps look – and owned it.

    2015-05-15 - Mags - 0004 [flickr]

    2015-05-15 - Mags - 0030 [flickr]

    2015-05-15 - Mags - 0012 [flickr]

    No matter how dark things get, these pictures always bring a smile to my face.

  • Now that she can’t get around as well as she once did, I end up carrying Mags to and from her various destinations. I kind of hold her like a precious lil’ football, hugged up to my chest. Usually she slings a front leg over my left shoulder, as though we’re best buds who just stumbled drunkenly out of a pub and are screaming “I LUB U MAN!!!” between verses of a Dropkick Murphys song. So basically Mags has invented the best pose ever.



  • Getting tangled in/picking fights with her lead.


    2016-11-16 - Walking at Wallace State - 0006 [flickr]-COLLAGE



    Fourteen Little Finnick Things

  • His skinny little body (“Skinny Finny”). Forever jealous of his figure.

    2013-07-16 - Finnick! - 0034

    2015-10-07 - Finnick Pumpkin - 0012 [flickr]

    2013-11-17 - Kelly & Finnick - 0019

    2015-09-25 - My Furkids & Ice Cream Star - 0029 [flickr]

  • He gets super-freaked out whenever anyone tries to touch his paws.

    2013-07-26 - Finnick - 0003

  • When Finnick bites his nails (this is a peculiarity he and Mags share), he whimpers to himself. It’s kind of creepy actually.

    2017-08-19 - Finnick v. lemmy - 0002 [flickr]

    2017-08-19 - Finnick v. lemmy - 0003 [flickr]

  • How much he adores his daddy.

    2012-08-16 - Chasing Finnick - 0023

    2013-12-24 - Testing the New Camera - 0040 [flickr]

    2013-05-09 - Shane, Ralphie & Finnick - 0002

  • His awesome jumping abilities (he once cleared Ralphie, head to toe).

    2013-06-08 - Chasing Finnick (Part 2) - 0002

  • Walking on his back legs while begging for dinner. (Seriously, he’s got such mad skills in this area that I’ve often considered shipping him off to the circus.)

    2015-12-08 - Walking at Wallace State Park - 0003 [flickr]

  • His love of naps (that’s something he got from his human mom).

    2013-02-02 - Afternoon Reading-slash-Napping - 0001

    2013-01-08 - Lemmy & Finnick - 0005

    2014-07-14 - Dogs in Bed - 0006 [flickr]

    2015-11-07 - Finnick - 0004 [flickr]

    As much as he loves Shane, he’ll abandon his spot in the office in a heartbeat if he thinks that someone’s dozing in the bedroom without him.

  • Those teefies! Finn’s teeth are so large, white, and straight that when he smiles, it kind of looks like he’s wearing dentures. Doggie dentures.

    2013-07-26 - Finnick - 0027

    2015-09-16 - Outside with the Dogs - 0043 [flickr]

  • How much he hates having his picture taken.

    2015-05-23 - Helping Me Plant Marigolds - 0001 [flickr]

    2013-11-09 - Finnick - 0008

    2014-03-07 - Finnick - 0001 [flickr]

    2013-12-25 - X-Mas Morning - 0009 [flickr]

    2014-08-09 - Hounding the Dogs - 0035 [flickr]

    It’s almost become a game at this point.

  • That ridiculously goofy, slightly unhinged smile of his.

    2015-09-16 - Outside with the Dogs - 0027 [flickr]

    2015-08-22 - The Tent Is Up! - 0017 [flickr]

    2015-08-06 - Bonebender-Camp Branch - 0037 [flickr]

    2016-07-15 - Walking at Smithville Lake - 0087 [flickr]

    2015-07-22 - Walking Bonebender Trail - 0025 [flickr]

  • The prim and proper way Finnick sometimes folds his paws underneath his chest while laying down. So ladylike!

    2016-02-11 - Finnick - 0011 [flickr]

    2016-02-11 - Finnick - 0005 [flickr]

    2015-10-23 - Chillin' in the Sunroom - 0024 [flickr]

    Fwiw, he’s also likely to pull this move when you try to touch his paws. Five years and I’ve made precious little progress in the “handling Finn’s feetsies” arena.

  • How perfectly businesslike he looks in a tie.

    2015-07-29 - Playing Dressup - 0046 [flickr]

    2012-11-30 - Finnick Star - 0017

    2016-12-08 - Dapper Finnick - 0008 [flickr]

  • New this summer: after Finnick licks Rennie’s nether regions, he now smacks his lips as if he’s a wine connoisseur, sampling the finest imported wine dog biscuits can buy.


    I like to believe he picked this quirk up from his nemesis, foster Muppet Brutus, whom I nicknamed the Pussy Connoisseur.

  • The way he sounds ravenously hungry while giving me kisses.


    I’m afraid he’s about to start noming on my face, y’all.

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