Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Foster Boys

Our foster-boy Max had knee surgery (a TPLO) on Thursday.  I picked up a very happy Max on Friday after work.
~On the way home!~
The instructions from the surgeon was/is strict crate-rest and confinement.  Max was exhausted, so following those instructions and getting him settled in that first night, wasn't difficult at all.
By Saturday, Max was feeling better and more rested. So, he set about doing what all dogs do when confined with not much to do, and that was to escape the dreaded "cone of shame." With skills that even Houdini would envy, he was getting pretty good at it.  So he's now sporting a "donut" which is connected to his collar and it seems to be staying in place. So far anyway.

In the middle of the busy week, I heard from Lab Rescue about a family interested in Deizel.  I'll admit to being surprised.  For several reasons, we've (of course) thought of keeping Deizel.  But honestly, we'd just hadn't not acted on making him a permanent addition. I'll also admit that we just didn't think that with all the dogs Lab Rescue has available for adoption, someone would pick Deizel so soon.  
But "Pennsylvania Couple" did.  They have two other dogs, (both Black Labs) and one of them happens to be blind -- Which probably explains why they noticed Deizel on the list. I've talked at length to "Pennsylvania wife" and I really like her.  She and her husband are really excited about meeting Deizel and are coming on Thursday afternoon.  I think they would provide a good home for him.        

Todd of course doesn't care about any of this.  He's been concerned with the would be intruders or moles - He's "made dead" two of them the last couple of days.  He's certainly a busy Scottie!
Most of the time.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Normal Programming to Resume

Its been nearly a week since George left. I’ve been so touched by the number of people who sent e-mails, and here on my blog and on Facebook have stopped their busy lives to share the grief I've felt.  I am reminded of how common we all are – even the most stoic among us knows the feeling when a dog, or a cat, horse or bird is lost.  In this alone, I have found healing. Thank-you for that.

We'll be back to "regular programming" this weekend and I'll post an update on Max who had knee surgery today.  Thank-you again for your friendship and for stopping by! It really does mean so much!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Simply Remembering George

While so many are remembering the events of September 11th, I do not in any way intend any disrespect to that, but I am remembering our boy George that left us on Friday.
We first met George on April 11, 2015.  His arrival story can be found here. His previous home had called him "Biggie," and the rescue knew him as "Big Georgie". I never called him Biggie, feeling it was just a little insulting to him.  I did of course call him Georgie as a nickname.  But to me, he was simply George.
George was originally a foster dog via Lab Rescue, but I knew not long after I met him, that he was not leaving our house.  I'd felt at the time that the change would be unfair for a boy of his respectable age of about 13.  But more than anything, George had quickly found a place in my heart, and our home too.  We officially adopted him not long after he came.
His easy going and laid back personality meant that he got along with all the dogs. I'd long thought that if our household had an anchor, it was George.  He was steady, calm, and pretty unassuming.  He was focused, but went with the flow of the household and never seemed to mind any change in the routine.  But in true Lab fashion, he loved his mealtimes, as you can see in the video below.  It truly was his favorite time of the day!
George was my shadow and followed me everywhere I went.  He slept next to the bed on my side from just about the first night he came.  His "extra large size" meant George was a big presence, and a great comfort in sad times.
George was a dog that was not part of the spotlight.  He didn't mind that. He was perfectly content to be in the background and watch the world go by.  But that changed this past April at a rescue parade.  That day he walked around the show-ring as an audience applauded him.
He received a beautiful rosette afterwards just like a "real show dog"  It was a fun day and is a favorite memory of just the two of us.
George loved to lay in the sun on hot days and soak up its warmth.
I'd say that he felt like a baked potato when he'd come back inside -- But actually he felt more like a soft warm pillow that just came out of the dryer.
But in any weather and in every season, George remained unflappable, never changing, never seeming to mind anything.  Not even the bad weather.
He silently soaked up every day and moment, and always watching me and everything else so intently with his big brown eyes that to me were so wise and soulful.
The lump appeared on his gums in early June  I knew what it meant.  That our time together would be coming to an end.
A friend reminded me to not see it that way, and she sent me an article that pointed out that George didn't know he had cancer. Dogs live so much in the moment, and so I tried to live each day remembering that too; hoping and praying to extend those days with George.
I read all that I could about this particular kind of cancer.  I talked to the holistic vet, and tried different herbs that I'd not used before.  I feel that they did work to a point.  But sadly and unfortunately, it was not a battle that could be won.
~Un-edited photo of "the lump."~
Through it all George remained stoic, never wavering in his devotion, and totally focused on the moments and life.  But in the end, he could be brave no more.  It was time for me to "be brave" and let this boy who meant to much to me, go.

It's now two days later and I'm realizing that his loss is going to take some time to get over.  Maybe it's because it's coming so close to the loss of my precious Sheba.  Maybe it's because he was our first Black Lab.  Maybe it's because his extra-large size and personality that had a way of grabbing your heart.  Maybe it's all of those things and many more.  But I think that it probably comes down to just one simple thing...  He was just simply George and I simply loved him.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Sad Good-Bye to George

Friday marked the end of two very long days, and a day that I truly was not ready for.  It was one that came less than a month from losing our precious Sheba.  I said good-bye to George.  He'd been doing pretty well, and silently I was celebrating because the herbs that I was giving him to slow the growth of the oral tumor seemed to be working. But a few weeks ago, I realized that the tumor was getting bigger. Unfortunately no matter what supplements and medications I tried increasing or adding, they didn't work.
~A first photo of George, April 2015~
The last couple of weeks had been hard for George for several reasons that were all related to the tumor. I talked to the holistic vet, and we decided to increase the amount of pain medication he was taking, and add one more herb.  It helped, and he was able to get the rest he really needed.  But by Thursday he was getting more and more reluctant to get up and was needing more help. Friday, he didn't want to get up at all, and he didn't want his breakfast, which was a first.  I knew it was time to say good-bye, even though I wasn't ready.  Not that I ever would have been.
~July 2015~

I called the Mobile Vet and he came. He felt that the cancer had probably spread internally and that nothing more could be done. With a shake of his head and so much like the gentleman that he was, George quietly left this world for the next.
~5-12-16 -- One year and one day after we met George~
What came afterwards was truly a unique and special experience.  The service that will cremate and return George's remains to us, came to the house after we let him go.  The vet left about 30 or so minutes prior to their coming, which meant I was left alone with George.  It was without a doubt the perfect chance to say that final good-bye and not feel the rush of being at a vets office, or having anyone around.   Time truly stood still in those solemn moments and the house seemed filled with peace and calm as I said all those things to him that come only from your heart in moments of sadness.  I also allowed the dogs to see George one final time.
~March 2016~
When George was taken from our house, I walked with the two gentlemen outside,  I noticed a butterfly in our garage. It lazily and magically fluttered around the door of the garage going inside and out, I couldn't help but watch it as it floated around the van the two men were driving. In the Old World, the butterfly was thought to be the spirit of the dead.  Other legends say it's a sign of transformation.  I could only think at that moment of the quote that says "Butterflies are free."  ........  

Fly free my handsome Georgie until we meet again one day at the Rainbow Bridge.
~One of the last photos taken of George 9-16~