Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memories for What's Ahead

Some call them fireflies, I call them lightning bugs. I think they're summer's mascot and they're back. The memories I have of them is like 'magic.' Even now seeing them is kind of like a mini-fireworks show . As I stood on my porch watching them last night, I remembered something I read about how each minute of our lives is unique unto itself and how connected we can be to what came before and what will come next.

I wish I knew what will come next for Hamlet. He was taken back to the vet on Friday. His appetite is really good, but there is a lingering cough and the tumor is still draining.  (We're doing our best to keep it very clean). I don't think that he's feeling all that well, but despite that his tail still wags and the spark is still there.  We have had a culture done to see what bacteria is present and will hopefully be able to find an antibiotic to treat the infection. Prior to Hamlet having his 2nd surgery, one of the bacteria that was identified from a culture was e-coli. The medication to treat that particular strain of it was very expensive (about $1500 per bottle) required his being hospitalized for several days, and had an arms length of side effects which included kidney failure. It was then we opted to do the surgery and hope all the bacteria and infection were removed. I knew going into it that there was a chance it may not be. As far as doing surgery again, right now I don't feel like that's an option. His recovery from the 2nd surgery was a little more difficult than the first one, and a 3rd would no doubt be harder for him. Hamlet is an old dog (we guess about 13-14) and I think it would be too much for a dog his age. We've had a wonderful and memorable year and-a-half together; the past six months, the best. He had times where he would make little running dashes on our walks, manage a single bark and we'd get a 'snorty whine' from him when we come home. I know those days are now gone.  But like the lightning bugs, I have the memories of them.  I think they've given Hamlet and I a connection and the courage for whatever will come next. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Help Needed

You all know how I love the senior animals, and how I stop and help turtles across the road.  Well, this Granddaddy of all snapping turtles certainly didn't want any help!  I just read that snapping turtles can live to be 80 years old.  I wonder how old this one is and how many times he got help crossing the road to the nearby pond?   

Here at Golden Pines, we needed some help...We lost our internet connection on Thursday evening, and Carl spent hours (and I do mean hours) on the phone trying to get it repaired.  He and someone from 'Verizon' were finally able to get it working this morning.  I will admit that I'm a bit of an 'internet junkie' and thankfully there was enough to keep me busy and my mind off not being able to get my 'internet fix.'   I look forward to catching up on your news and will post an update on Hamlet later today. 
I hope your weekend is off to a good start!   

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Coming Soon--A Rocky Creek Scottie!!!

We have been keeping a secret here at Golden Pines for several weeks now.  The secret? We are getting a puppy! No, it's not a Golden Retriever (a shock I know) but a Scottish Terrier!

Just over a year ago, I became acquainted with 'Lynn' from the blog Rocky Creek Scottie Adventures. Our cyber friendship began when Angus, at Wilf the PON Discovers France posted about our both losing 4-legged-family members, Java and Cowboy, on the same day. Lynn sent me an e-mail and a friendship began. We marveled that a blog in France would introduce the two of us who both live in Virginia.  (Thank-you for that Angus!!!)

I've known for a long time that I wanted to get a puppy. And I knew that if and when we added one, the timing of it was really going to be important.  I also knew that for several reasons, I didn't want the puppy to be a Golden Retriever. Because of Lynn and her blog, I became smitten with Scottish Terriers and started to do more reading about them. It didn't take long to realize that I wanted to add a Scottie to our household. When Lynn told me that her girl, Carrleigh was expecting a litter in April, the timing seemed to be right.

This week, I picked the puppy, a little boy, whose name was Jock, and we have re-named Todd. Being a 'sentimental old lady' I will tell you in another post how and where this name came from. But 'Todd' will be coming to Golden Pines in about a month. Carl and I are of course really excited!

I know some of you may be wondering why in the world we would want to add a puppy when we already have so many dogs. The answer is a very personal one that has to do with knowing that the loss of some of our dogs will be coming way to soon. Last year, we said good-bye to three of our pups, not including Doris's boy Sam. With our dogs getting older, I feel this need to 'bridge that gap' and begin a new generation. I feel strongly that there's nothing like a puppy to liven up a laid-back quiet crowd, especially a spirited Scottish Terrier!!

(The picture below are the little boys, 'Todd' is the one on the far left)
I hope you'll take a moment to stop by and meet Lynn and her crew at

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lost and Found

On Monday on my way to work, I saw something in the road that at first I thought was something that had been hit by a car--As I passed it, I glanced down and saw what I thought looked like a wallet. I turned the van around, and went back for a better look. It was indeed a wallet. I picked it up and even though it was soaking wet, there was a little more than $80 in cash, a credit card, drivers license, all the usual things. The wallet belonged to a young man who was 19 years old, and had just celebrated his birthday on Sunday. Off the drivers license I was able to get the address which led me to a phone number and I called and left a message. At the end of the day was a call from the grateful father of 'Andrew' who had lost the wallet. He said before they got my message they had been out looking all down the road trying to find it. Andrew was a little frantic at losing it. They didn't live far from me, so I offered to drop it off on my way home from work.  I met a relieved and very grateful Andrew along with his dad, who thanked me several times and even offered me a reward. Of course there was no way I was taking a reward and I told them I was just glad I was able to return the wallet and its contents to the owner.

Tuesday morning when we had the dogs out, we lost track of our boy Josh. Josh at 9 years old is just now being trusted to be off lead. However, we always keep a really close eye on him because he will wander off and that's what he did. It was a moment of panic when Josh didn't come when we called him and he seemed to have disappeared. We decided to get all the dogs inside and go out and look for him. We had just gone back outside when a truck pulled into our driveway. The driver got out and so did Josh! He'd seen him on the neighboring field, called to him and he came. He looked at his tags and realized where he belonged and brought him back. I was so very grateful that he'd found Josh that I offered him a 'reward' for his trouble, but he told us no, that he was glad to be able to bring Josh back to where he belonged. I thought later Josh's being returned was kind of like the wallet, both owners relieved and very thankful for the kindness of strangers.
Finally, again I am grateful and so appreciate for all your good thoughts and prayers for Hamlet.  He's doing well, and there are no changes--The below picture was taken on Saturday where he's doing what he always does, taking everything in stride.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Phoebe for Good Luck

I love birds.  I love to watch them, hear them, take pictures of them, and feed them.  The first summer we were living where we are now, one bird in particular drove me a little crazy.  I'd never heard it before and was able to identify it as the 'Eastern Phoebe.'  The bird gets its name from its distinctive but rough two note call, 'whee-bee,' reminds me of a dogs squeaky toy. Above all the other birds that summer, the Phoebe is all I heard, over, over and over again....When the end of summer came and it left, outside seemed a bit lonely without it.  However, it returned the next year and I'd listen for it each time we were outside.  Last year, I hardly heard it at all and found myself missing the constant 'whee-bee, whee-bee, whee-bee.'  This year, it's back and has built a nest above our garage door.  I hear it first thing in the morning and during the day. Below is a video I took of the Phoebe and you can decide for yourself if hearing all the time would drive you to the edge...
Finally, many thanks again for the good thoughts for Hamlet.  For now, he seems to be feeling pretty well.  Unfortunately, last evening the tumor on his shoulder 'broke' open. The tumor feels warm to the touch and the tissue is very 'angry.'  I am heartsick that despite all the efforts and with so much optimism, and feeling like we'd done everything right, we couldn't prevent this from happening again.  We've cleaned it the best we can, and he's once again sporting a tee-shirt to help keep the debris out of it, and the other dogs away from it.  I've taken this path before and so I know where this is leading. However because it's considered good luck to have a bird nesting around your house, I continue to have hope and wish for good-luck to be on Hamlet's side.  

Friday, May 20, 2011

Riding the Wave

Off to the vet this morning with Hamlet.  He's developed a cough this week, and his paw is swollen.  The vet felt thought that his lungs didn't sound as clear as they did last week. He has a little bit of a temperature, so we've put him on antibiotics. We both don't think that the cancer is encased in the tumor alone and think that it probably has spread elsewhere, but we've no way of knowing.  But what I do know is that given everything, Hamlet really does to seem feel pretty good.  He has a great appetite, he still wants to go on walks with us, so we're just going to ride the wave and be thankful for each day!

On the way home, I saw this little pedestrian crossing the road alone, where there was no crosswalk.  I knew he would never make it across 4 lanes of traffic, a median and survive in a construction zone, so I stopped and picked him up and brought him home. This makes 4 terrapins I've moved off the road this year.  This little guy was in a hurry to be on his way, so we let him go at the edge of our woods and of course wished him 'good luck!'

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Sound of Silence

We woke this morning to the sound of silence.  Quite a change from Wednesday morning when I thought I was hearing a fan running that I'd left on overnight, only to find out it was the pouring rain. The grass is now so tall that I think we'll need a hay bailer if it doesn't dry up soon. 

But the creeks are full and flowing. 
My Iris are wilting...
Yesterday Carl took his car into a body shop in Maryland (where he'd taken it previously) to have it repaired.  You'll recall that it was hit by a stray bullet a couple of weeks ago.  We've no idea where the bullet originated from, only that his car was struck by it when he was leaving his 'old' office to come home.  I drove in a torrential downpour to pick him up. (I know I shouldn't have been taking pictures as I drove)
In an effort to save money when possible, I planned a stop at a grocery store in Maryland that was having a pretty good sale.  But when I went into the store, nothing in the flier that I had brought with me was on sale.  When I went to customer service and asked about it, the manager looked at the ad and pointed out that the flier was dated exactly a month ago.  We both had a nice little chuckle and I've decided that I've got to clean my car out more....

It was good to get home where the dogs never point out my dumb mistakes! 
I don't think Charlie would notice anyway...

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Good Start

As rain ran down our driveway the news is filled with reports of the flooding farther south.  I worry about my 87 year old Aunt in Mississippi and hope she continues to be safe. She has so many people that look out for her, so I'm sure she'll be just fine.

Our weekend was relatively quiet because of the weather.  Carl did try to catch up on the mowing.   I'm thinking we may need to get the cows across the road to help if he's not able to get ahead of it.  Problems with mice in our barn have been resolved by the arrival of a black snake that's about 4 feet long.  I know it's supposed to be a 'good snake,' which to me, is a contradiction in terms, but I asked Carl to evict it, which he did.  I also asked him to take a couple of pictures for me, because there was no way I was going any where near it.  I'd much rather be sitting on my porch taking pictures of the deer....
The butterflies....
The flowers...
And of course the dogs.  Thank-you all for the good wishes for Hamlet.  The pain medication seems to be helping.  He is up and around a bit more, which is a good sign.  
He's even smiling...Which is also a good way to start our week!  I hope yours is off to a good start too!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Good News and Not So Good News

Feeling pretty confident in my dog-handling abilities, I took 4 of the dogs to the vet today.  They were all relatively simple appointments, so how hard could it be?  Thinking about it now, maybe I'd not used my best judgment when I made the appointments.  But I did get help when I arrived at the office which was really nice. The errands that I ran afterwards were made easier when I threw a handful of crackers behind me and the dogs forgot about wanting to jump out the door when I opened it.  

It was good news for Sam. Some of you have seen on Facebook where Sam has lost 14 pounds since his last visit.  He contributes his weight loss to healthy eating, lots of exercise and not snacking too much in between meals!  He makes it sound so easy!

The other two pups, Sheba was there to have her eye rechecked and Bubba for blood-work so he can continue taking the Rimadyl for his arthritis.

The other pup I had with me was Hamlet.  I've not really mentioned anything about him lately and thought I'd give you an update since I know that there are some of you who are pretty fond of him. I don't quite know where to start.  As you know, he had his last surgery in late November.  Since that 2nd surgery he's been taking Chinese herbs to slow the return of the tumor.  In comparing the time that has passed when he was taking the herbs verses when he wasn't taking them, I really feel that they have worked pretty well and have given him some good time.  But the tumor has returned, just as we knew it would.  What was once the size of the palm of one hand, is now the size of both hands, and is growing relatively quickly.  There has been a change in Hamlet in the past week.  While he still has a great appetite, is very much a part of the group and my shadow on our walks and around the house, his energy level has dropped.  When he's resting, I notice him breathing heavily, and sleeping more soundly.   The vet recommended we put Hamlet back on pain medication, in case he may be having come discomfort.  I don't know what any of this means, and don't feel that another surgery is an option...I just hope that when the time comes to make any decision on the path to take, we'll both know.  Send some hope and prayers for Hamlet if you think about it, okay?

Just Supposed to Know

Carl returned to his old but new job this week.  On Thursday he called my office and I was unable to come to the phone.  But he left a message asking me to call him back, and said that there had been an incident at work, but he was okay.  Of course since 'worry' is my middle name, I was worried.  The problem with calling him back was that he hadn't given me his new work number.  Carl and I don't work to far from one another and just as a coincidence I noticed a helicopter overhead in his direction--which didn't help.  I did know that he wouldn't answer his cell phone because he's not allowed to bring it into the office--that didn't help either.  Carl finally called me about an hour later and told me what happened; two suspicious packages found in an unmarked, unattended van on the outside gate of the building where he works--Police and trucks everywhere....He asked why I didn't call him back.  I told him it was because I didn't have his office phone number.  Carl said it was the same number he'd always had (before he left on his 'year long assignment.')  Now I ask, how was I supposed to know that he would return to the same desk and have the same phone number?  I guess there are some things I'm just supposed to know...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Back to Boring!

To some, the past weekend I had would no doubt be boring.  The weather was bright and sunny; a little too bright for Hamlet (below) and we had warm temps.
When I was tired of catching up on things inside, the dogs and I enjoyed several walks.  How is it that they always seem to find some great smell to enjoy....
and roll on? 
We played a few rounds of frisbee, which the dogs love!
When the gang was worn out from that, they relaxed in the grass. 
~Rudi, (left) and Sheba~ 


Carl ended his job assignment yesterday and today he goes back to his old/new job with a commute a little closer to home. After a year, he's finally back on a daytime schedule.   This means I will have to start cooking dinner each night, and the dogs are back to seeing the dog walk on a regular basis.  What was I saying about boring?   Actually after last week, I'm really okay with that!  I hope your week is off to a good start! 

Friday, May 6, 2011

Finally It's Friday!

The end of a rotten week has finally arrived!  It started out so well with the beautiful portrait of Tanner arriving on Monday.  But then a down-hill spiral started which included Carl's car getting hit by a stray bullet, (Carl is fine, his car will be too!) I had a flat-tire in the pouring rain, and then I didn't get a day off, added to that was the sad event of putting a sweet pup like Sandy down.  Needless to say, its all left me worn out!  

On top of all this, which given everything else seems kind of trivial, is that I was itching away from poison ivy.  Yes, spring has just barely arrived, and despite my best efforts to avoid it last weekend, and use the 'special soap' after I weeded my flower beds, I got it on my face and arms. (I'm really thinking I should run a contest to see who can guess how many times I'll have gotten it by Labor Day in September!)  Thank-fully it's starting to clear up.  But it didn't stop an 11 year old patient from joking about it--He asked me, 'what do you get if you cross a four leaf clover with poison ivy? A rash of good luck'   ...  I wasn't feeling all that lucky.

However, that may be changing.  When I came home today I found a package in our mailbox, from The Rocky Creek Scotties!  I'd guessed several weeks ago when a litter of Scottish Terriers would be arriving--There were 2 winners in the puppy-pool, and I was one of them!  If you want a real moment of cuteness, hop over to Rocky Creek Scotties (click on the name) and pay them a visit--The puppies are now almost a month old and are growing and changing so fast!  I've really become smitten with them, and while I think the girls are adorable, for some reason, I'm drawn to the little boys.......But the package is full of lots of tasty treats for our pups, a couple of new toys and a few fun things for me too!!  Thank-you Rocky Creek Scotties for letting us be part of your puppy pool and for the fun package!!
Finally I'm looking forward to a quiet weekend of catching up on things around the house, your blogs and just relaxing.  After a year, this is Carl's last weekend at his current job assignment, and he returns to a regular job with the Department of Defense on Monday.  We're really excited that he'll no longer be working a rotating shift that included nights and weekends.  I hope whatever you are doing this weekend, that it's an enjoyable one!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Had Really Hoped

Its been a long and emotional day that started with rain and a flat tire.  Thank-you again for your kind thoughts and prayers for Sandy. I had so hoped that the news would have been better for her.  Blood work that was done last week, showed significant changes in all the wrong places this week; her blood pressure was so low that the techs had problems drawing blood.  An x-ray taken showed a mass in her abdomen the size of a small cantaloupe and she was bleeding internally.  The kind thing to do, was to let her go.  Carl brought her home and spent the day with her.  I was at work hoping for a miracle.  

I'd hoped Sandy would be able to enjoy the warmth of the sun on our front porch.  I'd hoped she'd be able to enjoy the walks around our property and the chance to lay in the green grass.  I'd hoped to be able to take more pictures of her.  I'd hoped we'd have more time to get to know one another...But it was what I wanted, and not what was meant to be.  

We sat with Sandy as her sweet, quiet soul left this world for the next.  This evening after we left the vets office, we saw this rainbow.  
God speed Sandy.    
Even though we hardly knew you, we won't forget you. 

Update on Sandy...

I'm at work, and just thought I'd post an update on Sandy.  Blood work, x-rays all point to a diagnosis of hemangiosarcoma  Those of you who have had dogs with this, know how suddenly it can and does occur, and that there is sadly nothing that can be done.  After I speak to the rescue and get the needed 'approval' we'll say our good-byes and send her to the Rainbow Bridge.

Thank-you all for your positive thoughts and prayers for Sandy.  I know she has just come to us, and we hardly know her, but I'd hoped for more time...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hoping for the Best

I wish that the news about Sandy was better....But she has no energy, no interest in food (very unusual for a Golden!) and is drinking very little water.  I thought a morning walk with the gang might perk her up, but all it did was wear her out and caused a bout of bloody 'gastro upset,' which she has had for several days.  Sandy hardly leaves our spare bedroom, except to be taken outside, which we insist she do.  The vet that sees our dogs doesn't work everyday and will be in the office on Wednesday.  Sandy is being seen first thing.  When I sit with her and talk to her, it's so easy to see that there's a spark there, which is why I'm hoping for the best.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Blogging Friends - Among the Best!

A busy and tiring Monday was forgotten about when I came home this evening and found a package waiting for me.  Inside the box, a very special gift from Tina from the blog One Wild Swan  who so thoughtfully and without my knowing, painted a portrait of our beloved Tanner who left us in March.  I've been following Tina's blog for some time and each time she posts one of her portraits, I am in awe of her talent and how each piece she creates is brought to life.  I think this is what she did in her painting of Tanner; she captured his sweet spirit and kind soul.  I have found myself drawn to Tanner's eyes in the portrait and remembering how gentle they were...I am so touched by Tina's thoughtfulness for a gift that has become a treasure.  Thank-you again Tina for your beautiful gift that has truly touched my heart and soul.    
Tina's gift reminds me of how blessed I am to have her friendship and yours.  Even though I've never met any of you, I feel like I have because of your blogs.  You have given me a glimpse into your lives, told me about places I'll never get to visit, and shown kindness that I'll always be grateful for--Thank-you for that! 
If you'd like to visit Tina's blog, here's the link:

Sandy Arrives at Golden Pines

When I agreed to let Sandy come here, I was told that getting her to us wouldn't occur until at least the middle of the week.  But the sun and the moon lined up perfectly and I think before I could change my mind, a ride for Sandy to my neck of the woods was arranged.

I met the transport in Frederick Maryland at a local McDonalds.  I was told that Sandy hadn't eaten the night before and very little that morning.  She's on medication for an intestinal problems, so it was thought that this might be the reason for the lack of appetite.  However I had an appetite and decided I would grab something to eat on the way home. Sandy had been laying in the back of the van, and went I pulled up to place my order, suddenly Sandy was standing there wagging her tail, ready to give her order.  Obviously she's been to a drive-thru before!  I shared a little of what I had with her and she and I are now good friends!

Introductions were met with a few growls from Sandy, but otherwise its been a quiet evening.  Sandy is used to being an only dog and living in the group home will no doubt be a little of an adjustment for her.  But she's a sweet little lady with spark and a continually wagging tail!

Medically, I don't know what will happen.  Sandy has cancerous tumors called 'epulis,' in her mouth.  That's why her upper lip and teeth look a little uneven. She also has some other ongoing health issues and last year the vet and the previous owners were going to euthanize her, why they didn't, I don't know.  But what I do know is that Sandy doesn't feel well.  She's very slow moving because she does seem to have a bit of arthritis in her hips--So when she did something she never had done before such as snapping at a child that fell right on top of her, was that a reason to send her away?