Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Phone Call

I had a little bit of a surprise this week - While I was at work, Judy's son, *A* called me and asked me to return his call.  You will of course remember that he wanted to euthanize both Tiggy and Sophie when Judy went to live in a nursing home. For a couple of reasons, I was a bit leery about calling him - Because I will admit that I had a bit of a grudge against him for what I viewed as being callused and heartless towards Sophie and Tiggy. 


But I will say, that those feelings had lessoned over the last several months because *A* had paid all or part of the vet bill for Sophie when she'd seen her vet, *Dr S* in October. Of course at the time I said I would pay the bill, just as I said several times that I would do for Sophie's final vet visit. But I was told each time by Dr. S to not be concerned about it, that her vet bills would all be taken care of. Despite being told that, I still wondered if what prompted*A's* call to me, had to do with money and Sophie's final expenses, because I'd asked for her ashes to be returned to me - Which is an expense outside of vet care.

The lesson here is, to not judge and remember that everything is not always about money. Because Sophie's vet bills were not the reason for *A's* call. Well, at least not all of it. He wanted to thank me for taking care of Sophie and Tiggy and giving them a home together. He also wanted to apologize for not reaching out sooner. He then went on to explain to me about the pressure he was under at the time with his Mother and moving her into a care facility, etc. *A* felt that he had no choices with Sophie and Tiggy, because he could not keep them. In listening to him, I could tell it was a difficult time for him. *A* really didn't know what to do other than euthanize them.... Thankfully Dr. S and Irina (our groomer who gave me Sophie) were there to help him with them both.  

We had a good conversation. *A* talked about the longtime friendship he and his Mom (Judy) have had with both Dr. S, and his memories of Dr. Howard (the previous practice owner) who owned Sophie's Mother. And he told me that Tiggy had been a present from him to his Mom, about 7 years ago. We both laughed about the things that make Tiggy such an unusual character - because he is after all, a Siamese cat -- And as we shared the loss of Sophie,  he told me several times how much she meant to his Mom. We ended our nearly 1 hour conversation with *A* offering to pay for any future vet expenses that Tiggy has - I thanked him for that while reminding him that cats can live about 20 years.🙂  I don't know that I'll take him up on that generous and kind offer. But I think it was nice of him to put it out there. And I think it was nice of him to reach out and to call. 

Finally, I have to say, that after the experience with Buddy and his family, I did not want to have any connection to the previous owners of dogs or cats in our care. But this time, it is one of those instances where it's okay. I have not felt judged or under a microscope for a moment. Instead, from Dr. S, (his photo is below) and Judy's son, and even from Irina (our groomer), I have felt nothing but friendship, kindness and support for the care and the home I gave Sophie, and the life that Tiggy has with us. That trust is humbling and it has meant and still means a lot to me. 

*Dr. S*

Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Lighter Side of Life

My heart remains heavy after the loss of Sophie, coming a couple of months after the loss of Charlie. I really miss them both. But I cannot help but reflect how blessed I have been to share my life with these unique and special dogs like Sophie and Charlie that have left me with so many memories. And I'm grateful for your sharing their losses with me. There is a lot of power in that. It has become part of my healing and I cannot thank-you enough. 

On the lighter side of life, we all know that cats and dogs have a way to bring joy and laughter into our lives. If we've had a bad day, they are right there by our side helping us to forget our troubles. And as always, Todd is no exception to that. The video below is something Todd does all the time. And it always gives me a grin. Todd is truly the lighter side of life for me. 

If the video doesn't appear below, click on this for the link...

Friday, April 30, 2021

Good-Bye to Sophie - We'll See You Then....

~A favorite photo of Sophie from last year~

Wednesday began early. It was a big day where Cooper was to be alone for most of it, crated, because no one could be home with him. Our dog-walker was going to come at about noon, so I'd get an update at work on how he was doing. I'd given him his anxiety medication, and I was just praying it would work.  

It was about 5:30 and Carl had just left for work, when Sophie came into the office, and peed on the floor. Very unusual for her and I scolded her just a little and I got her moving towards the backdoor and outside. We made it as far as the kitchen when she collapsed onto the floor, losing control of her bowels. A flurry of my trying to revive her, when she suddenly let out this big sound, as she began breathing again as her color returned. We sat there for several minutes and it was a huge relief when she finally put her head up and looked at me, and even wagging her tail when I talked to her. 

~Sophie on the day we met in September 2019~

I knew of course that Sophie would need to be seen by a vet. But I felt a car ride at that moment may not be a good idea, because I thought she needed to recover a bit more before I tried taking her anywhere. Thankfully she seemed stable because she was able to walk, she was wagging her tail, and even wanted breakfast -- I gave her a little that I'd ground up in the food processor -- She quickly ate it all and just looked at me, like "where's the rest?" Labs..... 

I was lucky that Sophie's vet clinic had an opening with another vet that I already knew at 10 AM. Once there, I waited outside, trying to have some hope and optimism. A call several minutes later that Sophie's cancer had returned and was now metastasized in her lungs - I'll add here that in the last couple of weeks, Sophie's breathing was changing, and I'd really thought that it was the warmer weather causing her symptoms of laryngeal paralysis to worsen -  There were no other options, the kind thing to do would be to let Sophie go. 

The heartbreaking and unexpected diagnosis was confirmed by Sophie's vet, Dr. S, who is semi-retired and so I did not expect him to be there. But I am grateful that he was because at that moment, and even now, there are no words to express my gratitude for his kindness, compassion, empathy and warmth. 

You may recall that he has been Sophie's vet her entire life. He was truly the connection to Sophie's life before she came to us. Dr. S told me this was because Sophie's mother and her littermates belonged to the previous practice owner, named Dr. Howard, and everyone there at the time, including Dr. S of course, had a hand in helping with the puppies, because Sophie's mom, wasn't exactly the best Mom.... But Sophie's owner, Judy, had been a longtime client and friend to Dr. Howard, and she and Dr. S were/are also personal friends. I had no idea and this was the part of Sophie's story that I'd wondered about. But Dr. S and I both agreed that his being there that day for Sophie was truly a life coming full circle. And finding out later that it was Judy's 92nd birthday yesterday, also said it was. 

~We celebrated Sophie's 14th birthday in January~

Dr. S and I sat there on the floor with Sophie and chatted as if we were old friends. Him telling me stories of Sophie and Judy, and me telling him what her life had been with us. Time stood still in those moments as we both said good-bye to the beautiful Sophie as I continued to silently give thanks for her long life and this good and kind man, that cared for Sophie for her entire life of more than 14 years.

As I left the clinic and walked back to my van, in the spring breeze, the winged seeds (helicopters) produced by maple trees blew past me in the air and I watched them so free in the breeze and I thought of how "free" Sophie now was. And as I drove away, a Barry Manilow song played on the radio. It was one I've never, ever heard before, and now I can't get it out of my head. 

It's called "When the Good Time Come Again." Its words, provided comfort at a moment of sadness.

"I'll see you then

When the good times come again

When you and I have made it back

From the people and the places we have been...

The door that we go out of

Is door that we come in ......

Sometimes we have to hold

To all the good that's been

So I'll see you then

When the good times come again..."

God-speed to our "only girl," Sophie, known to us as Sophia, Sopapilla... I'll miss the wag of your tail, your running into the kitchen for your meal, because as a girl, you were always fed first ~ your sleeping next to the bed, your playing with Todd and even Max, your watchful eye over all that was happening in our house, your canine independence, your friendship, I'll just miss you.  But I hope I'll see you then, when the good times come again. 

Finally, as is our tradition, Sophie's color of the rainbow. I've given her yellow. The color yellow is around everywhere right now, and yellow is the color of friendship.

In the 601 days that Sophie was with us, she was truly a friend to all the dogs, who all loved her, and of course we did too.

~Charlie and Sophie last summer~

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Brood X - The Cycle of Nature

They’ve been buried — alive — for 17 years. And now, Brood X, one of the world’s largest swarms of giant fly-like bugs called cicadas, is ready to rise. As our ground starts to warm, they've stopped gnawing on tree roots and have started their journey to the surface by the hundreds of billions. 

~Todd, at the moment is totally oblivious as to what's underground~

After tunneling their way out of the ground near tree trunks, they’ll crawl up trees, or things they mistake for trees, and shed a thin shell from which they emerge as technicolor animals with big orange eyes and wings.

~A Brood X Cicada from 2004~

Experts have been telling us for months that here in Virginia “We are at the epicenter of an event that happens nowhere else on the planet except here in the Eastern United States.” Those same experts are also telling us that it's going to be pretty remarkable, come the latter half of May. The densities of the cicadas in some places is going to be nothing short of phenomenal, about 1.5 million per acre. 

~We have a lot of space for cicadas!~

In our corner of Virginia, we are already starting to see them emerge, as 100's of holes are starting to appear around some of our trees. 

~Cicada holes are starting to appear around our trees~

We were here in Virginia in 2004, the last time "Brood X" made their appearance, but we were living in a relatively new subdivision and only heard them. However, where we live now the ground and the area has been pretty much undisturbed, the trees are mature, so it's anyone's guess as to how many we'll see. I may feel differently once Brood X actually appears, but at the moment, I cannot wait to see them -- After 17 years, it really is the cycle of nature at its best!

~Me, showing Todd a cicada tunnel~