Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New Tricks and a Road Trip

Sandy is settling in really nicely and learning his way around our house and yard. It's a slow process.  For his sake, it'll be a big help when he knows the routine and where things are.  After not eating anything last weekend, and trying everything to get him to, I added parmesan cheese to the top of his meal and he FINALLY ate on Monday morning!  It makes sense that a dog that is blind and unfamiliar with his surroundings would be tempted by a strong cheese.  As I mentioned in my previous post, we've never had a blind dog before.  So I really appreciated your advice on helping this very sweet boy learn his way around on my last post.  If there are any other tips that you would like to pass on, please feel free to leave them.

The rest of the week is going to be a busy one.  Today I am off to Kentucky. All of my brothers are going to be home and I've not seen two of them in about 4 years and so I am looking forward to spending time with them. I'll look forward to catching up on your news when I return early next week!
Enjoy the rest of your week!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Hole at Golden Pines is Filled

As you know, with the loss of Sam, I've had a 75 pound golden-sized hole in my heart this week. While no dog could ever take Sam's place, the hole that was left in my heart and our house was filled with a 120 pound (!!) Golden named Sandy who arrived on Friday. It all happened so quickly.  Someone from the rescue called me around lunchtime yesterday and asked if I'd consider taking in a 14 year old boy named Sandy.  When she was reading me the information on him I have to admit that I didn't really hear much of what she said--Other than the original owner had gone into a nursing home and the daughter had been keeping Sandy in the basement and they were unable to afford to pay for food for him--And Sandy is also blind.  With all of that, of course I said yes.  Another volunteer for the rescue agreed to pick him up and meet me and by 4 o'clock I was on my way home with Sandy. It could not worked out better if it had been planned days ago.

Our crew are seasoned pros at meeting new dogs, and meeting Sandy was uneventful--Even Lucas behaved himself.  I think he's in awe of his size; actually we all are, Sandy is a big boy!
I've never had a totally blind dog before.  We've been showing Sandy around the house and this morning he found the water bowls on his own and his way to the back door to go outside.  He's yet to eat a meal, but I am sure that will change.  He and I are off to the vet this morning for a checkup.
Afterwards I am hoping, hoping and hoping that I will have the time to sit, relax and read your news.  It has been a hectic and tiring week and I could use a little escape to your blogs to see what's happening in your world~Thank-you for stopping by to see what's happening in mine!
Enjoy your Saturday!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Six Words

~Sam, left and Toby last Sunday~

I would like to thank everyone for the kind and thoughtful comments that you left on the loss of our boy Sam on Monday.  It has again confirmed to me that the blogging-community of animal lovers truly understands how difficult it is to go through the toughest task many of us face—saying good-bye.  I will tell you from experience that it never, ever for a single moment gets easier to make those decisions or to lose one of our four-legged-family members.  I can also tell you without a doubt that there is so much comfort in knowing that there are people who understand how difficult the loss is, and hearing from friends and family (and even strangers) who offer their support really helps and is priceless.

In trying to think of a tribute to Sam, I am reminded about a famous story where literary great Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write the world’s shortest story using only six words.  He is said to have declared his resulting creation his best work. The entirety of the story was:
For sale:  baby shoes, never worn 

I decided to take up this same challenge and do a tribute to Sam, using only six words.  I found it to be a bit more difficult than I originally thought it would be, especially because I'm still suffering from a bit of a writers-block when it comes to him.  But below are the six that I've come up with for tribute to my boy Sam:

Content, Confident, Charging Ahead, Remembered, Missed
Care to share what your six words would be for that special someone in YOUR LIFE, past or present, two legs or four?  I'd really love to hear them and I think others would be interested too.
So as the 'Chapter of Sam' closes, I would again like to thank-you for your kindness and your friendship!  Today as a real taste of brutal summer heat has arrived, I'm staying inside today and am looking forward to catching up on life and your news!  Enjoy your Thursday!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Battle Ends for Sam

Today dawned cool, gray and damp.  As a gentle rain fell this morning, I knelt next to Sam as he lay in the grass.  He'd been there for several minutes and was starting to become soaking wet.  My attempts to get him to come inside were met with resistance from him, but eventually he did what he was asked.  I wasn't sure what exactly was happening or what had changed because outwardly at least to me, nothing had.  But known only to Sam, something was different, because it was obvious the pain and his battle with cancer had become too much for him.

Holding Sam's face in my hands I looked at him and pleaded and promised I would do whatever it took to help him, if we could just have more time together.  But another world was calling to Sam and I knew it was time to let him go--Sam had done what he always did--He chose what he wanted to do.

There is so much I want the world to know about Sam.  Things that I don't want to be forgotten.  But tonight, I am flooded with emotions and as hard as I have tried, the words just won't come.  I can only give thanks for nearly 3 years full of memories with one of the most well adjusted, confident, self assured and independent Goldens I've ever known.

Tonight our candle is lit to help Sam find his way to the Rainbow Bridge.  Along with being met by our pups, I am finding comfort in Sam also being reunited with his very first owner whose life sadly ended much too soon.  And as he and Sam cross the Rainbow Bridge together, I hope that Sam won't forget what he meant to us, and how much we are going to miss him.

God speed 'my handsome Sam.'  You fought a good fight.  

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Front Porch

A beautiful Saturday morning to just sit on our front porch with our old and very slow laptop and write this post.  The door and windows are open, and it's cool enough that even the air conditioning doesn't have to be on.  The sky is clear and there's hardly a cloud in the sky.  In the yard the Mother rabbit watches over her family.  We didn't see her at all yesterday and we were a little concerned that something had happened to her--Am I the only one that worries about wildlife in the yard?  In an effort to keep the rabbits safe, we're not allowing the dogs into that part of the yard--But all of our worrying about her yesterday was for nothing because we finally saw her late in the evening.  

Across the road I can hear the voices of the farmer and his sons and the mooing of cows as they move cattle into the pasture nearest to us.  Apparently the cows are not happy about the change.  The dogs really enjoy being on the front porch with me, watching and listening.  I'm glad that Sam has chosen to come out here with us.  A friend of mine who also has senior Goldens has insisted that Sam be put on more herbs--She swears that's what is keeping her 16+  year old going.  She is so convinced of it that she purchased them and had them delivered to us.  Thinking that Sam and I have nothing to lose, I started giving them to him.  I'm not sure what they all are, but I suppose that time will tell if they are effective or not. 
Today on my agenda is to look up blackberry recipes.  We've picked the last of them, and I have more than a gallon in the freezer and 4 quarts sitting on the counter and two more in the fridge.  There are so many and I'm worried they may go to waste.  This morning I've already baked 'blackberry bread' but would like to find something a bit more interesting to do with them. (Any thoughts?)  However at this moment the front porch is interesting enough and right now I'm not worrying about anything.
Enjoy your Saturday!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Anchored in Peace

There are some people who thrive in a room full of people or in crowded places and having a constantly moving life.  I am not one of them.  I like simplicity.  I like living quietly and being home.  Especially on days like today where there has been a soft rainfall all day.
On Saturday Carl discovered a nest of baby rabbits in the middle of our yard.  (I don't understand why the Mother chose the unprotected open space of our yard to raise her family)  
But seeing the Mother rabbit sit in the rain watching over her family has a feeling of peace to it as well.
The clouds and the rain even effect the dogs. After a very brief walk in the rain, they've all found a place and settled down for a nap, anchoring the house in peace and quiet.
Finally, thank-you continuing to remember Sam.  There have been a few changes the last couple of days, but he's still happy and going strong!   Below is a picture I took of him on Sunday, which was also my birthday. It made the day that much better to have him with us and being able to spend it with good friends.
I hope you're having a good day too!

Problems with My Dashboard

I'm off work today and thought that on this rainy day it would be a perfect time to catch up on my blog-reading.  However an issue that I had about a month ago with the blogs I follow has once again started to reoccur.  I'm having a problem where some of the blogs that I follow are not appearing on my dashboard (or in goggle reader). I've posted 4 times in the help forum and get absolutely no response.  I've tried everything, signing in and out, clearing the cache, etc., and I even reloaded google chrome, re-followed the blogs that I know aren't there and they still don't appear--Nothing resolves the issue--I have to admit that I'm feeling really frustrated.  Does anyone have any thoughts about what I could do or who I could contact?  Can I just tell you how frustrating it is?  THANK YOU for your thoughts, I appreciate it!!

Sheba would rather go outside and play than be inside, in any weather! 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Berries and a Bat

The week ended as one of those weeks when, despite the uncertainty with Sam, things seemed right and how they should be.  With good weather this past week it allowed us to pick the bumper-crop of blackberries that are ripening faster than we can get to them.  Unfortunately many are going to waste. 

But I had no idea that there were so many blackberries growing on our property.  Sheba still cannot get enough of them!
Yesterday Sheba and I went for a walk around our property and picked the ones along the edge of the woods.  One of the things I get most nervous about is seeing a snake, so I'm always watching where I step.  I should probably spend more time looking up because when I did, I saw a little brown bat clinging to a branch.  
I backed way off and stayed just long enough to take a couple of very quick pictures. When we first moved here it was not unusual to see bats.  On a warm spring or summer night, shortly after dusk from our front porch I would watch their fluttery, erratic flight as they caught insects with the greatest of ease.  But the last few years we've not seen as many because of  'white-nose-syndrome' that is killing them in record numbers. I personally think that bats are a little misunderstood because of the myths associated with them--And I understand and respect why many don't like to have them around. But for me it was good to see this nocturnal resident, and I hope it has friends.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Going Off

It's Wednesday and with the rush and chaos of the week behind me, my time is now becoming my own.  It's time to get caught up.

A friend of mine in an e-mail asked me how Sam was doing.  I sent her a picture and said that I thought that Sam was 'riding a wave' and was doing okay. Being an avid surfer, our friend responded back that she was so glad that Sam was 'going off'  and explained that this is a surfing term used to describe a very good, consistent surfer who is surfing particularly well. I liked it, and thought it fit Sam perfectly; he's riding the wave pretty well right now!  Even though the left side of his face is swollen, and he's lost the use of his left eye, Sam seems to be comfortable and not having any pain. We're continuing to let him set the pace of this part of the journey.  He's up to going for walks with us, and is enjoying the bumper crop of blackberries that we've had every day this week.
~Sam enjoying his evening~
I feel like at the moment we're in a good place with Sam.  Words cannot explain how humble and grateful I am for these days of grace with him.  I think this calls for another blackberry cobbler like the one I made for my co-workers yesterday.
I'm looking forward to catching up on your news,    
THANK YOU for stopping for a moment to read ours!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

An Upbeat Note

Our week ended with severe rainstorms. It was raining so hard at one point, the gutters were overflowing.  Just across the Potomac River from us, there were tornado warnings. I have to admit that I was a bit unnerved by it all.
Todd thought he wanted to be outside while it was pouring rain, but once out, he just stood there, seemingly unable to make up his mind what he wanted to do.  He came back inside.
The past week seemed to be filled with nothing but bad news.  Even the news for our newest addition Annie was not that good.  Her test results from her recent vet visit show she has kidney and liver damage that was probably caused by extended use of anti-inflammatory medication for her arthritis. A special diet will be needed for her.
Needless to say, my spirits were at an all time low, my heart felt broken and my head was just spinning.  But I'm ready to begin the weekend on a more upbeat note.

Sheba let me know this morning that the wild blackberries are already starting to ripen.  I hadn't even noticed them, because they're a little early this year.  Each year it has been a contest between Sheba and I and Rudi (who passed away last August) and the birds to see who will get the most.  Right now, Sheba is winning.
It helps to begin the weekend with Sam acting like he's feeling a little better. He was barking and wagging his tail as we got ready for our morning walk.  He even enjoyed blackberries with Sheba and I and gobbled down his breakfast and Lucas's too.  I don't know how long we'll ride this wave with Sam, or even if it really is one. But the good notes at the start of the day has created harmony and peace at Golden Pines this morning.
 Enjoy your Saturday!