Monday, May 28, 2018

Life. It Continues

Thank you all for your kind words and sharing our loss of Jake.  His loss has of course been a sad one, and apart from that sadness, there are no regrets, just gratitude for having Jake as part of our lives.
There's a quote from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes that says "You know, a heart can be broken, but it keeps on beating, just the same." The same can be said about life.  It continues.

Charlie is doing well and has been a good post-operative patient. Most of the bruising and swelling  on his bottom is gone.  However, he's **hating** having to wear an e-collar and to keep the noses away, he's being confined when we're away.  The surgeon called on Thursday to let me know the results of the biopsy.  The tumor was cancer.  Sigh .... And, unfortunately, the surgeon wasn't able to get a clean margin when it was removed, and there were cells along the edge.  This means that the tumor will probably return. Sigh....again .....  The surgeon (and a good friend) is recommending a console with an oncologist. Which I may do.  I will definitely take him to see the Holistic Vet.  I know there are herbs that can be given that will suppress tumor growth, and would be worth trying.

Another "loss" I haven't mentioned, is our foster girl Misty from Lab Rescue. She went to her forever home last week.  A really nice couple drove nearly 4 hours each way to come and meet Misty.  Misty loved them right away, in particular their 20ish year old special needs daughter, Joy. They were looking for a friend for Joy that she could walk with, and Misty truly fit the bill. The reports from them have all been good, and they are thrilled to have Misty as part of their family. Misty is enjoying long daily walks and swimming in a nearby pond.  I'll admit, I'd seriously thought of keeping Misty. But knowing that she's a star in her very own home, and a friend and companion to Joy, reminds me of why I shouldn't have. She is missed, but I couldn't be happier for the family and for Misty.

I think Max may be happy about it too.  But then, he's always happy.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

After 841 Days - Good-Bye to Jake

~The view from our front porch on Thursday~ 
Thursday morning in northern Virginia was beautiful outside. The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze, and the temperature was about 10 degrees cooler than it had been in previous days. The soft-tinkle of the windchimes, the songs of the Cardinals, wrens, the eastern phoebe, and a few others were in the background as the hummingbirds buzzed around the feeder.  All that encompassed in the moment in time where I sat on the front porch with Jake and the Holistic Vet.
~Jake at Selma Mansion, February 2018~
All the good days, the fewer not so good days, the cheering Jake on, going for walks, helping him to his feet, and letting him set the pace for this chapter in his life, brought us to Thursday, 841 days from the day we first  met. His time with us had come full circle.  Even though Jake's spirit was still willing, (he even tried to get up to greet holistic vet when she came), his body had truly failed him. It was time for me to let go and to set Jake free from this life.
~Jake, November 2017~
In those tender and final moments with him, Holistic vet told me a story that I'll relate another time, but it suggests finding a color that sums up a life. Holistic Vet suggested that I find a color for Jake.  This color would be his and be a reminder of him and his life with us. All I could think of afterwards was the color red.
~My very last picture I took of Jake~ 
I picked red because I'd noticed the red on the Ruby-throated Hummingbird that buzzed around the porch on Thursday.  Red for the color of Jake's collar and leash.  Red for the elbow pads that he wore to cushion his sore elbows. Red for his strength, courage, determination and of course the bond and the love I felt from him during our 841 days together.  Red for my heart that is broken at his no longer being with us.

The very last verse of a poem by e.e.cummings that I heard for the first time today seemed to sum it up perfectly:
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Jake's heart will always be part of mine as he took a part of  mine when he left. And there are no words for how much he will be (and is) missed.
~Jake and the sunflowers, July 2017~

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Charlie is Home!

Charlie is home!  I finally heard from the surgeon last evening around 9 PM.  Everything had gone well, even though there was some post-op bleeding. We have been given 3 pages of discharge instructions to follow. 
Charlie slept all day, had no interest in dinner, or anything else for that matter.  But I did manage to get him to take his medications wrapped in cheese to help with the pain and discomfort he's no doubt having.
But Charlie is home, and that's all that matters.  Let the healing begin!

Thursday, May 17, 2018


Today is the day of Charlie's surgery. The drive to the surgery center was nearly an hour away and there was plenty to look at. 
We've had a lot of stormy and severe weather for more than a week.  Small streams like in the photo below are either at or near flood stage.  On Tuesday, lightning struck the ground next to a co-workers home. It found its way into her house and "electrocuted" everything that was plugged in.  Thankfully she and her family (and their dog) are all safe.  But it will be awhile before they can live in their home.  All this a reminder to take weather warnings seriously.
Even though we were late arriving at the surgery center, Charlie and I still waited, a little nervously, for the technician to come and take him to the back.

I'd been initially told that I could pickup Charlie at the end of the day and bring him home.  However, the surgeon called a couple of hours ago to discuss a few things with me, and said that he'll need to stay overnight.  I'm really disappointed he'll need to stay, but I know it's for the best.

Here at home, there's plenty to keep my mind off of everything. Our boy Jake isn't doing well. While his spirit is still willing, his body is starting to fail because of the severe arthritis in his back.  Its been a struggle the last week to keep him going. I know that this all means that our time with Jake is coming to an end. But this is his journey and we will let him set the pace and enjoy the time we have.
And even thought I'm trying to focus on Jake and the other dogs today.  I have to admit that my mind does wander back to Charlie, and now that it's after 5 PM, I wonder, when will the surgeon call me to tell me how everything has gone?   I'll bet Todd knows.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Dog Free Weekend

Back in the coldest days of February, my thoughts always seem to turn to warmer weather and getting away.  So, that's what I did.  I thought of warmer weather and planned a trip to see my good and longtime friend that lives in Lancaster Pennsylvania.
Crossing the Susquehanna River  
Usually I stay with my friend, but because of a few changes in her life, I cruised the listings on "Airbnb" and found a place near her home.  An old candy-shop located in nearby Lititz that had been turned into a guesthouse was perfect. The time alone gave me some needed down-time, and of course the time with my friend allowed me to recharge as well.  I really needed it.
My friend has lived in Lancaster for more than 30 years, and so she knows all the best places to eat. And eat we did - A lot of the wrong things, and too much.
Tomato pie with a rosemary scone. 
My friend also knows all the best nurseries.  A favorite of hers, and mine as well, is a Mennonite nursery that has a really good selection and the healthiest of plants. I also like them because they do not use neonic pesticides on bee-attractive plants like many (most?) of the big-box stores do. Now I just need to find the time to plant everything.

All too soon, my dog-free weekend ended.  Of course I missed the dogs. But for the first time in a long time, I feel recharged and ready for what's ahead. At the top of that list will be Charlie's surgery which is scheduled for May 17th.

But before I go back to work on Wednesday, tomorrow there is one last road trip. It's to return the lovely Molly who has been with us for a few days while her family has been out of town for a memorial service.  It's always nice to have her stay with us, and today happens to mark exactly one year since we met her for the first time.
It doesn't seem possible and I have to wonder where does the time go?  I'll bet Todd doesn't even know. Or does he?