Saturday, August 25, 2018

Helping Brandon #18-018 Find "Life"

~More veggies from our garden~
Today Carl returns from being out of town, and I end 10 days as a single-dog-parent. I'm exhausted.  The loss of Momma, and two sick pups, Eva and Bailey took its toll because of a few nights of little sleep and having to work, and care for the other dogs.  Thankfully both girls are feeling better, and for that I'm thankful and grateful.
~Bailey, not feeling well~
We also end the week minus another member of our household. You may, or may not remember that back in June, we welcomed a 14+ year old boy named Brandon.
~Brandon, the day we met~
Brandon settled in very nicely and got along with all the dogs. But somewhere along the way,  that began to change. I can only think that being part of a multi-dog household got to be too much for Brandon. He began growling and sometimes fighting with the other dogs. Most of the time, for whatever reason, Bailey, was the one he targeted.  And Todd, who is always ready for a fight, got involved a few times which took the fight to a whole other level. Thankfully no one was injured, but we began "managing" where Brandon was, and which dogs he was with. It wasn't always easy, but we worked it out.
The foster-home-coordinator for the rescue really tried to find a new foster home for Brandon. But she wasn't able to find anyone, and I think now it was because the cosmos had other plans. Brandon had been on the rescues website as "available for adoption." and a few weeks ago, there was an inquiry about Brandon. But the family had to go through the approval process and so we decided to hang-on and see where it would take us. They were previous adopters from the rescue, and with all their information updated, a new home visit completed they were approved to adopt again, and so we met last Saturday.

Meeting "P" and her husband was just like meeting friends. They were warm and welcoming. "P" is currently undergoing treatment for cancer, and she felt she needed something to take care of and something that would also take her mind off herself.  "P" had seen Brandon on the rescues website when he was with his previous foster home and available for adoption , and she'd noticed when he was no longer listed.  So, when "P" saw him listed again, she knew they had to apply to adopt him. "P's" feelings about Brandon, even before she met him, were so strong, that she even ordered him a new leash and collar.
By himself, Brandon is gentle, sweet, endearing, affectionate, and even silly. He was all "P" and her husband hoped he would be, and our meeting could not have gone any better. Taking on a senior dog, especially one that is 14 years old is something to consider, so I asked them to think about it and we would catch up in a few days. I received a call from "P" a couple of hours later. They were totally smitten by Brandon and of course I thought they could not be more perfect for him!

So, on Thursday, Brandon was adopted. "P" and her husband could not be happier or  more excited to dote on and spoil Brandon and to have him as part of their lives! "P" and her husband are Jewish. I mention this only because when we were filling out Brandon's adoption contract, I remarked to "P" about his ID number for the rescue being 18-018 (referencing the year and that Brandon was the 18th dog that came into the rescue this year)  "P" had noticed that as well, and told me that the Hebrew word for "life"has a numerical value of 18. So, Brandon's ID numbers mean "life." Very appropriate I think.
Brandon's story and his journey that began this spring to find a new home speaks to my heart and soul. I know Brandon is where he is supposed to be for this chapter in his life. I'm grateful to be part of his story, and helping, Brandon, #18-018 find "life," happiness and a perfect forever home and family.
~Brandon settling into his forever home~

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Good-Bye (for now) to Momma

Yesterday was a very long day, but the past 17 days before it, passed all too quickly. After 17 days, I said good-bye to Momma. The last few days had been difficult for her. I upped her pain medication and added another with the hope that it would alleviate the obvious discomfort she was having caused by the very large mammary tumor. But, unfortunately, it did not. During the night, I was awakened more than once by her whining as she tried to get comfortable. It was heartbreaking to listen to. I prayed she would find comfort.
~Our first photo together~
My hope when Momma came to us was to make the last days of her life the best. I'm not sure that we did that, but I think that she liked being part of our household. She enjoyed lots extra treats, sneaking a nap on the bed in our guest bedroom, a big yard to explore, and the company of lots of canine friends, and one in particular, Chipper, is really missing her. I am too.  It didn't take long to get used to hearing her tail whack-whack-whack against the wall when she'd see me. It didn't take long to get used to seeing her smiling face, seeing her lounging on the big dog bed in the office. It didn't take long for her to find a place in my heart.

In the hopes of making a last memory with Momma, on the way to the vets office, I decided to go to McDonalds. I was going to get my favorite, a cheeseburger and fries for her. But once at the drive thru, it occured to me that I should get what would be her favorite. A bacon-egg-and cheese biscuit. We went to a quiet place and I showed it to her. There was a puzzled look on Momma's face when I offered it to her. When she realized it was for her, her tail wagged as she gobbled it down. Afterwards, as I sat next to her for in our final quiet moments, there was a smile and sparkle in her eyes as she leaned into me as I talked to her. I wonder now, if on those rare times when I have a bacon-egg-and cheese biscuit, I'll not think of her.

As I left the vets office, I couldn't help but notice the purple wild flowers, called Ironweed that is  blooming along the road.
Seeing them reminded me of the purple flowers in her new collar that I'd bought for her just last week.
As I did with Jake, to sum up their life with us, to build my own "rainbow" I've given her a color.  Momma's color is purple. Purple represents wisdom, dignity,  devotion, peace, independence, and magic. Until the end, I could see the wisdom, and peace, trust and devotion in her eyes. The dignity she had through the pain of the cancer, her independent and kind nature, and the magic in the way she quickly stole all of our hearts.

God-speed Mommaaaa, until we meet again on the other side. You are missed and will not be forgotten.   
~One last, and final photo~ 

 As a postscript, a good friend also said good-bye to her cat named "Pal" yesterday. His time with her, was also much too short. But with her, he found all that he needed and more. Our candle, (sat here on a throw that she gave me), is lit to help Pal find his way to the Rainbow Bridge. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Girls

~We are enjoying tomatoes from our garden~
Onto another week we go. Almost all of my spare time these days is being taken up with the dogs.  This past week began with our girl Bailey at the vet for x-rays and bloodwork and were given a diagnosis of a respiratory infection, and 2 antibiotics. As a new week begins, she's much better, her appetite has returned, and the cough that she had has all but disappeared. 
Eva also had a turn at the vet this past week, and her latest blood work shows that her health, in particular, her kidneys continue to deteriorate.  The infection that we hoped was cleared up, has returned, so she's back on antibiotics.
I've asked Conventional Vet to contact the medical coordinator from the rescue about Eva's future health reports. I know hearing the test results are important.  But right now, hearing about how Eva's sodium, potassium, creatinine, albumin, calcium and protein levels continue to worsen is just too discouraging. I have accepted that Eva will never regain her health.  So, I'd rather focus on each day as it comes; making sure she's happy, in good spirits, finding something she'll want to eat, and making sure she's getting her IV fluids, supplements and medications and getting to her appointments with Holistic Vet.

And going down the list of the girls, I have to mention the little milestone that its been just over a week since the arrival of Momma. I've enjoyed getting to know, this easy going girl. Usually we take intros very slow, and over a week we allow the new arrivals to have more and more freedom in the house, and with the other dogs.  But Momma is one of those dogs where that has not been necessary. She quickly became part of our big crowd, and has settled right in. All the dogs like her.
~Momma & Todd~
Chipper, our other foster boy for Lab Rescue, cannot get enough of her, and wherever Momma is, Chipper is not far behind.  I think he likes that there is another Lab around. We like having her around too!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Momma Arrives at Golden Pines!

The top news story at our house is that the INTERNET IS RESTORED!!  Our trouble began late last week when an afternoon storm came through that didn't totally knock out our internet connection, but it slowed down to a pace that was slower than dial up. We hobbled (and I suffered) through it and it appears as the end of the week is in sight, the problems are finally resolved. And, I'll add that the loud humming we had on our land line is gone too. Thank-you Verizon. 
~Todd, cares nothing about the internet, but he does care about the deer on his turf~
The second news story is the arrival of a new addition from Lab Rescue, named Momma. Our taking another dog, because of the lovely Eva, was not for a single moment a part of the plan. But when I read the below e-mail from the foster home coordinator, how could I say no?
Hi, Kim. I'm sorry to be writing to you to ask you if you might consider taking a hospice dog. Mama is a 10 year old black female. The owner contacted us because he took her into the vet to be euthanized because she has a huge mammary tumor and didn't want to spend any more money on her. His vet told him it was operable and to reach out to us. She has been seen and this tumor is a monster that has wrapped itself around the back leg, the lymph nodes, and it is not operable. Her whole leg is swollen. I don't think she has much time left. Maybe a few days or weeks. They put her on anti-inflammatories and pain killers. They also treated a horrific ear infection. They packed her ears. And she has a hole in her gum, can't remember the name of it. Anyway, she is the sweetest girl, of course, and she is always wagging her tail. I don't want her to spend more time at the vet. She arrived on Saturday. I asked them if she should go to Heaven now, but the vet said she is still happy and should enjoy whatever time she has being spoiled in a home. What are your thoughts? I'm sorry to impose on you like this. Thank you for listening. 
Momma arrived yesterday. She is a sweet and endearing girl and she has not stopped wagging her tail, or smiling since we met.  I look forward to the chance to get to know Momma, spoiling her, and saying good bye when it's time for her to go.