Monday, May 27, 2019

Grounded and Focused on Life

To start, I would like to take a moment to thank everyone for your gracious and kind words and sharing the loss of our girl Cissy. Saying thank-you actually doesn't sufficiently show my gratitude for what your friendship and support means to me.  Cissy was a loyal friend and an active part of our household for six years. She will be and is greatly missed.
~Cissy's bowl and collar~
On Friday morning I just wanted the world to stop and not be a part of it. It was hard to get going, and I didn't get the dogs fed until around 10 o'clock.  While their breakfast was late, my breakfast of cold ricotta-pizza and a diet coke showed right where my emotions were. 

Those of you with dogs, know that at your lowest moments, dogs have a way of making you chuckle and keeping you focused and grounded in life and reality. The video below shows how Todd did both of those things this past weekend when his ear was bothering him - And I really needed it.
What would we do without our four-legged-family members?
~Our foster girl Ginger~
Or our friends? Thank-you all again for your friendship!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Good-Bye to Not Just Another Dog

A co-worker said to me yesterday that she didn't understand how Cissy was not just another dog for us because there have been and are so many. Trying to explain to a non-animal lover that she was wrong and that I considered Cissy one of "my girls" and a canine sister was impossible to articulate. But it didn't matter, Cissy knew that. Cissy knew that she held a unique position in or household because the rules didn't really apply to her. She also had to know that she was the only dog that never had an "assigned" place to eat. Her bowl was always brought to wherever she happened to be at mealtimes.

Cissy was fiercely independent and opinionated and I let her decide the pace of her life and do what she wanted.  She was happy with that arrangement.  She had let us know early on that she didn't want to be let out into the fenced yard. Cissy instead preferred to wander around outside the fence. She always walked the same little route, and when she was ready to come back inside, she let us know. 

Cissy also didn't like to be brushed or be fussed over, so I just did what she would tolerate.  It almost seems like neglect, but she always seemed happy and content, which made me feel okay that her nails didn't get trimmed as much as they should have.

Despite that independent nature, the last few weeks, there seemed to be a frailty to Cissy as her pace started to slow and she needed our help on the steps and getting to her feet a little more. In those slower and quiet moments with Cissy, even though I tried to ignore it, the whisper that her time was coming to an end came to my mind and heart more than once. She also began her days earlier and she would come to the bedside and start barking at me and hurry off after I acknowledged her.

Cissy really was really a vocal dog and from wherever she was in the house she'd let me know that she knew I was home or that she was ready for her dinner. Of course I'd always say something back to her and let her know I'd heard her. My favorite had to be the times when Cissy would stand at the office door, or wherever we happened to be, take a look around, bark once or twice, and then totter back to her spot and lay down. 

I'd always thought of Cissy's life as being two totally different volumes because I didn't know anything about her life before she came to us from a Virginia shelter. At the time we thought Cissy was around 12 years old. But looking back at it, I guess she had to be around 8. Whatever her age, Cissy was truly a shell of a dog when we met and initially there was a lot of uncertainty about what was ahead for her.
~Cissy, 3-23-13 -- The day we met~
But despite all of that, Cissy surprised all of us and her big personality blossomed and she regained her health.

During the second volume of her life with us, there are so many of the best memories wrapped up into the 6 years we shared together. The video below made just after she came to us, and so many other things are what I don't want to forget about this beautiful girl who I said goodbye to today.

Like anyone who has lost a four-legged-family member, or really anyone who has a heart, you know how hard this is... not just because of Cissy being a loyal friend, but because she represented a time in our journey through life, who made me smile every day, who I had a strong connection with and who always lifted my spirits. I have truly lost another piece of my heart and I am keeping those memories of Cissy in what's left of it.

God speed to you Cissy ...  Cissy Miss... girly-girl.... My pretty girl .... Big girl....  You will be greatly missed and remembered. Our house seems lonelier and quieter without you. And a candle is lit to help you find your way back to the one who created you. I know there will be quite a welcome for you there, and I so look forward to the day when I'll see you again. 

Finally some of you may remember that I've started giving a color to our dogs that pass to create our own rainbow. I thought I had one for Cissy. But as I wrote this post and thought about it, for whatever reason, it just seemed all wrong. I am sure that in the days to come and as I grieve over her loss, I know one will come.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

What a week! As I mentioned in my last post, when I got back on Sunday, Bailey wasn't feeling well. The three days that followed didn't end with her getting any better. Text messages from my dog-walker made me a nervous wreck and so I left work early on Tuesday and Wednesday to come home to care for her. Bailey's appetite was all but gone. She was coughing, vomiting and was unable to keep any food, water or even medications down. She would protest when I tried to get her to her feet, or to change the bedding she was laying on.

This hasn't been all that unusual for Bailey and normally after a day or two of not feeling well, Bailey usually starts to improve. But no matter what I did or tried, this time she just wasn't. She was miserable and uncomfortable, not to mention tired. I really felt like there was nothing else that could be done. So, I contacted the medical coordinator for the rescue and had the discussion about letting Bailey go. I know it goes without saying that these decisions are not made easily. But I really felt like it was the only and right one because she was a bit unresponsive and her spark seemed so dim. If you could have seen Bailey, I think you would have agreed.
I contacted Mobile Vet and made the appointment for Bailey on Thursday.  When I came home early on Wednesday afternoon from work, Bailey was sleeping soundly. When I said something to her, she opened her eyes and wagged her tail. She surprised me then, and when I helped her up, she went outside by herself and came back in with no help.

That evening Bailey drank and ate without getting sick. I checked on her several times overnight, and she was fast asleep without as much as a cough. By Thursday mid-morning, well after a full breakfast I knew that it was not Bailey's day to leave us. Another conversation with Medical Coordinator, a visit to Mobile Vet to have her looked at, and we all agreed.

Of course I've no way of knowing how long the good days with Bailey will last. But I am so happy that she's feeling better and she's still with us. However, I have to admit, that the emotions of it all, leaving work early, my lengthy conversations with Medical Coordinator, and Mobile Vet making room in his very busy schedule, I really do feel like I was crying wolf. But everyone knows that this was (certainly) no joke, and I'm grateful to Medical Coordinator and Mobile Vet for being there when I don't need or do need them. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

A Week End and Begins

Home on Sunday from the wedding -- Just as planned!  Of course the bride was beautiful, and the groom (my nephew) was handsome.
The wedding venue was lovely and a perfect setting with a true rustic feel.
Despite the on-and-off rain, everything was well planned from start to finish. It was a memorable and enjoyable evening and weekend.

But of course I was glad to get back home.
Today has been a quiet day at home. Bailey (below) is not feeling well. So I'm glad I'm able to be with her today to take care of her. Hopefully she'll be better by tomorrow when I return to work.
~Alf (left) and Bailey~

I hope your week is off to a good start. 

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Alone-- But Not Really Alone

While Todd keeps track of what's going on at home ...
I am out of town....alone. Okay, alone means no dogs are with me. And alone means I have my own room at the hotel.
Because I am not really alone. I'm attending the wedding of a nephew, which is of course, a family affair.
It's also means that I have a chance to see all my brothers. They are great fun to spend time with, as are their growing and extended families. But by Sunday, I'll be ready to go home. Even though I do love getting away, even if it's only for a couple of days. Families and alone time can wear a person out.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Joy and Alf Speak

Just a 13-ish second video giving a tiny glimpse of an impatient (but happy) Joy at mealtime last evening. Providing backup is Alf, and Todd can be heard as part of the chorus. If you look quick, making a cameo appearance are Chip and Baloo at the end. 

This is pretty much what I listen to the whole time I'm getting the meals ready for everyone. And just to make that point, below is another video of Joy in the same spot this morning, with her chorus.  Of course it goes without saying, that I'd have it no other way.

Enjoy your Friday!