Thursday, June 27, 2019

Living No Other Way

To start, I want to thank you for your sympathy and support on the loss of Bailey.  And also for sharing your own experiences. It really does mean a lot. Your words have (again) helped to fill some of the emptiness from losing Bailey.

Several times I've heard, "I don't know how you do it."  Honestly, I don't know either. What I do know is that I'm a bit of a crumpled mess right now. The tears are just under the surface. When I was at work yesterday and today as well, I really tried to keep my emotions from bubbling up at an inopportune time -- like when I was with patients, or picking out produce at the grocery store. And of course what has gone along with all of this is that I am eating all the wrong things. Can you go through the drive-thru twice at McDonalds? 
~My heart-stopping breakfast this morning~
I've decided that taking in the senior dogs has allowed grief to shadow me in quite the same way as Bailey did - It's always by my side, touching me at unexpected moments, chasing me until it catches me and forces me to look it squarely in the eye. I can't get away from it. However, despite the sadness and heart-break I'm feeling right now, the words of the Irving Townsend Quote still ring true.

We who choose to surround ourselves
with lives even more temporary than our own, 
live within a fragile circle;
easily and often breached.
Unable to accept its awful gaps,
we would still live no other way.
We cherish memory as the only
certain immortality, never fully
understanding the necessary plan.”

― Irving Townsend
As hard and sad as it can be and is, I would live no other way. 

Thank-you again, friends, for sharing the loss of Bailey as well as Cissy and Joy too.  
You all are truly the best!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Good-Bye to Our Friend Bailey

I am so sorry to tell you all, that again, for the third time in 32 days, we have another loss at Golden Pines.  Today, we said good-bye to our beautiful girl, my confidant, my friend Bailey, who for nearly two years was my constant companion at home.
~Bailey - On our way home - The day we met~ 
Yes, my heart is truly broken and there are no words to say how sad I am about a loss that I knew was coming. But as I write this, I'm not kidding, there is a little wren sitting on the railing outside my window, singing its big song. Maybe it's telling me to not be sad, but to sing and celebrate that what for Bailey, was a long life.  She was more than 14 years old.

I don't know much about Bailey's life before she came to us in September of 2017. What I put together from the papers that came with her, is that she was born in Kentucky, not far from where my own Mother was from. She was part of a family with 2 children and the husband was in the military and was stationed in Germany, where she lived too. Somewhere her life changed and there was a divorce. Bailey lived with the husband, and several other dogs until her owner died.
~Bailey - Stuck in the middle~
I've said before, and it was so true, that Bailey was truly the quintessential Golden Retriever. She was always happy, easy going, gentle, and a good friend, companion and comforter. And I never mentioned it, but Bailey's former owner, took his own life. Of course I don't know the circumstances of any of that. But as my day has ended without my beautiful Bailey by my side, and as she journeys back to the one who created her, I hope she is met on the other side by "Jim" who loved her first - Because if his soul still needs that same comfort and friendship that she always gave me, I know that  she will (again) give it to him.

God-speed Bay-bay...  Through my tears and heartbreak  I am trying to smile and find joy and celebrate the time we had together. You will be missed, not just by me, but by all the dogs who you were a friend to. I will look forward to the day when I'll see you again. Until then, those memories of you are tucked into their own place in my heart that is only for you.   
~A fun outing - Bailey looking at the chicks~ 
And finally, Bailey's color is cinnamon. When I had her at the office several months ago, the daughter of a co-worker thought with all the white in her coat, that Bailey looked like a cinnamon roll. Kids have a way of pointing out the obvious, because Bailey really did look like one. And we all know that nothing says comfort food like a big, fluffy, soft cinnamon roll warm and fresh from the oven - And "soft comfort" was what Bailey was all about.

I will miss my friend.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Black Dogs

A mostly quiet week for us has left me feeling caught up on a few things I've been neglecting and maybe even a little more focused. With the exception of Baloo, which I'll tell you about in a moment, the rest of the crew are doing pretty well.
~Todd in focus!!~
Wednesday for Baloo started out as it has for the past two months. He struggles to get around, but he's been able to get up on his own, and go outside by himself even though he always needs help to get up the two steps. That changed on Wednesday night when I got home and he couldn't stand on his own.  Baloo didn't want his evening meal, and wouldn't even put his head  up to look at us.
~At the vet~
On Thursday morning he wasn't any better, so I called Lab Rescue. The vets office that has seen Baloo had no available appointments, but within the hour we were off to be worked in at another office. Of course I was really worried that I was going to have let Baloo go - But aside from a slightly elevated white blood cell count, Baloo's bloodwork was all okay. And New-vet was unable to find anything obvious on the x-rays to explain why he wasn't able to walk or hold his head up. So, New-vet recommended starting him on an antibiotic and adding a pain medication along with cold laser therapy -- Two things which I have thought since I met Baloo that he would benefit from. However, I couldn't get the first vet he was seeing to recommend it, so Lab Rescue wouldn't approve it.
~Baloo getting cold laser therapy~
With the new medications on board, Baloo is brighter and more alert. He's still unable to stand up on his own, but now he's walking without much help from us and only stumbled and fell once this morning, and I'm seeing a few tail wags too. With all that I'm optimistic and hopeful that with more time, and continued laser therapy (maybe acupuncture too) Baloo is going to okay. And I will say here that I'm very relieved about that and very thankful too!  
~On our way home~

Finally on a personal note, I want tell Vicki, a good friend and reader of this blog (again) how very sorry I am about the loss of her beloved Scottish Terrier, Jack this past week. Aside from Todd's clan, I don't know anyone in my "real life" that has a Scottie, except for Vicki. And our friendship that began in part because we both had Scotties is no doubt why I feel like I lost one of my own dogs.
~We lit our candle for Jack~
In his senior years, Jack had some health issues and had a kidney removed about 5 years ago. But none of that kept Vicki and Jack from enjoying their life together and that included doing agility.
Jack was almost 14 years old. A good and long life that was full and well lived. Jack's life was truly a testament to the excellent care, love and devotion of Vicki and her husband.
~Photos taken by Ellen Zangla Photography~
Jack, who was ”large hearted and loving, with the soul and mind of an honest gentleman,” is truly missed.
~Photos taken by Ellen Zangla Photography~

Friday, June 14, 2019

Unintentional Wisdom

On more than one occasion I've written about how our dogs have taught and reminded me about staying present. And lately, with the loss of both Cissy and Joy, I've been reminded of the need to do that. I've also been reminded of their unintentional wisdom. So, I thought I'd share a bit of that wisdom with you today ...

From Rhett:

From Sunny:

More advice from Rhett, who is very wise:

From Todd - Simple wisdom:

From Rhett, Todd, Charlie and Max

I will be back to normal-programming in my next post.  I've just needed a little break. But I do want to thank you all for taking a moment and leaving such kind words of comfort for the loss of Joy this past Sunday. Your sharing her loss as well as Cissy's along with me, means a lot, and continues to remind me of the kindness and compassion of the blogging community.  You all are the best!

Monday, June 10, 2019

After 136 Days - Good-Bye to Joy

After 136 days, and for the second time in 16 days, today we said our goodbyes to Joy. Her strength and her smile along with the bright spark that always brought a smile to my face was gone. It was her time.
~Joy on the day we met~
We first met Joy in January, after she'd gotten so ill from eating a 5 pound filet of salmon. I felt like when she came to us, it was a new beginning. I had such dreams for this very brave, resilient, sweet little Golden Retriever who'd been found as a stray in West Virginia. But those dreams that so many of us had for Joy were not meant to be when the diagnosis came that she had lymphoma.

But Joy didn't know she had cancer.  She enjoyed the moments of being outside in the cool grass and the little bit of snow we had this year. She never worried about time, or complained - She and all dogs remind us to not do that. They truly do teach us what it means to have joy, to be alive - without judgement, just pure gratitude and happiness. This was how Joy lived every day she was with us.  Our days with her were truly a gift.  I knew that then, and even more so now.

So, as the day ends without Joy, and as I write this, I'm reminded of how very sad and hard these moments are for me. And as I look through the pictures I have of Joy, I wish I had more. I wish I could do the last 136 days with her all over again....... I wish....

God speed Jo-Jo...Our candle is lit to help you find your way back to the one who created you. And tonight, before I go to bed, I'll stand on the porch, and look out into the darkness and say a silent prayer of thanks for having the chance to know you and love you. 

The color I have chosen as Joy's is yellow.  Today as I was taking Joy to the vet, I noticed the mullein that is blooming in the fields....
It reminded me of the yellow flowers on her collar. Yellow is also the color for freshness, happiness, positivity, energy, remembrance, and joy.   All of those things that Joy was and will be remembered for.  

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Last Week of May

A relatively quiet week.
Our friends came to work on the little garden that we have with them.  *Me and the dogs* helped from the other side of the fence.
~The Observers~ 
Bailey began last week by not feeling the best because of that same cough and some vomiting. I'm not sure how Bailey does it, but she manages to push through it and she bounces back and is just fine.
~Alf, Bailey & Rhett~
The week for us ended at the vets office. This time it was with Charlie and Sunny who has a stubborn ear infection that needed to be kicked up to another level because I couldn't get it to go away.  An oral antibiotic and ear-infusion of a medication will hopefully do the trick.
For Charlie, it was for a check-up. On Friday, it was exactly a year ago when I found out that the surgeon didn't get a clean margin when the tumor on his bottom was removed. At that time, the surgeon said it would probably return. But at the vet, an exam showed that the tumor has not yet returned. We are **very silently** celebrating and knock, knock, knocking on wood (!!!)  at this good news of Charlie being cancer free for 1 year!!
Onward to June we go!