The Hard Goodbye.

Happy National Dog Mom Day to all of you dog moms out there!

Now seems as good of a day as any to jump back in to blogging, as I should have already updated you on what’s happening in my dog life. Truth be told, I have been dreading writing about it. Mainly because I’m terrified I’m not going to do it the justice it deserves. If you follow me on all the regular social media outlets, you might have known that in the last 14 months, I said hello to a rescue whom we named Luna and had to say goodbye to my darling princess pupcicle, Addy, which was one of the worst days of my life. I think I handled it fairly well. And by fairly well, I mean, I laid in bed or on the couch hugging Beanie (Ann’s dog, who pretended to hate Addy but I think ended up missing her more than all of us). I certainly handled it much better than I thought I would: which was to drink heavily and completely fall apart. There was a bit of falling apart, but mostly compartmentalizing based on the rationale that I was doing what was best for her.

I 100% stand by that rationale. Addy was approaching 13 years old, which for a Labrador was well beyond the 10 year life expectancy. She was walking slower, never went upstairs, and spent most of her days sleeping. She was on several medications for arthritis and pain and it was becoming clear they were no longer working as well as they should.

But when I looked in her eyes, there was—as always—love and happiness. And so I told myself that it wasn’t time to say goodbye—although I made both Ann and the vet promise that if they thought it was time, they would let me know and even harassed April on her last visit about her thoughts. Probably not fair to put that on any of them (other than the vet), but sometimes you need to hear it from someone you love that it’s okay to say that it’s time.

Enter Luna. On a cold and snowy March morning, I’m downstairs enjoying my coffee in the quiet still of the morning when I hear Ann yell from upstairs “Uh, Sherry, COME HERE!” My first thought: oh shit what did Toulouse (aka The Evil Kitty) do? And from the moment of standing up and setting my coffee on the table to walking up the stairs, I envisioned numerous scenarios of things Toulouse destroyed or puked on or god only knows what else.

But no, Ann was looking out the window into our backyard and pointing at one of the dilapidated sheds. “What is that? Is that a dog? I think it’s a dog.” I squint towards the shed and all I can see is a fluffy, dingy head popping up and down and up and down and up and down. Ann asked “Is that Rocky?” (the dog from down the street) and immediately we hoofed it down the stairs and ran out to the shed. We peeked in one of the windows and breathed a sigh of relief. It was not Rocky. But it was below freezing and this fluffy bucket was a mangled mess, freezing, and probably starving and thirsty. The only problem was the door was iced shut and the windows too tall to climb into. We knew we absolutely had to get her out. We had no clue how to do it.

After about 30 minutes of prying on the door, we finally managed to open it enough for me to squeeze through. At first, Luna shied away from me but saw the towel in my hand and I think her survival skills overrode her fear and she jumped into my arms. I say “she” but that was only a guess and being used to having girl dogs. Her hair was so matted that we couldn’t tell what gender she was just by looking.

We took her in to the vet, who was visibly angry at the state in which we found her. He said said she looked healthy, but he honestly couldn’t do a proper exam unless they shaved her. I agreed and several hours later, he called back to say it took two people over 2 hours to get her shaved and she was severely emaciated, but thankfully did not show any signs of long term damage because of this. She lost two pounds of hair and was down to a very tiny eight pounds (a far cry from the 80 pound Labrador waiting at home!). However, the most concerning thing he found was that the limp Luna had when we found her was not because of the massive mats under her paws but rather because every single bone in her paw had been broken. EVERY SINGLE BONE.

Even worse than that? Her bones had already started to heal crookedly, so that her paw was at a right angle to her leg. She needed a cast to give her a better chance of it healing somewhat straight, however, to get a cast on required rebreaking all the bones and straightening them back into place. Poor baby girl. We scheduled the surgery for the following day and brought her home, wrapped in a blankie that she still loves to lay on.

As I mentioned earlier, Addy was no longer going up the stairs, but I didn’t want her to feel left out with this new puppy in the house, so Luna and I slept downstairs with her for the first couple of weeks. Slowly Luna got healthier, started gaining weight, and trusting us. Not-so-slowly Addy’s decline seem to be in a free fall and between the two of them, we were at or on the phone with the vet sometimes up to three times a week.

And then it happened. I gave Addy a treat and she choked on it. After I cleared her throat, I looked at her. Really looked at her and I knew. I knew it was time. I could see it in her eyes. She was tired, she was in pain, and I knew at that moment I had to let her go. A life without treats for Addy was not a life at all. I didn’t know how, but I knew that it was time to say goodbye.

I made the appointment, but her vet wouldn’t be back in the office for a couple of days. I took this opportunity to spoil the shit out her every waking moment and gave her all the human foods that she loved to eat: strawberries, cheese, bread, spaghetti, steak, cake, and one final bacon cheeseburger with fries. From the moment I made the decision and booked the appointment, I knew somewhere in my breaking heart that it was the right one. I worried that Addy would think I was replacing her with Luna, but in the car ride home from the vet while hugging Addy’s collar I realized that it was Luna who allowed Addy to be set free because Addy didn’t have to hide the pain anymore, pretending to be okay for my sake. Addy knew that she could go because now Luna was there and Addy wouldn’t be leaving me alone. My only hope is that Addy knew how much of a Labrador-sized hole she would leave in my heart when she laid her head in my lap for the very last time.

Gobble Gobble & A Whole Lotta Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you spent the day eating, drinking, and being merry.  Yes, I know this isn’t Christmas, but Thanksgiving can be merry as well.

Did you know that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday?  Well, it is.  It used to be Halloween, but living in NYC has ruined that for me for reasons too numerous to count.  But Thanksgiving…well, it’s all about the food, taking time to thankful, and celebrating family & friends.   That being said, this year, I spent the day alone, save the company of 3 cuddly dogs (whom I’m quite sure were only cuddly because I spent the majority of the day prepping or eating food), an asshole cat (who hid all day except when hungry and then loudly demanded food, as only a siamese can do!), and a frog (who happily swam her day away oblivious to the fact that if she’d escape her aquarium, she would probably be a snack for the 4 aforementioned animals).

My day was, in a word, lovely.  I know that probably sounds a bit strange, especially when Thanksgiving traditionally focuses on spending time with loved ones, but I would put forth that the dogs, the asshole cat, and the oblivious frog count.  Besides, the last few weeks have been well…let’s just say it feels like I stepped off the plane from Rome and into a proverbial shit storm.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love people.  I love spending time with people but because things have been so overwhelming it was really nice to shut myself away from everything for a bit and enjoy some quiet time watching football.  And the dog show.  And the parade.  And as soon as I’m done posting this, probably a black and white movie of the Christmas variety, like Miracle on 34th Street or A Christmas Carol.

The reason I’m posting a Thanksgiving Day post an hour before Thanksgiving Day ends is because I have really been struggling to figure out what I wanted to write about.  I think (as you will notice by the lack of recent posts), this has definitely been a trend of late.  So, THANK YOU, my darling readers, for not giving up on me.

And it was in wanting to thank you that I realized I should thank other people for whom I am grateful for as well.  And for that, you should be thankful because my first draft took an awkward turn down a political ranting rabbit hole.  Don’t worry, I’ve saved it for another post, but I think in light of all the negative swirling around I would like to focus on the positive and draw your attention to some of the extraordinary people in my life.  In honor of it being 2018, here are 18 people/groups of people who deserve shout-outs.  Please note this is not a complete list–both in terms of extraordinary people in my life and in terms of why they’ve made the list.  I’ve simply truncated it to fit into the ’18 theme, and well, I’m starting to get peckish and leftovers are calling!

  1. Momma.  While we haven’t always seen eye to eye, she has always been there for me and has always, always, always supported every crazy dream I have ever had.
  2. Bubba.  Who knew you’d grow up to be such an incredible adult?  Thank you for everything.  I’m sorry I put you in the dryer when we were kids, but you really need to stop telling the lie that I turned it on.
  3. Lauren.  I knew you were saintly for marrying my brother.  Thank you for everything you’ve done for our family.
  4. Ann.  Thank you for all the support, cleaning up more Addy diarrhea than anyone should ever have to, and for making emergency trips to the vet with a very sick labrador (and finding a cheaper taxi service on top of it all).
  5. Eve.  Thank you for so many things, but mostly for making sure that I always know that I have family here in New York.
  6. Teresa.  I love you man.
  7. My family in general, who are absolutely loud, opinionated, and crazy, but fiercely loyal and protective and I know that no matter what happens they will always be there.  They might bitch about it, but it’s just their way of saying “I love you.”
  8. MamaMaryClaire.  I am so thankful you are safe and were able to grab Frooey and get the hell out of Dodge (or in this case, Paradise).
  9. Christi.  Thank you for always picking up the phone, regardless of the time–even though I am THE WORST about answering mine (the irony doesn’t escape me).
  10. Becca.  Thank you for always checking in, giving valuable feedback, and listening to all my “but what ifs.”
  11. April.  Thanks for babbling emails and timely gift boxes full of coffee & TimTams (and much more, but this entire post is really starting to get too sappy).
  12. Cait.  Thanks for the best hugs, sweet dog videos, and finding us the best podcasts.
  13. Kat.  Thanks for catching up and reminding me that true friends never leave.
  14. Sherice.  Thank you for always checking in, I’m not sure how you do it–as your plate runneth over onto the table and down to the floor, but I am appreciative!
  15. Emily.  Thanks for humoring me by laughing at all the ridiculous shit I send to you when I just need to laugh with someone.
  16. Wendy.  Thanks for Wednesdays, snarky comments, and cute dog & mutinous cat pictures.
  17. Thank you to everyone who has been helping my mother–from Bubba, Lauren, and Teresa to her medical team to home health care and an extra shout out to Dean, who checks on Bliss.
  18. Philip.  Thanks for thinking I’m an “EFFING GENIUS!”

Happy Thanksgiving.

Memoirs of a Princess Pupcicle: Chocolate Lab

I would like to start this post out by acknowledging that chocolate is very bad for dogs.  I do not give my dog chocolate.  Nor do I condone any dog eating–or even licking–chocolate.

But, well, I have a Labrador.  And when it comes to food, Labradors are exceptionally crafty.  As I have mentioned before, ninjas could take lessons from Princess Adelaide Grace.

One year for Christmas, a friend was so very kind to send me a kilo of dark chocolate from Haigh’s Chocolates in Adelaide (hahaha, Adelaide.  Not that I’m laughing at the city itself, just the irony of the chocolate coming from a place with the same name as the princess).  My friend didn’t tell me what she sent in her magical package, which arrived one day in early December.  It was filled with a Christmas card, a letter, and a few small wrapped gifts.  The card just said “Happy Christmas!” and the accompanying letter told of a year filled with adventure and fun.

Nowhere was there any mention that I should keep the largest/heaviest of the wrapped gifts far, far away from the princess’s reach.  It was all nicely wrapped and so I put it under the tree.  For nearly two weeks, Adelaide (the dog, not the city) seemed uninterested in any of the packages from Adelaide (the city, not the dog).  Since Adelaide (the dog, although perhaps also the city) cannot contain her excitement when she smells food, I presumed that nothing in the packages was edible.  Therefore, I did not believe any packages from Adelaide (the city, not the dog) would be tempting to Adelaide (the dog, not the city).

HAHAHAHAHA. Wow! I was spectacularly wrong!

One day while I was leaving work, Ann sends the following text:

what’s Haigh’s?

To which, I responded:

An amazing chocolatier in Australia.

The reply back with a picture:

would it have been wrapped in Christmas paper?

I responded:

uh…maybe…why?

Of course, I was on the subway and since phone service was sketchy, I couldn’t call Ann.  What I did manage to do was text my friend in Adelaide, who confirmed that the AWOL package was, in fact, a full kilo of dark chocolate, not just a small bar of chocolate.  I relayed that information to Ann.  The second I came above ground, I called and received the following diatribe:

YEP! YOUR FUCKING DOG ATE THE FUCKING CHOCOLATE.  ALL OF IT.  EVERY LAST MORSEL! GONE!  IT’S ALL OVER HER FACE AND SHE’S JUST LYING ON YOUR BED BASKING IN THE GLORY OF EATING ALL THE FUCKING CHOCOLATE!  AND NOW I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!  SHOULD I TAKE HER TO THE VET?  SHE SEEMS FINE BUT SHE COULD DIE!  I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE ATE ALL THE CHOCOLATE!  I MEAN, YES I CAN, BUT WHY?!?!?!  IT COULD KILL HER!  DOES SHE KNOW THIS?  OF COURSE SHE FUCKING DOES, BUT SHE OBVIOUSLY DOESN’T CARE BECAUSE SHE ATE ALL THE GODDAMN CHOCOLATE!

After several minutes of panicked back and forth about the antics of my newly minted Chocolate Lab, I hung up and immediately called the vet.  After explaining Addy’s dalliance to the vet tech who answered the phone, I was put on a brief hold and the vet himself came on the line.  After repeating the story to him, he asked a couple of questions about how Addy was doing.  I replied no vomiting, no diarrhea, no sluggish behavior, and that according to my roommate, she is happy as a clam and proudly flaunting the remnants of her feast.

To which the vet responded:

well wouldn’t you be happy as a clam if you just ate a kilo of dark chocolate?!?

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Touché!

Thankfully the worst thing to come out of this was that a) I was deprived of some delectable chocolate (the real tragedy of this story!) and b) now the pupcicle thinks she is immune to the evil effects of chocolate to dogs and is constantly trying to sneak a taste when I’m not looking.

sigh… #lifewithlabs

Curve Ball

In case you were counting (and color me very impressed if you were!), I made it through Day 47.  Neeeeearly the half way mark to my 100 Days of Blogging goal.  Then the fates decided to have a laugh and throw me a curve ball.

An angry appendix.

That’s what my surgical team called it.  It didn’t rupture and my body wasn’t reacting as if it would burst–no fever, no elevated white blood cell count–but the inflammation looked like it was starting to spread, so the surgical team wanted to take it out.  ASAP.

angry appendix

I believe my exact verbal reaction was something like “okay, great, thank you,”  while the thoughts in my head were a little lot more expletive.  Since the surgeon wanted it out ASAP, it was considered emergency surgery, however, not-so-emergency that I had to wait in line behind two other more-pressing-emergencies for the operating room.  I didn’t ask.  I really wanted to know what qualified as more emergency than an emergency appendectomy, but as the actual possibilities started swirling through my brain, I thought perhaps it best not to know.

The surgery went well.  The inflammation had not spread and about 12 hours after surgery, I was given coffee and my release papers.

appendix 2

I had grandiose blogging ideas at this point, having only missed Day 48 and 49, of getting back on track–but my body had other plans.  Despite my brain’s restlessness, I managed to sleep most of last week except when Ann very kindly brought me food or coffee or coffee and food.  You know, when she wasn’t answering a barrage of text messages from the Fam and feeding & walking the Princess Pupcicle and Evil Kitty…well, I don’t think she actually walked the cat…but point being, she’s been absolutely amazing!

Now that I’m on the mend and my restless brain is starting to win out a bit more, I realized that I owe you 53 more posts (well, 52 after this one!).  At this point I can’t guarantee they’ll be every day, but hopefully more frequently than every 10 days!

Ciao-ciao for now-now!

Memoirs of a Princess Pupcicle: Teenage Girls

Being a Big Dog in a Big City, Addy gets a wide variety of reactions when we are out and about.  It’s usually fear.  Mostly people try to disguise it, usually pretending there is a reason to suddenly cross the street. However, sometimes, it’s blatantly obvious.

Addy is definitely a people person–uh, pupcicle.  She loves everyone…except teenage girls.  Why?  Because when they see her, they like to let out ear shattering squeals.  70% of the time it’s out of fear.  30% of the time, it’s out of excitement.  100% of the time, it hurts my ears–so I can only imagine how painful it is for her.

And any time we are ambushed by a gaggle of teenage girls, poor baby girl tries to hide behind my legs for protection…which is about as effective as a giraffe trying to hide behind a zebra.

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Sunday Comics: National Humor Month

I find it rather ironic (aka lazy of me) to not have posted any Sunday Comics in April, aka National Humor Month.

Oops.

Being the last day of April and, conveniently falling on a Sunday, I have decided it’s better late than never.  Plus for full disclosure, I must confess that I only learned it was National Humor Month this morning when I came across this article from the Huffington Post.  I would like to point out–for the record–that their article was originally published on April 26th, so I don’t feel like too much of a slacker for waiting a few more days (also, we’re going to TOTALLY ignore that it was published in 2012…like I said: I only found it today)!

The article highlights a few reasons laughter is the best medicine–which to me ranks higher than apples and slightly lower than wine or coffee (although having both wine and/or coffee does help the laughter flow, so really they are all interrelated).

  • Laughter Reduces Stress: When stressed, we produce a hormone called cortisol. Laughter can significantly reduce cortisol levels.
  • Laughter Can Reduce Pain: Laughter causes us to produce endorphins, which are natural, pain-killing hormones.
  • Laughter Strengthens the Immune System: A hearty laugh decreases stress hormones and increases production of T-cells, immune proteins and infection-fighting antibodies.
  • Laughter Helps the Heart: When we laugh we increase blood flow and the function of blood vessels, which can help prevent cardiovascular problems.
  • Laughter Relaxes the Whole Body: One good belly laugh can relieve physical tension and relax your muscles for up to 45 minutes.
  • Laughter Helps You Recharge: By reducing stress levels and increasing your energy, laughter can help you focus and achieve more.

You can read the full article here.  And if you click on the link of Sunday Comics (here or above), you can see all my noble attempts to help keep you healthy!

Without further ado, here’s a video that makes me laugh every. single. time.  Probably because this is soooooo Addy–not the German Shepard, who haughtily does it perfect, but the Golden Retriever…because well, I think everyone with a Golden or a Labrador can relate.

Consider this your medicine for today–and bonus points if you’re drinking red wine and/or eating dark chocolate while laughing 😉

 

 

PS–In case you’re wondering about the Featured Image of Addy in the snow: it is completely not related, except that it is what I imagine Addy’s version of laughter looks like! 🙂 (for those of you who follow me on email, the picture is below)

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Memoirs of a Princess Pupcicle: Pop Tarts

Being a Big Dog in a Big City, Addy gets a wide variety of reactions when we are out and about.  It’s usually fear.  Mostly people try to disguise it, usually pretending there is a reason to suddenly cross the street. However, sometimes, it’s blatantly obvious.

Along our morning walk, Addy and I pass by a bus stop filled with kids waiting for the school bus.  I noticed that Addy always beelines for a young boy (maybe 6 years old)…after a couple of days I realized it was because he was sharing his pop tarts with her.  Once I realized this, I let him know that while it was sweet, he didn’t need to share his breakfast with her.  He looked at me, with a bit of sass and said:

I share my breakfast because I don’t want her to eat me.

Oh honey, she’s not going to eat you…I promise.

Lady, I ain’t taking noooo chances!

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Memoirs of a Princess Pupcicle: The Enforcer

I’ve inherited a cat.  He, being Toulouse, spent the first year or so of his life with us–so he is not unknown to Addy.  He is, in fact, her kitty.

When Toulouse first moved in, he was small enough to fit in your hand–and naturally thought he could easily take on a 90lb dog.  Toulouse would follow Addy around the house and wait patiently for the perfect moment to strike.  His favorite spot was behind a pile of books at the top of the stairs: a well thought-out ambush spot for the Princess as she came up the stairs.   The problem, of course, being that she tended to be slightly oblivious of this ball of fur and could easily knock him down the stairs with her big ol’ labrador tail.  I’m quite sure she did a time or two.

baby toulouse

Baby Toulouse waiting to ambush Addy

A couple of years have passed, but Addy, of course, still thinks of him as her kitty.  Toulouse–for some reason unbeknownst to me–will even allow her to occasionally bathe him (although he always looks mortified while she’s licking him).  Since Toulouse has moved back in, I’ve seen a lot of pouty Addy faces that some of her affection might be given to Toulouse, however, she always has my back when I’m fussing at him to stop clawing the furniture or to get off the countertop.  Addy is more than happy to chase after him, barking reminders at him Get off the counter!  Stop clawing!  Don’t make Momma yell! Come back you need a bath!

Yelling in both human and barking–double whammy!  Poor Toulouse.  Meanwhile, Addy smiles at me I got this, Momma, I got this.

toulouse tulips

Best seat in the house: a sunny window and far out of reach of a certain cold, wet nose…

Memoirs of a Princess Pupcicle: Sweet Jesus!

Being a Big Dog in a Big City, Addy gets a wide variety of reactions when we are out and about.  It’s usually fear.  Mostly people try to disguise it, usually pretending there is a reason to suddenly cross the street.  However, sometimes, it’s blatantly obvious.

Several years ago I worked for a shall-not-to-be-named coffee company.  During this time, I was usually up and walking Addy at 2am.  This, of course, was just in time to run into everyone in the neighborhood who caught the 1:30am ferry.  Most were just getting home after a long day’s work.  Others were not-so-quietly coming home from a great night out.

It was while we were walking behind a group of people in the latter category that one of the women in the group–who apparently had a GREAT night out–glanced back at us.  When she saw Addy she let forth a blood-curdling scream and promptly fell over, off the sidewalk and  into the street [don’t worry, there wasn’t any traffic].

My first inclination is to offer assistance, as her friends were too busy laughing to help, but of course, I quickly realized Addy was the problem.  Addy, naturally, wanted to help her new friend, who was screaming loudly:

I’m down, I’m down! Oh sweet Jeeeeesus, I’m ready to come home.  I’m ready sweet Jesus.

Ma’am are okay?  Can I help you up?

I’m ready to go home, Sweet Jesus just take me now and don’t make it too painful!

MA’AM [more laughter from behind me] DO YOU NEED HELP GETTING UP? [I wasn’t yelling, per se, merely speaking very clearly and very loudly because at this point I could smell the alcohol coming off her body.]

She stopped her rant mid-Jesus-take-me-home rant and looked at me, slightly confused.

You mean he ain’t gonna eat me?

No, ma’am, she’s not.

Oh, well, then I’m good.

She then popped up and kept right on trucking, uh, wobblingDSCN0701

Sunday Comics: The Important Questions of Life

Daylight later in the day?  Awesome!  Losing an hour to get it?  Suck.

daylight saving

And for the record, here’s what Addy thinks of springing forward: