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.

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.

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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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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:

Memoirs of a Princess Pupcicle

Confession time:  remember earlier in the week when I told you that as I started sharing some of my series from ShezzaSpeak, I would start with my one of my favorites, Chalkboard Art?  Well, that was a lie.  And anyone who actually knows me knows that it was a blatant lie. This is because more than food or wine or beer or coffee or humor or travel, my most favoritest thing is my darling beloved pupcicle, Princess Adelaide Grace, about whom I’ve already shared a couple of stories (which you can read here and here!). So I guess technically hers was the first (rightly so!) series from ShezzaSpeak that I brought over.

Today, I thought I might share exactly how this series came to be with my very first Memoirs story.  With the exception of a couple of grammatical changes, I’ve left the story as I originally wrote it, which was over 2 years ago.  So just for current day references, she’s now nearly 11 (she’d say 10.5!) and down to a svelte 83lbs!

Memoirs of a Princess Pupcicle

I’m sitting in bed with my laptop, silently urging writing ideas to come.

Suddenly I am aware of soft snoring from the end of the bed.  I look up and there is a cute 90lb ball of fur.  I can’t resist.  Slowly, ever…so…slowly I reach for my phone.  I quietly scroll the camera icon upward.

Don’t you dare take my picture.

Sigh.  Why not?  You’re so cute and I love you and I want a picture of you looking cute.

You already have 8390 of them and you’re supposed to be writing, not procrastinating.

I don’t have 8390 of them and I’m not procrastinating, I’m searching for inspiration.

You could write about me.  8390 articles would be far better than 8390 out-of-focus photographs.

I could write about you, however, you don’t like to have your picture taken.  In order for a post to be successful, you need at least a picture or two.  At last count, I believe you didn’t like having your picture taken.  In fact, I believe that you hate it.

I think you’re making that up about pictures and posts.  But I’ll make you a deal: if you write my memoirs, I suppose I could make an exception.

Your memoirs?  Really?  That’s a big word.

Yeah, well, I’m a big dog and I’m 8 now–don’t think I don’t know that you give me senior food and senior vitamins.  If you tell my story, I’ll let you take a picture of me.

A picture?  As in just one?

Well first let’s see how good your stories are.

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