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by Lara of Rubicon Days
There has been an editorial circulating lately, not unlike articles before it, written by an oddly bitter mother of three admonishing pet guardians who choose to refer to their dogs as “babies” or “furkids.” It’s not the first of its kind, but it’s drawn a lot of attention because it is particularly critical and overly defensive, and the author attests that it is an insult to “real” mothers for people to compare pets to children. This woman is really angry. I’m not going to link to it here, but if you haven’t seen it, just Google “No, Your Dog Is Not Your Baby.”
I don’t call myself a dog mom. I prefer to refer to myself as their guardian, because my dogs had mothers, and I’m not their mother. It’s a semantics thing – perhaps being a poet, I want the exactly right word to describe my relationship to them, and to be completely honest I haven’t found it yet, but ‘guardian’ sits well with me. By that same token, my friends, family and pet professionals often refer to me as such. When my dogs greet me after work my dad says to them “Your mom’s home!” When my vet brings Boca up from the back of the office she say’s “There’s mom!” My best friend says “You’re such a good dog mom.” My girlfriends threw me a dog shower to celebrate Boca’s adoption. Sometimes I use the hashtag “dog mom” on my Instagram pictures because I know it will get them more views. Plenty of my blogger friends like Amanda from Dog Mom Days and Kimberly from Keep the Tail Waggingrefer to themselves as dog moms and it doesn’t bother me in the least – why should it? Their dogs, their families, their identities. It doesn’t infringe on my relationship with my dogs or what I choose to call them.
Why, then, are some of these mommy bloggers so up in arms about it? I must admit that it reminds me a little of people who feel threatened by gay marriage. Why is someone else’s idea of motherhood an insult to your own? I also wonder if it is one of the last holdovers of the perceived threat or discomfort with the unmarried, single and/or childless woman. So what if someone wants to dress their dog up or push it around in a stroller (as long as these things don’t cause stress for the dog)? So what if someone wants to call their dog their baby, furkid, son or dogter? I have trouble understanding how this is a personal affront to someone who has chosen to have children. Read more . .
My Dad and Bailey – Saying Goodbye
By Melanie Ross
Bailey is our Border Collie. He’s amazing! He goes to work with my husband almost everyday and has most of the guys trained to keeping the kind of treats he likes in their work stations. My Dad worked for my husband and did lots of deliveries for him, usually taking Bailey along. He was my Dad’s co-pilot.
My father was diagnosed with stage 3B lung cancer in September of 2012. Dad was kind of a silent observer and didn’t waste much time on what he would consider useless chatter. My Dad didn’t always have a ‘way with’ people, but he had a ‘way with’ dogs.
Towards the end of his first round of chemotherapy he would have almost a week of feeling poorly. I spent a lot of evenings and weekends over at their house just hanging out and watching tv. Our Border Collie, Bailey, was always with me. All I had to do was walk to the door and ask if he wanted to go see his pappy and he was at my side.
Bailey’s personality isn’t what most people think of when they think Border Collie. He’s a hard core player when he is outside, but when he is inside, he is like a 90 year old man. He’s just laid back and extremely docile. He’s also kind of an independent dog. He loves people, but he pretty much likes to be at your feet rather than on the couch beside you. So Bailey spent a lot of time laying at my Dad’s feet, which was good because my Dad’s skin was so fragile you could hardly touch him without hurting him or tearing his skin. We had to be careful the dogs didn’t get excited and jump up and hurt him.
About a year into his treatment Dad decided the treatments were just too hard on him and he was having so few good days that he made the decision to just let things take their course and enjoy what remaining days he had. He did pretty well for about six months and then he really started to decline. He went from a cane to a walker, to a wheelchair, to being mostly bed bound in a short span of time. Our visits increased and Bailey was always happy to go and just lie near Dad, wherever he was.
My Dad’s last two weeks were hard. He could barely get around and it took my husband, brother, mother and myself to be able to keep him at home. Hospice was called in at this point and we moved a hospital bed into the living room so he could be where everybody else was. My husband, brother and I took turns staying there. Anytime I was there, so was Bailey.
Dad’s final two nights were bad and we ended up calling hospice in both nights. The morning my a Dad died I was getting ready to take Bailey for our morning run. We had slept on the couch to be near him and hospice had been in the night before because he had such a bad night the previous night. At this visit we decided we should put him on morphine to get ahead of his pain rather than to try and catch up with it once something happened. As I was getting ready to run, I was texting my brother and my husband to ask if they thought I should wake Dad to administer morphine or let him be because he was breathing so steadily and he was so peaceful. During this time Bailey walked into the room and laid his head on my Dad’s bed at his hand and just stood there. After a minute or two he walked over to me and laid his head on my lap, too. I looked at my Dad and realized Bailey was trying to tell me my father had passed away and he had been there for him. I walked over to check on my Dad and he was gone. Bailey knew the time had come and he was there for him.
Lots of things have to happen when someone passes away at home. Hospice comes and pronounces the person deceased, family members come to pay respects, and the funeral director comes. They take care of your loved one and then take them to fulfill their final wishes. As they took my Dad out on a stretcher and loaded him in the van Bailey came outside with us all. We were all standing there when Bailey put his paw on the bumper with full intentions to take my Dad’s final ride with him. We had to call him back.
It is unbelievable to me what a dog can sense and I don’t know how he knew, but he did. All I know is I feel better knowing that Bailey was there for Dad in his final moments and I know it was a comfort to my Dad, too. What Bailey did for my Dad that day is something I won’t ever forget. As I said, he’s an amazing dog.
When people say aggressive dogs should be put to sleep, just show them this. Social behavior in canines is very similar to humans. A dog that’s raised in a caring environment with a family that loves him will show good behavior and will be approachable and friendly. Those dogs that have abusive owners who keep them locked up in cages or very small spaces will usually be aggressive and dangerous. Unfortunately those are the dogs that are usually euthanized when they get in trouble.
Now this case is very special, watch how the people at the The Behavioral Rehabilitation Center of the ASPCA helped a very troubled and anti-social dog transform into one of the most friendly dogs ever:
Here’s an excerpt from my manuscript BORDERLAND: A DOG, A LOVE, A DOUBLE-HELIX (or I might call the book AWESOME DOG, not sure). Anyway, the passages come late the book, from chapter eight, “Magic Tricks for Puppies.”
What you need to know:
I had spent two years searching for my “soul dog,” the dog most perfect for me, and I found Mick, a Border Collie puppy. I was also writing a book about Border Collies, and Mick was supposed to be the happy ending. Shortly after I brought him home, he began to wither away–and so did my writing career. At nine months of age, Mick ended up in intensive care, dying of a disease no vet could diagnose.
In my manuscript, meditations on the power of language interlace with hospital scenes while the vets and I fight for my puppy’s life:
Enchant. En-, upon or against, chant, to sing, “to sing against,” to influence. Enchant has the same root as “incantation,” which is to chant magical words in order to put a spell upon, to bewitch. Bippity-boppity-border-collie. The word “charm,” also shares the same root, Latin, canare, (canary!) meaning “to sing.” A charm is an object, action, saying, or song with magical power. Puppy.
The next morning, I woke before dawn to what might be called “a panic attack,” and called the vet. The good news was that Mick’s GI tract had begun to function again. The bloat was over. He was eating small amounts of Science I/D. The bad news was septicemia. They’d given him a blood transfusion and begun aggressive antibiotic treatments.
Despite his high fever, he was more alert. They let me take him out of his crate and walk him around Intensive Care. Hunched and uncertain, he stepped gingerly. He stood with his head low, blinking like Rip Van Winkle. My cell phone kept lighting up with notifications from his Facebook family wanting updates on Mick. “His fever’s come down a little,” I wrote. “His mind is clearing. They let me take him out of his cage.”
I posted photos of Mick greeting the tiny Yorkie with a cone around her neck and a bow in her hair, the beautiful black-and-white Border Collie posed as if for a hearth photo on a white towel, the matted Pomeranian who wouldn’t stop yapping. Their gaze and movements showed that none felt so sick as Mick did, and his chemistry profiles bore out the danger he carried inside him. Among humans, sepsis is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals. It kills within hours. It causes chills and confusion, and Mick shivered, but he did not seem confused. He moved solemnly from cage to cage. Hello, hello. Good-bye, good-bye. His neck had been shaved and thickly bandaged to protect his blood transfusion port. He bowed his head to each of his fellow patients, swished his tail, averted his gaze just enough. “It’s okay,” he seemed to say, with a kind of graciousness you wouldn’t expect from one so young, from one so not-human. “You’ll be okay,” he told them.
The nurses took notice.
Spell. The origin of the word “spell” has nothing to do with the so-called correct sequence of letters to make up a word. It comes from the Old English, spellian, meaning “to talk,” “to announce,” the same root as gospel, godspell, “the good news.” In its noun form, it still means “to speak,” only “spell” also indicates a sequence of words or syllables that, if uttered or written in the proper sequence, are themselves an act of magic. Hyperbilirubinemia, hypoalbuminemia! Sometimes spells hide within spells. They breach the membrane between witchcraft to religion: open sesame (from the Hebrew sem name, “in the name of Heaven”), hocus pocus (from the Latin Mass, hoc est corpus, “This is my body,” a magic spell that, presto change-o, turns bread into the meat of Christ); abracadabra, (from the Aramaic אברא כדברא, meaning “I create as the word creates,” or Hebrew, “It came to pass as it was spoken”), reminiscent of the Fiat Lux, from Genesis 1:3 “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” What the Creator decrees, He creates. The Fiat Lux is the original magic spell. The entire universe sprang from a magic word, which probably wasn’t “Big” and wasn’t “Bang.” If we knew what The Word was and we said it, what would happen? Would it tear us in half? Rumpelstiltskin.
Two nurses knelt and offered Mick tiny wet meatballs of dog food. He took them gently. If they knew him like I knew him, if they even knew him half so well as his Facebook friends knew him, would it make a difference?
“Can you say, ‘Thank you?’ Mick?” I said. “Shake.” And he did. Such a simple trick.
Trick, from the Old French, trique, meaning “deceit, treachery.”
The nurses lit up. They smiled at me. Never was Mick in more danger, yet suddenly, they no longer gave him up for dead.
He was too weak for most of his tricks. I had to show the nurses not just that he was in there, but who was in there. “He knows a lot of tricks. Hold up your hand like this,” I said, just the way I told little children. The one nurse held up the palm of her hand. Now say, “Touch.”
Head low, ears flopped to the side, Mick bumped her palm with his nose. She lit up again, just like little children do. He was keen, looking in her eyes, looking in mine. “Trick,” from the Latin tricari, meaning “to be evasive, to shuffle.”
“He’s so smart!”
“Flick your hand like this and say, ‘spin.’”
She did, and, still too tired to lift his own ears and tail, bandaged and weighted by the heart monitor strapped to his middle, Mick turned a little circle.
“Oh, my God!” the nurses gasped.
He loved their astonishment. He ate up their wonder. He wagged and dropped onto his side, clattering over his heart monitor. He gave them his shaved and bony belly to rub.
If they saw how extraordinary he was, saw him the way I did, maybe they’d care more, from the Old English carian, “to be anxious, to grieve.” I said, “Did you see the cross on his forehead?” An illusion, from the Latin, illusionem, “to deceive, to play with.”
Now, they hadn’t noticed, but now they saw it. They marveled.
“Of course he strolled around hitting on the nurses.” I later wrote to his Facebook friends. “He went from patient to patient, offering each an encouraging wag. He was particularly interested in what the other Border Collie was in for.”
“Trick,” from tricæ, meaning “trifles, nonsense, a tangle of difficulties.”
The familiar, if tedious, word grammar meant, back in the twelfth century, “learning, knowledge,” and by the fifteenth century, that learning included “magic, alchemy, astrology, even witchcraft,” wrote Roy Peter Clark, senior scholar at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies (3). By the seventeenth century, in Scotland the word evolved into glamor, meaning “magical enchantment, charms, and spells.” The word eventually included the spell cast by beauty. “The bridge between the words glamour and grammar is magic,” writes Clark. “In popular gothic stories detailing the misadventures of witches and vampires, the word glamor (without a u)—as both a noun and a verb—describes a magic spell that puts someone in a trance or makes a person forget” (3).
The nurses forgot who he’d been to them before. Even so diminished, he was charming them. “Maybe you’d like a little walk outside?” said one nurse in her best baby talk.
Mick and I went into a small, muddy back yard. He knew the yard, I could see, he’d been in it without me. He walked a few steps, sniffing the ground. He squinted into the bright shade. Somehow, more than the fluorescent lights, the outdoors showed how dead he nearly was, bony shoulders poking through his yellow mesh tee-shirt, the yellow tube snaking from his nostril. The earth would have little to reclaim. Perhaps his performance had exhausted him, or the slight breeze was too much for his thin coat and high fever. Afterwards I posted, “Then he went out for a snuffle around the backyard of the hospital, sneezed, and asked me, ‘Do I have something on my nose?’” Publicly cheerful, I didn’t want the Facebook chorus to despair. If they lost faith, who would pray for Mick? With some effort, he climbed back onto the doorstep and turned to look at me, the very picture of misery and defeat. Hating myself a little bit, I took that picture too; something about it was truer than the others, the limp ears, the yellow tube, the heavy head, the world-weariness on the face of a creature who still had yet to hit puberty, and the strange cross stamped on his brow clear in the light he could not bear.
“He’s ready to come in,” I said.
Prayer, too, is magic, from the Latin precari, “to ask, to petition, to beg.” The word “precarious” has the same root, meaning “to be dependent on someone else’s will.” Thy will be done. “Curse,” from the Old English, curs, is just another kind of prayer, one begging evil to befall someone. For good or evil, prayer is a form of spiritual begging, and its power increases according the goodness of the prayer, the desperation and/or selflessness of the supplicant, and/or the number of supplicants all pleading the same plea, prayer chains and prayer requests, palanca, the lever, a rigid bar and pivot point and the cumulative force of supplicants moving the hand of God, the Great Puppet. Prayers often operate on the assumption that God, like an irascible genie or a worn-out dad, will break down and grant the noisiest wish, clamor, a call, an outcry, a plea, a claim, “to demand by virtue or right.” In some ways, prayer is sorcery, which influences fate by “sorting” lots, from the Old English hlot, meaning “portion, decision, choice,” deciding who should live, who should die, who should rise again. He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. Please, Lord. If You please. If it please You.
“He seems a little better,” I said, more as a question.
“He’s better when you’re here,” said the one nurse. “It makes a difference. Nobody else visits their animals.”
The other nodded.
“You’re kidding me.” I couldn’t imagine other people didn’t visit their pets. How could that be? But I realized, every time I’d been in that back room, I was the only person who didn’t work there.
“I have to come,” I said. “How else could I talk to him?” I was addicted to canine conversation, and Mick was my best partner. Who else would half-climb into his cage and whisper, “Come, Mick,” to make him see himself trotting toward me across our lawn? Who else would say, “Let’s go to school. Is that Minnie?” so his tail swished? That was how I conjured Minnie, from the Latin, coniurare, meaning “to swear together, to conspire, to command a demon by invocation or spell, to cause to appear in the mind, to call into existence as by magic.” I would whisper into his ear, “Let’s go upstairs,” and so raise our staircase in his mind. When I said, “Mew,” at the same pitch Audrey said it, Mick raised his eyebrows. His brain filled with the scent, sight, and sound of cat. That’s how I sent his mind’s nose scent-searching for her fluffy butt. “Let’s go downstairs. Want to go outside? Let’s get your collar, put your paws up, paws up, where’s your Frisbee?” Live, keep living, come home, Mickey, come forth! Only in the flesh could I perform this magic, be the magician, from the word Magi, the three wise men, followers of the order of the Magus Zoroaster, Magus Magusian, those who brought gifts to the baby Jesus and gifted us with the word “magician.”
I said, “Mick, my good boy,” from the Old High German guot, meaning “fit, suitable, belonging together.” Stay with me.
“Talk to him,” my stepfather’s hospice nurse had said. “He can still hear you.”
And so as John died, my mother and I spoke of Yosemite, his favorite place on Earth, the soaring vault of Half Dome, the dizzy view from Glacier Point, the summer snow, the sound and the scent of mist at the base of Bridalveil Falls, and the cry of coyotes against the valley walls. With a mighty spell my mother and I conjured Yosemite and teleported him there, but his backyard would have been good enough. If John were to have opened his eyes, he’d have seen the breeze tousle dappled shadows and light. Everywhere the confetti of flowers flew. Bluebirds and goldfinches sailed, blue and yellow, to and fro.
“I have to go,” I said to the nurses. “But before I do, Mick wants to show you one last trick. It’s just a trick, you know. But it’s all he’s got.”
And they agreed to see it. So I took a bit of the food, showed it to Mick, and said his name. Still squinting, he locked eyes with me, because he was keen, because he was biddable, because he was brave, because he was still Mick. I leaned forward and offered my arm for him to put his paws up. He was still game, even when his packed blood cell count was down to eighteen percent. With effort, he stood on his hind legs and placed his front paws on my forearm.
“Say your prayers.”
He bowed his head between his paws. Mick and I froze, and the tableau planted itself in their minds: the brave and dying puppy bowed in prayer. Unseen but right out in the open, I slipped him the treat under my arm.
“Oh!” cried the nurses. They marveled at what they had beheld, and pondered it in their hearts.
Seventeen months a shelter dog
Written by Terri Florentino & Mary Sweda
It was a warm night on the 1st of August when the police officer pulled into the parking lot of the local shelter. In the back of the police car there sat quietly an enormous, fawn colored, mastiff. She was an older girl, evident by the gray fur that covered her jowls with eyes so large, dark and soulful it was as if you could see right thru to her soul.
“C’mon old girl,” the police officer stated as he reached in to the back seat of the patrol car to pick up the leash that was already secured to the dogs collar. “You’re such a good girl, I’m sure someone will be looking for you,” he said as he lured her from the vehicle and took her for a brief walk around. As they approached the overnight holding area for stray dogs the officer bent down next to the gentle giant and stroked his hand across the top of her head, she leaned closer, if just for a moment, appreciating the gentle touch. The officer stood up, put the secure combination into the lock and opened the door of the emergency night drop. “Good luck to you old friend,” he smiled as he led her into the kennel area and secured the door behind him. There she laid in the dark, alone, scared and confused.
Early the next morning as the sun rose the rays of light found a way to creep between the bars in the window and shine down on the old girl. Those soulful eyes peered up towards the light just as the door flung open. “Well now, what have we got here?” the staff member stated with a smile as she bent down to greet the gentle giant. The dog immediately stood up, stepped back and let out a great big defensive bark. The young lady backed away, slightly startled by the dogs aggressiveness. “Eeeasy girl, I know you’re scared, settle down, it’ll be OK.”
After some yummy treats and gentle persuasion the old dog made her way out of the night drop. She was moved to a secure area within the shelter that is not readily available to the public. There she would wait for her family, who would never come.
The old girl quickly became fond of one staff member in particular, her name’s Cyndy. She primarily cares for the dogs that are kept in the temporary housing area. She’s patient, caring, gentle and kind. There’s also a devoted volunteer, her name is Marisa. Several times a week she’d come to the shelter to walk, brush and give her treats and love. “You’ll need a name,” Marisa thought, “How about we call you Maude?” The old girl stood up, leaned into Marisa’s leg, glanced at her with those great big dark eyes and looked as if she had a smile on her face. “OK, Maude it’ll be then.” “What do you think if we call her Maude?” Marisa asked of Cyndy. “I think that’s a perfect name,” Cyndy smiled as she bent over, threw her arms around Maude’s neck and gave her a big squeeze. For the first time since her arrival at the shelter Maude wiggled her bob tail. Cyndy and Marisa laughed in amusement as Maude’s entire back end wiggled to and fro with delight.
Cyndy with Maude
Maude was eventually moved to the adoption area where she quickly gained a fan club of volunteers, yet still no home.
One couple in particular, George and Mary visited Maude often. In their own words this is their personal experience with her.
George and Mary,
It was almost a year ago when we first met Maude. We had seen her image posted on Facebook, along with her heartbreaking story.
This became a personal crusade for Mary.
I was always terrified to enter a shelter. I didn’t think that I could face seeing the homeless animals and feeling that heartache, but her story, that face, those eyes would not let me turn away. I also remembered what my brother Nick always said, “It’s not about you Mary, it’s about those less fortunate. The sadness and discomfort you feel for a short time will be temporary, nothing compared to the joy you can bring them each time you visit”.
So, I showed George her photo, and off we went. When I first met Maude, she was in the main area of the shelter with the other dogs. I was able to walk right into her cage and hug her. She didn’t resist one bit, and I didn’t want to let her go. Since that day, George and I visited her 3 to 4 times a week. She was always so loving, such a snuggler! Maude had such a goofy side…dropping and rolling with no warning on walks…really funny expressions..and boy she could be stubborn! She always cracked us up! What a joy! For George, he made a best friend, he fell in love. No matter how hectic his schedule, he made time for Maude nearly every Saturday and Sunday. He treasured his time with her…we both did. It tore us apart not to take her with us every time we visited. However, Maude needed to go to a home absent of other animals and their two labs made that a practical impossibility.
Mary and George with Maude
In the meantime,
A joint in her right front leg was swollen; it was causing her paw to curve to the right. She’d been this way since she was dropped off at the shelter. “We’ll need to have her leg evaluated by a veterinarian,” advised the executive director of the shelter, so an appointment was made. We feared the worse, praying she did not have cancer. An x-ray, biopsy and bloodwork were performed. Thankfully her bloodwork was normal, the x-ray showed severe malformation to the right carpus and the biopsy concluded that no cancer was present. In fact under the microscopic interpretation new bone formation was present. Perhaps she was injured? We’ll never know for sure. We’re all elated that she didn’t have cancer.
Prayers were answered!
We prayed for that one person out there to give her the home she deserved. Finally it happened. Ed, the executive director gave us the call that she would be going home…sooner than we thought or were prepared for. And we both cried…happy for her, so sad for us. She had become like our own. But we knew it was for the best…and now she is the one and only with a great new family. She was always loved at the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, but now she has a home of her own.
Maude with her new family
Maude has given us a gift…she has led us to what is now such an important part of our lives…The Griffin Pond Animal Shelter. We just walked several beauties this past Sunday, they all with their own stories. But no matter how sweet, no matter how many, there will never be another Maude. She will be forever in our hearts.
“KEEPING THE FAITH”
I’ve decided that I’m ready to, “Come up for air”.
Recently I received an email from wordpress; it detailed the performance from The Border Collie Inquisitor for 2014. The results were gratifying. This would be the motivator I’d need to start writing again. I’ve deeply missed the connection with the readership.
Allow me to briefly explain my absence.
My family and I recently suffered nearly insurmountable losses. Losing (4) of our beloved dogs last year took its toll.
I found the courage to write about our Epic, she was our first loss in January, https://bordercollieinquisitor.com/2014/01/02/game-of-bones/
March came in like a Lion and our old and faithful Scout was gone. https://bordercollieinquisitor.com/2014/02/26/the-pack-part-2/
No sooner had we started to get ourselves settled into the new pack order my side kick Deja Blue aka Boo was diagnosed with liver cancer. Her diagnosis hit me like a violent tornado as it made its first initial powerful punch. We sat in the eye of the storm, treasuring every moment we had left until August when the eye wall unmercifully hit with vehement intensity and we lost of Boo. I’ve not yet found the courage to tell her story. Even now I pause to sob.
The final chapter in October was our Tulley, https://bordercollieinquisitor.com/category/mean-dog/ diagnosed with lymphoma; this had to be a bad dream. How and where would I ever find the strength, I was, at that time, completely and utterly broken. How was I going to break this news to my husband? Tulley was after all, his constant companion. I would somehow find the faith. I took a deep breath, pulled myself together determined to rid this cancer from Tulley’s body. https://bordercollieinquisitor.com/2014/10/16/chemotherapy/ https://bordercollieinquisitor.com/2014/10/25/chemotherapy-2/ https://bordercollieinquisitor.com/2014/11/24/precious_moments/
Sadly determination and reality collided and just a week before Christmas and Tulley could fight no more.
I so appreciate my co-writer and dear friend Lisa for posting a final farewell. https://bordercollieinquisitor.com/2014/12/16/farewell-sweet-tulley/
Time is powerful, it moves along with no regard or limits, so we’ll take all of the time that we need. Grief is a process; it goes its own way, and in its own time. It’s the little things, the day to day interactions when we mostly feel their loss.
The Quakers have a saying, “if you love, you will suffer, and it is worth it.”
A friend recently thanked my husband for helping to house a dog at his shelter for 17 months until a special loving home was found.
“Thank you for keeping the faith,” George stated. So profound I thought these three words. And so we will, “Keep the Faith.”
Many thanks to all, your love and support has carried us through.
“Godspeed to our beloved Epic, Scout, Deja and Tulley”.
“After the tears, there will be a rainbow.” Terri Florentino
Readers know him as the “mean dog” in our “Mean Dog” series, but Ed and Terri knew him as a dear friend and family member for a good many long and happy years.
He was a very good boy. He’ll be missed not only by his people, but by his pack. The family has suffered some hard losses of late. Our heartfelt condolences go out to them all.
TULLEY and LIFE’S PRECIOUS MOMENTS
Tulley’s had a busy month. Our goal has always been to make sure that his good quality of life never wavers. We were thrilled when his most recent bloodwork was perfect. He was far from anemic so we decided to administer another round of chemo. As before a few days post chemo he had a couple days of feeling nauseous so we administered antiemetic medication, which helped. The days that he was inappetent I would mix meat flavored baby food with liquid Pediasure and feed him through an oral syringe. He never minded the shake; in fact I think he enjoyed it. We did find a brand of food and treats made by Orijen that he really likes so the cupboard is well stocked.
It was the last weekend in October when Tulley escorted Ed, Mirk, and me to Maryland for a sheepherding competition. We packed up the truck first thing in the morning and got on our way. We anticipated about a 4 hour drive and wanted to be south of the DC area before the evening rush hour. Other than the usual traffic delays the trip was pleasantly uneventful. As we neared our location and drove over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge it was a pleasure watching both dogs window surfing while taking in the ocean air.
Our hotel was located in an area known as Kent Narrows. The Narrows channel barely separates Kent Island from the mainland. The region is rich with history, beautiful nature preserves and spectacular restaurants. We arrived late afternoon and checked into our room. Once the dogs were walked and the truck unloaded we headed across the street from our hotel to admire the beautiful water view and have a nice seafood dinner.
The following morning we were up and out early, Mirk and I were entered to compete twice. The weather was fair, there was a little chill in the air in the morning but by the afternoon the sun came out so brilliant and warm. The trial was held at the beautiful Long Shot Farm in Church Hill, hosted by Sherry and Dave Smith. Sherry made a beef stew for lunch which was absolutely delicious, so much so that Tulley decided that was what he wanted to eat. I was so relieved that we finally found something that Tulley really enjoyed and ate readily. Mirk and I finished up our runs, both respectable runs but not good enough to finish in the ribbons. I wasn’t disappointed, Mirk did a great job.
Truthfully I felt like we had already won when Tulley ravenously ate so much of Sherry’s stew. As we were packing and getting ready to go, we went to say goodbye to everyone and thank Sherry and Dave for their hospitality. Sherry handed me a large container full of the stew for Tulley. Her kind gesture meant so much more than she could ever imagine, I couldn’t thank her enough. We headed back to our hotel to get some rest; we’d be heading home in the morning.
I take Tulley to work with me as often as I can; he loves riding in the truck. There are always plenty of people wanting to feed him. Barb always makes sure she has lots of beef treats for him every time she walks into my office. On occasion Dr. Lagana will return from her lunch with a yummy cheeseburger and the bank drive-thru always keeps an adequate supply of biscuits on hand. He really enjoys being outside, getting some fresh air and playing a game of fetch. There are never a shortage of other dogs to play with and a fenced yard at the hospital so we go out as often as my time permits. The hospital cats are also a form of amusement to Tulley; he’ll chase them whenever the opportunity presents itself. Of course I make every effort to deter that behavior.
Recently a package arrived in the mail for Tulley and he was thrilled—it was like Christmas morning! As I put the box on the floor Tulley hovered over it with anticipation. As I tore back the packaging tape and opened the top he promptly stuck his head into the box and promptly rooted through each item removing the contents one by one. In the midst of his rummaging he found an awesome squeaky sock monkey, pulled it out of the box and promptly took off running into the living room, squeaking it all the while. We can’t thank Karen, Jim, Morgan and Wyatt enough for making Tulley’s day and ours as well. We cherish every moment.
The weather this fall has been beautiful. Tulley enjoys spending the nice days outside with Ed while he clears the leaves, stacks wood, and prepares for winter. We delight in watching Tulley so carefree, jumping in a pile of leaves and bouncing around like a rabbit. He’s also always on guard making sure that the local herd deer stay off of his yard. Echo’s always nearby as well; she and Tulley are nearly inseparable. They truly are the, “cutest couple,”
So for now we’ll continue to take it day by day and make sure that Tulley is enjoying each and every moment.