Happy Anniversary Sam

Today is our 29th Wedding Anniversary. Right now we should be enjoying our morning hug and first cup of coffee. We ought to be enjoying it together. We ought to be looking forward to celebrating with our dinner at Schwaben House later on, sharing our joy with Annette and Giorgio and the staff as we have for the last several years.

I miss you so much! I hear our favorite songs and they start the tears flowing. Or I go into Publix and avoid the ice cream shelves in the frozen food section – especially the Haagen Dasz bars that we always enjoyed together.

I never used to mind living without another human, as long as I had a canine companion. Now, after all our years together, I feel so empty and alone at times. Zen and Zoey are so sweet, and such good company … they make me smile and laugh and at times yell in frustration … but they’re not you. While you were in the hospital I could at least cling to the hope that a miracle would make you whole again and able to come home.

Sam, I know you’re up there in Heaven watching over me. You’re my Guardian Angel now; and along with Callie, Shadow, Ducky, Radar, and Bogie, you’re also watching over Zen and Zoey for me. I try to be my old cheerful, optimistic, sometimes silly self because I know that’s what you would want to see me being. Out in public I usually am. Here at home is another story.

I love you, Sam. I always have loved you. Our little squabbles and arguments were just that because we were soulmates from the start. Our connection goes much deeper than just our hearts. It joins our souls, and even though you’re not here physically, I know your spirit is here with me. I just miss our physical togetherness, our “us”, being able to feel your hand in mine or your arms around my waist. I know you whisper in Zen’s ear sometimes because he’ll stand on his hind legs and put his front legs against my chest and paws on my shoulders and give me a hug and a slobbery kiss. Don’t ever stop, please. I need those Zen hugs!

Zen Hugs

Happy Anniversary Sam! Have I Told You Lately that I love you, that there’s no one else above you? That was our wedding song and it will always be our song. I will miss you forever and always, until we meet again.

Introducing Zoey

Zen has a new sibling. I’ll be writing more about her in the days to come, but for now here she is …

Our First Selfie Together

Don’t bother looking at that horrible picture of me! Look at my little girl! Isn’t she precious?!

To look at that sweet little face, you would think she and Zen were litter mates. All that cream-colored, wavy fur around her face! And the smudge muzzle! Be still my heart! But they are actually first cousins – their mothers are full sisters – and in fact Zoey is Bogie’s half sister (same mother, different father).

When we went to meet little Zoey about a week ago, I had my brother take a family picture of Zen, Zoey and me.

Zen, Zoey and Me

I’ll be posting more photos soon – when I have better ones to share – and hopefully Zen won’t mind sharing me with his little sister/cousin.

Missing My (Human) Soulmate

It is with very deep sadness that I must tell you my beloved husband, Sam, passed peacefully in his sleep early Friday morning, October 7th. ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ˜ข.

Remembering Sam’s better days.

Most – if not all – of my long time readers know (but may not remember) that Sam was diagnosed with early-onset dementia in June of 2018. Back then it was still mild enough that Sam could enjoy a sense of independence. As the years passed, however, his cognitive abilities became so impaired that the doctors insisted he not be allowed to drive any more. That loss of independence really bothered him. Then Bogie had his traumatic accident, and a month later we lost Ducky to the sudden heart failure. The two losses coming so close together devastated us both and really started Sam’s downward spiral.

Before the dementia took control of Sam’s mind, we had a soul-to-soul connection, an affinity with each other that carried us through many trivial arguments over this or that. And it helped me separate the Sam I love from the dementia-induced alter ego who angered me, disappointed me, and hurt my feelings so often.

The real Sam was a kind-hearted, loving, friendly soul who never met a stranger. The real Sam loved his family – including each one of our many fur babies – with his whole heart, and we all love him. Now Sam and the fur kids (except Zen obviously) are all together again. Sam is no longer being chased relentlessly by his dementia demons; and all the earthly anxieties that plagued Ducky when Sam’s demons were lurking about are gone. So now they can all relax and enjoy each other’s company while they wait for Zen and me to join them.

I miss the real Sam. I know his spirit is with me, but I miss his physical presence. I miss our morning hugs, sitting in his lap with my head against his shoulder when I was sad, our walks around the back yard. I miss our day trips to the mountains with the pups. I miss his smile, his laugh, his hand reaching for mine. I miss watching him interact with the dogs. And I will miss him and each of them until it’s my turn to join them.

Grief is the price we pay for love. I know the pain of this loss will ebb and flow. I’m prepared for that. So I’ll close this post with a simple requestโ€ฆprayers for anyone and everyone impacted in some way by dementia. It is a horribly cruel disease, worse than cancer in my opinion.

I don’t have the obituary quite ready yet; but I can tell you that we will have a simple memorial service for Sam at our church a week from Saturday. For anyone who wants more details, just send me a message or email.

Look How Big I Am!

Hi Everyone! Zen here! Mama said I could write this post. I told her I would just share some recent pix so our friends can see how much I’ve grown.

Here I’m sitting on the couch next to Mama.

Mama says that photo is one of her favorites.

Here I am in Mama’s lap, giving her kisses. It’s another of Mama’s favorites.

Mama says I’m her 55-pound lap dog. I think I probably weigh more than that now, but we don’t have a scale so I’m not sure.

Foraging for treats

That’s a real short video, but Mama wanted to record it for her to remember how cute I am when I do stuff like that. She told me that angels Bogie and Ducky used to do it too.

Now, just for comparison, here’s a photo of me from when Mama and Daddy first brought me home…

Actually, this photo was taken at my Grandpa Chuck’s house (where I was born) on the day I first came home.

Mama used to call me “her little Smudge Muzzle”. My muzzle is still a little “smudgy”, but not quite as much any more.

Well, that’s it for today. If Mama can get it work, we’ll link up to the Wordless Wednesday blog hop hosted by Sandee at

Zen’s Becoming A Snuggler

I love this boy! He’s growing so fast! When he came home in May he was just a little furball who was more interested in playtime than snuggles. Now look at him … in less than a week he’ll be six months old and loves to snuggle with me. ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿฆฎ

That feels good, Mama!

Zen’s Chillin’ with Grandpa

My little boy is spending some time with his grandpa, doggie mama, auntie, and cousins – being taught doggie manners by five adult dogs in the same house. And getting a break from the stress of dealing with his human daddy’s dementia. And giving me a break from his teething. ๐ŸŠ ๐Ÿฆˆ

Exploring Grandpa’s Yard
The room where he spent the first 8 weeks of his life.

“Grandpa Chuck” has been enjoying Zen’s time with him, too. I get glowing reports – and photos and/or videos – daily. Zen is being an absolutely perfect house guest. No teething, no biting, and no “accidents” to clean up. He did need a bath though after spending part of last Saturday helping his grandpa wash his truck. ๐Ÿคช

Meanwhile, I’m here at home, working with hubby’s dementia doctor, trying to help him deal with the challenges of the dementia. I’m alone physically but I do have emotional support in the form of family and friends. And I can call our medical professionals any time I have questions.

I miss my canine emotional support team (Ducky and Bogie) and my “little ray of sunshine” (Zen) but I’m managing. At least I don’t have to worry about any of them getting hurt or feeling neglected.

My K9 Emotional Support Team
My “Little Ray of Sunshine”

So, on this Friday after Thankful Thursday, I’m thankful for caring, supportive medical professionals, family members, and friends (both online and IRL). More thankful than any words can convey.

Have a great weekend everyone! If it’s hot where you live – like it is here – stay cool and hydrated! If it’s cold, then keep warm (and hydrated). Love you all! Thanks for being our friends!

Thankful for Zen

Happy Puppy

Bogie and Ducky knew exactly what we both needed in a puppy. Their little brother is sweet, adorable, and precious. He is active and curious, and all. over. the. place! He keeps us – mostly me – busy.

He’s not much of a snuggler yet, but that’s okay. He prefers the coolness of the kitchen floor to the warmth of the living room carpet, and apparently my lap as well. But he did oblige me with a short snuggle session on Monday afternoon.

My Baby Snugglebuddy

This little boy has been living up to his name. He runs around like a little Tasmanian devil, but he’s still calm. He makes me smile, he makes me laugh, and he expands my heart with his puppy kisses.

Stay Tuned, Part 2

Introducing Zen-Bogie ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€

Hi Mama! I love you!

So by now you have figured out that the “project to enhance our lives” was adding a puppy to the family again.

Our little Zen is not “just any puppy”. He is a very special puppy, for a few reasons:

1. He was chosen for us by Bogie and Ducky.

2. He was born on St. Patrick’s Day, like his dog mama.

3. Zen is Bogie’s baby cousin by birth. Zen’s mama, Sunny, and Bogie’s mama, Bailey, are full sisters.

He is a very sweet little boy, and so far living up to his name. Although quite active and curious, he is a calm little guy. He slept through a couple of his hu-daddy’s dementia-induced tantrums already. And wasn’t at all fazed by one during which he was awake. He just went right on being curious about his environment of the moment. Hopefully he’ll continue to be unfazed.

Since we only brought him home yesterday, we all still have much learning about each other to do yet. I will be posting more about our little leprechaun as the days and weeks go by.

๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€

My Heart Dog Awaits Me in Heaven

Oh, Ducky, Daddy and I miss you so much baby girl. You were and always will be Daddy’s little princess. You were my constant companion, my little protector, my helper. You were and always will be my soulmate and my heart dog.

You left us so suddenly eleven nights ago that I didn’t have a chance to tell you, again, how very much I love you and to kiss your sweet face. I didn’t have a chance to get a last kiss from you, or to give you a belly, chest, and ear rub. Or just to see you smile at me.

Play With Me!

One day soon I will write another blog post about you. Right now though I can’t. Losing you and Bogie so close together is just too unbearably hard to process. I’m struggling with not having you here physically to love on and play with and talk to all the time.

Happy 10th Birthday Ducky! ๐ŸŽ‚๐ŸŽ‰โค๏ธ๐Ÿพ

Oh my sweet baby girl, where have the years gone?! It seems like only yesterday when I first met you at the shelter!

Baby Ducky

And a couple of months later, you came home with me for good and changed all our lives forever.

You loved Callie and Shadow, and wanted to play constantly. You pestered the bejeepers out of them both; and were constantly getting into tussles with Shadow over one toy or another. Callie did her best to teach you good doggie manners, but for a while we wondered if you were paying attention.

My sweet girls

On Shadow’s birthday a month later, we started taking you to doggie daycare (thank you, Sabine, for the recommendation). Shadow said it was the best birthday present we could have given her. ๐Ÿ˜ Callie was grateful for the break, too.

When Callie left us three years later, you were as heartbroken as Daddy, Shadow and I were but you got us through it. Especially Shadow. You became her friend and constant companion. You still tussled with her over toys at times; but you showed us that you had been paying attention to Callie all those times. You stayed by Shadow’s side when she was so sick at the end. You “protected” her in the yard, and gave her kisses on the head at times.

I love you, Shadow

After Shadow reunited with Callie, you helped Daddy and I heal. You needed a playmate, though, so we fostered Radar with all intention of adopting him. You two hit it off right from the start. Not just sister and brother, but best and most special friends.

Best Friends

When Radar left us to join Callie and Shadow, we were all devastated. You looked for your buddy constantly, and the sadness in your eyes when you couldn’t find him tore my heart apart. Yet, as you had when your sisters went ahead, you pulled Daddy and me through it.

When we brought Bogie home last year, you weren’t sure what to make of him. We had promised you another brother to play with, but I’m not sure you were quite ready for an 8-week-old puppy. You soon found out what “karma” is, even though you don’t understand me when I tell you.

That’s MY toy, Bogie.

You’ve come full circle, little girl. You started out your life with us as the little sister who was a constant pest. And, until a few weeks ago, you were the older sister who tolerated a much younger sibling’s constant pestering.

Once again you’re an only dog, trying to help Daddy and Mama to heal from yet another devastating loss. And missing your favorite pest. It has taken you all this time to realize Bogie’s not coming home in his earthly form. You still look for him at times. Or maybe you sense his spirit is here with us, wanting to play with and love on us and to be loved on.

We love you Ducky. We love you to the moon and back. We love you more than any words could ever express. You’re our sweet baby girl, our princess, our earth angel with paws instead of wings. You’re our precious, loving, sweet senior puppy.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LITTLE GIRL!!!!

Happy First Heavenly Birthday Sweet Bogie

You were taken from us way too soon, sweet boy! Daddy, Ducky, Uncle Doug, and I miss you terribly. Daddy, Uncle Doug, and I still have tearful moments. And Ducky still looks for you multiple times a day. Sometimes, I’m sure, she senses your presence.

Last week I wrote a list of some of the things I miss about you. I thought it would help my shattered heart. So, here goes…..

Things I Miss About Bogie

His goofy smile…

His sweet, loving nature.

His innate ability to sense when his Daddy needed him.

His affectionate nature. He was all about giving “kisses” and climbing into my lap – in the chair – or laying next to me on the couch with his head in my lap.

His pestering Ducky all the time.

His stealing Ducky’s Kong Bounzer out in the yard.

His stealing paper towels and tissues off the tables in the living room whenever he had the chance.

His love of life.

Zoomies!

His love for us and Ducky.

His physical presence.

His wanting to be with us all. the. time.

Everything.

A Few Words & Photos of Angel Bogie

It was a week yesterday that our sweet boy went to Heaven/the Rainbow Bridge. I cry my eyes out multiple times a day.

I want to write a full post, but I just can’t yet. If you go to the menu bar and click on Bogie’s name, you’ll see the little bit that I could write the other day.

Sleepy Boy in Mama’s Chair
Hi Mama!
How could he have been comfortable??
Bogie and his Dad. โค๏ธ

Just Ducky

Since Bogie joined our little family, Ducky’s hardly had any posts of her own. So, here goes.

Just watching the world go by.
Hi Mom!
Worn out after a wrestling match with baby brother.
My turn in Mom’s chair!

This little girl has been, still is, and will always be my rock, my earth angel, my canine soulmate, and my sweet baby girl. She helps me with Bogie, tells me when “Dex” is lurking in the shadows somewhere, and knows me better than I know myself sometimes.

I love you to the end of the universe and back, sweet girl. And I always will. โค๏ธโค๏ธ

Introducing Ducky’s Baby Brother

Bogie – think Humphrey Bogart – Oakes. Our little guy was born on Saturday, February 6th, along with his 12 siblings – exactly one week before Ducky’s 9th birthday. โค๏ธ

Bailey’s 13 Puppies

We met this little cutie-pie when he was only three weeks old, and he and his 12 siblings were still barely moving far from Mama Bailey. Bailey channeled our sweet Callie that day to let us know that Callie, Shadow and Radar would approve of whichever puppy we picked out.

You My HuMommy!

One week later this little guy picked us out. While his siblings left my side in their playpen to go to Bailey for a drink at her milk bar, Bogie stayed with me and crawled on my legs and gave me sweet, tiny puppy kisses when I held him up to my face. Then I handed him to hubby and he made himself comfy in hubby’s arm.

You My HuDaddy!

It’s a good thing Bogie picked us because we would have had a hard time choosing one and saying no to the others! All of Bailey’s puppies are beautiful, just like their mama.

When we went back to see Bogie two weeks later, he had grown so much! And he was having a blast exploring his surroundings. And he loved hanging around hubby.

Bogie at 6 Weeks

We brought Bogie home on Saturday. And Ducky was curious but jealous. The green-gilled monster is controlling her inside the house right now, so we have to be really careful about their interactions. ๐Ÿ˜ข Outside in the yard, Ducky pretty much ignores Bogie. He tries to follow her, but he’s still a little slow for that. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s just going to take some time for Ducky to adjust. She was jealous of Shadow, too, sometimes.

I wasn’t really expecting Ducky to become Bogie’s surrogate mama – like Callie did with Shadow – but I was hoping she would be more accepting of her baby brother. I suspect that as he grows and matures – and doesn’t require nearly as much of our attention – that she will begin to accept him. He is such a happy, sweet little guy and used to other dogs that he doesn’t recognize yet that Ducky doesn’t want to be bothered with him.

Curiosity

Happy Birthday Ducky!!!

Where have the years gone??!!

Ducky at 5 months, Foster Weekend

When we adopted you from the shelter, you were a little demon. Sweet to us and Callie, but you tormented Shadow almost constantly. Thank goodness Callie knew just what to do to keep you in line. And then daycare helped you work off some of that excess puppy energy.

Callie was on alert to prevent argument between her younger sisters

Fast forward some years and Callie had gone ahead to be our guardian angel. I wondered if you would ever stop tormenting poor Shadow. You did, for the most part. Callie must have told you to be a good girl. ๐Ÿคฃ

Sisters at last

Then a few years later, when Shadow was sick and hurting, you stayed right by her side nearly 24/7 until we all said goodbye. Just before she left us to reunite with Callie you gave her a sweet goodbye kiss on her head.

Then there was your most special friend and foster brother, Radar. He was here for such a short time, but you two were best friends from the start.

A rare quiet moment between the 2 hooligans

When Radar left us, we were all devastated. As with Callie and Shadow, you kissed him goodbye just before he left to join your sisters. It took a while for you to accept that your buddy was here with you in spirit only. And that made it harder for me to adjust; but somehow the three of us helped each other get through another devastating loss.

I promised you – a few days after Radar left – that when the time was right, Daddy and I would find you a new friend, another brother. I asked Radar to help his sisters find us another Golden Boy for us all to love. Now I can tell you we’ve been working on fulfilling that promise.

My “little black demon dog” of 2012 has grown into my little earth angel of 2020 and beyond.

HAPPY 9th BIRTHDAY DUCKY!!!! We love you sweetie!!!!

Happy Girl!!

Happy Heavenly 16th Birthday, Shadow

Sweet Golden Girl

You came into our lives on December 7, 2004, and you reunited with Callie on August 25, 2019; but like Callie – and Radar – you will always be in our hearts.

This is not meant to be a sad post. It is a celebration of the years you were with us; years that were filled with love, joy, fun, and laughter, as well as tears of devastating sadness. Your presence made all our lives better, just as Callie’s and Radar’s – and Kissy’s before you – did. You all taught us so much that we could not have learned without you.

Today would also be Callie’s half-year birthday. You girls came to be exactly six months apart and came into our lives exactly six months apart. And the bond between you is eternal. It always gave me such joy to witness that bond on a daily basis. It’s one of my favorite memories.

Together in Life and Spirit, Forever

So, Happy Birthday my sweet Golden Angel. I will always love you (and your sisters and brother). Thank you for always watching over Ducky for me.

ACE Free Work, Ducky & Me

*ACE stands for Animal Centred Education, and is a program conceived and built from the ground up by a British gal by the name of Sarah Fischer.

To greatly simplify and shorten a long and complicated story, Sarah has been doing free work with many different animals for several years in an attempt to find reasons for their unwanted behavior, including reactivity and/or sensitivity to many things, people, and other animals. She also uses Tellington TTouch body work to introduce handling but ACE includes Free Work and detailed observations which give clues to a dog’s sensitivities. 

I first learned  about ACE and Free Work from my friend, Janet Finlay, who owns and operates Canine Confidence Academy in the U.K. and provides online learning as well as person-to-person workshops (up until the pandemic shutdown and will start again as mitigation makes it possible). I’ve taken several of Janet’s online courses over the years since we adopted Ducky, including the current (ongoing) one – Your End of the Lead 2.0 (an updated version of her original course by the same name) – to help me deal with Ducky’s reactivity. The courses also include private communities/forums where those of us taking the course can share our videos and stories without fear of judgment and form valuable alliances with other guardians of reactive dogs.

In some ways, Free Work for dogs is similar to beginner nose work; but instead of hiding treats, you put them in full view of the dog. Generally, we use a variety of surfaces, enrichment toys, etcetera, as the “course” layout so that the dog gets sensory information through its feet, nose, eyes, ears, etc.  Once the course is set up, you invite the dog to explore it.

If possible, video the session (so you can watch later to pick up on those things you might miss) while the dog is exploring and getting the treats and observe her/his movement and posture, noting things that they like, nervous system responses, preferences (with respect to the direction they move in, objects they interact with, etc). Don’t include items in the course that you know are concerning to the dog, or remove an item if the dog appears to be wary of it. And, importantly, observe without any expectations as to the outcome.  (Believe me, that last part takes some practice!)

The great thing about Free Work is that you don’t have to buy any special equipment – you can use whatever items you already own. And you can lay out just one or two items, or four or five, with enough room for the dog to move freely around them. (If your dog is super sensitive or tentative to her/his environment, it’s probably better to start with only one or two items so as not to overwhelm them.)

For Ducky, I needed a space where I could give her the freedom of eating her breakfast away from the main source of her anxiety – her “Daddy”. And, because she was so anxious at times that she wouldn’t eat out of her regular food bowl, I got out some different lickimats that I’ve purchased over the last couple of years. At first I just laid out the lickimats on the floor of my “office”. Then I experimented with different heights – like a 12-pack of toilet paper, an overturned Amazon box, and an agility cone (with the lickimat bowl inverted over it). Over the last several months, this has become Ducky’s preferred way to eat her breakfast. 

The ACE Free Work not only gave me a way to relieve Ducky’s morning anxieties enough for her to eat; but it also gave me a learning opportunity. While observing her movement around the room via the videos I posted, several of my course mates (and Janet) started picking up on clues that she had some definite areas of bodily discomfort. When those clues were pointed out to me – in addition to the clues I was picking up on myself – I saw something that greatly concerned me: that Ducky might have cruciate disease in her left hind leg. As you know from an earlier post, that didn’t turn out to be the case; but she does have dysplasia in her left hip and we now have options for relieving and managing the pain.

So, with all that said, if you’re interested in learning more about ACE Free Work, I suggest checking out Sarah Fisher’s website: http://www.tilleyfarm.org.uk.  There is a private group on Facebook, as well, called “ACE Connections” that you can ask to join.

My Sweet Earth Angel

That’s exactly what Ducky is to me. An Earth Angel. She has seen me through the loss of her two older sisters and her slightly younger brother.

She’s a happy, sweet girl most of the time. And a sassy, loving girl all of the time.

She misses having a playmate; but there’s no doubt she thrives on being the center of our attention.

Ducky owns a huge piece of my heart. She’s my baby girl, my little sweetie, my sassy-pants, my little stinker, my “Ducky Doodle Demon Dog” and lord-only-knows how many other nicknames.

I love this little girl wholeheartedly and unconditionally. And I thank God every day for letting me be her “HuMom”. โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

Radar’s New Purpose

Each dog has a purpose. Isn’t that what the book and movie said? Radar’s purpose with us was to help us all heal from the loss of his sisters and to fill empty spaces in our lives….

Hubby keeps asking “when are we getting another Golden?” I keep saying “when the right one comes along.” Right now my heart still hurts from the sudden loss of this sweet boy….

Ducky needs a new playmate, another brother, companion, friend. And I’m seriously open to getting her one. In fact, I promised her that we would get her another one. WHEN Callie, Shadow, and Radar find us the right one. I’m sure they will at some point. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I miss all my furry angels. They were each special to me for different reasons. But this boy?

I have to admit that there was something extra special about him. Maybe because he was the latest one. Maybe because Ducky accepted him so easily. Maybe because despite whatever he went through in his “previous life”, he was still trusting of humans, loving, and easy-going. Maybe all those things plus some I haven’t thought of yet. Whatever the reason – or reasons – he was the perfect fit for all three of us and we miss him every minute of every day.

We’ve gotten back into our old routine of not having a set routine, and gotten comfortable with it; but I would gladly give up the old routine if it meant having Radar here with us, happy and on his way to being healthy. But that’s not going to happen.

We will always miss Radar, just as we will always miss Kissy, Callie, and Shadow. There’s an emptiness in our little corner of the world that he was filling while he was with us.

Now it’s up to Radar to help his sisters find us another boy to welcome into our home and hearts. His new purpose is to send us a new boy to pick up where he left off. Not to replace him (because no other dog ever could), but to carry on his mission.

Gone Too Soon

Hubby, Ducky and I are devastated. Our sweet foster boy has gone ahead. He joined our family on October 4th and on December 7th he joined Callie and Shadow in Heaven. Sweet, loving Radar. Ducky’s best doggie friend and brother. She loved Callie and Shadow dearly; but Radar was her most special friend. He tolerated her antics and she willingly shared her toys and our attention with him.

He was our boy. He was our first-ever male dog, our friend. He was an equal-opportunity lover boy. He loved hubby and me equally.

He learned quickly that “Daddy” is the soft touch and buddy; and “Mommy” is the cook, nurse, teacher, nurturer, and friend.

Radar fit into our little family perfectly. He was gentle with Ducky, played with her, shared his toys with her, gave her space when she was feeling “snarky”, and let her get attention from us when she felt neglected.

He loved us humans equally. He loved to stand, sit or lay down between our chairs so we could both pet him at the same time. Loving on him was therapeutic for both of us. And he knew he had his “fur-ever” home and family. He trusted us and we trusted him. I had plans to work with him to earn his CGC (Canine Good Citizen) title after he finished his heartworm treatments. And possibly therapy certifications. He had the perfect personality/temperament for both.

Our boy is gone. Our special boy, Ducky’s most special friend. Ducky is as heartbroken as we are. The price of love.

Radar will always be in our hearts. Our love for him and his for us will help us help each other to heal. Ducky, hubby, and I will heal. Radar’s spirit – like Kissy’s, Callie’s and Shadow’s spirits – will always be nearby. He and the girls will watch over us. They will send us another friend to love and welcome into the family when the time is right.

Home from the Vet

Radar is home from the vet after his first heartworm treatment.

The discharge instructions say “Dion #1507* needs to be confined and as quiet as possible to avoid post-treatment complications.”

(* this is the rescue’s name and number for our boy.)

I think our boy is following doctor’s orders pretty well. Don’t you?

Radar and Ducky have both been asleep for most of the time since Radar and I arrived home. Once they wake up, I’m sure they’ll need to go outside but for now I’m enjoying the peace and quiet. ๐Ÿ˜Š

The post-treatment complications referred to above include coughing, lethargy, coughing up blood, fever, and breathing difficulty. These complications arise when the dog is not well confined and has too much activity (running, playing, etc.) leading to clots “thrown into” the lungs from the dying adult worms.

I don’t think I have to worry about Radar’s activity level today….

The vet said that Radar did very well for his first heartworm treatment. We will make sure that he continues to do “very well” so that he can have the second (double dose) treatment in one month, and eventually test negative for evidence of any remaining heartworm infection.

Progress reports will appear here as time goes by.

Radar’s Future

For those of you who haven’t “met” Radar yet, you can read our introductory post here.

Radar’s future is – as far as we’re concerned – decided. He is our boy; and we are his family. Forever. Always. Infinitely. No questions asked.

He has been a joy to have around the house these last 4 weeks! He’s easy-going, happy, active, smart, and adaptable.

When hubby and I were away from home last week – visiting family – we left Ducky and Radar at home in the very capable, reliable care of our long-time pet sitters. Radar adapted to the change in his routine and our absence quite well. Ducky was another story, but she’s fine now so not to worry.

Now that Radar has settled into his new life – life with people and a canine sister who love him – he will be starting his treatment for heartworm disease next Tuesday (11/12/19). So I’m asking for your prayers, POTP, healing energies, or whatever you call it that he will recover quickly and safely.

Heartworm disease is scary, complicated, and can have lifelong effects on a dog’s overall health. Even after the infection itself has been successfully treated – resulting in a negative test return – the damage to the dog’s cardiovascular system can be permanent.

Thanks to the American Heartworm Society website for the following information!

The treatments are preceded by an antiobiotic protocol of doxycycline to kill any bacteria which live in the heartworms. Those nasty bacteria are what help the worms survive and reproduce. They also may cause worsening inflammation when the adult heartworms die. By giving the antibiotic prior to the medication to kill the adult heartworms, the likelihood of complications from the treatment is decreased, and the chance for complete elimination of the infection is optimized.

Radar has also been getting his monthly Heartgard preventive to kill immature heartworms and prevent new infections from developing.

Meanwhile, I’ve had Radar to his vet a few times about other minor issues, and each time she has checked his “vitals”. His heart and lungs have sounded good each time so we’re hopeful that the treatments will work and Radar won’t have any future issues.

To learn more about heartworm treatment, go to the AHS’s website at the above link.

Hubby and I will have to be vigilant in our observation and care of Radar during his recovery. We will have to watch (and listen) for coughing, gagging, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or loss of appetite. And we will have to continue to restrict Radar’s exercise in order to minimize complications. We let him play with Ducky a little bit now, but he will have to be on complete crate rest once the treatments start. This is because when the adult worms die, they collapse and are pushed deeper into the smaller branches of the vessels that supply blood to the lungs. Since exercise increases blood flow to the lungs, it increases the likelihood that dead worms will block blood flow which can result in severe complications and possibly death. Makes it pretty obvious that we need to restrict Radar’s activity. We love this boy, and he’s even won Ducky over, so we’re going to do all we can to get him healthy and keep him healthy.

So, we thank you in advance for your POTP, prayers, and good wishes for Radar as he starts his heartworm treatments. We will keep you posted on his progress.

Introducing Ducky’s Foster Brother, Radar

As of last Friday (October 4th), we have a new Golden Retriever in the family.

He’s a sweet, equal-opportunity loverboy.

He was found as a stray about two months ago. The lady who found him spent three days trying, unsuccessfully, to find this handsome boy’s owner. No tags, no microchip, no known owner. So, our local breed rescue took him in, vetted him, and placed him with a foster.

The poor boy’s fur was so matted that he had to be shaved down to the skin. The fur has been growing back, though he does still have some bald areas.

And he tested positive for heart worms. He was settling into his first foster home when his foster had to leave town indefinitely. This sweet boy was being boarded at the veterinary hospital that cares for all this rescue’s charges.

The volunteer coordinator called us last Tuesday, we met Radar on Wednesday morning, and on Friday afternoon I picked him up.

When Radar first saw my hubby on Wednesday morning, it was as though they had known each other all of the dog’s life. Radar practically did a Snoopy happy dance! He was barking and wagging his tail and bouncing around happily. Sorry, no photo of the bouncy boy, but here he is with hubby.

And here’s one of Radar giving me the happy paw.

And one where he and Ducky met each other. Ducky was so good! No growling, grumbling, or snarling. Just polite sniffing. The way Callie taught her so many years ago.

Once Radar’s heartworm treatments are complete and he tests negative, we will have first dibs on adopting him.

This boy is Heaven-sent. Callie and Shadow found him for us and intervened in his foster home placement. He’s a very handsome boy; and he’s a perfect fit for our little family. He’s the boy hubby and I need, the brother and friend Ducky needs, and we’re the permanent family he needs.

Some months ago a friend posted something on Facebook that asked her gal pals – in essence – “if you had to choose between a man and a dog, which breed would you choose?” My answer was “a male Golden Retriever that I could name Radar because he would instinctively know what’s about to happen. Just like my favorite character on my favorite tv show of all time, M*A*S*H.” That was only a few weeks after Shadow had been reunited with Callie. I wasn’t ready for another dog, not even a Golden. And Ducky wasn’t ready yet either. She missed Shadow, but she was enjoying all the extra attention from hubby and me.

Back in July I decided I was ready. And Ducky was ready. I think hubby was ready a week or two after Shadow had gone ahead.

On August 3rd, our local Golden Retriever rescue group had a meet and greet at the nearby Petco store. Hubby and I went and turned in our adoption application. In September, a volunteer called to schedule our home visit. We thought we were in for a long wait, so we relaxed and continued spoiling Ducky with extra love. I knew that when the time was right, Callie and Shadow would send us the right dog. Our angel girls know exactly what we need.

As I write this post Radar has been with us for two and a half days. Hubby and I love him already. This boy is so sweet, so easy-going, so gentle. And happy. That tail seems to wag constantly, sometimes even when he’s asleep. He seems to be “settling in” pretty easily. He loves Ducky, though Ducky’s not quite sure about him yet. She will be in time. At least he shrugs off her grumpy moments. And gives her a look like “what-ever” as he gives her some space. I think they’ll eventually be great friends as well as siblings.

Seven Years and Counting

Oh, Ducky! Seven years ago today I found your name (and photo) on the shelter’s super urgent list in the morning, and by 1 PM you were officially a member of our little family.

Seven years ago today, my life – and your Daddy’s, Callie’s, and Shadow’s lives – changed forever. I had no way of knowing then what it would be like raising a shelter pup. I started thinking you’d be better off with a different family; but then you spent a day at doggie daycare and your demeanor improved so much that I couldn’t give up on you.

Callie helped me so much with you. So did Maria and the other girls at A Dog’s Day Out. Daycare was great for you. It taught you how to get along with other dogs, helped you spend all that turbo-charged energy, and gave you some socialization time, too. And it gave Callie and Shadow a needed break from your rowdy puppy playfulness. As well as the quiet time together and with me that they cherished, that I cherished.

You were a little stinker. Always wanting to leave Shadow out of your fun with Callie. But Callie didn’t let you.

And that awful morning when we had to say goodbye to Callie. You gave her puppy kisses that said “I love you, sis.” And your attitude toward Shadow started to improve. Callie had taught you well.

You had your spats with Shadow over the next 3-1/2 years, but you always made up with her. And when I was at Uncle Doug’s house last year, you were a good girl for Daddy. Then, when Shadow got sick in February, you watched over her for me, along with Callie. You were always right there, keeping her company whenever we had to go out. And you looked for her that weekend when she was at the hospital. And that horrible Monday when we said goodbye to Shadow, you “protected” her in the exam room. And you kissed her, as you had Callie.

You’ve been my and Daddy’s rock since Shadow reunited with Callie. I don’t know what we would have done without you, especially those first few weeks. I know you’re fine on your own in the house when Daddy and I have to leave you for a time; but I miss you from the minute we leave to the minute we get home. If I could, I would take you every place I go, just so you wouldn’t have to be alone in the house. But, then you’re not really alone during those times. Callie and Shadow are here with you, in spirit, watching over you for me.

Ducky, you are definitely one of a kind! You exasperate me, you push my patience to its limits, and you make me question my sanity at times. BUT you are sweet, loving, fun, silly, challenging, and precious all wrapped up in one 30-pound package. And every day I thank God I adopted you from the shelter that warm September afternoon seven years ago!

An Awesome Day

Happens when you leave your comfort zone way behind you and aren’t disappointed.

Today has been one of those days. I wish I had photos to share but I don’t. Please just enjoy the one at the end of the post.

I had to take Ducky to the vet for a weight check. I figured she would at least bark at Rachel or Morgan, but no. Once we got inside, she was quiet as a church mouse. And no resistance to being on the scale.

Then, I needed to go to our local pet supplies store to pick up some more “backup food” (for when I get low on homemade and don’t have time to make more).

Ducky has never been inside that store because I was always afraid she would try to bite another human who got too close to me. So, naturally, I was prepared to have hubby take her back outside if she got too anxious.

Ducky, Hubby, and I walked into the store behind another shopper and it was like we were the only three beings in the store. Not a sound, not an anxious look, not any reaction at all from Ducky. We walked to the back of the store where they keep (some of) the food I needed and back to the front where the rest of it is kept. All Ducky was interested in was all the new smells. ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ

So, hubby brought our items up to the cashier’s desk while I walked Ducky around the store. Her only reaction was a little growling at another dog on the other side of the glass door to the grooming room. And she stopped as soon as I asked her to and went back to sniffing. She even sniffed the cashier’s hand when the girl rolled out from behind the counter in a wheelchair!! ๐Ÿฅฐ

My little girl made me – and her Daddy – so proud today! I know her Golden Angel sisters are proud of her, too! ๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿ˜‡

Now Ducky and I are enjoying sunshine and fresh air in the backyard as we chill out. Ducky’s on squirrel patrol, and I’m about to start my walk around the yard. (Beats the boring old treadmill any time!)

A Bittersweet Anniversary

Today is the 15th Anniversary of Callie coming to live with us.

While it is bittersweet that she’s no longer here (in her earthly form) to help us celebrate, it’s also special. You see, not only is it the anniversary of her joining our little family; but it’s also the very same day of the week, Friday, on which we brought her home.

So, I thought I would share some of her “baby” pictures with you.

Here she is at two weeks, when we first met our baby.

And at seven weeks, when we brought her home from the breeder’s house..

Callie's 1st Day HomeCallie's 1st Day Home - 3Callie's 1st Day Home - 2

Our poor baby had an ingrown eyelash in her lower left eyelid – that’s why it looks so painful in these pictures. ย Our wonderful vet did a little “nip and tuck” procedure the following Monday, which healed beautifully, and our sweet Callie never had another issue with that eye.

I Can’t Believe It’s Been A Month….

Since Hubby, Ducky and I told Shadow how much we love her – will always love her – and then let her go be with her soul-sister Callie. This is my favorite photo of my Golden Girls from several years ago….Jason's Pix 016

We miss our sweet girl so much. Ducky misses having company when we have to leave the house. She misses having a buddy to share the perimeter patrol duties with, and to bark at the neighbors’ dogs with, and to fuss at over time on the dog beds. About the only thing Ducky doesn’t miss about Shadow is the competition for our attention.

Hubby’s not a big believer in spiritual visits. It’s a shame for him. Being open to them myself, I feel better knowing my Golden Angels are always with me. And always watching over Ducky as well. It’s just so hard not having them here physically to love on and watch play with each other and cuddle together and discipline Ducky.

Anyway, it’s at least a little easier to look at photos of my girls without dissolving into a puddle of tears. So, here are some pix of Callie and Shadow together when they were still pups….

My Golden Girls were rarely apart in life; and when they were apart, they spent the time looking for each other. Now they’re together again, the way they were always meant to be.

Big Brother, Little Sister

Zen is the big brother that every little sister dreams about during her naps. He plays with Zoey so I can do my little chores.

He stays with her when I have to leave the room for a minute or two, or more.

When Zoey is doing something she shouldn’t be doing – like chewing on the kitchen table or chairs – Zen distracts her for me so she’ll stop. Or if Zoey’s teething on my big toe (through the sock), Zen will nip on one of her paws. She lets out a little yelp and goes after his paw. I wish I had a video of it. I’ll keep trying.

Zoey is sweet and loving, and feisty. I keep getting this image in my head of her telling Ducky that “Mama talks about you all the time.” To which Ducky replies “that’s why we sent you.” She truly reminds me of Ducky as the little demon dog I brought home from the shelter a little over ten years ago.

And Zen, my adoring son. He has grown up so much in these four months since hubby was admitted to the hospital! He’s much taller, much heavier, and still thin but not lanky like Bogie was at this age. He’s all muscle. He weighed 72.4 pounds when I had him weighed at the end of October; I’d be willing to bet he’s closer to 76 pounds now. And he’s maturing mentally, too. He still likes giving me hugs like a human. He stands on his two back legs and puts his front legs around my waist. ๐Ÿ˜

When I see Zen being so very patient with Zoey as she bites and pulls on his tail, or pulls on his chest furs, or steals his chew toy, it reminds me of Callie with Shadow; and later on Callie’s patience with the much younger Ducky. And the brother-sister relationship between Radar and Ducky; and then Ducky’s unending patience with and adoration of Bogie. Bogie was forever pestering Ducky, but she was unwavering in her patience with him even as she looked to me for help.

Oh, did I mention that Zen watches Zoey in her crate at night, while I’m getting ready for bed?

It’s so sweet the way Zen watches over Zoey!

I let them play in the kitchen together. That way if Zen gets too excited and forgets he’s not as little as she is, Zoey can run under one of the chairs where he can’t reach her. He’ll keep barking at her for a minute or two, but he does settle down. Then Zoey comes out of her safe place and they start playing again. ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿพ

Short clip but you can get the idea.

Our New Ride

Back in August while my brother was visiting for my birthday, he convinced me it was time to say goodbye to my old car.

Honestly, I was hesitant at first. The Impala was, after all, only nearly 16 years old. She holds more great memories than bad ones; and with the exception of some minor issues, I was okay with keeping her until she couldn’t go any further.

The bad memories, though, are the heartbreakers that I can’t deal with any more. Like taking Callie, Shadow, and Radar to the vet for their final visits/journeys to the Rainbow Bridge. And taking Bogie to the vet after his horrific accident so he could be given dignified aftercare. And taking Ducky to the vet the morning after she left me. And the difficult times of dealing with hubby’s dementia demons in the car. So it was time to let go.

So, it’s time to introduce my new ride – Zen and Zoey’s new taxi – our 2022 Honda CR-V, lovingly named in honor of my canine soulmate. Here’s Ducky2 …..

Ducky2

Although Callie, Shadow and Radar loved riding in the car too, Ducky loved it most of all. (Bogie used to get nervous in the back seat by himself.)

My New Ride

Yes, that’s the Impala next to Ducky2. I haven’t officially sold her yet.

Proud of Myself

Handsome Zen Puppy

Hi Everyone! Mama said I could paw today’s Awww Mondays blog hop post. Aren’t I a handsome pup? Mama says I’m as handsome as my angel brothers Radar and Bogie. ๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿถ๐Ÿ˜‡๐Ÿถ

I’m proud of myself cuz I climbed on to Mama’s chair instead of pestering her like I usually do when she sits on the sofa to check her emails in the morning. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿถ

That’s it for me today. Mama and I hope all our family and friends have a great Monday!

Thankful Every Day

Where to start? I have so very much to be thankful for every day! I don’t always write in my gratitude journal – actually it’s been over a week since my last entry – but I’m certain God knows what is in my heart.

So, I’ll start with thanking God for all my blessings. That’s a good start. I’ll be honest – I don’t always understand why God answers my prayers the way He does, but I’ve learned to trust those answers.

The next “thing” I’m thankful for isn’t a thing but a person. And that person is our friend, Chuck. Bogie’s and Zen’s “Grandpa Chuck”. One of the nicest persons you could ever hope to meet. Once again he came to our rescue when hubby and I needed help with Zen. And while he had the little guy, he and our doggy family taught Zen some doggy manners and how to “chill out”. Now that Zen is home, he is doing so much better than last time. For the sake of our privacy, I won’t delve into details.

I’m always thankful for the support of my brother. He is always “there” for me, one way for another, and has been since the day I was born. And I’m thankful for family – those already in Heaven and those still here, including all the dogs who were part of our family – from our childhood as well as since we started our own families.

Of course I’m thankful for my hubby. I love him with my whole heart and unconditionally. He’s been my best friend and constant companion, not to mention “Daddy” to all the dogs who have owned me since I moved out of my childhood home.

I’m always thankful, too, for all our wonderful friends – both “real life” and online! Some of my favorite people are those whom I’ve only met through our wonderful pet blogging community. You mean a great deal to me.

And last but not least, I am thankful for all of my “fur babies” of the past. They all taught me so much, each in her or his own way, and with so much unconditional love woven into each lesson. And, of course, I am thankful for sweet Zen. He is such a good pup – from wonderful, sweet parents – and he is trying to teach me patience. Patience is a virtue I struggle with a good deal. “All good things come to those who wait”; but sometimes that wait is excruciatingly long. Zen is doing his best.