Thankful for So Much

To start with, I’m thankful that Heavenly Birthdays Week is over. And that Ducky’s first year in Heaven is complete as of last night. It was a rough nine days, but I got through it intact.

Sanctuary Flowers 2/12/2023

Those are the flowers I had put in the sanctuary of our church on Sunday morning in honor of my three newest guardian angels on their birthdays.

I’m thankful, too, for my earth angels, Zen and Zoey. Thankful that they love me unconditionally, and that they love each other too.

My Snuggle Buddies

I’m thankful for all my friends in the pet blogosphere who have “been there” for me over the years and with whom I’ve shared the joys and sorrows of pet parenthood. โค๏ธโค๏ธ

And I’m thankful for my genetic family, my church family, my Golden (Retriever) family, my family of friends and neighbors, the roof over my and my pups’ heads, food on my table and in my pups’ bowls, and so much more that I can’t enumerate.

A Lot of Firsts this Christmas

Zen and Zoey enjoyed their first Christmas, it would appear. Santa brought them new toys and treats; and l gave them a scrambled egg with their breakfast.

They play so well together! ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ

And since Zoey’s been doing so much better with her “potty” training these last few weeks, I let her play on the carpeted living room floor with Zen most of the day.

Vying for the same toy. ๐Ÿคฃ

These two had us – my brother and me – laughing most of the day. And there weren’t any accidents on the carpet at all. (Though there were two on the linoleum kitchen floor that I blame myself for.)

On my first Christmas without him, I thought of Sam often throughout the day – missing his physical presence and wishing I could hear his laughter and see his smile as the puppies played with their toys. – I came close to tears a few times, but mostly just felt the hole in my space that Sam’s presence filled for most of the last 30 years. I know he was here in spirit, as were all our furry angels. It was that knowing they were here with us in spirit that mostly kept the tears away.

And on my first Christmas without sweet Ducky and darling Bogie, I called Zoey “Ducky” several times because of the stark similarities in their sweet natures. And once or twice I called Zen “Bogie” just because it came out of my mouth first. LOL. A fleeting thought of dear Bogie’s awful death brought tears to my eyes, but they dried quickly when I thought of how loving, sweet, and intuitive he was throughout his much-too-short life.

Sometime last night, as I was checking Facebook, I found this memory of Ducky from what should have been Radar’s first Christmas with us. I felt myself choke up a little remembering that sweet boy’s battle with heart worm disease in 2019. But at least he went ahead knowing he had a family who loved him dearly and would miss his love and presence in their life.

So, all in all, my first Christmas without my two cherished soulmates was a good one. Bittersweet memories of Christmases past mixed with new memories to treasure from Christmas present. Unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, the ghost of Christmas future didn’t visit me in my dreams so I have no idea what’s in store for me. And I’m not going to dwell on or worry about it.

So, in ending this post, I hope that all my family and friends had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year. May we ALL look forward to a happy and fulfilling new year.

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.

Drawn to the Shelter

Since Ducky joined her sisters and brothers at the Rainbow Bridge, I have said I wouldn’t be getting another shelter dog anytime in the near future. Mainly because it wouldn’t be fair to that dog to have to deal with hubby’s dementia episodes on top of the challenges of just settling into a new life. That has not changed. I’m not sure I’ll ever be emotionally ready to adopt another shelter animal. So, you might be asking yourself, what is she leading up to?

Well, for most of the last two weeks, I was feeling drawn to the shelter in search of a dog that looked like Ducky. I resisted every urge to drive over there in fear I would find one and want to bring her home against my own better judgment. I could not understand why I was feeling so drawn to the shelter when I knew it wasn’t time yet.

Well, on Sunday afternoon I went on the shelter’s website – again drawn to finding a Ducky lookalike. And, I actually found one….

I won’t share her photograph here because I don’t own the rights to it (the shelter does). And it wouldn’t be right. I won’t divulge the name the shelter gave her, either, even though it’s cute. Let’s just call her “Sissy”, as in Ducky’s little sister.

She is approximately 2-1/2 years old. She could not look any more like Ducky at the same age if they were identical twins! The ears, and the eyes!! My doG, she is adorable! And she even weighs about the same as Ducky did at that age! I wanted to run over to the shelter and play with her right then and there. Luckily, the shelter is closed to the public on Sundays. ๐Ÿ˜Œ I fell in love with her image. Just as I had fallen in love with Ducky nearly ten years ago.

All Sunday afternoon and evening, and then Monday morning, I kept going back to the picture of little Sissy. And talking to my sweet Ducky. I decided to call the shelter to see if she had been adopted yet. If not, I was going to bring Ducky’s two smaller beds to the shelter and ask that they be given specifically to Sissy.

When I called, I was told by a very nice lady that Sissy had been adopted. A wave of relief flowed over me. But I also felt hugely happy for her. Happy that she had found her forever family very quickly. (Poor Ducky spent most of her first 7 months of life at the shelter before we adopted her.) I hope – and have to trust – that they will love Sissy with their whole hearts and give her all she needs for the rest of her life. After I hung up with the shelter lady, I told hubby “we’re going to take Ducky’s two smaller beds to the shelter and put them in the donations bucket, in honor of Ducky’s life with us.” So, we stopped at the Atlanta Bread shop for a late lunch and then took the beds to the shelter.

Once the beds were in the donations “bucket” and we were back in the car, I felt happy. Happy that Sissy had been adopted; and happy because I knew Ducky was proud of me. I could literally feel her smiling at me with that special smile she always reserved for me. It was a huge healing moment for me.

There will still be tearful times when I need to feel Ducky’s fur on my face or her body leaning into mine; but I know she’s always in my heart. I can look at her sweet face in the countless photos on my phone or in picture frames. And in the photo pendant I wear around my neck every day.

Photo pendant that I bought from an Etsy seller.

Memories

Last night was six weeks since Ducky joined her sisters and brothers at the Rainbow Bridge; so as I do almost every day, I went looking through all my photos of the last couple of years. I found this one for today’s Wordless Wednesday blog hop post….

I love you, Baby Girl, now and forever.

And this one where she was wearing her happy face….

Hi Mama! I love you too!

I will forever miss my baby girl, my soulmate. About the only thought that makes me feel better at times is knowing that she is whole and healthy again; and playing with Callie, Shadow, Radar, and Bogie while they all wait for me to join them. Truth be told, Radar is probably waiting for hubby. But that’s ok…they had an instant soul connection, like Ducky and me.

Happy Wordless/Wordy Wednesday everyone. Give all your fur-kids some lovies for me. ๐Ÿ’—

Thankful Thursday

This past Tuesday night was three weeks since Ducky left us to be reunited with Callie, Shadow, Radar, and Bogie. Iโ€™ve been struggling in my attempts to adjust to life without her.

Let’s play Mama!

Iโ€™m still struggling. Ducky was the one who always helped hubby and me deal with whatever life threw at us during the nine plus years she was with us.

Iโ€™m thankful that God allowed us to be her Daddy and Mama all this time. And thankful that He didnโ€™t let her suffer too much that night he gave her the angel wings she so richly deserved. She was an angel with paws, my special angel, and it hurts to not be able to love on her.

Iโ€™m thankful for all the lessons Ducky taught me. And, believe me, she taught me more than I ever taught her. Iโ€™m thankful for all the wonderful moments we shared. Iโ€™m thankful for all the moments that were hard on us but which helped cement the bond between us. Iโ€™m thankful for her unconditional love that allowed her to forgive me for all those times when I was much less than the ideal mama she deserved.

This is the perfect chew toy for me, Mama!

Again, weโ€™re thankful for all the love, kind words, and emotional support we have received from family and friends, both offline and online, many of whom we have never met face-to-face. And Iโ€™m thankful for the sweet, thoughtful gifts from three of my fellow bloggers โ€“ you know who you are.

Weโ€™re thankful for our wonderful vets and staff at Haywood Road Animal Hospital who so lovingly and compassionately comforted us and handled all the final details of making sure Ducky would be coming home to be with us forever.

Weโ€™re thankful for the St. Francis Pet Crematorium staff who made sure Duckyโ€™s earthly form was treated with the dignity and compassion she deserved. And her cremains returned to us with heartfelt expression of sympathy for our loss.

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 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 Trainer’s Tribute

Back when we had our first appointments with our current vet, I asked for a recommendation for a dog trainer for Bogie. The young man they recommended highly is now our friend as well.

Like everyone else who had met our precious boy, James fell in love with Bogie instantly. On Tuesday morning he sent me the following tribute with a request for permission to post it on his business page. At the bottom of this post I will include James’ info.

————-

“He never got to see the snow.

“A day short of seeing and running through it, feeling and tasting it in the wind.

“He was beautiful, and he was just beginning to see the world as all dogs do at that age. He wasn’t yet a year old.

“In just a short time, a matter of almost a couple of months, I saw him grow and his heart expand, and the potential growth both as an incredible student and a wonderful family dog.

“Our last session together we began to work with him on his leash. He was so curious and eager to see the world around him. I knew the next steps would be a milestone for him, the next session a new achievement.

“When you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you can see deep into their eyes sometimes, and see a spark of light into what an incredible future is just a pawprint or two away.

“When my client messaged me, myself now a day into the snowstorm, I had to read it over and over again to understand.

“The gate was open, it happens. It happens to all dog owners sometime in their journey with their dog. Gates open, it happens.

“He ran, he ran through the gate with everything he had in him. The kind of exhilaration we only find in dreams.

“The driver never stopped. They didn’t even slow down, continuing to fly on the asphalt away from their wrongdoing, outrunning fault and forgiveness.

“Two children across the street saw what happened,, and brought his body to the driveway. A lady, a stranger, stopped in the middle of the road and held up traffic so the children could safely carry him across.

“I wish children had been part of his life’s story in so many, many other ways.

“Out of respect to the deep and open pain the family is still feeling, I can’t and won’t say his name.

“I wrote this because sometimes pain has to transmute to meaning, otherwise it just keeps eating at you.

“He was a good boy. I had only seen him the day before, and had I even a hint of the loss that would have been felt… I would have wished with all I had to give, that he could’ve had one dance in the snow.

“I will miss you, and every student after that reminds me of you, I will hold a part of you as I guide them on their journey; a journey you deserved to see so much more of than you had.

“With All, Sweet Boyโค๐Ÿถโค”

———

With deepest gratitude, I now give you James’ info: James Lyon, owner of Ilio Canine Care. Check out his website at http://www.iliocaninecare.com. James also has business pages on Facebook and Instagram.

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