A Bittersweet Weekend

Today – Saturday, January 14th – is the first “anniversary” of Bogie’s horrific, tragic, traumatic accident. A year has passed since my precious baby boy was taken from me, his daddy, his sister, and his uncle. The first of three traumatic losses in one year.

I spent some time yesterday morning reading my blog posts about Bogie – first to last – especially his trainer’s tribute, and tears rolled down my face. I will forever grieve for my precious baby boy. That grief, like the ocean, ebbs and flows with the tides.

Tomorrow – Sunday the 15th – will be 11 months since my beloved Ducky’s heart gave out on her after being shattered the month before by our loss of Bogie, and after many years of helping me deal with the stress of her beloved daddy’s dementia demons. As with Bogie, I will forever grieve for my precious little soulmate.

My precious angel babies

The “sweet” part of the “bittersweet,” though, is that today, Saturday the 14th, is also the Z Kids’ Gotcha Day. Zen came home to live with Sam and me on May 14th, so this is his 8-Month Gotcha Day. Zoey came home to live with Zen and me on November 14th, so this is her 2-Month Gotcha Day.

Zen has been my ray of sunshine, the bright spot in my life, since before he was even born (on St. Patrick’s Day) last year. Just knowing I was going to have another puppy in my life last year cheered me up most of the innumerable times that the grief over first Bogie and then Ducky overwhelmed me.

Once Zen came home after Sam had been hospitalized, he was often my reason for getting up in the morning. He became my best friend, my peaceful moments, my constant companion, my protector, my everything. And when I got the doctor’s unexpected yet somewhat relieving call that early October morning, Zen was my comforting, calming, peaceful zen puppy. He lived up to his name that morning as I cried into his fur. 😍

When Ducky became a winged angel, I knew I had to have two pups in my life again – the boy who was due in another month and another female. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, especially if I had to deal with the dementia demons at the same time; but I was determined to have two puppies so the first one wouldn’t be lonely when we couldn’t have him with us away from home. So, once again, my sweet baby girl came through for me when Zoey was born.

As Zen is my ray of sunshine, so Zoey is the starlight in my eyes. Zoey is sweet and sassy, like Ducky was. She is my baby girl, and I am her person. And, like Ducky adored Bogie, Zoey adores Zen. Likewise, as Bogie adored Ducky, so Zen adores Zoey. 💚💜🐾🐾

My babies at play 😍😍

This post is a “bit” long-winded. I apologize for that. I’m grateful for those of you who have read it to the end. I hope everyone has a great weekend! ❤️❤️🐾🐾

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! 💚💜🐾🐾

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. 🤣

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.

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. 💔😢.

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 request…prayers 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.

Thankful Thursday

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

Let’s play Mama!

I’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.

I’m thankful that God allowed us to be her Daddy and Mama all this time. And thankful that He didn’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.

I’m thankful for all the lessons Ducky taught me. And, believe me, she taught me more than I ever taught her. I’m thankful for all the wonderful moments we shared. I’m thankful for all the moments that were hard on us but which helped cement the bond between us. I’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, we’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 I’m thankful for the sweet, thoughtful gifts from three of my fellow bloggers – you know who you are.

We’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.

We’re thankful for the St. Francis Pet Crematorium staff who made sure Ducky’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.

A Letter to My Golden Girls

Dear Callie and Shadow,

You girls have been together in Heaven now for three months. I miss you more every day. And I will always love you with my whole heart.

Callie, from the moment you were born you started filling a need in me.

When Kissy passed away, there was a hole in my life that nothing could fill. She was my first “fur-baby” and my soul mate in so many ways. I knew no other dog could replace her – and I wasn’t interested in trying to – but I missed the pitter-patter of doggie paws and the companionship of a soul who loved me unconditionally.

When Debbie told me you had been born, I knew my heart would start to heal. Little did I know that you would end up teaching me far more than I could ever teach you. You were such a sweet puppy; and you had an independent streak. Kissy had been wholly dependent on me, so I had to learn to accept that streak. You helped me accept it, and I quickly learned to love you for it. When Shadow joined our little family, you immediately took on the role of surrogate mama. You helped me raise her; and quite honestly you did a better job than me.

Shadow, you were such a sweet little puppy, too; but you didn’t have that independent streak like Callie. You were more “needy” like Kissy. You were my “Velcro Dog”. But you were a bit mischievous too. I still remember the day you grabbed your Grandpa’s hearing aid out of his lap and swallowed it whole. Dr. Steve was already gone for the day so I had to make a few phone calls before I knew what to do. You poor pup, you were so miserable the rest of that day; but at least you regurgitated the hearing aid the same way you swallowed it – in one piece.

And you were constantly trying to get out of the kitchen at night before you were house trained. Callie spent many a night sleeping on the carpet in the hallway, on the opposite side of the baby gate, so you wouldn’t feel so alone.

You girls were inseparable, almost literally. Especially at Dr. Steve’s office. Callie was always the brave, happy girl and Shadow the not-so-brave, reserved one. But as long as Callie was there with you, Shadow, you were a bit braver. When Callie had to have her knee-repair surgeries, you always seemed so “lost” without her. You clung to me most of the day while she was at the hospital. And when she came home and had to rest, you glued yourself to her side. You took care of her just as she always took care of you.

When Ducky Doodle Demon Dog joined the family, you girls had to put up with so much from her. Callie, you were the most patient one of us all. Bless you for that! All those times you played peacemaker between Shadow and Ducky? You were my hero. And the times you wouldn’t let Ducky exclude Shadow from your games? You never ceased to amaze me with your patience. And, Shadow, you sweet girl. You tried so hard to emulate Callie; but Ducky continually pushed your buttons.

Sabine earned my eternal gratitude when she convinced me to set up an intro date for Ducky at daycare. A Dog’s Day Out turned out to be the best option for all of us. And her first day was your eighth birthday, Shadow. And Callie’s half-birthday. It was probably the best gift I could have given you girls, along with the walk at the park later that morning.

Callie, when you went to Heaven we were all devastated, but poor Shadow most of all. I know you spent those last months of your life trying to prepare us – especially Shadow – for our impending loss. You did your best to teach Shadow how to deal with Ducky. And you did your best to teach Ducky how to be a good little sister. And you taught me how to manage the two of them. I hope I made you proud as you watched from Heaven. Shadow, you and I helped each other and Daddy through our grief. And we helped Ducky. I think Ducky helped us all more than we gave her credit for back then.

Shadow, when you were declining and I was in denial at times, I know you tried to tell me your time was near. And you tried to tell me you’d be okay once you reunited with Callie. Ducky was so good with you those last few weeks. She stuck by your side – just as Callie had always done – and made me so proud. I could almost see Callie smiling down on her. When it was time to say goodbye for now, sweet Ducky gave you kisses just as she had Callie that morning she left us. For weeks, Ducky looked for you almost everywhere. As time goes by, she accepts more and more that you’re not coming home. But, like me, she senses your – and Callie’s – spiritual presence, usually even before I do. Being Ducky, though, she is enjoying getting all the attention. She misses you girls in ways Daddy and I can’t because we’re a different specie; but she has been our rock. She is our little breathing entertainment center. She makes us scream with exasperation at times, but she also makes us laugh. I know you girls made it possible for our hearts to expand to include Ducky, and I thank you both for that blessing.

Always Remembered…

Forever Loved.

A Heartbreaking Anniversary 


Today – this morning actually – is the first anniversary of our precious Callie getting her angel wings.

I’m handling it better than I expected to. Yes, it hurts like hell. Yes, I miss my girl more every day. 

But – a BIG but – she’s not suffering any more. She’s a healthy, happy soul again free of her earthly form. I’m happy for my girl. 

I’m happy to have been her mom. Happy for all the wonderful memories she gave us. Happy that she helped me raise her and her younger sisters. 

Life has not been the same, will never be the same, without our beautiful girl. But we’ve adapted, adjusted, and done our best to move forward. 

I watch Shadow during the day. She prefers to sleep in Callie’s old favorite spots – in front of the bathtub, on the one dog bed of Callie’s that wasn’t ruined during her illness, on the kitchen floor next to my chair, and right outside the bathroom door while I’m taking a shower. And she loves to play fetch and keep-away, just as Callie did. Odd that she won’t play with Callie’s stuffed toys though. I know Callie wouldn’t mind – she was always good about sharing all the toys. 

And Ducky? In her own way I’m sure she misses Callie; but she’s been playing more with Shadow. And giving Shadow good-morning kisses when I first let her out of her crate. And she’s not snarking at Shadow as much any more. I think she has figured out that Shadow is truly her best doggie friend as well as her big sister. I’m pretty sure Callie is smiling down at them both. 

I still need to dab at my leaky eyes with a tissue at times. The realization that I can’t stroke her fur or kiss her good night, watch her snuggle with Shadow, or watch her teach Ducky to mind her manners still feels like a dagger in my heart. Yet the memories of such moments make me smile, with or without tears.

Hubby said last night that “she left us too soon”. I said that “even if she had lived to be 15 and a half, like Kissy, it would have been too soon.” But she hasn’t really left us. Her earthly form is gone, but her spirit is always here with us. She watches over us. And occasionally she lets me catch a glimpse of her spirit. Somehow she lets Shadow know, too, that she is still here. I sense it at times.