Thankful Thursday

Today, among blessings too numerous to count, I’m thankful for …

This sweet boy who was neutered yesterday, and
This precious little sassy girl who snuggles with me so sweetly, and

Zen’s and Zoey’s vet – my friend and also Shadow’s, Ducky’s, and Bogie’s vet once upon a time – Dr. Tyler Simpson (and his wonderful staff) at Furwell Veterinary Hospital, literally right down the road from our house.

And Zen’s and Zoey’s “Grandpa” and “Aunt Joy” who are taking care of Zoey for us so Zen can recuperate and heal from his surgery in relative peace and quiet.

And last but certainly not least, my brother who is here visiting with us to – among other reasons – help me take care of Zen and Zoey and because he and I need to spend time together whenever we can.

My Heart Melters

Miss Sassy Pants Loves Her Big Brother

Zen is scheduled for his neuter surgery (and a dental cleaning) on Wednesday, so Zoey will be spending his week-long recuperation period at their Grandpa’s house. I am sooooo going to miss seeing these snuggle sessions!! 🥲

Be Careful What You Wish For!

I’m sure you’ve all heard that warning before. But have you ever paid much attention to it? I know I didn’t, really. Until one morning at the end of last month …..

For most of March and April, I was burning out from being “Mom” to the Z Kids without the help of a “Daddy.” I was lamenting the days before Zoey joined Zen and me.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Zoey dearly and wouldn’t give her up for anything other than her own well-being. But her isolation anxiety was taking its toll on me, on Zen, and on our relationship. And it was – of course – taking its toll on Zoey herself and our relationship with each other. Even some stress on Zen’s and Zoey’s relationship with each other.

So back to my lamenting, my burning out. I was tired. I was frustrated. I was sad and scared. And I wasn’t eating enough of the right foods. TBH, I wasn’t eating enough, period. And I was constantly saying to Zen that “I love Zoey dearly, but I miss the days when it was just the two of us.”

On the morning of April 25th I woke up early, and as usual, started to sit up in bed. But I was so dizzy I had to lay back down. I waited a moment and tried again. Same thing. Then I started to panic. How would I take care of the puppies if I couldn’t even take care of myself. I called my friend, and the pups’ “Grandpa,” and left a message in his voicemail. Then I tried again to sit up. Same dizziness. I laid back down and checked my heart rate. Normal. Waited another ten minutes or so and checked again. Normal again. Still dizzy but not quite as bad. No nausea, sweats, or aches and pains, just dizzy.

Called my friend again. He said he’d get ready to come down to get Zen and Zoey, so the panic subsided. Still a little dizzy but not as bad. Almost an hour had passed. The dizziness was subsiding as well. Zen was on the bed with me, laying right next to me. Zoey was in her crate next to the bed, waiting patiently for me to let her out. Once the dizziness had passed, I got dressed and let Zoey out of her crate. We went into the kitchen, slowly, but I felt normal and steady on my feet. Then my friend’s daughter arrived and we sat and talked for a few minutes.

We took the pups out to the yard to relieve themselves and play some. My earthly guardian angel was on the way and his daughter had to leave for an appointment. But I was feeling 100% better and fully steady on my feet. And Zen continued to keep a watchful eye on me while he and Zoey played in the living room.

My friend arrived and we sat and talked for a bit while I ate the breakfast biscuit he had picked up for me on his way here. He was still willing to take both pups home with him; but I knew I’d go out of my mind if I stayed home completely alone. So he took Zoey home with him and Zen stayed with me.

Zoey stayed with her “Grandpa” and other doggie family for a few days while I pulled myself together. Zen watched me like a hawk. When I had to go to the store to get food, our regular pet sitter stayed with him. The rest of the time I spent here at home, making sure I ate three balanced meals a day and spending time with Zen. And texting with my friend, sending photos back and forth.

Those few days Zoey was with her Grandpa, I truly paid attention to that old line about being careful what you wish for. And I thanked God endlessly for giving me the warning that He had. And I thanked my friend, his daughter, and another dear friend (who had brought me some homemade comfort food later that day) for being there for me – once again – in my hours of need. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I had had to fend for myself that day.

I’m very careful now about what I wish for; and I’m very careful about taking care of myself as well as the Z Kids. And I constantly thank God and all my guardian angels for watching over us all. the. time. I’m feeling much better now, exactly a month later. And Zen keeps a watchful eye on me still, enlisting Zoey’s aid when he needs a break. I am thankful for these two earth angels of mine, too. Our relationships – mine with each of them separately and theirs with each other – have improved tremendously.

With that all said, I’m linking to the Thankful Thursday blog hop. Thankful for ALL my blessings, especially the ones I tend to take for granted at times.

Happy Heavenly Birthday Callie

My First Golden Girl

Callie was my/our very first Golden Retriever. She was born 19 years ago today. She was a sweet, loving, and very independent puppy and adult.

Even at four months old she was teaching me about being a good dog mom. She was the first born in her litter, and from the time she opened her eyes – according to her breeder – she helped her mama stop and settle squabbles among her littermates.

When we added Shadow to our little family six months after we’d brought Callie home, Callie appointed herself Shadow’s surrogate mama, protector, best friend, teacher, and big sister. Callie sensed, correctly, that Shadow was a somewhat “needy” girl right from the start. And from day one, the girls forged a bond between them that would later transcend time and space.

Callie & Shadow’s First Christmas (2004)

When we added Ducky to the family in 2012, Callie taught Ducky how to be a dog, how to be a member of our family; and she intervened in the many squabbles between Shadow and Ducky. She also taught Ducky all she would need to know about getting along with Shadow once it was just the two of them. I think she might have warned Ducky of ghostly discipline, too, if she didn’t treat Shadow right. 🤣

Callie was my and hubby’s dear friend, our ambassador for her breed. And she owned and loved us equally, neither of us was her favorite “parent.” I will never forget her as long as I have my wits about me. She was our girl. And she was Shadow’s and Ducky’s older sister and best friend. And she taught Ducky well how to protect Shadow and be her true friend and sister.

So I’ll end this post by saying “Happy Birthday” to my dear Callie. The girl who started my love of Golden Retrievers, the girl who picked Radar and Bogie for Sam and me after Shadow joined her at the Rainbow Bridge.

Morning Yard Zoomies


The back yard isn’t one for a “Better Homes and Gardens” centerfold layout by any means; but at least it’s finally safe for my puppies to really have fun together in with just me to supervise. HUGE thank yous to the pups’ “Grandpa Chuck“, his friend and neighbor, Josh, and Josh’s employee, Aron, for ALL their HARD, back-breaking work!!

Since this is supposed to be “Wordless Wednesday”, I will limit my verbosity for this post 🤣 and just say I hope that everyone has a great hump day!!

Morning Snuggles & A Heavenly Birthday

My Baby Girl

Just like her older brother, Angel Bogie, Zoey must have her morning snuggles with me. 💞🦮🐾

Fast asleep 💜🐾😍

Funny to me is that as a rule of paw, the male Goldens are more likely to be the “needy”, cuddly pups than the females. Well, I never did like living by “rules” anyway. In this house, the roles are reversed…..

Zen is more like Ducky in the snuggles department: when and how HE wants them. Zoey is just like older brother, Angel Bogie: SHE must have the morning snuggles on the couch (or in the recliner). Her brother, and sister Ducky, knew I would need another snuggle buddy and that little Zoey would be perfect in that role. 🥰

So, on to the second reason for this particular Awww Mondays blog post…

🦮My Beautiful Angel Boy Bogie🦮

HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY In Heaven my Beautiful Bogie Boy!! Mama will always miss you until we’re all reunited. And I will always love you.

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.

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.

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. 😍

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. 💚🐾💜🐾

Short clip but you can get the idea.

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. 🐊 🦈

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. 🤪

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!