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! πŸ’šπŸ’œπŸΎπŸΎ

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. πŸ’šπŸΎπŸ’œπŸΎ

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. πŸ€ͺ

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…..

Hubby and I are working on a special “project” to enhance our lives. Phase One began Wednesday night and was completed early yesterday morning. πŸ’šπŸ€

I will post updates as I can.

Have a great weekend everyone, no matter the weather!!

Happy 10th Birthday Ducky! πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‰β€οΈπŸΎ

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. 😁 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!!!!

Bogie’s Must-Have Morning Routine

Over the last few weeks, Bogie and I have started a morning routine. A must-have for both of us.

Every morning after Bogie, Ducky and I come in from their first bathroom break of the day – and after I make the coffee and pour my first mug – I find Bogie waiting for me in the living room. He wants his morning cuddle/snuggle session with mama.

Fast asleep with his head on my leg.
Ahhhh, this is the life!
Ooooh! Scratch right there, Mama!

Bogie loves his Daddy, too; but since I’m the one who normally takes him (and Ducky) out first thing, I’m the one who’s blessed with this boy’s morning kisses. ❀️

Just to prove Bogie loves his Daddy too, here’s a photo I took a few minutes ago….

Bogie sharing Daddy’s chair.

It’s hard for Bogie to get up in the chair with hubby because hubby takes up more space than I do; but they manage long enough for me to get a photo.

Happy 8th Birthday Ducky!!!

Today is my baby girl’s birthday. My earth angel. My rock.

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl! Daddy and I – and your guardian angel sisters and brother – love you completely and unconditionally.

We’ll have to delay your birthday walk at the park until tomorrow. But you don’t care which day we go as long as we do go.

We’re joining the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop because Ducky is at the top of our “grateful for” list.

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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.