Three Heavenly Birthdays

My three most recently departed loves have heavenly birthdays coming up this month. I will miss them all until the day we are reunited. And I’m sure many more memories will leak from my eyes between now and then; but this is a celebratory post, not a sad one.

In birthdate order, Bogie will be 2 years old on February 6th; Sam will be 73 on February 9th; and Ducky will be 11 years old on February 13th.

Sweet Bogie, our angel disguised as a dog

This boy’s time on earth was cut short through a tragic accident that took him from us. 💔 BUT during his time on earth, he filled our lives with so much joy, love, and laughter that we felt his loss perhaps more acutely than we might have otherwise. This boy was truly an angel on earth disguised as a dog. 💙 He knew instinctively, even at such a young age, exactly when his (human) daddy needed him; and went to him without hesitation to give love and be loved upon. And in the mornings, while Ducky slept in my chair, Bogie snuggled with me on the couch. Most of the rest of his day was spent playing with the older sister he adored and who adored him in return.

Sam, the love of my life, my human soulmate

This photo was taken last year, at our favorite restaurant, Schwaben House, where we had his birthday lunch. It was a happy day for us both, as his dementia demons were leaving him alone. It is my favorite of more then-recent photos of the man I’d married 28 years earlier. He was more himself that day than he had been in many previous days. ❤️ More himself than he would ever be again after that day. I will always gratefully remember the way he was that day.

Ducky, my sweet, sassy soulmate, my heart dog.

Ducky came into my life while I was taking a course to become a dog obedience training instructor. I was in the externship stage; and I was volunteering at the animal shelter, with the mission of helping the dogs become more adoptable. Ducky was the second of my charges. (The first, a pittie mix named Honey, was adopted a few days earlier.) Sweet Ducky stole my heart the instant I first saw her in her puppy-room kennel. And the rest of her story is now history. She wrapped my heart around her little paw and decided that – one way or the other – I was going to be her new mama. A few months later, she got her wish. We spent the next nine plus years working and playing together to ease her reactivity. And her older sisters taught her how to be a family dog instead of a kennel-bound shelter dog. Our bond grew into a soul connection that has transcended time and space. ❤️❤️

So, on this Thankful Thursday, I wish my three loves a happy birth month. I am so thankful you were each a big part of my life. I miss your physical presence; but I know you are with me always.

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.

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.

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.

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. 💗

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.

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.

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. 🤣

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.