HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY ZEN!!! ðŸ’šðŸ’šðŸ’šðŸ’šðŸ¾ðŸ¾

Today my big boy is one year old!! My leprechaun, my personal pot ‘o’ gold was born on St. Patrick’s Day 2022. My sunshine, the light of my life, was born in the midst of what turned out to be the worst year of my life. And he remains my sunshine boy.

Zen’s in there somewhere.

Zen’s mama, Sunny, is also celebrating her birthday today! She is a sweet girl! What a present to give yourself on your birthday! Nine beautiful, healthy puppies! She is a wonderful mother to her puppies!

Zen’s Daddy, Tater
Sam with Zen when Zen was about 4 weeks old
At 4 Weeks Old He Was Already My Boy 💚🐾🍀

Zen was my little Smudge Muzzle at 4 weeks; and he still has a bit of the smudge around that precious muzzle.

We brought him home on May 14th, when he was just past eight weeks old. I chose the 14th because I needed a happy event to balance the awful monthly anniversary of Bogie’s accident.

Zen’s Going Home Day

Zen spent a great deal of time of the first five months of his life at his Grandpa’s house with his mama Sunny, Aunt Bailey, and cousins Stormy, Charlie, and Skye because of Sam’s dementia. It broke my heart to not have him here with me; but Sam’s dementia demons were taking over more frequently and making poor Zen very nervous. It was better for the poor little guy to be in a stable environment. Two weeks after Sam went into the hospital last July my sweet little Zen puppy came home. He’s been with me ever since, healing my broken heart one day at a time.

I can’t believe how fast and BIG he’s grown over the past year! When Sam and I first brought him home he weighed about 12 pounds. Just ten days ago, when I had to get a weight check for his heartworm preventive, he weighed in at 81.5 pounds!! And it’s all muscle!! This boy is strong!!

Taking a short play break a few days ago

This boy is such a love! He gives me hugs that are as much from Sam as from himself; he gives me kisses “just because” and when my memories are leaking from my eyes; and he adores his little sister, Zoey (who will be six months old tomorrow).

😇 My angels disguised as puppies 🐶

Happy First Birthday my Smudge Muzzle/Leprechaun/Sunshine Boy!! Mama loves you more than I could ever put into words!! I hope I will always be deserving of your unconditional love!! 💚💚🐾🐾🍀🍀🎂🎂🎈🎈☀️☀️🦴🦴🎾🎾🎁🎉

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. ❤️❤️

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.

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.

Angels with Paws

After all the tears, stress, and losses last year, I needed puppies in my life again, so I’m thankful for these two sweethearts. They keep me company while I’m home, and wait eagerly for me to come back when I have to leave.

Zen is – and always will be – my sunshine boy. He was the bright spot in my life, my sunshine, before he was even born last year. He knows when I need a hug, or just to have him at my feet. He’s not the snuggler that Bogie was; but, like Ducky, he will snuggle with me in his own way and time. And those unexpected snuggles are even sweeter and more precious as a result.

Such a sweet boy!
Mama’s Big Boy

And Zoey is my precious little girl, the starlight in my heart. She’s been growing a little at a time – which is better for her as well as for me – so I can still pick her up when I want to. And, like her older brother, angel Bogie, she loves to snuggle with me. She is truly a cuddle buddy. And Zen gets a little jealous at times.

My Snuggle Sweetie
My Baby Girl

I’m thankful, too, that these two love each other and have bonded so well with each other. They act like big brother and little sister most times, squabbling over a toy or rough-housing. But they also snuggle with each other. They remind me of Ducky and Radar, and Ducky and Bogie. Siblings and best friends at the same time.

🐾💚 Playtime 💜🐾
Wrestling in the kitchen

These two hooligans are my angels with paws. They are, at times, more devil than angel; but what puppy isn’t?! Ducky and Bogie knew exactly what I needed and that these two would fill that need.

As usual, I can’t add the Thankful Thursday blog hop link…something about it not being supported?? So I’ll just go add my link on our host’s blog. It won’t even let me do that today. 😤

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! ❤️❤️🐾🐾

Happy New Year!!!

The Z Kids – as Monika of Tails Around The Ranch named Zen and Zoey – and I send all our readers best wishes for a safe and happy 2023.

Sharing a photo I took last night of the kids while they were having one of their wrestling matches. Zoey does a pretty good job of holding her own over big brother Zen.

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.

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.

Introducing Zoey

Zen has a new sibling. I’ll be writing more about her in the days to come, but for now here she is …

Our First Selfie Together

Don’t bother looking at that horrible picture of me! Look at my little girl! Isn’t she precious?!

To look at that sweet little face, you would think she and Zen were litter mates. All that cream-colored, wavy fur around her face! And the smudge muzzle! Be still my heart! But they are actually first cousins – their mothers are full sisters – and in fact Zoey is Bogie’s half sister (same mother, different father).

When we went to meet little Zoey about a week ago, I had my brother take a family picture of Zen, Zoey and me.

Zen, Zoey and Me

I’ll be posting more photos soon – when I have better ones to share – and hopefully Zen won’t mind sharing me with his little sister/cousin.