Judge Not Lest Ye be Judged

Yesterday we left campus.

We packed up the three dogs and our lunch and breakfast and snacks and water and coffee and drove my little Lola to the doctor. We filled up in Maine, stretched in the rest stop in Maine. We drove to my brother’s veterinary hospital so that he could tell me what was going on with my little girl.

Lola is typically around 9 pounds. Today she was just over 7. That’s a lot of weight loss for a little dog. She’s not been eating well, despite my urging, for months. Now that I have been home in isolation, I have been able to focus on her food and water intake and have been very worried. I’ve cried more than once with her in my arms believing that she was going to die. I was concerned enough to call my brother, a veterinarian in Massachusetts, to ask what I should do. His advice was to bring her in. Yesterday we did.

She was poked and prodded, x-rayed, sonogrammed, given a shot of antibiotics and an anti-inflamatory steroid shot. She was sent home with a couple of medicines. Nothing is visibly wrong, per se, but the x-rays will be read by a specialist. She has a dark spot on her spleen but my brother doesn’t think it’s a problem. I feel better but not yet settled. We will see what happens over the next couple of days. Lasts night, she ate her dinner. This morning she ate breakfast AND drank out of the water dish … she hasn’t done that for sure for at least ten days!

I was very afraid to go out. I have been in isolation for two weeks. I know I don’t have Corona virus. I was concerned about filling up my gas tank, where I would go to use a rest room, crossing paths with people. I needn’t have been worried because we didn’t cross any paths! I didn’t even hug my brother. We ate our picnic lunch in the car in the vet hospital parking lot and when Lola was done, we got in the car and drove home. We were all happy to get home and have a drink: The two-leggers among us in particular.

There’s no place like home!

Gone knitting!

The Risk of Loving & the Rainbow Bridge

I heard or read somewhere in recent weeks that the risk of loving is loss. Until today, this didn’t really “hit” me.

Today, hearing that a friend’s beloved pet was sent over the rainbow bridge, it is hitting me. And I’m remembering the deep grief that my family has experienced with the loss of a beloved pet. Sam, Nouk, Kelly, Tasha, Lille, Max … all critters who lived with me and were such a big part of my family at one time or another. Who wagged their tail or sat on my lap or went for a walk in the woods with me. Fur family.

My Fur Babies & My Guy

My Fur Babies & My Guy

Loving is being willing to take a risk. A risk that we can give a piece of ourselves to another being and be embraced and accepted as we are. It’s humbling and makes us very vulnerable when we let a person or a pet have a piece of our heart. The honeymoon phase of love is that new, wondrous, can’t get enough of it which then grows, if we’re lucky, to the place where we can trust and depend on the love to be there for us when we need it. And when we don’t need it. And in return, we show up for them, too. Protection from danger, a comfort when we don’t feel well, sharing in life’s experience both good and not so good.

Pets are so special in that they ask very little in return for the love they lavish on us. They don’t judge us when we don’t feel like taking a shower or getting out of bed. They still love us when we get angry at them because WE forgot to get them outside before they made a mistake. They’re happy to see us when we get home, greeting us at the door, tails wagging. They’re excited about the same old kibble every time we give it to them (in our house, twice daily). They become an essential part of our days and nights.

So, when a pet dies, we experience a deep sense of loss. Perhaps a deeper loss than when we lose human friends. Because who else but our pet can truly love unconditionally? And we can feel it.

Lola, Max and Boq

Lola, Max and Boq

I swore, after Lille died, that I’d never have another dog. It was too heartbreaking. But years later, Lola & Boq entered my life and I’ve made them promise that they’ll never die. And while, on some level, I know that’s not possible, it makes me feel better for now. We’ve started to heal from the loss of Max and have invited Monk to live with us in our family. I’m sure I’ll make him promise, too. For today, he’s lucky he’s cute … because he’s so much puppy in a big brown body!

I’ve shed a few tears today for Pokey and for all the humans who loved him. I know he’s romping free of pain on the other side of the rainbow bridge. While the people who loved him mourn his loss with aching hearts.

The risk of love is loss. It’s hitting me today.

Gone knitting.

Rainbow-Bridge-Poem

Big Brown Dog

I found one of these on the floor in the living room this morning. (They’re all finished and were in my bedroom waiting to be put away.)

Lady Grantham Dinner Gauntlet (a Jimmy Beans Wool KAL) in Lorna's Laces Sport

Lady Grantham Dinner Gauntlet (a Jimmy Beans Wool KAL) in Lorna’s Laces Sport

It must have been this big brown dog!

"Monk"

“Monk”

We’ve adopted/rescued Monk from a family in California and he arrived on Friday. We’d forgotten what it’s like to have a puppy in the house! Lots of walks and lots of ball-throwing in our neighborhood park.

IMG_1265My little dogs would like to send him back! (Not going to happen. We’ve already fallen in love with the big brown dog!)

Welcome Monk!

Gone knitting!

Farewell, Faithful Companion

Max, Faithful Companion, in 2007

Max, my boyfriend’s dog, is old. He’s had Cushing’s Disease for the last three years and probably has an inoperable pituitary tumor in addition. Until recently, the medications prescribed have managed the Cushing’s symptoms and Max has been able to lead a happy (tail-wagging) life.

This summer has been different. He’s not even interested in going outside. He’s fallen off the front porch and rolled off the “sea wall” and into the lake. He struggles to get up when he’s been lying down. N has to carry him to the lake to cool him off and often carries him outside to do his business. He still loves to eat but isn’t as happy to chase a ball or a stick and seems to have a vacant stare most of the time. All night long he does circles. Circling and circling as if he’s going to settle down … but he doesn’t. Even a double dose of Valium doesn’t take the edge off for him.

N has given him a great life! He’s been on many a long ride in the car and loved to ride on the boat, ears flapping in the breeze. He loved to wander off and get into the neighbors’ garbage (and come home bloated with a full belly). He has several warm and comfy beds around the house, unlimited water, excellent food, lots of love, and millions of thrown balls and sticks. He had many a nap on the couch, ball in mouth.

He’s been an intrepid companion, a faithful friend.

Max and the Annoying Littles

Car Ride 2009

Playing the Ball Game in 2008

Death is the natural end to a good life. N has decided that it is time. It’s time to let Max be free from the creaky old body that doesn’t provide a good quality of life any more.

Ned has dug the hole where we’ll bury Max. He’ll be put to sleep here in Maine at home. Max is comfortable here and this place is a constant comfort for N, too.

This is a very sad time. Farewell, faithful friend. We’ll see you again in Heaven.

Gone knitting.

Sick Dog :(

My Sick Little Boy

I had a sick little dog over the weekend. He was fine on Friday morning, his body felt warm on Friday night but I really didn’t think much of it – it’s hot in Florida! But on Saturday morning when he refused to leave his crate in the morning, he didn’t seem to want to or be able to walk, and then felt really warm when I picked him up, I knew something was really wrong. I had a sick little dog!

Off to the vet we went … to be there when they opened at 8. (Come to find out the doctors don’t come in until 8:30 or so.) $500.00 and nearly three hours later, I walked out with no real answers but I had a full-body x-ray that showed no injury or problem. Blood drawn for a CBC and a horrible hot spot – the likely culprit – shaved and “dressed”, and three medications and some salve for his “boo boo”. (The hot spot was all down the front of his neck and not even a “collar of shame” could be put on him to keep him from scratching. So, he was to be my constant companion for the day – and into the night.)

His sister didn’t know what to do with him. She sat and barked and sniffed and watched him in his bed. She didn’t stray far from his side – except to guard the water bowl from Max – all day. They are so bonded! I’ve never had two dogs at the same time who are as close as these two and it was sweet that she stayed right by his side.

Today, he’s much happier and seems to be feeling better. The blue tape is off his leg and we all slept through the night last night in our own beds. I was reminded of the nights when my children were little and they didn’t feel well and how helpless I felt as a parent. All I could do is take them to the doctor and hold them and love them until they started to feel better. This experience with my dog was very similar.

I’m glad we seem to be over the hump … and I’ve gone knitting!

 

Personality Plus

So, I designed this pattern for a competition – I won “skein-ettes” and had to make them into something. What better than a sweater for my “little girl” (aka Lola).

Animal lovers know how each little critter has a personality all their own. My brother has two big dogs. One is afraid of her shadow and hides behind the kitchen table. The other is just “one of the boys”, my fourth nephew, and always wants to play – drops slimy soliva-covered popped ball pieces (chewed frisbees, bits of sticks or firewood, plastic water bottles, shoes he grabbed indoors, etc.) at your feet morning, noon and night. He never gives up.

Ever watchful Lola. Ever sleepy Boogie!

My little dogs each have their own personality: Boogie is a “stoner” … he’s very trainable and has “sit”, “down”, and “give me five” but he is not a self-starter. Lola is the “alpha” dog in the pair;  she’s independent, and as nosy and bossy as dogs get. She’s a whopping 9 pounds dripping wet … go figure. In order to get Boogie to go outside, we call, “LolaBoq Come” … most of the time we get both dogs. 🙂

Anyway, I digress …

I have a first Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits order. The first sweater, “Turtle” is finished and ready to ship. BUT the yarn that I originally bought for the second sweater just wasn’t doing it for me. I ordered a second skein and cast on this morning. I love it – and I want to recommend it to you knitters out there in blog-land! It’s called Koigu KPPM. The one I bought this time is one of their solid colors but they have an endless line of wonderful colors sure to please every person’s taste. I’m buying mine at JimmyBeansWool.com because their service is very quick, their prices are reasonable and they’ve got a great selection. I think I could knit with only Koigu and be happy. I just ordered their last book … I’ll report on it as soon as it arrives.

So, off I go to knit AJ’s baby girl a pink Señorita Lolita sweater (Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits’ first design) … gone knitting!