An Awesome Day

Happens when you leave your comfort zone way behind you and aren’t disappointed.

Today has been one of those days. I wish I had photos to share but I don’t. Please just enjoy the one at the end of the post.

I had to take Ducky to the vet for a weight check. I figured she would at least bark at Rachel or Morgan, but no. Once we got inside, she was quiet as a church mouse. And no resistance to being on the scale.

Then, I needed to go to our local pet supplies store to pick up some more “backup food” (for when I get low on homemade and don’t have time to make more).

Ducky has never been inside that store because I was always afraid she would try to bite another human who got too close to me. So, naturally, I was prepared to have hubby take her back outside if she got too anxious.

Ducky, Hubby, and I walked into the store behind another shopper and it was like we were the only three beings in the store. Not a sound, not an anxious look, not any reaction at all from Ducky. We walked to the back of the store where they keep (some of) the food I needed and back to the front where the rest of it is kept. All Ducky was interested in was all the new smells. 🐾🐾

So, hubby brought our items up to the cashier’s desk while I walked Ducky around the store. Her only reaction was a little growling at another dog on the other side of the glass door to the grooming room. And she stopped as soon as I asked her to and went back to sniffing. She even sniffed the cashier’s hand when the girl rolled out from behind the counter in a wheelchair!! 🥰

My little girl made me – and her Daddy – so proud today! I know her Golden Angel sisters are proud of her, too! 😇😇

Now Ducky and I are enjoying sunshine and fresh air in the backyard as we chill out. Ducky’s on squirrel patrol, and I’m about to start my walk around the yard. (Beats the boring old treadmill any time!)

A Bittersweet Anniversary

Today is the 15th Anniversary of Callie coming to live with us.

While it is bittersweet that she’s no longer here (in her earthly form) to help us celebrate, it’s also special. You see, not only is it the anniversary of her joining our little family; but it’s also the very same day of the week, Friday, on which we brought her home.

So, I thought I would share some of her “baby” pictures with you.

Here she is at two weeks, when we first met our baby.

And at seven weeks, when we brought her home from the breeder’s house..

Callie's 1st Day HomeCallie's 1st Day Home - 3Callie's 1st Day Home - 2

Our poor baby had an ingrown eyelash in her lower left eyelid – that’s why it looks so painful in these pictures.  Our wonderful vet did a little “nip and tuck” procedure the following Monday, which healed beautifully, and our sweet Callie never had another issue with that eye.

Falling Down on the Job

Ducky must be sick. Or hurting. Or something.

If you look closely, you’ll see a squirrel on the ground to the right of the bird feeder. He’s eating the sunflower seeds that he – or one of his buddies – scooped out of the feeder.

The whole time he was there, Ducky was laying in the grass, not far from the carport where I’ve been sitting and drinking my coffee. Laying there, just watching and at times even completely ignoring the li’l critter.

In the video you can barely see the critter to the left of the feeder, picking at more sunflower seeds.

My friend Jan at Wag n Woof Pets said “we all have off days…” Maybe she’s right, but for Ducky, this is one for the record books!! 🤣

Maybe I should schedule full-body x-rays for Ducky at the vet’s and even a brain scan?!

A Letter to My Golden Girls

Dear Callie and Shadow,

You girls have been together in Heaven now for three months. I miss you more every day. And I will always love you with my whole heart.

Callie, from the moment you were born you started filling a need in me.

When Kissy passed away, there was a hole in my life that nothing could fill. She was my first “fur-baby” and my soul mate in so many ways. I knew no other dog could replace her – and I wasn’t interested in trying to – but I missed the pitter-patter of doggie paws and the companionship of a soul who loved me unconditionally.

When Debbie told me you had been born, I knew my heart would start to heal. Little did I know that you would end up teaching me far more than I could ever teach you. You were such a sweet puppy; and you had an independent streak. Kissy had been wholly dependent on me, so I had to learn to accept that streak. You helped me accept it, and I quickly learned to love you for it. When Shadow joined our little family, you immediately took on the role of surrogate mama. You helped me raise her; and quite honestly you did a better job than me.

Shadow, you were such a sweet little puppy, too; but you didn’t have that independent streak like Callie. You were more “needy” like Kissy. You were my “Velcro Dog”. But you were a bit mischievous too. I still remember the day you grabbed your Grandpa’s hearing aid out of his lap and swallowed it whole. Dr. Steve was already gone for the day so I had to make a few phone calls before I knew what to do. You poor pup, you were so miserable the rest of that day; but at least you regurgitated the hearing aid the same way you swallowed it – in one piece.

And you were constantly trying to get out of the kitchen at night before you were house trained. Callie spent many a night sleeping on the carpet in the hallway, on the opposite side of the baby gate, so you wouldn’t feel so alone.

You girls were inseparable, almost literally. Especially at Dr. Steve’s office. Callie was always the brave, happy girl and Shadow the not-so-brave, reserved one. But as long as Callie was there with you, Shadow, you were a bit braver. When Callie had to have her knee-repair surgeries, you always seemed so “lost” without her. You clung to me most of the day while she was at the hospital. And when she came home and had to rest, you glued yourself to her side. You took care of her just as she always took care of you.

When Ducky Doodle Demon Dog joined the family, you girls had to put up with so much from her. Callie, you were the most patient one of us all. Bless you for that! All those times you played peacemaker between Shadow and Ducky? You were my hero. And the times you wouldn’t let Ducky exclude Shadow from your games? You never ceased to amaze me with your patience. And, Shadow, you sweet girl. You tried so hard to emulate Callie; but Ducky continually pushed your buttons.

Sabine earned my eternal gratitude when she convinced me to set up an intro date for Ducky at daycare. A Dog’s Day Out turned out to be the best option for all of us. And her first day was your eighth birthday, Shadow. And Callie’s half-birthday. It was probably the best gift I could have given you girls, along with the walk at the park later that morning.

Callie, when you went to Heaven we were all devastated, but poor Shadow most of all. I know you spent those last months of your life trying to prepare us – especially Shadow – for our impending loss. You did your best to teach Shadow how to deal with Ducky. And you did your best to teach Ducky how to be a good little sister. And you taught me how to manage the two of them. I hope I made you proud as you watched from Heaven. Shadow, you and I helped each other and Daddy through our grief. And we helped Ducky. I think Ducky helped us all more than we gave her credit for back then.

Shadow, when you were declining and I was in denial at times, I know you tried to tell me your time was near. And you tried to tell me you’d be okay once you reunited with Callie. Ducky was so good with you those last few weeks. She stuck by your side – just as Callie had always done – and made me so proud. I could almost see Callie smiling down on her. When it was time to say goodbye for now, sweet Ducky gave you kisses just as she had Callie that morning she left us. For weeks, Ducky looked for you almost everywhere. As time goes by, she accepts more and more that you’re not coming home. But, like me, she senses your – and Callie’s – spiritual presence, usually even before I do. Being Ducky, though, she is enjoying getting all the attention. She misses you girls in ways Daddy and I can’t because we’re a different specie; but she has been our rock. She is our little breathing entertainment center. She makes us scream with exasperation at times, but she also makes us laugh. I know you girls made it possible for our hearts to expand to include Ducky, and I thank you both for that blessing.

Always Remembered…

Forever Loved.

The Change, Part 4

Well, the last change I wrote about here didn’t last very long. About the third or fourth day in, Ducky upchucked her whole dinner. And I didn’t like the way the stuff looked when I rehydrated it going by the directions, so I gave up. Luckily I bought the box from Chewy so I had no trouble getting a full refund on the product. I just brought it to the vet and put it in his bucket for our county animal shelter (the one from which we adopted Ducky 6-1/2 years ago).

So, what to do? I swore on a whole stack of bibles (well, not literally speaking) that I would NEVER go back to the Hills’ Prescription Diet food. (That was even before the initial recall for the Vitamin D excesses. And they’ve expanded the recall twice already!) And I had promised hubby that I wouldn’t buy any more of the The Farmer’s Dog food than I already had (there was still one more order due to arrive a few days after I made the promise). So, I had to come up with another plan. I thought of trying other commercial, dehydrated brands but never could find one that appealed to me, especially after the fiasco with the Only Natural Pet stuff mentioned in Part 3 of our “saga”.  So, I decided I’d buy some doggy vitamins from Pet Naturals of Vermont (via Chewy of course) and make the food myself. And I just don’t have the stomach for a raw diet – either homemade or commercially dehydrated.

And then the unthinkable happened. Shadow started her decline. She went from loving every meal from The Farmer’s Dog and actually taking her medications that were hidden in the food to not wanting any food, not even treats. So, I fed Ducky her meals and pleaded with Shadow to at least eat something. When Shadow left us to reunite with Callie, I still had about 12 of the 14 packs of food I’d gotten in my last order. So, I used them – reproportioning them for Ducky’s needs – and then used Ducky’s remaining packs.

As of last Monday, I’m feeding Ducky an all-homecooked diet of ground turkey, carrots, spinach, and chickpeas. And I’ve been researching the grain-free vs. not-grain-free issue that the USDA warned about a few months ago. (Many thanks to Jen at My Brown Newfies for her article about that! It was the best one I’ve read; and totally un-biased!). I also bought a few books about homecooked dog food. I’ll tell you about those another time, but two of them were suggested by Maggie at the Oh My Dog! Blog. So far, Ducky’s enjoying her home-cooked meals. And I’m enjoying making them for her.  I’ll keep you posted.

I Can’t Believe It’s Been A Month….

Since Hubby, Ducky and I told Shadow how much we love her – will always love her – and then let her go be with her soul-sister Callie. This is my favorite photo of my Golden Girls from several years ago….Jason's Pix 016

We miss our sweet girl so much. Ducky misses having company when we have to leave the house. She misses having a buddy to share the perimeter patrol duties with, and to bark at the neighbors’ dogs with, and to fuss at over time on the dog beds. About the only thing Ducky doesn’t miss about Shadow is the competition for our attention.

Hubby’s not a big believer in spiritual visits. It’s a shame for him. Being open to them myself, I feel better knowing my Golden Angels are always with me. And always watching over Ducky as well. It’s just so hard not having them here physically to love on and watch play with each other and cuddle together and discipline Ducky.

Anyway, it’s at least a little easier to look at photos of my girls without dissolving into a puddle of tears. So, here are some pix of Callie and Shadow together when they were still pups….

My Golden Girls were rarely apart in life; and when they were apart, they spent the time looking for each other. Now they’re together again, the way they were always meant to be.

Sunny Days At Last

Ducky’s a #freshairaddict – as were her #GoldenAngel sisters, Callie and Shadow – which is fine with me. I’d rather be outside on a sunny day, too!

Here’s Ducky running and conversing with our neighbor’s new shelter pup, Kara….

And here she is just chilling out in the sunshine…

One day – when I can write a longer post about her #GoldenAngel sisters without dissolving into a puddle of tears – I’ll share some pix of Callie and Shadow in their pre-Ducky years. For now, though, here’s one of them enjoying the sunshine together at the park…

Thankful Thursday

Hubby, Ducky, and I have so much to be thankful for that I’m glad Brian of Brian’s home has set up (and maintains) the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.

We are thankful to all our friends and family for all the love and moral support you gave us these last several weeks while we dealt with Shadow’s heartbreaking decline and the decision to let her join her sister, Callie, in Heaven.

We are thankful for our wonderful vets, Dr. Steve Coluqhoun and Dr. Tyler Simpson and the wonderful staff at Sunrise Animal Hospital who gave our sweet Shadow the best care anywhere. In fact, Dr. Steve has been caring for all our furry and feathered family members for a long time.

We are thankful for the love and devotion of all our dogs – Kissy, Callie, Shadow, and Ducky – over the years we’ve been together. And right now especially for Ducky who has been helping us deal with the loss of her beloved sister. She misses Shadow, too, and still looks for her. I try to limit her time alone in the house to an hour these days. Just like I did with Shadow when Callie first got her angel wings.

So, that’s a part of what we’re thankful for. Click on the links below and see what other bloggers are thankful for this week.

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Shadow’s Golden Years

These last several weeks I’ve been watching Shadow closely. At times she seemed in great shape – playing with Ducky, chasing her favorite ball, almost running up the three steps to the main part of the house – and other times she stumbles or misjudges her footing on the steps. Those tough times have really been breaking my heart these last few weeks.

Ten days ago she stopped eating her food. And this is food she has loved from day one. She was taking her pills – wrapped in pieces of pill pocket – and treats. She especially loves the treats I bought from Jan at Wag-n-Woof Pets. And on Wednesday of the week before last, when she was so hesitant to go down the steps to the back door, I immediately called the vet and made an appointment. Meanwhile, with hubby’s help, I got her outside and walking around. She did well.

On Friday morning, we went to see the vet. After a hands-on body exam, the vet said that my poor girl had somehow pulled the groin muscle in her right rear leg. And sure enough even I could feel how tight it was. It will take 10-14 days to heal. And her appetite should follow suit. We decided to treat her with muscle relaxants. On Day Five I was only starting to see slight improvement. She slept most of the day. And she balked at going down the steps to the back door.

Saturday last week was hubby’s birthday and we had the pet sitter take care of the dogs so we could go up to Charlotte (NC) to spend the day with his son and his family. I felt a little guilty leaving Shadow; but I knew Susan loves my girls and would take good care of both of them, so I didn’t worry too much. On Sunday afternoon, I pulled out the Carelift lifting harness I had bought for Shadow a couple of years ago. (I got the idea from our friends, Joy and her Emma at My GBGV Life when their Katie was a senior and needed assistance on her walks.)

This past Wednesday was Shadow’s biannual senior exam. The muscle relaxant was already doing its job on the groin muscle; but it was also suppressing Shadow’s appetite and making her seem almost lethargic at times. Getting her up on her feet and outside for bathroom breaks – even with hubby’s help – was difficult at best. Anyway, her labs came back pretty close to normal. Once she’s been off the muscle relaxant and the week’s worth of NSAIDs to help strengthen her joints for two weeks, we’ll do the labs again to make sure everything is back on track.

It’s now Day Nine of the muscle relaxants and Day Three of the Meloxicam for her joints, and I’m finally seeing promising improvements in Shadow’s overall mobility. Her appetite is still mostly suppressed, but after a few days of not even wanting treats, she’s back to taking them from me again. It’s not great, but it’s a start that makes this dog mom feel better.

Knowing my sweet girl’s age is catching up with her breaks my heart. She’s had some tough times in the three and a half years since her older sister – and best friend – got her angel wings; but Callie has stayed with her in spirit and helped me get her through it all. This past week in particular I was beginning to wonder if Callie was trying to tell me Shadow’s time to join her was coming soon. I know it will eventually; but I don’t think Shadow’s ready quite yet. Her eyes are still bright, and she’s back to fighting for her independence. I know she misses Callie, but Ducky’s been keeping her company and mostly been a sweet little sister. Especially this past week.

The Change, Part 3

Well, here we are again at the start of a new food transition process. Parts 1 and 2 are here and here.

When I first decided to switch Shadow and Ducky to The Farmer’s Dog, I knew it was expensive. More than we could really afford for both dogs. I just had to hope it would make a big-enough difference for them to justify the expense. And, in some important ways it did make a difference, especially for Shadow.

With the recent recalls by HillsPet of the dogs’ former food – for potential excessive Vitamin D levels – I am extremely happy I made the change to The Farmer’s Dog when I did. But now it’s time for another change to a more affordable option. And, actually, I have two options but for now I’m trying one at a time.

First, let me tell you that I am not transitioning the girls from The Farmer’s Dog for any reason other than cost. They both love the food, it’s easy to prepare and feed, it smells a helluva lot better than the Hills crap, and it doesn’t turn Shadow into a fart machine. In fact, since fully transitioning both girls in early December, Shadow’s digestive system has been able to handle emotional stress much better and she is not nearly as lactose intolerant as she had been on the Hills crap. The only thing I was getting concerned about was the fact that both girls seemed to always be hungry, even though I finally got their daily calorie amounts to an appropriate level for them. And Shadow even seemed to be losing weight. She looks now like she may have put some weight back on though so maybe she’s back on track.

Anyway, over the past few weeks I’ve been looking for more viable, affordable options. I want to stay with 100% human-grade food, but I wasn’t having much luck. Then, on Thursday night while I was surfing Chewy’s website, I found it.

The order arrived on Saturday afternoon, so I started the transition process on Sunday morning. For these first few days I’m going to just use it as a “food topper”, but I’ll mix it in and use some warm water to hydrate the veggies and fruit a teensy bit (and soften the carrots and other veggies in the TFD food). I noticed almost immediately that even though Ducky tends to “inhale” her food, she hasn’t had any of it get stuck on its way down her esophagus (like the kibble used to do, causing much anxiety and obsessive behavior). That’s a BIG plus in my eyes!

If this transition goes well – and I fully expect it to – I might switch to buying it direct from Only Natural Pet; but I don’t have to decide that right now. For now I’m focused on getting my girls on a healthy yet affordable food plan. Keep your fingers crossed. 🤞