Seven Years and Counting

Oh, Ducky! Seven years ago today I found your name (and photo) on the shelter’s super urgent list in the morning, and by 1 PM you were officially a member of our little family.

Seven years ago today, my life – and your Daddy’s, Callie’s, and Shadow’s lives – changed forever. I had no way of knowing then what it would be like raising a shelter pup. I started thinking you’d be better off with a different family; but then you spent a day at doggie daycare and your demeanor improved so much that I couldn’t give up on you.

Callie helped me so much with you. So did Maria and the other girls at A Dog’s Day Out. Daycare was great for you. It taught you how to get along with other dogs, helped you spend all that turbo-charged energy, and gave you some socialization time, too. And it gave Callie and Shadow a needed break from your rowdy puppy playfulness. As well as the quiet time together and with me that they cherished, that I cherished.

You were a little stinker. Always wanting to leave Shadow out of your fun with Callie. But Callie didn’t let you.

And that awful morning when we had to say goodbye to Callie. You gave her puppy kisses that said “I love you, sis.” And your attitude toward Shadow started to improve. Callie had taught you well.

You had your spats with Shadow over the next 3-1/2 years, but you always made up with her. And when I was at Uncle Doug’s house last year, you were a good girl for Daddy. Then, when Shadow got sick in February, you watched over her for me, along with Callie. You were always right there, keeping her company whenever we had to go out. And you looked for her that weekend when she was at the hospital. And that horrible Monday when we said goodbye to Shadow, you “protected” her in the exam room. And you kissed her, as you had Callie.

You’ve been my and Daddy’s rock since Shadow reunited with Callie. I don’t know what we would have done without you, especially those first few weeks. I know you’re fine on your own in the house when Daddy and I have to leave you for a time; but I miss you from the minute we leave to the minute we get home. If I could, I would take you every place I go, just so you wouldn’t have to be alone in the house. But, then you’re not really alone during those times. Callie and Shadow are here with you, in spirit, watching over you for me.

Ducky, you are definitely one of a kind! You exasperate me, you push my patience to its limits, and you make me question my sanity at times. BUT you are sweet, loving, fun, silly, challenging, and precious all wrapped up in one 30-pound package. And every day I thank God I adopted you from the shelter that warm September afternoon seven years ago!

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!! πŸ₯°

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

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 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.

Dementia Caregiving Ain’t For Wimps!

As most of our readers know, Ducky’s HuDad was diagnosed with dementia last year; and we’ve been through some weeks of dementia-related episodes.

This past week has seen more episodes. Without going into details, I can tell you they were not directed at me like the past ones. BUT random short ones have been directed at poor Ducky all week. Thankfully he hasn’t tried to hurt her, but he has yelled at her. And we all know that “barking” back at a dog – especially an already anxious one – just makes matters worse. The problem is that hubby has absolutely no reasoning ability when the dementia takes hold. πŸ’”

I’ve been able to keep myself on an even keel by constantly reminding myself that it’s the dementia, not hubby.

But how does one explain to a dog why “Daddy” sometimes acts like an ogre? It’s not possible. πŸ’” So I do my best to stay calm and help her calm down. She’s resting at the moment; but every time hubby says anything or gets up to do something, she gets anxious again.

If you’ve noticed I haven’t been around much lately, this is why.

Right now Ducky wants to be back outside and away from her Daddy’s negative energy.

It’s hot out here, but I’ve got her favorite toy, water bowl, and my water. If being outside helps my baby girl feel better, it’s worth putting up with the heat for a while.

Living in the Moment

If you are one of our “regular” readers, you know that my hubby is a dementia patient (in the early-middle stages). If not, you can read about it here, if you want to.

The past week (since a week-ago yesterday) has literally been hell on earth here at our house – and in the truck or car. For the last eight days, I’ve felt like I’m walking on egg shells. And the poor dogs have been stressed-out way more than I can deal with emotionally. Yesterday, I asked our vet – via text – if Xanax was safe enough for Shadow. That’s how bad it was on Friday night. He responded affirmatively and with the suggested dosage. Bless that man!!!

So far – since late yesterday afternoon – things have been fairly calm and peaceful. I’m praying they stay that way. And I’m trying hard to live in the moment. Last night – just before bedtime – I gave both girls a dose of the Xanax in case things went downhill again. They slept through the night. And, so did I once I turned the tv off.

Living with a dementia patient is NOT for wimps, I can tell you for sure! Especially if you also live with animals who are as sensitive and tuned into your own moods as mine are. And they react to it in different ways. (Shadow runs away to hide; Ducky barks almost incessantly.)

The dogs and I are in the back yard, getting away from the tv news and getting some fresh air. I’m praying that when we go back inside, peace and calm will still prevail. And I will try to keep living in the moment.

Have a great week! And please send us energy and light for a peaceful week; or say a prayer, light a candle, whatever. Thank you for being there for us as we travel this road. Peace and Love!! πŸ’“

Now THAT’S Focus!

I marvel constantly at Ducky’s focus. Whether she’s sitting in the grass or standing on the cement driveway, when something captures her attention it’s amazing how focused she becomes.

Watch her in this video…​

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I know, it’s long at nearly a minute and a half. But in the time it took to upload, I continued watching my little part demon, part angel dog remain focused on whatever it was she was watching. I was mesmerized by her focus quite frankly.

It’s not just outside, either. Look at this focus she has on her Daddy while he eats his dinner…

I need to work more on harnessing Ducky’s incredible focus abilities. Can you imagine the progress we could make on her not becoming Cujo-like with house guests and strangers?!  WOW

Okay, so now it’s time for breakfast. Shadow should be past the Denamarin-induced full tummy feeling by now. 

Have a great day my friends!!

You’ve Come A Long Way, Ducky

Today – Sunday, September 17, 2017 – is Ducky’s 5th Gotcha Day.  These five years have flown by at the speed of light, in spite of some days that seemed never ending.

When I look back on your first weekend with us – those two days you spent tormenting and pestering Callie and Shadow – I can’t help but laugh. You were such a little demon, but cute as a button.

And that fateful Monday morning when your picture showed up in my email from the shelter. You were on their list of “most urgently in need of rescue or adoption”. In those first several weeks that you were part of the family, I questioned my own sanity constantly. Even Dr. Steve marvels at my steadfast dedication to our “wild child”. πŸ˜‰

Callie did her best to help me raise you. And, frankly, she did a much better job of it than I did. She taught you how to be a family dog. She tried to teach you to play nicely with Shadow. And Lordy, how she tried to teach you some manners. When all else failed, she disciplined you as only another dog could.


Your relationship with Shadow has improved substantially since Callie got her angel wings. Even though you had some months mixed in when you were a true brat toward Shadow, you have really come a long way in improving your attitude toward your sister.


We still need more work on your acceptance of other humans in my presence, but we’ll get there. 

All in all, you’ve grown into a truly good dog. You have your bad days – like Daddy and me – but we’re not looking for perfection. You have given us unconditional love, have entertained us and made us laugh ourselves silly, and have perplexed us with your attitude at times. Yet all you ask for in return is a place in our hearts and a safe, warm place to call home. And you know you have both.

We – Daddy, Mommy, Shadow, and Angel Callie – all love you Ducky Doodle! ❀️❀️❀️❀️ 

And, last but certainly not least, another sweet rescue girl celebrated her first Gotcha Day yesterday (September 16th). Miss Elsa aka “The Little Ninja” over at Tails Around the Ranch. Happy Gotcha Day Weekend Miss Elsa! You’ve come a LONG way, too, Sweetie! ❀️

Still Missing Callie

Our sweet Callie took her final journey two years ago this morning. Some days it feels like yesterday.

I miss waking up to this sweet face

And witnessing the loving bond she shared with Shadow…

And the insanity that erupted in the house when Ducky invited her to play

After I read the first draft of this post, I went back and read the posts I wrote last year around the time of Callie’s first “anniversary” in Heaven. Everything I wrote in those earlier posts holds true now. I miss my sweet girl more every day. 

But Shadow and Ducky fill my hours with unconditional love and moments of hilarious entertainment that take the edge off my heartache. For that I am eternally grateful. And knowing that their older sister’s spirit is always with us, watching over us, gives me great comfort.

Time Flies…

…when you’re having fun!

Friday is the last day of my externship for my Veterinary Assistant course. And I’m torn between remaining as a volunteer and getting back to my former life as a retired person. 

I have truly enjoyed the hands-on experience I’ve had throughout my time behind the scenes at our vet’s hospital. I know there are many things I need more practice with to become an even better vet assistant. But I also know it takes time to hone one’s skills. All the “girls” and both Dr. Steve and Dr. Simpson have been super-patient with my more-than-occasional lapses in concentration. And I appreciate it more than they could possibly know.  

From the start, my heart has cried for the pet parents whose furry “kids” have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses or been aided in their journeys to the Rainbow Bridge. And rejoiced with the pet parents who received good news.

Something I was afraid would “turn my stomach” – watching surgery on an animal – actually ended up fascinating me. I wouldn’t want to HAVE TO be the vet/surgeon performing the surgery. And I don’t know that I could handle watching surgery on my own dogs; but the surgery itself and the vet’s skill and devotion to his patients just blew me away.  So did the skill of the techs assisting with the surgeries. These gals are fantastic! 

While I am definitely looking forward to getting my former life back – to some degree at least – my life has been irrevocably changed by this experience. 

I am truly grateful to Dr. Steve for having agreed to let me do my externship under his tutelage. And I am grateful to Dr. Steve, Dr. Simpson, and the entire staff at Sunrise Animal Hospital for their mentoring, assistance, guidance, and unending patience as I watched, participated, fumbled, and learned my way through my externship.

Oh, Ducky! Part 4 – The Progress Continues

And the progress continues…..

Since I “published” Part 3 (found here), Ducky has come a LONG way.

And hubby has been less grumpy with her (and even with me).

And my patience level – at least with Ducky and her daddy – has stabilized somewhat. In other areas not so much but I’m working on it.

But back to Ducky….


Since I started using the H-style harness, my little “demonbrat” has become easier to settle down. And my – and hubby’s – tone of voice has grown less harsh. And the tension has eased somewhat.

After re-reading the last paragraph of Part 3 -and really observing Ducky’s behavior patterns – I decided that the Trazodone wasn’t helping Ducky at all. So off to the vet we went. Again.

The vet suggested – and I agreed – to try Xanax instead of the Trazodone. The Xanax – I’m happy to report – started helping right away. Between it and the single daily dose of Fluoxetine, Ducky has been calming down much more easily. She hasn’t been as snarky with Shadow, which is good, but still needs improvement. These things take time, perseverance, and loads of patience. 

Plus, the UTI had come back – or never really went away – so, since we were already at the vet’s anyway, I brought up that fact. He said that the UTI is probably as much to blame for her tail tucks as our impatience. She was just plain hurting back there. And she’s much more forgiving of our failings than we are ourselves. He changed her antibiotic, and for the most part it helped. The wet leaves, dirt, and grass from all the rain we were having seemed to aggravate it a bit though. So I took to cleaning her after potty breaks, and that seems to have helped. We’ve had some pretty days again lately so the grass and leaves have dried out. That has helped, too.

As for the online course I was doing?  I had to put it aside for a little while. I haven’t stopped doing it altogether. I just had to slow down with it. After decades of “multitasking” at work, it’s hard to reset and focus on just one thing at a time. I have to make myself slow down and relax sometimes.  I can’t expect Ducky to relax if I’m hyped-up.