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 10th Birthday Ducky! 🎂🎉❤️🐾

Oh my sweet baby girl, where have the years gone?! It seems like only yesterday when I first met you at the shelter!

Baby Ducky

And a couple of months later, you came home with me for good and changed all our lives forever.

You loved Callie and Shadow, and wanted to play constantly. You pestered the bejeepers out of them both; and were constantly getting into tussles with Shadow over one toy or another. Callie did her best to teach you good doggie manners, but for a while we wondered if you were paying attention.

My sweet girls

On Shadow’s birthday a month later, we started taking you to doggie daycare (thank you, Sabine, for the recommendation). Shadow said it was the best birthday present we could have given her. 😁 Callie was grateful for the break, too.

When Callie left us three years later, you were as heartbroken as Daddy, Shadow and I were but you got us through it. Especially Shadow. You became her friend and constant companion. You still tussled with her over toys at times; but you showed us that you had been paying attention to Callie all those times. You stayed by Shadow’s side when she was so sick at the end. You “protected” her in the yard, and gave her kisses on the head at times.

I love you, Shadow

After Shadow reunited with Callie, you helped Daddy and I heal. You needed a playmate, though, so we fostered Radar with all intention of adopting him. You two hit it off right from the start. Not just sister and brother, but best and most special friends.

Best Friends

When Radar left us to join Callie and Shadow, we were all devastated. You looked for your buddy constantly, and the sadness in your eyes when you couldn’t find him tore my heart apart. Yet, as you had when your sisters went ahead, you pulled Daddy and me through it.

When we brought Bogie home last year, you weren’t sure what to make of him. We had promised you another brother to play with, but I’m not sure you were quite ready for an 8-week-old puppy. You soon found out what “karma” is, even though you don’t understand me when I tell you.

That’s MY toy, Bogie.

You’ve come full circle, little girl. You started out your life with us as the little sister who was a constant pest. And, until a few weeks ago, you were the older sister who tolerated a much younger sibling’s constant pestering.

Once again you’re an only dog, trying to help Daddy and Mama to heal from yet another devastating loss. And missing your favorite pest. It has taken you all this time to realize Bogie’s not coming home in his earthly form. You still look for him at times. Or maybe you sense his spirit is here with us, wanting to play with and love on us and to be loved on.

We love you Ducky. We love you to the moon and back. We love you more than any words could ever express. You’re our sweet baby girl, our princess, our earth angel with paws instead of wings. You’re our precious, loving, sweet senior puppy.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LITTLE GIRL!!!!

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 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.

Radar’s New Purpose

Each dog has a purpose. Isn’t that what the book and movie said? Radar’s purpose with us was to help us all heal from the loss of his sisters and to fill empty spaces in our lives….

Hubby keeps asking “when are we getting another Golden?” I keep saying “when the right one comes along.” Right now my heart still hurts from the sudden loss of this sweet boy….

Ducky needs a new playmate, another brother, companion, friend. And I’m seriously open to getting her one. In fact, I promised her that we would get her another one. WHEN Callie, Shadow, and Radar find us the right one. I’m sure they will at some point. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

I miss all my furry angels. They were each special to me for different reasons. But this boy?

I have to admit that there was something extra special about him. Maybe because he was the latest one. Maybe because Ducky accepted him so easily. Maybe because despite whatever he went through in his “previous life”, he was still trusting of humans, loving, and easy-going. Maybe all those things plus some I haven’t thought of yet. Whatever the reason – or reasons – he was the perfect fit for all three of us and we miss him every minute of every day.

We’ve gotten back into our old routine of not having a set routine, and gotten comfortable with it; but I would gladly give up the old routine if it meant having Radar here with us, happy and on his way to being healthy. But that’s not going to happen.

We will always miss Radar, just as we will always miss Kissy, Callie, and Shadow. There’s an emptiness in our little corner of the world that he was filling while he was with us.

Now it’s up to Radar to help his sisters find us another boy to welcome into our home and hearts. His new purpose is to send us a new boy to pick up where he left off. Not to replace him (because no other dog ever could), but to carry on his mission.

Christmas Cactus for Radar

I can’t believe it’s nearly a week since Radar joined Callie and Shadow in Heaven.

Anyway, last Sunday after church hubby and I made a quick stop at our local grocery store. As we walked towards the bakery, we stopped at a tabletop display of Christmas Cactus plants. There were red ones and these white and pink ones. Hubby and I both needed cheering up, so we bought this one in memory of our boy.

More of the flowers have bloomed since Sunday. I like to think it’s because Radar likes our choice and is giving us a sign that he’s okay. I can just imagine him wagging his tail as Callie and Shadow greeted him at the Rainbow Bridge. That tail of his was almost always wagging! He was such a happy boy!

We are going to do our best to make this Christmas a merry one. Callie, Shadow, and Radar would want it that way. The last few years we’ve had a rather quiet Christmas without Callie. And until Radar came along in October, I didn’t feel much like celebrating without our sweet Shadow as well. But Radar brought so much joy back into all our lives that we have to find a way to keep that feeling alive. Radar and his sisters would want us to be at least cheerful.

Radar is back home now. I’m not one for setting up shrines, but his ashes are in this beautiful wooden box. And we also have this clay paw print.

Our boy – Ducky’s most special friend – is back home and I know his sweet, happy spirit is nearby. And I know Radar will help Callie and Shadow find us a new friend/brother for Ducky. The three of them know what we need and I trust their judgement. When all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is over, we’ll have our 3 Golden Angels actively start the search for our next Golden Earth Angel.

So, as Radar’s Christmas Cactus blooms, we will take it as a sign that he is, indeed, here with us. And we will celebrate the joy of his life with us along with the true meaning of Christmas.

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 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.

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.

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.