A Case of the Guilts

“I’ve got a bad case of the 3:00 am guilts – you know, when you lie in bed awake and replay all those things you didn’t do right? Because, as we all know, nothing solves insomnia like a nice warm glass of regret, depression and self-loathing.” 

D.D. Barant, Dying Bites

Yesterday was a day full of reality checks.

My first check point was at the vet’s office. Oh, this has not been a good place for me this year. Yesterday it was time for Bud to have his annual rabies vaccine plus I wanted him to have a basic check up. In a few months he will be fourteen years old. Holy Cow, in small dog years he’s eighty some years old.

With that thought firmly ingrained in my mind, I thought I was prepared to hear anything the vet told us. I was not really ready to hear he had a significant heart murmur. All my years in imaging and doing echocardiograms flew into action in an attempt to put up some huge wall in order to defend my dog and my own ultra sensitive dog loving heart. I had to let my past go in order to hear the cautions voiced by Dr. Lauren. As I listened, I filed all my worries away, a pseudo coping method I’d devised over the years so I could randomly pull each and every one out later. Until lately, I thought this was one of my best stress management skills. With all the negatives stashed away, I went on about my day.

The next check point was my dentist. I’d been dreading this trip for a very long time. As it turned out–surprise–my anxiety was wasted. Every part of my visit went well. The reality was paying out of pocket for dental care. Because dental care is so important to overall health maintenance, I don’t understand why there isn’t affordable care for all–a subject that warrants its own story time.

Early this morning all those concerns and worries I’d stashed away resurfaced and wanted my full attention. They had all jumped out of their little file folders and wanted immediate attention.

The neon sticker was flashing on the Bud folder.

My little 18 pound dog who’d been such an important part of my life for nearly fourteen years was aging faster than I’d appreciated. I’d taken his companionship for granted. The sand in the giant Wizard of Oz hourglass was running fast and running low.

My Bud teaches me every single day what matters most is simply showing up and being beside those you love. No matter where the day takes you, be there, in that moment, share your toys after an appropriate amount of time, be persistent in asking for what you want, especially those treats, and, most of all, at the end of the day,  cuddle up as close as you can.

Thanks, my Bud. I love you.

Yes, that awareness work I’ve been doing? I think God just did a test of my emergency alert system.

I believe He’s telling me I have some work to do.

“People say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone…truth is, you knew what you had, you just thought you’d never lose it.” 

Nitya Prakash

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laughter

“Laughter is wine for the soul – laughter soft, or loud and deep, tinged through with seriousness – the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.” 

Sean O’Casey

So far, 2019 has certainly given me some challenges.

Many of these trials, if not all, have been a result of aging. Don’t get me wrong, I understand my life is a gift. I know these “golden years” are not given to everyone. It’s the clustering of events that’s caught me off guard.

It’s the memory of the sorrow and tears that make the attached picture so very special. I wish it came with sound effects because the laughter and the sounds of puppy kisses are beyond special.

This little bundle of energy is Abby, a pure blessing. The influence she has on all of us has been magical. It is impossible to be crabby when you start each day with Abby kisses. There are some days when we are all a little bit crabby here. Her magical powers are so impressive I have given her a new nickname–Abby-ca-dabra.

The dark days before her arrival opened my heart for a whole new level of joy. I find I am focused on the positive moments which seem to grow as she grows. Not only has she opened my eyes to a whole new appreciation of time, she has helped me see our oldest dog, Bud, differently as well. Because I take the time to notice, I see how she persistently pesters him, trying to get him to play with her. For the most part, I see how Bud is slowly accepting her, tolerating her in the same way I saw with our first Lhasa, Pearl, put up with Bud when we first brought him home over thirteen years ago. As I am learning, ready or not, I’m being given a glimpse into the future–the circle of life continues.

For this and for the life I’ve been given, I am thankful.

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” 

Kahlil Gibran

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Worry

“All worries are less with wine.” 

Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words

Oh, the worries have begun and I have poured a glass of wine.

Tomorrow I take little Abby to be spayed. Simple procedure, I know. I know it’s done thousands of times a day. The reality is just thinking about driving to the vet these days gives me palpitations.

My experiences being the care recipient rather than the care giver has certainly opened my eyes.

I understand on a whole new level the concern many of the patients and their families had when they came to the hospital or clinic. It was so routine for me I rarely, if ever,  stopped to think about it. In spite of their fear they trusted me with their care or the care of their family member.

I did not fully appreciate that dynamic until very recently.

It is and continues to be a very humbling realization.

Dear God,

I come to you today to ask you to guide those taking care of Abby tomorrow. She is oour young pup full energy, adventure, and the zest for life. She has brought such joy to our home. I am so honored and grateful she is part of our lives.

God, I ask you to bless all caregivers. May they find strength in seeing the good they do and understand how important they are in lives of all who are under their care. 

For myself and the other care recipients, I ask you send our angels and guides in close. May they help us understand what it is we need to do in order to care for our loved ones, each other, and ourselves. I ask You, Lord, to be with us as we each face our challenges of the day.  Amen.

~Barbara Jo Burton Hibdon, June 25, 2019~

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace be with you, my friends.~

 

 

 

 

 

Naps

“Here’s to the moments when you realize the simple things are wonderful and enough.” 

Jill Badonsky, The Awe-manac: A Daily Dose of Wonder

One of the blessings of getting older is the ability to slow down and appreciate the small things.

Summer returned today which made working in the yard short lived.

As you can see, Abby had no problem showing me how to take a break this afternoon. Bud, Abby, and I headed inside to take a nap.

This little girl is sets a great example and is an excellent teacher.

Yes, my friends, I think she’s a keeper.

The Test

Oh, yes, I’ve reached those golden days

You so much about;

I don’t feel any older yet,

But will one day, no doubt.

The sky is still a lovely blue,

The rose is just as sweet.

Each day is like another chance

To make my life complete.

Sure, there’s hardship, sorrow and pain,

Who thougth there wouldn’t be? 

But now I know it’s just a test

To find the worth in me.

Betty Irean Loeb

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Ruby’s Lessons

“Over the years I’ve come to appreciate how animals enter our lives prepared to teach and far from being burdened by an inability to speak they have many different ways to communicate. It is up to us to listen more than hear, to look into more than past.” 

Nick Trout, Love Is the Best Medicine: What Two Dogs Taught One Veterinarian about Hope, Humility, and Everyday Miracles

I’ve learned over the past few months how much I didn’t know about dogs–it is yet another example of not knowing what I didn’t know.

I’ve also been blessed by meeting several people who’ve helped me through the illness of my Ruby. Their kindness, knowledge, guidance, and support as I waited for the genetic confirmation of her illness is something I will always remember.

As a tribute to my precious Tibetan Terrier, I want to spend time sharing Ruby’s story and the lessons she taught me. By doing this I hope I can help anyone who’s thinking about adding a dog to their household.

It didn’t take me long to figure out even after having dogs most of  my adult life, I’d shortened some preparatory steps or side stepped some entirely.

Ruby taught me that it is very important to do breed research.

We’d had Lhasa Apso dogs for many years and I anticipated Ruby to be just a big Lhasa. I quickly skimmed the breed description and saw that the Tibetan Terrier (TT) and the Lhasa do have similar characteristics. For me at that time, I felt that was all I needed to know. I was ready to forge ahead.

I did not investigate any health issues this breed may have or may be prone to develop. I did not know the hereditary diseases breeders are supposed to screen their dogs for before they breed them nor did not know the screening breeders are supposed to do on the puppies before selling them.

Ruby taught me to dig deep when doing breeder research.

Breeders have become very sophisticated in how they present themselves. I did not know breeders can make themselves look very reputable when they are not. The biggest mistake we made was becoming obsessed with finding a puppy. There were no puppies available in our area so we broadened our search area. Finding a puppy became the focus. We had no idea how critical a good breeder is to the whole process. We ignored many read flags because we wanted a puppy.

Ruby taught me to visit the kennel and see that environment before making any decision.

We found Ruby on the internet. The pictures of her and her litter mates showed beautiful, healthy looking puppies. The breeder’s website told us about her kennel and the history of her champion dogs.  She had published reviews praising her business, the beauty of her dogs, and how happy each owner was with their entire experience. We could not find a negative review.

Ruby taught me to listen to my gut.

For a very long time Ruby tried to tell me something was not right–my gut agreed but my heart told me to let it pass.

Ruby’s lessons:

  • Be patient. Learn before so you aren’t surprised later.
  • Don’t rush. Make that life long commitment slowly and seriously. I’ve had people tell me the dog will find you. In a very clumsy way, I do believe things happened exactly as they were supposed to–Ruby really did find us. I would not change having her in my life–my only wish would be for a much different outcome.
  • If you have not seen the puppy in person and seen where the puppy was raised, pass on the deal. I have heard breeders are showing their puppies in rented places so the buyer does not see their actual kennels. Be wary.
  • Go to The American Kennel Club, http://akc.org, for general breed information, general trading education, reputable breeders listed by state, and links to other websites for more specific information.
  • Go to The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, http://ofa.org, for breed specific health information. This foundation also has genetic registry that has history for each reported genetic disorder in individual dogs in an effort to stop breeders from using these affected dogs in their breeding stock.
  • Check out social media for owner’s groups. You will find out a lot of information shared by other dog owners. This type is unfiltered information is incredibly valuable. Thanks to this network of loving people, I have some great things to share in upcoming stories.
  • If your gut tells you something is wrong, believe it. The genetic disorder Ruby had, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis or NCL, is not very well known. I learned about it only after I reached out for help from other TT owners.

“We who choose to surround ourselves

with lives even more temporary than our

own, live within a fragile circle;

easily and often breached.

Unable to accept its awful gaps,

we would still live no other way.

We cherish memory as the only

certain immortality, never fully

understanding the necessary plan.” 

Irving Townsend

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

Patience

“Patience is the calm acceptance that things can happen in a different order than the one you have in mind.” 

David G. Allen

Life lessons come whether you’re ready or not–I’ve been reminded of that important fact this past month.

I’d become very comfortable with the status quo. I’d had this illusion of what my future held and I’d assumed things would follow that path.

I was pretty much 100% wrong.

I’ve been reminded life can change in a fraction of a second and in ways I’d never imagined. I’ve been reminded loss takes many forms, making it so important to love all those in your life without reserve. I’ve been reminded how one loss can change so many other things I’d never realized were intertwined. I’ve been reminded to pay attention to my word for the year–awareness–prompting me to stay mindful, slow down, and appreciate all aspects of my life. I’ve been reminded to stay in the present because those planned tomorrows are never promised. I’ve been reminded of the importance of my tight little cluster of friends as I’ve experienced the amazing kindness of strangers. Once again, I’ve been reminded of the depth and darkness of grief along with the renewed knowledge my faith is resilient and strong.

Most of all, I’ve been reminded to trust in myself, in my family and friends, and most of all–in God.

“No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish – consciously or unconsciously – that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.” 

Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

“People leave imprints on our lives, shaping who we become in much the same way that a symbol is pressed into the page of a book to tell you who it comes from. Dogs, however, leave paw prints on our lives and our souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way.” 

Ashly LorenzanaIMG_1457

 

Choices

“Whether you choose to move on from your struggles and enjoy life or waddle in your misery, life will continue.” 

Germany Kent

This past Saturday we buckled Bud into his Fido Rido and headed off to Sequin, Texas. As we drove through the magnificent wildflowers we knew we were starting a brand new chapter in the book entitled, Life In Hibdonville.

Everyone has an opinion about just about everything. Getting a new dog after the death of another dog is certainly one. No matter who you ask, there’s always very focal “yay and nay” sayers. Now, I’m not sure how many of those opinion holders have had the experience of losing two dogs in one month. This level of loss has been hard on us all–including our oldest Lhasa, Bud. After all the anguish and tears, we felt it was time to bring in the highest level of healing-the healing energy only another dog spirit can bring.

By the grace of God, on Saturday, May 4th, we picked up our newest family member–Abby Rose.

As you can see demonstrated in the attached picture, she has already started weaving her magic.

“But that’s the wonderful thing about man; he never gets so discouraged or disgusted that he gives up doing it all over again, because he knows very well it is important and worth the doing.” 

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Resting

“He died that day because his body had served its purpose. His soul had done what it came to do, learned what it came to learn, and then was free to leave.” 

Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

It’s been especially quiet in Hibdonville today–the three of us are hanging close and resting.

Parts of yesterday are a blur but this orchid remains a powerful reminder of an important part of the day.

We’d been watching this flower start its blooming process for weeks. For days, this flower looked like it would explode. Early yesterday morning it did exactly that!

While I was marveling at the vibrant colors, my heart skipped a little beat. I knew at that moment Duffy, in typical Prince of Royal Court fashion, sent that burst of energy to us.

Duffy was telling Michael and I he was waiting for Ruby. It was time for us to get ready for a very different walk.

Duffy and Ruby had always waited for each other during our walks.  As we leashed everyone up, Duffy would be nipping at Ruby’s legs, trying to speed her up and Ruby would be waiting for Duffy at each and every corner because Duffy had only one walking speed–slow.

It was such warm and comforting memory on this dark and gloomy day. Sometimes God works in very subtle ways.

“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” 

Anne Lamott

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

Paw Prints

“People leave imprints on our lives, shaping who we become in much the same way that a symbol is pressed into the page of a book to tell you who it comes from. Dogs, however, leave paw prints on our lives and our souls, which are as unique as fingerprints in every way.” 

Ashly Lorenzana   

It’s been a long week filled with moments of sadness intermixed with hours of numbness.

I’ve definitely been taking my little world for granted. The unexpected loss of our Duffy caught me off guard.

The house remains unnaturally quiet. I had not recognized what an instigator Duffy was or how much his whole spirit filled up a room. The void he left is immeasurable.

I have been surrounded by those who love me. I’ve been showered with kind words and deeds. I am humbled and grateful.

I have been reminded how important it is to be kind. I see there is no right or wrong when it comes to being kind and expressing sympathy. I know the most important thing is to just show up–in whatever way you can find to do so.

Our little house on the hill has lost its Prince. Across the land, smiles and tails are at half mast.

We are a hardy lot.

The remaining little pack is tight and exceptionally tolerant of each other right now. I think we feel the need to stay close–so we are doing just that.

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” 

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

I am…

B…simply being.

~May God bless us all with peace.~

My Teacher

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” 

T.H. White, The Once and Future King

My mind has been filled with thoughts of my Duffy for the past few days. Most of them are happy thoughts. The ones that are unhappy revolve around feeling I did not spend enough time with him.

I always thought I had more time.

My precious Duff may be the one who finally helps me understand time is never promised. It’s up to us to grab onto every single minute and be in that moment. Let go of the yesterdays and give all the worries about tomorrow to the Universe. Be aware of the present and wallow in it.

He taught me so many other things.

He taught me it’s okay to ask for help when you’re scared. He was our early storm warning system. When a storm was on the way he wanted to be close to us. Once he had that connection, he relaxed and let the storm pass.

He showed me examples of trust every single day. He simply knew those who loved him would always catch him if he missed a jump, grab him before he slipped off the couch, or make decisions in his best interest.

Even when he was not feeling well–he could not have been feeling well for some time–he always made his s-ing type maneuvers and instigated all kinds of disruptions with the other dogs. There was not many quiet moments here with the Duff around. It is extremely quiet today.

He loved everyone he met but he lived to sit on Michael’s lap. Those lap visits were full of huge hugs while nudging Michael’s hand for more and more pets. There were never enough hands on this little man.

As each day goes by, I see more and more things he taught me.

As of now, some of the most valuable lessons are:

There is nothing more important than spending time with those you love. Nothing. Do whatever you have to do to get their attention–do figure eights and wind yourself around their legs if you have to in order to get their attention.

Be vocal and tell those you love you are excited to see them. I miss his little howls of joy whenever we all climbed out of bed in the morning or met each other at the door later in the day. He was happy to see us and he let us know it.

Remember the work–whatever that work may be–will be there tomorrow or the next day. Sit down, stretch out, and share your space with those you love. Regardless of whatever else may be going on in your space, ignore it so you can give extra big hugs to those all around.

If someone is unhappy with you, go to your favorite spot and stay there until they forget about it. When you come back in, come back as though nothing has happened. A little joyful howl upon entrance is a sure bet all will be forgiven.

Above all else, hold your head up high and know you are worthy of all good things. You are a prince/princess. Turn your back to the negatives and let them pass. God’s got this and He has it all in control.

I know I was fortunate to have had him in my life.

Monday he took a giant piece of my heart with him but left me with even more love and hundreds of memories. I know, as time goes on, I’ll be comforted by them. These little gifts, all gifts that reflect the cleverness of Duffy, will allow me to heel…pun intended.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~