Goodbye

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” 

A.A. Milne, The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh

We said goodbye to our Ruby this morning.

This past month has played out in super slow motion. And, like the saying goes, when it rains, it pours.

From the moment we saw this little girl, we knew something was not quite right. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to determine she had not had the best care. She was always fearful and easily panicked, seemed to stumble often, and was known to test even my patience when she would get lost looking over every single blade of grass for the perfect spot to do her business.

Over time, all these behaviors and a few more intensified. Every loud noise would send her into a literal tail spin and getting groomed became impossible. As her fear increased her aggression increased. I knew I needed help and reached out to other Tibetan Terrier owners.

Thanks to several people sharing their own experiences and knowledge, we had a pretty good idea what was happening to our dog.  It required sending a DNA sample to the University of Missouri.

We sent for the kit and set a DNA sample to the Orthopedic Foundations for Animals. From that sample our fears were confirmed–she had a genetic disorder called neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCL).

Looking back on her life I believe she had signs of this disorder for years. Because she came from a questionable breeder we excused a lot of her behavior to not having a good environment when she was a puppy–every odd thing she did was a reflection of her very stressful puppyhood.

I will be writing more about Ruby and our experiences with NCL over the next few weeks. It will my way of honoring my Ruby girl. It will provide a resource to help educate future dog owners on how to begin a successful search for that special dog and provide a forever home.

I will miss this clown of a dog. She always made me laugh and somehow knew when I needed her to just come sit by me. I will miss her bumping the back of my leg and zooming all over the yard narrowly missing rocks, chairs, and low lying tables.

She was a streak of pure red glory and joy.

Ruby Girl, I love you. I will miss you and that big ol’ black nose of yours. I will especially miss that silly upside down grin.

Driving home from the vet this morning, I felt the warmth of a very strong beam of sunlight burst through the heavy cloud cover. For a few seconds I felt the warmth spread across my shoulders and neck–it was like she was once again right beside me–leaning on me and acting all goofy. In those few seconds I knew she was telling me all was well–she was free at last.

I love you, Ruby Jean. Thank you for sharing your life with us, being part of our lives, and loving us all.

It was a magnificent honor.

It’s true—

When I come to you in dreams,

I’m really there.

When you see me out of 

The corner of your eye, 

I’m really there.

When you ‘sense” me

Around the place, 

I’m really there.

I haven’t left you, not really.

My spirit is everywhere,

But especially with you. 

~Author Unknown

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~ 

 

 

 

For the Love of a Dog

“In my lap I had my dear little pug, the smell of whose ears will always be sweeter to me than all the perfumes of Araby and the scent of heliotrope combined.”
― Kathryn Davis, Versaille

Sometimes God gives us a challenge that forces us to slow down.

This past week was one of those times. I was given time to pay attention to all I love and hold precious, a time to be gracious,  and thankful.

A little over a week ago, my oldest dog, Bud, began acting as if he was in pain. Bud has never been a very subtle dog–this was no exception. He would suddenly stop and sit, staring at me with a rather annoyed look on his face. The most noticeable change was the most troubling–for the first time in his twelve-year lifetime, he’d stopped following me–something was brewing.

When he stopped eating and began a near continuous whimper, I knew I needed real help.

Long story short, the vet discovered several hot spots on his tail. I’d never had a dog with hot spots before—I do not ever want to deal with hot spots again.

With the help of topical and oral antibiotics combined with an e-collar, we began our journey down the long and winding road of recovery.

I was reminded how slowly time goes as you sit with a loved one in pain. Bud would settle down and not cry if I sat with him. I sat in my chair, talking to him as I stroked his back. His comfort became the focal point of my days.

I was also reminded of a very simple fact—you can not rush healing. After five days of medication, prayer, patience, and a lot of whining of my own, he was getting better.

Unless I had to travel, Bud has been by my side every day since April 8, 2006. Today, he is resting quietly beside me, awaiting his breakfast, no longer in pain. His tail is better and so am I.

My world is back on its axis–all is right in Hibdonville.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
― Roger A. Caras

I am…

B…simply being…

May God continue to bless us all.

~Peace~

 

The Prince of Royal Court

“Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them’s making a poop, the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge.”
― Jerry Seinfeld

There is never a question about who is in charge at our house.

It’s Duffy.

He’s our Lhasa Apso we call the Prince of Royal Court because he is completely carefree. He has absolutely no worries.

He arrived via Delta Airlines from Utah in March 2009. I know that because I just read through all his records while I prepared to take him for his first vet visit in Texas.

We’ve been treating him for a urinary tract infection. It responded well to treatment except for the fact he still had a lot of crystals in that post medication sample. Because of that, we were strongly advised to bring him in for an evaluation and an x-ray.

We went today and he does have many radiopaque bladder stones. There are so many of these ragged looking stones our vet has concerns they may cause a bladder obstruction. Whether I wanted to hear it or not, the fact was, he needed surgery. Their first open date was weeks away. Too long to wait. Her advice was to leave him. That way they would work him into the surgery schedule today or first thing tomorrow.

I rapidly played through every single scenario I could come up with where I could delay the inevitable. Even to me, all the excuses sounded pathetic.

They are a busy clinic with decades of experience. The vets there have the type of real-life experience that comes from honest to God, in the trenches work. I’ve observed them carefully over the past few months. From the front desk staff to the vet techs, I’ve been impressed with their efficiency and knowledge. Even with all those positive vibes, I’d never had to leave MY DOG with them–until today.

The day has gotten progressively cooler and the skies darker as the latest cold front makes it way across Texas. It is a direct reflection of my mood.

I know. I really do understand that all of this is out of my control. I need to let go and trust those I trusted to care for our little Prince of Royal Court take care of him. Our Duffy will be home soon and will quickly re-establish balance to our world.

“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…

I love you and wish you peace.

 

Fred Lessons

For the past few days, I’ve been talking with a friend who’s thinking about getting a dog. She is well aware that this is not a decision to take lightly. For me, it is hard not to push hard because I really want her to have a dog in her life.

As we’ve talked, I’ve thought back on the dogs I’ve had over the years. Thankfully, most were in my life for a very long time. All but Fred.

As I talked about Fred today I realized she’d taught me a lesson all those years ago. I am so surprised that I did not really appreciate that until today. While it is still fresh in my head, let me tell you the story of Fred and me.

I’d always wanted an Old English Sheepdog. This is not an easy breed to find nor are they inexpensive. After searching for months, Chuck, now ex-husband, and I finally found a puppy we felt would be a good companion for us and for our other dog, Honey, a feisty miniature Poodle. The moment I saw the puppy, I just knew her name had to be Fred. Why I named a female puppy Fred, I don’t know. I just felt it was the cute, funny, and perfect. Just like I felt she was!

Looking back, I think that little energized puppy was trying to tell me something. From the first time we called to her, she never responded well to that name. I was so dead set on that name, I did not think her reaction may have been her way of trying to show me or tell me something. Now, I think this was her first and her consistent attempt to tell me that something was not right.

As far as Honey was concerned, Fred was another thing to tolerate. From day one, Fred was much larger. She ran and played hard but she never pushed Honey around. There were a few times when Fred grabbed Honey’s ears. After a few hard yanks, Honey let her know who, in no uncertain terms just who really was in charge!

These were days when both Chuck and I worked long hours. I was working days while he was working nights. Because of this schedule, the dogs did not have to be alone very much. Training a puppy is not the easiest thing but we were making progress. After a few weeks, I began to notice a different pattern. When I’d get home from work, Fred could not make it outside before she’d have had an accident in the house. As time went on, the distance she made to the door became shorter and shorter. After another month or so, she’d stopped even trying to get to the door. Off to the vet for us where we were assured she was okay. We just needed to be patient.

That was not so easy for me. I was getting frustrated. After working all day and rushing home, we seemed to be going backward in the housetraining department. Fred seemed to sense my frustration. She would show some improvement for a day or two, only to start the pattern all over.

One one very cold, snowy night, I came home to a clean house. No accidents. I took both dogs outside and was thrilled. As if fixed dinner, I turned to see Fred squatting beside one of my large houseplants. I’m not proud to tell you, I started screaming at her. I ran and grabbed her face in both my hands and looked into her eyes. I asked, “Fred, why did you do that?” Her answer was quick and strong. She took both of her front paws and scratched her dew claws down both of my arms.

Our eye contact did not break. We both knew that this was not going to work. Chuck and I decided we needed to let Fred go. We placed an ad in the Sunday paper. Early that snowy Sunday morning our phone rang. The person calling told us he was calling for friends who were deaf. His friends saw our ad and wanted her, sight unseen. They would bring the cash that morning. When could they come get her?

Well…that was fast.

My whole being knew that what we were doing was the right thing to do. At the appointed time, there was a knock on the door. All four of us went to the door, my ex, me, Honey, and Fred. The couple at the door smiled as they handed us the money. As this was happening, Fred made her way to the door, stepped forward, and waited for them to hook up a leash. In a matter of seconds, all three of them were trudging away through the snow–no hesitation–no one looked back. As the snow fell harder, they simply disappeared.

What did Fred teach me?

She taught me that my idea of choosing a dog was all wrong. I’d always thought I chose my dogs. I now know–Fred taught me–they chose me. I believe that there is some other, higher level of communication between dogs and humans. Dogs are more aware of this than humans. I now believe think a dog knows the minute they see us whether or not we are the human for them.

I understand now more than ever how important it is to think hard before you begin to search for a dog. Are you really aware of the level of responsibility you take on when you bring a dog into your life? A dog brings it all to this game called life. You must be ready to give your all to them as well. It’s part of the deal.

Oh…if we could all love each other like our dogs love us. Heaven must be like that…

Speaking of love, please focus your prayers on California. How is it possible that each week I ask for prayers for so many different disasters. Our world feels like it’s spinning faster and faster into some unknown dimension. If there was ever a time when we need each other, it is now.

I am…

B…simply being…

Love and peace, Y’all.