Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jack Turns 3

Jack turned 3 last week! I'm a day late and dollar short in posting, but here we go:

Beef knuckles for all! Cliff snubbed his, so Jack got both... and boy, did that make him a happy camper...

There was also some birthday fetching games- boy, is my pup a Ball-Crazy boy! Here he goes with an old ball that emerged from the melted snow, but he got a new ball-on-a-rope thingee, which he also enjoyed. He also got a frisbee emblazoned with the logo of the new university I work at, but he punctured and snapped it on the first fetch. Oh well, I guess it was made for human hands and not carnivorous dog fangs... lol.

... Some birthday running with Cliff (or rather, around Cliff)...

For his Birthday Hike, we went to the Esker Brook trail system which is on the western edge of the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. We parked at the South Spring Pool and hiked in, which made it a round trip of about 3 miles. Because of this, I left Cliff at home with a peanut butter stuffed bone (the next day, on Sunday, I decided to try Cliff for a mile-ish hike with Jack on the flat Erie Canal trail, and later in the evening he was sooo stiff he could barely walk. Poor Cliffie! Glad I didn't try him at Esker, it would have been WAY too much).

It was a beautiful hike. The highlight was seeing a bluebird AND the first turtles of the season... I guess they are un-burying themselves from winter hibernation. They were straddling logs and rocks in the ponds, soaking up the rays. They were pretty skittish- I couldn't even approach the shore to take a picture before they slid into the water and disappeared.

The funniest (and most amusing) part of the hike was along the ponds, where hundreds of little frogs were singing their amorous calls to each other. As we walked along the trail, they literally sprang from the pond's edge into the water by the dozens! Jack was stunned by it. I mean, they were just ALL over the place, rocketting away as soon as we came close. A few times, Jack jumped into the muddy water just to see if he could find them (did he know they were little animals? Or did he think they were tiny tennis balls launching themselves from the earth? Who knows) but he couldn't get remotely close to them. Nor could he find them in the muddy, brackish water. I wish I could have gotten some pictures... they were small and dark (black?) and seemed to have some bright green parts? Are those peeper frogs?

Happy Birthday to the little imp!! I'm so happy that Lucy approved of him back in the fall, and we decided on adoption. He has been a fantastic addition to our family.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cliffie Gets the Kitty

The weather was really beautiful this weekend- mid 50's? Cliff had a great time playing in the yard with his kitty stuffie. Look at that sweet face! I can't believe my Crazy Man will be 12 in June!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010


Many, many thanks to everyone who sent cards, posted, emailed, Facebooked, etc messages of condolence about my Lucy. I can't tell you how much they've meant to me. The past few weeks have been excrutiating. Thank God for my new job- going to work, learning new things, meeting new faces has been the highlight- total distraction. I love my new job anyways, but it's extra nice now because being at home is hard. Anxiety attacks (which blow into panic attacks), wallowing, crying, talking to my dead dogs...I got her ashes on Tuesday... it is so hard to believe that my beautiful greyhound is now a bag of ashes? How did that happen? I sit at night with it on my lap and think, "Good God, what happened? What happened, Lucy? How did this HAPPEN?" I mean- What was it? How come she couldn't breathe? Should I have waited to put her to sleep? Did she know what was happening? Just this mix of emotions... sadness, overwhelming depression, anger.

But then I learned that another local greyhound person lost her grey a few days after Lucy, from cancer, and he was only SIX, and I feel guilty going to pieces over an almost-14 year old with cancer, when her boy was so young... I shouldn't feel so guilty... I shouldn't be so mad about her death... she was old... at LEAST she wasn't six... why am I so worked up??

The boys are well. I posted a photo I took today (top) of them romping in the yard after work- the sun was setting so the color is awful- but they were very cute. It's so hard to say "the boys" now, so strange. Jack turned 3 yesterday believe it or not. He got some large beef knuckles to chew, and three Birthday Boy Spanks (don't worry, they are gentle!), and lots of kisses but I need to get him out this weekend for a hike. Clifford is his usual jolly, stinky self but the disc problems in his back have been bothering him quite a bit- he trips and "skips" on walks a lot- the Metacam seems to be losing it's helpfulness. Might have to try something else?

Anyway, I will post pictures of The Birthday Boy and his Big Bro this weekend, and hopefully a new linocut sketch (still trying to work up the muse for that one)- There are some people in this world who can take lemons and make lemonade- you know the saying- but I'm not one of them. But I'm trying to work up the inspiration to do a linocut celebrating Lucy, with the proceeds going back to her adoption group- a way to remember her by, and yet honor the group who rescued her- I just don't seem to have the energy to do anything positive- I want to lose myself at work or in a book (I guess on the upside I've read a lot of novels these past few weeks!). But this weekend I'm going to work on the sketch, I promise.

And so amigas and amigos... Thank you again for your kind thoughts. I think most of you I've never met in person and yet you've posted such comforting words on my blog, and even emailed me your phone numbers in case I needed a shoulder to cry on, or sent beautiful cards even though you never met Lucy in person- it's really amazing to me and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. They brought me some measure of comfort in this cloudy time.

I promise I'll post some Happy this weekend. Jack is eager to have some birthday pictures up, and of course Cliffy wants some face time too. They are both wonderful hounds! They will never be Lucy, but they are so special, in their own right.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Last Pictures




I can't believe these crummy photos are the last ones I will ever take of Lucy. It was last weekend, when we had a big storm that was dumping 15 inches. She did a gallop in the yard with Cliff (top) but after a few clicks we went back inside where it was warm. And I put the camera away. Why did I put the camera away??

I don't understand it. She was doing so well. On Sunday night she had a slight breathing attack, but it only lasted maybe 30 seconds. I was so happy. I thought maybe the tramadol and antibiotics were helping. No breathing attack Monday. None Tuesday. I was so happy.

Wednesday evening I took a Tylenol PM (headache) and fell asleep watching Ghost Hunters on TV. About 11, I woke up to Lucy having a breathing attack. I got up and sat with her, but she kept heaving. I held up her back end (she's wobbly) and keep rubbing her, but she's not calming down. The minutes pass and she can't breathe and I'm becoming more and more concerned. I move away from holding up her backside, and look at her face, and see bloody foam is bubbling from her mouth as she heaves. I panic. I plead with her to breathe. Her eyes are bulging and she's terrified and losing it. That's when I think, "Shit. This is it, she's suffocating to death. Shit, shit SHIT." I grab my purse, car keys, and the Emergency Vet brochure off the fridge, and try cajoling her to the door. She can't move and although her mouth was wide open, you couldn't see inside well because it was covered in sheets of thick mucous. She's still heaving and gagging for breath. I can see she's absolutely terrified. The bloody foam is stringing down from the corners of her mouth. As soon as I go to pick her up, she has a convulsion/seizure and poops and pees all over the floor and herself. I get her out the door and put her in the back of the Scion, turn on my flashers and begin the 30 mile drive to the Emergency Vet, flying the whole way, blowing stop signs and stoplights. Lucy lay in the back where I dumped her, muzzle covered in mucous, gagging and heaving. Eventually she stops & I can't tell if she is dead or alive. Do I stop and check?? Keep going?? Do I drive and try to get to the vet in time, or pull over and sit with her while she dies???? I call the vet and let them know what is happening and ask them to be ready. I call Bridge and leave a panicked message. I call my parents' cell phones again and again until they answer. Mom stays on the phone with me while I'm shaking and sobbing that Lucy might be dead, she's not gagging anymore in back, just laying face down in her own stomach mucous. It was horrific. It was the most horrific drive of my life.

We pull into the vet's office and the vet tech comes out to help me get Lucy out. She was alive, but really out of it. They begin administering oxygen. I sit shaking and crying in the waiting room, waiting for news. Blessings, they were able to revive her. After awhile I was able to go in and visit. She was in rough shape but perky, eyes bright. sitting up. We got to have a little time together, and go outside briefly for some fresh night air. Afterward, we went into a  room with a scene of the Rainbow Bridge painted on the wall, where Lucy lay on a thick blanket and we got to say goodbye.

Around 1:30 AM Thursday morning, I drove home alone.

The vet said the mass in her muzzle felt like cancer, not infection, and confirmed it was probably squamous cell carcinoma because of the location... either growing up from her throat, or from the tumor down her throat. Of course we can't know for sure, maybe I should have had a necropsy done for peace of mind. I guess it doesn't matter now.

Although it was semi-peaceful in the end, it haunts me that the last hour or so of her life was so violent. She didn't deserve to go that way. She didn't deserve to be terrified and suffocate like she did. I knew that we may be facing end-of-life issues, and had wanted to bring her to see her favorite neighbors before she died. I wanted her to see my parents' new house in Utica. I wanted her to see spring and be able to sunbathe for one last time. I wanted her to be at home or in the car (she loved rides) when the vet came with the needle. I wanted it to be peaceful and beautiful for her. I didn't want her to be covered in her own feces and dried bloody mucous in some strange office. I didn't want her to go that way. She deserved more than that.

She deserved so much more than that.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Lucy (PW's Dixiesquick) September 13, 1996- March 3, 2010

Light of my life
Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight...
~Joan Baez