It’s been a while…

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Buster here.  Mom hasn’t posted in a while.  It was hard on her to lose Finchy after losing the Chili Dawg.  She had hoped that Finchy would have been with us for a while longer, but stupid cancer doesn’t play fair.  I miss him too, and have been trying to fill his shoes, I have even learned how to be scared of thunderstorms and fireworks like he used to be (although I don’t think that’s what Mom and Dad had in mind).  I did give Mom and Dad a little scare at the end of May when they found a large lump just below my knee.  Fortunately, the biopsy showed it to be a lipoma and then Mom was able to breathe again.  I don’t think she could handle having a third dog with cancer at the moment.

What I really came on here to do was to show you what my grandma made for my mom for her birthday.  It made Mom cry, because she misses her two boys, but I think grandma did a really beautiful thing.  Mom didn’t want to hang it up at first, because she said, “it made it too real for her”, but my dad hung it up a couple days ago & Mom said she is glad that he did.

Chili Dawg & Finchy
Chili Dawg & Finchy


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Finchy Has Crossed The Bridge…

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Hi everypawdy.  It’s Buster.  I bring sad news tonight.  Finchy has joined Chili Dawg at the Rainbow Bridge.  Friday night he had a really rough night and Mom took him to the v-e-t Saturday morning.  The initial diagnosis was that his pancreatitis was back, along with arthritis in his back, so they admitted him to the hospital for treatment.  Sunday, the v-e-t called and he was doing worse.  He had swelling in his back legs along with bruising and he couldn’t stand.  When Dad visited him, he could see he was very uncomfortable and hurting.  The dogtor was running one last blood test to check for a tick bourne disease, although the liklihood of him picking up that in February in IL was extremely low.  Today, the swelling has moved into his front legs and abdomen, he is panting a lot and is still not comfortable.  It appears the intestinal cancer has also done a number on his body as well.  Mom and Dad went to visit him tonight, and while the dogtor said there were still specialists they could take him to, looking into Finchy’s eyes, Mom and Dad didn’t want to subject him to anymore tests or pain.  He has been such a faithful and loving companion, especially to 5 year old Noah- who sobbed uncontrollably last night when he figured out that Finchy was probably never coming home again.

Run free and out of pain, Finchy.  You were always the fastest dog in the neighborhood down here, I bet you are one of the fastest up at the bridge.  I will miss my snuggle buddy, and so will Mom.  Tell Chili Dawg we all said hi.  We love you so much!

Faithful companion
Faithful companion

It’s Been A While…

Howdy everypawdy!  It’s Buster again.  It’s been a while since I wrote.  Momma says the “plague” has been in our house.  I don’t know what that means, but I heard the words: “flu”, “cough”, “fever”, “runny nose”, and then later on I heard the words: “stomach flu” and “vomit”.  All I know is the 4 human people haven’t been feeling so great for a lot of days.

Did everypawdy have a good Christmas?  I did.  I got to be indoors for Christmas and I never got that with the people I used to live with.  My Mastiff cousin Burley and I learned that you don’t pee on the tree inside, though, or the humans get a little upset.  I didn’t know.  Why else would you have a tree inside, unless you didn’t want us to pee on it?  Momma couldn’t believe I peed on it, because it had been up for 3 weeks before I peed on it, but Burley did it too- he used to be an outside dog too until Grandma and Grandpa rescued him.  Next Christmas we won’t pee on it.

Momma and Daddy were worried about Finchy over Christmas break.  He was vomiting blood a lot and not eating, but then he stopped and started eating again.  We have been wrestling a lot, and before it got really cold this weekend, we were running around the backyard a lot, and Momma was taking us on walks.  She said she’s not taking me on a walk today because something about a “-5 wind chill”.  I don’t know what that means, but I know she keeps making me come inside today.  It snowed last night, and I like rolling in it, but Momma won’t let me be outside for very long today.  She keeps telling me it’s too cold.  I wish she would just let me finish rolling in the snow.  Finchy won’t stay outside with me today.  Momma said he’s the smart one today.  I say, he has less fur than I do, but I don’t mind coming in, because Momma put our dog beds by the fireplace and that is nice to lay down on.  It is so nice to be an inside dog now 🙂

Buster Here…

Buster here, I’m writing my first post- kind of exciting!  Lots of news to report on.  My gastroenteritis came back, so I had to go back to the V-E-T and get a shot to stop my diarrhea before it got to the bad part where it got at the end of the summer when Finchy and I both wound up at the animal hospital. 

Finchy turned 10 on Howl-ween.  We got to help hand out candy on his birthday- and bark at the costumes that were scary.  Finchy had to go to the hospital for an overnight stay a couple weeks ago.  He was throwing up blood again.  He tested positive for Pan-kre-titis.  The vet told Mom and Dad that he also thinks Finchy has intestinal cancer (the C word- yuck), and they could check by doing an ultrasound.  He thinks that because even though Finchy tested positive for Pan-kre-titis, he didn’t fit the profile, but he fits the profile for cancer.  Mom and Dad didn’t want to do one at that time, because Finchy was doing better (and they kind of don’t want to know).  So, Finchy has been kind of grumpy for a few weeks, but yesterday he wrestled with me again for the first time in a long time.  And last night he ate his dinner for the first time- which bummed me out because I always eat his dinner. 

Mom took me rollerblading to run off some of my energy.  It had been a while, and I got a little spooked, so Mom got a bit of road rash at the beginning.  I told her I was sorry and she got back up and we kept going.  She was pretty slow at first (I think she didn’t want to eat the road again) but then we found our rhythym again and had a pretty good time.

I think that’s pretty much all the updates now.  My family keeps talking about Thanksgiving.  My other family kept me outside, so I don’t know what this means, but I think it will be fun.  Oh, I know, sometimes I sleep on the bed with Finchy and they don’t kick me off.  That’s nice too- I used to have to sleep outside before they adopted me.

Now I’m done.

One Year Ago…

One year ago, today, I cradled your head in my lap.

Tears rolled down my face.

I let my nose breathe in your scent one final time.

I looked at Ryan.

Tears rolled down his face too.

I looked at the vet.

“I can give you some more time,” she said.

“We just want his pain to be over,” I cried.

She pushed the plunger.

His breathing slowed.

“I’m so sorry,” I whispered over and over into his ear, as I buried my face into his fur.

His breathing stopped.

He was gone.

I laid next to his body until it grew cold.

Then I slipped off his collar, and held it so tightly.

Ryan helped me off the floor, and together we exited the office, without my special friend.

God, I thank you for giving me Chili Dawg.

The video my husband made me for Christmas.

Nights Like This…

It was a night like this, 11 months ago, that I took this video.  You were 2 months post-amputation, thoughts of cancer were no longer in the front of our mind.  I sat on the patio and watched you run.  Watched you wrestle with Finchy.  Watched you roll on your back.

Things are different now, 11 months later.  I’m sitting on the patio.  The grass is not green this year, we are in a drought.  Finchy is wrestling with Buster- you sent him to us, I know you did (could you teach him to bark when he’s going to have diarrhea in the middle of the night, please?).  I still have a paw shaped hole in my heart.  I didn’t think it would still hurt this much to miss you, but it does.  I can’t believe that next month will mark 1 year since you crossed the bridge.  It seems like yesterday to me.  Finchy is doing better since Buster came.  He is eating again and playing, but he is still scared of thunder and fireworks (and I think he has taught that to Buster as well).  I miss you, Chili Dawg.

One Year Ampuversary…

I haven’t been on tripawds in a while.  As Chili Dawg’s one year ampuversary approached, it became more difficult to visit this site.  When we first lost Chili Dawg, logging on was one of the first things I would do every day.  It was comforting to me, but as time passed, it became more difficult and I needed to spend some time away.

Today is Chili Dawg’s 1 year ampuversary.  Even though we only got him for 3 extra months, amputating his leg and removing his pain was still the best choice we made.  I would make it again in a heart beat.  This website became such a blessing to our family as we journeyed down the cancer pathway, and I don’t know what we would have done without it.

I know that Chili Dawg wouldn’t want us to be sad on his one year, and our family has healed since we lost him in August.  It may take a little bit more time before I can comeback regularly, but I hope to one day be able to encourage people going through the same journey, just like we were encouraged during our journey.

Chili Dawg taught us that there is more to life than life on 4 legs.  He taught us to live in the moment.  So today, give your dogs some extra love and treats in memory of my special boy.

 

Tough Days Makes It Nice To Have Friends

We have had some rough days in our house lately.  Yesterday was a tough day for me for many reasons.  When I got home from school, there was a box in the mailbox.  Noah got very excited- he always gets excited when boxes arrive in the mail (although it’s usually Juli’s high calorie drink).  Jackie, Angel Abby’s mom, had sent us something.  We opened the box together, and inside we saw…

Chili Dawg
He's beautiful
He's perfect
Chili Dawg & Abby

How totally PAWESOME is that?!?  It totally made my day, and you have no idea how much I needed this!  Thank you so much, Jackie!  All 5 of us (including Finchy) LOVE him!  You did an amazing job!

Chili Dawg’s Story

Last month, Shari (Dakota Dawg’s Woman), sent me a story that she wrote for Noah, my 4 year old. The first few times I read it to Noah, I cried before I was able to finish reading it to him, but we got through it each time.  She gave me permission to share it with you guys.

Chili Dawg’s Story

The day was quiet and peaceful and serene. Of course it was. The Father approached a group of dogs dozing in the sun near a large Catalpa tree. The tree was in full bloom, as always, and some of the dogs were asleep in the tree’s shade. As the Father approached the dogs, a few lazily opened an eye to glance at him.

The Father sat down in the grass under the Catalpa and began to pick apart sprigs of grass. The dogs roused themselves and became more alert. A Dalmatian looked at his companions and then at the Father and asked, “Is everything okay?”

“Well,” said the Father, “I have a need, and it will be difficult.”

“Ah,” said the Dalmatian.

“Go ahead and tell us,” said the Collie, sitting up.

The Father looked at all the dogs in the group before answering. “You know I’ve asked many of you, my companions, to help in earthly affairs over the millenia. I have a need now that is urgent and I cannot simply assign it to one of you. This is a need whose fulfillment must come as a gift.”

“Well, tell us what makes it so difficult,” said the Beagle.

“And urgent,” added the Scotty.

The Father smiled at them briefly, and then his brow creased with concern. “My friends, there is a young woman who has become discouraged and defeated. She has been injured and her injury has been devastating. She is not healing. Her spirit needs more than it is finding in her life. She has much love surrounding her, but she needs more. She needs one of you.”

The dogs looked at each other for a moment before the Poodle spoke. “Father,” she said, “we’ve done this before. Why is this different?”

“Because you won’t be coming back,” replied the Father. “Not right away. Not for a long time. I am asking for one of you to voluntarily give up your home here and live a natural life there. With her. With the family she will make. Her need is great enough to require your love and dedication for a natural lifetime. This will not be a quick trip.”

There was silence as the dogs considered what they had been told. The few who remained laying down now sat up, and many shifted their weight nervously as they thought of the implications of a giving up their place here and living for years with this woman whom they did not know. Finally, the Husky spoke. “It sounds like a lot of work,” she said.

The Father looked directly into her icy blue eyes and said, “Yes.”

“And it sounds like there is no guarantee that it will be easy,” said the Saint Bernard.

“No,” answered the Father.

Again there was silence. After a moment, the Father rose and turned to walk away, intending to allow the dogs to consider what he had said.

“Wait.”

The Father stopped and paused before turning around. He knew who had spoken.

“Father, I just have one question.” The ruddy Golden Retriever stood but looked at the ground.

“Of course.”

The Golden looked at the Father and asked, “Will I be loved?”

The Father’s eyes crinkled as he smiled broadly. “Oh yes! Indeed, you will be loved beyond what you can imagine!”

The Golden paused. “Then I will go.”

The Father nodded slowly. “They will give you a name. I can show them whatever name you would like to be called. You are a beautiful, gentle soul and can choose a name to reflect your spirit.”

The Golden thoughtfully nodded. He sat back down and gazed off toward the river shining in the distance. A slight smile came over his face as he turned back to the Father. “Please tell them my name is Chili Dawg.”

Murmurs broke out among the other dogs. They had been sitting respectfully as the Golden and the Father talked, but now some of the murmurs turned to laughter.

“What?” asked the Father. “Why in the world would you want something like that? That sounds like something a Labrador would pick.”

The Labrador in the group laughed loudly and raised a paw in the air and waved it.

The Golden smilingly said, “Well, if this is to be my life, I want to enjoy it. I want to be loved, and I want to have fun. So I want a fun name.”

“Oh you will have love and fun both, Chili,” said the Father. He walked over to the Golden and squatted down to look him directly in the eye. He put his arms around the dog’s neck and buried his face in the ruff of his neck and whispered, “You’re a good boy.”

The Father stood up and looked at the group. He asked, “Do any of you have any questions?”

“Yes sir, I do,” said the Boxer. “Can I go with him?”

A look of thoughtful amusement crossed the Father’s face. “Hmm, two of you? Well…yes, but not just yet. Chili will give a great gift that will cost him a great sacrifice. This family will need you more then than now.”

“Sacrifice?” asked Chili.

“Yes, Chili. Gifts this special cost a great deal. Surely you know that.”

“Yes,” said Chili. “I do. But what does this mean for me?”

The Father walked back to Chili and put his hand on Chili’s head. “You will take away her pain with your love and acceptance. But you will know pain as well. You will live as an ordinary dog and you will have extraordinary love. When your time is done, you will die from a perfectly ordinary disease. You will be released from your pain, and that release will again cause great pain to this woman, to her family. Then you,” he said, nodding to the Boxer, “will help them heal.”

The group of dogs murmured again. “But Father, “said the Greyhound, “when does this ever end?”

“Yes,” said the Pug, “if we heal a human heart, but then their heart breaks again when we leave, when does it end?”

“Well,” said the Father, “I have made the human heart with the capacity to break and heal this way over and over again. The best thing I ever did when I made them was to give them the ability to persevere and take chances, even when things seem bleak. They find their strength in this breaking and mending. This is how I demonstrate my love through them.  My heart breaks when they leave me, but it is always an open heart, waiting to be healed with their return. When one of you leaves them and their heart breaks, there is another waiting to show them how to love and heal again. Their capacity in this is endless, as is my love.”

“I understand,” said the Boxer. “I will be needed, so I will wait here until you tell me to go help Chili.”

“Thank you,” Chili Dawg said to the Boxer. “I have a feeling that I will need you more than I can imagine right now.”

“Well Chili, you’d better get ready to go. There is a man down there who doesn’t know he is expecting you. He has a wife who doesn’t know she needs you. She won’t be thrilled to see you, Chili, but she will come around. And you will be amazed at how fiercely she will come to love you. And the children, too.”

“Children?” asked Chili and the Boxer together.

“Oh yes!” said the Father. “Didn’t I tell you there will be children one day? Would it have made a difference, Chili?”

“I would have volunteered sooner, had I known I would get children,” Chili said. His big tail swung broadly with happiness.

“Then let’s get you there so you can get to work. And you, my Boxer friend, won’t have long to wait. Now, let’s go.”

Chili walked over to the the Boxer and they touched noses for a moment in goodbye. The Boxer sat down under the tree, prepared to wait as long as was necessary. Chili turned and left, ready to begin his new life as a perfectly ordinary, extraordinary dog. And on earth, a family had no idea of the gift that was about to come to them.

Thank you, Shari, for writing this for us.  It means so very much to my family.

 

Show and Tell…

This past Tuesday, Noah (my four year old) had his turn for show and tell at preschool.  He was very excited for this day.  When I picked him up on Monday after work, I asked him what he wanted to bring for show and tell.  He said, “Steggy (his stegosaurus stuffed animal) and a picture of Chili Dawg”.  When we got home, there was a card waiting for him in the mailbox, from Jackie, Angel Abby’s mom.  When he opened it, there were two pictures of Abby in it.  Noah immediately added them to his special picture album, but then took one out and put it in his school bag to bring with for show and tell.

On Tuesday, he told his class about how Chili Dawg and Abby both only had 3 legs, and were called Tripawds.  He told them about how Abby sent us the Barney box and it had lots of dog stuff in it and made Momma cry.  He also told them about Steggy and that he was a plant eater and that the plates on his back keep him cool.  Then his classmates got to ask him some questions.  One of his classmates asked why he didn’t bring Chili Dawg or Abby in.  Noah told them that his daddy and Abby’s daddy carried both dogs to the Rainbow Bridge and then Jesus carried them the rest of the way because they couldn’t walk anymore (Noah thought that Abby had also lost the ability to walk like Chili Dawg had).  He said that Jesus is taking care of Abby and Chili Dawg now and they don’t hurt anymore.

Pretty impressive for a four year old, huh?  He made his Momma proud.