It’s been four months since the Chili Dawg crossed the Rainbow bridge, which is half a month longer than he was a tripawd. At Christmas time every year, my husband makes a DVD of the kids and dogs for us to send to all of our family members scattered across the country. This year, he put together a tribute to Chili Dawg. I wanted to share it with you all since you joined us on this journey. If you click on the link below, I believe it will take you to the video (cross my fingers).
I must admit, after my last post (a most definite meltdown, and I thought only my 2 year old was capable of those-LOL!) I am feeling much better. I guess, I must have just needed to let all my feelings out, so thank you for not only allowing me to do that, but for giving me a safe place to do that where I wasn’t judged. This is yet another reason why I love this community so much, and am so thankful for all the support I have received.
I wanted to thank you all for your support and encouragement that we received this year when we joined this community. I am so very thankful that we did not have to go through this journey alone.
I have been so unbelievably crabby for the last 2 weeks. I finally figured out why. The other night, I was wrapped in my blanket of Chili Dawg and I was crying. I realized how guilty I feel for putting Chili Dawg to sleep. I feel like I failed him. We couldn’t afford chemo, so part of me wonders- if we had done chemo, would his cancer have returned so quickly? He was my best companion and friend and I couldn’t help him at the end. I know we say “no regrets”, but I just feel terrible that I couldn’t do anything for his cancer at the end. When it was time for our vet to give him his injection, I just sat there with his head in my lap telling him how sorry I was. I don’t know how to get past this feeling of guilt and feeling of failure. Help me, please.
This week, one of my students said to me, “You probably don’t have anything that you’re thankful for right now, huh? I mean since you had to put “Be Positive” to sleep and they don’t know what’s wrong with your daughter.” I think I surprised him when I came back with, “Actually, I have lots of things that I am thankful for. I am thankful that I got to have a few extra months with “Be Positive” (if you’re confused on why Chili Dawg is called that, see this post). Even though it was no where near enough time with him, I still got extra time. I am thankful that my daughter is doing okay. She even looks healthy this year, which is a big step!” My student then said, “Oh,” and walked away. Teenagers, you gotta love them 🙂 I also wanted to mention that I am VERY thankful for this website and the friendships I have made. I am VERY thankful for all of the wonderful support and encouragement that I have received. If I had had to go through all of this alone, I think I would be in a very dark place right now.
We are closing in on three months since Chili Dawg crossed the bridge. I’d like to say it’s getting easier, but it’s about the same for me. He loved the cooler weather that fall brings, so he would have loved the weather right now. Last night when I got home from my MRI, Ryan was editing video for the Christmas video we send to our families, and he was on a clip of the Chili Dawg running as a tripawd in the backyard. It brought a smile to my face, followed by tears, because I shot the video about 2 weeks before his cancer returned.
Noah keeps talking about Chili Dawg, and for Halloween, I bought both kids white shirts/sweatshirts to wear under their costumes- you never know what the temperature is going to be. We had some iron-on sheets, so when I had some alone time, I printed out pictures of both dogs and paw prints and made the kids t-shirts. I also borrowed Charon’s quote, “Love never ends” for the ones with Chili Dawg on it. Juliana got both a t-shirt and a sweatshirt (not because I love her more, but because I haven’t been able to find a white sweatshirt in Noah’s size yet, but he will get one eventually). I think they turned out okay for my first attempt. Both kids were really excited to wear them, and Noah noticed right away that his shirt with Chili on it only had 3 paw prints on the sleeve.
Today a package arrived in the mail. Ryan said I was supposed to open it. There was a card inside, made from a picture of my Chili Dawg- the picture that I used for the tripawds calendar. It was from my mom, dad and Ryan. Underneath the card were two packages. The first package held a coffee mug, with our last picture as a family on it. Taken the weekend before Chili Dawg crossed the bridge. It also had a picture of me and my Chili Dawg on it, just laying in the grass together. I began to cry. As I opened the next package, the tears came much faster. My mom, dad, and Ryan had taken the picture of my Chili Dawg and had it turned into a blanket. A beautiful fleece blanket that I can now wrap around me. I miss my Chili Dawg so much that it hurts sometimes, and I know that’s silly because I have two beautiful children that love me and I love them so very much. And now I’m crying like a baby while I type this too. Anyway, here is a picture of the blanket they had made for me. The words say: “To love and be loved, life’s #1 happiness”. Thank you, Mom, Dad, & Ryan. It means more than I can say. I love you guys.
Well, Chili Dawg, it’s been two months since you crossed the Rainbow Bridge. I miss you so much, but I am glad that you are no longer in pain anymore. I think Finchy has realized that you aren’t coming back, but he still looks for you, specially now that the weather has gotten cooler and he needs a snuggle buddy. Noah talks about you all the time, and he misses you too. He drew me a picture of you as a tripawd so I wouldn’t miss you so much. I had a bunch of pictures of you and Finchy printed out so that we could start on your memory book, but I am too chicken to open the box they arrived in. I’m not ready to admit that you are truly gone. I know that as time goes by, my heart will heal, but I will always have a Chili Dawg shaped scar on my heart. As Charon & Gayle say, “Love never ends.”
I teach high school. This year, we are really pushing these 3 concepts: Be Positive, Be Respectful, Be Involved. So, I made signs to hang up in my classroom. It was easy to find pictures for being respectful and being involved to go along with the statements, but when I got to “be positive”, I hit a block. My screen saver came on, and this picture of the Chili Dawg came on the screen.
How could you not smile and be positive when you’re looking at a picture of a smiling, three-legged golden retriever? So, I put his picture on the sign and hung it up in my room.
A couple days into the first week, a student asked me, “How’s ‘Be Positive’?” Me: “Huh?” Student: “How’s ‘Be Positive’?” Me: “Who is ‘Be Positive’?” Student: “That’s your dog on the sign isn’t it?” Me: “Yes.” Student: “Isn’t his name, ‘Be Positive’?” My co-teacher and I laughed pretty hard at that one, because honestly, who would name a dog, “Be Positive”? In that period, it became a running joke that Chili Dawg’s name was “Be Positive”.
Well, this week is Homecoming Week, and today’s dress up day was pajama day (one of my favorite days, because I get to participate). So, I was wearing my pajama pants with golden retrievers all over them & my “I love my tripawd” t-shirt. I walked into 7th period, and at least 8 kids yelled out, “Hey, ‘Be Positive’ is all over your jammies!” Well, I hadn’t told them that Chili Dawg’s cancer had come back or that we had had to put him to sleep, because it was so early in the school year and we hadn’t gotten to know each other that well, so I had to explain why I got a little teary eyed.
So, in the spirit of the Chili Dawg and my 7th period REI Chemistry class, “Be Positive”.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s been rough since we lost Chili Dawg. I’m still crabby and Finchy is still whiney. Chili Dawg’s ashes came home last week, and his 4 month ampuversary would have been on September 11th. My husband flew out of town on September 11th, so I’ve been single parenting it this week, and I have to say, I don’t know how single parents do it! Paws up to you who do it on your own! My 2 year old is on an appetite stimulant because she doesn’t like to eat. As a result, she gets up once or twice at night to drink her high calorie beverage (seriously, it really is high calorie-and it’s expensive, we have to order it off of ebay because insurance won’t cover it since Juliana doesn’t have a g-tube to make it her main source of nutrition). So there you have it. The perfect storm. I’m crabby from losing the Chili Dawg, and now I’m crabby from being sleep deprived as well.
Tonight, I was at the point of exhaustion. Wrestling with the kids to get in their pajamas, when Juliana looks at me and says, ” ‘Ove you!” Did I forget to mention that Juliana is also speech delayed? I think I smiled the first real smile since we lost the Chili Dawg, so I had to share it.
It’s almost been a week since the Chili Dawg crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Finchy and I miss him very much. The two of us are lost souls wandering the house. Finchy is the whining one, and I am the crabby one. Noah didn’t take his passing so well- on Wednesday the stress over everything that happened took its toll on him and I received a call from day care that he was throwing up but didn’t have a fever. Poor kid 🙁 I left school and he, Juliana, Finchy and I spent the rest of the day together at home.
The hardest time for me is at night time. Chili Dawg and I would snuggle together on the couch, bed, or at the end on the floor. Finchy doesn’t know what to do either. Last night he climbed up on the couch with me and later came under the covers with me.
Today the temperature is in the 60’s and it’s windy. If Chili Dawg were here, he would be outside with his head in the wind and his fur and ears blowing, being “beautiful”. It’s days like these that I notice his absence even more. I miss you Chili Dawg.
Chili Dawg here. I’m not feeling so good, so Mom is going to type for me. The pain pills make me kind of fuzzy and I have this cough going on now. Yesterday, Mom gave us another go at Barney. I did a little chewing on him, but I just wasn’t in the mood. I did enjoy the smells though-Abby, Gayle, Cooper, Catie, Codie Rae and all the other dogs that have hosted him.
Mom could tell I wasn’t in the mood to kill Barney, so then she got Finchy all riled up about Barney and let Finchy give Barney a good ol’ whooping. You can see the video on Mom’s other blog. I think Evelyn will be proud of him. Mom let Finchy beat on him for a good 10-15 minutes. She does have to sew a small part of him, you can see the white part on the picture above- Finchy got down to the stuffing. Mom and I laid out in the grass yesterday and watched the clouds. Grandma and Grandpa came down to visit too.
Thank you, Abby for sending me Barney. Mom, Finchy and I have enjoyed having him here. He brings with him, a source of strength for tripawd owners facing cancer.