My New Brudder…

It’s been a while since I posted, but this month has been crazy!  On March 4th, I got a new brudder!  His name is Buster, and he is a 5 year old Golden Retriever.  Momma has been asking for another dog since January because she knew I was lonely, and finally Daddy said okay!  So, Momma jumped on her ‘puter and went so some website called petfinder and found us Buster.  He’s a little on the chubby side at 95 pounds, but Momma says we will whip him into shape in no time.  All I know is, I am not lonely anymore.  We play outside all the time, and he wears me out!  I can still out run him though.  He can only keep up with me for 2 laps around the yard.  But when we wrestle, I end up having to lay on the ground because I get tired!  Chili Dawg used to lay on the ground when we would wrestle, and now I understand why.

Momma calls Buster, “Thumper”, because he has a very loud tail.  As soon as Buster hears you coming, he thumps his tail on the floor and it’s really really loud.  He’s good with the little kids too.  He lets Noah play pretend vet with him.  Noah has a doctor kit and he lets Noah try to listen to his heart, and put a blood pressure cuff on him, and check his ears.  I don’t like doing that stuff, so it’s good that we have Buster now.  He’s still kind of naughty though.  Today was the first day Mom and Dad forgot to put the baby gate up, and Buster destroyed the comforter on their bed.  I told him to stop chewing it, but he didn’t listen.

Momma says I’m smarter than Buster.  We have been having warm weather, and we NEVER have warm weather in March.  So Mom and Dad have the screen door open on the patio door.  I only run into it the very first time it’s open, and then I remember that it’s there.  Buster runs into it every single time he goes out.  I was never as smart as Chili Dawg, but finally I’m smarter than my new brudder.  I think Chili Dawg sent him to us, because Momma had been looking on petfinder for Golden Retrievers and they are hard to find- all of the golden retriever rescue places around us won’t let you rescue a golden if you have kids under the age of 5, so when Momma found Buster and he wasn’t at a golden retriever rescue, it was a sign.

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.


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.

First Real Snow

So today this white stuff started to fall from the sky again.  I don’t get it.  Yesterday we were all playing outside.  The kids weren’t even wearing their winter coats- seriously.  Mom said it was close to 60 degrees when she got home from work!  Today, there’s white stuff falling from the sky and it’s cold again.  I don’t like the cold.  I’m not built for the cold.  Today it took Mom longer than normal to get home with the kids from school.  Then she made the kids put on all sorts of layers and made them go outside to PLAY in the white stuff while she shoveled the driveway and sidewalk.  I tried to tell them that it was a bad idea by barking at them from inside, but they stayed out there for a while.

Chili Dawg loved the white stuff.  He would go out there and roll around in it and make snow angels.  Chili Dawg would have loved today.  I wonder if he sent us the white stuff?


Blizzard February 2011- Chili's Last Snow


Four Months

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).

Chili Dawg Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas

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.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Pure Crabby-ness

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.

To Love & Be Loved…

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.

My special blanket