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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

"Ob-la-di ob-la-da Life Goes On"

Its probably good that life exists on a continuum and not just all highs or lows. Either one is exhausting and drains lifes experiences of their meaning.

So while I walked through a world devoid of joy following Emmes death I tried to remind myself that this was what acute grief feels like and that time would help.

I felt as fragile as an eggshell with the insides blown out and at the same time curiously numb. Im sure many factors contributed to that. The rapidity of the progression of Emmes disease especially.

That time will always serve as a reminder to me that we all grieve differently based on our own unique set of circumstances and that the only thing a grieving person needs or even can comprehend is the language of compassion spoken in the key of kindness.

So as I mentioned in my last entry, I got an email with a picture of a puppy who definitely did NOT know how to "sell" himself.

That alone was pitiful. I was pitiful. He was pitiful. It seemed like a good omen to take each other on.

Salvation doesnt always come wrapped and labeled as such does it? But he has been mine.

I couldnt ever replace or find another Emme if I waited a week or 50 years so it seemed that I should just jump in. Follow my heart.

He was born when a cur stray wandered in to a biker bar one night. The bikers convinced the owner to let the dog stay and they made her a bed, on whence she proceeded to lay down and have 8 puppies.

The bikers took up a collection to take mama and the pups to a Vet who gave them the name of a rescue group which could help. The biker group sponsored the care of the puppies and each one was given a biker related name.

The puppy I would eventually get was named Ryder. He had a hard go of it.. Round after round of treatment for worms. Then a skin infection. Finally diagnosed and treated as ringworm. So all during the month of October, as his siblings one after the other went to homes, he stayed in foster care visiting the Vet for treatments.

This meant he was held just long enough for me to go through my caring for Emme all through that same month of October.

So he sat in no mans land- not adopted and I came out of my grief just long enough to see his picture in the middle of November.

When I went to the agency to see about adopting him they told me I couldn't see him because he was medically unavailable (the ringworm thing). I was about to turn and leave and the woman said "wait a minute, are you the one who sent me the email?" Turns out I was. I thought they would have gotten lots of emails with offers to adopt him but no....

just me!

So I brought him home the same day.

He is a big galoof. Such a puppy, full time chewing and piddling and wanting to play at bedtime. Just like a baby.

I have no idea what breed he is. Emme was Boxer/Pit. I like that combination a lot. He has a boxer trait - that one of turning their head to the side.

But he also points his foot like a bird dog and bays like a blood hound when excited LOL, he is just a bit of this and a bit of that I am guessing.

I love him.

After a week together I changed his name. I like to let my dogs tell me their own name, they will if you observe hard enough.

So his name is Brigg. He has come to it from the first time I tried it.

I freak him out when I sing (see below) especially when I sing Celine Dion (this might be a good place to mention that I cant sing at all).

But other than that, we're golden.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015


What comes to mind when you think of a masterpiece?
A one of a kind creation that even as you gaze upon it you know it will never be duplicated.
A unique stand alone thing.
The Mona Lisa? The Eiffel Tower? Mozart?
Relationships, while not leaving a standing body of work, can be just as much of a beautiful, breathtaking treasure.
A once in a lifetime thing.
Early October. when the air is getting crisp and I was finally painting the front door which had been planned months earlier. Having my best help, helped.

A 2 yr old little boy and my dog Emme who both found the process fascinating, leaving two yr old brush strokes and paw prints that I will forever treasure.

Seven days in to the month, Em started limping. I thought maybe she brushed too close to one of the big semis she now and then chased but thankfully with less frequency as she matured in to an adult dog. It would have been not so likely now as when she was young but not unheard of either.
After some home treatment which didnt help I made an appointment with the Vet she hated - not the Vet, she liked him, she was a country dog and didnt like offices....
So in to the dreaded office we went, as she seemed to really feel injured this time - this from my "toughie". The good news - nothing broken, probably tissue bruising and pain killers to remedy that.

A week later the pain was worse. Back we went to the office for deeper, more comprehensive x-rays where she would be put to sleep. Turns out the limp was from osteosarcoma in her left foreleg. Bone cancer.

Prognosis - 4 pain filled months if no treatment.

12 to 18 with surgical amputation and chemo

6 pain free months with amputation alone while we wait for it to metastasize to the lungs which it certainly will with compassionate euthanasia at that point.

And they call that choices?

I made it to the car.
My only thought "I cannot cry and upset her - I cannot wreck this car."

At this point my phone rang (isnt that always the way?) Poor Handsome Son calling about something totally coincidental and I blurted it all out to him. He mentioned a nearby plaza parking lot and said "GO THERE"

I did and he was waiting with a diet cherry coke from our favorite burger joint across the street.
I went over the options while Em lolled on the seat beside us, happy on pain pills and glad to be out of the office and riding in the car (one of her favorite pastimes).
After sucking down the solid comfort of his presence as well as few gulps of cold soda, I was able to drive home to find a very somber crew of workers and family.

Emme went inside for a nap (pain pills are so awesome) while we all gathered outside to talk and cry and decide.
It took two days and lots of philosophical delving to come up with what would be best for Emme.
Not us.

I loved my friends and family who all strained their emotions and brains to help make this hard decision.
We decided to amputate and go full on with all natural remedies we could find.

A week later she had the amputation and did amazingly well. She did have a slight breathing issue (rapidity) that I hoped was anesthesia related and would pass.
After a very pain free and happy week in which she was loved and doted on by everyone who knew her and eating expensive raw steak and other favorite treats, she spiked a fever. A trip in to the Vet for blood work revealed zero infection in the almost healed surgical site.

The panting and the temp spiking....I kinda knew.
The last night I spent sitting on the couch watching her sleep while the wind blew wild and free outside.

Dawn came and she seemed thirsty and lapped up water and laid down again. I laid down with her exhausted from vigilant watching all night and convinced we had turned some kind of corner. Which it turns out we had...turned a corner I mean.
Laying beside her on floor, my head on the edge of her bed, I fell asleep. I woke up nose to nose with my favorite creature. 

She was watching me. I told her everything I had ever wanted to say to her about her. About her being one of the most wonderful teachers and friends and so much a part of me,
She gave me a look that I hope I can always hang on to in my memory. It was bright and piercing and knowing and full of affectionate humor.

Then she slumped over to one side.
She died there in my arms on a peaceful sun filled morning.
It was November 1.

What can be said?
We buried her where we bury our most beloved pets here on the farm. The men did the burying, I wasnt there - I couldnt.
I heard they all stood at the grave and without anything being said, took off their hats though.

Dilly brought an arm full of sunflowers and food from our favorite Mexican restaurant and a case of Corona.
We all gathered, ate, and told favorite Emme stories.
It was a beautiful, perfect day.

Then the hard part starts right?
Where you try to pick up life and nothing is the same?
I wasnt sleeping or eating and I was trying very hard not to act "sad".

I must not have been doing very well because after a week or so I got an email from Dilly. It said "would this help?"

It was a picture of a puppy splayed out on the ground. He was up for adoption. Poor thing didnt even have the presence to hold himself up and try to look appealing.

I felt my heart zing. Just a twitch, but so nice to feel instead of just to ache. I applied to the rescue online rescue site and after a bit of this and that I got him.

But I am getting ahead of myself....
I wanted a blog post about Em and now I have written this. If I wrote until my fingers fell off, it wouldnt be enough about her.

Her beauty of spirit, her wild untamed heart, her intuitive sense.

I learned so much from her. As one friend said, "she was your spirit guide."

Yes, she was.