Happy Second Birthday, Lexi

2/16/14

Dear Lexi,  Happy 2nd Birthday.  I love you, sweetie-pie. What a good, good dog you are,  so cute and affectionate.Lexi1

You were a nasty, wild, hurtful puppy, weren’t you? Don’t look so sad, you didn’t know better. I know you are sorry. You were just an oral devil dog, digging those demon sharp puppy teeth into our arms and legs and clamping down. We probably tasted better than all the chew toys we bought you. Our welts gave you texture, right? Grandma kept telling us to “give you back” every single day but I couldn’t do that. Many trainers tried but they all said “You’ve got a really willful puppy there but if/when she grows out of it you’ll have a really great dog.”And, sweet girl that is who you have become.(Thank God)

At about eighteen months, from one day to the next while we were busy doing other things you became a dog, an amazing dog. One that cuddles and protects us, hugs us and plays with us. You are the dog we always wanted, we just needed to give you and ourselves a little more time.

It taught us all about being more patient, didn’t it?

Right now you are sleeping with your head on my knee, nuzzling, a part of you always has to be directly on me.  You know each member of the family so well. With Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain I do spend a lot of time in bed and that’s where you come, leaping on the bed, to be with me, happily. When “Dad” is around you get the leash, go to the front door, and start whimpering. You get instantly wild when your brother comes to visit, but we know he provokes you. He allows you to be wild, we don’t. Yes, I know, YOU are WAY cool when you rough house together.

Oh, but when your sister comes home from college you hear her parking her car and you run to the front door and start crying until she comes in.  Yes, our daughter, your sister, will kneel down to your level and you hug each other while you cover her with kisses. That picture of the two of you on the ground stays in my heart forever.

Have a Happy 2nd Birthday, thank you for choosing us at the shelter to be your family.Lexi2

Love, Mom

Advertisements

Carry on Tuesday: Time will pass and seasons will come and go.

Trixie-a rescued kennel dog

Trixie-a rescued kennel dog (Photo credit: waycooldogs)

The Time In Between

How would you feel if you woke up one ordinary sunny morning and realized that you were now old? No, really, old. It wasn’t from a horror film or a nightmare but it was just realizing what you were seeing up close, really seeing in the mirror. It happened to me, from one night to the next and I was absolutely horrified. That couldn’t be me, could it? Really? Getting older is something I talk about with friends, in the abstract, I talk to people around the same age that I am or family members, but not seriously. Sure we all have some gentle fears for the future and the unknown but we can all relate to it. Any fears we have go away with our yoga class and deep breathing exercises.  Until the day, that one different day, months later, when you are not able to breathe and my heart felt pain all the time and those thoughts become wilder and it truly is alarming. My husband, Gary, called 911 and the ambulance came eventually. Oh, how I didn’t want that, all that fanfare, stretchers and backboards and people taking my pulse and giving me oxygen with the whole street outside, I hated it but I knew there was no choice, so I closed my eyes and with my wicked sense of humor, pretended to be dead.

When the doctor finally came in to see me in the Emergency Room and told me that my heart was perfect and that I had experienced a panic attack, I couldn’t decide if I was relieved or embarrassed at the diagnosis. All they did was hook me up to some oxygen and some sort of sedative and soon I was sleeping. When the doctor ( he looked about 14 ) said I was okay to leave he gave me a prescription for anxiety medication, little orange pills for when I felt this way again, which was probable,”for people your age” the young intern said cheerfully. He said “probable” not “possible” and “for people my age.” What the hell was that supposed to mean? Even though I was groggy, I hated him just for that.

It made me think alright, I guess I couldn’t deny any longer the little things that were happening to me. Like that I  had no hearing at all from my left ear, that my muscles had atrophied so much that when I walked up a flight of stairs I wheezed and clung to the stair rail and that when Bootsie, our dog passed we didn’t replace her and we had been such dog lovers because dogs became too much trouble for us.

Gary started sleeping next door in the “extra bedroom” because of his snoring and sleep apnea and after a while, I got over the loneliness and I really didn’t mind having a room all to myself. I  just stopped caring and this was easier for both of us. Time was whizzing by, seasons came and they left but the routines remained the same, it’s not as if they were traveling the world or doing exciting things, truly they were JUST the things we did every single day.

Wasn’t I just young? Wasn’t that just yesterday? First, playing on the street corners with my friends, then high school and college. Growing up to be independent and living on my own. Getting married and having the two joys of my life, our son and daughter, then they left us too. It all went in a circle but it kept spinning over and over again.I wore jeans and sneakers in college and I still wear them except now I need orthotics in my shoes. My pants are from the “mom” section and my daughter, when she comes to visit with me, rolls her eyes up in disgust.

Time passes, seasons come and go, people die and babies are born, things are fair and yes, unfair and we have no choice but to hang on for dear life. We need to choose to either fight fiercely for the ride or just give in. Today, Gary and I are going to the animal shelter, we have talked about it; we want to adopt a dog again, hopefully not a dog that needs to run around a lot but a dog that needs love, just like us. We will continue to live and fight, get out of bed and walk that dog, together, for however long we have. We’ll name her Trixie.

Learning To Love Lexi

Lexi – photo by author

After our family dog, Callie, died from cancer of the spleen from one moment to the next, I was heartbroken. We all were. This happened shortly after her           tenth birthday party, a tradition in our home, mocked by the boys but revered by the girls. This year, being her BIG birthday, even the boys made an appearance and I was so happy. I even bought the number 10 candles and put them in her special mushy dog food that we gave her once a year as a treat. Little did we know it would be her last birthday and that she would die shortly thereafter. My son took me aside after she died and said quietly “Really glad you had that birthday party, Mom, it was a good party.” Of course, I burst into tears but was grateful.

Of the four of us and our neighbors, I was the most emotional; I’m always the most emotional. I couldn’t walk around our small, cozy house without crying. It was too quiet in the house, no one followed me or greeted me at the door, no one loved me like Callie did and I missed her desperately. I grieved intensely  for a while and then decided I was the type of person who needed a dog. Against the lectures of my family, I started visiting animal shelters on my own, with my husband and with my friend, Sarah.

After months of visiting, holding, petting, I hadn’t found the right dog for us. I had been told to adopt an older animal (and next time I really will) but at this point I didn’t want to miss a minute of a puppy’s young life. I looked at older dogs but not seriously. I was happy just being near dogs and puppies until one day, my thirtieth trip to an animal shelter but the second trip to the North Shore Animal League, my friend Sarah and I walked in and my eyes met the sleepy eyes of a rust colored puppy, curled up in a circle, sleeping. I had just met MY dog. We fell in love. I asked to see her, this “German Shepard Mix” and soon I was led to an inside room and she was in my lap, all kisses and hugs and sleepy sweetness. When another woman asked me if I was taking that dog, I immediately said “Yes, this was MY dog” and so she became mine. My friend Sarah and I filled out the papers, (I tell the dog that she has two mommies) and I called my husband and said “Honey, it’s a girl!”

I named her Lexi (were both names from my favorite show Grey’s Anatomy?) and I sat in the back seat, Lexi sleeping in my lap, while Sarah drove us home ever so carefully to avoid the huge pot holes in the road. I did not substitute Lexi for Callie, it was a different love, a new love, a love I had to grow into and an important lesson to learn. There are no two loves alike in this world. You can love equally but not exactly alike. This applies to every type of love there is, it’s a huge life lesson.

I admit, I had forgotten what having a puppy was like, after all, I was ten years older now and that makes a big difference. I think my puppy years are behind me and while I know I will always be a “dog person” I can see adopting an older dog in the future. But, what was most different were their personalities, Callie was a lap dog, a fearful dog, terrified of being in cars, scared of people, perhaps abused before she came to us. She liked nothing better than to stay at home in her comfort zone, yet she was perfectly attuned to my feelings. Lexi, wild thing, crazy dog, likes nothing better than to hop in the back seat and go for a ride, has the strength of a bull, loves to play, jump and go places and hasn’t shown a lot of tenderness (yet.) She’s fun and playful and but when I fell on the ground once, she didn’t leave me, I even saw concern in her eyes and gratitude in mine. Once she’s through her puppy phase I’m hoping she will settle down and be a really great dog. Actually, I’m counting on it.

Jillian, Leaving

Good bye Mum II

Good bye Mum II (Photo credit: Annette Blachere)

August 2012

My daughter, fresh and sparkling like a newly opened bottle of champagne continues to have the glow and effervescence from celebrating her 18th birthday. She sleeps in the room across from mine, her eyes closed, her skin radiant like early morning dew. Mornings, when her door is ajar, I sneak a peek at how she looks while she sleeps. Sometimes, I can only see her head, the rest of her body nestled in her blanket.  Once in a while, she sleeps on her back, with her arms straight back, resting on her pillow, a position she used to sleep in as a baby.  I look at her peaceful face and shut the door, ever so quietly, behind me.

I keep track of the number of days left before she heads to her first year of college. I gulp and turn my face away so she doesn’t see me start to cry.  She does not appreciate open displays of emotion, it makes her feel uncomfortable. My “baby”, my blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty, is going away to college, far away. Last year, I drove her brother to his first day at college and I didn’t think it would be that hard again but it is, maybe it’s worse.

“Don’t go” I want to scream out loud and carry on, hysterically and out of control, but I know I can’t do that. I can’t show her how I really feel. This job as “mom” takes on new heights, it is as difficult for me to hide my feelings as it is for my daughter to show hers but I will fake it, for her.  You have to do what is right for your child, not you. The tears sting inside me, my head aches from my effort not to break down in tears but this what parenting is all about. Parenting becomes a whole new paradigm.

We spent a lot of time together this summer and there seemed to be a shift in our relationship, it was warmer, easier, less complicated.  Why couldn’t we be fighting now so the leaving wouldn’t be so painful? I am thrilled she is going to a good school and I hope she will be very happy there but I admit, it will be so quiet in our house without her brother and her. I understand that my sadness is entirely selfish.

On the other hand, my husband and I will have more time for each other. We are finally and officially “empty-nesters” though I despise that term. Recently, after our first dog died of cancer I adopted a puppy so our nest will still have a dog to make some noise, to give us kisses. Of course, it was not a coincidence.  When I fell in love with a small, reddish-brown puppy at the animal shelter I knew I had to give her a home. I named her Lexi.

To my daughter: I love you with all my heart and soul and I will miss you terribly. I’m glad that you are going to college and I am so proud of you and your accomplishments. But, I will miss watching “Friends” with you. I will miss your honey blonde hair wrapped casually but perfectly in a top bun, your keen sense of humor, our veggie burgers eaten together and even your endless love for clothes shopping. This summer was one of the nicest we’ve had together and I hold it and you in my heart forever. Just remember, if you need me, I will always be there for you.  Love you always, Mom

Plinky: Are You A CAT, DOG or Other Person?

  • Cat Lady? Not This Chick!
  • Meet Lexi
  • WOOF!!!
    I am totally, completely, officially and enthusiastically a DOG person. I had a cat when I was growing up and I did love her however I became very allergic to cats. Besides, cats are too aloof and independent for me. I got my first dog (from an animal shelter) ten years ago and I loved her with all my heart. She was everything you could want in a dog and more: affectionate, beautiful, sweet, gave unconditional love, a lap dog and truly my best friend. She was a dog with a soul. She sensed my emotions and when my dad passed away she would always be near me, licking up my tears.
    When Callie, died abruptly from cancer of the spleen exactly ten years later I was heartbroken. I never thought I would get over it, she was the best, most beautiful dog ever, her black and white tail was like a long paint brush always sweeping from left to right.
    I didn’t like my life without a dog so I started going to animal shelters a couple of months after she died. Against my husband’s better judgment to get an older dog, I fell in love with a tiny, brown short-haired puppy. As soon as I saw her I knew I had to adopt her. I named her Lexi. She is barely 6 months old now and she is a completely different dog but I love her so much. Lexi is playful and more daring and while she is not as affectionate as my first dog was, when she wags her little upright tale, and stands at the window when I leave, I know she loves me too.

Mellow Yellow Monday – Golden (Yellow) Labs

Another picture of my yellow lab

Another picture of my yellow lab (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I adopted a dog recently from an animal shelter, we think she’s a combination of a German Shepard and Yellow Lab. Adopting a dog instead of buying one makes me happy; getting a new dog after my old dog died made me happy. Any shade of the color yellow makes me happy. Today my pick for Mellow Yellow Monday are Yellow Labs. I know, all you can do is smile and say “Awwww.”( p.s. this is NOT my dog)

Who Am I?

I’m a young female who loves to drink, I’ve been very thirsty lately. I shouldn’t like alcohol, everyone said I would hate it but I have to admit I kind of like it in minimal amounts. Not me. I hate to admit it but I’ve been hungry all the time too. My new favorites are Greek yogurt (plain) bananas, and coffee. Oh I know I shouldn’t drink too much coffee and I don’t but the smell overwhelms me and the pretty mug with the bright colors on it make me just want to lick it all up.

You want to know what I look like? I’m a honey-colored blonde with some brunette streaks, I like my nails to be long and stylish. I’m into athletics and I love to run, the faster the better. I’ve been dying to go on races with friends but I have to wait for some injuries to heal. I’m not a very patient being. I have tons of energy but also like to nap, I’m not ashamed of that. Napping, when you can do it, is utterly delicious. Do you want to nap with me sometime?

I don’t like chocolate, though my parents sure do, but I’m a peanut butter addict. The scent of peanut butter intoxicates me. I lick it up as slowly as possible to make it last just a wee bit longer. I like to dance, to cut up a rug, as the “old people” used to say, and I have the most fun playing frisbee. I am an outdoors person and I can’t wait for the weather to be a little warmer so I can swim, just being near water makes me happy. Water, sand, sunshine? LOVE IT!

I run around a lot, I need to be social, my parents don’t like that as much as I do, they worry about me. Today, my mom fell and she lay in the grass but as much as I was tempted to run, I couldn’t. I stayed by her to make sure she was alright and she got all teary-eyed and she kissed me and thanked me. I could tell she was emotional though I am not sure why.

Tomorrow is something they call Mother’s Day and I think, somehow, that should have a lot of meaning for me. Do you give up? Huh? Huh? Do you know who I am?  Aww, by now you must have guessed it, or did I fool you??? It’s me, Lexi, Laurie ‘s (I think that’s her name) puppy but I just call her Mom. Without her and Aunt Sarah picking me from the animal shelter I could still be there, lonely and tired all the time, all alone in my cage. They saved me, and they wanted me, only me! So, even though that holiday that is special is tomorrow, I don’t know why I have to wait till then to say: Mama, Happy Mother’s Day, you saved my life and I hope in some way, I saved yours. Love, from your daughter Pup, Lexi

*I Will Carry You UPDATE

Field of Snow

Image by spodzone via Flickr

 

Dear Callie Dog,

A human neighbor saw you the day before yesterday and she commented that you looked “old.” I was offended on your behalf and hurt and I tried not to show it but inside I was sad and angry and yes, scared. Human people don’t go up to other people and say “you really look old.” I know they wouldn’t do that so why on earth did she have to say it about you? Don’t worry sweet dog, sometimes humans have no manners.

If you can no longer jump on the bed, I will carry you. I will hold you in my arms so that you feel safe and talk to you in sweet, soothing whispers. My voice would stay calm and high so that you would know that things are fine. I don’t want, for a minute, for you to feel afraid. I love you more now than I did when I brought you home from the animal shelter at six weeks. We’ve gone through a lot together.

I now see the wisdom in your eyes, those wide brown eyes, contrasting your snowy white chin and whiskers. You look beautiful to me. You may not be able to jump as high as you used to when you were younger but you still jump and most importantly, you still enjoy it. I know you are waiting for the winter, for the snow to fall, so you can play in it. Sometimes we call you “snow dog” because you love the snow so much. Dad will play his game of shoveling the snow with his snow shovel and he will throw it high up in the air and you will bark, as clear as the sound of laughter, when you jump right into the snow. By the way, I hope you know that Dad has as much fun with this game as you do, maybe even more. I know I hate the snow and I’m sorry I don’t go out as much in it but the best part of having snow, to me, is watching your joy. When you have to leave me, please know, that every time it snows, I will picture you in it. I will still hear your delight as you jumped and bounced and tumbled in the white stuff you loved so much. Whenever it snows, I will think of you.

We have both grown up this year haven’t we? Change is happening all around us and we are learning to cope with it and deal with it and most of all accept it.  We’ve gotten so much better, you and I. Last time we went in the car together you were scared but that’s okay. I get scared of things too, but we make ourselves do new things even if we feel nervous at first. Remember by the end of the car ride how you stuck your head out the window, looked outside, showed everyone your happy face and your wagging tongue? It was lovely to see.

I will love you forever, Callie, my first dog. Though I don’t want this to happen for a long time, you should know that if you are ever in pain, and I see it in your eyes, I will not let you suffer. One thing I know, I will look into your brown pudding eyes and you will look back into my green eyes and we will talk wordlessly and understand each other as we always do. Any decisions we need to make, we will make together, the two of us. You can crawl into my lap, just like you did the first time we met, and I will hold you tight and not let go until I have to.

For now, while you lay beside me, sleeping, just know I will always comfort you. Whether it is thundering and lightening or hailing outside like it did last night, I will always protect you. Last night, I wrapped my arms around your silken body and I held you and stroked you and talked to you so that you would stop shaking so severely.What I want to say now is simple;  thank you for your love and loyalty and kindness. For kissing my tears away, licking my face and sharing blueberries with me. I enjoy our “cookie game” as much as you do. I take a vanilla cookie and hold half of it outside my lips, you take it out of my mouth and we share it. I will try hard, when you are no longer with us, to fight to remember the good times and not just cry at my loss. I will try Cal, I really will; all I can do is to promise to try.

Love,

Mom

*Dedicated to Rosemary’s dog, Mr. H. Rest In Peace.

UPDATE: CALLIE died six months later from cancer.

Dog Lovers Unite!

an old man

Image by adm via Flickr

My sweet dog, Callie, is lying at the foot of the bed sleeping peacefully. She is nine years old yet she acts like a puppy, an older puppy. The other day when I took her for a walk a neighbor said “wow, he’s really gotten old, huh?” I am not a violent person but at that moment I wanted to club him. I was personally offended and wish I had responded with something like “well you look ancient too” but I was too shocked to answer. I told my daughter the story, she considers our dog “her baby” and she immediately hated the man for the same reason. Would I tell this person that he has aged considerably or that his son is a weed-smoking, drunken, troubled and nasty teenager?” Of course I wouldn’t(not that it isn’t tempting now.)

Of course, I know, my dog’s fur has changed from black to gray and white near her chin and adorable cheeks and she can’t jump as high in the snow as she used to jump. It’s called life, getting older, soon old man, you will not be able to walk as easily as you do now. Ever think of that? Perhaps you will need a little help in the future with a cane or a walker, I wouldn’t point that out to you, how dare you point that out to my dog? That’s just plain bad manners.

Older dogs are special, they bring their own kind of wisdom and charm. But, in the back of my mind I do worry about the future. When I found out that I was pregnant with my second child I really worried as all first moms do, if I would be able to love my second child as much as my first-born? ‘The answer: ABSOLUTELY. I recently asked a friend, a fellow dog lover (and ballerina) if the same thing happens when your first dog, um….you know..gets older or sick and…dies can you love another dog the same way? “Oh yes” she said enthusiastically, “of course you do.”

My dog sighs happily beside me, my arm is around her soft fur, whispering to her softly. I love this dog so much that while her whiskers may be white, she will always be the 6 week old puppy that climbed into my lap, and never left. I will have that memory forever, and I will always love you, no matter what.

My Pet

Eye of a Border collie puppy

Image via Wikipedia

I ❤ My Dog Callie

Her name is Callie and I rescued her from an animal shelter nine years ago. She and her sister, 6 week old puppies were returned from a mean old man who took both of them for ONE WEEK and then returned them to the shelter because “they were too much trouble.” I guess I should be grateful to this guy because after all, that’s how Callie, my dog and I, met.

I was seated on the floor of the animal shelter when the woman in charge of the shelter put two puppies down on the floor with me. One was off eating electrical wires, the other one climbed into my lap and never left. I wanted to bring both the dogs home but my husband put his foot down on that idea. I couldn’t help myself, the little puppy that sighed after she snuggled into my lap was my dog forever. I’m sure her sister was a much braver dog, she probably goes for rides in cars and likes to explore things. My dog is happiest curled up next to me on the bed. She’s sensitive and intuitive. The other night I was sad and I was crying. Callie came on the bed and stood in front of me, licking my tears, kissing my face. I put my arms around her now gray and white neck and gave her a hug and we stayed like that for what seemed to be a long time. When I felt better, it looked as if she was smiling at me as she hopped down from the bed to happily lap up some water and go downstairs.

Powered by Plinky