Haiku Heights – Home

English: Love heart

English: Love heart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my sleep, afraid

my foot searches for his leg

I sigh with relief.

******************************************************

A short visit home

Daughter pops out of her car

Running for a hug

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Her tail wags with joy

dog dashes and jumps on me

rust- colored, grinning.

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My heart is a pool

for those that I love dearly

Keep each other warm.

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I Blame My Dog 100 Percent

Dog sunny Day Afternoon

Dog sunny Day Afternoon (Photo credit: allert)

It’s not my fault that I fell yesterday, really. It’s HER fault. My dog, (mega-puppy) pulled me so hard that she knocked me down on the driveway to greet our neighbors across the street. Granted, I am not strong. I have Fibromyalgia and NO balance so that is my “fault.” She left me lying down on the pavement. Twice. What happened to dogs being loyal? Not this one. I tried to get up and what does she do? She yanks the leash again and down I stay with another set of bruised knees (on top of the last set.)

I didn’t have time to drop the leash, this girl is fast and strong.  Not to mention that she made me drop my Fribble! To those of you who don’t know (and I am a recent convert) a Fribble is a milkshake that Friendly’s makes from soft serve (my friend Mark said it was from ice-milk so I’m not 100 percent sure if either or both are correct.) It’s cold, thick, creamy and utterly ( those of you who really know me, I was tempted to say udderly) delicious. Lexi made me drop my coveted vanilla Fribble all over the driveway and the rest of the day went downhill after that. Thank you Lexi.

So, with bumps and bruises all over, I limped into the house with super-puppy in the hands of our neighbor and my husband helping me up and inside. It’s time for the big guns to be called. I know I have a balance issue and yes, I know I am not strong but this is getting ridiculous. My husband is threatening to call the canine police trainer and have him come out and train Lexi to behave. He was here once before and always said she was a willful pup; I hate to break her spirit but she needs to learn to behave before I break my spine. Before he comes, I am trying to train her myself, with a very short leash and many clicking sounds.

I can always go back and get another Fribble but I can’t afford to be falling anymore. I love my dog, returning her is NOT an option. (You know who you are who suggested this) She is now sleeping on my bed, keeping me company but I do need to train her so she doesn’t pull so much. I have tried every leash in the universe. Lexi, you’re a cute puppy, but I have never met a stronger, more willful puppy anywhere. Even my friends agree that you are incredibly strong for one so young. I’m hoping you will mellow and I know you will be a great dog. You are now seven months and yes, still a puppy. When exactly do you become an adult dog and calm down? For my part, I will try to do some strength building exercise slowly, I promise. We’re in this together.

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.

Plinky Prompt: Sea or Sky?

  • Where I Belong
  • I Want To Live By The Sea With A Smiling Dog
  • Sea I’ll take water for a hundred please, Alex. (Sorry, I don’t know why that popped in my head!!) In all cases, truly all cases, I will pick water over any other element or choice. Water, for me, is in my spirit and soul. It is what soothes me and scares me, it makes me feel overwhelmed by its presence and comforted by its existence. Water can make me happy, sad, fluid, strong, peaceful. I love being in the water, in the sea, my body becomes pain-free and joy replaces pain; I am buoyant, I am calm, happy. I am in my element. I wish I could live by the sea forever or as close to it as possible, that is my dream.

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.

The Healing Powers Of A Puppy

When our dog, Callie died, I thought I would never feel happiness again. She was my first dog, the most gentle, shy, docile animal on the planet. She was scared of everything and only wanted reassurance and comfort; she loved my lap and my bed. She was frightened of external stimulation, loud noises, new people, she just felt safe with her family. We, of course, got her from an animal shelter and adopted her at six weeks; she had already been adopted at four weeks by another man. She was sweet and loving, and could read my feelings better than anyone else. Callie saw me through my father’s death, the most painful experience of my life. When I cried, she licked my tears and wouldn’t leave my side.

The risk you take of getting a shelter dog is that their past is somewhat of a mystery and you need to accept that. The dogs or puppies do come with some baggage, but really, don’t we all? I’m definitely a rescue dog person, I can’t, personally, see the need to go to a pet store to buy a pedigree but it’s just my personal preference.

Callie was an amazing first dog, she was not a problem for one second except that she was  afraid to socialize with other dogs, wary of new people and was anxious. Our backyard was fine for her, walks were okay but she needed to stay close to home and she hated the car. I always dreamed of taking her to the beach or a lake so she could swim but she got near water and ran away, terrified.

When, from one day to another, she wouldn’t look me in the eye and yelped quietly twice, I brought her to the vet, he told us that there was a mass on her spleen and he needed to operate. Once he operated he saw that 75 percent of her body was filled with cancer. We were in shock; there were no signs. She didn’t even trouble us in her pain, her last, dying days. We did not want her to suffer,  the vet suggested we end her life while she was in surgery and we agreed. With the lovely technician, Stephanie, covering her face with kisses, Callie left our world, without suffering any pain. Pain was for the human beings she left behind, extreme pain.

I didn’t think I could get over it. I cried, all day and night, she was my girl. We understood each other and for at least a solid month I was depressed and nothing could get me out of it, except time. I found I also needed to be near other dogs so I visited other animal shelters. I wasn’t ready to adopt but being around dogs helped me heal. I went to shelters about twice a week, looking at the older dogs, smiling at the puppies, asking about volunteering. Each time I thought I was honoring Callie, little did I know I was helping to heal myself.

My husband and I went to a couple of shelters together, he was definitely not ready to adopt but he was open to looking. We looked together but there wasn’t a dog that “felt” right and that was fine. A couple of weeks later, I went with my friend, Sarah, and what I was looking for was sleeping right in front of me, curled up like a little cinnamon cupcake. I loved her immediately, or rather fell in love with her. I did walk around the shelter (not really seriously) but I came back to “my” dog and asked to hold her. It went quickly from there, adoption procedures were started, I welcomed her to our family.

Yes, I thought about my chronic illnesses, Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and my age, 55 with a new puppy. It really is like being a mother to a newborn. Did I doubt myself? A couple of times. Did I regret it? Not for a second. Is it challenging? As Sarah Palin used to say “You Betcha.” I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Lexi is NOT Callie’s replacement, there is love in my heart for many people and now I know, many dogs. She is nothing like my first dog, my first love. She is a rambunctious, rebel-rouser, biting, jumping, super-active pup. She has found the stairs and climbed up them in three days; we had to train Callie to go up them because she was so scared. Lexi is fearless, too fearless sometimes and we need to work to reign her in. As you can imagine, my nickname for her is “Marley to the Max” based on the wonderful book “Marley and Me.”

How can you heal a broken heart? Many different ways, of course. For me, I welcomed a homeless puppy into our home. One crazy, willful, gorgeous, “*mutt-a-gree” dog with big brown, rebellious eyes and short, warm, silky fur. Do I still have my chronic aches and pains? Yes. Do I feel them more? Sometimes, but I can’t concentrate on them, I don’t have the time. Am I happy? Absolutely. Did I do the right thing? For me and my family, for our new puppy? Without a doubt, yes. There is no doubt about it, we saved each other. each other.

*ASPCA

**Lexi, 10 weeks

DEDICATED TO STEPHANIE

Saltwater Tears

dog fetch

dog fetch (Photo credit: mallix)

I decided that if I cried while swimming in the ocean, it wouldn’t count. I knew there was no logic behind this but it felt like tears would just blend in with salt water. So, while swimming in- between the high green Florida waves, I would cry, sob sometimes, because my dog had died a little more than a week ago.

Many years ago I used to be the kind of person that saw a sympathy card for a dog and I would roll my eyes and think to myself ‘it’s just a dog’ for goodness sake. That was before I ever had a dog. Once I had a dog, who became so ingrained in our family’s lives, things changed. I am grieving the loss of our dog; more emotionally, of course, than the rest of the family.

When I think back on the night before she died I could kick myself. I wasn’t open to receiving her messages like I usually was because I was too upset. But, she told me in the blinks of her eyes that she would be leaving, she was saying good-bye only I wasn’t ready to listen. I know now. Thank you, sweet girl.

Before we took her for surgery I gave her the talk I had given her many times before. I cradled her soft face with my hands and whispered to her my same speech: “You know I love you Callie, I love you so much, we all do but I promise, not to let you suffer. I know you don’t want to suffer pain and I don’t want that for you. I love you too much.” Once I kissed her and nuzzled her she happily went off with the technician at the veterinarian, I didn’t know I would never see her again. I felt optimistic, not a feeling that comes naturally to me.

When the veterinarian called, from surgery, my heart stopped. He had opened my dog up and told me that the mass he had found did indeed turn out to be cancerous. Not only was it cancerous but it had spread to 75 percent of her body. He said “thought what we had said about not wanting her to suffer and this is what he would do personally if she was his dog, he would not wake her up.” I agreed, rationally, as did my husband. In no way, did we want our dog to suffer; I had made a promise to my dog and I was determined to keep it.

After that, reality set in. The healthy looking dog I had cuddled with this morning was dead? How could that be? She had no symptoms at all except for two very quiet little yelps, that I hadn’t even heard, two days before and then she returned to her old,  self. She ate, she played, she climbed up the stairs and jumped on the bed in her usual position right next to me. By moving her neck around she showed me where she wanted to be scratched and I obliged. The only sign that something was different was that for a brief period of an hour or two she wouldn’t look at me and she hid under my husband’s desk and her eyes would not meet mine; she looked away.

I had kept my promise to my dog, I had not let her suffer any pain. I told her how much I loved her and what a great dog she was. I told her how the whole family loved her. All the right things were done. I understand that it was a shock, I understand she is dead. I cannot understand WHY my mind keeps forgetting that when we come home from the airport tomorrow she will not be there, on the other side of the door,  barking and whimpering, eager to welcome us home with her gentle, wet kisses.

I don’t know how to handle that, I think it is just one more thing to get through and yes, I will probably cry.

If I Were an Animal

cute dog on table

cute dog on table (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Pedigrees Need Not Apply

Without a doubt I’d be a dog, but not just anyone’s dog, but my dog. A dog in my family is loved beyond reason, is treated with kisses and hugs and table treats and secret snacks. She is adored, deeply, fully; we go on walks, we play games in the back yard; I warm my feet underneath her body when she lies on the bed with me. We have a pretty albeit small home, we feel safe here together. My dog, Callie, gives back every ounce of love she gets and more. Every time one of us walks in the front door she is so happy to see us that she gives kisses and hugs and licks; there’s always a celebration at our house. A celebration of love and yes, she gets a small birthday party every single year that my daughter and I throw along with our neighbors. My husband and son are no longer even INVITED.

Besides, the dog and I have a secret promise together, something only we know. I promised never to leave her, ever, but also, not to let her suffer terribly in pain down the road. We will make decisions together, she and I, and that I will be with her, looking into her beautiful velvet eyes, as the last person she sees, the person who loved her the most.

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What Makes Me Cry

old dog

Imagining myself in the future with my old dog, in the veterinarian’s office. My dog is older than she is now and very sick. She can’t be cured and paying thousands and thousands of dollars for treatments that will just prolong her pain and make her suffer is not what I want for her. It’s been hard enough to look at her these last few months and hear her whimper in pain, I cannot see my beloved dog suffer. I made a promise to her. They are ready to put her down, that’s the easiest, kindest way of saying it, I know. The vet and his assistant said I could wait outside, that it would be easier for me but I know in my heart I can’t do that. I adopted this puppy when she was six weeks old and she looked into my eyes then, wide eyes with expectation and she crawled on my lap, snuggled and never left. I promised her I would never leave her; how can I leave her now when she needs me the most? I’m sobbing but I go inside the office and I go around to her head and look into her eyes and tell her how much I love her and how much joy she has brought into my life. “My girl, my sweet girl” I whisper between my tears, ” I love you so much.” The vet looks at me and asks me if it’s okay to inject the needle into the IV. Part of me wants to scream “no!” but I have no choice, it’s time. I don’t want my dog to suffer anymore; we have been suffering together for a while now. I nod my head and it only takes moments before she inhales deeply and then is silent, her body still, frozen. I break down and sob hysterically and they let me have a moment alone with her. I’ve never loved an animal like I have loved this dog. She was my girl, my baby and I feel lost without her. I made a promise that I would not let her suffer and while I know logically that I did the right thing, my heart has been shattered and I feel overwhelming sadness and pain. I’ve truly lost my best friend, and it’s killing me.

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Simple. Sweet. Joy.

Happy Day

It’s been a long time since I’ve had good news so when I got some today, I wasn’t sure how to handle it. It took a moment to process, I think I was in shock. It took thirty seconds to register, settle in and then feeling came back to my body. Dusty old joy  spread through my body in seconds, like warm, milk chocolate melting in your mouth.   I had been subconsciously waiting for another bad thing to happen since I had known nothing else in a very long time. I had prepared myself for more bad news; after all when you have had month after month of bad news every single time without a break, that is what you expect.

Today, there was a new ripple in the water, the new crescent of wave turning over in my mind. The ocean, my image, of all that is good and strong, minus the sharks that are taking bites out of innocent swimmers. Yesterday, just yesterday I was at the veterinarian’s office with my dog, Callie. I found a lump and told the vet that I was not going to leave until he found it, because I couldn’t find it again. My dog was also itching and scratching everywhere like crazy. The veterinarian finally found it and I was with my dog as the doctor pulled out the incredibly long syringe and plunged it into the back of my dog. “If it were any other place, I wouldn’t even biopsy it but since it’s right on the lymph node I want to be safe…..” I nodded weakly. I admit, first I turned around so I wouldn’t have to look at the long needle but then I swung back sharply and held my dog’s paws and looked into her scared eyes. I wanted to be there for her so I kissed her on the neck and held her still.

The doctor told me to call Wednesday or Thursday, Thursday to play it safe but today, a mere one day after the procedure there was a message from the receptionist that said my dog did NOT have cancer. I played the message and then I called the office, just to be sure, really sure. I thanked them about thirty times and I was so grateful that they had called. I hung up and I was silent. Then, I whooped for joy, hugged my sleeping dog and cried. I cried with happiness, a feeling that has been lost to me for such a long time. I understand that I will know sadness again, of course I will, but today I felt happiness, sweet happiness, in the purest form. Thank you. I appreciate it more now, but you probably know that already.