forever and a day

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

2015-11-23 - Late Morning Office Sun - 0030 [flickr]

Trish walked out into the dawn and wished she still believed in God. The sea was still lapping on the shore, the last stars were vanishing as the sky brightened. But the sky was empty of comfort. There was no loving God waiting, no heaven where Doug could find happiness. Just the cold contingent universe where things happened for random reasons nobody could understand. Nevertheless, while she was torn apart with grief for Doug she also felt at peace. His struggle was over. There was no more pain. And she had been with him and helped him. She had seen his whole life, from his birth to his death. “Everyone is born,” she said to the empty sky. “Everyone dies.”

It was cold comfort as time went on and she began to understand what missing him meant.

– Jo Walton, My Real Children

Oh, my little Peedee monster. You’ve been running around my head and heart so much these past days, weeks, months. As the one-year anniversary of your death approached, I found myself thinking about where we were a year ago: exploring new trails, sharing slushies at the drive-in, snuggling and reading comic books in the sun room. Trying to put on brave faces despite our anticipatory grief. And, now, mourning you like crazy.

I wonder what you’d think of our newest foster(s), and wish like hell I still had your shoulder to cry on.

It’s been a damn tough year. Jayne was diagnosed with cancer just four months after it claimed you, and she only last four months. Then there was the election. I went to bed that night feeling just like I did when we learned that Jayne had lung cancer: terrified for her, and for us; wondering just how far this thing would spread, and knowing that it’d be terrible no matter what. It’s made me miss you all the more, since of all the dogs, you were always the best at knowing when I needed comfort, and giving it in abundance. Oh, how I wish you were here.

We have a new foster doggy, a fat little Chihuahua who we’ll call Chunk. I think you’d like her; she’s pretty old and chill, gets along well with Rennie, Mags, and Finnick, but is not a fan of the cat. She likes to follow Lemmy around the house, barking at him. Even though she’s getting a bit bolder, I think Chunk is a little scared of him. Yesterday she darted at him from across the living room; Lemmy stayed put, and she realized too late that she couldn’t stop easily, thanks to the slippery floors. They came within an inch of colliding, and the look of sheer panic on her face was priceless. Lemmy, of course, remained unimpressed.

Regardless, I suspect you two would do some major bonding over policing the cat. (He’s gotten so bad, you don’t even know.)

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Yesterday I spent the day decorating the house, even though I found it impossible to get into the mood. Dad and I put up the Christmas tree over the weekend; I think we just wanted to get it out of the way, and maybe we were also compensating for our late start last year?

We had comfort food – extra-cheesy mac & cheese – for dinner. Rennie’s become the designated dish licker in your absence, so Dad set her up with the pans in the bathroom. She was making such a racket that I sent him in there to hold the dishes for her; they took so long that I fell asleep on the couch, my face buried in Mags’s belly! (Like 45 minutes, for reals.) Then we watched that Nazi episode of Supernatural and spent an hour discussing/arguing about Trump before bed. Things became animated enough that you would’ve hid behind the tv before we were done. Luckily Chunk didn’t seem bothered. (I always worry how my loud talking will affect the fosters.) Good times.

Today is Thanksgiving, though I don’t feel much like celebrating. Luckily Dad’s volunteered to make dinner, while I start Chunk’s new exercise regimen. I see lots of trips to the park in our future! The weather’s finally turned chilly, but she’s got several extra layers of fat to keep her warm. You always had such thick, luxurious fur for that.

Dad and I are thinking about adopting another dog or two, but I don’t know. It feels…weird. Wrong. To have new dogs who never met you other four; who are traipsing into the middle of an existing pack, a broken pack. But then I don’t want to wait until everyone else is gone, either. For me or for the dogs. Whether Rennie outlives Mags or vice versa, the surviving dog will need a friend to fall back on, you know? Idk, maybe I just need to let it happen organically instead of forcing it; Ice Cream Star and Brutus fit in so well, I would’ve adopted them in a heartbeat if it was that kind of foster situation. Maybe fostering for a regular rescue group is the way to go. Try everyone on until we find the right fit.

You and Ralphie and Kaylee and Jayne left such large, gaping holes, I don’t even know how to started to fill everything back in. It’s just too much. I don’t want new dogs, I want the old gang, back together. Sigh. I am in such a mood lately, let me tell you.

And…I guess that’s it. I don’t know what else to say except I love and miss you. Last year was so impossibly difficult, but I’d do it all over again just to have some more time with you. Now more than ever.

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Fourteen Little Peedee Things

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

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Oh, my crazy little birthday boy, I miss you so much. Even more so since going through a decade-plus of pictures, looking for the perfect shots to round out this year’s list. Which was actually kind of fun, despite the heartache and pending tears. The Summer of Peedee was pretty freaking awesome, you know? I’m so, so glad we were able to give that to you.

Jayne passed away just over a month ago. She was diagnosed with cancer four months after it claimed you. We got the first call on O-Ren’s birthday, while we were driving out to Smith’s Fork Park for a walk, as a matter of fact. What is it with us getting bad news on birthdays and anniversaries? Anyway, she didn’t have anywhere near the run that you did; it was four short months from beginning to end. Surgery, chemo, last hurrahs, all crammed into one too-short season. I’ve barely had time to catch my breath. It makes me appreciate what we had with you all the more.

Right now one of our fosters – I’ll call her Daisy – is perched on my lap, right where you used to sit, long, gangly legs be damned. She and her brother Brutus arrived the week after Jayne left the building. Mags almost immediately developed diarrhea, and now Finnick and Brutus have it. So far there are two types of worm infestations in the pack and counting. It’s been a time.

Anyway, Daisy. She has a stinky butt and a nosy disposition; I think you might like her. Or maybe not. You were kind of over puppies and their puppy shit by the end.

One day Rennie started playing with Brutus. You know how when dogs (that’s you!) find a dead animal or some stank poo and roll into it with their necks? That’s what she’s been doing with Brutus. Anyway, Daisy saw Brutus getting all the attention, and inserted herself into the middle like little sisters tend to do. Now she’s under the mistaken impression that she and Rennie are friends. She keeps backing her ass up into Rennie’s face. Rennie snaps at her and she tries again, like it’s part of the game. I kind of feel sorry for her; she just wants to be friends!

On second thought, I’m 99% certain that you’d disapprove. I can just picture you now, scolding her from your perch on the back of the couch.

I think about you a lot, is my point. How you’d react to the fosters; whether B.’s balls (sterilization TBA) might mesmerize you the way they do Finnick. How you’d pick up every parasite in the house, on account of your poo fetish. How nice it’d be to snuggle into your thick, wolf-like fur while I cry my stupid eyes red over Jayne.

Confession time: I sleep with your talking chimp at night (he holds onto my hair bands for me!) and take him to the drive-in with us in your memory. (Daisy is terrified of all your talking toys. Now THAT is something I bet you’d love to see!) That’s how much I miss you, big guy. You’ve left a hole the size of which I couldn’t even begin to anticipate, back when this all started.

I love you so much, Peeds. If there’s one thing I’d want you to know, it’s that I always carry you with me: you and Ralphie and Kaylee and now Jayne. Together, forever.

2006-05-13 - DogsOutside0056

And these are just fourteen of the reasons why. (A drop in the proverbial bucket, okay.)

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Book Review: Senior Dogs Across America: Portraits of Man’s Best Old Friend, Nancy LeVine (2016)

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Old Dogs Rock (and so do Nancy LeVine’s Portraits!)

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: Schiffer Publishing provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

An old dog’s eyes, milky white, are not so much going blind as they are being clouded by memory: every stick, every ball, the squirrel that got away – they’re all there. Nothing is forgotten. The day she swam across the lake, or chewed your mouthguard into a million pieces. Remember when she was lost for two days, and came home soaking wet, muddy, and with a bird’s feather – blue and white – somehow lodged beneath her collar? She remembers. They all do. Every word, every walk, every time you RUBBED their neck. The memories spill into their eyes, and eventually all they can see is the past.

– Daniel Wallace

Anyone who’s ever opened their home and their heart to a dog is sure to love Senior Dogs Across America: Portraits of Man’s Best Old Friend. Award-winning photographer Nancy LeVine traveled across America, photographing senior dogs in their natural habitats: in forever homes and animal sanctuaries; lounging on couches, riding along with their humans in tractors, and playing with their siblings, human and non; aging with dignity and wisdom and grace.

The eighty-six portraits included here promise to tug at the heartstrings – and make you hug your canine companion just a little bit tighter tonight. The dogs featured run the gamut: there are big dogs and little dogs; pit bulls, dachshunds, greyhounds, Chihuahuas, and mutts; and several tripods, a few one-eyed dogs, and one very big German Shepherd on wheels (hey, Abby!). There are even two Otises, both chocolate Labs by the look of ’em, living just a state apart in Washington and California. LeVine lovingly captures the spirit and personality of each of her subjects; while the book is rather short on words, each picture sings and shines and speaks volumes, dancing off the printed page and right into the reader’s heart.

(More below the fold…)

Some anniversaries just suck ass.

Friday, May 6th, 2016

It was three years ago today that we had to start saying our goodbyes to Ralphie. He was in renal failure and, after several days in the hospital, wasn’t showing any signs of improvement … we were able to give him a few awesome last days, at least, filled with treats and tummy rubs and afternoons sunbathing at the park. He was tired but happy, and basked in the attention we lavished on him. He died at home, three days later, on my 35th birthday.

Two days later we found out that Kaylee was sick too; also from renal failure, in a crazy-making coincidence. She passed away a few weeks later, on May 21st. It was a surprise – she had a stroke and lapsed into a coma – but also not, because though we were treating her, or trying to anyway, it was a struggle. I wish Kaylee’s last days had been as wonderful as Ralphie’s; she deserved that much, and more (so much more!). I try not to think of them too much.

It was two years later, to the very day, that we learned of Peedee’s relapse; that the cancer had stopped responding to the chemo and the best we could hope for was two good months, three if we were super-lucky. He lived six months and two days, almost all of them healthy (relatively speaking) and happy and spoiled rotten. God, how I miss his goofy smile and stupid pink tongue and soft, pink fur. His bark and excitability and spirit. His intellect and empathy. I could use his shoulder for a good cry right now, I tell you what.

I’ve been missing Kaylee and Ralphie and Peedee so, so much this week and month. I wish I could strike May from the calendar and never think of it again. But I can’t so instead I’m gonna watch this Heinz commercial on repeat because it makes me grin like a weirdo every time it plays on the tv. Also, standing in the receiving line of a wiener dog stampede is how I’d like to go out. (Though none of these guys is nearly as cute as my Ralphie Bear.) Someone make this happen please.

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Thanks for the memories.

Friday, March 18th, 2016

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When I was sixteen, a work friend of my father’s got us tickets to see The Rolling Stones. He worked for Coke (or was it Pepsi?), and I think they were sponsoring the concert? Anyway, they were primo seats – my friend Heather and I were able to muscle our way up to the fifth row – and we even carpooled with him. (To Syracuse, maybe?) My parents went too, but they hung out with the other adults. It was pretty flippin’ awesome, all around. I still have the concert tee, all these years later.

My mom was really big on thank you cards, and this was an instance where I actually agreed with her policy. Of my own accord, I wrote him a thank you note, attached it to a pricey box of chocolates (not vegan, sadly), and tasked my father with its delivery. Apparently the Coke guy was so impressed that he shared it with his class (I think he taught a class, anyway; or was it his employees, maybe? I forget!) as an example of how to behave in the business world.

After Ralphie and Kaylee died, I thought about bringing a basket of home-made (vegan!) cookies to the staff and doctors at Blue Pearl, where we were regulars for most of May. Everyone was so kind to us, and I wanted to show them that it didn’t go unappreciated. (Especially that one vet tech who helped us carry Kaylee’s body to the car and then hugged me and let me cry on her shoulder. If you know me at all, you know just how damn out of character that is. I must have been a hot mess.) But between the grief and the heat, I never quite got around to it, and I still kind of regret it to this day.

2015-10-25 - Going to the Drive-In - 0038 [flickr]

These anecdotes bring us to Peedee. The Summer of Peedee, to be exact, in which the I-70 and Twin drive-ins played a prominent role. Maybe this letter is a little silly or sentimental, but it’s coming from the right place. As in, straight from my heart.

After Peedee relapsed, we started taking him to the drive-in with us…partially because we wanted to try new things with him, but also because we didn’t want to leave him home alone. (And I don’t think we did, not even once!) I was so nervous, since we’d tried it when he was younger and it was an epic failure. I thought for sure he’d make a scene and we’d be asked to leave. But he was okay and, perhaps more importantly, they were okay with him. The I-70 and Twin are really very dog-friendly; not only do they allow dogs, but they keep the ticket windows stocked with dog treats and sometimes host dog-themed events during the day.

I’ve learned not to take this for granted, particularly in light of the drive-in that opened in St. Joseph a few years back – and explicitly disallowed dogs. (They only lasted a season or two. You do the maths.)

Anyway, to get the point: they helped us create some really special memories with Peedee, and I’m forever indebted to them for that. And it certainly can’t hurt to tell them as much.

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The 2016 season opens tonight, and though Peedee won’t be there with me in person, you can bet his spirit will do a little happy dance in my heart.

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I’ll always Gotcha, Peedee. (aka, “The Peedee Post”)

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

X-Mas 2015 - In Memoriam (Peedee)

Oh, Peedee. I can’t believe it’s been thirteen years since we met. I wish I could say that I remember it like it was yesterday, but I’m getting on in years and my memory isn’t quite what it used to be. Plus, there’s the hazy cloud of grief that’s been hanging over my head … since your death, and those of Ralphie and Kaylee. Some days it makes it impossible to think. Like swimming through dark molasses, half blind and sluggishly slow.

So no, not like yesterday. But clear enough. I still remember the moment a volunteer (your foster mom?) placed you in my lap. You were so silly and squirmy and full of crazy puppy energy. We went to the adoption event looking for a slightly older companion for Ralphie. But the second I wrapped my arms around you, I knew you were coming home with us.

It still hurts my heart, all these years later, to think that we ever considered giving you back. Ralphie got sick of your antics about a week in, remember? And us being the young and (somewhat) inexperienced dog people we were, we kind of panicked. But things got better. So, so much better. You and Ralphie ended up besties.

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(Ralphie and Peedee and Rennie – I’ll always think of you guys as the original three. Even though there was less time separating Kaylee and Jayne’s adoption from Rennie’s than between, say, you and Ralphie or you and Rennie, you three stick together like glue in my mind. Maybe it’s because you three all got on so well. Kaylee mostly fit in, except that Ralphie all but ignored her. Like he thought two friends was enough and refused to acknowledge the later adoptees. And then the same thing happened with Mags and Finnick: Mags integrated rather quickly, while Finnick is still fighting to, much like Jayne. Three and five and seven, that’s how you all appear in my mind. You all reference each other, in a weird way, and maybe that makes each loss hurt all the more.)

The sense of shame and regret lingers, though, especially now that you’re gone. To think that we almost never got to know you – it’s too much to bear. Even with the cancer. I’d go through it all a million times over; you’re worth that, and so much more.

It’s been nearly four months since we lost you, and it’s hasn’t gotten much easier. Take this post, for example: I meant to write it months ago, but kept dragging my heels. It all feels so final, you know? Talking about it. Admitting that you’re really, truly gone. That those last six months went by just as quickly as I feared they would.

I’ve been holding a lot in, so this is bound to be long and rambly. Then again, you always were the best listener. Humor your old mom, okay?

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This Week in Pictures: Telling Peedee’s Story to Its End

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

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Oh, man. I’ve been putting off writing this post for so long that I’m not quite sure where to start. I guess the beginning is as good a place as any?

Many of you know that my oldest furkid, Peedee, passed away right before Thanksgiving due to complications from cancer. He was first diagnosed in March 2014; a few weeks later, he underwent surgery to remove a tumor, along with a sizable portion of one lung. Nine months later, the cancer returned and he started chemo. It worked swimmingly until it didn’t. (That was always the case: we got bad news when we were expecting good, and good when we expected bad.) On May 20th – the two-year anniversary of Kaylee’s death, as it just so happened – the oncologist gave him 2-3 months to live. Probably closer to two. She was doubtful that he’d still be around to celebrate his 13th birthday at the end of August.

We immediately put him on CBD oil. I would have done it a year+ sooner, if only I’d known that you can buy it online, legally (or semi-legally) in all 50 states. It’s not quite as potent as the stuff you can get in medical or recreational marijuana states, but I still think it helped. Scratch that: I’m positive it helped. He outlasted the oncologist’s best-case scenario by three months, and had a really good quality of life right up until the last few days. In any case, it was better than doing nothing; just sitting back and watching him die. This topic deserves its own series of posts, but suffice it to say: this ordeal only strengthened my stance on legalization. It’s like my main beef with Hillary Clinton at this point. But I digress.

About the same time that Peedee was waging his 20-month battle with cancer, I discovered Cane’s Bucket List on facebook. Cane was a 6-year-old pibble whose people planned a whole “bucket list journey” for him after he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Simple goals like “pictures in front of the Dallas skyline” and “paw print art projects” soon gave way to some really amazing experiences when Cane checked off item #14, “be featured on NBC DFW.” Not only did he get to sit on Santa’s lap – Cane’s caregivers threw him his own damn Christmas party. Talk about shiny!

I wanted to do something similar for Peedee, but … by this time, he was old and a little fussy and set in his ways. Also, the phobia he’d developed of the car – thanks in no small part to all those unpleasant vet appointments – didn’t really help. So I came up with a slightly less ambitious bucket list (called the Peedee-Do List) and resolved to share pictures of our progress each week. Enter: This Week in Pictures. (I still don’t love the series title, but it’ll have to do.)

Our last post was on November 3rd. Peedee was still doing reasonably well then, but symptoms of his illness (labored breathing, a decline in endurance) had begun popping up and just couldn’t be ignored. I knew Peedee didn’t have much time left, and I wanted to spend as much of it as I could spoiling him. So I put the bucket list blogging on hold.

This week, I’ve spent a lot of time looking back on those old posts. It’s a bittersweet thing. We created so many happy memories together, but now they’re all I have of him. I wish I could go back and do it all over again. All the stress and worry and anticipatory grief? I’d relive it in a never-ending cycle, just to see him again.

After Peedee died, I was lost. I didn’t know what to do with myself. When Peedee relapsed, he became the center of our lives. Everything we did, we did with him in mind. Fostering, doctor’s appointments, traveling: we put it all on hold. Peedee went everywhere with us…and if he couldn’t come, we didn’t go. I don’t think I ever left him home alone, not once. Now that he’s gone, I’m adrift. Unmoored. Directionless.

It took months before I was able to go through those last batches of pictures. Nearly three, apparently, before I could bring myself to write this last This Week in Pictures post. Even if it’s really just for me, I feel like I have to. Tell the story to its end, that is. (Yes, I totally lifted that title from a book in my TBR pile.)

Peedee was a devoted friend, a loving older (and younger) brother, and a crazy smart dog with a big, mushy heart to match. If I needed comforting, I could always count on Peedee to give it, and generously. He felt timeless, as though he’d always been with me, and always would be. And he will, in a way: in pictures and memories and blog posts like this one. He lives in my heart, and in the tubes, and in the stars. In bubbles in a glass of champagne.

On his last night, we told him stories.

(More below the fold…)

Oh, bother.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

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Since losing Peedee exactly one month ago today, the mood has been pretty morose around here. “Not in the holiday spirit” is kind of an understatement: I didn’t even realize that it was Thanksgiving until ~6PM the night of; I did the bare minimum in terms of Christmas decorating (the requisite tree + a few childhood items and every dog-themed decoration I own; I may have been several weeks late, but I got it done in record time – three hours instead of the usual three days!); and the only gifts I managed to buy were for the dogs. For a hot second, I actually considered skipping the annual holiday cards entirely: TOO. MUCH. WORK.

But my kiddos aren’t getting any younger, and I’m afraid that we don’t have that many more Christmases together. For all I know, this could even be someone’s last. (Knock on wood; I can’t handle any more bad news for at least another year or two. Preferably twenty.) And how shitty would I feel in retrospect if I decided to hell with Christmas this year? (Worst human mother in the world type shitty, more or less.)

So I decided to power through with an impromptu Winnie the Pooh theme, and who cares if I’m a little late? (Dear friends and relatives: Your cards will be late this year. Don’t think it’s because you got bumped from my list, or that I only sent you a card after receiving yours. I am just moving like molasses on account of my depression and apathy.)

The theme was inspired by the dread I felt as the holiday season approached: “Oh, bother.” And then I thought, hey, wouldn’t it be adorable to dress Jayne – mopey, doe-eyed, sad sack Jayne – up as Eeeyore, Eeeyore being what would really should have named her in the first place? (Jayne Cobb the girl ain’t.) And simply title it “Oh, bother.” The sentiment is apropos, but also still hella cute.

To wit:

X-Mas 2015 - Oh Bother (Main)

(Click on the image to embiggen. They look better in the larger sizes, I swear!)

But of course I couldn’t begin and end with Jayne; for the supporting cast, I bought an Eeyore hat online (stuffing the top with newspaper, so the adult size would kinda sorta fit on their tinny lil’ goggie heads) and took some pictures that I’d planned on making into “outtake” cards. But I’ll be damned if the outtake didn’t turn out better than the original!

X-Mas 2015 - Smallest Things (Main)

(All the quotes, by the by, are Pooh-based. I like saying that – “Pooh” – because it reminds me of Peedee. Pooh, Pooh, Poo!)

So everyone will, in point o’ facts, be getting two cards this year, to make up for their tardiness. Win/win.

I also made a series of “in memoriam” pseudo-cards just for me. Normally I’d say “just for funsies,” except I was bawling my eyes out the whole time I worked on them. Damn you, A. A. Milne, and your lovely, life-affirming, friendship-celebrating one-liners.

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Thursday, November 19th, 2015

I’m afraid we might be nearing the end with Peedee. :(

Last night was rough. Because of his reduced lung capacity, he has trouble getting comfortable; his breathing is rapid and shallow, and his lungs need plenty of room for their extra workload. It was much worse than usual yesterday evening, so we decided to try some melatonin before bed.

(Which, as it turns out, has recently been studied in canine cancer. Early results suggest it might “neutralize” – I’m paraphrasing here – certain cancer cells. Another thing I maybe should have been doing all along.)

Anyway, it didn’t work as I’d hoped; I got up at 3AM to go to the bathroom and noticed that he was awake, but not moving around, shifting and readjusting like he would normally. The most comfortable position for him seems to be lying on his stomach with his head up and alert, which isn’t exactly relaxing. But that’s how he sat most of the night. So I stayed up and comforted his as best I could, but. Yeah. It wasn’t nearly enough.

(It’s weird, Mags came and joined me on the queen bed overnight, but Rennie stayed waaay over on the opposite side of the king. She didn’t even try to wake me when the sun came up.)

I don’t know if we can survive another night of this. This morning Shane and I had THE TALK. I mean, we’ve discussed euthanasia before of course, but this was the first serious, maybe it’s time to pull the trigger discussion.

But he still enjoys eating, and going on walks (short as they may be), barking at strangers (and Finnick!), and playing with his toys! All the benchmarks those do-you-or-don’t-you euthanasia lists tick off. How can I end his life when there are still parts of it that he loves?

I don’t know. We’ve got some calls out to the mobile vets to see how early they could come if we made an appointment today. Shane’s first choice can do it in an hour…or on Monday. There’s always Blue Pearl in a pinch, but I don’t want a sterile office to be the last thing Peedee sees. I really want him to die at home, in his own bed, if possible. But Monday seems so terribly far away this morning.

 

Updated 11/19/15, 7:45PM:

We have an appointment scheduled for 3PM on Monday, with promises from three different mobile vets to call us if they have an opening before then. Worst case, we can take him to the ER at Blue Pearl; throw some blankets in the van, bring Rennie for the ride, and pretend we’re going on a walk. As to keeping him comfortable in the meantime, our regular vet recommended Benadryl to help him sleep. He’s so sick of pills that we finally gave up on the CBD oil and decided to shove the Benadryl down his throat, lest we ruin food for him altogether. (He’s an expert at sniffing it out, we’ve been at this for so long.)

We gave him a little Benadryl this morning and I think he was able to get a few hours of good sleep in before lunch. There are like four places in the house that he really seems to like, the memory foam pillow at the end of the twin bed in the sunroom being one. (He is VERY SPECIFIC in his preferences!)

After that we took him to Wallace State Park. I think he enjoyed the fresh air, but it was slow going (.6 miles in 40 minutes slow). And he loves car rides again, so worst case, we would have driven there, walked a circle around the van, and driven back. Gonna try again tomorrow and the day after that, if he’s feeling up to it.

Right now he’s kinda-sorta snoozing on the couch (on top of the corner back cushion, which is perfectly indented in the middle to fit his growing belly – spot #2). He had some Benadryl with dinner and we’ll give him another dose before bed, so hopefully he’ll sleep some (most?) of the night. I’d rather not dope him up all day if I can help it, but this morning was a special exception – we were both beat from the lack of sleep last night.

So that’s where we’re at. Thanks for all the kind words – I haven’t had a chance to respond to everyone yet, but it means the world. This never gets any easier, but I feel so, so lucky to have had as much time with him as I did. Tomorrow will be six months since we learned of the relapse. The oncologist gave him 2-3 months then. Everything past August? Gravy.

(I sound chipper, but nah. I am bawling my stupid eyes out over here. Pretty much every time Peedee’s not in the room.)

This Week in Pictures #24: Halloween ed.!

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

— SUNDAY —

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The weather was warm-ish, so we spent the afternoon napping (them) and reading (me) in the sunroom before we left for the movies. I suspect we’re going to have to close it up soon for the winter, so best enjoy it while we still can!

2015-10-25 - Napping in the Sunroom - 0011 [flickr]

2015-10-25 - Napping in the Sunroom - 0010 [flickr]

I’m really starting to build quite the collection of pictures of Mags paired with adult-type books: Mags and Bitch magazine; Mags & Other Monsters; Mags hearts Bitch Planet. Now: Mad Mags, Furry Road. I feel like maybe I should start a Mags + Books tumblr? Yay or nay? (I think you know where Mags stands on this.)

2015-10-25 - Going to the Drive-In - 0001 [flickr]

Going to the drive-in! We saw The Last Witch Hunter (predictably cheesy) and Sicario (a little weird, but good; ever since Edge of Tomorrow, I love me some Emily Blunt).

2015-10-25 - Going to the Drive-In - 0038 [flickr]

Peedee wants to know, what is the holdup on his french fries? (Yup, I share my fries with him. ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING HE WANTS.)

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This Week in Pictures #23

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-10-18 - Walking By the Smithville Dam - 0007 [flickr]

2015-10-18 - Walking By the Smithville Dam - 0044 [flickr]

I’m kind of shocked that Shane keeps managing to find new trails for us to walk, but he does! Sunday we took Peedee, Rennie, Mags, and Ice Cream Star to a little patch of shoreline along Smithville Lake, right by the dam and across the way from Smith’s Fork Park. The trails wrap around the Army Corps of Engineers building (which is pretty rad looking) and then just kind of dead-end a mile or two down (I think! We never seem to reach the end, you see.) Between the gravel paths and ALL THE WATER!, it wasn’t exactly Mags’s favorite, but we made it work.

2015-10-18 - Walking By the Smithville Dam - 0049 [flickr]

2015-10-18 - Walking By the Smithville Dam - 0054 [flickr]

2015-10-18 - Walking By the Smithville Dam - 0064 [flickr]

2015-10-18 - Going to the Drive-In - 0014 [flickr]

Aaaand Sunday = movie night, natch. Crimson Peak was paired with Trainwreck, which the drive-in brought back for a few weeks. This seems to be a trend – resurrecting months-old movies – the logic of which I don’t quite get. Like, did we really need to revisit Pixels? And it’s not like there’s a shortage of new movies. Crimson Peak plus The Green Inferno, just saying… (I’m not much for torture porn, but this one’s got me intrigued.)

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed Trainwreck the second time around (the fox even made a repeat appearance!), and would totally pee my pants at a second run of Mad Max.

2015-10-18 - Going to the Drive-In - 0025 [flickr]

We were all so beat from the walk that we passed out on the drive down. Except for Shane, who had to drive the van. Bless his heart.

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This Week in Pictures #22: Rocky Horror Picture Show ed.!

Monday, October 19th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-10-11 - Ready for Rocky Horror - 0035 [flickr]

Sunday night was the Halloween-themed Retro Movie Night at the drive-in: Young Frankenstein and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW! The dogs were so excited that they insisted on dressing up for a pre-show party. “You get toilet paper, and you get toilet paper, and you get toilet paper. EVERYBODY GETS TOILET PAPER!”

(Incidentally, the only thing that would make Rocky Horror better? Replace the German Shepherds with wiener dogs. Not only would the optics be hilarious, but what better dog to guard the Frank N. Furter Castle, hmmm?)

2015-10-11 - Ready for Rocky Horror - 0029 [flickr]

2015-10-11 - Ready for Rocky Horror - 0074 [flickr]

2015-10-11 - Ready for Rocky Horror - 0023 [flickr]

2015-10-11 - Ready for Rocky Horror - 0045 [flickr]

2015-10-11 - Still Swimming - 0006 [flickr]

But first: swimming! This might be the latest we’ve managed to push into fall, but I’m pretty sure I say that every year.

2015-10-11 - Outside with the Dogs - 0074 [flickr]

Then some light sunbathing, because six hours crammed in a van with wet dogs will surely sap away some of the MAGIC OF THE MOVIES.

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This Week in Pictures #21

Monday, October 12th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-10-04 - Going to the Drive-In - 0007 [flickr]

Movie night! This time around we saw The Martian (rad despite the residual disgust re: the recent spate of Damonsplaining). It was paired with The Scorch Trials, which we’d already seen and weren’t terribly excited to sit through again, so we skipped out after the main act. I actually got to bed at a decent hour, which quite pleased the old lady in me.

Incidentally, a) I missed the swinging penis and b) the filmmakers missed a most excellent opportunity to drop a Firefly reference: HE WANTS TO BE CALLED CAP’N TIGHTPANTS, NOT CAPTAIN BLONDE BEARD!

2015-10-04 - Going to the Drive-In - 0025 [flickr]

2015-10-04 - Going to the Drive-In - 0012 [flickr]

Funny story: I was still recovering from that awful poison ivy rash, and the pilled fabric on the ratty old hoodie I chose was making my arms itch something awful, so about fifteen minutes into the drive, I decided to turn it inside-out. (Much better!) Well, Peedee kept trying to raid the front pocket for tissue – which, post-switch, was on the inside of the sweater. He went to stick his snout in the pocket only to find that it no longer existed. Mind, blown!

 
— TUESDAY —

2015-10-06 - Peedee Pirate - 0002 [flickr]

I’m not sure what I was thinking with this combo,
other than “Hey, here are two pieces Peedee’s never worn before!”

2015-10-06 - Peedee Pirate - 0030 [flickr]

Much better.

2015-10-06 - Finnick - 0004 [flickr]

Finnick just kind of wandered into our photo shoot, so.

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This Week in Pictures #20

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-09-27 - Going to the Drive-In - 0008 [flickr]

Movie night! We saw The Perfect Guy and The Visit (Shane narrowly escaped the Grease/Dirty Dancing retro combo), and even got a perfect view of the blood moon out of our passenger side window!

2015-09-27 - Going to the Drive-In - 0019 [flickr]

2015-09-27 - Going to the Drive-In - 0027 [flickr]

2015-09-27 - Going to the Drive-In - 0024 [flickr]

2015-09-27 - Going to the Drive-In - 0037 [flickr]

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This Week in Pictures #19

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-09-20 - Going to the Drive-In - 0002 [flickr]

Sunday night = movie night! We saw the YA combo: The Scorch Trials and Paper Towns.

2015-09-20 - Going to the Drive-In - 0025 [flickr]

2015-09-20 - Going to the Drive-In - 0043 [flickr]

2015-09-20 - Going to the Drive-In - 0038 [flickr]

2015-09-20 - Going to the Drive-In - 0035 [flickr]

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This Week in Pictures #18

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-09-13 - Lemmy - 0004 [flickr]

(In my very best Jerry Seinfeld voice) LEMMY!

2015-09-13 - Going to the Drive-in - 0003 [flickr]

Now that the drive-in is only open on weekends, Sunday night is our official Movie Night ™. Unless it rains, in which case Friday or Saturday night will suffice. This weekend the I-70 was doing a retro movie night ($10 per carload!), so we saw Top Gun and Jaws. Aaaand now I can’t get “Danger Zone” out of my head. On a happier note, there’s way more homoerotic stuff in that movie than I recall from my childhood viewings.

2015-09-13 - Going to the Drive-in - 0015 [flickr]

2015-09-13 - Going to the Drive-in - 0017 [flickr]

2015-09-13 - Going to the Drive-in - 0031 [flickr]

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This Week in Pictures #17

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-09-06 - Sleepy Jayne-Shy Jayne - 0010 [flickr]

2015-09-06 - Sleepy Jayne-Shy Jayne - 0015 [flickr]

2015-09-06 - Sleepy Jayne-Shy Jayne - 0020 [flickr]

Jayney, being uncharacteristically cute/characteristically camera-shy.

2015-09-06 - The Last of the B-Day Presents - 0092 [flickr]

She was chilling in the office, minding her own biz, so when it came time for Peedee to open the rest of his birthday presents, I just couldn’t find it in me to kick her out.

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This Week in Pictures: Birthday Blowout Bonanza!

Sunday, September 6th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-08-30 - Misty Morning - Birthday Poo - 0012 [flickr]

It’s Peedee’s birthday! My baby is a teenager now!
Would it have been too much to stick a candle in that pile of birthday poop
he’s guarding this fine, foggy morning?

2015-08-30 - Morning Routine - 0001 [flickr]

Still not too old to sit on mom’s lap while she plows through the morning rountine.

2015-08-30 - Rennie in the Molasses Bow - 0006 [flickr]

Time to get started on Peedee’s birthday cake!
But first let’s put the bow from the gift jar of molasses
on Rennie and see what happens, mkay?

2015-08-30 - The Cake is Baked - 0008 [flickr]

The cake is baked and frosted and I am entirely too proud of how it came out. The recipe is from Emma’s K-9 Kitchen, with a peanut butter-flavored cake and carob frosting. Humans, it’s totally edible, if you’d like to partake with the dogs; just a little on the bland side (no sugar!), rather like a very granola-y muffin. The frosting, on the other hand, rocked my socks off, and I am seriously considering incorporating it into an ice cream. Vanilla Carob Swirl, anyone?

2015-08-30 - The Cake is Baked - 0010 [flickr]

Aaaaaand what we have from this angle is a penis. Okay then.

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This Week in Pictures: The Dog from O.P.

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

— SUNDAY —

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0043 [flickr]

We spent a little time driving around the largest park/trail system at Smithville Lake
(which I’ve previously just referred to as “Smithville Lake,” but it actually has a name, which is either “Little Platte Bauman Park” – according to the signage – or either “Camp Branch Bauman Park” or “Little Platte Park,” if you believe the various .gov websites. CONFUSING! Life sure was easier before I started trying to keep track.)
and were surprised to find a section of trails that we haven’t walked yet (!).

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0022 [flickr]

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0012 [flickr]

This trail loops around a second public swimming beach that also prohibits dogs (I am beginning to detect a very offensive pattern here). Luckily, there’s a boat launch right next door, so the dogs were able to get their bellies wet. I think they prefer the concrete ramp over both rocky shorelines (duh!) and sandy beaches (WTF!). It’s just down and in.

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0010 [flickr]

Shake Face, Part 2,192

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0044 [flickr]

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0052 [flickr]

2015-08-23 - Smithville Lake - 0053 [flickr]

The trail circles the lake, and we were able to find an access point near one of the frisbee golf stops. Score!
(Notice how Mags is always conspicuously absent from these aquatic-themed photos.)

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Thirteen Little Peedee Things

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

2015-07-05 - Peedee & Rennie Out to Sea - 0056 [flickr]

Peedee, Peedee, Peedee.

Last April we feared that you might not live to see your twelfth birthday…and when it finally rolled around, we were fairly optimistic that you’d make it to fourteen, if not fifteen. Today you turn thirteen, and to say that I’m ambivalent about this milestone is an understatement. I’m so indescribably happy that you’re still here to celebrate it with us, and yet I know that you’ll soon have to leave. And I’m not ready to say goodbye. (Is anyone, ever?)

I hope the last few months have been special and filled with joy. I hope you feel pampered and spoiled and stuffed to the gills with happiness and excitement and NEW THINGS. I hope you have not an inkling of what’s to come. If I can, I’d like to shoulder that baggage for the both of us. One last gift for my best boy.

2015-06-23 - Walking Peedee, Rennie & Mags - 0015 [flickr]

2015-06-27 - Morning Walk at Smithville Lake - 0032 [flickr]

As I write this, I’ve imagining big plans for your big day. Dad and I are gonna set up the tent, so we can spend the whole night outside, chasing bugs (you) and watching the stars (me). We’ll play games and ply you with treats, and I’ll bake a cake all for you. (Though Rennie and Mags and Jayne and Finnick sure would love it if you shared.) Maybe you can even model some birthday finery for your old mom? Playing dress-up with you is my favorite. I’m gonna miss that. No one wears a pink sundress quite like you.

But enough of that! There will be enough time for tears later. You’re right here, right now, and I plan on adoring the crap out of you while I can. When it really matters.

Love you so much, my handsome man. My Peedee Monster. My big guy and little boy. You’re so many things to me. I hope you know that, now and forever.

2015-06-27 - Morning Walk at Smithville Lake - 0084 [flickr]

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