My Heart Is Broken, Again

It’s shattered into a million pieces, again. My second Golden Girl, my sweet Shadow, joined her sister and best friend, Callie, in Heaven a week ago. It’s been hard, so very hard to write this post. I’ve been going through life in a fog this past week. So many parallels between Callie and Shadow and their end-of-life stories. Those parallels keep creeping into my thoughts and make me realize how spiritually connected they’ve been from the beginning.

Spiritual connectivity aside, Shadow’s final three and a half weeks on Earth were hard on her – physically and emotionally – the pulled groin muscle in her right rear leg hurt. It hurt a lot. She didn’t want to get up off her dog bed. But once she was standing and walking, she seemed happy to be at least somewhat active.

Her favorite times were always those spent in the backyard with all of us. As the days passed, she stopped eating and then drinking. Her kidney levels were a little elevated when we did her senior blood profile; but the vet wasn’t all that concerned because of the meds she was taking for the pulled muscle.

What concerned us was her not eating. We tried an appetite stimulant, without success. Our only option was to put Shadow on fluids overnight to jumpstart her appetite and kidney function. The next afternoon she seemed to feel better but was still not interested in food. So we opted for another 48 hours of fluids and meds.

The follow-up bloodwork showed very little improvement in some values and none in others. Our poor, sweet girl was in renal failure and too tired to fight any more. And Callie – bless her – kept her sister going until we could return to be with her in her final moments.

As we did 3-1/2 years ago with Callie, we did all we could to help Shadow fight for her life. We have no regrets about her treatments. We only wish the outcome had been different.

Our sweet girl is reunited with her ever-devoted and loving sister and best friend. My mental images of their reunion give me great comfort and allow me to smile through my tears.

Shadow’s Dental is Done

We had a busy morning around here yesterday.

I had to drop Shadow off at the vet’s by 8:30 am for pre-op. And to keep Ducky from waking their daddy on his birthday, I had to take her along for the ride.

Shadow wasn’t happy about being at the vet for the third time in as many weeks.  Especially since I wasn’t staying with her for moral support. But I told her Callie would be watching over her, which helped her relax a bit.

When Ducky and I got back home, Ducky was walking all around looking for Shadow with her tail down and half-way between her legs. 

I was getting her breakfast ready, but she came in the kitchen several times. I swear the look on her face was one of deep concern. “Where’s Shadow, Mom? Why didn’t you bring her home?” The same look I got from Shadow the morning Callie went to Heaven.

After she finished eating, I let her run around the yard for a few minutes so she could digest her food some. Then I took her to daycare. She needed to play with her friends to get her mind off Shadow. 

After cleaning the house while hubby finished reading one of his many books, I went to get Ducky at daycare. I left her here with her daddy and went to get Shadow.

Poor Shadow was still sleepy from the anesthesia; and while I paid the bill – and we waited for the discharge instructions to come up on the front-desk computer – she slid down onto the floor. Too tired to keep sitting. Bless her heart.

When we got home, hubby helped me get Shadow out of the car and up the stairs. Ducky was happy to see her older sister, but was very gentle with her greeting. The demon was possessed by an angel. And all night, Ducky was a very good girl.

This morning, Shadow is still a bit “out of it”, but more awake. And Ducky is still being good.


I’m sure Shadow will be more herself as the day wears on. And Ducky will become more mischievous as well. For now, though, I’m enjoying the peace and quiet. (Hubby is still asleep.)

Sleepy Time Pups

I don’t know about you, but I love to watch my dogs sleep.


I marvel at the positions they get into without waking up.


And I always wondered how Callie could sleep like this

or this


without choking. (How I miss my big girl! 😢) But Callie never woke up coughing; and Shadow and Ducky make me smile at their contortions.


Thank you to BlogPaws for hosting the Wordless Wednesday blog hop!

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Getting Back to Normal

So, now that hubby’s shoulder is mending, he’s only wearing the regular sling instead of the “therapeutic” one with the pillow. And his knee has healed from the bad bruise so he’s not using the cane any more.

Ducky still barks at her daddy whenever he moves, especially if he has the sling on; but she doesn’t have to worry about the cane any more. That’s the best part – the cane really made her nervous and fearful – for both of them.

I took Ducky in for her yearly exam yesterday morning. The vet was pleased with all he saw and felt. She’s at a perfect weight; and aside from a few minor IBS episodes the last several weeks, she’s in great shape. I really think those IBS episodes were stress-related and the vet agrees with me. And, he also said that our little “wild child” has definitely calmed down considerably over the past year since Callie got her angel wings. 


Shadow finally started eating her full breakfast, as well as her full dinner, two days ago. This after dealing with her own IBS episodes – and coinciding reflux – for several months and then her inflamed ACL issue of the last seven weeks.  

Next week I go back to the vet with Shadow. She will have been on leash restriction for eight weeks next Thursday.  I’ve had to stay close to her on the steps to make sure she doesn’t miss one and re-injure herself. And I’ve had to limit her play with Ducky because Ducky plays rough. A bit rougher than I think Shadow’s aging limbs can handle in their current state.  


Hopefully by this time next week, Shadow and I will be back to our fetch and keep-away games in the back yard. And she will be able to run the fence line with Ducky and our neighbors’ dogs. And run up or down the three steps in the house effortlessly. I know Shadow is itching to play and run and just completely enjoy life again.

Happy 4th of July!!

Shadow, Ducky, and I just want to wish all of our friends who celebrate it a Happy Independence Day!


I don’t “dress up” the girls for holidays – and I don’t use photoshop to make it look like I do – so here they are giving me their sweet smiles for the camera.

Stay safe and keep your pets safe!!

Shadow’s Re-check

Shadow and I just got home from her re-check appointment with the vet….

The sprain has healed and playtime restrictions have been lifted! YAYYYYY!  Now we can really work on her eating habits.

When Shadow doesn’t play, she doesn’t get enough exercise to work up an appetite. So, with the restricted play this past week, she hasn’t had much of an appetite. I suspect that she will start eating “better” now that she can run, play, and chase Ducky, me, and the ball again. 😃


And she lost a pound in between these two vet visits, so we have some leeway in keeping her weight stable.

It’s windy and chilly – but sunny with beautiful blue skies – again today. So Shadow and I may spend most of the day out here in the yard again. 

To ALL the Moms out there in Blogville: HAPPY MOTHERS DAY WEEKEND!! It’s our weekend to howl! Whatever you do, enjoy it!!

Smiles for Sugar

  

This is a blog hop for a sweet dog, Sugar the Golden Retriever. She’s having surgery this Friday to have a mass removed from her spleen. Oz the Terrier organized this blog hop to show support for Sugar and her mom and dad. The theme is “When I See Sugar Smile…” to tell her family how much Sugar’s smile means to each of us.

Sugar and her mom were among my first “blogging buddies” when I first transitioned my blog from personal thoughts to stories about my life with my own Golden Retriever dogs, Callie and Shadow. Sugar is a beautiful senior Golden Girl who always seems to have a sunny smile on her face and a sunny attitude toward life. She also has a human mom and dad who love her very much and do all they possibly can to keep her healthy and happy.

When I see Sugar’s smile on social media and her blog, I can’t help but smile myself.  As a mom to Goldens of my own, I can certainly relate to the anxiety and concern Sugar’s mom, Rosalyn, is experiencing right now. I want Rosalyn and her hubby to know that my heart, my thoughts, and my prayers will be with them – and with Sugar – tomorrow. And, to know that my sweet Callie will be watching over Sugar like a guardian angel for them.

Here are our smiles for Sugar…

  
  
 
  

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Sisters At Last?

I think – maybe – Ducky has finally accepted the fact that Shadow is her friend and older sister.  

I made a very short video out of eight photos I took with the phone on Sunday afternoon. (Thank you, Mr. Google.) I put two of these pix in my last post, but this goes so fast you might miss them if you blink.

Thank you to our hosts for the Barks and Bytes Blog Hop, Jodi of Heart Like A Dog and Linda of 2 Brown Dawgs. Follow the links below to check out some really fun blog posts. Please use the linky tools below to join the fun or link back to our hosts.

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Happy Boxing Day!!!

My mind is all jumbled today with random thoughts and ideas, so forgive me if this post seems jumbled as well.

First of all, I hope everyone has been enjoying the 2015 Holiday Season so far, regardless of which holiday you celebrate at this time of year.

It took until Christmas Eve day for me to feel like truly celebrating. Up until then I was just muddling through each day, wishing Callie was still with us and missing her physical presence. I decided on the night before Christmas Eve day that I was not going to allow the four-month anniversary of Callie’s spiritual transition to dampen my Christmas Spirit. The rain was bad enough.

Then my good friend and fellow pet blogger, Susan Kottwitz of Talking-Dogs.com sent me a poem on Facebook titled “The Night Before Christmas At Rainbow Bridge.” Although it made me cry, it also made me smile. And it gave me great comfort as well. I was able to make it through the day without tearing up again over thoughts of my sweet Callie.

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On Christmas Eve day, I helped Santa finish our Christmas shopping. I went online and made a donation to the Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study. It was one of Hubby’s and my Christmas gifts to each other, in memory of our slightly older Golden Girl.

Hubby and I had decided to keep Christmas “low key” this year, so the only gifts we actually wrapped were the toys we got for our grandsons, Will and Henry. On Christmas Day, I made the sizing adjustments to the new collars for Shadow and Ducky, attached their tags to the new tag holders they also got from Santa, and put their new collars around their necks.

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Aren’t the new collars cute? I just love them! I’m hoping the new tag holders stand up to Ducky’s rough-housing play with both her daycare buddies and her older sister!

Oh! I almost forgot to tell you! I’m still working on the new blog’s setup…I hope to have it ready to go live on New Year’s Day but don’t hold your breath. I still have a lot of end-of-the-year stuff to do for my non-blogging life first.  When it’s ready, I’ll let you know here on My Golden Life, complete with a link.

Well, that’s it for us today. 

Posted in: Christmas Spirit | Tagged: Christmas, Christmas spirit, Ducky, Hubby & Me, Shadow

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A Bittersweet Christmas Season

This has been a rather bittersweet Christmas season for me. There have been times – like the other day – when I could put aside the commercialism of the season and just sit back and enjoy it. And then there have been days when I just wanted the year to be over already. Most days have been somewhere in between.

I wrestled for weeks over whether or not to decorate the house and put up a tree. Last Saturday I decided not to; but then on Sunday – when it was icy cold outside – I decided I wanted a little, tabletop tree after all. Only problem was that the decorations are all in the attic and I hate going up there. So we decided to look for one of those little, pre-decorated trees. We had some food shopping to do, so we went to the grocery store and lo and behold, they had a small, potted tree decorated with a strand of mini lights and some mini ornaments, standing on a display table. It caught hubby’s eye and he called me over to check it out. The rest of these little trees were packaged in tall, plastic tote bags with a set of mini lights and tiny ball ornaments. So what the heck. Why not? It took us all of fifteen minutes to decorate it.                                                                                                            

And that’s about as “merry”as I’ve felt since the Christmas season began with the Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade. (Which I missed for the first time in I don’t know how many years this year. But it was worth it. We had a great time with hubby’s sister and brother-in-law.)

So, as you know from previous posts, my sweet Shadow and I have been missing our beloved Callie for months now. We do our best to enjoy each day, but sometimes our grief just overwhelms us. I have more tearful moments than not; and Shadow just mopes around and refuses to eat. This not wanting to eat “thing” has been going on sporadically since Callie got sick. In September, you might remember, the vet was concerned enough that he ran bloodwork and took some X-rays. He couldn’t find a thing wrong and gave her the “all systems go.” Soon after that, Shadow started eating regularly again. But right around Thanksgiving, she started being finicky again. At first it didn’t really bother me. I figured she was just missing Callie and after some fun out in the yard she’d be back to “normal”.  And she was. But by the 7th of December, her reflux had been really bothering her again, so I brought her to the vet to check her out again. There was nothing visible. The sore on the back of her throat had cleared up and gone away completely. And by last Friday (the 18th) she was being totally impossible about eating, so back to the vet we went yet again….

The vet and I talked about everything we could think of that might be causing Shadow’s latest finicky spells. The reflux seemed to be getting better, or at least less frequent. But the disturbing thing to both of us was that this last finicky spell had caused her to lose three and a half pounds in only eleven days. So, after deciding to change her dry food to one for sensitive tummies, and doing a thorough hands-on exam, the vet said “let’s get her in on Monday for an ultrasound on her spleen, liver, kidneys, etcetera. I want to be absolutely sure I’m not missing anything.”  

So, yesterday, Shadow spent about four hours with her “Uncle Steve” and his staff getting prepped for and being ultrasounded (sp?). She had gained nearly a pound since Friday’s exam, and around one-thirty, I got the best news I’ve gotten from Dr. Steve in months….

“There are absolutely no tumors or other abnormalities anywhere.  I was able to get a great view of her spleen, liver, kidneys, and the rest of her abdominal area. You can come get your sweet girl as soon as you’re ready.” 

We talked about other questions I’d mentioned to him, too, and made some changes in her routine; but those were minor compared to the great results of the ultrasound. Now, even though Callie’s physical presence is still sorely missed, hubby and I can rest easy that our sweet, loving Shadow is definitely still healthy. Perhaps the rest of our holiday season will be much brighter now.

So, on that note let me close by wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa (sp?), or whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of the year.  And a happy Tuesday to all!  (Finally, a bit of the spirit of the season is starting to surface!)