Friday, June 19, 2015

Can I Tell You This?

I was mad at The Husband when he brought her home.  He didn't ask, he just notified me that he was bringing someone home.  When I think of the dog he brought home that night, about 5 1/2 years ago, and the dog I grew to love, it seems as though they were different dogs.

She was so skinny and skittish.  She was restless and roaming.  It was a few days before Halloween and both of us were off from work, so we were able to spend several days at home with her.  She didn't startle at the sound of the doorbell when it rang over and over on Halloween night.  But she was restless, so restless.

I thought Bessy was a silly name.  But that's what she was named by The Husband's son when his mom found her.  I only commented that she matched the she could stay.

When did she creep in my heart and take it over?  I don't really remember.  It happened over time.  We had our bumps and issues.  But once she figured out that she was safe, and we would always feed her............she stopped ducking her head when you reached out your hand, and she worked her way into our lives.............and became, "my dog".  We spoiled her in every way we could afford to do so.........the best of food, someone to stay here with her when we went out of town, and even dragging her to Keystone four times.  Where she got to be a mountain dog and sniff the trails to her heart's content.

Once I fell in love with her, I seldom let myself think that she was an older dog, because we didn't really know how old she was.  But the hair around her face grew grey along with mine and I knew in my head I would someday have to say goodbye, but my heart didn't want to face that fact.

When she started limping this spring, my heart clenched, but hoped it was just a kink.  From the initial xray we waited 4 weeks to take a second one.  And the spot had grown.  She had bone cancer on her back left leg.  Our wonderful Vet, Dr. Jeff told us it could be a few weeks or a few months.  Just keep her comfortable, and you'll know when its time.

For the next few weeks Bess would lie on the floor in my office, right at my feet. She had a bed in there and slept most nights there.  I was on the computer a lot.  Posting my resume and looking for work. Late afternoon, she'd follow me down to the kitchen and curl up on the rug by the sink while I cooked dinner.

It was on the kitchen floor where she was laying during dinner, that she tried to get up and the leg gave out.  The wailing and whimpering was one of the worst things I've ever heard.  We loaded her up with pain pills and she limped into the living room and settled for a bit.  We sat with her and tried to figure out what to do.  I'd made a call a few days earlier and we knew what the end would be like.

Suddenly, with great effort she got up...............using the other three legs and headed for the stairs. The Husband helped her up the stairs, but we were amazed that she could do it at all. She was just so determined in that moment.

She wanted my office. It was her happy, peaceful and quiet spot.

The problem was, she couldn't lie down.  She kept trying, and we kept trying to help.  Finally after about half an hour, she managed to get down.  And I knew I didn't want her to have to get up again.

Caring Pathways is an organization here in Denver, founded by a man that I know.  Dr. Larry knows far too much about suffering and is a man of great compassion.  He founded Caring Pathways, and I encourage everyone who reads this to click on the link and read about him.  The call to them was the call I'd made a few days earlier and I knew we wanted to have them come to the house to take care of my Bessy.  I can't even imagine how we would have gotten her into a vehicle and  to a Vet without causing her tremendous pain.  So we made the call.

We called the neighbors who loved her and they came and sat with her while we made some calls.   They made their teary goodbyes and left us alone with her.

I laid down behind her on the floor and held her.  She was quiet and I believe the pain pills we got into her made her comfortable.  I sang our song to her.  Tom Petty's Free Fallin'..........."she's a good girl, she loves her momma".

About an hour and a half later, Dr Amy showed up.  As long as I live I'll remember that when she walked into my office, Bessy lifted her head and wagged her tail.

She was happy to meet a new person.

Dr Amy sat on the floor with us, and explained everything.  When we were ready, she gave her a strong sedative.  When her breathing deepened and she was no longer responsive.  She gave her the final shot.

And quietly, peacefully, in her happy peaceful spot...............she slipped away.

These are the final photos I took that night.  I was alone with her for a while and she was resting and calm when I took this.

I loved the way her fur looked on her neck.  She was a beauty.

When she was gone, Dr. Amy let us sit with her for a while, then wrapped her in the sheet she loved from her bed. The Husband helped get her on a stretcher and into Dr. Amy's SUV.

It was the perfect way to deal with a very difficult situation.  The Husband later apologized that it happened in my office, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  Do I think of her when I'm in there now?


But I know she passed away in a favorite place, surrounded by people who loved her deeply.  As the character, One Stab said in Legends of the Fall.  "It was a good death".

She'll always be my girl.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Throwback Thursday

How fitting on a day like today...............

As we join others around the world praying for the church in Charleston.

Larry Norman singing with the choir at the House of Joy Miracle Deliverance Church right here in Denver, circa 1989.   Pastor Ralph directing the choir.  I was sitting in that church the night this was filmed.  This was the most stirring song of the night!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Another New Beginning

The loss of a pet is harrowing.  Most people, even if they don’t have one understand that the loss is a serious matter to those affected.  From fellow pet owners there is a high degree of sympathy that gets lavished on you and that has been a blessing.
As regular readers know, I lost my dear Bessy on April 2nd.  Still can’t yet talk about that night, but with the passing of two months, I can talk about her now, without the tears coming on.

I still miss her.

Some folks caution you not to move too fast and take on another dog.  Others tell you to get a new companion right away.  I suppose there is merit in both approaches.  With all the upheaval in my life this year, I came down somewhere in the middle.

So WorldWideWeb………………meet Tucker.

There was a trip to the Buddy Center in Castle Rock that didn’t end with a match.  A Sunday trip to the Denver Dumb Friends league ended up lasting several hours.  And I find going there nearly unbearable.  Because it’s so full of doggies.  And they all stare at you through the glass walls as you walk by…………and it breaks your heart.  At least it does mine.  There was a lovely volunteer coordinator that kept trying to find a match.  Even among dogs that were not ready to be adopted that day.  So we kept walking back and forth.  Past sad eyes, each one pleading………………

And this one little man………….would stop pacing and sit down.  After the 4th or 5th pass by, I asked, almost in passing “can I see him?”

He had Bessy eyes.

After a long wait while he “visited” someone else who decided to think about it, I sat on the floor in the tiny room.  He took a treat, nicely, after I told him to sit.  But he was full of energy to get out of that small space.  So was I.  An outside visit fared better.  He ran and jumped and sniffed and loved catching ball.

Terribly tough decision, one that I almost couldn’t make.  Was I ready?  Ready to try again??

Obviously the answer is yes.

Three weeks and counting.  A few bumps along the way.  A bit of separation anxiety.  He’s too thin and needs to get his digestion regular.  We saw the Vet this week.  But he does well around kids and others when they come to our house. Seems distrustful of men when he’s on his leash, but not when he’s off.  He gets on well with at least 4 other neighborhood dogs that he’s been with. 

He's a wee little man compared to Bess, about 1/3 her size.  But he likes all the same places to hang out.


He jumps and barks and chews and all the other things dogs do.  Unlike Bess who was so quiet and calm.  But none of that behavior is really problematic.  Just normal dog stuff.  And then he collapses.

I might love him.

If I could just stop calling him Bess.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Those Texas Folks

So what’s the deal with folks from Texas?  When you live in Colorado, it seems you can’t cross the street without tripping over someone from Texas.  They are everywhere.  As if there is some magic portal that transports them here, but then helps them disappear just as quickly.  The tricky thing is that if you spend too much time with them, you fall in love with them, because Texas folks are the best people there are.  I mean that.  And not just because I know a few Texas folks will read this.  Problem is…………..they always go back.  To Texas.  I get it, family, friends, roots…………..all that.  But then they take a little bit of us every time they leave.

This Memorial Day weekend was Texas in Colorado holiday or at least that’s the way it ended up.  For the first time in FAR TOO MANY years, ScooterGirl and The Marine made an appearance.  A long overdue appearance. ScooterGirl first showed up here At Altitude years ago. She and The Marine were celebrating their 10 Year Wedding Anniversary this weekend, and honored us by coming to Casa Rancho and sharing it with us.  It was lovely and much too short a visit.  Someday, we’ll all be retired and the stays can be longer, but for now we relish what we have, though it makes us long for more.

In the years since ScooterGirl and The Marine left the neighborhood, another batch of wonderful folks from Texas moved in and we not only got to know them, but their parents as well.  It’s the same deal as before, they move right into your heart, and pull up a chair, and I’m hoping they feel right at home.  Sure feels that way on my end.

All the way from Giddings, all the way from Hondo, everyone showed up at my house and food and fun and fellowship followed.  There were kids and dogs, ribs in the smoker, hot wings in the kitchen and people everywhere.  We even had an unexpected visit from the twins who lived across the street with their mom.  They’ve since moved south of us after Mom took on a marriage and FIVE more kids.  But we hugged and kissed and oohed and awed at how big they’ve grown.  How perfect.

While I know that the real meaning of Memorial Day is a somber one, there were a few days of fun as well.  I still made sure we flew the Marine flag along with the Stars and Stripes.  And I managed to watch Saving Private Ryan.  Still makes me weep every time.
Couldn’t have really asked for more.  In this year of new beginnings, it was a great way to launch the summer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Adventure Begins

Today was the day.  Today was the day that it all suddenly felt new.  New and exciting.

It comes on you in a moment.  I was standing at a counter ordering a coffee.  Then I realized that the many years of dreading going to work,  dreading what the day would hold……………have all been replaced with excitement and anticipation. I had butterflies in my stomach like a kid. Looking forward to spending time doing things I love and working WITH people I like.  People who value me, care about me, WANT my opinion.

What a concept.  Working for something other than a paycheck.  The paycheck I was getting was big enough that it became the sole purpose.  The sole end game.  There was no creativity or adventure.  Just endurance, and drudgery.

So yes, I started a new job last Thursday.  The first few days felt awkward and unsettled.  New commute, new surroundings, being introduced everywhere as the new person.  Even though I’ve know some of these folks for years……………..still the new kid.

But today was the day it felt natural.  Like I can make a difference, make an impact.  Being part of a team is a new feeling as well.  My last job cast me in the role of the Lone Crusader.  The lone person standing for truth, justice and the American Way.  And being foiled at every turn.

I’m not starry eyed enough to think that there won’t be challenges and trials.  But I am free of  a future that I couldn’t bear the thought of living through.  A job I hung on to, far too long.

So I snapped a picture out the office window.  It faces west and I can see the spectacular Colorado mountains every day I'm there.  Not bad.......


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