Friday, November 4, 2011

Doing What Comes Naturally

Dory Colman Anderson took this lovely picture of GCh./UKC Ch. "Penny", an "Argus" daughter out of "Nikon" who just earned her CGC.
Penny doing a coaching instinct test.  Hopefully road trials are in her future,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It IS OK To Cry About Dogs

Same title as yesterday, but only because the thought did not get finished when I ran out of time. While talking with a Dal owning male friend about the fact that his first Dal was approaching the end of its life, I reminded him that it was OK for men to cry about dogs, and that he should not be embarrassed about doing it.  That losing a beloved dog was similar to losing a family member.  After his dog passed, he made a point of telling me that he remembered what I had told him, and it made him more comfortable with his feelings of grief.  When Pepper died this week, he posted the reminder to Jess's Facebook page, which touched us both.

I've cried about many dogs in my lifetime.  Dogs I've owned, dogs I've bred and sold, dogs owned by friends, and dogs I've never met.  I can look at a picture of Rob and still cry, and he's been gone for over 11 years.  I recently looked at a picture of Sid who has been gone for several years, and shed a few tears of him.  Each of my dogs has left its own chapter in my heart.

I can't imagine owning just one dog and losing it to age, accident or illness.  To have no dog to come home to, to greet me in the morning, sit quietly beside me, or accompany me on a walk.  I've owned at least two dogs for the past 45 years and sincerely hope that I am always in a position to be a dog owner.  If the time comes when I am forced to live without a dog or two, I will have to fall back on the memories. So many good memories of wonderful dogs I've known and loved.

It's hard to understand the people who say they will never own another pet because the pain of losing them is so great.  Certainly the joy of owning them is even greater.  We go into pet ownership knowing that most domestic animals live lives far shorter than our own.  Although it hurts to lose one, it provides us with the opportunity to know a variety of animals during our lifetime, and each one has its own special story to contribute to our memories.

Coral (13 1/2), Watson (11 1/2), Josie (8) and Argus (6) received a lot of extra hugs this week.  Hard to believe that my youngest adult Argus is already approaching middle age.   Jess's other Shepherd Simmie is 12, old for a Shepherd.  I told my dogs I am not ready to grieve again in the near future, so I expect them to stay healthy.  And when the time comes for another wonderful dog to depart, I will say my Good Byes, shed my tears, and add to the wonderful memories that live in my heart.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's OK To Cry About Dogs

Yesterday was such a sad day, as everyone was reeling from the loss of my daughter's German Shepherd "Pepper".  Although Jess & Don knew she had cancer, an evil incurable type of cancer, and were preparing for the sad day, one is never really ready to lose a loved one of any species.  Sometimes we lose them suddenly, through accident or illness, while at other times we have a chance to get used to the idea that age or illness will soon steal a special friend.  Jess & Don had a month of good days to share with Pepper, and they made it a special month for all of them.  They had a chance to show Pepper how much she was loved and appreciated, but knew their time was limited. When the end came, it came quickly, following a weekend of fun & games & good times.  They had promised her that she would not suffer needlessly, and when she woke up in pain, with "that look" in her eyes, they knew it was time.   Perhaps that was the best way, if there is a best way.

Those who have never truly loved an animal companion will never understand the grief their passing leaves.  Dogs especially, provide us with love and companionship and make a special place in our hearts, but many people are no less devastated by the loss of special cats, horses, and other companions.  There is a special bond between many humans and their animal companions, and although their loss is devastating at the time, most of us agree that it is well worth the pain because of the joy they bring us during their lives.  We often hear people say they will never have another animal companion because they can't bare the pain of losing it, and I wonder why they would deny themselves all the joy to avoid the pain? 

We go into this knowing that we are likely to outlive any of these companions who join our households.  We love, cherish, and enjoy them during their often far-to-short lives and remember them with loves and tears when they pass.  The memories remain forever.

This is not complete, but the dogs are nagging for breakfast, and I'll give them each an extra hug in memory of Pepper.  They probably wondered about all the extra hugs yesterday, but obviously appreciated the extra time and attention they each received.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Very Sad Morning

Just a month ago my daughter's German Shepherd "Pepper" was diagnosed with Lymphosarcoma, a fast growing cancer that is always fatal.  At the time Pepper was a vigorous robust 5-year old dog, who always received the best of care, the best of diets, plenty of exercise, and lots of love, the things that normally help to insure that dogs live long and healthy lives.  However, German Shepherds are one of the breeds at risk of cancer and a number of other health issues, and as it turns out Pepper's mother had died of cancer last spring.  Fortunately, Pepper was never bred.

Jess posted this to Facebook this morning,
‎"28 days ago, we promised her we would not let her suffer - today is the day we stand behind the promise. Everyone, please give your dogs a hug."
Just amazing how fast the cancer progressed, from an active healthy-seeming dog with swollen lymph nodes to a dog who will be departing today.  Jess & Don made Pepper's last weeks as enjoyable as possible.  Although I am not a Shepherd fan, Pepper really was a terrific dog, and much loved by her family.  She and her buddy "Simmie" certainly changed my view of the breed.  Because Simmie is 12-years old in a breed that normally does not live to be that age, there is more sadness in store for Jess & Don.  Fortunately, they have Dal puppy Meribel to help ease the pain.

As Jess says, hug your dogs today, and remember why you have them and how much they add to your life.

Jess posted

Monday, October 31, 2011

A Scare At The Dog Park

Faithful Josie
We had a scare on Sunday when Argus was body slammed by a couple of Rhodesian Ridgebacks at the Dog Park.  No malice intended, they just "ran over" Argus, rolled him, but he came up screaming.  Argus was up ahead of me at the time, greeting new arrivals to the park, but the minute I heard the shriek I knew it was Argus.  One of the other dog owners restrained him until I got there, in case he was seriously hurt, so I ran up to find a person sitting on the ground with her arms around Argus.  He was pretty shook up, and full of dirt and sand, but walked back to the car under his own steam.   Palpating him didn't identify any sore spots, so I put him in his crate, gave him a drink, and we went to White Castle for a breakfast sandwich.

I tried to keep him quiet yesterday, but he was having none of that, and he did not appear to be lame.  A little bit slower getting up and down was about all.  I need to work him for a few minutes this morning - we were not very conscientious about training this past week - and we'll see if he's at all stiff on fronts and finishes.  That's the reason I did not do things like this while I was showing Argus.  Couldn't take a chance of him getting hurt then, but nothing is without risk and he loves going to the Dog Park.

Apple pie with Granny on Friday.  Excellent pie made with Harrelson apples.  It was even better for breakfast the next day, as she sent the leftovers home with us.  She showed me the pastry cloth and roller cover she used when rolling out the crust and noted that "someone" should inherit it and continue to make pie.  It better go to my sister Kris or daughter Jessica!   Although I love eating homemade pie, I have no interest in making it.  A good casserole or interesting veggie dish is more my thing.

Letty and I did our puppy socializing at a couple of pet stores yesterday.  One of them is also one of my favorite aquarium stores.  We stopped there to pick up some algae wafers, but also came out with a new fish - a Dragon Goby, a long snake-like fish with huge jaws.  He went into a tank with larger fish, just in case he decided to sample his tankmates.  It's never wise to purchase a fish without reading up on it's needs first.  Definitely an impulse purchase on my part, but I'll give him a good home.  My fish normally live a long time and I have a number of 5-7 year old fish.  I need to do some reading though.

A few good puppy homes are still needed for Nati's litter in Ohio.