Saying goodbye…

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A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.
~Irish Blessing

 

Hello everyone – My Mom thought we should let you all know that my sister Kirby died. She did pretty well for a long time, even after we started thinking it was going to be her time really soon. She had a great summer though, right next to me. Even though we called it the Summer of Lincoln, Kirbs got to do everything she wanted to do too. She hung out at the neighbors and enjoyed happy hour on the grass with us every night we were at the cabin. When you are old and sick like Kirbs, my Dad says there are no rules, so she got more treats than I could have ever imagined a dog could eat.  So even though we are pretty sad right now, we know that Kirby had a really good 4 1/2 years with us. She was 12 when we adopted her, so we really never thought we’d get to have her around so long. My Mom says it’s like this saying from Annie, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Even though it was hard, my Mom says that she has no doubts at all that it was the right thing to do and that it was time. We were out of town, so we went to my Aunt Robyn’s vet. Me, my Mom, and my Aunt Robyn went with her. Kirby was just laying there peacefully with her head on my Mom’s lap. While we were waiting, it seemed like she almost fell asleep, but she hadn’t had much sleep much the night before because her cancer was really hurting her. She cried out a couple of times in her sleep, and that was real hard for all of us.  After the vet came in, I turned away because I didn’t want to watch it happen, but I had snuggled with her a little bit before the vet came in, and then I gave her a couple of licks after she died. That was my way of saying goodbye to our sweet old girl.

My Mom says that since all of the Tripawds people are sort of like family, she thought you would want to know. Even though Kirby isn’t a tripawd like I am, she was still a pretty cool old dog. I’m going to miss taking care of her, but I’m sure glad she isn’t hurting anymore. One thing I think we can all agree on is that CANCER TOTALLY SUCKS! Goodbye Kirbs, we’re all going to miss you.

Death a friend that alone can bring the peace his treasures cannot purchase, and remove the pain his physicians cannot cure. 

 ~Mortimer Collins


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I’m still swimming….

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even though it’s October. My Dad found a lake right by our house, and it’s pretty cool, I must admit. Easy access. Not like the rocky shore at the cabin. Not that I’m complaining. My Dad and I have been doing tons of stuff together, because my Mom has been working ALL THE TIME. None of us like it much at all. The other day I heard my Mom tell my Dad that she thinks I like him best now because he and I are always hanging out together. We go to the driving range, and softball, and then afterwards, we’ll stop by the lake to take a dip and I’ll chase the ball for a while. In case you didn’t realize it, we’re athletes. I’m pretty popular at all those places. People LOVE to come pet me and tell me how great I am. With all the extra attention I’m getting these days, including the fact I’m a calendar dog, I am really starting to starting think that I just may be “all that”, like everyone says.

Those are manly, studly, things to do. I like them. Plus, I like hanging with my Dad, even though I miss my Mom.

After I heard her saying that about me not loving her as much, I decided we should spend some time together last weekend. Unfortunately, my Mom had been planning on making candles on Saturday. So, to prove my devotion, I hung out in the candle factory (a.k.a. my Dad’s shop) all day. This, I should mention, is not manly or studly. This is all girly and good smelling and foofy. I did it anyway, though. I figure if Fortis can get away with wearing a gardening hat, I can hang out with my Mom in a boy’s shop, while she makes candles. Sometimes you do things you really don’t want to for people that you care about. It’s like this saying my Mom told me once, “Sacrificing your happiness for the happiness of the one you love, is by far, the truest type of love.” Truth be told, even though I acted like I hated it, it really wasn’t so bad making candles. I figure it’s the least I can do after all she’s done for me.

Tonight my Dad and I have a softball game, where I’ll sit in the dugout and humbly accept attention while people sing my praises. Tonight, especially, I deserve it, because I’ve officially been a tripawd for exactly 7 months today. I’m pretty sure I heard my Dad say we were stopping for ice cream to celebrate.  I’m sort of hoping that we stop for beer…it seems way more macho than ice cream, but I’ll take either one.  I’m really feeling like I’ve managed to turn this whole amputation thing into a pretty good situation for myself.

It makes me realize that when Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity,” he knew what he was talking about. I guess that guy really was no dummy.

Encore, encore!!

Just when I thought it was all over (The Summer of Lincoln, I mean), here we are, back at the cabin doing everything I love best. Add sunshine as the cherry on top, and you can imagine the weekend we had.

I swam. I rested. I swam. I rested. I chased the ball. I swam. I rested. I chased the ball. I swam. I guess, mainly, I was just me; which was nice. I think it’s nice that nobody really seems to care that I only have three legs. Everyone knows that I’m the same ole’ dog. By the way, Fortis, if you look real close at the rocks, you can see they are covered in goose poo. You’ll be proud to know that I did indeed live up to my nickname (The Big Stink), and I got a real good roll in, just like you and that dead fish. You’da been real proud!!

     

My Mom, as always, took lots of pictures. One time I jumped in the water just like I used to, before I only had three legs. My Mom cut my head off as she was taking the picture, but she said I took her by surprise, because who knew I was going to act like one of the Flying Wallendas. I caught some serious air on that one. Serious. Air.

At the end of the day, we built a fire and ate dinner outside (this is after we all went to the winery of course). I have a feeling that this may be the last weekend of warm and sunny swimming, but that doesn’t really matter to me. I swim in all seasons. Except winter…the lake freezes over then, and according to my Mom, it’s dangerous to go out on it. Until then, though, this really is my kingdom. Plus, for me, it’s all about attitude. It’s like this saying my Mom told me once, “There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. Celia Thaxter.”

I think we are all grateful for a lot of things. My Mom and Dad are grateful that I seem to be healthy. We’re all grateful that Kirby is hanging in there and is actually acting pretty saucy, if I dare to say it. She’s eating her cheeseburgers all the time, and even some kibble every now and then. We feel blessed that we have the lake house to come to. My Mom says she doesn’t know what she would do without some time to re-charge her batteries, and sitting by the water, drinking coffee is the best way ever to do that (as long as I’m with her, obviously).  I’m grateful they let me swim whenever I want. I guess we all just feel lucky to have each other. It’s pretty simple, really.

Plus, did I mention the swimming?  

 

 

“To know you have enough, is to be rich” Tao Te Ching.

I guess this means we’re rich, because we have each other, and that’s enough for us.

 

Something ends, something begins…

Well, it seems like the Summer of Lincoln is winding down. Of course we are at the cabin for Labor Day weekend, which means lots of swimming and running and wine tasting. I heard my Mom say that this could be our last weekend of nice weather, so we decided to make the best of it.

This is day one. Just me and my Mom, down on the dock, drinking coffee and reading and watching everything around us. I’m mostly watching my ball, because I think it’s pretty funny when I give it a nudge and it rolls around on the dock and sometimes it rolls into the water…and you all know what that means – TIME FOR A SWIM.

It was so pretty that morning, the lake was like glass, and my Mom made me post for a bazillion pictures. I’m getting to be sort of like a male model though, because when she pulls out her camera, I put on my best handsome face. Except, I have to admit, I did get a little bored with it after a while. 

My Mom said that this was pretty much her perfect morning. A beautiful place, a beautiful dog and a cup of coffee. It reminds me of this one saying by Aristotle…I can only think of one thing greater than being happy and that is to help another to be happy, too.  That’s what I do for my Mom, as I’ve mentioned. I force her to slow down and just be. I’m good for her, for sure. We spent a lot of time on the dock and in the water this weekend. We were both trying to make the most of the perfect days we had.

We also spent a lot of time POSING FOR PICTURES. Our other dog Kirby is really old, and really sick. She has cancer too, but hers is way worse than mine. It’s melanoma, and she’s had to have body parts cut off too (what is up with that?). She was only supposed to live for three months after we found out, and she is way past her expiration date, but nobody has told her.

She is 16 1/2  and she has lived with us for 4 1/2 years, which we all think is pretty amazing. I’m trying take care of her melanoma spots, but my Mom says that no amount of licking is going to make them go away. She’s not going to be around much longer, I think, but she sure had a good life with all of us. I’ve never been an only dog before, so it’s going to be pretty weird for me, and for my Mom too.

Anyway, Kirby and I have both really enjoyed the summer. It was lots of fun, and we have never spent so many weekends at the cabin. It really was the best of times. So, even though it’s almost over, we all made the most of it, and if I’m being honest, I hardly even noticed that I only have three legs. I still swim and run and roll around just like nothing ever happened.

 What’s next, do you suppose?…something good, for sure, because when one thing ends, another  has to begin. I’m ready to roll! Who’s with me?

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail…Ralph Waldo Emerson

What I’ve learned about learning…

Hello friends, it’s a substitute writer again. Lincoln is home from his weekend at the cabin with his Dad, and I’m away and missing my family; two, three, and four legged (not necessarily in that order, sorry to the hubs).

When I’m away from home, which is far too frequently, although I enjoy the quiet time at first, I always, always miss being at home with my brood. It’s inevitable that I begin to contemplate all I’ve done or haven’t done, and all the difficult decisions I’ve made in the face of complete and utter confusion and disbelief.  I can’t help but mentally avoid the tally of money I’ve spent, not only on Lincoln, but on the other geriatric wards we’ve taken in as well.

When Beau died last month, we no longer had to buy his Amantadine, Gabapentin, Rimidyl, Tramadol, Soloxine, Adequan, Glucosomine, and Fish Oil. No longer did I spend hours making the homemade dog food we fed him so he could eat a decent quantity, and still keep his weight down (so important for a double hip dysplasia dog). The days of bathroom assists were over. Our feeding times became quick and uncomplicated.

We learned that simple isn’t always better.

We hated how quickly breakfast and dinner were over, and longed for the lengthy process of pouring food and confirming medications, during which time our white dog would spin in circles and head-butt you with delight and impatience and glee. He lived with us for less than four years but became as much a part of our family as any dog ever was.

We learned that enthusiasm and zeal can make up for just about any physical disability.

Beau was a link in my learning chain. They all have been, really. These old dogs who lived another life, about which we knew nothing, who still manage to integrate and accept, and most of all, love their new life and their new people.

I’ve learned believing in the future is possible.

And always, always, my circle brings me back to Lincoln. My money pit. My canine 401 K. If you can believe it, somebody once had the audacity to tell me that I couldn’t say that he was a retirement plan, because one can expect a return from their retirement. This statement is obviously predicated on the belief that I get no return from my investment in Lincoln. Laughable, isn’t it?

I spent tens of thousands of dollars on my education. My law school loans may never be paid off. I learned an incredible amount during my formal education process. I’ve learned even more as I apply that education to the world of criminal prosecution. I love being a public servant. I think that my unending quest for fairness and justice is what brought me to rescue the dogs.

I learned that it is unspeakably important to be an advocate for those without a voice.

I don’t know how much money I’ve spent on Lincoln. Probably I don’t know simply because I don’t care. I’ve learned more from Lincoln than I have from anything else in my life. I now know that it really isn’t over until the fat lady sings. I’ve learned that it truly isn’t about if you fall; rather it’s about having the courage to continue to get up when you do.

Surgery after surgery, Lincoln gets up, shakes himself off, and perseveres. Amazingly, he not only perseveres, he does it with an endless smile and with an immeasurable amount of dignity. He is unflappable and utterly irrepressible with a constant wag of his tail and spring in his step, because each new day will bring him joy; a new smell, a scratch, a swim, a cuddle, a bowl of food; a stranger who becomes a friend.  No matter what this world throws at him, he becomes better, because he continues to grow. It is my greatest hope that I am strong enough to be more like him.

I’ve learned that I learned a lot from a big, red, three-legged pound dog.

(This is a video I made after Lincoln lived through the brain surgery. It’s not CometDog worthy, but it does illustrate my point).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUh4LmPiMj4[/youtube]