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Animal communicator, etc….

I just removed this specific post. I had two bad experiences with an animal communicator, and I thought until a few days ago that the third one was amazing…. It was not.

She was half dog communicator, and half psychic I guess. Not sure about the animal communicator part, but the psychic part was like the wires were not connected properly. She told me that one specific dog will have a very long life, and that there would not be anymore cancer in my crew. Two months later, the one who was supposed to have a very, very, very long life, dropped dead from cancer, hemangiosarcoma to be precise.

At the time where that woman came to my house, Zoe must already have cancer blossoming in her body since it had time to spread all over. Therefore, I am removing this post. I should have brought them tons of treats. It would have been more useful.

 

 

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It was all about having fun….

I might recycle myself and start writing pet obituaries…. I just seem to excel in it!

Yes, I lost another one! It’s quite ironic as a matter of fact when you know – of course you don’t – how paranoid I am with them. They eat the best food, get bottled water, and they all end up dying of cancer. Seriously? I am really starting to question what I do? Does it make any difference from fancy grain free food vs Iams to name one? And don’t get me wrong here. I hate Iams.

jackJackson just died on me. No, he did not die on me. I put him to sleep. A week ago, I was posting on my FB page that Jack was working really hard at dying from something else than cancer. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Take that cancer! My boy is a cancer survivor. I am sure that in the long run cancer would have taken over his body or at least the left side of his body, but he was doing well with his “cancer diet”, his supplements and his broccoli. He was doing fine. Then, he had that leg infection, and no I did not notice it. You see it was on his “good” front leg. Last Sunday, he went swimming and he was fine.  But I am rewinding the film right now, and Monday morning, yes I was in a rush because I was taking Maia to chemotherapy, but I snapped a few pictures of Jackson gulping down his breakfast, and when I enlarged the picture, his right front leg was a bit swollen, not like it was 4 hours later, but it was a bit swollen. and I did not notice it because I was in a rush. Would it have make a difference? I am not sure. The oncologist had given him a two week life expectancy three weeks ago, so he beat that one! Because he was my extraordinary dog. He was a lot like his Mom. Those two were all about retrieving and eating and swimming.

STA72267 Perfect labs. Jackson…. was my kid. I witnessed his birth, and I was his Mom after the first month. Lola took really good care of her kids for one month, and then I had to take the relay. She was still around, but she was like “you wanted the kids…. You take care of them NOW!” and I did. The bags under my eyes are called “my mutts”. For the first year of their lives (Lola had five kids: 3 boys and 2 girls) each time they were barking at night, I was getting up to let them go pee. My vet was telling me to ignore them, but it was easier to let them go out than hearing them bark for half an hour. So, yes, I might have spoiled them a bit, because you see, they were and they are my kids (I mean the three remaining!). I am not sure what I am going to do with the three left…. Should I put them under a bubble? Two had already died: George at 3 and half, and Jack last Monday. Each time one of my kids dies, it takes a part of my heart, and I am not sure how many times a heart can be broken.

IMG_3385I am not sure yet how to be in a “Jackless” life. You see I wake up in the morning and the first minute, I wonder why I am so sad, and then I remember. He was my boy. He was the one who was grabbing my hand with his paw when we went on car rides. He was the one who was hugging me every 3 minutes each time we went for a walk just the two of us. He was the one who made my feet his pillow, and to tell you the truth my feet are quite lonely these days.

I always said that labs are my kind of dogs – and I do love every dog – but labs have a sense of humor. Jackson had a very sophisticated one. For seven years, I blocked my fridge (because he knew how to open it), I carefully put everything away from his reach, I am conditioned now. I surprise myself putting the French baguette on the fridge (not that I eat much these days) and then I realized why? He is not there to steal it from me.

Last week, he suddenly disappeared on me in the house, and I thought “what could he have stolen?” because I am so careful around him. Guess what? He stole a cat food can and was enjoying it on my bed. That’s the place where he always took his stolen food! The metallic can was totally flattened. That was my boy! I am telling you!

Three years ago, I realized that he was not with us (meaning at that time my six other dogs – 2016 is the year where the number of dogs was drastically reduced thanks to cancer! -). I went downstairs, and saw him throwing up in my living room. Sue me. I had received a medication for Maia who had a high Ph. in her urine. I did not open the box, and left it on the microwave oven. Jack took it, opened the box, broke the bottle, and swallowed 200 bitter pills (why do I know they were bitter? Because I tasted them!), and then he threw up…. He was at the emergency within half an hour, and no one had a clue what would happen because no other dogs had ever had the bad taste of  swallowing that many pills. They did find a lab who swallowed 100. He made it. Jack spent three days at the emergency, but he made it. After he got home, my main concern was how to keep him safe. I became very disciplined and stored everything at higher levels that he could not reach even though he was a big boy.

jacknewtoyBut Jack was so much more than I could ever describe. I remember the first sentences of “Love Story”. And his story could start that way: Jack loved me, he loved Frisbee (even though I sucked at throwing them, and he got so mad at me so many times for the Frisbees to land on the roof! My roof is like a Frisbee cemetery!), swimming, food, walking, my feet, swimming, my feet, and just me. He had always been very protective of me, and I just feel suddenly fragile without him. He was the one to inspect the whole backyard first thing in the morning, running around the fence, barking at anything which moved. He was the one who was kicking out anyone on the couch sitting next to me without even moving his butt. Michael Jackson mastered the moon walk, Jackson mastered the couch kick out thing.

For the last six years, the mutts have been good with the Christmas tree but last year Jackson decided to eat a glass ornament on my bed and bleed all over my mattress. He was fine…. thanks to the spinach. Spinach is the best thing you can give to your dog if he eats anything sharp. I mean, do still go to the emergency but I have my whole pantry full of spinach cans, like it’s going to be of any use now. Maybe I should put them on Craigslist….. “Spinach cans to give away.”

I loved him from the minute he was born until the second he dropped dead. I am not just sure how to handle a “Jackless life”. Not sure about that one.

But I do believe we become energy…. And I know that somewhere over the rainbow, my Jackson is having a ball. I loved you to the moon and back Jack, and I will always do until I drop dead….. IMG_4282

 

 

 

 

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You got me at Hello…..

7 and half years ago, you were born. You were the third one, and the biggest one, and I immediately fell in love with you. You had that big pudgy face. Your eyes were not open yet. It took over a week before I could see them, but from the minute you were born, I was under your spell.

The girls (my daughters) always said from Day 1 that you had me wrapped around you paw. And it was the truth. Whatever wrong you did, I always found you excuses. You just had to look at me with those big eyes. You immediately or almost immediately took over my feet. They were the best pillows for your head. I first named you “Boubou”, and then you became Jackson because I met a long time before another Jackson, another black lab, who was not mine, but decided one day, I was his.

In my dreams, we were going to grow old together. There is not one evening or one morning when you are not in bed with me, your head on my shoulders, looking at me with those big eyes, and what can I say? I am a sucker and I melt.

jackSo, yes, you were supposed to get older, white all over, and there would be nothing better than snuggling with you at night or in the morning. You had all the Zeus’ habits (Zeus was my heart dog…. until you came into the picture, or maybe even after your Mom came into the picture, who knows?)

I loved you for your look (I might be vain there!) as well as your attitude. I always said that labs are my dogs because they have a sense of humor than no other dogs have (and I love any dogs from mutts to …. almost anything!) but you were the perfect lab, and you still are until you will drop dead, or until I decide for you, because I love you THAT MUCH, that it’s time for you to cross the Rainbow Bridge and go back with your Mom, Lola, and your brother, George. That’s how much I love you. If I could drive to the moon and back to make you feel whole again, I would. I would do anything to make you grow old by me….. but I can’t.

jacknewtoyAnd yes, it sucks. It sucks real bad. No dog should go at 7. I know that most likely you won’t be home for Christmas. When I think how worried I was about the Christmas tree and how to protect the Christmas GLASS ornaments from you. Last year, I almost got a heart attack after you decided to chew on a glass ornament, ruin my mattress with your blood, and after dragging your sorry butt to the emergency and heard that you would be okay.

In the seven years of your life, you drove me crazy so many times, but I wish so bad that I could have signed up for another 7 years. With all the crap you dumped on me, I would have signed up in a second for another 7 years of crap, and love, so much love between us.

Until not long ago, I did not realize how protective you were of me and the mutts (meaning your brother and sisters). First thing in the morning, you go to the backyard all around the fence to be sure it’s safe, and then once, you figured out that there is no trespasser, you come back to me.

When you are in my or should I say “your” truck, you are so overly protective of it. You would bite anyone who would approach it. And then the couch thing. If anyone is sitting next to me, I have no idea how you do it, but you manage to get rid of “the person” in no time, swiftly moving your butt around without even moving it. You mastered the art of getting rid of anyone on that couch besides me. And I love you for that too, Jackson.

You started limping in April, and I was concerned, like I am always concerned when one of you is not doing well, but you got better after being on an anti inflammatory thing (metacam to be accurate). We did X-rays, and no, you had nothing wrong in your bones. And then it started again, and again, and I failed you. When the vet did not find anything wrong, I should have gone to a higher level, and I did not. You see, I had no clue that you could have some kind of cancer without pain, and obviously you have never been in pain.

So, this is a message for everyone with a lame dog: IF YOU HAVE A LAME DOG FOR MORE THAN TWO WEEKS, GO TO A SPECIALIST, INTERNIST, WHOEVER BUT DO NOT WAIT.

I screwed up. I waited, and waited, thinking, as I was told, that it was most likely a soft tissue injury when it was a tumor growing into your nerves. And I had no clue.

Now it’s too late. You had a MRI, the tumor took over your body. One day, you will wake up and won’t be able to stand up, and because I love you that much, it will be the day where I will put you to sleep.

So after, all the sleepless nights, and worries, after the hope I had in the last 24 hours with that surgeon who was doing laser surgery on those tumors, after hearing the words “four to six weeks” I knew your story was going to an end, and yes you got me at hello, and youjack will get me at goodbye as well.

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Roasted chicken and swimming every day of your life, Jackson

 

Yes, that’s what you get at my home if you are diagnosed with cancer, and if your name is Jackson, and if you love swimming and roasted chicken.

So, do I see a line forming in from of my home? Just kidding.

jacknewtoyJackson, Jackson it’s my boy. He is Lola’s boy. He is crazy about swimming like her. When he goes to my car, most of the time it’s for swimming so he gets so excited. Today, it was not for swimming. Yesterday it was not for swimming. As soon as we get into the truck, he starts talking like “Could you rush woman? I am so ready to swim!”. Yesterday, we went to see Dr. Bradley, one of the best orthopedics surgeon around here. He did all the TPLO surgeries on my dogs for the last 16 years, and I trust him, because he is not about surgery, he is about what is best for the dog. And he doesn’t give you any crap. He just tells you the stuff like it is. I never needed anything sugar coated.

So yesterday, after seeing Jack, he told me that most likely, he had a nerve sheath tumor. Wow! That was a new one! Never got that one before. He kept Jack for a MRI but then called me two hours later to tell me that his MRI machine was freaking broken so I needed to pick up my boy. Jack was supposed to go back on Wednesday, but I don’t think I have ever been an ostrich in any previous lives, so waiting that long to know what was going on was not my thing, so with the amazing help of my vet, Dr. Greenblat (he is next door to the pool), I saw today a neurologist (and on top of it she was a lab person!) and then Jack had a MRI.

Diagnosis: nerve sheath tumor or in plain freaking English: sarcoma. With steroids and radiation: up to six months. With amputation of his front leg: up to a year. Like I am going to cut off his leg for six more months? No way, because it’s all about them, and it has always been. They need to have fun. They need to be able to walk, run, swim, and have fun! That’s what life is all about for Labrador retrievers. So this is the plan: roasted chicken + swim + steroids + radiation.

If this world is just the best video game in the universe, I have a message for the alien kids playing the game: I AM NOT PLAYING ANYMORE.IMAG013

It had not hit me yet that he might not be here for Christmas. Yeah, Jack, how cool is that? You won’t be able to eat a glass Christmas ornament and then ending up at the emergency. By Christmas you might already have a ball with your Mom, and your brother over the rainbow bridge, and laugh at me while I will probably be crying! “Hey Mom, this is cool over there, there is no cancer. I can swim, run, have a ball, PAIN FREE.”

thankfulThere is a picture with a quote that I love,  saying “that one day you will miss your crowded bed”. I miss it already. Jackson is  one of my “kids”. He was born the third after George (who had the bad taste of dying on me at 3 and half on Labor Day weekend in 2012),  and he was just my boy. I can’t imagine life without him, but I know that most likely it will happen pretty fast. So for the time being, Jack, I swear you are going to have a ball every single day of your life: roasted chicken and swimming and car rides. Last June, when his Mom, Lola, was dying of cancer, I took her for many rides in my truck because that’s what she liked, and it’s going to take me a lot of time before I remove her nose art on my passenger window.

I wish I could write about fun stuff, because I do love to write about goofy dogs and fun stuff, but this is my life, right now: I lost a dog from kidney failure in March, Lola from cancer on June 27th, Charlie the cat on July 1st, then Maia got out of remission from Lymphoma a week later, and we are having chemo every week like for the next six months, and then Jackson…. So, no, right now, I can’t talk about anything else. But I swear to you Jackson, whatever your life expectancy is between three to six months, YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A BLAST. Why? Because I said so.

 

 

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What if…..

Spiritual but not religious….. but then Zeus barked at me a year after his death. I was not the only one to witness it. You see Zeus died on August 27, 2009. For the last four years of his life, he was getting Reiki every Thursday at 10:00am in Virginia, and I swear he knew that it was Thursday and it was our time together.  Zeus died…. A year later, Pouch, our Golden retriever, was diagnosed with Lymphocytic leukemia, cancer in one word. I thought he might benefit from Reiki, so I took an appointment for him. It was a Thursday at 10:00am, I guess nobody took Zeus’ spot. Yes, it was eerie to go back one year after his death. I had been at that place so often.  As a matter of fact, I won’t be ever able to go back there. Too many ghosts now. Zeus, Pouch, Lola, Buddy…..

 

Anyway, when we left the place, it was Pouch, me and Jessica, my daughter. She was playing with her Ipod and suddenly when we were leaving the parking lot, I heard some barking, and asked her how she was making her Ipod bark. She had to remove her ear things and screamed at me: “Mom stop! You must have hit a dog!” Pouch, our Golden, was on his four legs listening to the bark as well. Except that there was no dog under my car, there was no dog anywhere. The bark was coming from my truck but at the same time from far away. It was Zeus’ bark. He barked at me for over a mile after we left the place, and then it was a deafening silence. What was the purpose? Why was he barking at me? From where? Was it to tell me: “Hey bitch this was my spot, it was our time together. You can’t rob us from that moment.” Or was it just to say hi?

 

zeusrainbowZeus stayed quiet after that for a long time, then on August 27, 2012, around 9:00 something am, my door bell rang. I lived in the middle of nowhere, so I was quite surprised that someone got to my door so early. I opened it…. No one. I closed it. The door bell rang again. So, I left the door a bit ajar with my mutts barking all over. I thought it might have been a mischievous woodpecker. The door bell rang twice more, and then it never happened ever again. I was texting my daughter about it, and of course, I might be slow some time, Jessica screamed at me (meaning she texted me in capital letters!) “MOM THIS IS ZEUS’ DEATH ANNIVERSARY.” And yes, he died around 9:15am on that day. Was it a warning? That ring bell froze my blood afterwards. You see two days later, my beautiful and sweet 3 and half year old black lab, George, was put to sleep out of the blue from Lyme nephritis. He was fine until his last evening. ccgeorge

So, was Zeus trying to warn me that something was off? I never heard from Zeus ever again. It will be four years this year. The thing is I was not even thinking about him that morning, and the time before, yes it was sad to go back to a place where I had been so many times but I was not looking for any sign, so why?

So yes, my dogs could be over the rainbow bridge, and I do hope that they are and that at one point, I will see them again, but….. spiritual but not religious…. What if we were just the most sophisticated game in the universe and that freaking alien kids are having a lot of fun with me and my love for my dogs…. and my friends? So the dogs get cancer, and the friends all die from heart attacks….   Not bad. Sorry Matt Damon but this has been my theory for a long time….. Just the most sophisticated game in the universe…..

 

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Seriously?

My daughter, not long ago, was commenting on my relationship with the mutts, and was telling me “Can’t you diversify your language? “Seriously” is probably the word you say the most!” She is a teacher, so she has a way to be kind of judgemental!

My answer was: “Seriously?” And I saw in her eyes that she thought I was a totally helpless cause!

Yes, “seriously” comes back very often in my mouth as well as in my mutts’ mouths! I love with labs! Sue me! So yes, labs have a sense of humor and can also be as judgmental as my 3rd grade teacher daughter. “Your Honor, I am not the only one to say this. They talk back, and yes they do!”

I always say that labs are my kind of dogs because I really do believe that they are probably one of the few  – or only – breed(s) with a sense of humor. I had many other dogs in my life before, but labs are just my kind of dogs!

jacknewtoyJackson is probably the one who says the most “Seriously?”. It happens almost on a daily basis, and he is screaming it at me. Jackson has a passion for his Frisbee or any Frisbee. And I just plain suck at throwing a Frisbee. I do. I am totally aware of it, and I take responsibility for all the Frisbees which landed on my roof and are staying there as witnesses of my useless way of throwing it. We had one left, yesterday, and the last one landed on the roof. I think Jackson was speechless for a minute, then he thought it so loud that I heard it: “Seriously????” So, we went to PetSmart to get a new one. If you were around that area yesterday evening, and saw a black lab dragging a flying woman behind him, that was me! I felt so guilty that I decided to buy a few. I swear, he was not the one to put them in the basket. He just sat there waiting for me to fill up the cart with like 6 Frisbees, then he must have thought that we were safe for a week. Seriously?IMG_4282

 

 

 

IMG_3898Jackson’s sister, Sophie, is the one who always, always, always wants to have the last word, and I am not kidding. Sophie has always been a smart ass, and it takes one to know one! When Sophie was a pup, she was half dog, and half monkey. After I was tucking them in bed – matter of speaking – but my five kids were in a big playpen, I just had to turn my back 10 seconds and Sophie was already out of the playpen. Sophie is smart. Most likely the smartest dog I have ever had. You can almost hear her brain work. I swear!

Sophie is a challenge any time of the day…. or night. She is like a prodigy kid, bored in her regular IMG_4055life, so she is taking it out on her brother, Max. She loves to terrorize Max. When Max goes out in the yard, Sophie is just right on top of him, grabbing him by his neck and dragging him around the yard. Hold your horses here! She is not hurting him, but yes Sophie could be a bully! So, Max, my little boy, my perfect lab, Max in one word, doesn’t want to go to the yard when Sophie is around. And Sophie being Sophie got it right away. So Sophie went to hide behind a tree. And Max being Max seeing the yard from the deck thought it was Sophie’s safe. But as soon as he was on the grass, she was jumping on him and having her way with him, and I was like: “Seriously?”

Sophie is throwing it right back at me. When I leave the house, very often, Max (the baby of the family) is having a tantrum, and Sophie, being Sophie, she just wants to help, right? So while Max is squealing at the thought that I am leaving without him, she grabs him by the neck to pull him away from the door. When I say “Sophie, NO!”, she looks at me like “Seriously?”

 

IMG_3903Max, it’s another story. Max was the runt of the litter, Max is the baby, Max is the one who hashibiscus tantrums, but Max also loves my hibiscus bush! I love hibiscus flowers, so yes I always have one on the deck. I guard that hibiscus like a hawk! I mean it. Max knows it, so now when Max goes outside, he doesn’t even stop, he grabs whatever he can grab: a leaf, half of a flower, or even a whole flower, and I scream at him “Max, seriously?” Don’t panic. Hibiscus flowers are okay to eat, but don’t ever say that to your dog, or you can remove hibiscus from your flowers list.

 

 

 

 

 

Then comes Zoe….. Zoe is the last one of the mutts or siblings. Zoe has a lot, and I mean a lot of blonde moments. Not her fault. That’s just the way she is wired. When I fixed their meals, as soon as the bowls are out, she start jumping and screaming, and I mean screaming. While Zoe screams I would never ever cross a bridge in fear of the bridge collapsing! I am talking about the resonance thing which can makes things collapse. That’s what I fear when Zoe screams, so I face her, and say: (yeah, yeah, yeah!) “SEROUSLY?”1350

“Seriously” can be said in so many tones: amused, serious, mad, gentle, sweet. Just the tone of your voice made it have so many different values!

And then, came Maia, my beautiful sweet girl who became a diva while fighting cancer. Maia doesn’t drink from the dogs’ bowl of water. I have to hold a bowl with cold fresh water from the water cooler and wait for my girl to decide if she wants to drink or not. If she perceives any stress in me, she won’t drink, so yes sometimes I can start to get upset and “Maia, seriously?”

So yes, we use a lot of “Seriously” in our home. The labs use it, and I do too. Funny I have two cats (don’t even ask….). I am not a cat person, but my daughters got cats, and at one point in their lives, moved out and kind of forgot the cats behind. My two cats, I guess they are my cats now, don’t give a rat about the “Seriously” thing, so it might just be a dog thing! Seriously? charlie

 

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Open letter to my “mutts”.

 

Dear Mutts:

I know, I know, you are not mutts but splendid Labrador Retrievers with the best pedigree ever. I remember the first time I took you to our new vet. You must have been around 3 months old, and I told him: “Meet my mutts!” He looked at me, puzzled, and managed to say: “They are not pure Labs?” You were all protesting with tails up in the air! But you are my mutts? No offense there! I am a mutt too with some French, Scandinavian, and Italian blood.

 

Letter to George

I know, before you were born, I was ready to change the face of this Earth with your birth, imagining your new families, and how they would be amazed by each of you. I had them lined up at that time. That was before you were born! And the miracle happened, and I just got crazy with my camera. Yes, George, if you listen to me from the other side of the rainbow, I did make some mistakes. Not my fault if Zoe was coming so fast after you, and I thought Lola was lost in the process, and yes I did cut your umbilical cord which made my poor Lola not understanding something. She knew she had to do something that she did not do. Okay, George you did win! I paid for it it every minute of every day when I decided to sit down! You never allowed me a second without you on my lap. Mea Culpa! Mea Culpa! You were my first born! There was a reason; we nicknamed you “Big Mouth”. And now that you are gone, I miss “my 80lbs lap dog” that you were so much.

 

pups1

We were so careful not giving you names but just funny nicknames going with your personality! The second one was Zoe, aka Blondie! She still has some blonde moments now and then, meaning 24/7! But Zoe even though sometimes I wonder if Lola did not have a thing with the postman’s dog, you are the cutest one! And you do watch TV!

 

You don’t remember it Mutts, but we waited a long time, Deborah, Jessica, and I for the entrance into this world of his Majesty Jackson, nicknamed “Boubou!” Sophie, my reddish girl did not wait a second to go on Lola’s teats, and of course she became “Ms. Piggy”. Max I owe you an apology too! If we had not known that day that there were 5 of you, I would have gone to bed by then, but instead I fell asleep on the floor, and Jessica was the only one to witness the arrival of “Baby” into the world! It took you two hours darn Max to grace us with your presence.

 

I don’t know if you remember Mutts but the first month was a dream, besides cutting your nails! Gosh you were worse than cats! But after a month, Lola decided it was time for me to help, and I thought “Gosh I better enjoy them, they will be gone in 4 more weeks.” No, I am not saying it was wishful thinking! I loved you before you even opened your eyes! I knew it was going to be hard to let you go, at least four of you were almost taken, almost…. Until everyone, one after the other decided it was not the best time to have one of you! I did try to find you new homes, I did! I built that website, put ads at our vet, but I rescued dogs before, and the one who will stay forever the dog of my life, Zeus. And I could not let you go without being 100 % sure that you would not end up like Zeus did, changing owners every year until I came into the picture. Mutts, you also have to realize that Spring 2009 could have been named “Morons Spring”. I got them all…. The moron who wanted two of you boys after losing his three labs one winter after pouring anti-freeze into their kiddie pool, the one who wanted Miss Piggy so bad because she was tired of intelligent dogs…. What do you say to that? Wanna tell me? I was going to forget the hunter who wanted Sophie too. Sophie was very popular, and still is! But what could I have said after he told me it would have been his second lab, he discarded the first one because she was too old to work…. Yeah, right. And I was almost going to forget the one who wanted to get a yellow lab to give as a gift to our daughter going to college? Were you on crack lady?

 

STA72370 - CopyEngraved forever in my mind is the way you were glued to each other in your playpen when someone was coming to see you. It was like you knew that there was a risk someone was going to take one of you away, and you had that funny way of backing out up the end of the playpen and being like a huge ball of fur with 10 scared eyes, and no happy tails! You broke my heart that day…..

 

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One more time though, I had someone for Sophie, a nice lady who had just lost her dog, and wanted Ms. Piggy again, and I said yes… until the next day where I called her back to say no. I couldn’t let go my smart ass Sophie, half monkey, half lab. Do you remember Sophie when you were back in your playpen, and I was turning my back 2 minutes and you had already climbed over the fence? Smart ass you were, smart ass you are! I swear I can almost hear your brain work! The day I decided that no one was leaving was just a regular day. No special recollection of it except that phone call. That lady who barked at me without even introducing herself “what are the colors of your females?”, and it takes a smart ass to know one Sophie, my answer was: “I have one with blue and green polka dots, and the other one has orange and purple ones. Any color you are interested in?” She hung up on me. No big surprise there!

 

Mutts, the worst thing we had to do when it was clear that you were going to be forever ours, was to pick up names. I am so picky about names, and usually one takes me a long time, five, are you kidding me? Fortunately Jessica was around and helped a lot, and that’s how that Jackson, George, Max, Sophie and Zoe became our mutts….

 

Some could say that with the pedigree they have between FC Honor who is the most amazing living being, and Lola, my born to retrieve girl, I wasted them. Do I feel guilty that they did not become champions or working dogs hunting in the fields? No, I am not guilty your Honor! How many mutts have the opportunity to stay together, and live together ever after? They stick together, they sleep together, they play together, and Lola the Mom was still in charge until almost the end. Already a month that your Mom is gone, and we still haven’t totally bounced by from her death, but we will, right mutts? Yes, Jackson you are a bit too quiet, and Max you are a little bit too loud when I leave in the morning while Sophie always try to help me (she is such a good helper!)  grabs you by your neck to make you stay inside when I go.

 

This letter is to tell you Mutts that even though sometimes I can get upset with one of you or all of you on a very bad day, but seven years later,  I am like in the Edith Piaf song: “Je ne regrette rien.” Case closed.

Dominique the Labrador Addict

 

 

 

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Social skills for Man’s Best Friends and their Humans!

 

 

 

 

 

Not long ago, I entered an already quite crowded elevator: a guy with a Saint Bernard and a young woman who just obviously just coming back from the gym. I love dogs. Any kind: the mutts, the purebred, the senior ones, the crippled ones. I love them all. I can’t say the same for their humans though!

 

The Saint Bernard was sniffing the young woman’s crotch, and she was clearly very uncomfortable. The owner of the dog was smiling instead of pulling his dog away; that’s the kind of moment where I have to control my temper! Fortunately, the young woman got off the elevator fast, maybe on purpose. In my book, it’s called bullying.

I know, everyone, starting with myself, believes that their dogs are the cutest ones on this earth, and seriously, they are. But it doesn’t mean that everyone is seeing them with my or your eyes.

Some people are afraid of dogs, some are just “not dog people”, and some don’t want to be littered with dog’s hair. I never “force” my dogs on anyone! If one of them gets inappropriate with someone, I pull back on the leash, and I apologize, because yes – breaking news! – I am not perfect! And my crew is not either! I walk Maia and Max, two of my labs, by a lake. And every time I see a specific lady coming, I make the dogs sit to give her some space. That is after one day, she screamed bloody hell at me because one of my dogs was too close to her that she liked it. One day, out of the blue, she thanked me for keeping my labs at large, and I replied you know “No sweat, I got it that not everyone likes dogs!” She then told me that she did not like them or dislike them but in her country, cats were the only pets, dogs were food. And trying to convince me, she asked me “How would you feel if you were in a country where people walk with their pigs for instance?” My reply was that most likely I would go to pet the pigs, but that’s just me! But I have to say that now, each time, I see her when I walk the dogs, I feel like she is looking at them like she is seeing two dog roasts with parsley in their nostrils!

 

 

What is unfair is that PEOPLE WILL RESENT THE DOGS instead of resenting their humans! I know it’s something I said and said over and over, but there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.

There is a leash law in this country, if my memory is good, and there is a reason for that. If I hear one more time from an owner with an unleashed dog coming straight at me and my restrained ones: “He is sweet, je just wants to play” I am going to scream out of frustration!

 

I am not trying to preach, I am just trying to make some people realize that you have to respect another dog’s or another person’s boundaries.

A French philosopher said one time: “Your freedom stops where mine starts.” Maybe we should conjugate this at every tense! There are many places where you can have your dog run free: your backyard, dogs parks, dogs beaches. Dogs are amazing beings and they should never ever be seen as a nuisance. It’s too unfair to them!

 

A GREAT PUP IS A WELL BEHAVED ONE!

Don’t be lenient with your dog. A well trained dog is a happy one. They are like kids: they need to know the limits. An out of control dog becomes a nuisance.

Some time ago, one of my labs, Zoe, had knee surgery, and as part of her rehab, we had to talk walks, a bit longer every day. We were quietly walking in my neighborhood, when I saw some hundred feet away an unleashed Golden retriever with his Human. I nicely asked the guy to put his dog back on a leash. His reply was: “My dog is friendly. He just wants to play! And I don’t have a leash anyway!”

My answer was: “My dog just had surgery. She can’t play!”

He tried to grab his dog’s collar, lost control, fell down while his 100lbs. dog lunged at me and Zoe. Zoe was shaking with fear, and even peed on herself. The dog sensed it, and started to become aggressive. I would never have thought that I would ever meet an aggressive Golden! I literally had to kick the dog away until his owner finally made it! His first question was: “What’s wrong with you?”

 

 

Then, he got on his knees and started “consoling” his dog, telling him I did not mean to kick him, that he was a good boy, that he loved him…. Seriously? It did not happen once, but several times. And I just stopped walking Zoe there. I never managed to get into the owner’s brain. Too thick? No clue. He just doesn’t get that his out of control dog is a nuisance, and can also get hurt if he gets into traffic running after a squirrel, deer or something else. Yes, the dog is cute, but that’s besides the point. Not everyone want to have in their face a 100lbs. rambunctious dog!

 

DOG’S ETIQUETTE!

Be in control of your dog at all time for his or her own safety!

 

 

 

If you see a dog with a yellow ribbon on the leash or collar: stay away. It means that the dog needs his or her space for whatever reasons.

 

 

Remember that there is no balance if one dog is on a leash and yours is unleashed. The leashed one can feel cornered.

When you are going to meet another dog, ask if it’s okay for them to smell each other’s butts. Hey that’s what dogs do!

Be the parent of your dog, not his best buddy!

 

PEOPLE’S ETIQUETTE

Teach your children not to run to pet an unknown dog: what is true for the dogs is also true for the children! I always cringe when I see small children running and screaming toward dogs. The sweetest dog could be spooked by a child going straight at him or her.

Always ask permission to pet a dog.

Approach your hands slowly to allow the dog to smell them.

If the dog backs out, don’t force it.

Follow the directions of the owner. Some like I do will make their dogs sit in order for you not to have muddy paws all over you!

Good manners will always take you a long way no matter if you are a two or a four-legged one!

 

 

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Today is a good day to cry….

I had a rough year, I mean, you really have to try hard to beat me on that one, and I am not into competition, believe me, especially not when it concerns my kids, four and two-legged ones.

Last year, I learned that Maia, my then 9 year old black lab, had Lymphoma, and had a month to live if I chose not to do anything. So, Maia and I chose to fight cancer. I almost lost her last July, when her temperature sky rocketed to 105.5 due to an allergy to antibiotics, but then she bounced back, and with the right oncologist, we made it through the six months – six long months – of chemotherapy. She is now in her 10th month of remission, but I don’t brag about it. I am so afraid to jinx it. I bought months ago a pink rubber bracelet from The National Canine Cancer Foundation and I never take it off. I am not superstitious, and I do walk under ladders, but I guess when it comes to my dogs, I am superstitious.

After Maia, came Jackson who suddenly was diagnosed with heart disease at 7 years old, and is currently doing well. Crossing fingers, toes, paws and whatever is available to cross.

Then Sammie, my little one, my fierce big dog trapped in a small body lost his fight to heart disease. You see you pick your poison: you have heart disease so you take meds which are going to screw up your kidneys. He died of kidney failure a month ago. 14 years with that little devil, and suddenly, despite of six other dogs, the house feels quiet and empty.

And then came Lola. Lola just turned 10 on May 28th, and we celebrated her birthday with roasted chickens. Have you ever met a dog who did not like roasted chickens? Me neither.

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Lola, it’s a long story. I got her when she was 6 weeks old, and she drove me freaking crazy. It was not her fault. She was taken away from her Mom far too early, and had no skills, like she was on my lap, and suddenly she was peeing on me. Yeah, seriously!

But we grew up together in many ways even though I think she really considered my daughter, Jessica, like her Mom. Jessica was with me when we picked her up, and she has a special relationship with Jessica. We went together to visit Jessica in college when she chose to go to Delaware…. Lola was and still is my best buddy, the girlfriend who is always there for you. She is also my crazy girl who must have been a fish in another life.

When she was three months old, her mission in life was to retrieve every leaf from the canal when she went swimming. That was my girl. Gosh, that dog loves to swim. So, when I decided to build a swimming pool for dogs (because swimming is the best thing you can do for your dog at any stage of his/her life), I was smiling…. I thought Lola was not going to believe it that she could go swimming every day of her life if she wanted to. And the pools opened, and Lola went swimming. She is a strong swimmer and can swim non stop for a good 20 minutes. I always joked that she would drop dead before stopping…. I guess this is a lab thing….. until yesterday.

 

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Yesterday I took her to the pool, and after 5 minutes, she just stopped, bumper still in her mouth, but trying to get her breathing back. Yesterday, I knew right away, that something was off. Last night, I spent my time on the computer googling…. lung cancer in dogs. This morning, I went to my vet, asking for the whole nine yards for Lola, because I don’t think I have ever been an ostrich in my previous lives, and I wanted to know. I knew it was bad. Walking her in the morning with her daughter Sophie, for the last few weeks, she was panting right away, and I attributed it to the heat, but…. this morning it was cool and she was still panting….

X-rays were done, and there is a mass in her lung, just one apparently…. Primary lung cancer is rare in dogs. Only 1% of dogs with cancer get that shit. Most of the time it’s secondary, meaning the cancer started somewhere else, and then spread to the lungs. It doesn’t seem to be the case, so maybe she is in the 1%. Her lymph nodes are nowhere to be seen. Call me paranoid but with Maia’s lymphoma, I check out my dogs all the time.

If it’s primary, there are options like removing the lobe, but it also means breaking her rib cage. Do you have any idea how it feels to break your rib cage? I am not sure I want to know.

I had an appointment for Maia for her regular remission check up this coming Monday with her oncologist, so I just called, and I will bring both girls this coming Wednesday instead and we will go from there.

Last time I felt that way was when we had to put our horse down. I will never ever have another horse, but it felt like being skinned alive…. That’s exactly how I feel right now. This is Lola we are talking about, my lovely, sweet girl, my tomboy during the day and love bug at night. It hurts so much than I can barely breathe. Today, I am giving today to myself to cry and cry. Tomorrow and the following days and weeks won’t be about me, but about her. But today I am selfish, and today is all about me and losing my best friend.  Tomorrow and the following weeks will be about fighting and doing the best for her, because she deserves the best. She deserves dignity. She deserves love, and she deserves respect. I love her to the moon and back and I will do what’s best for her. I can always deal with me later on. But today is the only break I am giving to myself and then, tomorrow we will start fighting.

 

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Hydrotherapy for Dogs: Why Pet Owners Turn to It at Increasing Rates

If your dog suffers a traumatic injury or his joints ache from age, you want to help them. Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, is increasingly becoming the option of choice for pet owners. Over the past several years, more veterinarians and owners have seen its benefits firsthand. Hydrotherapy helps pets recover from injuries and improves their quality of life.

Hydrotherapy isn’t limited to dogs recovering from surgeries or dealing with arthritis. It’s an excellent way to keep dogs fit. People whose dogs compete in athletic events turn to hydrotherapy to build their animal’s muscles to give them an extra edge.

 

Natural Healing

Educated consumers are looking for natural, organic, holistic products and services. A vet might prescribe medication for dogs with mild to moderate arthritis, but those drugs come with potential side effects – even the risk of death. Nothing is more natural than hydrotherapy, and its origins go back to the dawn of civilization. It’s safe and effective for dogs and their people. The only side effect is fun.

 

Postponing Surgery

In some cases, regular sessions of hydrotherapy can eliminate the need for surgery. For example, dogs who have not severely torn their cruciate ligaments – one of the most common canine injuries – may recover with hydrotherapy and medical management alone. A young dog who won’t use their leg while walking will in the hydrotherapy pool. Your vet will advise you whether this is a possibility for your pet. Cruciate ligament repair surgery is expensive, and many people simply can’t afford it. Hydrotherapy becomes an alternative offering a pet some relief.

 

Pre-Surgery

While most people think of canine hydrotherapy as rehabilitative and used post-surgery, it’s also helpful for dogs prior to their scheduled surgeries. If your dog can’t exercise normally because of the condition that warrants surgery, hydrotherapy can generally keep them fit. Maintaining a level of fitness prior to surgery usually means their recuperation goes more smoothly.

 

Proactive Therapy

It’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive, and hydrotherapy fills the bill. Regular sessions help your dog build muscles that ease joint pressure, which is a big plus as they get older. Dogs with strong muscle tone are less likely to develop arthritis until quite late in life, giving them years of strong mobility.

 

Weight Loss

If your dog has put on a few pounds, dietary adjustments and regular exercise are the best ways to get them back to a healthy weight. Hydrotherapy is one of the best ways to exercise an obese dog, since it is non-weight bearing. It’s easy to overdo exercise in out-of-shape, fat dogs if walking is the primary form. That’s not true of hydrotherapy, and it will get a dog in better condition so they can eventually join you on those long walks.

 

Cardiovascular Fitness

Many people practice cardio fit workouts religiously, for their overall cardiovascular health and general physique. Hydrotherapy offers a cardio fit workout for dogs, aiding recuperation or just maintaining good fitness. Regular hydrotherapy sessions improve cardiovascular fitness relatively rapidly.

 

Hydrotherapy Contraindications

For all its benefits, hydrotherapy is not suitable for every pet. If your dog has been diagnosed with heart disease or any condition that affects their breathing, they aren’t a good hydrotherapy candidate. Your vet can answer any questions you have about your dog’s participation in hydrotherapy.

 

K9 Aquatic Center

K9 Aquatic Center offers rehabilitation, fitness and conditioning programs for dogs of all ages. Our team includes a rehabilitation specialist and a veterinarian. We are open every day of the week except Monday. For more information, contact us at 240-683-1100, or visit our website.

 

References

http://www.canine-hydrotherapy.org/

http://iheartdogs.com/thinking-about-hydrotherapy-for-your-dog-heres-what-you-need-to-know/