Sophie is gone after 14 years and 42 days together. She is gone. I let her go while she was still Sophie. I did not cry until she was gone because the last thing I wanted was for her to leave worried about me.

I am still smiling at a comment that Adrienne, at my vet, made two weeks ago when we arrived for acupuncture. You see, Sophie hated waiting. When she was going someone, she was going through the door with no desire to wait in the waiting room. She was always ready to go to the specific room, rehab, acupuncture, echocardiogram or ozone treatment. Everywhere she went, patience was not her forte. So, that day, two weeks ago or so, Sophie rushed to “her room”. Adrienne managed to open the door for Sophie and then went on the other side and told our vet “The Queen has arrived!” It was so perfectly said! Still smile about it.

Sophie was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 2017 and had an echocardiogram every six months. I was always taking the earliest appointment at CVCA because she was SO diva and I always thought “how could her cardiologist have my Sophie at 4;00pm if he had ten Sophies before her? But Dr. Cain was so patient. The last two times, Sophie refused to go to the exam table for the echo. She was standing up in the room like telling him “I can do that. I will stand up on the floor and you do your thing, but the table is off limits!” and he did. I hope that every single dog with heart issues has a Dr. Cain in their lives. And amazingly, the heart did not fail her. She kept rebounding, and yes, she was my rebound girl.

Sophie was part of the only litter I ever had. She was born on March 21st, 2009, the fourth to come. Before her came George, then Jackson, Zoe, Sophie and the day after, March 22nd at 2:00am my sweet Max.

Ms. Piggy

From the beginning her nickname was Ms. Piggy. That girl was on the milk bar nonstop!

She was my smarty pants gal! Half lab, half monkey. I called those kids my “mutts” (they were purebred labs with an amazing pedigree!) but it was my nickname for them because they were so different from each other even with the same upbringing. They were going in every direction. It was muttstown at home.

When young, the five of them were sleeping in a big playpen at night, and Sophie was out of it as soon as I was closing the door on them, climbing out of that playpen in one second. She was not doing playpen at night, only the couch!

The infamous Playpen

Her best friend was George. Those two bonded from the minute they were together. She could argue with Zoe, ignore Jackson, scare the crap out of Max that she loved to bully, but George was her partner in crime. Where one was, you could be sure that the other one was there too, somewhere.

Sophie and George

When George died suddenly at the age of 3 from asymptomatic Lyme nephritis, she waited for him forever at the door. Years later, if I said George? (And I might have done it a few times), she was rushing to the front door even in the houses where he did not live. She waited for George to return her whole life.

Max was another story. Max was very sweet, and she loved to bully him. Every time, he was going to the yard, she was having so much fun, dragging him around the yard by his collar. It went to a point where Max refused to go outside if Sophie was in the yard. So, smarty pants Sophie went hiding behind the only tree in the yard. Max thinking the yard was Sophie free was going there and as soon as his four paws were on the grass, here was coming Sophie at full speed! But they loved each other. She was very, very close to him later in life until he died in September 2021 from nasal cancer.

Zeke, Sophie and Max

Sophie being Sophie hated swimming with a vengeance! The only time, she managed to do a decent job was when I was bringing Max as well. She hated the fact that Max was having fun in the water so at that time, she was faking liking swimming like in the picture below!

Max and Sophie

This is exactly why Ziggy happened in our lives! Max’s best friend was Zeke, and when Max died, Zeke stopped having fun. Refusing to walk, to go to my truck and even to swim. When I was taking him to the pools, he was going to pick up a fish, and then go back to the door to go home. For over a month, he was not Zeke anymore. There is a Zeke with Max and there was the Zeke after Max who suddenly grew up and became a very serious dog.

My thoughts were that he could not be an only child when Sophie was gone, and Ziggy happened, my tornado Ziggy, happy, loving and a real tornado. But what I did not anticipate was that Ziggy bonded with Sophie and Sophie bonded with him. She never bonded with anyone besides George. As always, she surprised me. She was a mother hen for him.

Even today, with Sophie gone, we have a ritual every morning. Before we go for a walk, Ziggy has to stay still and quiet, because you see he has a lot to talk about, but I do not put his harness until he shuts up, and every morning when he stops talking, and stands still, Sophie barks like “Nobody tells baby to shut up!” and this morning again, Ziggy got startled by the silence while I was putting the harness on.

I am not sure scientists have discovered this but I can tell you, after living with dogs for over 35 years, dogs mourn, and my Ziggy is in mourning. He is waiting for Sophie to come back. As soon as I open the front door, he rushes to the gate and waits, waits and waits for Sophie to return.

Day 5: Waiting for Sophie

Sophie was named Sophie because of children books that I loved as a kid by the Comtesse of Segur. One of the characters was Sophie, a free spirited gal, and mission accomplished the name fitted my Sophie as a glove.

Sophie after an encounter with barbed wire and surgery

Sophie was a lot like her Mom on the tennis ball side. Both girls never said no to a tennis ball. I remember Lola waking me up in the middle of the night with her tennis ball and her big eyes telling me “Come on Mom, let’s go play!” and very often I was grabbing a flashlight and we were going to play ball in the middle of the night while the mutts were sound asleep. Next to Lola’s ashes, her tennis ball is there by her side.

Lola, Sophie’s Mom

And do not get me started with squirrels. Any squirrel coming to our yard had a death wish. She was like a patient cat, lying in the grass, waiting for a mistake, any mistake, then lunging at that squirrel. I know it’s gonna sound pretty gross, but she was only eating the head, then running around in the yard with the body, and bringing it back home to her siblings triumphantly. She then acted like a Diva for a few hours!

Sophie and her brother Jackson

Labs have a great sense of humor. I think that’s why I love that breed so much. Count on Sophie to make life interesting. One day she brought back to my bedroom a black snake which escaped at one point and disappeared in my bedroom in the attic. This was the time where I slept on the couch downstairs for at least 3 months until I decided the chance to meet that snake again was pretty slim.

The last year of her life was tough. I despised as much as she did the Help’em up harness which became a necessity at one point when it was hard for to get up on her own. The first time I put the harness, she looked at me like “in your wildest dreams woman!” but little by little she kind of liked the help it provided to her.

Sophie being Sophie, she could bark in the middle of the night to go out. To do any business? Absolutely not! She just had the impulse to smell the roses or whatever was in the grass that night. Scents might just be enhanced.  Not sure, I did not google it, but I could see my girl going slowly around at 2:00am trying to get every scent around.

Opposite to three of her siblings and her Mom who all died from cancer, different one each but cancer it was, Sophie wanted choices in her life: cardiomyopathy, two torn cruciate with yes of course two TPLO surgeries, IBD, hip dysplasia, arthritis like everywhere, fibrosarcoma and then added last year seizures in her menu  Seizure which disappeared for ten months until they started to come back with a vengeance.

I am not sure Sophie would have ever wanted to go, so I had to make the choice for her, and let her go while she was still Sophie. She gulped down ice cream cookie, chicken treats (screw the IBD!) and a KitKat before crossing over the Rainbow Bridge.

The “mutts” are back together

On the other side, she was welcomed by her mom, Lola, her siblings, George, Jackson, Zoe and Max, and hopefully her Dad too, the amazing FC Honor.

Every time I see a picture of FC Honor, my heart skips a beat!

Heaven get ready! The Queen has arrived!

Run free my sweet girl. You left so many paw prints in my heart.



I used to be really good at being funny and write about funny stuff.  For as long as I remember, I always had sentences dancing in my head that I could not wait to write down. I remember a long time ago, like a century ago, when my 2nd grade teacher kept me in the classroom alone to write what was called in French “a redaction”, like a short essay because she thought my parents were writing it for me. They did not.

Anyway, my brain has always been very busy with words, and then Jackson died in September 2016  my brain went MIA, like frozen. And then, I was only able to write when something bad was happening. I love to be funny, and where was my darn sense of humor? MIA? Hello, I want it back.

So this post is not sad. Some could think it is, but it’s really not. I am GOOD!

This is just what I experienced in the last three months.  I always had kind of a sixth sense. Knowing things before they happened or feeling things which were not tangible.

Years ago I remember having a dream about a dog and seeing her sleeping under one of my trees in my yard, and leaves falling over her body – except that it was Spring and as far as I know leaves don’t fall in Spring, right? – I emailed my friend who was in France and he answered me back the same day to let me know that his girl has passed away the day before. That’s me… I can’t give you the lottery numbers but I feel things before they happen.

So, yes if you read previous posts, you must know that at least one of my dogs came back after he crossed the Rainbow Bridge. His name was Zeus, and then I  fell in love with another black lab. His name was Jackson. His death at 6 and half destroyed me for a long time.

And then, there was Maia. Maia has never been my heart dog. We were girlfriends but we got so close. Three years of chemotherapy and cancer will do that to you.

I deliberately chose to put Maia to sleep on December 18, 2017 because I wanted her to leave before cancer took over her body and I was okay with it. It was my choice.

And that’s when the story started….  Last January, I went to pick up her ashes in Virginia, and I was okay.

I was driving on the beltway, listening to some French music, and then the music stopped, and Maia started barking through the radio, and it was not a happy bark, like Zeus years ago. I almost got into an accident, because she did freak me out!

Maia was not my heart dog, but she sure is around even though she is not here physically!  Every morning, when she was alive, she was by my front door waiting to go to the pool with me. When she passed, she was still by my front door. Every morning,  she was there. It was just like a black cloud by my door. I can’t describe it better than that. A foggy black shape by my front door.

But it did not stop there. If you know me, you know that I have a Zeke in my life, and my Zeke is contained to my kitchen when I am not around, with a live cam monitoring him. I check on him on a regular basis. Hey, one day, I was having a manicure, and when I checked on him, I saw him ripping off one of my kitchen cabinet doors. I never screamed so much at him, but he did not care. I never left a nails salon so fast with only one hand done. When I got home, he was still chewing on my cabinet door….

So, that day, I saw something on his dog bed, and I could not figure out what it was, so when I don’t know…. I rush home. It was Maia’s ashes. Her box stays in my bedroom on a shelf, and it’s heavy…. Another day, I came home, and when I went to my bedroom, all the cards and notes that friends wrote to me when she passed were all over my floor. Those cards were safely stored under her ashes at all time. And I am not even talking about Maia’s barking at the pools. Kelly heard her too. Frustrating bark when we were in the pools area.

What was she upset about?

I was at loss and emailed the animal communicator I used on Maia a year earlier and who was amazing. At the same time, I talked about it with one of my clients, Zoey’s Mom, and she gave me a suggestion, and yes, Maia, I am so sorry for being so thick! She told me “Maybe Maia wants to be with you the way she was before. Maybe she doesn’t want to stay home when you go to the pools.”

The same day, I went home and got an email from the animal communicator telling me: “Maia wants you to take her to the pools every day the way you did it when she was alive. She belongs there.”

So…. every day, I take my girl to the pools. She stays on my desk by the computer. Every night, she goes home with me, and goes back to my bedroom. Since I have been doing this, she has been quiet, so I do believe she is now at peace. What she did not get was that location did not matter, it was just geography… Wherever I was, she was with me. How could she have missed that? It’s just geography. But every morning, I carry her in a bag, and every night I take her home in the same bag. Maia’s wishes….

I am finishing writing this post today, March 31st. It was the day she was diagnosed with Lymphoma 3 years ago. It was a long journey…. And the journey goes on.






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.



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





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…..



Monday June 27th, 2016 will be forever engraved in my mind. You see, I lost many dogs before, some from long illnesses, some on the spur of the moment kind of thing, but I never before scheduled an euthanasia for a specific day and time.

After she was gone, I realized than more than any of my other dogs, she was my heart dog. I always joke around – kind 0f… – saying that pups should come with a label: “they will fill you life with joy but one day will break your heart.” I am just not sure how many times a heart can be broken.


Lola it was ten years of my life. Lola it was a very hectic beginning when she was a pup, and had no manners. I always crated my dogs, except Pouch (don’t even ask about the name, please!), my Golden retriever who was claustrophobic, but crating Lola, was like crating Niagara Falls. So, yes, Lola and I had a very rocky start. I never had a lab pup before. Had rescued labs and other breeds but never a lab pup, and Gosh she was handful. I even fired a trainer who told me my dog was hopeless and had ADD. She was four months old for God sake! But I did fired her (not Lola, the trainer!), and it felt good because she hated Lola, and I could feel it with every pore of my skin.

IMG_1269Lola, it was all about making me happy and proud of herself. She mastered in no time the sit, stay position, and was always looking at me with her big eyes like “I want to make you happy and proud of me….” And she did. She was the only dog I could always trust without a leash, and no,  I would never ever have said to anyone coming with another dog “My dog is nice and just wants to play!” because she never ever did anything I did not agree to. I was in control all the time, leashed or unleashed. She loved the water like no any other dog. When she was a few months old, her mission in life was to retrieve every leaf from the C&O Canal, and it was Fall time, so the mission was a hard one. No matter how much she loved the water, if I said no, she never ever went without my approval.  Lola, I just had to look at her, and she knew without a word. She knew. If we were going to go for a ride, or to sneak out just the two of us, she always knew.lola

STA70852She was my heart dog, and she had to die for me to realize it.

The pools I built them thinking about her. I thought she was going to have a blast until she dropped dead…. but she dropped dead two months after I opened the pools, and that sure was not in the plan.

She had cancer, kind of a bi-polar cancer… so one day, I was all smile, and the next day, I was all tears. The three weeks after she was diagnosed with cancer – I can’t tell you which one, because I never knew – the only thing I knew was that it was a freaking roller coaster cancer. One day, she was going to be okay if we remove a lobe of her lungs, the next day she had cancer in her liver and spleen. The next day, it would be okay if she had lymphoma and everything will go away with chemo (I knew it was true because I have my sweet Maia fighting lymphoma right now) and then it was not lymphoma.

IMG_2984She faded so fast, and I just could not stand the idea of her being in pain. Yes, my philosophy is that it’s better to let them go a week too early than 5 minutes too late. Easy to say, but I owed her that part. We might not do it with humans but I will do it with my dogs any day because that’s how much I love them and respect them. I will deal with myself later. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly what I am doing right now. Dealing with myself. I had to get that post out of my system. My brain won’t be able to think about anything else until I write about my long goodbye.

That morning, she was next to me in my bed, looking at me with her big eyes when I woke up, and immediately I knew why I was so sad. Today was the day where I was going to lose her. She did not know that, and dogs are not afraid of death. I was just alone with my dog’s death, no matter the crowd, no matter anything. It was between her and me.

Monday is my day off, so I tried to do my errands as I always do. It was a hot day. And I just arrived at Target, and then stopped and thought “what am I doing here when my dog is going to be dead in 8 hours?” So, I left, I rushed back to her, and I found her in my office with tired eyes.IMG_3176

I spent a lot of time lying on the floor with her that day. I wanted to remember forever the softness of her ears. Even with closed eyes, I could recognize her just by touching her ears. I talked to her a lot that day. She listened. I did not cry. Crying would be for later, like now. I reminded her of our crazy nights. Lola was tennis balls obsessed and some times, in the middle of the night, she was waking me up with her ball in her mouth and looking at me like “can we go play?”, and yes sometimes we did. With a flash light and the moon as a witness we played ball in the backyard.  Lola= tennis balls + swimming.

She was too tired to play on June 27th but she put that tennis ball under her chin like she wanted to keep it forever.

June 27th was a very long day and so short at the same time. I was looking at the clock which sometimes was like rushing through the hours, and sometimes slowing down and making the time stay still.

When 6:30 pm came, my daughters were there. My vet arrived. Gosh, she loved my vet. He told me later than Lola’s eyes when she saw him was a moment he will remember for the rest of his life.

She left…. And it’s at that time that I realized the immensity of my loss. I will not dare removing the nose art on my truck window.  She came back in a box, and the only place which made sense was in my bedroom, on my dresser, because even if I am asleep, that’s where I spent the most time in the house these days. And yes, every morning, when I wake up, it takes me a few seconds to realize why I am so sad: I had just lost my heart dog: LOLA.

neverbarkIt started years ago. My daughter Jessica was 10, and she wanted to go see the puppies. Now, I am sure I would not even consider going to that place, but at that time, yes we did. Sue me! It was just a pet store which is still around even now, forbidden place for me since I don’t want to get mad, and I will, trust me on that one, seeing pups in small cages, pups coming from puppy mills and whose owner don’t give a damn about the dogs, there are just there for the dollars.

Anyway, at that time, it was just “to look”. We already had Douchka, our German shepherd, and I was not planning to have any other dogs.

We came in, and immediately were taken aback by the number of pups in glass cages, looking at you with those eyes. If I had been a millionaire, I would have taken everyone home with me, but I was not. Coming out of the brouhaha of that Saturday morning, a “sales person” was carrying back to his crate a Golden retriever puppy, commenting on his status “Everyone wanted to see him, but nobody wanted to take him home!” What do you want me to say? Yes, I did endorse that place by taking the pup. Between Jessica’s eyes, and the pups’ scared eyes, how could I not? He was 3 months old, coming from a puppy mill which closed down six months later, he went home with us.

It was the time of the Nano pet. Do you remember those? The only thing I remember from them was that they were forbidden in schools; therefore I had to take care of the Nano pet while I was at work, and otherwise the darn thing was going to die! Great technology, I am telling you!

The puppy from the puppy mill got a name, the one from the Nano thing! Pouch. Douchka was not crazy about him. He was just a puppy, and at that time, she had no patience for puppies. It changed later on in her life. Even my “au pair” girl did not like him. But Pouch was home for good. I never ever thought about getting rid of one of my furry kids. They are my furever kids no matter what.

I always crated our pups, but Pouch was not going to take it. Later on, we realized that Pouch was claustrophobic. He could not stand small spaces: crates or my truck, but it took us a while to figure it out. Pouch’s crate was our kitchen that he started to remodel to his tastes! Despite of all his chew toys, he decided that the best toys in the world were the moldings! Gosh, he loved to chew on it, no matter what. I put tabasco, hot pepper, nothing worked. I just had to be patient, and wait until he was done destroying the kitchen, and believe me or not, it happened

Pouch was our goofy boy. When he was a teenager, at one point, I heard some crunching noise, and could not figure out where it was coming from. I went to the dining room and saw our boy chewing Cognac glasses. Yes, they were clean, and I had just bought them, not because I like hard liquors but because the glasses were cool. Called my vet who told me to give him some bread. I did not have bread, so instead he got croissants, and everything went down smoothly. Good old Pouch. I will always remember those glasses!

Pouch was Jessica’s dog, the shadow of her shadow. He was the one who was there for her in good and bad times.

Pouch was stubborn, extremely stubborn! At one point, I took a trainer. The trainer gave up on him. He was pulling on his leash no matter what, and her answer was “he wants to be the leader, let him be!”. One day we took him to a field, and she told me: “You are going to see why he is called a retriever!”, and she threw a ball. Pouch stayed there, sitting down, and looked at us like “Am I supposed to do something with that thing?” Pouch did not retrieve! Pouch hated the water! I remember one time where we were walking along the canal, and he suddenly rolled on his back in the grass along the path, and I saw it coming: he just rolled into the canal, and yes, he almost drowned in 3 feet of water. I had to go to rescue him. That was our boy!

Pouch, as any Golden retriever, did not have one mean bone in his body. That’s just the way they are! One day, I was walking my bunch: Douchka, Pouch, Sammie (my little one), and Jet, my lab, and Pouch loved to be ahead of us. Suddenly I heard Sammie bark, a weird bark that I had never heard before. I rushed, and I saw Pouch sitting quietly with a groundhog hanging from his cheek. I had to kick the darn thing out, but my boy never moved. He was ok, but he was just sitting there, ignoring that beast which was hanging on his cheek. That was our boy!

He became kind of lost when Jessica went to college. She was coming back most of the weekends, but he lost his routine there. He loved to sleep in her room no matter what.

One morning I put all the dogs out, and Pouch was MIA. I called him. Nothing. I went to Jessica’s room. He was not there. I even looked under her bed, like if a 100 lbs. dog could squeeze there! I became frantic pretty soon. Did I forget to take him back inside the night before, and he escaped? What was I going to say to Jessica? I lost your dog….. I was just freaking out! I had gone through the whole house unsuccessfully. Suddenly I thought the only place I had not checked was Jessica’s bathroom. As soon as I opened the door, I saw him, sitting and kind of scared. Hey, he heard me screaming all over the bloody house, but he stayed there, still, not barking, quiet, waiting for the storm to pass.

I still remember that morning like if it were yesterday. Crying through my smiles, we had a very special walk that morning, the two of us. I remember the horses, the geese flying over us, and that quiet and serene walk. It was a beautiful morning, and I realized that day how much I was taking him for granted.

At the age of 12 and half, Pouch was diagnosed with Lymphocytic leukemia. He was a fighter, and with the help of chemotherapy, he stayed with us for almost two years. The leukemia did not kill him but he also had all sorts of tumors growing in his body. One day, he suddenly could not stand on his feet. His spirit was intact, but he had no more control of his legs. I guess a tumor was in control of his brain. I remember his eyes: he looked so lost. He was looking at me with hope. I was the “fixer”, and I did fixed him. We put him to sleep. Jessica and I were with him until the last minute and after. Until almost the end, he was eating his favorite treat: dried freeze liver.   His spirits were good. We let him go because it was the right thing to do. It doesn’t mean that it was easy or easier.

I never realized until he was gone how much of an impact he had on our lives. I know he is well. Sometimes I can feel his presence. Some mornings, I can see him lying in the sunrise on my bedroom floor. I know he is in a good place, but Gosh, I never realized before he left us how much I was going to miss that dog who never barked.

georgeExactly one year ago, at 4:15 pm, we put you to sleep. Labor Day weekend will always be associated with you, no matter what. Here goes one less holiday to celebrate! I hope you are in peace, free of pain, my beautiful boy.

I am not going to lie to you. This weekend was tough. I was reliving almost hour by hour our last two days together. I still look at the last picture I took from you on that Sunday when you were so vibrant of life.

It was so hard to let you go. I stopped calling your name in the yard which was a way to believe that you were still around. Not because I thought the neighbors would think I am crazy, but because it was upsetting too much your sister, and partner in crime, Sophie. Each time I say your name, she goes by the glass door to wait for you. I just couldn’t do that to her.

A few weeks after you crossed the rainbow bridge, our neighbor, the one with the pool, came all the way to the house to see if you were OK. His wife told him that she did not hear me screaming your name anymore in the yard. My free spirited dog! Even the last night before horror slapped me in the face, I remembered how exasperated I was around 10:00 pm because you were still playing in the yard. But you came, my wild boy, with that grin which got me since the day you were born.

The first few weeks after you left us were tough. I am not going to deny it, and you must have known it. First, there was Sophie who refused to eat for several days and was standing by the door, waiting for you. If my heart had not been already broken, she would have broken it a bit more. My ex vet used to say that animals don’t mourn. This is crap, you know, because Sophie was in mourning for a very long time.

Sophie never replaced you. It would have been easy for her to hang out with one of your siblings, Max or Jackson, but no, since that September 4th, she is a loner. Don’t get me wrong, she does enjoy life, food, walks, and her bumper, but no one replaced you. You were like attached by the hip to her, and now she just stands by herself.

I wish you could have seen us – me and her – when she came home one morning with a dead squirrel in her mouth. She was so proud of herself! And I was so freaking out! Since that morning, you know Sophie, my wild child, and she decided since the squirrel episode, that she can’t have breakfast before killing a stuffed toy! So, while I am fixing their meals, she is running around like a nut with a toy in her mouth, shaking it, until she is sure the darn thing is dead, and then she comes for breakfast.

I talk about you a lot, I think about you a lot, and if I could resume you with one word, it would have been: HAPPY! I never saw a dog as happy as you were. Ever. And the last picture of you, when you were coming from the intensive care unit with all your IVs and catheter, and God knows what else; you were still wagging that tail! My happy boy!

After you left me, I found your spot in the yard where you had buried all your treasures: your candy cane toy, and carrots, lots of rotten carrots! George, you were never starved! Why on earth did you have to bury these carrots like you were anticipating bad days coming?

I have that memory of you when I was coming home, and I was seeing you coming from the back of the house at full speed towards me. You never figured out how to slow down. Always bumping into me at full speed with that big grin! Gosh, I miss your grin!

I don’t know how long it took me until I stopped expecting your 80lbs of full happiness on my lap each time I was sitting down! You were my lapdog! From the minute you were born, you were so glued to me. The first rides in the car, you had to be on my lap! I know that the girls said that our bond was because I cut your umbilical cord, but I don’t know anymore. I just know that my lap is meaningless now that you are gone.

The first Christmas without you around for breakfast was eerie. The year before, you were so proud when you jumped on that chair to be at the table with us.

Rewinding your life, I feel like you were living yours at 100 miles like if you knew that you would not go past 3 years, 5 months and 14 days.

Today, I wanted to tell you George that we are going to celebrate you with a roasted chicken. Remember how you almost took my fingers away one day when you stole a chicken, and I got it back from you, kind of. These were the good days….

I am missing you like every single day since you left us, and I wanted to tell you that I would give anything to have you back just for one minute, just for one minute. RIP my beautiful boy! We had so many great moments together, not just enough years.


Note: George died from Lyme Nephritis. He had no symptoms until the last days. He was “normal George” until September 3rd when he woke up with swollen limbs and was diagnosed with kidney failure. He had his Lyme shot as well as Front line. It was not enough. The vets did everything they could to save him, but it was too little too late. If you have a young lab or golden retriever, be sure to check them for Lyme often no matter what. That specific condition doesn’t happen that often, maybe a dog in thousands, but it really doesn’t matter when it’s yours.

jetI love dogs, cats, anything with four legs, a tail, and furry coat! I had many dogs, but one day, unexpectedly, I just fell in love with one breed: the Labrador retriever.

I really did not know much about labs. Mostly the picture I had in my mind was a big fat thing snoring around. Sorry guys. I know this is so so wrong, but hey it was how I was picturing a lab until I met Jet. Jet was my boyfriend’s lab, and I suspect, no I know, that I stayed with him for his dog. I fell in love with that black thing immediately. Jet was a working dog, and loved to go hunting with his Dad. But, as he was getting older, it became more and more difficult for him to get up early and go freeze his butt in a field. He still liked the idea, but his joints were too stiff in the morning to really go for it.

At that time, I already had Douchka, a German shepherd, and Pouch, our Golden retriever. Both of them accepted Jet pretty fast. Douchka being Douchka started by showing him who was the boss, but she would have died to protect him or Pouch or her humans. Pouch was Pouch, our gentledog, and started to hang out a lot with Jet, sharing bones, and playing tug war.

Every day, I was taking the three of them to walk in a big field, leash free. They minded me….. Most of the time. We had a few adventures that way. The field which was a Pepco facility field was surrounded by houses on both sides. One day, a Sunday, I was walking them around lunch time, and the three of them started running around. They disappeared for ten seconds, and then came back like accomplices licking their lips. I did not have a second to wonder what mischief they had got into that I heard a guy screaming at his wife: “Honey where did you put the hot dogs?”, and a female voice replying “They are on the patio table.” “No, they are not! The dish is empty. Where are the $#$@##$$ hotdogs?” Needless to say and yes, with some shame, I have to acknowledge that the four of us ran away from the screaming house as fast as we could. I never walked them again around lunch time on weekends there.

That field was not flat. At one point there was a big hill, and Jet got me there one time…. He started to rush to climb that hill, and I did not mind. I mean, I did not know him that well at that time. At one point, at the top of the hill, he turned back his face towards me, and then disappeared. I started running with my two other buddies following me. I arrived at the top of the hill, and Jet was nowhere to be seen. I totally panicked, and started running around and screaming his names: nothing. I ran back to my truck with the dogs, and started to drive around the neighborhood. Thank God, it was a very quiet neighborhood but nothing. It was like he had vanished from the field. Not knowing what else to do, I went back to the field, and there, on the sidewalk, sitting quietly, was Jet waiting for me. It did make sense. It was where we parked, and once he finished exploring whatever he was doing (I learned later that he was visiting a Dalmatian girl who lived close by) he went back waiting for me, his human, who had left him alone in the wild world! A few times, he tried to play that trick again on me, but as soon as I was seeing him going faster to climb that hill, I was right behind him!

Jet was the first dog that had a great sense of humor! We communicated well. He came with me everywhere: from work to errands. Everyone knew him. If I were going to make a deposit at a bank, there was always a cookie ready for him.

The front passenger seat was his, and he was anticipating my driving. So many times, when he was seeing a stop sign coming, he was putting one of his front paws on the dashboard to keep his balance. What did he think? I was not going to send him through the windshield.

We went to Florida two summers in a row with him, and he loved it. He loved the swimming pool where he could retrieve his favorite ball in warm and clear water. He loved our walks on the beach, jumping into the Gulf waters. Jet loved water. He must have been a fish in another life. The first summer in Florida was so much fun for him. The second summer was not as fun. He was slowing down and was still enjoying the swimming pool but he left the Gulf alone that time. During our walks, sometimes he was looking at me with tired eyes, wanted to go back home, and I was just following him, whatever his body was telling him to do. He was my sweet boy.

His face got frosted so fast. He was black, and there is nothing more beautiful than a black face frosted with white hair.

My office was in the basement, and like many of my other labs, his idea of relaxing was to be under my desk on my feet. The issue started to be the stairway, and if he were upstairs while I was at my desk, he was going to the top of the stairs, and calling me to help him. He had so many different barks:

  • I want to come
  • I want a treat
  • I need to pee
  • Let’s go for a walk

He certainly communicated far more with me that my supposed boyfriend! LOL!

One time, it was before 9/11, and I was supposed to pick up the boyfriend from the airport. So, we went together, Jet and I, and were waiting for him in the terminal, sitting on a bench. A guy came to sit next to me and started a conversation. Jet was there with his big face on my lap, looking at the guy. Suddenly an awful reeking odor of spoiled rotten eggs with maybe a touch of musk surrounded us. The guy looked at me with disgust and ran away! I swear my darn dog was smiling like “That will teach him!”

The last Fall we had together, Jet started to get really fat, you know like the idea of I had of labs before knowing one. Something wrong with him. Xrays were done, and the vet wanted to do an exploratory surgery, and we went for it.

I still remember that morning. Jet was not too happy since he had no food, but we went together in my truck like old buddies, like always. He went to the vet office with a wagging tail. He always liked the place. I gave him a huge hug and there he went.

I was so antsy that day. Waiting for a call to give me an update on his condition, I decided to go to a local pet store to buy him a new bed. He would need to be very comfy after the surgery. I was on my way there when I received THE call. The vet told me that he had liver cancer with bleeding tumors, and nothing could be done. The only thing was to put him to sleep while he was still under the anesthesia. I remember the connection was not good, and right then in a minute, I had to let him go. Why the sky was still blue, the trees with glorious colors when my boy had just left this earth and crossed over the rainbow bridge?

That day, I went to see him before he became ashes. I caressed his beautiful face, his velvet ears, and I left, empty handed.

Later on, when I split with the boyfriend, he let me have his ashes for my kitchen furniture, a real small price to pay to keep my boy home. Jet is always the first one to move to a new home! He was my first lab, and he made me fall in love forever with that breed: the amazing, smart, loving, beautiful Labrador Retriever.

deceasedIt did not happen in one day. I did not get up one morning, and thought: Today, I want to talk to my deceased furry kid!

All my furry kids who crossed over the rainbow bridge are in peace. I know it, I can feel it. Sometimes I feel their presence for some short seconds surrounding me, and that’s enough for me. Zeus was the only one who did more than that: He barked at me from the other side, and I wrote about it some time ago. ( But it was Zeus, the love of my life!

Don’t get me wrong. I shed tears now and then when suddenly the memory of one of them overwhelms me, hey I am just human!

Then there was George. George died in traumatic circumstances a year ago last September at the age of 3. He was my clingy one. He was my furever kid except that the furever thing lasted 3 years, 5 months and 14 days.

After he passed, I was in such pain that I really did not think about him being in peace. I was just missing my boy. Then, little by little, I settled into a life without George. With his first death anniversary coming, I just realized that I never, ever had any special moment coming from him. I started wondering if he were in peace, or if there was anything I could do to make him being in peace. Yes, you can call me crazy if you want! I don’t mind.

I started thinking about animal communicators. My only experience with one was not good, but I know that out there, there are real ones. It’s just tough to find the one. I started asking friends about it, and I got a name. Too bad, she was in sabbatical year, and was only treating emergencies. Another one who was recommended by another friend never contacted me despite of some emails. Funny thing, one day, because of Zeus Corner, I was contacted by an animal communicator who sent me an email saying that someone wanted to talk to me from the other side. I, immediately, thought it had to be George!

At the time scheduled for our conversation, with my heart beating at 500 beats a minute, I answered my phone. She asked a few questions. My concern was George. Was he in peace or was he running around tortured and could I do something about it if it were the case? Apparently, it was not the right question. I was not getting it right, and then she started talking, talking, talking and talking. George was barely mentioned… Hello? I want to talk to my boy! Isn’t it what it was all about? But no, she went on talking, and to tell you the truth, she gave me a bad headache. I did not want to hurt her feelings. I just put the phone on speaker, and heard her voice speaking at 100 miles an hour while I was taking 3 Advil. Why 3? One doesn’t work for me, 2 might, but 3 definitely will, so why take chances?

She talked for an hour, barely stopping for breathing. I tried to interrupt her a few times unsuccessfully. Was it a recording? She kept repeating the same thing over, and over again, but it had nothing to do with my dog. She did drain me. I give you that! When I hung up, I felt relieved. She wanted to have a deal on Zeuscorner, but I did not follow up with it. I just could not.

Years ago, my oldest daughter lost a dog, Lorelei, in tragic circumstances. Her collar broke; she crossed a road, got hit by a car, and was put to sleep at the emergency. She was only 6 months old.

Later on, Deborah told me that she was talking with Lorelei through an animal communicator, and that, at one point, she was going to be reincarnated and the animal communicator will tell her which breeder to go to in order to have a girl back. She had to call every week to make sure Lorelei knew that she loved her. My daughter was young, in college, and she was paying $ 120.00 for each session. I talked with Deborah about it, and she broke my heart when she told me “Mom, I know that most likely it’s not true, but if there is only 1 chance out of 100 that it’s really Lorelei who communicates with me, I just can’t let her down.”

We agreed on one thing. I was going to call that lady and see what would be coming out of our conversation. I called, was immediately charged $ 120.00 with the assurance that if she could not locate my dog, I would get a refund. Fair.

I asked to talk to my shepherd Douchka who died a few years before. She asked me why now? And my answer was: “why not?” She told me that my dog might have been already reincarnated but she was going to try. I described Douchka: black, tan with some white. I did not mention though that Douchka was a long hair German shepherd.

Then, she started talking, saying that she was seeing a big dog coming towards her. She asked me if Douchka had a big bark. Duh…. What do you think lady? We are talking about a 100 lbs. dog! Then, I heard her asking someone: “Are you Douchka? Dominique wants to talk to you.” She, then, came back to me and told me that Douchka agreed to talk to me. I told her that I needed to be sure that it was my dog she was talking to, and I asked her to describe her. She became kind of defensive, and told me she was facing a German shepherd black, tan with some white and straight ears. I asked her how her hair was. Short? She snapped at me that of course her hair was very short. It was a German shepherd we were talking about! I kind of lost it right there, so angry that someone could play with others’ feelings, raw feelings to make a few bucks, ok, more than a few bucks. I could never stand people who are taking advantage of others. To make a long story short, she issued me a refund as well as for my daughter’s prior sessions. A few months later, her website disappeared from the WWW. Good riddance.

It did not help my daughter though who was so tortured by the death of Lorelei, feeling I guess a bit guilty about the collar which broke. Suddenly I had a thought. I had a very good friend, Joe, who some years ago told me the story of his lab and his daughter. His lab was getting old with arthritis and all the bad stuff which happens with age, and one evening, his daughter came to see him and told him that Samantha, their lab, wanted to go, but she was staying alive because of him, because she was scared he was not ready to let her go. Joe who is a no BS guy looked at his 12 year old daughter, and the concern in her eyes, and agreed to do something. The same evening, he sat down with Samantha, stroked her ears, looked at her eyes, and told her that she had been the best companion ever, and if it was her time to go, he will be fine. The next morning, he got up, and Samantha was in her bed, but her soul was gone. She had crossed over the Rainbow Bridge that night.

Joe’s daughter moved some years ago to Colorado where she became an animal communicator, and worked mostly with horses. Deborah called her, and got at last peace. She was told that Lorelei was in peace, and that a very tiny red dog was around her. A few years before, Deborah had a small dog Foxy, that we found tied up to a pole in the middle of winter and who lived his last few years with us. If that little feisty guy was around, then Deborah knew that her girl was going to be fine, and Deborah got finally some closure and moved on. It was just an additional paw print engraved in her heart.

Please do not ask me the name of that lady or a phone number. Don’t you think that if I still had them I would have called another animal communicator? Joe died some years ago, and I just lost his daughter’s information at one point in my life.

Yes, there are animal communicators out there. Some are real, and some are there for the quick bucks. No, I will not try anymore to communicate with my boy through anyone. He has to be with all my other furry kids, somewhere over the rainbow, and maybe one day, when I least expect it, I will be able to feel a piece of George’s spirit surrounding me, or maybe not….