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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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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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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