A Trip to the Desert

It’s strange, still, to only have five dogs now. It’s actually been strange to have had only six. Since Angel passed on in May 2010, I still kept trying to count for seven dogs. I hadn’t gotten used to six. And now I’m going to have to count for five dogs only.

Yeah, my husband and I would count dogs to make sure we had them all around. Home safe. Not getting out or running amok.

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I think I am coming to terms with losing Lucy. I’m still very sad, and last night cried again in bed before I went to sleep. I miss her so much. I wish that I could have put her in a bed, given her meds, and kept her around like I would have kept a person around. But dogs don’t work that way… and seriously, it’d be nice if we could put people out of their misery, too. Lucy was miserable. It was her time to go. I just still miss her so much.

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Today we took a trip to the desert to let the dogs run. It was a short trip. Long drive, about 45 minutes, and it was too hot to let the dogs run for too long. But they did have fun.   Levi isn’t very strong anymore and can’t go very far. I sure hope he’s okay when we go to camp.  I will take it slow for him, give him what he needs, and sit around on the beach of Lake Tahoe all day if we need too.  Which, really, won’t make me sad at all, sitting on the beach all day!

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I am trying out a new gallery, too, so above are the thumbnails. Though I’m not quite so sure how it works, yet, and I may just add the images individually too.

Lucy is Gone

Lucy's 12th Birthday
Lucy is gone. We let her go yesterday, Wednesday, August 3, 2011, at 8:30 in the morning. Looking at this picture of her, which was taken just this last February on her 12th birthday, I realize how much she had deteriorated just in the last week. But even before that, she was already in pain. She couldn’t stand on her feet anymore, on her pads, like other dogs can. Her feet were all folded over and she’d almost be standing on her hocks. It was like gravity was just pulling her down and down and she no longer had the strength to fight it and stand up straight. But at the same time she couldn’t be comfortable laying down, either. She’d just stand and pant.

Though she still wanted to eat, and she was still stubborn to the last day. She never let anything really get her down. I think she was going on pure stubbornness there at the end.

My husband is really the one who realized it was time to let her go. I was fighting it… like I fought and denied Kip, back in 2000, needed to go. Kip died on his own in our back yard, but he wasn’t even as bad as Lucy had gotten. Or Angel, back in May 2010. Tuesday night, I was crying and crying and just didn’t want to let Lucy go, and Aaron told me about his Mom, and how he thought she was in pain before she died, and he didn’t want Lucy to be in pain too. And that made me realize that it was Lucy’s time. Aaron has been a rock for me, so good to me about it all. He’s hurting too, but he is so amazing, I’m lucky to have him in my life.

But yesterday I was a mess, and had some Rum, to numb the pain a little bit. It actually helped. And I had donuts and pizza, too, because that’s a good diet for greif, I think. 🙂 Even though I realize it was Lucy’s time to go, I still miss her terribly, and this is going to take me a while to get through, I think. I am giving myself the time. Because I have to care for myself too, now, I think. And the dogs that are still alive.

The rest of the dogs seem to not really notice. Jet and Tatum, Muffit and Chase are the same. Levi might seem a bit off. Levi came with, to make sure he knew Lucy was gone. There was a time Levi was more bonded to Lucy than he was to me. But after I started doing agility with Levi, he bonded to me more. But still, she was his big sister and he loved her. So I don’t know if he understands or not, but hopefully somehow he does. Maybe we just have a lot of dogs, but the ones that stay alive don’t seem to really be affected when one leaves. And Lucy was not herself anymore, she was not a big presences anymore, and so she just kinda faded away.

I am heart broken, also, because losing Lucy is like the end of an era. She was the oldest. She was the cornerstone of the blue pack. I realized that I have broken the dogs into two packs. Lucy, Levi and Angel, the smooth blue collies we have had the longest. Then the other pack, Chase, Muffit, Tatum and Jet. I don’t know why, maybe I just categorize things. But now, of the blue pack, we only have Levi left, and when he goes, I may just have a nervous break down and have to go into the hospital, I will be so miserable.

Also, Lucy was 12 years old. How can 12 years have gone by so quickly? Did I do enough with her? I did some agility, but she didn’t like it. I did some obedience, she got her CD and her RA. But then she started to limp, back in 2006, and none of the doctors could figure out why. Maybe we didn’t do enough to keep her healthy. I just don’t know. I hope she had a good life. I will worry about that for a long time.

So anyway, she’s gone, and my heart is broken. I am still crying a lot, and probably will for a long while. I love you Lucy. I will miss you forever.

Bad Things and Good Things

Lucy, Levi and Angel 2002
I’m being all sentimental lately. Freaked out, entirely, that time is going by so fast and my dogs are dying. And, it looks like, the cat too. Littles. She’s in kidney failure and we will probably put her down next week, but we can only deal with one animal’s death at a time.

Lucy’s death day is Wednesday. I made the appointment. At this moment I’m not crying, but in five minutes I might be again. I’ve been going through old pictures looking at Lucy, Levi and Angel. Angel left us in May 2010. I am so upset that time goes by so fast. The next thing I know, 10 years will have passed and Lucy will have been gone for 10 years… just like Kip has been gone for 11 years now. Oh my, not good things to think about, eh? I remember thinking, years ago, as I lay on my bed one day, that I had all three young healthy dogs… Lucy, Levi and Angel. And now Angel is gone, Lucy is going, and Levi better be around for a couple more years or I’ll have a nervous breakdown.

About the picture, our front room no longer looks like that. That was when we had carpet (see the stains, lol), and the couch upstairs. Now we have tile and the couch and TV are downstairs. Though we might move them back up again so Levi doesn’t have to do the stairs. He’s getting too old for stairs and it seems to bother him sometimes. Levi is 11.5.

I always worry about forgetting the dogs too much after they die. But yesterday I realized that, even if my memory is poor and I don’t remember all the little details, I will never forget them with my heart. And I’ll always remember how they feel inside me. As they will always be with me in a way. Even as they take a big chunk of my heart with them.

I don’t usually combine different topics in one post but I have to temper Lucy’s pending death with a good note about Jet and agility. I looked him up on the AKC website today, and his AX and AXJ show, and so do his MACH points. Yay! I love that the AKC lets us see those online for free. I’ll post the pictures here below. My first MACH points with any dog, ever.

Below is a picture of our front room after we remodeled it, but there’s nice pictures up now. I just wanted a pic of the 3 smooth blue collies, and my husband is there too. Lucy is, of course, on the table. She always stood on the table to block our view of the TV when she wanted attention. LOL

Lucy on the Table

And here is Jet’s AX and AXJ. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, as it’s kinda a side note that I hope will happen in December 2012. But as it stands now, Jet has qualified for the AKC Agility Invitationals. So as long as 5 other Danish-Swedish Farmdogs don’t start doing AKC Agility and beat us out, we should be able to go. I sure hope so. But… I do want to go and be competitive, and not just go because we are the only dog of our breed who qualified. Though if that’s how we get in, I’ll take it, and I won’t complain! LOL

Jet's AKC Titles To Date

Jet’s qualification to the AKC Agility Invitationals:

Danish-Swedish Farmdog AKC Agility Invitationals
Jet AKC Invitationals

Lucy’s In The Grey Zone

Sweet Lucy
Sweet Lucy
Oh my, yes it’s true, and I guess in a way I think it’s kinda sudden, and in a way it’s not. Lucy has been on the decline for a while now. Years, in fact. She’s had this awful limp for going on 5 years or more, that the vets could never figure out… yup, I just looked at her Rally Advanced title, that she got in 2006, and I think she barely squeaked by just starting to limp back then.

Anyway, then she was diagnosed with Megaesophagus back in 2009. At that time the vet told us that her organs would probably start breaking down. But she has hung in there and done okay since then. My husband made her a Bailey’s Chair and she’s done good with it, keeping her food down and keeping her weight up.

But she’s been losing muscle strength for a long time, now. Muscle mass, yes, and just strength too. When I woke up, I think it was Wednesday morning, her elbow was sticking out at a weird angle. So we took her into the vet on Friday. They said she probably pulled a muscle or something and she doesn’t have the strength to stand much anymore, nor does she really have the capacity to heal. She’s 12.5 years old now. I was really thinking, just a couple of weeks ago, that maybe she really would make 13… but now we are thinking we are going to have to say goodbye to her this week already. 🙁

She can’t hardly walk now. She tries to put her weight on legs that will support her, but there really aren’t any legs left that will. She still likes to eat, and her mind seems okay. But her body is failing her. So it’s such a grey zone now. She’s not really healthy enough to be alive, but she’s not really unhealthy enough to be dead… so we really are not sure what to do. But the more I watch her, the more I’m leaning toward letting her go this week. 🙁

Of course I’ve been crying off and on for the last couple of days. We can’t do anything until next week, of course. But it’s so sad. Lucy is a link to my past that none of the other dogs have. My old house, my old life before my husband and I were married. When she goes, that link will be completely gone. And I’ve always considered her the cornerstone of our pack. Though she’s very weak now and doesn’t exert much of an influence anymore. Tatum will definitely take over as pack leader. Tatum will be our only girl left….

And we only put Angel down a year ago last May. So that is still fresh too. Ugh. The roughest part of sharing life with a dog I love so much. I letting them go. I love Lucy with all my heart, and I really don’t want her to go away.

Five Dogs Staying

When it’s hot out, and I don’t want to go for a walk after work… and when I just can’t decide what dogs to take with me when all of them want to go, I sometimes will just stay home and train.

Well yesterday at work I was thinking why not work all the dogs at the same time? I can do some stay work and mat work and have them really be good pups!

This is a long video, about 10 minutes, I didn’t edit it much since the in-between treating part is kinda fun to watch too. At least for me. feel free to fast forward. LOL. They all did really well. Tatum was the worst, which means we need more stay work with Tatum. Jet was the second worst, which is bad, since he’ll need stays in obedience! Lucy was also pretty bad but she’s old, 12.5 years old now, and she has a hard time moving. When I pushed her down I put hardly any pressure on her at all. I just touch her and she goes down easily. But still, I might not work her anymore. She loves the treats but it’s too hard for her to move.

Chase and Levi were solid as rocks. Good boys! They have had a lot of obedience training those two.

It was fun, I’m thinking I’ll split them up in pairs of 2 for a while since this is a new thing and I want to reinforce their stationary-ness for a while. And treating one or two dogs, while working one, will be a lot easier than treating four or five. LOL

Oh, Muffit doesn’t have a stay at all. So he didn’t get to work. He’s my husband’s hiking dog. 🙂