Thursday, March 28, 2019

Upcoming Session with Quiet Parks International

Today I booked a event with Quiet Parks International to be held next month at Manresa Castle. They will be presenting an award to someone who is coming all the way from the Amazon to accept the award for capturing the quietest place on earth. I think the group was originally called One Square Inch. The founder, Gordon Hempton, did a recording in the Hoh Rain Forest & describes the location as possibly one of the quietest places in the US. The 14 minute recording is lovely to listen to. I'm looking forward to photographing this interesting event.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Saying Goodbye Is Never Easy

The day after seems so hard. The unfinished eclairs & Cheetos are now in the garbage. After Dr. Ginny left yesterday I just left Max resting on the floor where he had spent the last couple weeks. Now his spirit has had time to soar to a better place. Thank you Jim for dropping by with tea and homemade biscotti. 

As I came down the stairs this morning Max looked so perfect I thought he might just wake up. Thank you to my friend Aaron for coming by to help me carry Max out to his final resting place. Max is wrapped in an old coat from our walking days together, kinda like having my arms around him forever. Listening to sad country western songs and finishing a love letter to accompany Max on his next journey. 

Rolled up the stained area rug from the living room & set it out for a dump run. Straightening the room feels a bit like returning the hospital bed after hospice care. Sherman & I sense the quiet today. It hit me in the face when we returned from our walk knowing Max wasn't inside waiting for his turn. I'm amazed at the similarities of losing my partner and losing Max. Grief is grief no matter if a loved one or pet.

A couple things I learned of while caring for Max. One was the miracle of giving Glucosamine HCL with MSM, meant for people, but suggested by my friend Doug who was using it on his dogs. Your Vet should be able to give you an idea of correct dosage based on your dogs weight. It made a hug difference in his ability to get around and the results were immediate plus it gave us more time. The other thing that happened to Max as he aged was he got confused and really restless at night. I thought leaving a light on would help but it didn't, what did help was Gabapentin. There really is something similar to Sundowners Syndrome that you find in elderly adults but it is also found in dogs. Your Vet should be able to make suggestions on the dosage based on weight. It made a difference in both of us being able to sleep at night. I also got a little Velcro belly band to put on at night if he had an accident. I got it from the pet store & adding a Kotex inside the liner helped even more. 

I thought sharing this might help others who have gone through or are going through a similar situation. Sharing with my FB friends has been very helpful for me. Again thank you everyone for your support & kind words.

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Final Goodbye-Saying Goodbye to My Best Friend Max

Max 2002-2019

Saying goodbye is so hard. I'm eating eclairs & Cheetos tonight while Max is eating cheeseburgers and sausage egg McMuffins. We have an appointment with the Vet in the morning. Max has been in "dogie hospice" for a long time so this is no surprise but no less difficult. At times over the last year he has been like the Energizer bunny but at 17 1/2 his poor old body is just worn out. I've watched his body change as his legs seem to have gotten longer, he has lost weight despite a big appetite, he's bent in stature, vision changes and gray around his muzzle. Last May he collapsed in the back yard and I just couldn't get him in the house. Thinking this was the end and not wanting him to pass alone I laid at his side until morning. We survived the windy night without having a branch falling on us laying in the yard. At sunrise he awoke & looked at me like we were both crazy for being out in the cold covered with blankets. 

I have been blessed to see his sweet face every morning for 15 1/2 years. The day I adopted Max from the shelter I remember taking five dogs out for walks. He was the only one who put his head in my lap and looked at me as if to say please take me home. He had my heart at that moment. 

He still is a handsome dog. People have always commented on what a good looking dog he was. His once flowing Golden Retriever tail & assortment of colors in his fur with white, black, burnt sienna, yellow ocher, raw umber and now gray around his Chow like muzzle and almond eyes. 

For years we had a nightly routine of him following me after I would head up the stairs for bed. Only minutes after all the lights were off I would hear his paws hit the tile at the foot of the stairs, then up he would climb. He would reach the bedroom put his head on the bed to get his bearings and then leap up. Never figured out why he didn't come up with the lights on. In the morning there he would be looking at me almost shouting wake up wake up like someone at a store window at Christmas waiting for the store to open. 

Always patient with my other dogs in my family as they ate his food or pushed aside at the water bowl or getting in the back door. Our life together has been a series of small moments the daily routine of having a dog. When one talks to themselves you appear a little less crazy if a dog is in the house. He knew when to put his head in my lap to comfort me when I was sad. He loved snuggling at my feet as we laid on the couch watching Law and Order on a lazy Saturday afternoon. He loved following the sun around the back yard always moving to be warmed by its afternoon rays. How we loved our daily walks together. 

For many years twice a day up to the Castle and home, then once a day, then just to the mailbox, then around the yard then just around the house and now laying on the floor surrounded by old towels creating a quilt around him. Whenever I walked thru the front door of our home he always looked at me like he just won the lottery. How lucky I have been to have him in my life but a piece of my heart will go with Max tomorrow. 

“And it is exceedingly short, his galloping life. Dogs die so soon. I have my stories of that grief, no doubt many of you do also. It is almost a failure of will, a failure of love, to let them grow old—or so it feels. We would do anything to keep them with us, and to keep them young. The one gift we cannot give."
― Mary Oliver, Dog Songs