Monday, March 4, 2013

Playing A Little Catch Up

 I've been remiss here, failing to update as frequently as I should. Time has flown by and with it pieces of our hearts. This pic of Abbie and Luna was one of the last of the two of them together as a few days later, we freed our precious Big Sister from her pain and suffering and treated her with the love she had so freely given to us for years. As June, 2012 came to a close, Abbie began to noticeable feel bad, moping about and losing her once notorious appetite. By the first days of July, we could no longer hope it was just a passing but and on our way back from Universal Studios, where we had taken the Gobelets as part of their vacation, we stopped at the vet to see what was the matter. X-rays showed an enormous renal mass that was displacing her gut, leaving her no room for food or water, and no doubt giving her much pain. Oddly enough, it was in an area that Luna had been sniffing on her for months. Surely she knew before the rest of us that her sister's days were coming to a close.

When I saw the size of the mass on x-ray, I knew immediately that it was inoperable, and the next days would be our last with our Sunshine Girl. Our hearts were broken wide open once again. We thought at the time that we might have a couple of weeks remaining to spoil her and love her and say our goodbyes, and we were trying to come to grips with how we might know when the time was right to ease her suffering if it came to that. People who have been there always say that "you will know," but we had our doubts until the morning of July 8th when we woke up and knew--just as surely as we knew that she loved us beyond measure. We knew we did not want to take her anywhere but wanted to have her take her last breath at home surrounded by the sights and smells that she loved, cuddled in the arms of the three beings who loved her most. It was Sunday, though, and I wasn't sure if I could find someone at the last minute to help us with our task. In swooped the angel Dr. Barbara Welsch with A Compassionate Way. Dr. Welsch was once a fully practicing veterinarian, but now she counsels veterinarians with professional burnout and those stricken with grief, and in her night and weekend hours, she delivers the sick from their suffering. Marc had his doubts about her, worrying that she might be too "touchy, feely" since she was a counselor. He was very worried that she would try to counsel him through his grief. I can honestly say, however, that had I told someone exactly how I wanted things to be handled, I could not have chosen such a perfect experience. Dr. Welsch was nothing short of amazing. She was loving and kind and explained in all the right places while being quiet in all the right ones, too. She humored Luna's curiosity and protective nature, letting her sniff each and every thing she used. She let us cry and sob and pet and love. She let us talk and sing in her ear. She let us be a family in our home saying goodbye to a piece of our heart.

The good Micheal Williams from Cherished Memories pet crematory in Gainesville had been prearranged to arrive at an appropriate time, and he was neither a moment late nor a moment early. Again, he was a blessing in our time of heartbreak, and we are thankful for him and his services.

 After that rather heartwrenching story, I thought this fun, happy picture a necessity.
 One of my favorite pictures of me...ever. How boring my workouts would be without my Luna Tuna!
 She's had this ball for no less than two years now. We have a new one that is just like it was when it was new, but she'll have nothing to do with it. This ball is her woobie. A couple of weeks ago, on one of the coldest days this year, she was playing outside as we prepared the motor home for our upcoming trip, and she got distracted and left her ball somewhere. None of us noticed until about 11:30 at night when she started to throw a complete FIT--on the bed, off the bed, in the living room, in the bedroom.  We couldn't figure out what had her so distressed. Then Marc asked where her ball was. That was it! We opened the door and told her to go get it, so she went outside then immediately back in. She had no idea where her ball was, and she was getting increasingly upset about it. As a result, so were we. Without it, none of us would get any rest that night. Forty-five of my traipsing around outside in pajamas, a robe, a toboggan and Marc's combat boots later, Marc (clad in sweat pants, a fleece, and flip-flops) found her ball right where she'd left it--at the end of the trail where no doubt some evil squirrel had lured her from it. I wish I could have captured on camera the look of relief on her face when she ran to pick it up.

 I snapped this pic of Luna running with her friends (or is it her arch nemeses? We're not quite sure.) today. I wish I had a nickle for every time she and these two had run along this fence.
In preparation for the next step in our lives, I took Miss Luni Tunes to the vet today. She checked out mostly fine, though her blood work won't be back until tomorrow. Her heartworm test was negative. Her physical was great. She did, however, test positive for erlichiosis. Dr. Jones said that most dogs in Florida do, and it likely just means that she was exposed and her body fought it off. Unless she exhibits the symptoms of bruising or nosebleeds, we'll just tuck the knowledge in our pockets for future use. She was such a good girl while she was there. At three years, 3 1/2 months, she continues to grow up week by week.

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