Will I Sleep??


 

wpid-20150909_155120.jpg
THE OLD HOMESTEAD

It was almost a year ago that I left this wonderful home…now I prepare for another big move tomorrow!! This move will be into a tiny 700 square foot condo. I’ve never lived in a condo situation before. Yet I’ve always longed to be part of a community, to belong to a tribe and a neighborhood. So far, with some lovely neighbors, this wish may come true.

There are many things to do within this community: swimming, work out, walking, trips, games and clubs. It’s just a matter of getting involved. Admittedly, for many years now, I’ve been a bit of a recluse. Hopefully I can get myself out of my shell and more sociable. Work doesn’t seem the place that this will happen, so maybe it’ll be this new homestead.

It was built in the ’70’s and appears to have kept the same sense of that era when folks cared more about those around them. The times when neighbors were really neighborly and knew who lived next door. They work hard to make this happen. It’s not quite a co-housing community (not that cool or expensive), but not unlike. Nor is it totally an intentional community, but with all the rules, one could say it’s trying to be.

I’m hoping my pets will make the transition safely and happily. My dog doesn’t know that he already has a new playmate waiting to meet him named Daphne. He will be thrilled since he lost his brother before we moved. My beagle was old and would never had made the trip or tolerated this weather. My pup has been sad without him.

wpid-0718140536.jpg
BYE BYE BRINKLEY

 

I’m more worried about the cats, but tonight I will put out the little carriers for them to sniff. Maybe with a little added catnip. And at least they will only be traveling twenty minutes this time instead of across the country! They should like this new place, with carpets to vomit on and to sharpen their claws….

wpid-20140822_142304.jpg
HOPEFULLY THE CAT CARRIERS ARE BIG ENOUGH?

While I didn’t get the little place near ‘the lake’ and it’s certainly not my beautiful lake near my old home, I can still walk near the little body of water (I think) if I want. And, in the end, there are just so many good reasons to go through all this trouble to make another move in a year. Honestly, I never thought I would, but hey, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do!

marsh 13
SIGH….THE OLD LAKE….
Advertisements

Poor Babies


This move has been especially tough on my pets. It started quite awhile ago with the decision to put my old beagle down. This put my other dog into a funk, which it’s hard to tell if he recovered from honestly.

Sadly, our pets can’t tell us what we are feeling, so when I decided to make this monumental change in my life which would require moving so far away, I could not explain anything to them. It wasn’t possible to tell them that being near a Mother that I had spent so little time with for most of my life was important, that my home (their home) was becoming a financial and physical burden, my job was incredibly stressful and an unhappy place for me and finally the weather was unbearable. They couldn’t understand a human’s need for a new start, a change and a re-do. Gosh, there were days I barely understood it myself.

So when the process started: the packing, throwing things away, rearranging, people tromping in and out–they did  know something was up. It made me feel like a heel, that I was about to pull something over on them–something huge and awful. Something that wouldn’t necessarily benefit them in the least.

The trip across country, crammed in a car, with my two cats stuffed into their little carrying cases was a disaster. My dog was sick, the cats miserable. And the nights in the hotels with the cats locked into a bathroom together so they wouldn’t run under anything and never come out, or run out a door took a toll that I would later come to regret.
image

Now that we’ve been here for a while, it seems that they all are still pretty unsettled. While the two cats had always been friends, this doesn’t seem to be the case any longer. One cat picks on the other–terrorizing it. I hear those awful yowling sounds and find bits of fur. It’s heartbreaking. And then there’s the pee just outside the cat box! Lovely. I got a second one (they always used two before), so maybe this will stop??
image

But to top it off, last night my poor dog was attacked by a neighbor dog. It seems down here most people have very unfriendly dogs. This neighbor is a nice neighbor too. She has two dogs and one was being friendly. I am always so reluctant to let my dog near another dog because of the kind of thing that happened last night. My dog is so friendly and sweet: tail wagging all the time. He just wants to love everyone. But sadly her boxer went for him and when I brought him in from the dark, I saw he was bleeding and his front tooth was loose.
image

My neighbor had said when it happened (my dog had yelped), that her dog ‘head butts’ other dogs. Maybe so…or maybe he nipped him? I’m not sure why my dog had a loose tooth. I kind of pushed it back (which made him yip again poor guy) and it seemed OK today. But I just felt terrible.

The guilt just poured over me last night…for dragging these poor creatures here. None of them are happy. Everyone says they will adjust. But will they? Certainly not if this kind of stuff happens. Now I won’t let my dog go near anyone again, not unless I’m positive they are safe.

If only we could explain: how much we love them, why we do the silly things we do, how sorry we are that things happen and most of all that eventually it’ll be OK. I couldn’t have even thought of leaving them behind though. But in the end one wonders what really is best for them? I know it would have made me feel like my family was gone, but I will never be able to ask them if they would have preferred it.

Goodbye Old Friend


20150506_13004620150506_13005420150506_130059 20150506_130203 20150506_130207 20150506_130245 20150506_130353

He woke me up too early as per usual with his beagle barking. I gave him a special marrow bone today and we went on his favorite walk, even though it’s become harder these days. He had a stumble, but muddled through just the same. I fed him his lunch, took him for a stroll around the yard, talked to him and got him in the car. He had a hard time jumping in, not like the old days. But he still scooted in the front seat to be with me, and whined as usual and pestered me to pat him. And gave me this uncanny smile.

The incontinence has been worse, so I brought a sample as per the vet’s instructions. She’s not only my vet, but an old friend. I’ve made this drive before, to her office and even to her house. But never before has it been so hard because the signs were so nebulous.

My old dog as been failing, but slowly. And my life is changing, rapidly and largely. When do we decide that they can’t change with us? How much do they need to fail before we decide they can’t transition with us? These are the questions that I, along with my vet and some dear friends, have been battling with for weeks.

But today, we decided to take a sample and see what this latest issue was about to see if it might be the final blow. I prepared myself for the inevitable. While everything I read said the signs were all about quality of life, pain etc.–my guy really didn’t exhibit obvious things like my past pets that would make me say: YES it’s time. They were more subtle, so the decision has weighed heavy on me. Plus this dog hasn’t been my best, best friend. We’ve tolerated each other, but he came with his issues and we never bonded as much as I would have liked. So I’ve felt a profound guilt over deciding to do ‘the deed’.

The vet dipped the urine and it showed heavy proteins–no blood, no sugar. That meant bad sign for his kidneys. She helped me realize that while at this present moment he may not be outwardly suffering, the incontinence and constant drinking, means that he is on his way to kidney issues. That, combined with his myriad other issues (anxiety, skin issues, failing hearing and sight, a huge fatty tumor around his penis) and the fact that I will soon be changing his entire world–it made it a no-brainer.

So, my old, crazy friend went out like a beagle howling the whole time. And the vet and I cried like babies. And then for the first time in his silly beagle life, he was quiet and still. She felt around his obvious tumor and then felt something big near his kidney–maybe another lurking tumor. Cancer? Who knows? I will never know now, but maybe that is what was growing and making him sicker.

The older I get, the more I can’t take these things. While I love my pets, the losing them becomes harder. He will meet many of my old buddies now: Ernie, Orville, Duke, Golden Boy and lots of kitties in the Summerland! Now he can run and bark and howl till his heart’s content. And no more Mama telling him: Be quiet Brinkley!

It’s Not Just About Me


20150315_173603

When one plans a move, especially a long one far away, the family pets must be considered. Being part of the family as they are, we all must decide how they will fare leaving their known environment, living in a new one, make the actual trip and separating from each other (if that needs to happen). It can be a brutal decision.

I have two dogs and two cats and my daughter has one dog. My daughter is not coming with me and is getting her own apartment. Happily she is completely thrilled about the decision, but I’m not so sure how her little pup will feel.

20150315_102750

The little puppy is still less than a year and has become very attached to my younger dog. As we all know, dogs are pack animals. Separating them can be something that can take a big toll on them, even though they are very attached to us.

The other decision I’ve been facing is moving my very old beagle. He’s been suffering from canine cognitive dysfunction–the fancy name for doggie dementia. Anyone following my blog may remember me mentioning him jumping out of windows this summer and me trying to decide about euthanasia then. He’s since been having a myriad of other issues.

I’ve discussed this move with my vet, who happens to be a dear friend also, and she doesn’t feel he would make it. Last night I even wrote to a dog retirement place that places senior dogs. The woman sent me a wonderful letter saying it would be a ‘gift’ to put him down at this point and he really wouldn’t be a candidate for placement. But this doesn’t make the decision any easier.

It has always bothered me that people euthanize animals for their convenience, and somehow there’s this niggling thing in my brain that I’m afraid I’m doing this now. Even though my rational self knows all his issues. If a dog is in pain, the decision is obvious. But for anxiety and mental issues, not so much. And how much will his loss be felt by my younger dog?

20150315_172545

Then there’s my kitties. Any cat people know they don’t take well to new places. Mine are both indoor cats. And driving them across country isn’t my idea of a family vacation! You can tell the one in the picture doesn’t look thrilled! My cats are older, so I hope it doesn’t stress them too much.

And then I just worry about the climate change. It’s hot and buggy where I’m going. All the time. I know people surely have pets there and they are fine. But mine will need to adjust.

So many changes for my pets. The move, the loss of pets for them all. Will they be OK? I’ve put off these kinds of changes in my life for so long partly because of them! They are my family, but I can’t tell them and explain to them that I will have more time to spend with them when I move, or that I’ll be happier. And I certainly can’t explain to my beagle my reasoning. I’m not even sure I understand it myself.

With good changes do come difficult choices. I suppose that’s partly why I can’t sleep at night. Is that why they say anything worth doing sometimes is hard? Hopefully I’m making the right decisions for them all. Because I truly believe: it’s not just about me.

wpid-20150205_064216.jpg

Photos: Healing


image

image

image

The beagle is a tad better but still not great. Only time will tell. As an astute follower suggested~ the vet mentioned anxiety or a mental problem vs. him running off to die. She said that was a cat thing and generally not dog behavior. Or he may have learned a new thing~ and she said they won’t recall the misery they caused themselves (or me) previously. She agreed he’s too old to medicate or crate so we will see how or if he recovers. He didn’t appear particularly stressed, but who am I to say? I’m only one human. I have as of yet not figured out my own species~ let alone another one!

Photos: Runaway Dog


image

image

image

image

image

image

image

My beagle has again made a getaway by busting through a window! Each time he runs away I wonder if this is the time he won’t make it back? He’s old with a giant fatty tumor but nothing seems to slow him down. So we will have to wait and see if he beats the odds again as he ticks off those nine lives he’s borrowed from his feline sisters. Keep you fingers crossed he either makes it back safe and sound or found a place to curl up and move on to the next chapter. I just don’t want him hurt or suffering~