Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saber's Story, part 2

My original thought after writing part one, was to take a week to process our loss and to make a running list of all the funny, happy things I could remember about my sweet girl. Like most things that I 'plan' it didn't work out the way I had hoped and we got a whole other pile of crap dumped on us just before I got busy with it. There are family things that I won't go into BECAUSE THAT WOULD REQUIRE A WHOLE NEW POST. Moving on. One of the big things was Mark's thumb. It was still really bothering him on Monday so he went to the doctor. As it turns out, his thumb was not "totally fine" as I reported before. The bones were actually bruised. Though the doctor did commend us for how clean the wound was, because he had absolutely no infection. (They gave him an antibiotic, anyway.) SO. They actually put him in a half cast (one you can remove so you can clean wounds underneath), wrapped him up in an ace bandage and out him out of work for three days. The man drove me nuts. When Mark is at home, he likes to DO things. (Have you ever seen a post more littered with CAPITOL LETTERS than this one? I think not.) Anyway, he was stir crazy and I felt guilty that I didn't take him to the ER over the weekend. So for three and a half days I tried to entertain him. I had no luck. We mostly watched movies and stayed up late. On Thursday, he went back to the doctor and they told him no work until he had a follow up with our family doc. His follow up was today and they've put him in a NEW brace that looks very Forrest Gump. So Sexy.

With all that, and the family BOMB, the wedding I photographed Friday and a host of other things. I have barely found time to eat and shower let alone mourn my poor dog. I'd like to think it's a good thing, that I'm being shown that life does go on, but I'm a little bitter. Not at Mark of course, but with other things that are once again out of my control. Grrrr.

So here is what I can come up with off of the top of my head about my sweet girl. to be the remedy to the "bad" post...

Mark and I found Saber at East Town Mall. "How much is that doggie in the window?",  I remember asking Mark. We got the guy to get her out for us and we went into that teeny, tiny room with a bench barely big enough for one person, let alone two and a puppy, to play with her. She was so sweet. Still a puppy, she was fuzzy. And she enjoyed chewing on Mark's shoelaces and biting my fingers. She had the most exquisite puppy breath and I remember telling her so. She licked my face and then bit my ear. I was sold. Mark was not. We left without her that day and for several days I bugged him and bugged him to please, please, please go back and get that doggie in the window. At the time, we lived with his parents and he didn't think they would let us get a puppy, but I had other ideas. I talked up her cuteness to his mom and dad. Didn't work. I told them I would pay for her. Didn't work. I was getting discouraged and finally starting to accept defeat when Mark and his dad brought her home the next day. I was so shocked... my window doggie!! Excited didn't cover what I was and it was the total opposite of what Saber was. She was terrified. She crawled under a bench and wouldn't come out for days after we brought her home. I guess living behind glass for part of your life will do that to you. Sensory overload must suck. The first night she was with us, we made her a bed in our room and fell asleep. A little while later we were cleaning up poop. Then pee. Then poop again. How much poop could one dog hold?????? It was a long night, but a bonding one as well. We still laugh when we talk about it.

Another great memory of Saber is when she had a litter of puppies. She had them in the backseat of my car on the way to Kingston. Poor old girl. It was this same litter that we kept Bruiser from. Saber was such a good mother. She was super tolerant of all the crazy fools we brought up to see her and the new puppies. She would corral them when a storm came and curl her self in a circle around them. And when all of the other puppies were gone, she continued to look after Bruiser for the rest of her life. Bruiser still hasn't recovered from losing Saber. She's not eating well and cries to be inside with us all the time. It speaks volumes to the kind of mother Saber was. Saber made a great grandmother, too. When Bruiser had her first litter, Saber laid right next to the whelping box while Bruiser labored. She was older when Magoo was born, but she didn't mind him snuggling her when no one was looking.

Saber loved to run. It was actually a JOY when we bought this house because she was finally going to be able to run free. The two houses we lived in before had no fence she she had to be tied out when she went outside. We made a big deal of it, taking her in on a leash to the yard. When we let her loose she took of like a cannon and wouldn't come in for two whole days. She LOVED it.

Saber also loved cats. Well, kittens really. Twice we kitten-sat for friends and she was happy to let them make biscuits on her belly as long as they were content. She tried giving the kittens a bath too, but was vehemently rejected on both counts.

Saber really loved babies, though. When Mark's cousin Logan was born, his Aunt brought him out to the house. She laid him down on the bed for a nap and Saber laid at the foot of the bed, on the floor, while he slept. Every time one of us would come in to check on the baby, she would inspect us closely while we did it, just to make sure he was alright. When Logan got a little older, we would sit him in his carrier in front of the TV and he would laugh. Saber laid right next to the carrier, watching him carefully. When he cried she would lick his feet. If that didn't cheer him up, she would nervously come find one of us and "woooo" until we came and got him. That is quality babysitting, 'yo.

I could tell so MANY stories about how awesome she was...the memories are really flowing now.

-When Josh Jackson died, she crawled into my lap (she was still small at that time) and licked the tears from my face.
-When my dad died, she spent two days in bed with me. I don't think she even left to eat or pee.
-When Ryan got big enough, She let him roll around on top of her without complaint.
-When Mark got the Flu, she kept a watchful eye on him and alerted me when he moved. : )
-When Mark was in the knee stabilizer, she laid with him for days on end watching movies and eating bits of sandwich and cheeseballs.
-When Mark and I went on vacation and left her with a sitter she didn't like, she peed on our bed. (So sweet.)
-When Mark's dad pissed her off, she would shit IN his shoes. Or right in front of the door to their bedroom.
-When she got up in the mornings, she was very vocal. If you talked to her, she would "wooooo" right back at you. She was so funny.
-She hated a bath. WITH PASSION.
-She LOVED bacon.
-She could shake with both paws, sit and lay down. She learned it all in one day and decided that would be all she learned. I so with I had started with STAY.
-She loved to ride in the car.
-She loved Frosty Paws.
-She LOVED snow. Though we get precious little of it here in East Tennessee, when we did get some, she would act like we had called, had it delivered just for her, and then added bacon flavoring to it. She ate it, she rolled in it, She shoved her nose down into it and threw it into the air. She even SLEPT in it. That dog LOVED snow.
-She was our FIRST everything. Before buying a house, before getting married, before joint checking accounts, before we bought a car. She was the first thing Mark and I ever did together. She was so special to us. So important. So LOVED.

We miss her, but she's here in the backyard anytime we want to visit. I even painted a rock for her graveside to mark it. She was SUCH A GOOD DOG.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Saber's Story Part 1

I'm not even sure where to begin...the good or the bad? I guess I'll start with the bad and finish with the good.

It all started about 3 months ago. Mark and I had noticed before then that Saber had slowed down considerably but at the time, we just attributed that to her age and breed. Then, back at the end of April we noticed she was having a really tough time with the stairs. For instance, when going down the stairs, she would sometimes trip or even fall, plunging down one flight to the landing. So, we made an appointment with the vet thinking she probably had arthritis in her hips. The vet confirmed arthritis not only in her hips but also in her knees which was probably the main culprit of her accidents. We were given a drug called Remedyl and another drug the helped with bladder issues. (Something that we had been battling for a short time as well.) We had to go back a week later for a liver check because Remedyl can damage a dogs liver. The problem was, the Remedyl made little difference whatsoever. It seemed like Saber was actually doing worse and I had begun to notice that she was constantly walking circles, and always turning right. She also seemed indifferent sometimes and did not really want any attention. In fact, she sort of shied away from it all together. Our vet did a few tests. She checked her ears and eyes thoroughly. She mentioned to us that all these things together were starting to sound like a brain tumor. She offered us the holy mother of blood work and thyroid tests, but we needed some time to think and assess at home. A month went by and nothing happened. Saber still acted the same, maybe worsening a little. Everything came to head a week ago, Thursday.


Mark and I were hanging out here at home. I was in the office and he was in the living room with all three dogs watching TV. When he called out for me, I just KNEW something was wrong. I am sure you've had this feeling at one time in your life or another, but when he called out for me, the tenor in his voice, the pitch, the way he said it, was all wrong. I threw my book aside and hurried into the living room where I saw him on the floor with my baby, Saber. I could tell she was having some kind of seizure just by looking at her. She was rolled onto her left side and her legs were drawn up, but kicking. Her jaw was clenched down and I could see blood and lots of saliva coming out of her mouth. Her eyes were wide and she looked terrified. I ran to them and Mark moved over to make room so I could assess what was happening. I ran into the kitchen and found a wooden brush we use for basting and slid it in between her teeth. I was really afraid she was going to bite her tongue off. Next, I slid my left arm underneath her neck and around her right leg towards her belly. I took my right arm over her body and pulled her to me. I held her that way for about 5 minutes, until she acted like she wanted to stand. I kept my arms around her firmly, but still held on and talked softly to her until she sort of came around. She was having a hard time walking. Her feet were dragging but she was making it. We gave her water and she seemed better. A little while later, she wanted to go out and we took that as a good sign and went out into the yard with her. Mark kept his eye on her and I called the emergency line at the vet. I remember thinking how weird it was to be calling, as it was a phone number I had never had to use before. The vet on call (not our normal vet) told us to keep an eye on her and to call our regular vet in the morning. If she had another one that night we were to bring her in straight away. I told Mark what was going on and promptly freaked the hell out.


It was a very long night, to say the least. We gave her 2 Benedryl to calm her down so she could sleep. Mark had training the next day, so my wonderful friend Bill helped me load and take her to the vet.  The situation we were in at this point wasn't good I suspected, but I never realized just how bad it was. Our vet, who is a saint, you'll find out later, told me we better go ahead and run the blood work and the thyroid test. Everything came back beautifully. Saber was healthy. Perfect. This led us back to the conversation about the brain tumor. We could run an MRI and find it definitively, but even if we did, what would we do with that information? Have her remove it? No. We wouldn't. Saber was 10 years old, which is pretty old for a big dog. Less than that, there is just no way we could afford an MRI that would run somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500.00 and then do nothing with the information, save the cost of brain tumor removal surgery. Our vet told us the best thing we could do would be to take care of her and love her as we always have. It was possible that the seizure was a one time thing or at the very least might not happen again for a long time. It was a possibility that we could even still have months of years with our girl. She sent me home with 1 large syringe of Valium in case it did happen again, to be given rectally, since Mark or I neither one knew how to give it to her intravenously. We were also supposed to try and keep track of her good days versus bad days, just in case. So, we brought her home and treated her like the Queen of Sheba. We let her sleep wherever and whenever she wanted. We gave her bacon and all sorts of other things we wouldn't normally let her have. We stayed home with her or came home early to try and keep her safe, happy and comfortable. And I am so glad we did.


Flash forward to Friday.   Mark and I were helping with a huge barbecue to take place yesterday. We worked most of the day Friday away from the house getting ready for it. We got home Friday night and something wasn't right. I knew it before I got out of the car. Usually when we arrive home, Bruiser and Magoo are the first to the fence row to greet us. Saber usually gets there a few minutes later, (my poor, old, slow baby) and the wait until we are out of sight to run to the back door to bed let in. Not one of the dogs appeared at the fence row. Ominous. Thinking back, I am sure Mark thought this was bad too, or at the very least weird, though I didn't ask him. We were both hurrying to get inside, at any rate. I heard Bruiser barking. When I opened the door to the back porch, I could tell right away that something had happened. There was a crunch under my feet. Seashells. Our metal tub for beer had been knocked over and there were seashells from all of our beach trips inside of it. The glider I just painted recently was knocked over. Magoo was hiding under the table, and the chairs were splayed out across the deck. Bruiser was on the apron just off of the porch, up against the siding. Barking in cowardice. Saber was nowhere to bed found. I remember asking Mark to get a flashlight but getting it myself instead. (Adrenaline makes you stupid. Focused, but stupid.) We didn't go far to find her. We were calling to her and doing the whistle she knows as ours when we glimpsed her. She was making a wide circle in the yard, but I could instantly tell, even in the dark that something was wrong. It was almost like she was wounded. She would limp and fall, try to get up, shoot forward, and fall again. Something was very wrong. Her collar was also missing. Once we finally got a hold of her, my eyes were able to take in the mess that she really was. She was covered in mud and there were drops of blood here and there. Her fur was wet, sticky with drool. In her eyes she wore a very dazed stare. She did not know our touch, but seemed to recognize our voices. It was awful. We managed to get her up on the deck to clean her up a bit. We used baby wipes and it took forever. There was no way I would let her stay outside, but I am vain enough that I didn't want my carpet destroyed. A bath was completely out of the question. We were sure that another seizure had occurred, but it was too late to give her the Valium. We dosed her with the benedryl again and we all fell into bed around 1AM.


An hour later we woke to a screaming dog. In the short time that had elapsed, she had managed to work her way into Marks closet and had begun seizing when we woke up. Mark rolled out of the bed and into the floor with her. I ran to get the Valium. Somehow, while I was gone, she managed to get turned around and somehow bit him. I had to leave her for about 10 minutes to tend to Mark's wound. It wasn't bad, but bad enough to bleed and HURT. (It's still jacked up, but mending.) After bandaging him up, I went back downstairs to find that she was still seizing and had knocked over both bedside tables, pooped in the floor and had wedged her self in the space between the bed and the wall, about 4 inches wide. Assessing the situation, I thought I would try to give her the Valium. This did not go over well. That syringe was large and me in a panicked state jamming it up her butt was probably not too comfortable for her. She shot the Valium and shit out against the wall so quickly, I don't believe for a minute that very much of it stayed in there. I didn't believe, but I hoped. I took her into the bathroom and pinned her in. After a while she calmed down and I was able to clean the wall, the carpet and put our bedroom back together a little. Next I googled dog bites. Never, never do this at 4AM. Trust me on this. At 4:30AM, I started the Chili for the cookout. I figured we wouldn't be attending, but a promise is a promise. It needed to be ready. At 5:30 She had another seizure. At 6:30 Mark and I switched out watch. At 8AM, he let her outside and called the vet. Our vet told us to bring her on in. We had left the truck at Bill and Beth's to load stuff for the cookout, so we headed over there, borrowed Bill's dog box and headed home. By the time we got back she had obviously seized again because her tongue was bleeding heavily. We loaded her into the dog box and headed for the vet in Sweetwater.


She seized at least 3 more times on the way down. The seizures had begun to roll one into another. We could hear her screaming most of the way there. The windows up and music did not drown out her cries. I will be haunted by this for many years. When we were 10 minutes away, Mark called the office to let them know what was going on and that they needed to be ready. The told us not to bring her in, for one of us to come in and let them know we were there. Mark went in and I went around back to my girl. I let the tailgate down and she was laying down in the crate finally. She was panting and honestly, I could barely recognize her. Between the mud, the blood, the drool and the vacant look in her eyes, I knew it was time. Our vet reached me at that time and the first thing she did was put her arms around me and I lost it. She told me how sorry she was that it had come to this so quickly. She held me in that parking lot for a few minutes and Shhhh'd my sobs. Mark came out a few minutes later with the vet tech and our vet asked me if we were ready. My only thought was to please, please make her stop hurting. It took a few minutes for all of us to coax her out of the crate. She was so, so tired but still trying to fight. That's my girl. Fighting until the end. Once we got her out, it took a few sedatives to finally get her calmed down. Laying there in the parking lot of her office, on the tail gate of our truck, our vet ended her suffering. It wasn't until a few minutes later that I realized I could let go of her collar. She wasn't going to run anywhere. Still and quiet for the first time in her exuberant life, my girl was gone. I cried. Of course, I cried. I cried while the last few patients of the day drove in and parked. Got their dogs out, and stared wordlessly at the scene we were causing in the parking lot. I even briefly considered kicking the ass of a beautiful German Shepard that was barking at my dead dog. I buried my face in her still soft, though blood spattered and muddy fur and I cried. Mark was crying too. He had his left arm around me and his right hand on her head. We cried together for a long time. Finally, I looked up into the eyes of my vet. Very softly she said "She's gone." I nodded numbly and then she told us that she and the tech would wrap her up for us and put her back in the box. She said when the tailgate shuts, you guys can leave. I looked up at Mark and he nodded. So we kissed her nose and got into the truck. Mark said "Could they have been any nicer?" I don't think they could have.


Coming home, we were very quiet. It wasn't until Mark pulled over that I realized how close to home we were...or how BLACK the sky was. I looked like 7:00 at night. The clock said 12:11. It was going to rain. Mark said we needed to tarp the box. We got out and got it covered just in time. It was pouring. When we pulled in at the house, neither one of us could bear to let her stay in the truck while it rained, even though it was tarped. We unloaded her and took her into the backyard underneath the deck. It was two hours later before was could start digging her grave. We let a very confused Bruiser and nervous Magoo into the back yard. They immediately found the box and laid down next to it in some sort of vigil. While digging, I asked Mark how deep did we need to dig? His answer was a good one. We dig until we feel better. So that we did. When the hole was deep enough, we lined it with honeysuckle. We brought the crate over and very gently lowered her in. She was swathed in a blanket. Our vet had been so careful with her. A simple kindness shown by someone who has done this countless times, but was a gesture so immeasurably wonderful to us.  We placed more honeysuckle on top, and together with Bruiser and Magoo, we said our goodbyes. We covered her up and used a rock as a small headstone. And then we cried some more.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

today was a sad, sad day.....

It's too painful to talk about today. Maybe I can do it tomorrow, but just so I remember....

Our sweet Saber girl.. February 10, 2001- June 18, 2011.

She's already so missed.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Birthday Bonanza

There was a whole lot of this all day on Saturday.   : )

We had the best time, and I couldn't be happier, more proud or more exhausted. Being the hostess with the mostess requires a lot of blood, tears and mostly sweat. Good thing we had plenty of cold water in the kiddie pool and spraying in every direction thanks to some seriously good water guns and water blasters.

Happy 3rd Birthday to the sweetest boy I know. I hope you had the best birthday yet, little man!!

Aunt Hedda

*Judas- Lady Gaga

Thursday, June 2, 2011

another year in review

It's SO hard to believe that our little munchkin will be 3 in just a few days time. I'm leaving the third Birthday picture out to do a party review with, hopefully on Sunday. In case you missed it before, I did a review of year TWO and ONE and they are just as sweet, if you can imagine. So, for now, I give you 24-36 months.

Happy 2nd Birthday! June 2010

Hair raising July 2010

Hamming it up, August 2010

Always joking around- September 2010

Yoda- October, 2010

Our favorite little turkey- November 2010

Fun with play d'oh- December 2010

New digs! January 2011

Playing outside- February 2011

Always on the move- March 2011

Growing like a weed- April 2011

Becoming a little man... May 2011

Love you SO MUCH baby boy!! Can't wait to celebrate with you on Saturday!!

Aunt Hedda

*The Beatles- Hey Jude

spreading out

This work thing sure does throw a wrench into my day. I have (somewhat) settled in to my new job. I have two girls who sit to my left and a window on my right. I get the feeling that before I got there, they barely spoke to one another. That's just how I roll. This week I remembered how boring office work can be. Sure, it makes your day go by quickly- most of the time, but there really is no excitement in it at all. UNLESS YOU MAKE SOME. This must be why I feel like those girls didn't talk much before. Suddenly, they seem to be mischievous at work! Long before I got there, someone dubbed our row of cubicles "cell block A." We heard about that today and in keeping with that context, Tara, the tattooed vixen who sits on the end, promptly dubbed her self TBone, and made Katie, the girl who sits between Tara and I -who seems to be of the sweet/southern variety, her bitch. I decided to be Miss Hizzle, maker of shivs. That's quality work entertainment.

Back to my original thought. My day is much more spread out in some ways and compact in others. On the one hand, I get up much earlier and am actually earning money for the work I am doing. My day is therefore longer and more monetarily productive as well. On the other hand, because my day is longer and I'm adding a 35 to 40 minute drive each way, it seems much, much shorter. I get up, get ready for work. I work. I drive home from work. I eat and/or make dinner. I facecrack. I go to sleep.

How on earth do people find time to workout? Or spend time with their families? Or do a DIY project? Or do yard work? Or eat a meal that is totally healthy? Or live a healthier lifestyle? Or have sex? I am so friggin' tired when I get home that I barely have the energy to make dinner. Maybe I am still adjusting. I sure hope so. Because if I have to quit sex all together and feel my ass getting bigger and bigger all day long in that office chair, I'm not gonna make it. Oh, and uh, I guess I'd like to see my family some, too.

Just sayin'.
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