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17 Jun 2018

4 Years Ago Today…..

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

first sign of trouble

4 years ago today we began the journey of a lifetime….

I’ll never forget the terror, heartbreak and stress I felt when we began this journey. Time has lessened these emotions, but they are forever burned into my memory. I think it’s good we had no idea what we were up against;  if we had, I don’t know if I would’ve had the courage to proceed. Ignorance is bliss it seems.

the lesion

 

As it turned out, the agonizing decision to go forward  with the amputation was the least stressful of all that lie ahead. Again, I’m glad we didn’t know what was in store for us. Ignorance IS bliss. I was terrified he wouldn’t make it out of surgery….I was almost afraid  he WOULD. That statement won’t win me any mother-of-the-year awards, but a part of me felt that way. I was so scared to be bringing a 3-legged dog home….how would we manage??? When we went to pick him up the next night, I was almost numb with terror to get that fist glimpse of him when they brought him to us.  I dropped to my knees as he came hopping down that hall, tears running down my face , amazed that he could walk. He was the most beautiful site! I fell in love a thousand times over in that short instant, and we never looked back.

 

the incision

1st week of amp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but a WARRIOR was standing before me…..

 

 

For anyone out there who is considering, or has just begun, this journey I leave you with this…this may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to go through, but it may also be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. Because my dog got cancer, my life has changed forever. I have experienced a love like I never knew could exist, I’ve seen courage like I never dreamed existed. And I met people who were in the same boat as us, and I now  have forever friends because of it.

 

 

Virginia 2018

 

Peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch

 

 

25 Apr 2018

9 Months an Angel

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

9 months ago today we said one of our hardest good-byes ever…9 months ago today my heart shattered into a million pieces…9 months ago today a beautiful, gentle soul went to heaven.

It still seems surreal that Nitro is gone; sometimes it feels like he was never really here, but just a dream. I think of him every day, several times a day. I still cry when I watch his tribute video. I miss his goofiness, and his Velcro personality; I miss his beautiful, magnificent presence. I miss him following me EVERYWHERE.

Spring has finally arrived in Wisconsin, after a record-breaking snowfall 2 weeks ago. Nitro would have loved both of these things; he loved romping around in the snow, dropping his ball in front of the shovel, only to snatch it away when I went to grab it. He LOVED beautiful sunny days where he would be out in his yard for hours, barking at the neighbors,  watching the birds and squirrels, basking in the warmth.

 

X marks the spot where I found Grizz, trying to make a break for it over the fence

 

This fence is 6 feet high

 

Spring in Wisconsin

 

It is  a very different atmosphere here these days. Grizzly continues to bring us joy, with his wild, puppy antics. I’ve never seen a dog so full of happiness and love like he is. He is the definition of joie de vivre – exuberant enjoyment of life. As he is a little too full of life for brother Kodi, we’ve been making friends with other, younger, Westies; their playdates are full of fun and laughter.

 

Loves “Nitro’s” bed

 

Kodi playing in mud

 

Cutest Devil Ever

 

So while we mourn the loss of our magnificent Warrior, we move forward – for what else can we do? I hope Nitro is smiling down on us from Heaven, grinning from ear-to-ear as we move thru life with the Tiny Devil he sent our way. Thank you baby, and always remember: “Be good, mama loves you”

25 Feb 2018

7 Long Months….

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

warrior

 

7 months ago today we said good-bye to our warrior. 7 long months without him, his smile, his courage, his hugs, his love. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and miss him deeply. Not a day goes by that I don’t shed tears that he is no longer with us. I watch the video tribute I made for him often, always with tears streaming down my face.

 

 

Life has gone on, as it always does, whether you want it to or not. I don’t come to this site nearly as much as I used to – or should. I can’t bear to become attached to the new souls that find themselves here, at one of the worst times of their lives, and for this I feel much guilt. The pain of our journey is still too raw; and yet I know that we were one of the “lucky” ones. We had over 3 years with our magnificent boy – so many out there would give anything for what we had. And still, it’s never enough time.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes it’s hard to think back to those final days/weeks. Watching him grow weaker as age and failing kidneys took over his body; watching as his mobility got worse, and the end crept nearer. Trying not to think what life would be like when he was gone. Trying to be brave for him, trying to live each day to the fullest, while my heart shattered a little more with each passing moment. He was a once-in-a-lifetime dog, who changed everything. Without him, I would never have met some of the most special people in my life; I would never know how heartbreak, courage, faith, strength, and love would lead me on a journey like no other. I am a different, and hopefully better person, than I’d have been without him.

 

 

I know in my heart that he sent a tiny white terror my way, to help me heal, to smile and laugh, and to love again when I didn’t think it possible. And I know he watches over me, and is happy that I am ok.

 

 

 

 

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard” <3 <3 <3

8 Jan 2018

Video Tribute to Warrior Nitro

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

Several 1years ago I heard this song and knew I wanted to use it as background music for a video tribute to Nitro’s life. The words really hit home, and I cry whenever I hear it…. but it is so fitting of our love for him. I hope you enjoy this small glimpse of our life together.

 

Two things hit home when I viewed the finished product…..most of the pictures/memories depict his life after amputation, and he always had something in his mouth. I was troubled at first that I seem to define him only as a tripawd, but then I realized that  that is what made us so close.  That journey that no one wants to take, bonded us deeply, till the end of time. Until we meet again, “be good, mama loves you!”

25 Dec 2017

5 Months an Angel, First Christmas at The Bridge

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

Merry Christmas in heaven, baby. It’s our first Christmas without you, and mama misses you every day! We said good-bye to you 5 months ago today; it seems like yesterday, and it seems like a lifetime ago. Where did the time go? Last Christmas you were doing fantastic, rockin’ life on 3 legs. You always loved the snow, loved chasing your ball, dropping it in front of the shovel, just to snatch it away when I reached for it. I always worried about you when it was icy and slippery, but you totally knew what it meant when we said “careful” and “easy”; you took great care not to slip, or go too fast. You were such a bright boy!

 

 

As the new year dawned, we started to take pro-active measures for you decreasing kidney function, and did your first  IV fluid therapy in January. You sailed through this too – it helped that everyone at the vet clinic treated you like the rock star you were. This first session would benefit you for several months, although diapers would become a way of life for you from then on. Even that didn’t phase you…you accepted them with no problem, and looked so cute in the designer wraps we found. Through it all, you had your dignity; never complaining, just enjoying and embracing all that life threw at you. You were the epitome of “LIVING IN THE NOW”, and “BE MORE DOG”. We learned so much from you!

 

never complained

 

As Winter turned to Spring, your kidneys were declining more, and arthritis started to slow you down. Being a Triapwd for almost 3 years was taking a toll on your aging body. We started doing  IV fluid therapy every 4 weeks – with still no complaining from you. You gracefully and joyfully did everything we asked of you, and more. I was planning the  trip to visit my Tripawd family over Memorial Day Weekend, and was SO scared to leave you. I knew daddy would take good care of you, but I was worried; I knew your health was declining, and wasn’t sure how much longer you’d be in your earthly clothes. But, being the trouper you were, you held on for me to make the trip. I think deep down, you knew this was important for me and let me know it was OK to be away from you for the long weekend.

 

Always touching me

 

 

Cuddles

 

Spring turned to Summer, and we knew it was only a matter of time before you had to leave us. We celebrated your 3 year ampuversary on June 17, 2017. We were so amazed by that milestone! When this journey started, never in our wildest dreams did we think we’d see that day. Little by little, we felt you starting to slip away from us, and prayed SO HARD that you would let us know when it was time. You’d fought so hard, for so long…..we knew you were getting tired, but knew you didn’t want to leave us. That day came on July 25, 2017; a beautiful, clear, sunny, perfect day. Your beloved vet came to our house so we could say good-bye in the yard you loved so much. As we laid by you on your pillow, with brother Kodi near, you placed your trust in us one last time. Daddy and I were right there, holding you, hugging you, telling you we loved you – and that everything was going to be ok. My heart broke in a million pieces that morning….<3<3<3. About an hour after you’d left us, I looked up to see a cardinal in my flower bush – I knew right then and there that you’d made it to the Bridge. You were telling me YOU WERE OK!

 

Morning of…

 

 

Mom, I made it!

 

Shadow Box Memorial of Nitro

 

Here we are, 5 months later. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of you, and miss you. A new little bundle of energy and joy has come to live with us….I feel in my heart, he was sent here by you. You knew we needed someone special to bring joy back into our lives, after the pain and heartbreak of losing you. You did real good, baby! Grizzly loves us with his entire tiny body; he’s infuriating, and funny, and exasperating, and loving all at the same time. We don’t know what we’d do without him, THANK YOU! I hope all is well at the Bridge; you must have so many friends there. If you can, from time to time, let us know you’re happy, and still think of us. WE LOVE YOU, SWEET BOY

Tiny bundle of love

 

2 Peas in a Pod

Wishing you peace and love this holiday season ~ the Ehlers’ Ranch

7 Dec 2017

Magic Revealed!

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

Well, as promised, there is magic in the air at the Ehlers’ ranch! Today is super special for me on the latest part of my journey with Nitro.

Not long after we started on this journey, less than a year into it I think, I saw an article on this site that Rene had written. It was about a company that took your loved one’s ashes, fur, and also human hair if wanted, and created a diamond out of it….Heart in Diamond is the name. When I read about it, I told John that one day I was going to do this, and that it would be pricey, and that I didn’t care – I was giving him a head’s up. He said “whatever”….my husband is chatty that way.

So our journey continued, as most of you know, for over 3 years. Always, in the back of my mind, was this living tribute to my heart dog; a double-edged sword if you will, as in order to have this would mean I no longer had him by my side. Then came the day  my world was shattered, and we said good-bye. I started the process in earnest the day I got his ashes home. I connected with a rep from this company – a lovey British woman named Clare, who lives in Georgia. By this time I knew what size stone, color of diamond, and setting of ring I wanted, so we set it in motion. I placed my order on August 19, 2017 and received the finished product today, December 7, 2017.  The diamond consists of Nitro’s ashes and fur, and my hair…we are forever joined. Without further ado, I give you pictures of our living bond:

 

what the stone looked like after the growth phase, cut and polished. the picture doesn’t do the color justice

 

my first glimpse of my ring

 

on my finger forever

I don’t think its fully sunk in yet, my feelings for what this represents and means to me. I am over-the-moon ecstatic over how beautiful it is, and that my heart dog lives on. I leave you with a virtual Christmas card, for all my Tripawd family…..I am truly blessed.

 

as always, wishing you peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch

31 Oct 2017

3 Months an Angel… First Birthday in Heaven

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

So I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile….trying to compose my thoughts and feelings of where I am today. For awhile I was in a dark place, moping and feeling sorry for myself that I no longer had my heart dog here with me. It’s been 3 months since we said good-bye; it feels like yesterday and it feels like its been forever.  How can life have gone on without him? Yet it has, and I don’t always know how I feel about that. I miss him terribly, yet I would not wish him back as he was at the end. He was tired, his body was failing him; I do think he was ready to gain his wings and leave his earthly body, even though it meant leaving us behind to mourn him deeply. I can not begrudge him that…I WON’T begrudge him that! I have to learn to accept our new normal, to choose to go on with life, while always keeping him in my heart. To let myself heal, and to love again.

Loved balls!

I’ve decided to accept that he’s an angel, no longer by my side – and to stop wishing things were different. I’ve decided that I need to see Grizzly as Nitro’s parting gift to us;  to see that through this tiny devil of a dog, Nitro lives on. To know that he smiles down on us as Grizz frustrates us at times, makes us laugh at times, and loves us with his whole tiny body.

Tiny Devil

I was looking through some pictures of Nitro I had on my phone, and will leave you with a glimpse of life with him. I am forever grateful that he came into our lives and took us on a journey we never would’ve  asked for, yet was really a blessing in disguise.  He brought us to this Tripawd family who mean the world to us; he showed me  I’m stronger and braver than I ever thought possible. And, I hope he’s made me a better person because of the pain and suffering of losing him. On that note, I’m choosing to be positive and hopeful for the future instead of moping and sadness. Enjoy the pics of my beautiful boy….peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch.

first vet visit

before his ears stood straight

loved his brother always

always ready to play

not sure why we did this

He truly was the most stunning creature, a superb athlete, a Velcro-dog…..HE IS MISSED!

 

25 Sep 2017

2 Months Without You…..

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

 

*********SIGH*******

I can’t believe you’ve been gone for 2 months….my sadness is getting more pronounced instead of lessening. This last week has been especially bad, I just can’t seem to snap out of it. The little furball we brought home is a distraction at times, and at other times he seems to make the loss of you worse. It’s not his fault, or anyone’s really, that the hole in my heart is so big. And he tries his hardest to keep me focused on him and his goofy antics; which oftentimes backfires and I find myself frustrated beyond belief with him.

Sorry, baby, that mommy is letting you down. I know you want me to be happy again, to love again – I’m trying, really I am. This came in the mail yesterday, and I will wear it always, to keep you close to my heart. Never mind me, you go back to playing at The Bridge…I know some new friends have joined you recently. Be good, mama loves you!

P.S. I started writing this a couple days ago, and upon re-reading it was surprised by how dark it sounds.  I guess that’s how this journey goes, as anyone who’s been on it can relate. Today is a better day, the “Tiny Devil” has made me laugh – and he’s shown me another of his “Nitro” characteristics…..biting the water from the hose as I filled his tiny swimming pool. I sometimes feel like Nitro isn’t sending me signs from The Bridge, but then I realize that Grizzly himself is the biggest sign there is. He is SO like Nitro, in so many ways, and is constantly finding ways to show me this – I just have to be open to seeing them. No worries, Tripawd Family…..I’m ok. Wishing you peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch.

 

11 Sep 2017

Tripawd Family Reunion, Part 2…..

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

“I’m the reason for so much love!”

 

For the second weekend in a row, we had Tripawd family members come visit us – thanks Grizz for being a “must-see” attraction!

Linda came over from Wausau, Sam flew in from North  Carolina to mix business with pleasure, and Lisa and Ken drove from Minneapolis on their wedding anniversary weekend to join us. While waiting for Sam’s plane to arrive Saturday evening, the rest of us enjoyed spending time in our backyard eating, drinking and being entertained by my dogs. Grizzly really is  the life of the party, and everyone who meets him, falls in love with him. Nitro did an awesome job in picking out such a fun, loving, full-of-life companion for our family. After picking Sam up at the airport, we returned home to a huge bonfire complements of John and Ken. We had a great time talking, telling stories (and of course a few cocktails) around the fire.

Waiting for Sam

The next day we took a trip to the Door Penninsula of Wisconsin (the “thumb” of Wisconsin for you non-natives). It was the most beautiful fall day….clear blue skies, temps in the low 70’s. We went to Whitefish Dunes State Park and walked the shoreline, heading to the dog beach. The waves crashing made such a peaceful, soothing experience – Alison would have said it was very “zen”.   Kodi and Grizz enjoyed the beach; Grizz especially enjoyed digging in the sand and running into the waves. After that we drove to the “bay” side of Door County so they could see the quaint little villages and breathtaking scenery, and stopped for some food.

Lake Michigan

Whitefish Dunes State Park

digging is the best!

 

Linda, Lisa and Ken headed for home that evening, while the boys and I  got to have Sam to ourselves for a last night of conversation and bonding. (Unfortunately John had to work and miss the fun).

exhausted after the  beach

 

I feel so blessed that so many of our friends took the time, and made the effort to come see us…..Donna, Glenn, Linda, Lisa, Ken, Sam….you have no idea how much your visits mean to me. The original idea behind this was to meet the magnificent Nitro; sadly, this was not meant to be, but Angel Nitro had his paws all over this reunion – after all, he is the reason my new family came into our lives, and I give thanks for this every day. Love you guys….until we meet again….

4 Sep 2017

Nitro and Murphy are Smiling at the Bridge

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

Our Labor Day Weekend was awesome! Donna and Glenn made the trip across Lake Michigan to come visit us, and I know our Tripawd Warriors were smiling down on us.

The fur kids loved them, especially Grizzly….he couldn’t get enough of Glenn, who spent most of his time on the floor with the little white devil.

On Saturday we showed them a little bit of Green Bay, with the obligatory stop at Lambeau Field. Being that Glenn is a Detroit Lion’s fan, it was very brave of him to enter enemy territory, and try to disguise himself as a native….

On Sunday we saddled up the Harley’s and went for a little ride; it was such a beautiful fall day. If only John hadn’t had to work, we could have gone for a longer ride. Then Donna and I took the critters to a beach along the bay and let them get their feet wet.

We had a cookout, and talked and talked for hours…remembering our boys a the bridge, sharing stories, laughing at the white devil who is a constant source of amusement. The weekend flew by, and we were sad to see them leave. I leave you with some more pictures of a great weekend with friends…