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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




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…


30 Aug 2017

So This Happened…..

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized


Meet the newest member of our family…Grizzly (Grizz for short)

We brought him home August 14, and he is now 12 weeks old. It was not an easy decision, despite how adorable he is; in fact, we agonized over it for 4 days. John wasn’t sure it was time, wasn’t sure he wanted another little dog, thought we needed more time to recover and “just be”. And I couldn’t argue with any of his reasons, I just knew we needed something to smile about again, some reason to not focus only on grief. I feel in my heart that Nitro put this little guy on our radar for just that very purpose. I’d joined some rescue organizations, and for kicks, Googled Westie pups in Wisconsin, not expecting to find anything out there (or anything not unreasonably expensive). Grizz was the last pup out of a litter of 4 that still needed a home. And, amazingly enough, he was in Linda’s hometown. My sister and I made the hour and a half trip, picked up Linda on the way, and went to see him. Of course he was beyond cute, but since John wasn’t able to come, I videoed him, and told the people I’d get back to them. I was given the “we have 3 other families interested in him”, but I just said if was meant to be, he’d still be available after the weekend. He was still available on Monday, so back I went (with sis and nephew – John was still unable to go).

Not sure if I was making the mistake of a lifetime, I brought him home. Kodi (who’d been with me both times we visited) was coolly indifferent to him; I figured this was better than outright hostility and that he’d come to accept the pup. It was a challenging couple of days at first – I swear this little guy had never been on grass before – but we survived. John has since admitted he was a good decision, that we needed laughter again. Kodi has even begun to play a little, or at least tolerate the unrelenting adoration of his big brother.

Grizzly is the “anti-Nitro” in a lot of ways, which is what I needed at this time. But he is also very “Nitro” in a lot of ways….he follows me everywhere, shares my cheese in the morning, and chases the laser light with a passion. He is so happy, and full of life, and he is slowly mending our broken hearts. I still think of my Warrior every day, and talk to him often. I think he is smiling down on us, and maybe laughing with us as well….Be good, mama loves you Warrior Angel!

21 Aug 2017

Honoring Nitro….continued

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

Seriously, an hour after I posted pictures of all the thoughtful memorial gifts from friends, FedEx left a package at my door.

From our friend Michelle

Could it be another sign from Nitro, that all is ok with the new addition? Hmmmmmm

21 Aug 2017

Honoring Nitro – thank you friends!

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

Front of card from my co-workers

Just a little post to share all the wonderful remembrance gifts we’ve received from our friends. It truly warms my heart to know that he touched so many lives, and lives on in these memories. He was one-of-a-kind, that’s for sure. I still think of him every hour of every day, and its not always with sorrow; I remember all the love, and the goofiness we shared. Until we meet again, brave warrior….Be good, mama loves you!

Memorial pendant from Donna and Glenn

From his sitter

From my co-workers

card my co-worker made

his 3 paw prints

solar light

beautiful cardinal lamp from Lisa and Linda

beautiful cards from friends

my next tattoo

HE WAS MUCH LOVED BY SO MANY….thank you for that!

Paula and John


9 Aug 2017

A Letter To Heaven….”Dear Nitro…”

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

Dear Nitro,

It’s been 2 weeks since we said good-bye….it seems like an eternity since I heard you hop down the hall, or you’ve given me a hug. I still can’t believe that you are no longer with us; its’s like a nightmare that I can’t wake up from. I know it was time, that you were tired, that you fought the good fight for way longer than anyone thought possible. Knowing it was the right thing to do doesn’t make it any easier. My heart has shattered in a million pieces, and I don’t know if it will ever be the same again. All our Tripawd friends tell me I will be ok, that I will love again, that it is OK to love again; right now, that’s hard to believe.

Days go by, and I think I’m good. Then I break down, and I feel like I can’t go on. This world doesn’t make sense without you in it. I never knew I could love like this, never knew I could bond with a dog like this, never knew what the term “heart dog” meant before this. It’s funny how life throws us curve balls….who could have predicted that a bone cancer diagnosis would have brought us the best friends imaginable, while turning our world upside down. This journey is one I never would have picked for us, but at the same time, it allowed me to experience such a perfect love, that I can’t regret it. I’ve realized that I’ve started to define you as a dog with 3 legs – a Tripawd – but you were so much more than that. You were a Warrior, a fighter, stronger than I ever dreamed you could be. And you showed me that I was a Warrior, a fighter, and stronger than I ever believed I could be.


I’ve been preparing for your leaving me for so long now, for probably a year or better; perhaps this has enabled me to appear to have “gotten over it”. Your daddy, however, is just starting this process. He is really struggling with your being gone, and that is so hard. I don’t want him to think I’ve moved on, that you didn’t matter, because you were the world to me. I’m trying to be brave, for you…..I love you, sweet boy, and I hope you are running free, and having the time of your life. Until I see you again, “BE GOOD, MAMA LOVES YOU!”

28 Jul 2017

Warrior Nitro….A Beautiful Life

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized


Warrior at The Bridge

My Warrior has shed his earthly clothes, and is running free at The Bridge….we are beyond devastated, but his story is a beautiful one.

The beginning of the end began, ironically, the day after his 37 month ampuversary – July 18, 2017.  He slipped on the tile floor upon waking, splaying his hind feet; no biggie, it’s happened before. Out in the yard, he was having a bit of a hard time standing up, and when I went to assist him, he let out a yelp of pain. Whoa! This was new. As the day progressed, his mobility worsened, as did his incontinence. I called Dr. Patty (chiro vet) and was able to get him in the next day for an early morning appointment. As she examined him, he began to tremble, so much so that at first she thought he was having a seizure. Eventually she determined it was a generalized reaction to pain, and could find no chiropractic reason for the new symptoms. She also said his “Qi” or life force was quieter than she’d ever seen it.



Heavy Heart

I called my regular vet to discuss…and to make arrangements should they be necessary. She increased his gabapentin to 3x a day and I scheduled several “visits”, one for the next day, one for the following day (both at the clinic) and one for the following Tuesday July 25. By night time, he seemed a little better, so we’d re-evaluate the next morning to see if it was “time”. The next morning, as he’s laying outside and we’re trying to make a decision, he saw a squirrel; he jumped up on his own and went running across the yard! Ok! Cancel THAT appointment! That morning Kodi had a chiro appointment, and we brought Nitro along just in case she wanted to check him over. She did, the trembling was gone, and his Qi was stronger. Ok! Cancel appointment for the next day too.


Laying down eating treats

Now we had to get through the weekend, with both of us working. His mobility still wasn’t great, so John came home both days to assist the sitter with getting him in and out of the house. His appetite disappeared – besides us spooning ice cream down his throat. Now Monday’s here, I’m off, still trying to evaluate for the next scheduled “visit”, which would be a home visit. It was a glorious day in Wisconsin, sunny, low humidity – perfect. We spent over 7 hours outside, he got up on his own all day and hopped around the yard unassisted. My friend stopped over to say a potential goodbye; when she offered him some treats, he ate ravenously! You get the picture, now I’m wondering about cancelling the appointment for the next day.  When I went to bed that night, I prayed for a clear sign, one way or the other, to know how to proceed.


Glorious Day Before

Brother Bonding with Aunt Laurie

Morning comes, we get him outside, and he just wants to lay on his bed; he’s calm, and restfully peaceful, and I know I’ve just been given the sign I prayed for. Sitting with him, waiting for the vet to arrive, I thought to myself that if I saw a cardinal, I’d know in my heart that we were doing the right thing. It was another beautiful day so we stayed outside, in the yard he loved. His transition was the most beautiful, peaceful thing I’ve ever experienced….he truly did just lay his head down and go to sleep. I was draped over his chest, whispering through my tears over and over “I love you, I love you, I love you”. They took clay imprints of all 3 feet for me, and Forever Friends came to take him away.

Morning of…

Morning of….

About an hour later, I looked over to my left, and there was a female cardinal, sitting on my sedum plant. I called to John to come see and was able to get my phone for a picture. Nitro was at The Bridge, and he was fine. <3 <3 <3

Visitor From Heaven –
Nitro at the Bridge?

There is a big void in our hearts right now, but we are at peace….it was not a minute too early or a minute too late, and my Warrior went out on his terms and with all of  his dignity intact. Who can ask for more than that? As Sally said to me, he beat that piece of crap disease, but he couldn’t beat old age. So my final words to him, the words I’ve said to him everyday of his life…..”BE GOOD, MAMA LOVES YOU”


Mama Loves You