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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…

 

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.

 

Cuddles

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

17 Jul 2017

3 Years, 1 Month

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

Today is our 37 month ampuversary….I feel the need to make monthly posts now that our journey is most likely nearing its end. I don’t say this to be morbid, or fishing for sympathy, but being practical, its probably true. The arthritis is taking it’s toll on my warrior; I can see it happening before my eyes. Last week we started him on the new drug Galliprant which is an NSAID that works a little differently than the usual ones and has been shown in studies not to adversely affect the kidneys or liver. Of course, these studies haven’t been done on dogs already in kidney failure, but we’re hoping for the best. We had to do something to help his mobility, and maybe I’m imagining it, but it seems to be helping.

 

cooling off on a hot day

It does seem as if the weather has some bearing on how he feels. If its really hot and humid, he doesn’t move around so well. Yesterday was a glorious day in Wisconsin – low humidity, temps in the lower 70’s – and he had a great day. I was on vacation this last week, and we spent every day outside, from morning to evening. There were squirrels to chase (and he did) and neighbor dogs to bark at (and he did). It was the best stay-cation ever.

 

Always touching me

He still gets acupuncture and chiro adjustments, and for now, IV fluid therapy every 3-4 weeks. I’m really trying my hardest to “be more dog”, and not obsess about the future, but not always succeeding. If I let myself, I picture the “end game” over and over in my head. Then I snap out of it, knowing that I do him a disservice not to live in the now. Because he really IS still enjoying life, IS still engaged, and IS still making me use the laser light to get him inside at night.

 

morning hugs

 

I love this dog more than I ever dreamed it was possible to love, and I know he loves me back. That’s where we are today….wishing you all peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch.

 

17 Jun 2017

3 YEARS A TRIPAWD!

Author: dobemom | Filed under: Uncategorized

 

Best Smile Ever

Wow! I can’t believe its been 3 years! It seems like yesterday, and at the same time it seems like forever,  that Nitro has been a Tripawd. What an amazing milestone to experience, after years of amazing milestones. Thinking back to that first week, that first month, that first summer after the surgery…..I’m sure we never thought we’d be here, 3 years later. And it’s a little scary being in these uncharted waters we find ourselves in….even his vet has no idea, being that he’s so far off the osteosarcoma chart of  “what’s next”. Equally scary is the fact that I have ZERO experience in dealing with an “elderly” Dobe.

how royalty eats

so sleepy

Around the first week of April, Nitro appeared to be declining; his holistic vet convinced me to do a re-check of his kidney values (which hadn’t been checked in many months). The values were substantially higher than they’d been, so we scheduled a 2-day IV fluid session. When I went to flush the IV port the first night, I could tell something was wrong because blood was leaking out. Off to the ER vet we went only to find that the connection had come loose, which they fixed at no charge. About 3 am Nitro became extremely restless and whiney; at that point I was mentally preparing myself to say good-bye to him in the morning rather than do the second day of fluids – he just seemed to be telling me the journey was nearing the end. But John’s take on the situation was that Nitro was just over-tired from being at the vet’s all day with no rest; so he laid by him and pet him until sleep finally came. We proceeded with the planned fluids, but shared my concerns with his vet. We decided to see how he was over the weekend, and re-evaluate later. Long story short, he improved, once again bouncing back to “normal”.  The new plan is to do preemptive fluids (just 1 day), every 4 weeks, and not do blood work for kidney values; perhaps another example of burying my head in the sand, but I don’t need to obsess on numbers. Since then, he’s been doing extremely well despite all the challenges he faces; his arthritis is progressing, and he tires easily, but we just strap on his harness when he needs a little boost. He’s eating well, is happy and alert, and insists on chasing the laser light every night before he’ll come in the house. All things considered, we are in a good place right now.

 

bonding with dad in the garage

celebration treat

Can’t leave Kodi out

 

With all that going on, I had serious doubts that he’d be with us when I went to Virginia, and was apprehensive leaving home, but everyone survived (and probably thrived) without me. The East Coast Tripawd Party was one for the record books! The Puppy Up gathering last September was just the tip of the iceberg as far as the feeling of “coming home”; I can’t even put into words how it felt to spend 4 days with people who have come to mean the world to me. We laughed, we cried, we shared our hopes and fears, we healed,  we bonded for life. I can’t imagine a time when these friends, this family weren’t a part of my life.

first night together

Angel Sally

Tribute Table

So this is where we are, 3 years later….21 years in dog years. We’ll just keep on taking it one day at a time, one crisis at a time, because what else can we do? We’ll keep reaching for, and celebrating every new milestone…..looking forward to reaching his 12th birthday in October and also hoping some of his “aunts” might be able to swing by for a visit this summer. My greatest wish is for all of you to meet this amazing Warrior, while he still wears his earthly clothes. One can hope! For now, wishing you peace and love from the Ehlers’ ranch.

 

*************IN LOVING MEMORY OF MURPHY**************

 

We lost our friend Murphy this week….he was our mentor, a fellow Warrior, who showed us the way on this journey we travel. We looked up to him for guidance, as we moved into uncharted territory as cancer survivors. We will miss him terribly, and mourn his loss; until we meet one day at the Bridge – run free, brave Warrior! <3 <3 <3