Can your dog do this?

Sigh, neither can mine, and they are pretty talented. Very inspiring presentation. It not only shows amazing work on the dogs’ parts, but exemplary communication techniques on the owner’s part. I love that you can just feel the bond between them and that they are all about the fun of it. This is the best part about life with dogs.

C’mon hounds, time for us to get to work!

Rio is an awesome beach dog

A 10 month old greyhound at the beach…












A Lifetime of Greatness

The Irreplaceable Macy Grey, Summer Moon of Artemis, CGC aka KD’s Buffy

1/16/98-3/26/11

Whenever I see your smiling face, I just have to smile myself because I love you!

I’ll never forget the first time I saw her or her adoption photo. Her eyes just seemed to dance off the page. When I went to pick her up from her temporary caretaker, she came bouncing through the yard toward me, stopping to duck down and splash her marble swirled brindle face in a mud puddle along the way. Her white stocking legs now muddied, she came and greeted me with those same dancing eyes. KD’s Buffy – what a doll she was!! “I’m glad you saw that,” Renee laughed, “I’ve had to wash her off three times now.” After watching her play and get to know her new pack mates in the yard for a bit, I loaded the adorable jokster and my other two greyhounds, Bethany and Austin, into our SUV and we headed home.

It was the beginning of a very special bond and many years of fun, laughs and love. My second heart dog.

I was very surprised to find that Macy had some submissive tendencies. She was in general a confident and balanced girl, but she occasionally had bouts of submissive wetting. A quick study in everything that came her way, this quickly passed with a little bit of guidance. At only two years, she was still such a silly little girl and had a lot of ropes to learn. I came home from work to find a lot of stuff missing or sabotaged. I began referring to this as ‘Macy-ated’. Socks, bras, books, computer cords…it was a reminder that I had a lot to learn still too!

She had a great nose for bunnies and would rush any bush that one had recently visited. Sometimes they hadn’t left yet and she’d be so excited about her find. She and Malibu were quite the huntresses together.

Macy playing frisbee at the park. She and Malibu are my only two with perfect catches.

Macy loved to play, course, swim, hike, perform agility or obedience and sun bathe. She was extremely food motivated, a hard worker and quickly became the perfect dog. No, really, she was THE perfect dog. Though she had a very funny, silly side, she was a very serious dog. She was very sensitive and took getting anything wrong quite hard – I think she must have mulled it over when she did, because it would seldom become a habit. She would eventually become the manner police of the house. If another dog was into something that I should but didn’t know about, she would do her best to clue me in. If there was something amiss such as a possum hanging out in the dog room, she would do her best to alert the humans. She was so incredibly bright and a beautiful soul. Just about every dog lover that met her wanted to take her home.

There was once a very uncharacteristically off balanced greyhound staying with us, and he ended up attacking my sweet Macy over a bone. He got her good and in the neck. I started bawling and was probably more upset than even she was as I saw blood gushing from a large hole in her neck. I rushed her to a very kind doctor that understood my hesitation to put her under anesthesia. Being a vet that had significant greyhound experience, he felt comfortable treating her with just a local. Macy maintained her composure beautifully through the whole thing and was stoic even with the drain insertion and sutures. The foster dog left that day.

Confidence and grace

I began training her in agility with some other greyhounds. This too, she learned with ease and great desire. Once she got the hang of it, man did she ever love to show off! She had such a regal gallop and stride. I loved watching her trot around after she pulled off something really smooth. She absolutely loved to hear me tell her how perfectly she did a training session or run. She’d give me a big smile and a hug and wag her ferocious tail back and forth with pride. She never wanted her agility sessions to end and would stand in place eager for more as I called her to come inside. I know she would have gone far in an agility career if her trainer wasn’t so clumsy. After a couple of years though, we just did it for fun rather than competition. I think she probably missed showing off to others though!

Her encounter with the attacking foster dog must have confused her a bit and also made her weary of some dogs and situations. Once when we were at agility class, one of her classmates got the zoomies. Those of you with greyhounds know the zoomies – when something jumps into their head and they have to take off running unstoppably without caution. After about the third or fourth time that he zoomed by her, she reached out and nipped him pretty good.

Macy loved to perform.

It wasn’t an aggressive move as much as a ‘hey stop it sucker’ type of gesture, but never the less, the skin of a greyhound snipped at top speed is going to look pretty bad and bleed a lot. She got a firm reprimand as he was taken off to the ER and as I mentioned, she did NOT like getting anything wrong. This was the last time I ever saw her quibble with another dog. She actually became the most tolerant dog that I can imagine. Children, puppies, foster dogs, guest dogs, moving to a new home, and a lot of changes to her pack through the years – she maintained her cool through it all and never acted put off or sulked like Bethany would. She became a confident leader. She loved exploring and frolicking with her pack. She and Malibu, who I adopted only a few months after Macy, grew up together and grew old together – our golden girls.

I think the only thing that I can think of that would upset her was knowing that I was upset or I was getting ready to go somewhere. I swear she actually cried with me after a death in the family. She stayed by my side, snuggled up in a blanket. If she knew that I was getting ready to go on a trip, she would get very anxious. Unfortunately she had a tendency toward seizures, and they often popped up when I was getting ready to leave. Though they were always pretty short, it’s still very upsetting to watch your pup go through such a confusing thing. I would make sure that she got to a soft bed and just hold her until they passed. My holistic vet helped reduce the episodes and Macy even overcame them eventually, without the need of any daily drugs. I am really grateful for that.

All of the dogs got along well with Macy because she was just so good natured. They could flop on her, steal half of her bed, or tumble through her space and she wouldn’t be phased. She kept them in line when they needed it and had all of their respect. When Roxy joined the family as a tiny little pup, Macy wasn’t sure what to make of her, but was soon completely accepting of the spunky mischief maker. Years later when Rio came into the pack, it was Macy and Malibu that made him feel safe and welcome while Roxy and Armani made him earn his place. It makes me smile to know that there’s a bit of Macy in all of them.

Gathering sea trinkets at Honeymoon Island

Macy loved to sunbathe and chase the ripples at the shore. She wasn’t much for tackling the waves but she did like to trot in the surf. It’s funny, the moments that stick with you… On one of our beach walks she found a random sea treasure and carried it with her down the beach for about ten minutes. I guess it smelled pretty good! It was normal for her to walk around with her bumper but this just really made me laugh. Whenever she would overheat at the beach or park or coursing field, she would go back to her water bowl and stand with her two front feet in it. It didn’t matter that I’d just hosed her off – she liked the icy water on her feet. Funny, funny girl!

The beautiful, poised Macy on Honeymoon Island

We spent many summer days together basking in the sun. She, Malibu and Paris would lavish in the rays with big smiles and total contentment while I lounged on a pool floaty. I know she loved the pool time more than she’d let on. It was much easier for her to go into the water at the beach where there weren’t any stairs, but she’d do anything for a treat.

Sweet funny beauty

Being the authority on manners, Macy was a stickler for the rules, whether they were mine or hers. Hers went a little something like this: when I stare down your neck and show my teeth in a forced smile, I need to potty. When I stare at you, dance and twirl around, throw toys in the air and dig up the rug, it is probably dinner time and you need to feed me or I’m going to get the whole pack on your butt. She taught Rio well in her last months with us. He has continued with her schedule.

It’s so hard to believe she is gone. It’s been three weeks and I’m still trying to stop the tears. I feel like she’s always been a part of my life and I still look around expecting to see her. She’s without a doubt woven into the fibers of my entire being. She was always by my side, whether in the office, kitchen or living room. I look across her favorite spots and my heart becomes heavy. She made me laugh and gave me a reason to smile every day. She comforted me and shared my pain through a lot of hard times. Her never quit spirit rubbed off on me and kept me going, when at times I just didn’t want to. She could not have been a better friend.

Her last two years were made very difficult as she dealt with a degenerative spinal condition. Acupuncture and homeopathy helped a great deal and gave us some lasting quality time together (read more), but over the last few months her mobility and balance began to deteriorate a great deal. I just didn’t realize that it would soon take her so quickly – she had bounced back from so much. This time, it was not to be. On Tuesday March 22nd I watched her walk around her yard for the last time. I had to help her back in the house after seeing that she was falling repeatedly and not getting up easily. All things considered, she remained in ok spirits until we got to the vet the next morning. We were having to help her around with a towel holding up her back end but she was still excited to eat and was giving it her all as we helped her around. A day later, and things were not holding up as well. She was in great distress, the therapy wasn’t working and she was now losing control of her upper body. Roxy stayed at our side, watching with deep concern just as she had with Paris. I struggled with my decision. Macy was still so present mentally and fully aware of the situation, watching me with her warm, loving eyes, which made my struggle all the worse. We had ordered a wheelchair – if only it would hurry up and arrive! If only one of our therapies would kick in! By Thursday, she had made her decision and waited patiently for me to understand. She had stopped eating. She’d never refused a meal in her life.

P118
She was so happy to be in the sunshine this spring. February 2011, sunning with me, Roxy and Rio by our pool.

On Saturday, I spent the day with her in the sun, knowing what sundown was going to bring. She rested peacefully and patiently in the sunshine at my side as she always did and watched my every move, though making no attempt to give me false hope. After all, being a part of my heart and soul, she knew that I was looking for anything – any sign of progress. We exchanged knowing looks, I thanked her for so many wonderful years of perfection and held on to her for every second that I could. At sundown, our vet came to the house where Macy was resting comfortably, knowingly, with her pack and we said good bye to our matriarch and set her free. It felt like cutting off my right arm but I know it is what she wanted and I’m glad that she only had 4 bad days in our wonderful 11 years together. I miss her every moment. I imagine her without struggles, running and dancing and smiling with Bethany, Austin and Paris at the Rainbow Bridge and hope that she is waiting for me when my journey here is complete.

We love you Macy. xoxo

Macy’s pack through the years

2001 - Malibu, Macy, Bethany and Austin

2003 - Macy, Austin and Malibu


]

2004 - Malibu, Paris, Armani, Macy and Austin

2006 - Malibu, Paris and Macy

2007 - Roxy, Macy, Paris and Malibu

2008 - Paris, Macy, Malibu, Armani and Roxy

Losing a great canine companion is hard but losing two heart dogs in one year is just more pain than one should face.

2010 - Armani, Macy, Malibu in front, Rio and Roxy in back

Dog Dances the Merengue

This footloose golden makes a lot of us look bad! Carrie the golden from Chile has also shown off her talents on Letterman, the Wendy Williams and various other shows. Currently she is trying to win the hearts of Dancing With the Stars, and frankly, we think the show could only benefit from her presence. How can you not love her???

In addition to blowing up prime time and Youtube, she has her own web site. Visit her at http://carriethedancingdog.com and find her on Facebook at Carrie The Dancing Dog.

Interviews with a Holistic Vet

Ok, not just ANY holistic vet but OUR Wholistic Vet from Wholistic Veterinary Care in Brooksville, FL. Dr Robin Cannizzaro was recently interviewed by asiam.fm. Enjoy the marvels of her successes!

Orangutan and Hound

Suriya, an orangutan, and this hound became instant BFF’s – an actual love at first sight encounter!! Watch, laugh, love!

Rio the Grande – Agility Lesson 2

Our star pupil

Download now or watch on posterous

p88.mov (17759 KB)

Download now or watch on posterous

p90.mov (3505 KB)

Agribusiness shows its true colors

Last week, the Senate voted 74-25 to move to consideration of S.510, the Food Safety Modernization Act.  After thirty hours of debate and behind-the-scenes negotiations, the Senators released a final Managers Amendment that includes a compromise version of the Tester-Hagan amendment.  Thank you to all our members who have called and written over the last several months to help protect local foods!

But even though an agreement was reached on the Tester-Hagan amendment last week, the issue is still not over.  The final vote on the bill has been delayed until Monday, November 29, due to disagreements over amendments relating to the health care bill and a ban on earmarks.  And, in the meantime, Agribusiness has shown its true colors.

For over a year, the big Agribusiness trade organizations have supported passage of S.510.  From Agribusinesss perspective, the bill was a win-win: they could absorb the costs of the regulations because of their size; theyd gain good PR for supposedly improving food safety practices; and the competition created by local food producers, which is rapidly growing, would be crushed by the regulatory burdens.

This was only speculation until now.  But when the Senators agreed to include the Tester-Hagan amendment in the bill, to exempt small-scale direct-marketing producers from some of the most burdensome provisions, twenty Agribusiness trade organizations fired off a letter stating that they would now oppose the bill.

The letter from the Agribusiness groups states: [B]y incorporating the Tester amendment in the bill, consumers will be left vulnerable to the gaping holes and uneven application of the law created by these exemptions. In addition, it sets an unfortunate precedent for future action on food safety policy by Congress that science and risk-based standards can be ignored.

http://www.unitedfresh.org/assets/files/Letter%20on%20Passage%20of%20S%20%20510%20and%20Tester%20Amendment.pdf

What science and risk?  No one has produced any data or evidence of any widespread problems caused by local producers and marketed directly to consumers.  All of the major foodborne illness outbreaks have been caused by products that went through the long supply chains of Agribusiness.
Agribusinesss real concern about the Tester-Hagan amendment isnt food safety, but the precedent set by having Congress recognize that small, direct-marketing producers are different, and should be regulated differently than large Agribusinesses.

Agribusiness is trying to convince the Senators to pull the Tester-Hagan amendment back out.  While the amendment is currently part of the Managers Package  the amended version of the bill agreed to by six bipartisan sponsors  nothing is certain until the actual vote.

ACTION TO TAKE
This Thanksgiving week, please take a moment to call or email your Senators to tell them to hold firm on KEEPING the Tester-Hagan amendment part of the bill.  

You can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or go to www.senate.gov to find their website (if the phone lines are busy, the best way to reach them is through the Contact Page on their website)

Meet Rio the Grande

The latest addition the The Greytlife pack… our 16 week old beautiful red male.

Yin/Yang

He’s not so bad after all, huh Roxy?

Good Morning Armani

Armani has to have 'his' bed 'just right'.

Armani was so funny this morning when he discovered his love of a good nap kept him from his morning ritual of chasing Roxy around the yard. When he spotted his half pint companion already stalking the area without him, he ran immediately to her side to catch up with the territory inspections – just after doing a quick jig and pawing at the lizard on the way. I love seeing him so happy and thriving more by the day. He likes to run around with Roxy out in their ‘dog park/track’ for at least an hour every morning. The other day when I heard them running, I swear that it sounded like a team of horses. 10 high speed laps later, a cool down intervention was in order and Roxy was more than willing to take a dip in the chilled pool.

Today’s run left Roxy limping. Not good.

Our Pal Katie

Our friend Katie isn’t feeling great this week. We hope you feel better soon Katie!!!

Katie’s kinda a big deal, a rockstar even… read all about her on her blog at Neversaynevergreyhounds.net.

Update, Friday Oct 22


Published in the Summer 2007 edition of Celebrating Greyhounds

We are sad to report that Katie passed to the Rainbow Bridge yesterday. She is a dog that will be very well remembered and left huge footsteps for other greyhounds to fill.

MACH Never Had Braces UD – 05/17/1998 – 10/21/2010

In her first 15 months off the racetrack, Katie trained and competed, earning AKC Novice, Open, and Excellent Standard and Jumper titles. Katie was the first Master Agility Champion Greyhound. She was the #1 Greyhound in AKC Agility in 2002, 2003, and 2004. She was the #2 Greyhound for lifetime achievement, second only to her brother, Travis. She also earned her Utility Dog obedience title.

I and my hounds joined Katie and her pack for romps, hiking, training and agility trials over many weekends when we lived in Atlanta. Katie wasn’t one to join in on the social aspects of it all. She was just there to work! Her eyes were constantly fixated on her human in anticipation of the next challenge. I don’t think I ever saw her “off”.

It was a great pleasure to know you Katie. Your eager face and spirit will truly be missed.

Friendship

Paris found her BFF when Roxy came to us. I was so proud of how gentle she became with tiny, three month old Roxy. Roxy quickly learned to fend for herself with 3 greyhound sisters. But it was Paris that filled her every minute and had a greater impact on Roxy than any of us. They started rooming together when we were at work, and rarely left each other’s side. Paris taught her the ropes and made her strong while nurturing her puppy playfulness at the same time.

They spent four glorious years pranking, chasing and adoring each other. This transition with Roxy is heartbreaking on it’s own.

To Paris, With Love

While our hearts ache beyond imagination, I must first say thank you. You were a sparkling diamond and we were blessed to have you in our lives. I thought I had so much to teach you when you joined and it is you that has taught me a lifetime of lessons in an all too short 6 years together. I don’t think there will ever be a day that losing you like this will be ok. But for you I rejoice. Your radiance could spark a universe and I just hope with all of my heart that you are waiting for us in the next one.

PARIS “I’m Spicy” Glenn
12/04/02 – 6/08/10

aka “P-Dawg, Princess Pei Pei, Paris Francis, P, P-monkey, Sweet-P”

[ Select any photo for a slideshow ]

Your golden eyes stared out at me from the Pefinder ad and I fell in love on the spot. I would soon make the trip to meet you in Orlando where I would first glimpse your dynamic presence. Your beauty was more astonishing face to face – a gorgeous snow white greyhound with a single blue eyebrow and the most adorable light blue speckled ears. Your skin glowed a soft pink and your legs and tummy were dusted with the little blue spots so faintly that you had to be close to realize that they were there. As if all that glamor wasn’t enough, your coat had a very distinguished feature – that wonderful ridge along the back of your neck, perfectly formed like a rhodesian’s . The beautiful twist of nature that created you and your brother with his handsome matching white and blue parti “Armani” coat was breathtaking. How dare they ask if I minded about your scars – they were unfortunate, but in no way detracted from your elegance. I couldn’t wait until you came home, and had decided on your name by the time I was halfway home. At only a year and a half, you never competed on the track, but had endured the rearing and training of a very battered track dog. A bright eyed wild child full of life, pale, beautiful and in need of a few manners – Paris.

In July of 04 you and your brother arrived and the party began. Everyone was your friend – you were overjoyed with your new home and happily fell into your new pack. You were always at the heart of the action and never without a big panting smile. You approached everyone with such a generous spirit and everything as a new game, another race – always teasing someone to join in. And they always did. If anyone ever boarded their hound with us, they were surely entertained by you.

At first you were such a handful. No manners, all smile and a whirl of energy. Nothing could contain you and it was so hard to try to steer you in the right direction without laughing – your charm and dancing eyes always got the best of me. There was never any need for food to motivate you to learn new things. You just lavished in the praise and I was happy to give it liberally – you did everything with such an eager spirit and excelled so fast. It was like watching a child with a new toy as I saw your face and strides full of understanding and response as we tackled new agility tricks. As bubbly and energetic as you were, you had an equally gentle, passive side. I could offer the tastiest of delicacies to you and you would take it from me with the tenderness of an angel.

I watched you and Armani with constant laughter and surprise as the two of you learned about life off the track. I still crack up thinking of the songs that you would lead he and the others in whenever I was getting ready to leave. The two of you were the center of an ever present whirlwind. Our world would change a lot that year. Thank you for bearing with me and for becoming such a brave, smart and resilient lady. Thank you for sharing your soul, comfort and bringing me daily smiles during a time that I didn’t think any could exist. I take comfort in knowing that you never had a lonely day – a single dog home would never have fit you.

At the start, there was a bit of rivalry between you and Macy, our alpha and rising agility champ. While there were surely reasons for you two to continue in a power struggle, it never happened. Somewhere along the way I even lost sight of who was leading. Not only did I not even blink after you somehow wrapped yourself around parts of my heart that only she knew, but I never even consciously recognized it. Macy had grown older and while I still championed her as alpha, I believe that even she had gifted the role to you along the way. If not, she was at least sharing it. How did I become one of these owners that doesn’t see that?!?

Only until two weeks ago did it even dawn on me that you were already in the role that I had knew you’d one day be. You had turned into a leader all on your own in a very short time. The way that you took Roxy under your wing when she joined our life was heart melting. She was so, so tiny that we had to watch so cautiously that you, Macy and Malibu realized that she was family and not prey. After a couple of weeks, you seemed to tag her as yours. And from there the most wonderful friendship among dogs that I have ever been fortunate enough to witness started to flourish into many seasons of amazement. Of pure love. Of celebrating each other like there’s no tomorrow.

We would nickname the two of you “Paris and Nicole” for your non-stop partying and antics. No, dull moments simply no longer existed. Our lives were fixated on keeping an eye on you two, keeping you well bandaged, out of trouble and laughing with you about it all the way. You treated Roxy with the tenderness of a mother along with the silly, playfulness of your first childhood best friend. You lightened up the world and begged everyone to see it as weightlessly as you did. You guided me to simply drink in the rich moments of our life – instead of drilling the same training routines into you, I found myself just watching the two of you from afar many times. It was just too beautiful to intrude and I took solace in seeing how bright and instinctive you were both becoming. Everything became a competition between the two of you and I’m surprised that all of our doors are still hinged after you each exuberantly made your way out of the ‘padlock’ each day.

When we moved to our Dunedin paradise, our pack had found it’s footing. Our new home gave you all that I had ever wanted for us. A huge yard, a great sunny dog room by the pool, and sunshine flooding in from anywhere in the house. There was room for agility, chase, squirrel hunting, sunning, swimming and as much area as you could dream to spread your toys. You thrived here and made use of every inch of our home and garden. That booming bark of yours certainly put the wildlife on notice.

You were my shadow and my muse. I could not have been any more in love with another creature and would just gaze into your dancing eyes to find peace in the day. We would sit for moments just exchanging adoring stares, your face glimmering, your love radiating and pouring out all around you. Then you’d make a silly gesture and we’d end up wrestling and teasing in hysterics. I’d tell you that the letter P was made for you and was short for Paris, Pretty and Perfect and then you would jump up glowing and give me a hug. Then it was off to start your game of arranging your toys all over the house, patio and yard. Which I would clean up only to have you begin again before I had the last toy in the basket. I joked that you were decorating. Tim would come home and you’d get spoiled some more, help him make dinner, and then show him more toys. You had such fun with him – I think maybe one of your jobs was to bring us all together. It certainly didn’t hurt to have you for him to fall in love with first.

You were the highlight of starting my day. Mornings do not delight nearly as much as your happy early bird face did, always the first up to start the day at my side. If you hadn’t already wedged your way onto the bed and begun delivering your steamrollers and belly rub requests by the time we got up, you’d soon be following closely behind as the morning began. And if I wasn’t paying enough attention, you knew how to prompt another round of laughter. Slamming your rump into the hallway wall and sliding your backside along the way was not something that I could stand by carrying a straight face and you knew it. I don’t know why you did this but I’ll never be able to clean your mark off that wall.

There was no fooling you about anything. You sensed things happening no matter how much we tried to throw you off the trail. Whether it was trying to sneak leashes together for an outing, subtly slipping out to thaw your dinner, or just needing to run a few errands, you always managed to be a step ahead. Whatever the occasion you would be adjusting your actions to those that you knew were expected before ever asked. Your willingness and desire to please was immeasurable. I am sure that I could have taught you anything.

Summer has always been my favorite time of year and you were such a special part of the season. Your soul was the epitome of all that summer stands for – laughing with friends like there’s no tomorrow, singing as though no one can hear you, and dancing center stage as though no one can see you. And if anyone did catch you carrying on with your melodic outside voice, bouncing jubilantly around your camp or smiling like a canary, then so what. They were all the better for being hypnotized by your charms. The spring and summers on our patio with you, Tim, Macy, Malibu and Roxy will forever be some of my fondest memories. You and Roxy learned to swim like pros. Even against your protests I know that you secretly liked it. Just as you secretly loved baths and are the only dog that I’ve ever known to actually ask for one. After either your bath or swim you could never resist diving into a towel, then dart madly around the house and patio, recharged and ready to go again. Easing the day away in the sun with you girls became my happy place, a secret garden where problems dared not intrude. Tim and I both reflected that it was our utopia, our Bridge to Terabithia. The work battered weeks evaporated into the sun drenched skies with you and our gang soaking in every golden moment. The balmy days turned into dusk with you and Roxy still going strong, chasing each other and anything that moved in your yard.

Paris, my lovely, sweet, wild, fragile china doll. You were so carefree and excited, but with such wreckless abandon. It was never hard for trouble to find you. By the time you were 6, I was begging you to stop accumulating the battle wounds and scars. It was all that I could do to protect you from yourself sometimes. I’ll never forget the painful shrill of you breaking your leg. I know I shouldn’t have gone on that interview but you could have found a better way to stop me! No greyhound should be unable to run for that long. I’ll never know if that break and consequent surgery was the cause or casualty of the disease that would take you from us. All I knew then is that I wanted you to run again and if you needed surgery then….

I’m not sure if it was before or after that point that it was Roxy who was then looking after you. We thought she was just anxious and nervous with all of her security checks, but it was you that she was worrying about. You helped us raise Roxy to be tough and nurturing by showering her life with affection and leadership, and now she was returning it all to you. She already was beginning to understand what I would never believe.

All in all, things returned to normal soon and within a few months you’d be charging around the yard with Roxy and the crew, albeit a bit more carefully. Looking back on it now, I see the silent shifts that were taking place around me. Bonds, understandings and the rights of passage of a dog pack were unfolding. Even while making strides to downshift from a schedule on overdrive, I still missed a lot of these quiet rumblings. I am so thankful that I had this last year and a half that I didn’t have to leave you for a much less appreciative job. I wish we could have played all day long.

I remember the trip to Brooksville to see Dr. C. You were as animated as ever as you and the girls ran around taking in all of the animals on the farm. You ran back and forth between the horses and the cows like a little girl on her birthday. We were there for Macy to get acupuncture but it would be you that we would learn needed the aggressive therapy. The growth that I believed to be an abscess on your jaw was not. The C word was among us. I was stunned. I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that the bond between you and Macy began growing stronger that day.

I asked you to do a lot while you were with us. You jumped through tires for me. You learned those pesky weaves for me. You walked along planks for me. You dove into the deep end of the pool for me. You sat through tears with me. You always shared and waited your turn. You wore stupid outfits out of household decor for my fun. Things weren’t always perfect and you loved me like they were. You left an indelible and magical mark on Roxy’s life and mine. You were our best friend and a kind, spirited leader. You kept us laughing and propelled my ability to believe and marvel in dreams. I asked you to trust me with a lot of things, but I would not ask you to give up your jaw.

We faced the news with homeopathy and acupuncture, while continuing other holistic care. After a few weeks, the growth burst and shrank by about a third. We rejoiced, remained positive and kept on top of check ups and treatments. You were always such a great sport. In early March, my heart sank when I saw that another mass had so quickly taken it’s place on your knee. How this could happen to you I will never understand. I know where to start, but it just doesn’t explain it fully to me.

I remained focused on the positive progress and refused to believe how sick you could be. I think you did the same. Never would I believe it. Never would I believe that your youth and strength would fail you. You just weren’t a ‘sick’ dog to me. Even in your illness you were still exquisite. Another few weeks passed and the growth on your jaw drained. What a horrible couple of days that was, but after a couple of weeks there was barely a sign of it. We thought things were on the right path.

Life continued. Your toys were scattered. You were at my side and you were frolicking with your family. I was counting down the days until I would finish my final project before taking a much needed rest and was looking forward to spending our summer playing in our secret garden. And then BAM! What had grown silent in our sight had grown turbulent and overpowering beneath.

May 13, 6pm. As sick as you visibly were, we continued to deny that you were facing anything that you couldn’t triumph. But the lack of toy activity perhaps made me worry as much as anything else. You, gentle Paris, were so brave and fought with such grace. We are awed by your strength and wish you never had felt a touch of pain. I hadn’t asked you to give up your jaw. I hadn’t asked you to sacrifice your leg. And in the end I wasn’t going to subject you to animal hospitals with out your family’s love. Macy, Roxy and Malibu were as much a part of your care as fluids, vitamins and meds. We were blessed with the ability to watch over and give you the supportive care that you needed at home with a very attentive vet a call away. You bounced back and shared many priceless moments with us in which I think we each had a chance to say goodbye. You knew it was time and you took time to do just about all of your favorite things in those last days, from racing Roxy to barking ferociously at birds to even squeezing in a couple of your naughty habits. More importantly, you sunned with your family and let us love you every second that we could. Losing you this early is the unthinkable, but you will remain timeless and brilliant to me.

On Tuesday June 8, you climbed onto the couch beside me. I thought you were upset with me, as I had been aggressively trying to change our fate. But from that spot you wouldn’t move – you’d spent every ounce of energy you had left to be beside me. On your couch. I sat with you and gave you one more pink lipstick kiss, as I always did before leaving “to last until I get back”. This time I whispered “to last forever”. Even after your final breaths, you gave me insights that I can never repay and memories that will always be a part of me. Thank you for being such an amazing friend to all of us. Even when we weren’t the greatest of humans you always made us feel like we were. Your thunderous footsteps, larger than life smile and spirit can never be replaced. I keep waiting for there to be a missing man fly over, but there is just silence.

We miss and love you beyond words, Sweet P.

xoxoxoxo

S, T, Roxy, Macy, Malibu and Armani

Parting Gifts

With the help of homeopathy during her final moments, we were able to help Paris peacefully take her last breaths at home surrounded by the love of her best friends. For 3 weeks I kept hoping to see her pick up a toy so I’d feel that she was ok, but after her illness took hold she never did. Roxy remained steadfast at her side and showed remarkable love and maturity. She also didn’t touch any of the toys during this time and remained an unusual several feet away from Paris, though loyally attentive of her sick friend’s every move. It’s as if she didn’t want to be responsible for breathing wrong. I can relate. After Paris passed, we groomed and sat in the quiet darkness with her still warm body, waiting for Pet Angels to arrive. Out of nowhere, Roxy jumped up with a boost of excitement, ran to the corner to grab a toy out of the basket that Paris always emptied, then charged through the house back and forth two or three times. I lost count as I sat unable to move or speak, completely transfixed on Roxy running like she and Paris used to race through the house, taunting each other with a toy. Tim was also speechless. An hour or so later when I went to the bedroom, I found the toy on the bed. None of the dogs have expressed any interest in the toy basket since.


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