Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Last Footprint

Tomorrow, it will be one year since we lost Max,our German Shepherd.  It did not seem real that day - coming home from the final visit to the vet and opening the front door, it seemed as if Max was just around the corner.  Except for his absence by my chair, life felt like it was going on around us as if nothing had happened.  The other dogs were milling around, looking for their dinner. The cats were curled in their regular places, opening an eye to see what was happening and then slowly going back to sleep again.

The next day we took the Shelties for their regular early morning walk.  It was light enough to see Max's footprints from his last walk with us.  I kept looking at the prints in the snow, feeling the pain of knowing he was no longer with us.  One day ...there...the next ..gone.

The weather held for several days and each time I looked at the footprints I would remember my big goofy boy and how he loved to be out walking with the pack every day.  I decided I should take a photo with my cell phone ...and the next day, the weather changed and the prints faded from sight.  But he will never fade from my heart.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Today ....sadness

Today, we lost our girl, Sadie.  She had shown some signs of muscle problems in her back legs in the last few weeks but seemed to recover quite quickly so we just assumed it  was perhaps from sleeping on them for too long.  She did like to sleep - as you will see by the following photos.

Last week she started to sleep in a dog bed under the living room end table and spent much of her day there. We noticed she was losing some fur and was not interested in eating much.  We didn't know how old she was but the symptoms looked like old age and we prepared ourselves for the eventual good bye.

Then in the last few days she went downhill very quickly. We made a vet appointment for yesterday afternoon, thinking we would not be coming back with her. We cuddled as much as we could during the day and wrapped her in her little pink blanket,fully expecting to hold her close as she was put to sleep. When the vet saw her, he recognized she was in bad shape but he decided to do some blood tests and take an X-ray. Our hearts hurt when we heard her cries of pain while she was being X rayed but it was a small bit of hope. Initial thoughts were that perhaps she had been infected by some sort of bacteria so he decided to keep her overnight.  We were so excited to think there was a chance to save her and we walked out of the clinic with much lighter hearts - so happy to know we'd have more time with her.

The next day, the happiness bubble burst.  The blood tests had been sent out and the vet said Sadie had to be sedated in the morning since her little heart was racing.  Three hours later the phone rang - and we heard our little girl had passed away in early afternoon, before the blood tests had come back.

We are left with so many questions now.  Did she think we had abandoned her and she just let go?  Was there anything we could have done to help her earlier?  Should we have asked the vet to put her to sleep while we were there to cuddle her so her last thoughts were of the humans who loved her so much?

But now I will turn to thinking about how she was so much a part of our family and how we treasured her unique qualities.  Our sweet little deaf cat - who always knew when food was being served and who found so many places in the house to put her furry print on. She would sit by side with our dogs - never worried about any one biting her.  Her short legs made it tough for her to jump on on most things - but she certainly would keep trying.  And her favorite place of all - was to climb up on my hubby until she was stretched out on his chest - and then she would close her eyes and knead her paws.

I have pulled out some of my favorite photos of Sadie - the often sleeping gal - who would claim a sleeping place for a couple of weeks and then look for another to lay claim to. The last photo is from a couple of months ago - when she actually made it up "Mount Everest" - the couch which she has often struggled to get up onto.  When we found her at the very top we were so surprised - and we figured it must have taken her quite some time to get all the way.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Never Gets any Easier to say Goodbye

This is a photo of Max back in July 2015when he had just been with us a few months after my Dad's death.  We knew he was old already and wanted to give him a loving home for what ever years he had left. He fit into the household from the first day with us...and in the last few months he often had a little white companion (Angel or Sadie) sitting beside him.  Even Sebastian, our"scaredy cat", had learned that Max was more bark than bite and he would gingerly walk close to where Max was laying down.

This last week he had not seemed well - and was walking more slowly than usual on our morning walks. We had an appointment this morning with our vet and fully expected to be leaving with some medicine to help Max feel better.  Unfortunately the vet found a mass in the lower part of Max's stomach. An X ray also showed a large cancerous growth further up in Max's lungs.  He had been having a little trouble breathing a few times but it quickly passed.  He was a strong dog and gave little sign of what must have been going on inside.

We said goodbye to Max at the vet clinic, in the same room we had seen our beloved Spike pass on over a year ago. It doesn't get any easier losing another member of our furry family  - but we will always treasure the memories and the unique characteristics each one brought along with them.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Two by Two

Sadie has decided that Max's rug makes a nice snoozing spot, regardless of whether Max is simply stretched out relaxing or having his dinner.  Surprisingly, she has no fear of Max, even given that he is the largest dog in the household.  At the beginning of Max's time with us, we kept moving her away to a different part of the living room but she kept coming back.  Max has never shown any concern - basically gives her a quick look and then ignores her.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

New use for an Ikea chair

A couple of years ago we found  a cream colored leather chair at Ikea which we thought would make a comfy addition to the living room seating.  Little did we know that it would become a favorite sleeping spot for two of the furry family members. (That is why it is now covered with a cotton blanket - cat claws and dog claws have already left their mark on the leather!) Sadie often sleeps on the wide chair arm but sometimes likes to stretch out so will crawl onto the main part of the chair and get comfortable.  Molly seems to think she owns the chair as well but she is ever vigilant and the slightest noise will wake her up from even a deep sleep.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Goodbye to our beloved Spike

Spike has been with us for 8 years now and made himself a home in each of our hearts.  He was just barely a year old when he showed up at our front door (brought by his previous owner who was entrusting us to love and care for this sweet deaf cat).

We weren't the most experienced  cat owners when he joined our family - we hadn't known that we should introduce him in stages to his new surroundings and we simply put him down on the floor to learn his way around the house. He spent the first few days hiding in a tucked away space under our bed which made him feel safe - and this is where he headed to in the last couple of months when he was sick.

He has been a healthy cat through most of his life with us - agile, active and always looked well fed! The first time he showed signs of getting sick was only a few months ago.  He started to lose weight and seemed a bit lethargic and when he started to hide under the bed we realized something was wrong. He was diagnosed with diabetes so we quickly switched him over to a grain free, vegetable free soft cat food diet and started up insulin shots.  He responded well to this and started to gain weight so we thought all was back on track.

One month ago , we heard him making a strange sound and saw that he was struggling to get up from his cat bed..  When I picked him up he started to have a severe seizure. I have never seen that before and it is a terrible experience to go through. He was breathing but very limp so we rushed him to the emergency vet clinic.  He spent the night there on fluids but we really didn't have any answers as to the source of the seizure, other than the possibility  that his blood sugar levels may have been too low at the time.

He had seemed to rally after the visit to the emergency clinic and our subsequent visit to our regular vet resulted in a higher daily insulin dose. But this past week his activity levels slowed down significantly and he was sleeping most of the day.  On Wednesday morning he had lost the ability to move himself off the kitchen counter so we knew we had better take him to the vet as soon as possible.  This time we had a diagnosis - pancreatitis and ketoacidosis. He spent two nights at the vet while they tried to stabilize him but his condition continued to deteriorate.

Friday morning we stopped in to see him but could see he wasn't getting better. He didn't seem to know we were there and his eyes showed the impact of the medication from the drip. We made the decision to help him move on and cuddled him for one last time as he lay on the vet's table.  Being deaf, we knew he wouldn't hear us telling him we loved him, but we breathed into his neck fur while we stroked his head - and heard a soft barely inaudible purr we hoped he knew we were there with him for his last minutes.

Nine years old when he left us - and the youngest of our four whitesters. We always thought he would be with us for many more years and can feel how empty the house is right now, even with the other three cats.   I look up often, expecting to see him curled up in one of his many favorite spots  - or strolling around the corner to come visit us in the living room.  Short as the time seems, I would never give up a minute of the time we shared with this beautful boy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The difference between our cats and our dogs

Three Shelties playing on the couch - with the new big boy waiting his turn to join in.  This is a typical scene in the house - at any time a dog pile could start if anyone is in the mood to play.

Contrast this with most views of our cats - lazily curled up in a warm place anywhere in the house.  If any of the cats happen to be in close proximity to another, this is by coincidence rather than by design.  Playing with another cat...not a chance!