Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TOBY



Our dog Toby is greatly missed. He had been my companion for my entire adult life and became the friend, protector, and patient plaything of my 4 children. He had many doggie friends and outlived them all. I know he must be so happy to be reunited with his two best friends, Gabe and Tilli. 

Everyone who met Toby loved him and his dog sitter gave him the nickname, "Gentleman" because he had good manners and was always happy. 

He loved to swim though it took him a while to figure it out. For about a year he refused to enter the water. One day I just picked him up and threw him in and after that it was a real struggle to get him out! He used to swim and fetch sticks in Lake Chelan for hours until we forced him to take a break. He loved to range on wide open spaces and investigate all the smells and sounds of a new place and bring back any interesting things he found on the way (usually something stinky!)

In his older years, Toby preferred to hang around and only occasionally frolic with his dog buddy, Kai. Just a week before his passing, he played in the sun for a couple hours and showed more energy and life than the younger dog. 

His constant presence in our lives was a source of peace and joy to us for 14 years. I'm so thankful that Dr. Rickman was able to help me release Toby to greener pastures in the most peaceful and comfortable way possible. We will never forget our very best friend.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Boo

A Tribute to Boo (1998 - 2013)





September 19th, 2013

My 15-year-old beloved kitty, Boo, was put to rest today after weeks of trials and tribulations  A champion fighter to the very end, she died a peaceful death. 

My gratitude to Dr. Barry Rickman, VMD, owner of Peaceful Companion services in Seattle.  What a beautiful experience, Doctor.  You learned last minute of my own personal struggles of when to let her go.  You allowed me to let her pass with the dignity and grace every life deserves.  And it really warmed my heart at how you loved my choice where this took place (and what gorgeous weather we had!)

Boo adored playing, napping and strolling in my large garden, so it seemed appropriate having her pass to the other side in "Boo's Garden" (while snuggled in my arms.)  Boo's ashes will be sprinkled throughout the garden this Spring (especially her favorite sitting spot near the bird bath!)  She may be gone, but her spirit will live on in spades.  I can't wait for new flowers blooming next year—she often looked with wonder at the beauty surrounding her.

Who knew a 4-legged, furry creature could leave such HUGE paw prints all over my heart.  Amazingly Boo did just that—tons of "head butts" and kisses later.

She always reminded me of a little human in a cat suit (with a big personality!)….sweet, loving, affectionate, smart, funny, gentle and yet fiercely independent.  And yes, as you can see in the picture, plump and furry, too.  She sure loved her belly rubs.  And such a perfect and adorable face!  (hey, I'm partial.)  She was a devoted companion and "my sole family" while here in Seattle.  Or maybe I should say, she WAS my heart & soul!

To everyone who has ever owned an animal, and those of you who still do, may the wonder of a pet's love and devotion touch you all.  It certainly did me (my first pet ever….well, of the "meow and woof-woof" kind anyway.)

Much appreciation  also extended to Boo's various providers and top-notch hospital staff at ACCES (especially Dr. Amanda McNabb), who assisted during her time of critical need.  And to family and friends who graciously allowed me to share with them what was going on—you allowed me to "pre-grieve" without judgment. And to her pet sitters' over the years, mostly Nikole from Little Wet Noses, who adored Boo as though she were her own.  And last but not least, to my dear friend, Dianne, who is an animal activist and humanitarian in St. Louis; I'm not sure what I would have done without the quality time you spent with me the day before my precious girl was let go (such a gift!)  You are truly a compassionate and wise woman, and I am thankful you are in my life.

And a gigantic thank you to Boo's first mommy, Miranda, who moved out of Seattle years ago and allowed me the privilege of loving and caring for Boo (born as "Sadie"), when she was just age six.  What an unselfish act of love!  Sadie (Boo) was originally quite the 'travlin cat I learned—born in Houston,  moved to San Diego, then to New York City and her final ten years in Seattle.  

You see, I really thought she was a feral cat….the friendliest, most confident, plumpest and sweetest "feral" cat ever.  Turned out she was the neighbor's cat, whose busy work schedule meant Sadie (Boo) was outdoors many, many hours a day.  MISS INDEPENDENT.

Boo chose to officially enter MY life on 4th of July, 2004, when we truly adopted each other—SURPRISE.  She was waiting at my door after the fireworks ended, and long after Miranda's moving truck pulled away earlier that day.  Yep, she escaped the move and knocked on my door around 11:00 p.m.!  

Of course I was already in love with this little animal I decided to call "Boo," as we were always bumping into each other for one year on the property—a fluffy, furry bundle plopped in the middle of the parking lot enjoying the sunshine whenever she got the chance!   I couldn't believe how adorable this kitty looked.  I started rubbing her belly and under her chin, and to my delight—she loved it.  The little rascal got used to the cans of tuna I  left out for her, too.  We often eyed each other with caution—and one day, it turned to pure and unadulterated love.  

Boo wishes everyone a heartfelt good-bye, where she now resides in Kitty Karma Heaven.  She has found a new garden to enjoy, furry friends to play with and is listening to the birds singing away.  I know she is well taken care of, jumping up and down and walking again, and very happy in her new home.  And yes, she finally gets to meet her grandma! (please take good care of her, Mom.)

Good-bye my sweet, sweet precious kitty.  You were loved incredibly much and gave me more joy than you'll ever know.  You are God's angel-girl now, and I was so lucky and honored to have you in my life.  Some of life's greatest lessons can be learned from our furry friends (as letting go), and you taught me so much.  

Jump high and often, little one, and walk to your heart's content!  Nothing's holding you back anymore, Button Nose.

Meow and loving hugs to all.

-Chris (and Boo)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

BJ



BJ Harbison was my best friend from day one. When we picked him out at the animal shelter he was the only dog who would come and lick your hand, run into the rain, and come back to kiss you again. I was in 5th grade when he came into my life. He moved from Colorado, to Tennessee, and back to Colorado with me in 10 years. Then, after I met the second love of my life, we decided to make him part of our family. At 12 years old he came to live with Katie and I, solidifying our relationship into a family. After three and a half years of family adventures in Colorado, it was time for us to move to Seattle. BJ was 16 years old by that point- it was a miracle he made the move and two day drive. After a wonderful summer at our new home, we came home one day to find him unable to use his legs. He had been struggling with a neurological disease for a few years, and it had finally come to a close. We are so thankful for the compassion and support Peaceful Companions was able to provide us during our goodbye. We will always love BJ with all our hearts, and know he is chasing squirrels in doggie heaven.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spree





It is with heavy hearts that we had to euthanize our sweet Spree recently. She was only 9 1/2, but suddenly went from being lame to total inability to walk, get up, go potty, & was losing interest in food (NOT like her at all!!). Last fall we had a growth removed from her upper back that came back malignant histiocytoma but they thought they got it all. She suddenly developed multiple lesions in the weeks before her death. It was a very difficult decision, but we think she was in some pain, and her quality of life was not good the past couple weeks. Barry came out to the house and it was very peaceful. He also told us the lesions were definitely cancerous, so that made us feel we had made the right decision, which was very helpful. 
She was the sweetest dog we've ever known. Always sharing love with everyone she met. Spree filled our lives with great memories and so much love! We lost Marley our wonderful Berner at this same time last year, so its been a tough year, but they say things happen for a reason, and this past fall we adopted 2 more sweet Berner's after a friend and neighbor passed away suddenly. They are helping us through our grief. I can't imagine not having a dog in our lives! They are such a big part of the ritual of our days, and give such wonderful unconditional love and affection.

Spree was one of a kind!

Fondly,

John and Phyllis

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tucker




To My Dear Sweet Tucker Speron,

When I think back on your 16 years with us, memories rush back of all 
that you shared with us. You watched our kids go to college, return 
and then go off on their own. You became fast friends with our 
retriever Shelly before Shelly left this world. Just as quickly, you 
adapted to our dog Ginny who was quite the 12-lb spitfire to your 26-lb 
frame. Yet, you were ever gentle, once more proving just how adaptable 
you were to our ever-changing lives.

In recent times, you moved with us to our new home, a bit older, yet 
once again proving how you were willing to adjust to us and our life 
changes. You quickly claimed the main floor as your domain, laying 
next to the fireplace on colder days and the entryway to the back deck 
on warmer afternoons. Cool breezes, the sunshine, and the sounds of 
the bird's songs were among your favorite moments. How I missed your 
sweet meow this morning when I awoke and came downstairs!

Your relentless playful nature was ever present, whether playfully 
batting the dog with your paw as she dashed by you or jumping up on my 
bed in the morning when you were tired of waiting for your food. Your 
mischievous expressions, your meticulous cleaning skills and your 
sandpaper tongue, are all set to memory as my favorite things. I’ll 
fondly recall each day about 7pm, just after supper, when you curled up 
on my lap on the sofa, constantly kneading and purring so loud I'd have 
to raise the volume on the television just to hear it over your sweet 
sounds. You, my sweet Tucker were not only a pure joy in my life, but 
a constant companion; a safe place to fall.

Your favorite spot in our home was by the fire so close and warmed by 
the blowing air from the fan, curled up toasty warm and purring! That 
is how I’ll remember you my sweet girl, curled up, content and purring, 
happy to be home.

Much Love Aways Tuckie, From Your Family

Thank you for everything.

Donna Speron

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Takoda




My loving companion for 14 years, Takoda came to me in a crate from Chicago Illinois (by way of Iowa City, Iowa, where he was bred) when he was just 10 weeks old.  If I had a nickel for every time someone said "What kind of dog is that?" or "What a gorgeous dog that is!", I could retire by now. He once caught the eye of a famous Pacific Northwest photographer Art Wolfe and Takoda now resides in his book, Dogs Make Us Human.  It felt at times as though I loved this dog more than life itself….at least I couldn't imagine life without him.  My sun rose and set over Takodabear (as my boyfriend will attest to, but graciously knew you were in with us both, or not at all)….that's the way we rolled, and my only regret is that he's not still with me.  He's free now of the wear of 14 years, God rest his animal soul.  He was a special, special dog.  Forever in my heart Takoda, I love you so.  
Jackie

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tucker

Tucker 1999-2013

    When we first saw Tucker, he was tied up to the front porch of the VFW Hall in Fall City with a rope around his neck. He was about six months old and already very handsome. We were in town to celebrate Fathersʼ Day with our annual fun run outing and the VFW Hall was hosting a pre-run pancake breakfast. With our bellies full, we exited the front door and there he was. They were giving him away. Of course the kids wanted him. The four of us took a vote, and I abstained, which was as good as a yes, because he was a cool dog. I wanted him, too. We couldnʼt take him on the run, so we decided weʼd do the course and if he was still at the hall after the run, weʼd take him on a test walk.

 On the walk he was well behaved and smart. The people on the porch told us he was house trained, they just couldnʼt keep him, but he was a good family dog. You can tell by the photo I took of him with Clare on that first day how she felt about him.She about changed her mind when people in Fall City were stopping her to compliment her on her pit bull, because she was scared heʼd turn ferocious. Truth is, he was always as gentle as could be. You could have a tiny piece of chicken (which he went wild for) lodged between your fingers, and he would edge it out of there with his teeth and tongue in a way that youʼd never even get scared of him biting you. Where on the other hand, if heʼd wanted to, his jaws were strong enough to break the bones in my forearm. 

 We did have to socialize him a bit, so he didnʼt pounce on Lukas when he was outside reading in the sun, or take Rhiannonʼs legs out from under her when they were kicking the soccer ball in the back yard. 



Zack in high school was big enough by then that Tucker would mostly listen to him. He didnʼt care about fetching that much, but he loved chasing the Frisbee. Zack and I got in a game one day where we overdid it with him and had to rub ice on his tongue to bring him back, he was panting so hard. 



Tucker sent Lukas off to school every year from his first day in kindergarten to when he left for college.

He loved to go on long runs with us, and if Clare and I couldnʼt run together, he would be happy to go out twice, an enthusiasm that ended with him having four knee surgeries. After he got the cone off, we were on to walks around the neighborhood. 

He was a smart dog, and he was his own person. He agreed to do tricks, more because he was a good friend than because he liked to. But he learned a lot of them.

I noticed on our walks that he would be turning around and looking at certain cars when they passed. It took me a while to catch on that they were always Priuses, which is the car I drive. I developed a theory that if he could recognize the shape of a car so quickly, that he could also learn how to recognize the shape of a word on a flash card. I just made three: Sit, Lay Down, and Rollover. I gave him treats for that and he learned how to read. 



I got so close to him that I started thinking of him as some kind of dog version of myself. I would look at him sometimes and just know he was a human in a dog suit. He was so much my alter ego that I entered a self portrait into a contest one year that was a painting of him wearing a Pendleton fedora that my dad had passed on to me.



Many pieces of art were either made for him, such as old socks made into stuffed toys that the kids put in his Christmas stocking, or of him: drawings, paintings and sculptures. Lukas read in the book on mourning pets that Dr. Rickman gave us that it was a good idea to make artwork of your lost loved one.




I wrote this in my journal the night he died: “When he wanted a biscuit, you knew it, because he let you know it with all his heart. It flowed through him and into you, and you paid him that biscuit because he was one with the wanting, and so you became one with it, too. He steered you to the cookie jar, the one where the biscuits were kept, and once he had you standing there, he stood staring at the jar until you stared at it, too. You were both there staring at the jar, waiting for something to happen when you realized it was you who was going to make it happen, you with the height advantage and the opposable thumb. You watched your hand reach out and you began to wonder, ʻAm I making this happen, or is he?ʼ Your hand reaches out, arrives at the jar, removes the lid, reveals the biscuits. You both
know what is going to happen next. His tail is wagging furiously. You put your hand in the jar, retrieve a biscuit, and bring it down toward his face. He lifts his left paw off the floor and clicks the nails down on the hard tile simultaneously with the clamping of his jaws on the treat. He runs to his rug by the door, paws sliding as they try to motor across the slick tiles, gaining just enough traction to pull into a skid at his rug, where he breaks the biscuit into pieces, each of which he relishes as he crunches and chews them up.”




It was the same with walks. I would think I was putting my shoes on for another reason, only to learn from him that it was because we were going for a walk together. As he got older and more arthritic, we had to shorten our route. When we got to the place where we would usually start the longer walk around Haller Lake, he stopped me and stared in the direction of the long path, expectant. I had to break it to him that he wasnʼt up to it anymore, what with the creaky knees and arthritic, limp-inducing elbow.


 Tucker put us through some scares over the years. One time I was on campus getting ready to teach a class and Meesha, the girl next door who we could always count on to help us take care of Tucker, called and said he was running around the neighborhood, bleeding. My first thought was that canʼt be true, I left him inside with all the doors and windows shut and locked. Then I realized thatʼs why heʼd be bleeding.


 The day before, he woke us up, talking to us about something we couldnʼt figure out. We thought there was an intruder in the house or that it was on fire. When we couldnʼt see any cause for his alarm, we knew that he must be seeing a ghost we couldnʼt see. We never let him into bed with us, but we thought just this once to calm him down. We had an eighty pound dog spinning circles on top of us. The vet took a blood count, and we discovered that his low thyroid level was making him psychotic. We got that regulated for the most
part with meds, but if he cheeked them or puked them up outside without us knowing about it, he could go into another episode. One day I came home to an otherwise empty house and heard water blasting into the bathtub. He was lying on the floor of the bathroom shaking after heʼd gotten into the tub and turned it on. He had to go on Xanax to calm him down sometimes when he got really bad and couldnʼt stop panting. 





We almost lost him last summer. Usually a gathering with lots of people would get him pretty excited, so we knew something was really wrong with him when all he could do was lay on his side in the cool grass. Our guests for Lukasʼs graduation party thought he was dying. I think it must have been a seizure of some kind, from which he bounced back. He got stronger again, gained a bit more of a lightness to his step, and took a bit longer walks. He
was getting greyer, but was seeming younger. We began to think perhaps maybe he would live forever. He was here when Lukas came home from college for an early spring break. Tucker was 99.



He had another seizure and he wasnʼt bouncing back. He had always been so clean in the house, and now he wasnʼt controlling himself. He couldnʼt stand up and he could hardly walk. I lifted him up to take him outside so he could toilet before bedtime. He did so, but then he took the long walk to the back of the yard, and lay down in the bushes at the base of our white birch. He was ready to die. I couldnʼt leave him there and picked him up to carry him inside. In the next couple of days, we decided to call Dr. Rickman to put him down. I was feeling guilty that the last walk I had taken him on, I had rushed him too much. I wanted our last walk to be perfect together. I got a wagon to wheel him around the loop one last time. He wouldnʼt go in it, and Lukas said he thought Tucker would take a real walk with me.

This was his last gift to me: Tucker rallied and we went for a leisurely walk around the block. I let him go off leash like he liked to and waited for him, letting him do whatever he wanted, and we had our perfect little walk. He was light enough on his feet, then he had nothing left when we got back. We had to carry him in a blanket to the living room where we let him go.
! He was patient, and let us dress him up, especially for the holidays. Every year we sent out Christmas cards that involved Tucker wearing some sort of hat, antlers, or ears, and a bright scarf. He endured the pose in a stay, knowing that a treat was coming after the photo shoot.

Zack brought Molly into our lives, and they together brought us Everleigh. Before she could talk, we would say “Tucker” to her and she would pant back “huh-uh-huh-uh-huh-uh” letting us know she was already well attached to this beast many times her size. They told her he was going to be with the angels the night Dr. Rickman came to visit us to put Tucker down. She had to ask twice, because she didnʼt like the answer to her question, “But heʼs coming back, right?”

We have lost a friend, a brother, a part of us. There is a huge hole in our lives where he used to be. It is so sad now to come home and not have him there wagging his tail to greet us, so
hard for me even to go upstairs to my bedroom without helping him up the stairs so he can sleep by me. He was precious to us. We are grateful for having him as long as we did. Tucker, we will see you later. We love you. 


 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ds5E_uYw-k