Friday, November 30, 2012

Friends Helping Charlie Pants

My dearest friend has done such a beautiful and thoughtful thing for me and Mr. Pants. She made a beautiful Christmas CD titled Merriest Christmas of piano music and arrangements and is donating all of the profits to help fund the cost of saving Charlie from cancer.  I am so deeply touched and feel so loved and lucky to have a friend like Jo.

If you would like to check out her post and buy the CD or make a donation to Charlie go HERE or read on...

Adult Version of a Pitiful Lemonade Stand by Jo Crabb

We met when I was a sophomore in college. It was love at first site. She was a vivacious, bombshell blonde with an intensely loud voice and an infectious laugh. We were in choir together but I was certain she'd never seen me. I figured she'd be vain or vapid and decided against approaching her. She'd be like everyone else, I thought, and judge me or feel sorry for me. At 4 months pregnant and only 18 years old, I knew better than to try to make friends. But one night at a small party my roommates were throwing, and despite my turned back and disenchanted expression, her none-to-keen boyfriend insisted that we meet. We awkwardly shook hands while I fumbled for words. I felt it my duty to release her from the terrible predicament of striking up a conversation with a stranger in my obviously delicate and odd state.

"Patrick has told me so much about you..." I muttered quickly, while avoiding eye contact.  
"Oh really? Well he's told me so much about YOU! I've heard your a fantastic musician. I think we have choir together, right?" She asked while looking me directly in the eye. "And I heard you snowboard. You should come to this snow event tomorrow up in Park City with me," completely ignoring the fact that I was a waddling faux pas. 

And just like that. We were best friends.

It's been ten years. She's loved me through pregnancy, adoption, marriage, thousands of miles of separation, a marathon, grad school, another pregnancy, twins, and all the other aspects of my life over this past decade. 

And I've loved her through marriage, a marathon, grad school, moving to D.C, trips to Europe, a house, another house, pregnancy, and...


Shortly after Leah turned 24 she began to have seizures. The seizures were debilitating and intense. She went to numerous medical specialists and they could not pin point the problem. But through a long, painful, and tedious process, Leah found a way to cope  -
and that's where Charlie comes in.

Charlie is Leah's seizure alert dog. Whenever Leah is going to have a seizure, Charlie gives her a 5 - 10 min warning of its onset by "freaking out". He will jump, bark, and even lick her face. This allows Leah enough time to get to a safe place and lie down or call for help. Charlie is an amazing dog. And how fitting for such an amazing girl?! 
Sadly, Charlie was recently diagnosed with cancer. He has gone through a major surgery to remove three cancerous tumors and will need to receive chemo and radiation therapy. These treatments are extremely expensive and while Leah has paid for the cost of the surgery, she cannot cover the cost of the treatments he needs to receive and the cost of having her baby (she is 7 months pregnant!) It's crucial Charlie is with Leah, especially at this important time, to ensure the safety of both Leah and her baby. 


I'm asking for your help. A few years ago I recorded a mediocre piano cd of Christmas music for close family and friends. I've put it up on CD Baby (here) where all the songs can be purchased and downloaded. All proceeds from the sale of these songs will be given to Leah to help cover the cost of Charlie's cancer treatments. I'm asking you to consider purchasing holiday music to support my best friend. If you'd rather avoid listening to my piano creations, I'm asking that you make a donation to my little Charlie Fund by clicking the "Donate" button right here on my blog (top right). 

Thank you for giving to a cause that has deep and personal meaning to me. Please pass this on to anyone you know who might also consider giving. 

I love you all.

Have a wonderful holiday season and the Merriest Christmas!


p.s. To read more about Charlie, see the blog Super Dog Charlie Pants here,

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Charlie's Cancer Surgery

Charlie had his surgery yesterday.  They removed 3 larger tumors (his neck, front leg, and back leg), 3 smaller tumor-like looking bumps we asked to have removed, and his right lymph node on his neck. He had to stay the night at the Cancer Center.  It was heartbreaking, but not as heartbreaking as seeing him today. I was not prepared for how big his incisions would be.  The Dr. explained that the incisions are so big so they can get clean margins around the tumor to make sure they get all the cancer.  We wont know if they got all the cancer until next week.  Fingers crossed!!!

He is not very happy and I hope he will forgive me one day.  Sorry Charlie Pants.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Charlie Pants Has Cancer

I am so sad to report, but my precious seizure-alert service dog Charlie Pants has 3 different mast cell tumors.  We found out this past Monday while making an emergency trip to the vet for Charlie to get some stitches on his ear (he cut his ear on a rose bush and hit a vein while we were out walking).  While the vet was stitching him up we asked her to examine some weird looking lumps, one on his neck, one on his front leg, and one on his back leg.  The bumps on his legs looked like tiny blisters so we didn't think much of them and the one on his neck we were once told was a fatty tissue build-up, so we weren't that worried they were tumors.  The vet aspirated the lumps and informed us later that day (Monday) that indeed all three lumps are cancerous.  I burst into tears (being 6 1/2 months pregnant doesn't help with my ability to control my emotions) nor does the fact that Charlie is truly the love of my life.  He gives me a 5 to 10 minute warning before I have a seizure and if he dies at 7 years old I am gonna lose my best friend, my dearest companion, and my miracle dog.

We have been referred to Colorado State University's Veterinary School in Fort Collins, Colorado and we met with a team of Doctors yesterday to discuss our options. It is a fantastic place filled with loving and caring students and doctors.  So far this is what we know:  fortunately the cancer is currently localized in the 3 lumps so surgery is a good option, unfortunately some of the lumps are so big that they can't get all the cancer cells so Charlie will still need radiation and possibly chemotherapy.  The surgeons would like to operate tomorrow (Friday 11/9).  What a week!

Charlie at the Cancer Center

I am very overwhelmed with this.  We have a new baby coming in less than 3 months and the next 3 months are going to be spent taking Charlie to surgery, radiation everyday for 15 - 20 days, and possibly chemo.  Not to mention the high cost (we are looking at around $7,000-$10,000).

Does anyone have any success stories with Mast Cell Tumors and their dogs?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Weekend Wag: Fall Is in the Air

Hey readers, sorry I have been MIA for the last forever, I blame pregnancy :) What are you up to this beautiful weekend?  Today it feels like Fall, finally.  It is only like 70 degrees F outside which is such a treat from our consistent 90 degree weather.  I took Charlie for a long walk today, as I am thinking about doing a half marathon in October, which will make me about 25 weeks along and feeling quite round. So needless to say I need as much training as I can get.  Today wasn't earth shattering long but a nice 3.5 mile walk.

While walking I noticed the first signs of fall in my neighborhood

and giggled with excitement and ran home and decorated my house. I now have my homemade wheat wreath on the door (see how I made it here), pumpkins on the porch and table, and a creepy looking witch outside. A little premature some may say, yet I say nay.

So is it fall where you live?  Tell me your favorite thing to do with or without your pup in the fall. Maybe Charlie and I will have to go try it out.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

And We Are Back

Sorry for freezing the blog for a couple weeks, but now I am back. I have been painting up a storm making custom pet portraits for people. Let me know if you are interested. Get a custom oil portrait of your pet.  It is the perfect gift to remember your loving best friend forever. Contact me about pricing and to place an order


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Charlie Pants Loves the Sun

Charlie and I went to Arizona a couple of weeks ago for my Grandma's 90th Birthday. We stayed at the Wigwam Resort (a great dog friendly resort that I will post about tomorrow).  Here CP is laying with me at the pool getting a little warmth from the sun.

Did you know Charlie is a seizure-alert service dog for me? check it out here.

Happy 90th Grandma

Monday, April 2, 2012

Making Friends As an Adult

I wonder "How do adult women make friends if they are not in school and don't have babies?"

I am in a weird spot in my life.  I am 29 years old (creeping close to 30), married, no kiddos, own my own business so I don't meet work buddies, and I am looking for friends.  I don't really want to hang with all my young single friends cause they want to go to bars and pick up on men or women which I am over that stage and think Paul would be a bit ticked if I brought home someone I met at a bar :)

All my married friends have found a new friend and it is called an adorable bundle of soft skinned baby and sadly I have been dropped by the wayside.  And I admit, I don't really want to talk to them on the phone about how cute their baby is or how their baby pooped or peed or cried and it isn't cause I don't care, cause I get it that that is their life now, it is because I can't relate.  I have lost many a friends to the baby world and I can not wait to join them, but sadly my time has not come yet.

Plus I am an entrepreneur (I own a music teaching studio) and have a weird business schedule and most of my time to go and play is between the hours of 9 am-2 pm on weekdays or most weekends as Paul is busy working the real estate world.  So I ask dears friends who do you know that

1. Lives in Colorado in the North Denver/Boulder area
2. Is in a relationship so she doesn't want to go pick up on dates
3. Doesn't currently have any children although isn't opposed to having them in the future
3. Loves to be outdoors
4. Maybe owns a dog and wants to go hiking, biking, etc with Charlie, Jack and I
5. Can hang out during the day
6. Maybe prefers long walks on the beach, tickling etc although those are not requirements :)

I have seen a girl in my neighborhood that seems great and although we laugh and joke when we run into each other, I can't seem to get her to commit to do anything.  I feel like I am dating all over again.  Should I buy her flowers, maybe chocolate?

So dear readers I want to know if you can help me find some friends or at least let me know your thoughts on the matter.  Have a great Monday.

xoxo Leah and Charlie

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Blog Funk

I have been a really bad blogger lately and I am choosing to blame it on the weather :) It has been really sunny here and the last thing I want to do is sit inside starring at my computer screen and uploading photos.  Plus the mother-in-law was in town and we were busy shopping, movie watching and walking the pups.

For that I apologize, but I will not apologize for my beginning signs of a sun tan.

What have you been up to?  Is it sunny where you are? 

Charlie Pants has been loving his walks.  He still looks fat from his winter hibernation and we are working on that.  I cut back on his food and he is ticked at that. At about 9:30 pm every night he climbs on my lap, puts his front paws on my shoulders, and barks in my face.  When I ask him what he wants he jumps off my lap, runs in several circles and sprints to the kitchen pantry which houses the dog treats.  What a chubby little sucker.

Anyways we are all good here at the Stone house. How about you?

PS. Did you see that Boulder is listed as one of the top Healthy cities thanks to Sunset Magazine. Love that mag.

Here is CP being lazy on one of his walks/bike rides.  Did you know that I won this Madsen Cargo bike because of a blog contest. Well I did and you should check it out here, here, and here.  I sat in the back of the bucket today with Charlie while Paul peddled us to the library and the grocery store. It was a blast.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Charlie Goes to The Hunger Games

My awesome cousin and her husband scored us some tickets to the premiere of The Hunger Games yesterday evening! It was a real treat, Charlie even had his own reserved seat and was the talk of the crowd.

I really loved the books and found the movie to have been done fabulously. Great cinematography, although the beginning camera angles made me a bit motion sick, and superb acting. I now have a girl crush on Katniss.

At the premiere we got a giant chocolate covered pretzel, $10 worth of free concessions, and a hunger games pin. It was a really fun night. I think the producer of the movie did a great job of making what could have been a really violent movie not as bad as could have been. I don't think young kids should go but if your tween or teenager has already read the books they will know what they are getting themselves in for. I believe it could be a perfect platform for opening dialogue about teen violence and bullying and why it should never happen.

Go see the movie, have a great weekend, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I Got a FREE Kindle Fire


I realize I am a little late to jump on the Kindle, Nook, IPad reader bandwagon, but hey when you get the opportunity to get something for free you just have to take it.

If you live in CO, AZ, or CA you too can get a Free Kindle Fire.  You have to open up a checking account at 1st Bank and pay three bills with bill pay, then you get a code in your email and order it online.  The whole process took about a month from setting up the account to getting it in the mail. But it did come, it is cool and yes it was free. 

From the website:
Offer valid only for customers residing in Colorado, Arizona, or Riverside County, CA. Offer valid for new personal checking accounts opened. Limit one gift award per household, per 24 month period. Limit one gift per account. The gift is redeemable online and a redemption code will be given if the account opened is in good standing, the customer enrolls for online banking, and (1) a direct deposit greater than $300 posts to the account, or (2) three bill payments are made from the account to corporate entities. Requirements (1) and (2) above must be met within 60 days of account opening and the code will be given within 90 days of account opening. Direct deposit must be payroll, pension, Social Security or other government benefits. Direct deposit or Bill Pay enrollment must be new to FirstBank. We reserve the right to substitute gifts offered at any time with an item of similar value. Limited time offer. The cost of the gift is considered interest and is subject to IRS and other tax reporting. The cost of the gift is considered a bonus that can be revoked if the account is closed within six months of opening. FirstBank employees are not eligible to receive the gift. iPod Touch© is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple, Garmin, and Amazon are not participants in or sponsors of this promotion.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Spotted: The Bear & The Rat, Cool Treat for Dogs

The Bear & The Rat, Cool Treats for Dogs is a cool business owned by a husband & wife duo in the Rocky Mountains. They make frozen treats for dogs!

Here's the story: When Matt was a kid, his parents took the kids and the family dog to the scoop shop every week. Babette, their beloved Poodle, would get a scoop of vanilla but it often made her sick! But the experience was really fun; he tried to find a frozen treat that would benefit the family dog…and was stumped. So Matt started experimenting until cool treats for dogs were born! The Bear & The Rat’s wholesome, cool treats for dogs are designed to benefit a dog’s digestion. So your pup can partake in one of life’s greatest pleasures and celebrate with their family!

But who are the bear & the rat? The Bear is a Lhasa Apso who growls like a bear. His brother from another mother is a Rat Terrier. Their frozen yogurt treats are probiotic, simple, made in Colorado and all natural (with organic ingredients). They're FUN for your Best Friend with Fur!

Check out their website
Check them out on Facebook

Twitter (@CoolTreats4Dogs)!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Charlie's Clues: World's Guiltiest Dog

photo of Denver the Guilty Dog via his facebook page.

This is so stinking funny. You have to watch it, you will be glad you did.

Although Charlie doesn't smile at me when he is in trouble, his body language is most definitely a dead giveaway for when he has done something naughty.

What signs does your pooch do when he/she has done something that he/she wasn't supposed to do?  Poor Denver.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Weekend Wag: Pet Lion

I am so excited for this weekend. First of all it is super sunny outside and second I have my first rugby game of the Spring Season.  I still don't know what I am doing out there, but I have learned a couple things from the Fall Season.

This is random video, but have seen this video of some guys who had a pet lion, set it free in the wild, and reunited years later? Watch it. Tender.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Life&Story: Stop Using the Word Retarded

Pin It I have a friend who has been complaining about people using this word and how offensive it is to her, I too find it offensive, and I saw this blog post shared on Facebook and wanted to share it here. It is written by Phoebe on her blog Herding Cats.

I think this is brilliant and should hopefully put the end to people mis-using the word retarded.

Please be considerate people and share the word.

Being Retarded  

by: Phoebe of Herding Cats blog

All around me, people use the word retarded without a second thought.  Sometimes, I’ll say “Um, dude, really?” and they’ll say “Oops, my bad!  But really!  I was being so retarded!”

Sometimes, I let it slide.  I realize that it’s a word that’s ingrained in our society’s vocabulary and people use it without a second thought to its meaning.

But what does it mean to be retarded?  Well, I know what it doesn’t mean.

It doesn’t mean not being able to choose something for lunch despite 100 choices in front of you.

It doesn’t mean not being able to find your car keys.

It doesn’t mean saying the wrong thing to a person.

It doesn’t mean forgetting your best friend’s birthday.

It’s not something to describe yourself as when you’ve spilled your coffee, or tripped on a crack in the sidewalk.

It’s not something to describe your computer, car or phone.

According to  Merriam-Webster Dictionary  the word “retarded” means -
: slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress

For me, it’s not just any old word – it’s my daughter.  My beautiful, bright, happy, loving, amazing daughter who is slow or limited in intellectual development and academic progress.

In our household, being retarded means something different.

It means not being able to fully care for yourself.

It means not understanding what the doctor is going to do to you.

It means not being able to explain what hurts when something hurts.

It means not being able to ride a two wheeler.  Or read.  Or ever be able to live on your own.

But ever the optimist, I also know that retarded means…
…never realizing the negativity behind the word retarded.
…never knowing the insensitivity surrounded the word’s usage.
…never realizing the ignorance of people.
…never knowing how other people view you.

Being retarded also means…
…loving unconditionally.
…finding joy in the smallest of things.
…being self-confident.
…not realizing that there are limitations.

This is Maura.  Her diagnosis?  Cognitively disabled.  Which means retarded.  When you call yourself retarded, you’re also calling my child stupid.  Because you use the word as just that – another form of stupid.

Let’s get something straight here.

My daughter may have cognitive issues.  She may have delays.  She may never live on her own.  Scratch that.  She will never live on her own.

But Maura is not stupid.

In her own way, Maura is very smart.  Maybe smarter than us at times.  She has more self-confidence than anyone I know who’s called themselves “retarded”.  She is the best judge of a person’s character than anyone else I’ve ever known.

Yes, she is slow to learn things.  But she is not stupid.

I know that most people don’t use the word “retarded” maliciously.  Most people I know use it in a self-depreciating way.  And when I point it out, they go “Oh wow!  I’m sorry!” and they truly feel like a heel. But the thing is, you’re still using it in the way that people who do use it maliciously use it as – to describe stupidity.

So why not just use the word “stupid” instead?  Because I know what “retarded” is.  I live with it in the form of my daughter.  And in our world “retarded” doesn’t equate to “stupid”.

5 January 2012 – feel free to read this companion post, which helps explain more of the “behind the scenes” view of this post – thanks!

14 January 2012 – I’ve added a page all about Maura, for those who want to know more about her.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Charlie's Clues: Pet Shower

How do you bathe your pooch?  In the bathtub? At the dog wash?  In the yard with the hose?

I bring Charlie into the shower with me and he hates every second of it.

Better Homes & Gardens did a post about building a Pet Shower in a mud room or garage for only $405.  I think it looks perfect for Jack (my 100 lb doberman) and I want Paul to build this for me. I think it would also work perfectly for muddy kids and muddy shoes.

Check out how to turn an unused corner into the perfect pet shower.

Pin It

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Charlie Pants as a Puppy

I found a couple of these pictures of Charlie as a fat puppy and just had to share them. Who knew this fat little guy would turn into my seizure-alert service dog. Man he is cute.

Share with us a picture of your cute dog.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Weekend Wag: Heading to Phoenix

Paul, Charlie and I are heading to Phoenix today to celebrate my Grandma's 90th Birthday.  I am really excited to see my extended family.  I plan on laying by a pool and reading a book and maybe getting a tan.

Charlie is feeling a little better so I am hoping he will have no accidents at the airport and on the plane today.

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Let me know if you have any favorites that I should do while in Phoenix.

I found this funny picture on Pinterest and wanted to share with all my dog lovers.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Life & Story: Dulce the Dog

Pin It
Have you ever had to deal with your pet/companion passing?

I have such a brilliant story to share with all my lovely readers. It is a story filled with so much love that your heart will expand just a bit and your eyes will well up with tears.  It is happy and sad and sweet and if you have ever dealt with the loss of a loyal companion, this story will ring in your heart and possibly help that spot in your heart to heal.

I asked my dear friend, Wendy Parr (an amazing vocal teacher in NYC and ps. she is the teacher of singer Regina Spektor), to share her story of losing her pup, Dulce, after 10 years of journeying together.  Please read their story, you will be glad you did.

I was born with a dog under my crib, watching guard over me. She would growl when my door opened until my mom said, "it's me" then she came out tail wagging. I learned to walk clinging to Sam's hair and hanging on as she led the way. One morning when I was about 5, I woke up to such noise, rubbing my eyes and wandering out of my room, saying "Teddyyy, moooove", until my morning sleepy eyes cleared and revealed the staircase was gone and there was nothing but Teddy, our sweet Old English Sheepdog barking and blocking my way, protecting me from falling to the floor below.  I have a long wonderful relationship with dogs. I spent my childhood and adolescence in their companionship, taking care of them as they took care of me.

When I was an adult and felt it was really time for me to have the friendship of a dog again, the first time since I lived at home, I went from Shelter to shelter wishing I had a farm so I could take them all home, but none was my companion. Having always had a sheepdog and knowing the Briard was the dog for me, I connected with half a dozen breeders. When I spoke with Kathy in Ohio I knew she was the one and she felt she had a great pup for me. It was a match, sight unseen. Dulce arrived at LAX cargo and when the crate door opened, Dulce ran straight to me and hugged me. Yep, stood up on her back legs, squeezing my thigh for that's as high as she reached at the time and hugged me, reaching up she kissed and kissed me. I was so happy and so surprised, she was already so big! Tall as my knees at 15 weeks. I barely slept the first week she arrived as I woke to check on her sleeping on her big doggie bed next to mine. On the second night she was laying on her back, all limbs splayed and I took a sigh, that's one happy dog, and I finally slept.

Dulce and I hung out together for ten amazing years. Ten years spending it all together. Dulce went everywhere with me. If you know me, you know Dulce. In fact, I met so many people because they all stopped to ask "what kind of dog is that?! " Dulce came to work everyday - hanging out in the music studio, making so many people happy. A few friends and clients overcame their fear of dogs because of Dulce. She traveled with me - California, New York, Argentina, Uruguay, Miami, Sarasota… we met thousands of people.  Dulce walked off leash for 10 years, first in LA, then Manhattan. Such an unusual dog, we were stopped all day long by strangers for photos, to say hello to D, to ask "what kind of dog is that". When three months old, my dad experienced this and said, "You're going to need a placard to answer all these questions". It was always fun meeting new people, she got lots of love and attention and brought so much joy to people. After 8 years it got to be so much, I started a blog and had business cards & T-shirts made.  I'd blog Dulce's adventures - since she went everywhere with me - I posted photos of her in local shops, going to gigs and so on. It was great to share music and cool stuff through her eyes. She's such a character and always happy to be photographed. Strangers took pix with her and I posted them in the photo gallery. One couple, Jim and Jessica stopped me in the street so excited because they had seen a dog just like Dulce uptown and fell in love with her. They showed me the photo and I said, "That's Dulce!  They were thrilled. Jim got Jessica a dulcethedog T-Shirt for her birthday which D personally delivered.  Dulce was asked to be in a music video and for a while the majority of the comments on YouTube were about her. She made friends everywhere.

We communicated without words… and with. She would surprise me with her brilliance, and let me say EVERYONE who ever met her said "That's not a dog, she's a person in a dog suit! because she really was the smartest dog I've ever known. Once I came home and she was happily chewing a bone on my wonderful Berber rug from Morocco. I said, "Oh Dulce I'm so glad you like your bone, but not on the good rug. You're supposed to eat that in the kitchen." She looked at me, picked up the bone and took it over to her bed where she continued to enjoy her big beef bone.

The last two years of her life, she was glued to my side. I'm sure she knew long before I did that she was sick. I knew she had kidney disease and we did everything to take care of her - changed her diet, acupuncture, chinese herbs and in the last few months doggie dialysis. In fact, when she passed, Babette told me that when she discovered the kidney problem, most dogs would have lived six months and Dulce lived for two years. We did good ;)    It was amazing to share ten years, ten years. So many experiences together! Two cities, four homes, three girlfriends, three teaching studios, countless walks, hundreds of pounds of meat, more yams than I can count, over a dozen flights, walks on six beaches, two continents and thousands of cuddles and kisses. She knew me best of all without words. If I cursed she got scared - couldn't stand to see me angry, if I said ouch, she came running to offer a kiss, every time I wrote a new song on the piano she grabbed a squeaky toy to play along… Dulce was magic.

One morning I looked at her and began to cry. "You're leaving soon", I just knew. Friends questioned it, because she was still vibrant as a puppy, but I knew. And for the next three months I felt her slowly getting weaker. She took one less walk a day and her walks got slower and shorter. I had to get a harness and help her up stairs. It was hard to experience and not be able to do more than I was to help her. It was also an incredible experience - we got closer than ever. She showed her love, her gratitude to me.  She asked for what she needed - putting her head on the bed with her brows slightly lifted, a little hummmph noise to get my attention. I'd get out of bed to lift her hind legs and help her on the bed where she'd remain 'til late the next day. Sometimes I could see her crying, her eyes so sad, sometimes filled with so much love and deep gratitude. She was softer. I'd been going to yoga 5/6 days a week for two years and in during these last three months she came with me a couple times. Usually, she would be happy to sit at a distance from me so long as she could see me, but at this point that wouldn't do. She got up and walked into the room, laying down beside me. She spent the whole hour and a half laying next to me. A couple times, kissing my arm while in down dog and she leading us all by laying on her back belly up in happiness into Shavasana.

I wondered, if I need to help her pass, how will I know? It was so clear. For the last three months she was weak, looked sick, then would be like a puppy, then weak again. Her last weekend she was dying. She basically stopped eating, couldn't even get her to eat her favorite treats. She wouldn't let me take her photo and I have thousands of photos, she poses. But that last weekend she kept looking away from me when I snapped a shot. We had upped her liquids and had an appointment with the vet for Monday to see how she was doing. Saturday night I felt her slipping away, I could smell the odor… she was dying. We were up all night - she was choking, we'd go outside and she ate grass for a half hour, drink water. Then we went back in for an hour or so, back out for grass… I cried a lot, felt so hopeless unable to do anything for her. I gave her my love. Saturday night was so hard on her, I didn't want her to go through another night like that. I made the appointment with Babette for Sunday evening to help Dulce go. We drove back early, Dulce laying in the back seat. I'd cuddle her, read and give her space, I took a nap with her. All the way letting her know, "just 5 hours til we're home and it's all over"…" just three more hours Dulce, it's okay" … such a bittersweet day. We got back to the city and walked home, Dulce was bouncy, so happy. I said, "It's our last walk through the Meat Packing District". I took all the luggage upstairs and offered D a last walk. We crossed the street and she laid down. I asked her if she wants a walk or to go home. She turned her head towards the house. She jumped up and we walked home. Upstairs she lay down, spent. Complete. I put everything away, nice music playing, set the house nicely and sat with her head in my lap. Our final conversation. The bell rang and Dulce jumped up greeting Babette with puppy enthusiasm, her tail wagging. She was happy and ready to go. I was weeping, uncontrollably weeping, telling Dulce how much I loved her, wishing her a safe and happy journey. How grateful I am for her… Babette asked, "Are you ready?"  As soon as I said yes, fireworks went off! Pride fireworks. I laughed, "Really?! You're going out to that? fanfare?" And I knew it was a celebration. It was all good. I asked aloud, "When will I know she's gone?"  and as I brushed her head I saw the light go out of her eyes and I knew, she was gone.

It was such a hard process, so hard to see her spirit gone. She was really just a caracas. It was also amazing to be a part of her full journey. Puppy to death. Years and years of sharing my life. Because everyone loves D and I had clients the next day - my big fear being having to tell everyone one by one, feeling it over and over again, I decided to make a post on facebook and Dulce's blog. I spent hours writing and crying so very deeply. In the pain, I realized some of what I was grieving was my own death. Dulce lives in me, in my molecules and she took some of me with her. She is forever alive in my heart, my body, my spirit. But grief, in addition to loss, it is our own death - both what is lost in the moment and the awareness of death we grieve. Writing her remembrance was incredibly helpful and healing. It got me sharing my love and gratitude for her. I spent Monday writing it and posting a memorial to her on her blog. And once I posted, the phone calls, texts, messages came pouring in and the tears came pouring out. It was beautiful to hear the love so many had for her.

At first it was awfully hard, especially seeing people who knew me, who knew her - it brought up all the sadness. And my first new student who came in I realized, wow you won't ever know Dulce. Everyone I meet from this day on will never know D. And that made it all the more real and surreal.  Other than that it is simply a new chapter. I don't miss her. So strange she is such a huge character, energy and when I traveled and she wasn't here I felt her absence, but with her death, my home felt light, clear, not missing anything. I saw her - laying at doorway, in white butterflies that flew around me for weeks after she left. I live on the fourth floor in Manhattan and butterflies were outside my window and out my kitchen window. My kitchen window! It's strickly city outside my kitchen window. My clients felt her greet them for the first couple weeks after she was gone. And I dreamed her. How lucky am I! We were walking again together. She came to tell me today was the day put her body to rest. I had her ashes and was flying to LA and planned to scatter them there. The night before I flew I dreamed her. We were walking and at each intersection she was laying dead and I realized, "Oh that's right, you're dead and I have to do something with your body. "Are you ready to be buried?" I asked her and she looked at me, smiled and nodded her head. I woke up feeling soooo lucky. And that day I got off the plane, drove straight to my old apt where she first lived with me and scattered her ashes under the three big trees where she used to play.

Dulce left to make room for a person in my life, ushering me into a new chapter of my life. Since she left my health has improved and my social life expanded exponentially. I believe she took things for me that have made me better. I have time I haven't had in ten years and new choices available to me. I can hang out at the club I belong to more. I have some freedoms that come with the loss. And I can see why people get a new dog immediately. There is a space, a relationship that is gone. I want the space right now. So I stop and give scratches and cuddles and kisses to dogs all day and get that canine creature love for a few minutes. And every once in a while someone who hasn't seen me in a long while asks about Dulce and I have to say, "I'm so sorry to tell you", knowing that they are going to be sad and shocked, "that she left us this summer". And I see the tears well up and the surprise upon their face as they say "No! I never thought it could happen, not Dulce."  Her best buddy Leon, the dog walker texted me just last week saying his heart is still broken missing D. My neighbor who's Old English, Toby, Dulce's dear buddy, who passed just two days after D just got a new friend, Gabby Tobias Wooleybottom and I am so happy for her. I can see how good it is for her that she has a new five month old furry friend.

As I write about D all the love I have comes up and tears and grief too. Sometimes I can lean over as if to snuggle her and all the love is there and her absence makes me sad. I have a wonderful children's book, The Magical Adventures of Dulce the Dog to write. It may be a few years until I do it, but I hope to commemorate her amazing personality forever through story and illustrations. Her blog is still up, don't know what I'll do with it, but I certainly can't take it down. And I have a shadowbox with her photo, leash, tags favorite toy and rubber ball waiting for me to put it together. I just haven't been able to get myself to do it just yet.

I hope Dulce will continue to visit my dreams and I imagine I'll see her again in another form. A connection like that isn't ever gone and since we all come back again and again, I feel sure I'll see her again and when I do, I'll know it's her and I'll call her my Dulce again.

~Wendy Parr

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Charlie Pants Health Update

As I posted earlier, Charlie has been really sick for the past two days.  I have been woken both days to diarrhea and vomit all over my carpet. Poor guy.

Well after running blood tests on his kidneys, liver, pancreas, and thyroid it turns out that Charlie has pancreatitis and a possible hypothyroid. He was given a large dose of antibiotics and some medicine to help stop his severe diarrhea and vomiting.  He was also quite dehydrated and we discussed admitting him to administer fluids, but they gave me some ideas to get him to drink some water and if that doesn't work he will be admitted to the vet tomorrow.

I thought I would pass the vet's lovely tips of how to get a sick pup to drink water when they are dehydrated onto my readers.

If your dog wont drink water try buying low sodium chicken broth and mixing about 2 Tablespoons of the broth with about 1/3 cup of water.  Sick dogs might not want to drink water but they love to drink broth water.

It worked brilliantly. Charlie drank the whole bowl and so far has kept it down for 2 hours.

They also suggested that some dogs love Gatorade. So you could try that as well.  I pray Charlie keeps his food down.

Tips for bland food for when pup is sick:

boiled chicken
egg cooked
pasta (no sauce)
pumpkin mash(good for fiber and to harden stool)
plain yogurt

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Charlie is Soooo Sick

I don't know what is wrong with him, he is vomiting and has severe diarrhea and is acting so lethargic. We have a vet appointment today and I will let you know what is going on.

I can't handle him being sick. It breaks my heart.  Fingers crossed it is nothing. 

What do you do when when your dog is sick with diarrhea and vomit?

Charlie Pants's health update HERE.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Charlie's Clues: Underwater Dog Photography of Seth Casteel

The Amazing Underwater Dog Photography of Seth Casteel

I am sure many of you have seen these fantastic images by Seth Casteel of images of dogs playing in the water.  I just think they are so fun and exciting and that Seth is a brilliant photographer.  I would love one of these of Charlie, although he is such a wuss around water that if I threw him in he would probably just look like a flailing fat seal from below. What do you think of these pictures?

I also really love his series called Pets & Their People . 


Check out more underwater dog photos HERE.
Check out his website Little Friends Photo 
 Like his Facebook page