Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Brand New Day

Abbie and Cleo - a bond formed years ago
From the onset I realized that while I am extremely pleased with our dear Abbie's physical improvements after surgery to remove her cancerous front leg I also realize that even though we've climbed that mountain together our real journey starts now.

Well the first days are the hardest days
Don't you worry any more
Cause when life looks like Easy Street
There is danger at your door
Think this through with me
Let me know your mind
Wo, oh, what I want to now is are you kind?
Uncle John's Band

It's difficult to judge what Abbie's thinking after waking up to find her leg gone.  It is obvious her new life is a complete shock.  What Abbie needs most now is a little "are you kind".  This isn't going to be easy for me or Abbie but together with the bond we've formed over the past eleven years will help make this transition go forward.  It will take lots of time but hopefully we now have the advantage of having that time.

Everything Abbie does from this day forward will be different.  She'll need a new place to eat and get her water, she'll need a new routine for going outside to take care of her business, she'll need to learn that life will still have everything she enjoys doing but will simply be different.  What won't be different is the amount of love and support she gets from both me and some of the other hounds.

Last night I saw the hounds like Cleo, Agnes, Beagle and Poe all step up and form a circle of love around their long time fellow pack member.  Cleo and Agnes stayed by Abbie's side throughout the night.  I've never doubted the therapeutic effect that packs have when one has been injured or falls seriously ill.  Of course as alpha leader in our pack I reaffirmed the role the "elders" play in helping bring things back to normal for Abbie.  I count on the help from some of the older hounds in helping keep the newer members of the household in their place.

Over the next five days Abbie will be heavily sedated in order to help allow her wound to start the healing process.  The wound itself looks clear.  She is quite painful so her schedule will be broken down into little steps we will take.  She did go out this morning but turned around and wanted back in.  I offered her breakfast but at first she wasn't interested.  So I sat there and hand fed her a few bites and left her alone.  When I came back she was eating some of her breakfast.  Then she went back to sleep.  We'll try again with taking her out and encouraging her to eat every few hours.

Later today I'm going to move a large cage in the bedroom and use it only to put her food in.  Hopefully I can teach her that when she's hungry there will be food in the cage where the rest of the hounds haven't had access to.  It was kind of funny when the staff told me they tried to feed Abbie but she turned her nose up to everything but a few treats.  I was going to mention that Abbie has a thing about her food - she really wants to watch you prepare it or she takes this attitude you must be trying to poison her and won't touch it.  Besides, only dad knows what she likes.

As we move forward on introducing Abbie to her new life we'll just take things real slow and take things one day at a time.  Days we are now blessed with thanks to a whole bunch of Abbie's dear friends and we thank you all.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memories of Zoe

Today marks two years since the passing of Zoe Monster. 

"God saw you getting tired and a cure was not to be. So he put his arms around you; whispered come with me. With tearful eyes, I watched and saw you drift away.  Although I loved you more than you'll ever know I could not make you stay.  A golden heart stopped beating as I stroked your soft coat.  God broke my heart to prove he only takes the best".  While your loss has proved to be more than I thought I could endure your heart still is close as memories inside my heart."

Today marks two years since the passing of my dear sweet Zoe Monster.  Zoe's passing came only weeks after losing Maggie.  I had just come to lean on Zoe to help me deal with losing Maggie when her time came as well.  Maggie and Zoe set the stage for the hundreds of hounds to follow.  They were inseparable in life and live on together in their passing.

I found Zoe in August 2001 while visiting South Florida.  Zoe was listed as "free to a good home" in the classified ad that caught my eye during breakfast at George's Diner in Deerfield Beach.  I'll never forget introducing Maggie to this sweet super petite little puppy.  Maggie was initially not impressed and answered the introduction with an uncharacteristic little growl.  That lasted all of about fifteen seconds before they became the best of friends. 

Zoe idolized her big sister Maggie with a bond that never wavered.  This is one of my favorite pictures of little Zoe buried beneath the blankets sleeping with her big sister Maggie.

As a puppy Zoe was so full of life. Always happy and energized Zoe added a unique personality far different than Maggie's laid back approach at life. She loved our travels quickly adjusting to a life on the road never missing an opportunity to ham it up when she could. This in contrast to her short past as a product of an Oklahoma puppy mill where she found herself in a south Florida pet shop for sale.

Zoe would mature into a strikingly regal yet petite red and white basset who was truly beautiful.  Zoe never met a camera that she couldn't pose for either resulting in some of our best shots.

While there isn't a day that goes by where her presence isn't felt it is the memories she left behind that I will always cherish.  The days spent on the road with Maggie and Zoe were some of the happiest memories of my life.  Till we meet again my dear sweet Zoe remember you were always loved.   

Sweet dreams Zoe Monster - sweet dreams.