Friday, July 13, 2018

Foley and Heart Memories

It was my good friend Odie’s Bridge Anniversary last week.  Bridge Anniversaries are sad occasions, marking the last time our parents got to look in our eyes, to touch us, to tell us that they love us.  We Angels work very hard to make sure the pup who has the anniversary does not get sad. We arranged for Odie to go on a boat ride down the river and every time the boat came around a  bend a scene of Odie and his parents from his mortal life was playing on a screen. I do believe we kept him happy despite the sad day.

The Angels do have it easier than our parents.  We can slip into their dreams and snuggle with them, to feel their body heat, to even touch their warm skin.  We can smell them and taste them. It is bliss to be back with them, but also frustrating because our parents believe they are dreaming and when they awaken they may remember a nonsensical snippet of the dream, but most of it is gone.

Our parents don’t remember how some nights we sit with them while they tell us all their problems and, to their surprise, we converse with them, giving them the best advice, which they usually follow to their advantage.  Angels never give bad advice.
As we meandered our way down the river, Odie wondered what happens to those memories our parents have of dream dates.  The memories are still there, but can’t be accessed.

“I think it is like a computer,” Odie said.  “When we are visiting with our parents, they are retaining all these memories but when they awaken the thoughts are erased.”

“But they must go somewhere,” I said.

Scooby was eating a big piece of cake.  He licked the frosting off his mouth. “When you erase something on a computer it doesn’t go away, it stays on the hard drive but can’t be accessed by the memory.”

“Where is the human hard drive?” I asked

Odie smiled.  “It’s the heart,” he said.  “All the memories that get overwritten in a human mind go to the heart, where the brain can’t remember them, but the heart can.

And that is what helps the humans get through the most difficult times. The memories that are kept in their heart. The unexplained feeling of strength or comfort that rises inside of them.  That is caused by the heart memories.”

I knew Odie was right.  It explained everything.  Our dream dates are not forgotten, they just go into the human heart, where they are most needed, because those memories help heal broken hearts, and they spark unexplained feelings of calm or happiness even in the hardest moments. 

So, dear parents, do not feel bad that you cannot remember the dream dates.  You do, but you remember them with the heart and not the mind, so, instead of it being a memory, it is a feeling, which can be even more comforting than things you remember with your brain.

And someday, when we are all together, your heart memories will join your brain memories and a huge feeling of peace will overcome as you cross the Bridge to your immortal life.

Until then, dear humans, heed my advice listen to your heart more than your head because that is where all the truly important memories are kept.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

River Has a Tick Talk

I was lying in bed, late at night, when I felt something moving by my left ear.  I brushed it with my paw. A tick fell off me on to the sheet. Surprised, I stood.  “What were you doing on me?” I asked.

“Bah, I was hungry,” the tick said.  “I’ve been outside in your yard for days with nothing in my belly when you came by on your leash.  I hopped on you and waited, all night, for you to fall asleep so I could bite you and drink your blood.  But every time I tried to bite you I was repelled by your skin. You must be wearing the poison.”

“My mom puts some sticky stuff on my back to keep you ticks off of me.”   When I said “ticks” my voice could not hide my disgust.

“Don’t get uppity with me!” the offended tick said.  “It isn’t my fault I was born a blood-sucking nuisance.  It’s who I am. Who are you to judge? You get kibble given to you on a clean plate every day.  No one feeds me blood; I have to lay in the grass and wait.”

“You gave me Lyme disease!” I barked.  “I had to go on medication for weeks, and three years later I am still carrying the illness.”

“I didn’t give you nothing,” the tick said.  “I am barely a year old. And I got the disease from a mouse.”  I grunted in disgust. “Don’t judge me; I have to suck every vermin out there just to make it until tomorrow.  But I got off that disgusting little thing as soon as I could.”

“I don’t feel sorry for you,” I said to the little creature, “you just want to attach yourself to a hard working dog and live off me for nothing!  

“Not true!” the angry tick countered.  “I go from animal to animal trying to get enough blood to stay alive.  Oh, it's a wicked existence. I would not wish it on anyone. I couldn’t even find a yard with big dogs, I only had you two little ones to pick from, and when I finally worked up the nerve to jump on you, I find you are wearing the poison, which is very unhealthy by the way.  You should get the collar. We know not to jump on dogs with the collars. But no, you need to be tricky with your poison drops. Bah! I curse you.”

I did not like this tick’s attitude.  He had hidden on me to get inside and now was in my bed, being argumentative.  “I don’t wear the collar because I have a collapsing trachea,” I explained.

“Oh, how terrible for you!” the sarcastic tick answered.

“And we don’t take the pills because of Pocket’s tummy,”

“Oh the pills,” the tick shook his head.  “I know all about the pills. I have heard of ticks which had died on the pill.  They bite a dog, get infected and expire. What a way to go! Right in mid-suck.  That’s how I’d like to go, in the middle of sucking. But no, I had to get the only two dogs in America still using the drops.  I’m telling you, I don’t get no respect.”

“Well, you can’t stay here.  Pocket has the drops too,” I told him.

“Oh, I don’t want to bite her.  Too scrawny. I could suck that thing for days and never get off.  But these humans are tempting.”

I could not let him bite my parents.  If they get Lyme disease, it is much more serious than when I did.  They should be wearing drops and collars.

I knew I had to get this thing out of my bed.  Mommy would freak out if she found it there in the morning.  I assured him if she did he would end up in the toilet. And I forbid him to latch on to Mommy.  We agreed he could hide in Daddy’s hair until morning and hop out when he took us outside.

But, as history has taught us, all tick are liars, which was unfortunate for him, because midway through the day Daddy felt something in his hair, pinched it, said “oh crap, it’s a tick!” ran into the bathroom and flushed it down the toilet.

Good luck in the sewers my little friend.  Maybe you will get to go to the Bridge where you can live happily, or come back as something better.

I can’t think how it would be possible to come back as something worse.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Beat This Caption

Oh my god!  You were caught in a trap and hauled on to a boat?  Then what happened?

Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday Question

If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Pocket:  I would want to have x-ray vision so I can find the ball I like to chase when is missing.

River Song:  I would like to be able to suddenly add weight to my body so when I am snuggled on Mommy she can't get up and I don't have to move and she can't leave me.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Jewel is our July 8, 2018 Pup of the Week

I hate to apologize to friends.  When I need to do that it means I may have hurt a pup and nothing bothers me more.  My first rule, like all dogs, is always to be kind.

I walked through our Doggyspace neighborhood to a new sparkling house covered in jewels, which was appropriate because living inside, after arriving at the Bridge ten days earlier, was my old friend Jewel.

I rang her bell.  The chime sounded pretty.  I heard the pitter patter of paws, and then Jewel opened the door.  “Hello, Foley,” she said, then gave me a long hug.

When she let me go, I took hold of her paws.  “My friend, I owe you an apology,” I said. A confused Jewel asked me why.

“I try to pay tribute to a dog each week, usually one that arrives at Rainbow Bridge.”

“Oh yes,” Jewel said.  “I read them, I know some people find them emotionally manipulative and overly maudlin but I like them.”

This is what I love about Jewel.  She has always been a straight shooter.  I continued. “Last week, when Kaizer came, I decided to write about him.  I should have written about you too.”

“Oh Foley,” she said touching my face.  “It’s OK. I would rather have a blog all about me, even if I have to wait a week.  You never have to apologize. Now come in and have a slice of lemon cake.”

I sat down at her table, and she gave me a delicious slice of lemon cake.  I asked her how she was adjusting to living at the Bridge. “It is lovely here,” Jewel said as her eyes looked over her little house.  “But I do miss Mommy so. She took such tender care of me my whole life, and I tried to do the same for her. Sometimes I was hard to care for because I was a nervous, little dog.  But nothing calmed me down like Mommy. I still get the shakes, even here, and at first, I couldn’t calm down because Mommy wasn’t there, but then I thought of her, and I slipped right into her mind, and it calmed me.  I hope she knew I was there. I don’t think she knew in her mind, but I hope she did in heart, because that is where the most treasured memories are kept.”

Jewel took our plates and put them in the sink then sat down.  “I felt terrible when I took sick, not for me, but for Mom. All her worst fears rushed upon her at once.  Mommy hadn’t been working much, which was great because we had a lot of time together, but she didn’t have money, and the last thing she needed was a sick pup.  But we can’t control these things. I developed a cough and a heart murmur. I knew the number of heartbeats I had left was ending, and I metered each one out to stay as long as I could, and Mommy spent every cent she had to stretch that heart beats out too, but finally, they ran out, and I expired, having to leave her.”  Jewel grabbed a tissue with her paw and dabbed her eyes. “I just wish there was more time.”

“We all do,” I said, and then we hugged and sat silently for a long time.

“That’s not my story,” Jewel said, “that’s just the end.  Come again sometime, and I will tell you the real story of my life. The happy, fun-filled, loving days I spent with my Mom.  That is a story worth telling and remembering, not the end, that was just a sliver of life. I know we concentrate on the end, but we need to remember all the good before the end.”

The sun was setting.  I needed to get home. I stood and thanked Jewel for the lemon cake.  I promised to come back with a cake of my own and to hear all her stories about her life.  The important times, the only ones worth hearing, all the days before the end.

Friday, July 6, 2018

On Flower Friday Pocket Shares Her Mid-Season Garden Report

River and I are finally ready to show off our many gardens.  We spend all winter, including during dream dates with Foley, planning the flowers we will buy and where to put them.  Foley uploads the information into Mommy's brain, and we are set to go. 

My parents begin working in early April when it was cold.   They clean all of winter's refuse from the yard, rake out the discolored mulch, pull out weeds until the gardens are ready and the perennials began to bud.

Some of the flowers came in slowly because of the long, cold spring but eventually, they bloomed.  Underperforming flowers were dug up and moved to the rehab garden where we hope they will thrive. Decorative planters and lights were set up, and sprinklers were turned on.

Next came the mulch, bag after bag, spread over five gardens.  Foley came down as a butterfly to review, and she declared the gardens were ready for public viewing.

So, for your approval, some garden pics.
Here is Nana's Saint Anthony, watching over our main garden flowers until he chooses to bicycle away.

Our front garden has the American flag, lots of pretty flowers, a sign with our family's name and hanging off of that is River's flag which Daddy jammed on the sign two years ago and can't get off.

These are the petunias in our hanging plant.  You can also see the flower box on top of the wall and Mr. Owl sticking his head out.

This is part of our side garden.  It is about thirty feet long and includes our two butterfly bushes which are starting to bloom and a rock garden.  

Here are pretty clematis climbing our lamppost.
Here is part of our front garden with the peek-a-boo side garden.  Also, you can see Daddy's new project:   making a walkway from the back door to the HVAC unit and around it.  Mommy doesn't like how the lawn looks there, so Daddy's been digging it up.

This is our rehab garden.   We have a very good record rehabilitating plants.  This is the last year for the pine tree since it is a danger to the neighboring properties during storms.  We haven't decided what we are putting here next.

This is a close up of the Asiatic lily blooming in Foley's garden.  She is very proud of how pretty they are.

This is another part of our front garden,  along with our little car.  You can see the hanging plant and balloon.  If you look closely in the window, you can see the Yorkie flag Roscoe's mom sent us.  Thank you for viewing our gardens.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A Scary Week for Mom Puts Foley into Angel Overdrive

The call came during an August afternoon, 11 years ago.  Mommy had gone for her yearly mammogram and got called back for more film.  She was not concerned. She was convinced they were just double checking. When she got off the phone with her doctor, she knew differently.  The second mammogram means they saw something. She officially became one of the many women who had breast cancer.

My parents’ first decision was a hard one.  Earlier in the year, they had adopted a senior Yorkie named Jordan.  Jordan was blind, deaf, had no teeth, could not walk, and was incontinent.  She would relieve her bowels, or bladder, where she sat, which was often on Mommy.  Jordan took lots of care, with lots of cleaning, and Mommy could not take care of this pup and herself at the same time, so Jordan was surrendered back to the unhappy rescue group.  For the first time, Mommy has to put her health ahead of her dogs.

I supported Mommy’s decision.  Jordan was basically a furry log that pooped and peed a lot.  But it was still hard for Mommy, who had the guilt from surrendering Jordan (she talked to the rescue about it being temporary, until Mommy was cured, but they passed) and she fretted about her own health.  I just worried about Mommy.

She was lucky.  She had two lumpectomies, and then eight weeks of radiation every day after work.  Some days she would be fine, some days she would be sick, and some days she couldn’t get out of the chair.  She bravely completed the treatments and was declared cancer free. Then Daddy made a horrible mistake. As a present, he gave her Pocket, the gift that keeps on barking and peeing.  I guess it worked out (although the rescue, seeing a picture of us online, scolded Mommy for getting another dog. Bless the rescues, but sometimes they can be hard on people.)

Beating cancer opened another door for Mommy.  While she was too tired to stand she found out from Daddy about a site called Doggyspace, she had Daddy set up an account, and 11 years later, we are famous social media dogs.

Two weeks ago, on a Wednesday, a day after getting her yearly mammogram, the radiologist called to say they needed new films.  Of course, Mommy’s mind went to the worst case scenario. I, trying to comfort her, found out all I could, about second mammograms.  They are very common especially for women getting their first test. Most of the new films show nothing concerning, and those that do lead to a finding of cancer less than half the time.

But, when it is your mammogram, all those statistics go away. 

I went into Mommy’s dreams each night to counsel her.  We decided not to scare anyone in the family needlessly, except for Daddy, who is always needlessly scared.  When I wasn’t talking with Mommy, I was flying prayers up to the Big Dog Angel Board.

Last Wednesday Mommy went for her second mammogram and ultrasound.  The squeezed her like an angry person stomping a bee. Then they did the ultrasound.  They did not give her any results.

This I found frustrating.  She wanted to know if she had cancer and there was someone who knew if she had cancer and they would not say!  It is like an umpire watching a close play at the plate, signaling nothing, then going to sit in the stands to eat a hotdog.
Mommy waited all day Thursday for The Call, but it didn’t come, so she called her doctor.  She talked to a PA who told her she had the results but could not give them to her until the doctor signed off.  So now the entire umpire crew knew the call, but no one would share it with the runner.

Finally, Mommy got a call from the nurse who told her she had a UTI, which Mommy already knew, she had gone to the doctor two days before.  Mommy asked about her mammogram results, and she could hear the PA shuffling through reports as time passed like dripping molasses.

After seconds that seemed like hours, the PA said Mommy had a benign cyst that did not have to be removed.  She was fine. All her angels cheered throughout the heavens. Even though nothing untoward happened, Mommy still felt like she had survived a close call.

So, if your mommy gets called back for a second mammogram tell her it is statistically most likely nothing, and she should not worry.

Then take her hand in your paw because she is going to worry.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Beat This Caption

When you go in the water put your paw here so the water does not go up your nose

Monday, July 2, 2018

Monday Question

How much does the weather affect your outdoor time?

Pocket:  I will answer for both of us.  If it is over 85 and humid, or over 90, we only go out to pee.  We don't get walks.  Also if there is snow on the ground Mommy only allows a walk to the end of the street.  If it is raining hard, or snowing, we don't go out at all and use the porch pee pads.  No matter what I go out for my 11:30 at night poop because if I don't get that my delicate system is thrown off.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Kaizer is our July 1, 2018 Pup of the Week

Baron is one of the first of our online friends to come to Rainbow Bridge.  He was a giant of a dog. He was so popular people came from all over the country to celebrate a day for him, called Baron Fest. Seven years ago Baron went to the Bridge, but his presence is still felt in the mortal realm.

Baron knew his mom was a spectacular dog parent, and that she needed another pup who would make the pup's life, sister Chey's life, and his momma's life better.   Momma Monica, guided by Baron, found the perfect dog, Kaizer, who we liked to call the K-Man.

We watched him as a pup and experienced many firsts, his first walk, his first doing business outside, his first training, enjoying them all in the same manner a human takes delight in a baby’s first step, smile, and laugh.

Together we saw him grow from a puppy into a fully grown dog, from a wilding to a well-trained boy, and the impossible, to be a worthy heir to Baron.

Momma Monica shared every important moment of Kaizer’s life with us.  He was part of all our families. She did this for seven years as Kaizer reached his prime, no longer a puppy, but not yet a senior.  It should be the best time.

But the best-laid plans got waylaid.  Cruelly Kaizer became ill. After some initial misdiagnosis every parents’ biggest fear was realized, Kaizer, who belonged to all of us, who we watched grow up, had terminal cancer.

I have been part of dog social media sites for ten years, and I have seen many of my friends cross the Bridge.  Kaizer is the first dog I have watched grow from a pup into a strong dog only to shed his mortal coil. I have seen parents lose their beloved dogs, be brokenhearted, get a new dog, and have their heart repaired.  This was the first time I witnessed the entire scope of a dog’s life, from beginning to end.

Momma Monica was losing another baby way too soon.  She dutifully reported on his ups and downs. You would have to search in between her words for the heartbreak. But we who experienced her losing Baron knew the devastating sorrow she felt with Kaizer, maybe worse, because it brought back memories that were not buried far enough down.

On Thursday Momma Monica let us know that the horrible disease had finally taken control of Kaizer’s body and he made his final journey to the Bridge.  All of Baron’s friends lined up across on either side of Baron and me while we waited for Kaizer to come to his final forever home.

Of course, that goofy boy who filled his mom’s heart, and her Facebook page, with so much joy, came clumsily charging up the stairs, brushed past me, and dove on Baron, who he had only met in his dreams, and who was instrumental in bringing Kaizer and their mom together, and gave him 1,000 kisses of thanks for choosing him to have the best mom in the world.

Baron let me swear Kaizer in and then took the little K-Man under his wing.  There is no wiser angel than Baron. Very few moms were as lost and broken as Mama Monica was when she lost Baron but her angel was able to help heal her heart.  Now his task is twice as hard, but he has his brother to help him.

I still cannot believe that a dog who I honored as being Pup of the Week when he joined his family is being honored again when he leaves.  I don’t know how Momma Monica has the strength to go on, but humans are amazingly resilient. Someday she will open her heart to another pup and a new sibling for Chey, share that dog’s life with us, and hopefully get more time than she did with both her angels.

I see Baron and Kaizer running in the hills together, Baron looking at his brother with all the love in the world, and I think of him as a puppy, the way every parent always think of their children as babies.

Kaiser is now an angel, the immortal world will keep spinning, people will do their work, and dogs will give their parents the love they need.  But, with kind Kaiser’s passing Earth became a little bit worse place to live.

If everyone loves their dogs a little more now than they did last week maybe we can make up for loss of love generated between Kaizer and his mom until she finds the strength to get on the ride of being a dog mom again which is filled with joy and ends in devastation.

But, as my friend Willie said, it is better to love a pet and lose them than never to love a pet at all.