Dog hugs couldn’t fix everything

Whenever he did not feel good or was afraid of thunder or a flying insect, Nemo would come running to me for a dog hug. If I didn’t feel well or he sensed I was upset, he came and offered a dog hug.

On Friday, we started out for our usual walk to the boat and got to the end of the driveway when he stopped. I asked him what was the matter, and he told me with his eyes that he suddenly didn’t feel well. So we went back in the house and he drank a bunch of water, then went down the hall and flopped onto the floor by his favourite air vent. His breathing was a bit more than a pant, so being the devoted human, I turned down the A/C for him since it’s his first love.
A few hours later after he made several unsuccessful attempts to get up, I had been down on the floor with him and realized it was more than just heat getting to him. His legs were weak and attempts to stand exhausted him. He clung to me and offered dog kisses as I tried to comfort him.

While my mother was on the phone with the emergency vet, Eenie Meenie My Nemo, The Chosen One, looked at me with panic-stricken eyes, panting more pronounced, hair suddenly standing up on his back, and mouth open as I desperately clung to him and cooed every comfort word he knew. It was our last dog hug.

Nemo passed away in my hands as I stroked his head and velvet ears and realized his breathing stopped. I’m still choked up and crying about losing my dog child. He had just had a physical and removal of a lump on his lip three weeks ago. The vet indicated he had no signs of heart or blood trouble, yet the symptoms he exhibited in his last few hours were those of dog heart failure.

My Nemo was born almost into my hands after I rescued his pregnant mama, chose to stay with me when at four weeks he discovered the Holy A/C Vent, spent his life as My Dog, and left this world embraced by me and the coldest air vent in the house – his two favourite things.

For most of his life, he outweighed me. That’s how big a chunk out of myself is missing right now. Although I hugged and cuddled him continuously until his last breath, this was the first time that a dog hug didn’t cure all. That is a paradigm shift in my world and will take a long, long time to heal. Because the one thing that would make me feel better is the one thing I’ll never get again: a dog hug from Nemo.

Post Hurricane Irma

It was our first hurricane to live through in Florida and it was stressful, to say the least. Nemo and the gang also felt the stress. Thankfully, we sustained no damage to the house or boat, but we lost a lot of pieces of trees. Since some lost a whole lot more, we have nothing to complain about. Power came back up within a few days and after a week, we needed some relax time. Since he’s not overly fond of being actually ON the boat, he’s very happy to chill at a dock party.

Monster

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I slept through Day 31. Ooops.

When I woke up this morning, tangled in amongst the fleece blankets was Monster. As usual.

I picked up Monster at a garage sale a few years ago as a dog toy gift for the boys. At the time, Rico was still in his rip-and-tear phase, so I held off giving him this blue fuzzy toy with its little appendages that could be nibbled and pulled off. There’s nothing worse than a toy bleeding puffs of polyfil all over the house, except cleaning up the yard after a certain dog has managed to ingest some of said polyfil.

Perhaps because I treated Monster like precious gold while teaching Rico the words “don’t shred,” Rico also treated and still treats Monster like the prize of a lifetime. No matter how many times I place Monster in the toy basket with the other toys, Rico invariably will pick out the fuzzy blue guy and put him on my bed up near the pillows. In fact, the dog doesn’t seem to be able to nap unless Monster is on the bed. I have often posted pictures of Rico napping with Monster tucked under his paw or using the toy as a pillow. Not one other toy in the basket gets as much love and respect from Rico – and Nemo for that matter – as does Monster. IMG_8247

Since I have been pretty much bed-bound for the past eight months, I actually cannot recall a time when Monster was not in bed with me. I think this poor stuffed guy has been the go-to cuddler when the boys weren’t around, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve rolled over onto him, or rolled over and gone face to face with him. The boys have chawed on his squishiness, bopped me in the head with him, held him high with their paws while lying on their backs as though Monster were the baby Lion King, and nuzzled and stuffed the toy under the blankets and up against my back more times than I can count. If he fell off the bed, the boys would retrieve him and replace him up near the pillows by my head. He needs a bath for sure, the poor thing.

I imagine that my In-Home Dog Therapists had somehow decided that if they could not be in the bed with me at every given moment, they needed to entrust the job to someone they could count on. Apparently, Monster was chosen for the job.

IIMG_8144t amazes me how much dogs really think through things and how they are so often right. One thing I know is that the boys made a good choice in delegating the 24/7 supervision task to Monster. Bless his little fuzzy blue heart, he has been here for the duration. When I went to change the bed today, I had moved him over to the toy basket. After I was done putting nice clean sheets and blankets on, it just didn’t look right.

So I put him back on the bed where he belongs.

Day #32: Cherished gifts from my dogs.

Re-blogged from SuperSparklyMe.

Grey muzzles

IMG_8199My Nemo’s muzzle is gone nearly all silver. He was right up near the pillow when I took this picture and I am surprised it came out in focus. He usually makes the effort to sneak up next to me not so much to cuddle the way Rico does, but because he wants something he doesn’t have thumbs to get. Dogs have no guile.

The big guy is five and a half years old now. I still remember the day he was born, when the Puppy Fairy delivered nine puppies to Daisy, the pregnant dog I had rescued from the neighbor next door. We won’t go there right now. This is about happy stuff and we did find a good home for Daisy.

Nemo grew up with not one, but two nanny dogs, the first being Emily the Great Pyrenees who passed away when Nemo was just six months old and the second being Sadie, the Yellow Lab who just recently passed away. He has lived with cats and chickens his entire life as well as with Sparky, his elder dog brother by two years. Nemo’s younger dog brother would be Rico, who is just over three years old. Phoofie has been a mainstay and nemesis for Nemo’s entire life so far. Of course, at eleven years old, the cat pretty much just naps all day and ignores the dogs anyway.

When I got sick last year, the lying around staring at the ceiling activity level I have had makes me appreciate that my dogs are here providing in-home dog therapy the way they do. When I get my hair to grow back, I’m not even going to complain about it being all grey any more. At this point, I will be satisfied to simply have hair.

My shiny, black puppy has grown to 140lbs at his heaviest, 125lbs when he’s at his best weight, and has acquired quite a few silver threads on his schnozzola. Grey hairs signify life lived, history made, time spent. Nobody will ever love you the way your dog does.

Day 16: Grey muzzles are beautiful.

Reposted from SuperSparklyMe.com.

Puppy love

Alarm clock

For 2016, I have decided to deliberately seek and find at least one thing of beauty every day. Of course, my boys could be featured every day, but that would be too easy.

I invite ya’ll over to SuperSparklyMe.com to follow along and even to join in on the conversation and sharing on Facebook.

/http://supersparklyme.com/2016/01/03/puppy-love/

Dog therapists

Thanks to my dedicated team of home health care dog therapists, I am being well looked after today.

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Big boys

I always love a nice “Boy and his Dog” portrait. I especially like this one because Charlie is six feet tall and 225lbs, so Nemo sitting next to him gives you a pretty good perspective on just how big my Big Black Dog is! Nemo is a Great Dane in a Black Lab suit. LOL

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