Archive for the ‘Dogs, cats, and other animals’ Category

It’s so hard to say goodbye

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

My heart broke sitting there with you, knowing you were in pain and there wasn’t anything I could do about it. You’d been a constant companion in my life for over 10 years. And now there is a hole in my heart that is growing by the second. I held you as you breathed your last and my tears are still falling.

You were my first foray into this amazing Borzoi breed and you were born around the time I lost Clarke, my heart dog. He knew you were the one to take his place in my life for although you never met him, you had more than one of his traits, so I knew his spirit was in you. You took up residence in the hole he left and filled it well, I know he was in your ear, making suggestions. There were many times when I would see you do something and thought it was him.

You gave me the courage to get back in the ring. Obedience, Rally, and Conformation. While some said you weren’t a good physical representation of the breed, I didn’t give a damn. You were mine and I love you so much. We got into therapy work and you would willingly spend 8 hours dealing with screaming children if that’s what I asked you to do, never once getting cranky with the kids. You raised three other zoi in the house along with helping them learn to be amazing dogs as well.


We had the honor of beating goldens and dobies in the obedience ring, showing that yes, a Borzoi can do obedience and do it well. And Rally, the mistakes were always mine. You never once messed up.

You never met a stranger and were a wonderful canine ambassador for the breed. I remember the vet staff trying to pass off a stuffed Pug as you with a smile, saying they wanted to keep you.

You loved to run until the accident and then it was still wanting to run, just not on a set course.

Watching you never failed to bring a smile to my face. From the first time I saw your picture you owned a place in my heart. 

I have your niece and your daughter but I still hurt. I will always hurt but I know you are now with Clarke, Isis—who raised you—and of course Dageus and Prize, who was also taken from us to soon. They are waiting for you across the Rainbow Bridge. Tell them I miss them and love them.

Thank you, Nina for all your love and joy you gave me over the years. My life was fuller with you a part of it. There is so much more I could say but right now, I need to grieve.

Tally Ho!

C’Lestial Le Grand Noir CD BN RN JC CGCA

4 May 2008 – 15 Sep 2018


Saying Goodbye and Letting Go

Sunday, December 3rd, 2017

I’m not usually a person who shares a lot about some things and typically this would be one of those times. However, for whatever reason, I was driven to share this. So here we go.

~Prize~26 Nov 17

I lost my 4.5-month-old puppy, Prize on Sunday 26 Nov 17. One of my worst days ever. She barely had a chance in life.

We took her in as she wasn’t breathing right and I was concerned she had some blockage in her throat. Immediately, upon our arrival they took her into the back to assess the situation. We waited for over an hour for any news, all the while, my fear grew exponentially. And the doubt of my being a good dog owner followed suit.

We were waiting in the room when the vet walked in and sat on the stool, facing us. She met our gazes and my heart sank, deep in my bones I knew it wasn’t going to be good news.

The first word I remember hearing was “sinister” that truly sank in. I’ve worked in a few vet clinics over my time and I’ve never heard a vet use that word to a patient. Full disclosure, I’ve never worked at an ER vet clinic, perhaps there it is more common. But for me, it was anything but.

She had fluid around her lungs and internal bleeding. No signs of trauma and no toxicity in her blood. Even after running all their tests the vet gave her a less than 10% chance of survival.

So, there, in the ER, I made that most difficult decision. I allowed her to move on from this world of discomfort and pain to one that would be pain free. It’s no less than she deserved. As much as I wanted to be selfish—and Lord help me I wanted to—I refused to make her suffer because of my wants. This was about what would be best for Prize.

My husband was with me, thankfully, even though he’d just gotten off work from his overnight shift.

Because it would cause her cause her small body more stress and discomfort for them to move her to what they called a “comfort room” to say goodbye, we went to her in the oxygen cage she had been put in to ease her breathing. This was in the back where all the techs and vets were working.

I didn’t care.

I would have at in hell to be there for her. In a way I did. My own hell filled with internal thoughts of how I’d failed her as an owner. How I failed the breeder as well as the pups mom, my girl, Lily, who I failed to keep her offspring safe from harm. Logically I know I did right by her but until my heart catches up there’s nothing else I can do aside from relive the memories.

Yet I remained in my own hell. My hell of sitting there on that floor or in the waiting room chair, unable to do anything to save her.

I held her for the last moments and despite her pain and discomfort when she saw me outside the oxygen cage, she leaned toward me and wagged her tail ever so slightly, showing me she was aware. She knew I was there for her, that I hadn’t abandoned her to the strangers who took her from my arms when we first arrived. Those soft dark eyes held me. I didn’t want to move away but hubs wanted to say goodbye as well.

While feeling overly protective—which for me is a lot on a normal day toward my animals—I allowed him to say his farewell.

He loved her as well. She slept in his lap as he caught a few more hours before he went in to work for his overnight shift. She would always run to the bedroom to greet him when his alarm went off, tail wagging. Even had she been sound asleep, the moment that chime went out, she bounded off the bed, or from whatever crate she may have been chewing on a toy in and ran to meet him. She would trail him in the house, her little ears bouncing as she trotted to keep up to him. Prize doted on him.

With reluctance, he backed away. He didn’t leave my side though. I crawled into the oxygen cage, as much as I could, leaving her front leg available for the vet to administer the first of her final three meds.

So hard namely because she was so young. I don’t have the years of memories to fall back on to keep me company and I never will. Only the few we made during her short time here. Honestly those aren’t enough. I didn’t take enough pictures, didn’t hug and cuddle her enough.

It’s not fair. It’s not fucking fair.

On Tues, I called the clinic again to ask if I could have the case file notes emailed or picked up when I got her ashes back. Another call that dissolved me to tears, all over again. the receptionist remembered us when we had come in and offered up her apologies and all I could do was cry harder, despite being at the day job.

I regret not having images of her as she ran across the yard, puppy ears flopping as she tried so hard to keep up with the big dogs, or coming to me for some attention.

I regret not getting pics of her curled up with her head on my leg when she shared the couch with me as I wrote at 0330 before heading off to the day job.

I regret so much even as I know I was blessed beyond words to have her in my life. Prize was something special, there is no doubt in my mind about that.

Even her great aunt Nina played more once she arrived. So thank you for giving her some of your youth and exuberance.

Her puppy curls had just begun to come in when I lost her and I regret I won’t be able to see those as you grow.

My girls are adjusting, the hardest hit by this is Jean. She and Prize spent most of the day together. All really as they could see each other if they were crated while we were out of the house.

Jean’s been a lapdog for about two hours a night which she hadn’t been previously.

The hardest part for me is to come to terms with my failure. This is my pack. I’m the Alpha and therefore responsible for food, order, and safety. I failed to keep one of my pack safe, I failed to keep her safe. Something got to her and took her from us. Again, logically, I know I couldn’t have prevented this but my heart isn’t accepting that in the slightest.

I cry myself to sleep at night and have cried at work. My work has dogs in the workplace, which, I love but has been difficult this week. And those of you who have them and know dogs, they understand when you’re not happy or not feeling well. So their dogs spent a lot of time around me. Again, a double-edged sword.

Also having to pick up her ashes will be another rough day.

I am trying to be positive but again am failing that. Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve or how long to grieve. We aren’t robots, we aren’t all the same and grief affects us all on different levels, our reactions are as unique as we are.

So there isn’t a wrong way to do this. Allow yourself the time, the tears, and the puffy eyes. I have purchased an item for my vet and her staff because I can’t thank them enough for making her last hours here comfortable.

There is one thing that provides me comfort and that’s the knowledge that she is well protected at the Rainbow Bridge. Valan is there. Glacier and Kayla are there. Opus and Dageus—don’t let them fool you, they really do like dogs; puppies as well. And of course our German Shepherds, Isis and Clarke.

Prize; If for any reason you get scared, Clarke will protect you, you can walk under him and he will keep you safe. He will do what I couldn’t do until the time comes that we are once again united.

I will miss her more than words could ever say.

Again, while I don’t usually talk about this but deal with it on my own, I was also blessed enough to have my family who allowed me to cry on their shoulders as well as two wonderful friends. So to my parents, to Taige and to Nan, thanks to all y’all for listening to me blubber as I try to work through this loss, yet something else I won’t ever be able to say how grateful I am for your selflessness in what you offered me.











Saturday Selection ~ The Borzoi Killings by Paul Batista

Saturday, March 11th, 2017

While I’m firmly against killing dogs in stories (I’ve been known to put books down for that) this one intrigued me, so am checking this out this week by Paul Batista:


When the tenth richest man in the world is brutally murdered along with his prized Borzoi dogs in a luxurious Easthampton beach house, only one man is suspected of the crime: Juan Suarez, a handsome, charismatic?and illegal?Mexican immigrant who worked for the victim.

Now, renowned trial lawyer Raquel Rematti must take on the defense of the man the media has dubbed “The Blade of the Hamptons.” Not only must she navigate a media circus to take on one of the wealthiest families in the country, she must also protect Suarez, and herself, from ruthless people bent on lethal revenge; all while straddling the dangerous line between concerned involvement and forbidden passion for her client.


Thursday Toss Up ~ Nina

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

My very first borzoi. I’ve long been in love with the breed but never had one until a woman hooked me up with the breeder I got her through.

Nina is an Irish marked black and is a small female. She was a rabid courser until she was t-boned by a dog outweighing her by a good 20 lbs. So while she thinks she wants to race, she doesn’t actually. So I switched over to rally and obedience and she’s got titles in both.



Nina is in pink.

The thing with Nina is she has traits of my male shepherd, Clarke, and she never met him. But there have been times that I’m like “Clarke, knock it off. Oh, Nina, it’s you.”

She’s got a wicked sense of humor and an apparent weakness for turkey. Now, this dog will leave pot roast, ham, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, all of it, she’ll leave it alone on the table. But if there is turkey, you can’t turn away for a second or she’ll steal it and eat while she runs.

One year we had it on the bar height table, behind the ham and roast, as well as the sides. I walked out of the room and DH was getting something else out and seconds later I heard him yelling at her. And sure enough, whoosh, there went that black/white streak, gulping down that turkey breast as she ran. As pissed as we were, we had to be impressed, she didn’t bother a damn thing else on that table. Just plucked the turkey off the plate and beat feet.


Turkey is what I used for her in the obedience and rally rings. She got it after we competed since you aren’t allowed to take treats in the ring. We would finish and as soon as we were excused by the judge, we’d run back to the seat and she’d get her turkey. She loved it! And worked hard each time we entered the ring.

Thursday Toss Up ~ Lily

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

One of my borzoi is Lily. She’s almost 6 years old. Right now she is the one who is in KY with her breeder, being raced and shown out there. We miss her tons but hopefully when we get her back there will be a puppy tagging along with her.

She’s a therapy dog, courser, show dog. We will be going in the ring for obedience and rally when she comes back to us.


Of the four zoi I have, she’s the most standoffish which isn’t saying much since they all love people. She’s just the most reserved.

I have a good many people ask me why I do therapy work. Why would I bathe my dogs extra, do their nails, teeth, and spend my time going around to places so someone else can touch my dog in hopefully a nice manner.

One of my favorite stories of her was when we were doing a therapy session at a school and had been through about five classes thus far. The dogs were taking a break (very important) and I was chatting with some of the other women there. The next group of children arrived and we did the talk and demonstration then we spread out so they can meet the dogs individually and ask us more questions.

All was going wonderfully, kids were laughing and petting all the dogs. Lily was the largest and we had about five different breeds there.

I was sitting in the chair as some kids were taking pictures with her and a mother walked up with her special needs child in her arms. I’d watched her try to get him to pet the smaller dogs but he would just pull away and scream, so honestly, this is what I was expecting for him to do with Lily.

The boy began squirming so she put him down. He had braces on his legs and a helmet on his head to protect him if he fell. I asked the other kids to move back a bit from Lily so he could go up to her if he wished. And he did. Made his way right up to her and hugged her, wrapping his thin arms around her and held on as if she would vanish if he let go.

Lily just stood there, dropping her head around his shoulder and back, tail wagging gently. I looked up at his mother and found her crying which nearly set me over.

He’d never gone up to a dog before wanted to but screamed at the last moment. This was his first time. when his legs wobbled, Lily held firm and he didn’t fall.

The boy’s mother took pictures and sent one to her husband right there. And his response was immediate. We didn’t rush him and let him hold her as long as he wished. When they left, she had a hard time even saying thank you for she still cried.

That right there, is why I do therapy work. Because animals have amazing healing power and their love is unconditional. Yes, we were gone from the house for hours and Lily was exhausted on the way home but to see the joy in both the children and the parents’ face, makes it all worthwhile. At least to this humbled owner.

Thursday Toss Up – Dageus

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

I love animals, that’s not anything new to readers who know me. Right now I have four dogs, three who are with me and one who’s back with the breeder. But I did have a cat. A black domestic shorthair who I named Dageus after Karen Marie Moning’s hero, Dageus MacKeltar from The Dark Highlander, one of my favorite stories. He had little tiger stripes when I first got him at about 5 weeks old.


He grew up in a house with two GSDs and could often be found hanging from my big male’s muzzle, purring away, or riding on the female’s head. Also purring. If they had an e-collar on, he would be in it with them, keeping them company. He didn’t shred furniture or curtains. He didn’t chew on things other than treats, the dogs, and his cat tower.

Overall, Dageus was a great cat. He wasn’t fond of people other than DH or myself but I could do whatever I wanted to him. Fine for bathing and nail trimming he would just sit there and wait for me to finish. He made our lives so much better. He himself was raised by two GSDs and raised 4 borzoi of our own along with dogs we would take care of for their owners while they were on vacation, before we lost him.

I never realized how much I would miss him in my life. But I know he’s no longer in pain and is back hanging out with Clarke and Isis waiting over the Rainbow Bridge. Love you, Dageus!


Thursday Toss Up – Quilting

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

I honestly enjoy quilting. I have made a few “practice” quilts for my dogs which have become beds for them or blankets while we are at shows. My next one that I’m going to make is the puff quilt, I know the dogs will enjoy that one, but trying to keep this one for myself. Although, I’m sure there will be something that turns it into a dog one.

I love shopping for material and putting together a color design that I like. I’ve also done kits, to make some quilts as well.

So, do you quilt? Hand? Machine? And do you have a specific station in the house just for quilting? Let me know on social media. #ilovequilting


The tears won’t stop

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

Amongst all of our plans for moving and getting to the next chapter in our life, we’ve lost one of our family this afternoon.

20140630_161143Dageus has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. We’d hoped he would be able to make the trip back to Washington with us but it wasn’t in the stars.


“From the day we brought you home, with your little tiger stripes, you were determined to be bigger than you were. Clarke and Isis took you in and raised you as a GSD. I remember watching you jump onto them to get them to play, hanging from Clarke’s muzzle as he walked around the house without a care in the world. I watched them correct the bad behavior (clawing on furniture or curtains) and you never had to be corrected again. You were groomed on the table as they were, would sit for nail trimming and never gave me issues when it came time for bathing.

When they got bandanas you had to have one as well, so we gave you one. You were so proud. When Isis had to wear a cone, you would curl up in it so she wasn’t lonely. When we got stationed on the East Coast, you handled the trip like a trooper, not crying on the ride, just being quiet as you lay crated next to the dogs. You settled in here with them.

You offered me comfort as I lost Clarke, clarke2my heart dog, then later when Isis vcm_s_kf_m160_160x120followed him over the Rainbow Bridge, you were there, forgoing your usual avoiding everyone attitude. You’ve since raised 4 borzoi and taught them how to behave around cats and smaller animals. Over these past few weeks, I’ve watched you try to hide the pain you were in, try to continue being the same cat you’ve always been.


When we got to the vet, you curled up against my heart and purred as you put your head beneath my chin. You purred as my tears fell, as if understanding the pain I felt as well, not concerned with your own. I was the last thing you saw and my voice the last you heard.

Dageus, I will never forget you. I love you and my heart is hurting without you here. But I know you are with Clarke and Isis now, my Three Musketeers are together again, waiting until the day we are reunited. Give them both my love and never forget how much you gave me and our life here. It was so much better having had you in it with us to share.”


Saturday, August 6th, 2016


Exub Photo Stock

Exub Photo Stock

I needed a calming image after the start to my day…

So I was out walking the dogs today–it’s not Hades level hot here currently so we took a gentle 5 mile walk. I’m beginning to think the woman who is trying to blame me for being the horrible addition to the plight of all these puppies in the shelters is stalking me. She walks up as we’re on our way back to the house and starts in again about how I’m senselessly breeding, how I should be ashamed as opposed to her because she adopted hers from the shelter. And here we go again:

  1. I’ve never bred a litter in my life. I have all bitches and I race and show them but I’ve not whelped a litter. I have neither the space, time, or enough knowledge to do that (not in my opinion anyway)
  2. Even if I had, breeders, responsible ones, aren’t to blame for all the kennels filled with animals who’ve been abandoned, surrendered, or whatever.
  3. I have nothing against rescue dogs or shelter dogs, nothing at all.
  4. I really don’t like this woman and I’m trying, really hard, to be semi-polite.
  5. She’s berating me because my dogs will be unruly since there are 4. As opposed to her one.
  6. Her one, is yanking at the end of the leash, barking aggressively at my four who are standing around waiting for me to move on. Keep in mind, her dog, looks like what mine chase and would consider a squeak toy, but her “Fee Fee” is the well behaved one.
  7. We then move on to how I’m a bad mom because I won’t let me dogs play with hers. Come on now, I’m not stupid. You have an aggressive dog, smaller yes, but still aggressive. I’m not putting my dogs in a position where they will feel the need to defend themselves.
  8. I try to keep walking but she adjusts and steps back in front of me.
  9. …temper rising
  10. Ask her to move through gritted teeth, dogs are now getting upset that I’m upset.
  11. She decides it is a “wise” move to point her finger at me and shake it like I’m some unruly child and I realize that some days, meditation just isn’t enough.
  12. I open my mouth to say something else, and no, it won’t be a polite statement when a cop rolls up.
  13. I may not always agree with cops but they do risk their lives and in this situation, had my back. I’m appreciative of the officer stepping in and advising the lady to leave me and my dogs alone. after she walked (or stomped, she wasn’t happy), he turns to me and asks about the dogs.
  14. Apparently, a few of the officers he works with have mentioned me and my pups as they’ve seen us walking and have stopped to talk to us. Not sure if it’s a good thing they know me, but hey, guess I’ll have to behave. *grin*

We headed back home after they all got petted and loved on. Filled up their kiddie pool and they’ve been out playing in it since.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

  1. Not everyone who pays for a dog from a breeder is adding to the evils in the world.
  2. As a whole, I’ve found breeders to be loving and caring people, wanting what is best for their breed. Always willing to answer questions and help those they trust their puppies to.
  3. Just because you have an unaltered dog or bitch, doesn’t mean you are breeding just for shits and giggles.

I love dogs, I love more than just my own dogs. I train them (not something I do for others, but I do mine) I want them to behave in public, I want them to be good ambassadors for the breed.

My final takeaway from this, aside from the reason I walk where I do, because I know it’s widely patrolled. If she approaches me again, I’m filing charges of harassment.

Now, I’m going to let some wet dogs in since they are at the sliding glass door, smearing their noses all over my at-one-time clean glass, and get something to eat.

Last Day of June

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Happy end of the first half to the year.

Exub Photo Stock

Exub Photo Stock

How has it been treating you thus far? Well I hope. Been a busy 6mo on this end and the second half of the year surely isn’t going to slow down any. More books to write, edit, release, all of which I am so happy about. The other job is also keeping me on my toes so not a lot of down time. But, we don’t race the dogs during the summer so that frees up my weekends.

Planning on taking a few days and jetting off to the mountains with DH and the hubs just so we can get away from it all. Not sure when, we still have to coordinate our schedules but I’m already looking forward to that. A couple conferences and a few other things to keep me occupied.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? Heck, even for summer only? Books to be read? What’s on that TBR pile that caught your attention? I’m always looking for more books to add to mine.