Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Not the usual Thanksgiving post...

Under normal circumstances, I might write about which wines we chose to take to Thanksgiving, how dysfunctional our combined family's Thanksgiving dinner is, & our yearly escape to Nashville the day after. Under normal circumstances, it'd probably be a damn funny read.

But these aren't normal circumstances.

The month of November hasn't been a good one. It's been heavy with stress, disappointment, frustration, sickness, & sadness. I'm not going to go into all of that on this blog, but there is one particular thing that I will talk about - some of the sadness.

Charles, who we'd been treating for hip dysplasia for months, took a terrible, horrifying turn for the worse late Saturday night. Charles had pulled through so many hard times in the past that we weren't quite willing to count him out just yet. We had hope late Sunday night when he was up walking around, but by morning, that hope was gone.

All day long, I held back tears. I had to be at work - they tend to frown on emergencies for dogs, regardless of how one feels about them. I need my job, so I spent the day riddled with sorrow & guilt. I wanted to be with Charles, & to take him out of his pain, but there was nothing I could do until the evening.

Charles needed us to do one last thing for him, so Doug & I were on the floor at Charles' side, petting him, when he died at Dr. Gwen's office at about 5:20 Monday evening. How I wish he could have heard us, I had things to say...but I believe he knew what I wanted to tell him anyway. He passed quickly & calmly. He has new hips & is running around somewhere with Lexie, he can hear & he's no longer in any pain. While we have peace knowing that we did the right thing for him, our hearts are broken.

I'd love to write a beautiful post about Charles & how much we loved him, but I'm afraid I'm just not up to it right now. I can only say that he was the most beautiful & sweet dog, & a very treasured member of our family. Not "like" a member of the family - Doug & the dogs are my family. Charles had the softest fur & loved being petted more than anything. He was a very happy boy & seemed to be constantly smiling. He was, before he lost his hearing, our staunchest defender -which was always very surprising because of his gentleness. He never hesitated to let that leaf blowing across our yard know that it should move on to the neighbor's house. Charles taught me a lot about patience....having a deaf dog can be tough, especially when the dog isn't the smartest. These things Charles couldn't help, but it was impossible to be angry at him for any reason. I wish I could do him more justice in this post, but I just can't.

Our house is far too quiet now. Charles made more noise than any of the others, he always had a very heavy, plodding step & liked to walk around at night. Mattie misses her best friend - while she seems to know what happened, she still looks for him every morning to play. Piper is very confused, & Bella keeps looking for him. They are all sticking very close to us - they know we are sad.

We're doing the best that we can, although that's not saying much. As for me, my emotional state keeps changing - I'm fine, then I'm crying. I'm numb, & then I'm too sad to even cry, but the tears end up coming anyway. (Luckily, I'm usually at home or in the car when this happens, I hate to cry.) Other times, they sneak up on me - not having to step over the spot where he was always sleeping, not having to stomp on the floor to get his attention, or catching myself using his signals... Those are just a few things. It's just going to take time for all of us to get better, & that sucks. But we WILL get better. We have to. In the meantime, we're always going to miss our boy.



Elf Charles


Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Birthday Suit

Hey, Mattie here. It's been a while since I've popped in, & since Mom's not looking, why not?

So, yesterday was my birthday. I'm 14 years old. 14! People say that's really old for a dog like me. Heh, I don't really feel old, so whatever. I might be getting a little grumpier in my old age, but hey, I've been through a lot, I like my comfort, & my little sister Piper gets on my damn nerves. I think I deserve to be spoiled & set in my ways.

For my birthday, Mom & Dad took the day off, but all they did was run errands & work around the house. No fun, but the house looked good. Then Dad put me in this:


At first, I was a little pissed - no one ever put me in a costume before. That was always Lexie's thing, & she actually liked it. (I really miss her, by the way.) Anyway, apparently Dad bought the costume for Bella, but then decided that since it was my 14th birthday, I should be the one to wear it. Ugh. But then Mom & Dad got into costumes, & then our friends showed up in their costumes, & everyone was telling me how cute I looked, & then it wasn't so bad. Then I remembered all of the Batman movies I've seen & how cool he is, & I figured Dad did right by me, as always. Even so, I don't get why people dress up for my's just weird.

But the sleeves were too long, so I kept stepping on them. Screw that. I got out of it.

People were here pretty late, & everyone was having such a good time. Everyone looked funny in their costumes, too. And you should see our house now - there are bottles everywhere because Mom was mixing up a bunch of drinks for everyone. I heard someone say that she should open a bar...good idea in theory, but when would she ever have time? I'd much rather she stay home with me all day.

She's home with me now, & that's what counts. They'll be leaving very soon because they have to go make that money crap. I don't think I'll ever get my head around that, but whatever. I just wish they'd leave the bedroom door open so that I can crash on the bed. They won't, though, because Mom really likes her really nice sheets & she says I'll tear them up. So this will have to do: