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Isa's Story

March 14th, 2017

So this happened

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Showed up in my snail mail last week. The donation was made by Isa’s day care. If you get a chance, check out Kindred Spirits – it’s a pretty amazing outfit.

I hope I am lucky enough to be half as loved as she was.



March 6th, 2017

Story Time

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

I’ve been writing Isa’s story off and on in a little notebook I have. As often as not I end up in a puddle but that’s my “new normal” so it is what it is. I really haven’t gotten further than her “gotcha” day. I suppose it can considered progress that I’ve moved from the end to the beginning of her story. Her bed is still where it always has been, her food bowl in place. I put her harness back on the dining room chair – I moved it after the first contractor I met with asked me if I had a giant gerbil. (WT …?) I’m working up to putting her harness up from grabs here but I’m not quite ready.  I consider it progress that I took her collar out of the drawer and set it next to her ashes. I was careful not to let the tags jingle – that would be too much. She hated being without her collar, always visibly relieved when I buckled it back on.

But that’s my story.

Today the memory floated up to the top of my brain of her playing tug of war with an acquaintance’s yorkie terrier, at best all of three pounds. The yorkie won, pretty much every time. Isa loved the game more than the subject stuffed hedgehog and allowed the yorkie to “pull” her forward. I’ve never seen anything like it.

That’s a quickie story and sadly no pictures.

So how about the story of our hike to Wheeler’s Peak (Taos, NM), must have been in 2012 early summer since there are pockets of snow around. Trail head is at 10,000 feet with just over a 3,000 elevation gain over 6.2 miles one way. What was I thinking? The first leg to Williams Lake is easy, a mile or so, and flat, relatively speaking. We hung out at the lake for a while – Isa is all about playing in the water.

Then we started up. And up. And up. The view(s) are spectacular.

That bluish shiny spot down there, only barely seen behind/between the trees? That’s the lake.

I’m sad to say we didn’t make it all the way to the top, largely because I’m a giant chicken. In my defense I was feeling the altitude: my legs were being very grumpy and complaining about a lack of oxygen, it was cold and windy the higher we got, and the trail was nothing more than loose rocks and a long-ass way down. Exhibit A:

But the biggest reason? A certain dog continually disappeared down the mountain, hidden among the rocks, investigating who knows what. And she certainly was not responding to my call and her hearing has been known to be “selective.” There is a chance she could not hear me – the wind was blowing the “wrong” direction. She probably did that 3,000 feet of elevation gain at least twice over. This was on the way up, at our lunch break, before the “disappearing dog” game began:

She was dragging doggy butt that last mile from the lake back to the car and I don’t think she moved again until the next morning. Well, except for dinner of course. One must maintain one’s meal schedule regardless of fatigue level.

We had lots of good hikes (and snowshoes) over the years. Wheeler’s Peak was easily our most ambitious. My preference is to putter along and enjoy the scenery without bodily damage. Being all dog, Isa always did three to four times my mileage. For that matter our regular neighborhood walks were power walks on my part. I could only barely keep up with her – she didn’t walk anywhere, it was always a trot. Except of course when it was necessary to stop and pee on something. Better still finding something edible (her definition, not mine) – thank goodness she had a cast iron stomach.

So that’s today’s story. More as I am able.


February 9th, 2017

Oh you guys!

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Your love and support has meant so much to me, I can’t even tell you. Not that I was surprised because I’ve seen it over the past six months but I was surprised. Without going into my personal idiosyncrasies, the depth and outpouring of your support changed me in the best possible way. I am forever in your debt.

And people in real life have been equally incredible. Even my vet, with whom as you all know I’ve had some ups and downs with, sent a beautiful basket of live plants with flowers tucked in here and there. And when I went into the pet food store for cat food a little while ago, the massive newfie who was hanging out looked straight into my eyes and clearly saw my hurt heart. At least until another lady came over with treats.

I can’t believe it’s been three weeks already. I’m functional, because that’s what I do, with occasional massive meltdowns. Right on schedule as near as I can tell. The house is too quiet and I’ve yet to figure out how to deal with food dropped on the floor. Doesn’t it disappear on its own? Always has before.

I’ll probably be around a little more from here on. I’ve missed all of you.

In parting, here is the first picture of Isa, on her gotcha day:

January 21st, 2017

Goodbye my sweet girl

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    
I knew, I knew all along. I simply was doing my very best ostrich imitation.
Isa had been having trouble getting around since well before Christmas. I thought it was the cortisone wearing off in her back. I still think that was an issue, but evidently not THE issue. She’d been eating very inconsistently as well.
Saturday she was on the bed playing with me, our long-standing weekend wrestling match and something she’d not been interested in doing in longer than I’m willing to admit. She was too close to the edge and rolled off. A perfect turtle trapped between the bed and the wall. I hauled her out, she shook it off and I didn’t think much more of it. She spent most of the weekend on her bed, not moving around much at all. Again I didn’t think too much of it – it had been that way for a while. I did notice Sunday that she was limping on her front leg.
Amazing what we can rationalize, isn’t it? I still clung to the belief that it was her back. At our regular Monday vet visit for her bandage change (her elbow never did heal), she was only barely walking, needed help with even a low curb. We were there to get her the cortisone shot as well so I thought we’d be okay in a few days once that kicked in. That was my plan anyway.
On Tuesday I was emailing a friend with the “weekend report” and suddenly remembered her falling off the bed. She must have hurt herself – I said very mean things to myself. Still I didn’t call the vet that afternoon, I waited to see if she was any better that evening. She wasn’t.
I called the vet in the morning. Our regular vet was off that day so I left a message for him and for our back up vet who was working that day. After some back and forth, I dropped Isa off for evaluation. I was still hoping it was a bruise or strained something from the fall. The tech helping me get her into the building commented on how stiff and obviously sore her right front leg was.
The back up vet called just before lunch. She talked for a while not saying much and I realized this was going to be bad news, I could hear it in her voice. This poor woman is same one that gave us the cancer diagnosis last summer. Eventually she got the words out – a metastatic lesion on her right shoulder. This stupid piece of crap disease didn’t even have the decency to metastasize properly. No, it has to start the torture all over again. The injustice of it is mind-boggling.
She kept talking for a while, “worst situation possible,” they could keep her there and we’d “take care of it” the next day or the next or I could take her home and bring her back into the office later.  I said I’d call back. I needed to wrap my brain around the information.
They put a fentanyl patch on her and I brought her home. We stopped and got a puppy latte at Starbucks and McDonalds for dinner: two McDoubles for her and we split some fries. A couple of friends came over a little later and we had wine and hung out with her, lots and lots of cuddles. I brought the smaller mattress downstairs so I could sleep next to her rather than try to get her into the big bed and hurt her in the process. We cuddled all night.
She had a giant steak for breakfast courtesy of one of our evening guests and I got her another puppy latte (and coffee for me). A pig’s ear, bone broth and some scrambled eggs in the afternoon. Her appetite was just fine. Aside from several naps, she was alert and giving kisses and wagging her tail all day. That fentanyl is some good drugs.
I cuddled and talked with her all day. The neighbors came over in the afternoon to say goodbye and prop me up. About 4pm a house-call vet came. She gave Isa a sedative and then the magic elixir. I held her and talked to her the entire time. Her passing was very, very peaceful.
I’m wandering around now with a gapping hole in my chest. I frequently get stuck places, sit down to put socks on and forget to get up again. Sometimes I remember to eat. It’s probably good Wallee is insistent on her needs.
Isa visited me in my dreams last night, all four legs of course. She just sat with me while I petted her.
Run free my sweet girl.
January 13th, 2017

Six Month Ampuversary!

Posted by teri in Uncategorized    

Ms. Isa has asked that I issue a statement as to her continued good health six months after having mislaid her spare leg. She stated that she was in a state of dishabille and was therefore refusing any and all photography or portraiture to commemorate the event. A hint was given that this decision might be reconsidered at a later point in time, if/when she has sufficiently recovered her belle tournure.

No apology or explanation for this sudden and inexplicable haughtiness were forthcoming.

She has been a bit under the weather of late – her back is getting worse daily and the gabapentin is of less and less help, so perhaps therein lies the explanation. After due negotiation with the vet (aka Dr. Charming), she’s getting another cortisone shot on Monday. Hopefully she’ll be back to her usual self a few days after that. Then we’ll go find some snow and see if we can match Meg’s antics!

Happy January!

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