Caring for Critters: Dealing with kidney disease

Caring-For-Critters2-200

This post is a part of the Caring for Critters Health Issues Round Robin hosted by Heart Like a Dog. As the adorable graphic suggests, pet bloggers will be sharing their personal experiences, health problems their pets have faced, and how we dealt with them. While we consulted veterinarians and specialists in determining our own course of treatment, we are not vets and nothing shared should be considered medical advice. Got it?

I’ll admit – I had trouble deciding what to write about today. My beautiful Bella had numerous health issues over the years, so choosing one was difficult. I also wasn’t necessarily motivated to revisit some of those issues in light of our recent loss. However, inspiration finally hit, and this post is the result. Continue reading

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Back to drool…

Have you always lived with an animal? College was the only chapter of my life when I didn’t live with a pet. (There was a brief period when I had fish, but it’s safe to say that I was not meant to be a fish parent.) Dogs and cats weren’t allowed in campus housing – and, truthfully, irresponsible college students aren’t in the best position to take care of living beings anyway.

However, we did occasionally watch Molly, a Basset Hound that belonged to the parents of one of my roommates.  We’d sneak her in for a few days here and there. She brought some much-needed fur and slobber to our on-campus apartment.

As soon as I graduated and got a place of my own, I started thinking about adopting a pet. A few months after graduation, Bella moved in… and the rest is history.

College was on my mind today after I watched the video below.  (Also, the puppies kind of remind me of Bella – especially the one with only a single ear in the air.)  If only there had been regular puppy stampedes* at my alma mater…

*I have more to say about puppy stampedes. Check back on Thursday…

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The State of the Blog Address

NaBloPoMo August 2014

My fellow Blogarians,

As you may have noticed, posts have been pretty sparse around these parts for the past few months. April and May were busy months for me – I went on a real vacation (to the Bahamas) for the first time in ages, went to New York twice, and then went to Vegas for a quick weekend. During the same time period, I was preparing to transition to a new job (which I started in June).

In May, we also had to say goodbye to our beloved Bella. Although the past few months have been busy and full of changes, it’s this last event that had the most impact. Most days, I didn’t even think about blogging. When I did occasionally log into the blog, I’d find myself staring at a blank screen.

I did begin to wonder if and when I’d find the motivation to start this whole thing up again. Then, a friend posted about the August edition of NaBloPoMo – basically, you sign up and commit to post daily for the month. I wasn’t sure if I should do it, but then I read the theme for the month.

It’s all about memories.

Kind of perfect, right? I’ve been a bit consumed by memories lately, after all. I’m hoping that signing up for NaBloPoMo will serve two purposes: (1) to help me get my blogging groove back and (2) to help me move forward while I’m looking back.

I realize that I started yesterday off with a somber post, but I promise it won’t be all doom and gloom over here. Perhaps I’ll even recapture some of my whimsy and manage to make it rain on your face from laughter as opposed to sadness. No Frown Friday might even return from its long vacation. We’ll see how it goes.

Stay tuned…

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20 ways to miss your Rover

… or, in this case, your Bella.

I was thinking recently about all of the things – both little and not-so-little – that have changed around here since we lost Bella in May. Sometimes it seems like I’m surrounded by a thousand tiny reminders on any given day.

Loosely inspired by this song, here are twenty (out of countless) ways I miss my Bella:

  1. Every morning, I wake up to the sight of an empty dog bed. I can’t quite bring myself to move it.
  2. I haven’t moved her food dish either.
  3. My morning routine has changed. I’d gotten used to spending at least thirty minutes cajoling Bella into eating her breakfast.
  4. There’s no one in the blanket cave that Bella liked to hide in.
  5. In fact, I washed the blanket in question and put it in the linen closet.
  6. The nights are different too. It’s quiet without her nightly cave to bed migration.
  7. I miss her snoring. It was loud, yet so comforting.
  8. It’s weird to walk by the front door and not see her watching the world go by.
  9. Tavish has been spending less time staring through those windows as well.
  10. Every time I vacuum, I feel a little sad. With each pass, I’m removing more Bella hair that will never be replenished.
  11. For that reason, I didn’t even try to vacuum for the first month.
  12. When I finally did vacuum, I couldn’t stop thinking about the time(s) Bella left a toy in front of the vacuum as her own form of protest. We (perhaps inappropriately) called it her Tiananmen Square move.
  13. My stairs are curiously clear of furry obstacles.
  14. I miss helping Bella go up and down the stairs.
  15. My kitchen seems empty too. I keep avoiding Bellas that are no longer camped out waiting for food to fall from the sky.
  16. I’m falling out of practice with regard to all of those hand signals.
  17. Tavish seems to spend a lot more time licking the humans in the house.
  18. Sometimes I wonder if that’s because his usual kissing target isn’t available now.
  19. Working in the yard is weird too. She always loved to supervise (aka nap in the flower beds) while we puttered around.
  20. I really, really, really miss my Bella hugs.
Beautiful Bella via wantmorepuppies.com

How I miss that sweet and silly face…

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In my dreams, it’s still the same…

Have you ever had one of those dreams that made you furiously happy and deeply sad at the same time?

This past weekend, I had one of those dreams. In it, I was cleaning my house.  (Even in my dreams, I channel Monica Geller – at my house, you can eat cookies over the sink!) I opened the patio door to go into the backyard, and stepped out onto our deck. Suddenly, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned to see my beautiful Bella, the very picture of unbridled joy, her tongue hanging out as she raced towards me. I leaned down, just in time to catch her as she bounded into my arms.

One happy dog via wantmorepuppies.com

Happy tails to you…

I awoke to the feeling of her wagging tail and of holding her tight. Bella was always a wonderfully enthusiastic welcoming committee, and i always felt so loved when I returned home. I woke up feeling that love all around me.

It was the perfect reunion, and I felt a powerful sense of peace and happiness, accompanied by the sadness of knowing that we can only meet in my dreams. However, if it gets me a few more precious minutes with Bella, I’ll welcome all the dreams that come my way.

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Just one of those (important) days…

Two years ago today, this furry face joined our family. We adopted him from Friends of Homeless Animals, and the rest is history…

Gotcha Day! via wantmorepuppies.com

Happy Tavishversary!

Here’s to a snuggly dog that’s scared of his water bowl and of his own farts… but still struts around the neighborhood like he owns the place. (Bella taught him well. Following her example, he seems to believe that if he can see it, it belongs to him.)

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been two years. So much has changed since then… but not how awesome this little dude is. (He’s pretty darn awesome.)

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I’m getting mutton for Christmas

These past few weeks, I’ve found myself revisiting some of my favorite Bella memories. Remembering all of her wonderful quirks makes me smile, even if that smile is often (okay, always) through some tears. In any event, I thought I’d share a few of these as I try to get back into the blog.

Today’s tale has it all – mystery, comedy… and even MURDER.

It was a cold night. Presents were stacked under the unlit Christmas tree. In the corner of my mother-in-law’s living room, a ceramic assembly gathered around an empty crib, quietly awaiting the arrival of the porcelain Savior. Faux-human and faux-animal alike, they patiently kept watch, anticipating the moment that the giant hand would place the baby in the miniature manger.  Distracted by the imminent miracle, they failed to notice that one of their own was missing.

He wasn’t the fanciest sheep, nor the prettiest one. In fact, they never knew how he became a part of the flock. He was always there, but he was undeniably different. The leader of the flock accepted him without question, and the others followed like… well, like sheep. (Just calling ‘em like I see ‘em.)

That fateful night, the plastic sheep found himself separated from the ceramic flock. As he faced down the giant she-beast, he knew that he would not see the Nativity storage container ever again. Although she did not usually devour miniature figurines, his plastic scent was too much to resist that night.

Later, in the harsh light of Christmas morning, the crime scene revealed itself. Crumbs of plastic sheep littered the manger. It didn’t take a world-class detective to discover the culprit – after all, the small brown and white dog happily pooping out pieces of plastic sheep didn’t seem too ashamed of her heinous act.

Bella's Mugshot - wantmorepuppies.com

The face of a smooth criminal…

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Pupdate: I’m still here

Hello, my friends.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written. I haven’t really felt all that much like blogging since I said goodbye to Bella. (Some days, I haven’t felt like doing much of anything.) However, please know that I read every single one of your comments on my last blog post. Your kind words touched my heart and meant a great deal to me during the past few weeks.

Bella kiss via wantmorepuppies.com

A smooch for a pooch.

I do plan to talk more about what we’ve been doing and how we’ve been adjusting here at Casa de I Still Want More Puppies. I want to give Bella a proper farewell on the blog as well, but I haven’t figured out what that means yet. How do I say goodbye? How do I celebrate her?

I was profoundly moved by the way that our friends at Kenzo the Hovawart and Will My Dog Hate Me said farewell to Viva and Frankie, respectively. I want to find an appropriate and meaningful way to say goodbye on this blog as well. I’m hoping that it will also help me as I navigate my way forward.

With that in mind, I’ll probably be playing it a bit by ear for a little while. I have some serious things on my mind (obviously), but I’m going to try to mix those in with regular blog posts, photos of Tavish (because his furry face is good for what ails me), and (if I can manage it) some humor. We’ll see how it goes as I ease back into this whole blogging thing. Stay tuned…

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The unbearable absence of Bella

This post is one I can’t believe I have to write. Today, our family said goodbye to Bella. We kissed this sweet face farewell, and life will never be the same.

Goodbye Bella

Goodnight, sweet pup.

We have been managing her kidney disease for over two years now, but – after a very difficult weekend – we had to face the reality that her condition had deteriorated rapidly in the past few days. It was time to let her go.

I don’t quite know what else to say. I find myself suffocated by her absence. Everywhere I look, I see where she is not. I’m not quite me without her.

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