I feel better than before, but ever since I lost my dog there has been a shadow on my soul. Will it ever get completely better?
Love From Afar July 1, 2013
I finally did something I have dreaded. In fact, I put it off for two weeks. Each time I thought of doing it, I found some great excuse not to. And I feel bad, REALLY bad, for having those feelings of dread. Guilt racks my body when I think of it. But, it is what it is, and I feel how I feel, right?
I finally called my mother.
I know how that sounds. It sounds like I am a horrible daughter (and I can be), or that she is a horrible mother (she can be). But I am trying to be transparently honest here in bloggo land, so here is the truth: I didn’t want to call her because of Riley.
My parents are not “dog people”. They both know how I am about animals because I’ve been that way my entire life. Every stray dog that came through the neighborhood got a good meal, de-ticked, a good bath, and a good dose of attention from me. Every time I begged to keep the dog, and every time the answer was no. I’m also the kid who found a wounded bat and kept it as a pet until my mom found out. As well as a bullfrog, various lizards, cats…..you get the picture. I’m crazy about animals and would live on a farm if I could.
My parents also knew how much Riley meant to me. I had my daughter email them when he died because I knew I could not carry on a normal conversation with anyone at that time. (Neither could she; that’s why she emailed). I also knew that my mom, who is well-known for having no tact, would piss me off. And of course, she did.
Some of her comments: ” He’s just a dog. Get over it already.” “What did you expect? He was sick. Didn’t you know it?” “You got another one of the same breed? What is wrong with you?” “You always acted stupid about animals anyway. You shouldn’t have any.”
I love my mom. I do have a love-hate relationship with her, though. This is the same woman who accused me of lying when I told her I was molested as a child. She also thinks J should “get over it”….in other words, get over bipolar.
My parents are old. I know I will be devastated when something happens to them. But most days, I have to love them from afar.
Meet Our Fur Ball, Tucker June 26, 2013
Meet Tucker. He is a Shih Tzu just like Sophie, and just like Riley was. He is adorable and has a sweet nature, but is feisty enough to hold his own with the “grand-pups” when they come over. I think it is okay that I am not bonding with him right away like I have my other dogs; he seems to like hubs, and they have bonded nicely. I’m fine with that; I just want the little guy to have the love he deserves. It’s not that I don’t like him; I really do. I just know my heart is not in it. I will grow to love him more because that is my nature; I am and always will be an animal lover.
Sophie is still avoiding Tucker. We are trying to help her out of her depression. The vet said to give her time, and to make sure she gets to do some favorite things. I bought her favorite chew toy today, and she got to go for not one, but TWO rides in the car. She seems content at the moment. As I am typing this, she is lying beside me chewing her toy. Tucker is playing on the floor with hubs, playing tug-of-war.
As for me, I had to get out of the house today. I got up early and went grocery shopping (I know, not exciting, but it gave me something to think about). At 10:00 I broke down. Riley died at 10:00 a week ago today. I also cried when it thundered because Riley was scared of thunder. After multiple breakdowns, we decided I needed a distraction so hubs took me to see a movie and then we went out to eat. It did help, so at the moment I feel more peaceful than I did earlier.
I’ve tried doing art, but it all turns to shit. I cannot force it; art (or writing, for that matter) has to come from somewhere deep inside. Even my photographs seem flat. Hopefully I will find that spark again, because it is the best emotional release I have.
New Puppy June 25, 2013
Yesterday, hubs took me to get a new puppy. I went to Riley’s grave and cried before we left. We went to look at one puppy and ended up coming home with his brother. He is the same breed, but looks nothing like Riley. I made sure of it.
He is a sweet, energetic little black fur-ball. I enjoy him, but I have no emotional ties to him. I pray that changes. As I sit in the floor and play with him, I cry because I miss Riley so much.
The puppy is a distraction. He takes constant supervision, as most pups do. My house is mostly puppy-proof, so I just close bedroom doors and he follows me around. Soph sits on the couch and watches him play.
I know I’ve fallen over another edge of depression; I can feel the tumble, yet I am helpless. I almost welcome it. Sophie, Riley’s female companion, is just as depressed. She is barely eating and will not come near the new pup. I hold her and we both watch the puppy while we mourn.
Today June 23, 2013
Today was the hardest day since the day Riley died. No particular reason; just a really, really hard day. I’ve cried so much I look like I was beaten in the face.
If you are not a dog person, you don’t get it. He was my little boy, my constant companion. If you averaged the time I spent with humans and the time I spent with my two dogs, I know for a fact I spent much more time with the dogs. He slept beside me at night, curled up under my left arm. If I rolled over, I felt his little fur weight pressed against my back. In the morning, he followed me to the bathroom, waiting patiently until I finished so he could be let out for his turn. If he got scared, he ran to my arms. He greeted me at the door every single day, joyful and happy that I came home again. If I went out-of-town, he moped and refused to eat until I returned. He loved to play ball, and would let me work on the computer for just so long before he insisted that I take a break and play with him.
Dogs have always had my heart. Riley came into my life when my girls went away to college and I felt so lonely. Hubs works 12 hour shifts so I am home alone a lot, especially in the summer. Not long after that was when J started the first downward slide of bipolar, addictions, and disorders. It was a hard time for hubs and I, and it drove us apart for a while. Mental illness is not understood by the general public, as you all know, so I had no one. Except Riley. He was not a trained therapy dog, but he might as well have been. When I cried, he stayed by me, licking my tears as they streamed down my face. When I calmed down, he would gently bring me his favorite ball and look at me with those huge, understanding eyes. God how I miss those eyes.
Hubs called to check on me today. I can hear in his voice how worried he is about me. He knows my tendency toward depression, and that in recent years it has gotten worse each time. He wants to go get a new puppy tomorrow. My first reaction was NO, but it’s not to replace Riley. That will never happen. But our little girl, Soph, is out of sorts and so lonely now. And if we get a puppy, it needs to be in the summer when I can train it. I’m just not sure I’m ready for that. Hubs is just trying to stop my downward slide, I realize that. It is so sweet. I’m just not sure.
Early Morning Aloneness February 10, 2013
I’m living in the moment and the moment is nice.
It’s early morning here, too early for ME to be up on a Sunday when I could sleep in. I awake to the feel of Riley’s warm body pressed close to me. I feel Sophie, his “lady” and my darling little girl, snuggled against my leg. Soft snores rise from hubs, and I am warm and cozy beneath my blanket. But, I am awake, and as often happens, nature calls. So I leave the comfort of my nest with my pups at my heels.
After a quick stop in the bathroom, we all three pad down the hall and into the kitchen. I turn on the day’s first pot of coffee and take the pups outside. Lucky for me, I have a fenced yard where they can roam freely. Sophie doesn’t like the cold and must be enticed to go out. I remain vigilant over my little man, so I stand on the back porch and shiver in the cold while he takes care of his business. A few minutes later we are all back in the warmth of the kitchen as I pour my first cup of steaming black coffee.
In the living room we settle into our normal positions: me, computer on my lap and mug in my hand, with Sophie curled on the arm of the love seat against my left side. Riley settles against my hip on the right. Today I feel his trembles. It is, I hope, a side effect of the new medication that will soon pass. He remains slightly disoriented and dazed, but seems fine otherwise. The medicine makes him drowsy, so he settles in for a snooze as I check my email and Facebook.
At 6:00 I disturb their slumber, but it is time for Riley’s medication. J forgot to buy canned dog food, so I get pieces of a hot dog. They each get two bites, Riley’s with his medication smuggled inside. The new pill is very large, so I watch to make sure it goes down. I write a note on the never-ending list on the notepad beside the refrigerator to remind myself to get the canned dog food. Breakfast is next, so I scoop two bowls of Pedigree’s finest into first one then the other bowl. Riley and Sophie sniff at each bowl and walk away, unimpressed. Riley walks into the living room and lifts his leg as he urinates on the blanket dangling from the ottoman. This is something he’s not done since being a young pup and I stare, momentarily shocked. When I move, it is to push, rather than spank, his hind quarters. He looks confused. I take him outside again, where he finishes his business. Back inside, he watches me closely as I scrub the ottoman and rug. He follows me as I toss the blanket into the washing machine and begin the first of many loads I need to complete today.
While up, I pour another mug of coffee. Back to the sofa, parade style, me in the lead and the two dogs following close behind. This time, Riley settles on the couch, choosing the end closest to me and he circles until it is just right. I hear a contented sigh as he relaxes again. Sophie waits patiently for me to get comfortable. I curl my legs up beneath me and place my computer lap-desk across my thighs. My coffee is within easy reach on the end table to my left. I pat the padded arm of the love seat to let Sophie know I am ready, and she leaps into her position and settles in.
I can see the kitchen window from my position here on the love seat and the day is brightening. Soon, the others in my home will wake up and join me, but for now, I am content in the comfort of my early morning aloneness.
Riley Update February 8, 2013
RILEY GETS TO COME HOME TOMORROW!! WOO-WHOOO! If all goes well tonight and he remains seizure free, I pick him up in the morning. That is, if he will come home; those pretty young college girls who are training to be vets have fallen in love with him. He does not spend time in a pen or crate; oh, no, not my Riley; he is too busy being cuddled by all the ladies! They take turns holding him on their laps while they work. Even the head vet of the department put him on a leash and let him walk around with her as she worked! That’s my boy: working his little chunky boy charm on the women! 🙂
It’s amazing how much better I feel. I will not completely relax until I have him home and safe in my arms, but just knowing he is doing better and feeling normal again makes me smile. It is so nice when the planets align and the stars twinkle just right and my life is on track for at least a moment or two. J is doing well at the moment, Riley feels better, my virus is gone, S (my other daughter) and her partner E are doing well…life is good.
But, you know me, there is that little awful voice in the back of my head saying….something bad is about to happen….things never stay good for long….
I am visualizing that little mouthy bitch that is always saying those negative things in my head…I am visualizing her as a little cartoon character with short dark hair and big brown eyes….now I am visualizing pounding her on the head with a hammer so she will GET OUT OF MY HEAD and let me enjoy some happiness for a while. There, that worked. That shut her up!
As I was saying, life is good!
Love For a Dog February 7, 2013
I am a pet lover. Specifically, I am a dog lover. I got my first dog when I was 3 1/2 years old, and I have never been without one since.
In my house, pets are part of the family. I currently have two dogs, a male and a female. They are both small inside dogs (which hubs said we would never have, but I won THAT round) and they rule. I cannot imagine life without either of them.
The male dog, Riley, is especially precious to me. He came to me when both of my girls went away to college and I suffered the classic “Empty Nest Syndrome”. This was before J was diagnosed with any problems. I had work, hubs, and….nothing. I felt useless because my identity was so tied in with being a mom. When Riley came into the family, he burrowed that furry little head right into my heart. He was mine, and I was his, right from the start.
Not long after he joined the family was when J was diagnosed with Bipolar. I spent many hours privately crying with only Riley to hold me and comfort me. I have always put on the brave face in public, even with family, and hold my crying sessions all alone. In fact, my favorite place to cry is while in the shower. Riley started the habit of going in the bathroom with me and lying on the rug until I get out. He would watch me with his knowing eyes and wait for me to dress and sit on the rug to hold him. Riley would take all my tears and make me feel better, so that I could make it one more day. He is honestly the reason I don’t break down more often than I do.
Now, here we are, 7 years into Riley’s life. About 8 months ago he started having seizures. He takes an anti-convulsive medication, but it is not working properly. My poor Riley had 20 seizures in a 24-hour period. He is now at the emergency vet’s office at the state college. They are giving him a new drug through an I.V. to see if they can stop the seizures. If it doesn’t stop, they want to do a spinal tap and MRI to look for a cause.
I do not want him to suffer. Hearing him cry between seizures was one of the most difficult things in the world for me. I feel so helpless and broken right now. I know he is in good hands, and they are keeping him sedated. But if they cannot make his life comfortable and of a good quality, then I will have to make a decision I do not want to make.
Life Break December 3, 2012
Some days, I don’t have anything to say. Or rather, I have so much to say that I don’t know what to say! Today is one of those days. My thoughts are bouncing around in my brain like a ping-pong ball. So I guess today I will ramble.
- My dog is sick. She has diarrhea and it is lasting much too long. I really have no money to take her to the vet, but I may not have any choice. I have called the vet and he said to try canned pumpkin to see if it helps. I pray she is better soon.
- My daughter, J, is sick. She has a cold. She acts as if the world is ending. I have no pity.
- It is December 3. DID YOU HEAR ME? DECEMBER 3rd ALREADY??!! I am not ready for Christmas. I have no spirit. I have no tree. I have no money. I have no desire to craft any gifts. <sigh>
- I’m not really in a funk. Well, not totally. But I can feel the darkness, hovering just out of sight. I have fought it with all of my might, trying to hold it off. I think I’m losing the battle.
- You know what I really want to do? Curl up in a ball in the center of my big comfy bed, and let someone else take care of everything. I would like to be able to just “be”. No demands, no problems, no fake cheer.
- I cannot fall asleep at night. I lay there, tossing and turning, until finally I drift off. When the alarm screams at me, it feels as if I am in a coma and I fight to wake up and stay awake.
I need a life break.