Sunday, June 21, 2015

Something Blue

One year ago today, I said goodbye to my best friend.  He found me when he was about two months old, and spent the next sixteen years making sure I was okay. He died two months before his seventeenth birthday, and although we had a twenty year contract, I was -and still am- grateful for those sixteen years. I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. 

It has taken me a year to be able to not only watch the videos we took of Tank's last day, but to share them with anyone. It was too difficult for me. It still is, but it felt right to watch them, and I'm glad I did. 

This is video I took coming back from my mom's house, where we'd brought Tank to say goodbye to my mom and sister, and my sister's dog, Jackson.  My mom gave me a little dog figurine she'd found at the thrift store and purchased because it looked just like Tank. 

One the way home, we stopped at A&W and my husband bought Tank his first bacon cheeseburger.  He spent the ride home, constantly sniffing the bag, drool pooling at the corners of his mouth.  When we got home, I fork-fed him the burger, and afterwards followed it up with two pieces of cheesecake.  He was bright and alert the entire time, but I could still see in his eyes that he was ready to go. You don't spend every day for sixteen years with a dog and not know what's going on behind those soulful old eyes.  I could suffer the pain of losing him if it meant giving him the peace he deserved.   You can kick me out of the vegan club, too. I don't regret buying a burger for my dog. I did the same thing for my old golden retriever, Chester, the day we found out he was diagnosed with liver cancer.

I haven't had cheesecake in over 20 years, but I happily fed two pieces to Tank and watched his eyes light up with every bite. 

It's getting harder and harder to keep writing about him.  I'm at a coffee shop right now, using their internet, with no dogs around me.  It's hard to stay sad with Bummer climbing around on me and Curly Joe flopping around at my feet, but here in this cold, public place, I can feel the absence of dog. Of my dog. I love Curly Joe and Bummer with all of my heart, but there will never be another Tank.  I will never feel the way I felt about him again.  I have come close with those two, but there is no sense of  "He is my dog, and I am his person" with them. They love me, for sure, but even when I had seven dogs in the house, Tank was the one who always looked out for me.  He was always there. It's hard to explain if you've never experienced it. But it's hard to live with sometimes. Their lives are so heartbreakingly short compared to ours. I've said it before, all the years I'll live with the pain of losing Tank, I wouldn't trade for anything, because no matter how much it hurts, there's so much more love behind that pain, I will never want for it again.  Sure, Curly Joe and Bummer love my husband more than me, but I had Tank's love and devotion for almost seventeen years, and he had mine. It was all worth it. And I can keep honoring that love by continuing to rescue dogs. I will continue to be a shepherd on the Island of Misfit Dogs. 

I'm still working on it, but someday soon I will have a massive tattoo done up in Tank's honor.  

And so I'll end this now with a Neil Diamond song that I can't listen to or watch without sobbing, but completely sums up my relationship with Tank.  As does my favorite, "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp," which follows after Neil..  Please listen and enjoy. And then go take your dog(s) for a walk, which is what I am going home to do.  

I miss you, Tanker. I will always love you. I believe in a heaven if it means I'll be with you again someday.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Monday, April 27, 2015

Free Comic Book Day this Saturday, May 2nd!

Don't forget that this Saturday is Free Comic Book Day!

Check out this video, then head on over to Free Comic Book Day to find out where YOU can get some free comics!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The wheel weaves as the wheel will

Lots going on, but with raging ADHD and no internet access from home, I can't bring myself to update much.  I'm on my lunch break at work right now.  The Leonid meteor showers are tonight, but I'll miss them, again, because I work graveyard.

RockerBoy and I are signed on for another year at our apartment, so he went all out and started decorating/arranging the place. It looks awesome, and I'd post pics but... ADHD. The weather is finally getting better, so we've been walking more, but RockerBoy's asthma has been really bad since December, and we've been dealing with medical leave and doctor visits/testing, etc. in all that time. It's been stressful, but we've got each other, so we get by. 

We have had Bummer for almost six months now, and he's really come into his own. In other words, he's an insufferable brat. Kidding! He's just a regular puppy who just happens to be deaf and mostly blind. I'm just now getting him confident enough to walk down the three flights of stairs at our apartment by himself. His depth perception is obviously messed up, and he goes very slowly, but he knows he gets a treat at each of the landings, so his tail is always wagging. We had a puppy reunion with his sister, Daisy, (also deaf/blind) a couple of months ago, and much fun was had by all. It was great to see them playing together again, as apparently they had been really close as littermates. 

Curly Joe just turned seven, and is starting to slow down a bit in his old age. As soon as we get our tax return money, we're going to take him in for a tune up, get him on arthritis meds so he'll feel better. 

In about two weeks, RockerBoy and I will celebrate our one year wedding anniversary, although on April 28th it will be two years that he came out here (and never left). Hard to believe so much time has gone by; it feels like we've been together forever (in a good way). I never really knew what love was until him. I guess that's cliche, but that's how I feel.  That's not to say we don't have our rough patches, but nothing any other couple doesn't go through. Mostly it's laughs and smiles, which my friends call "the honeymoon stage," but I just call "us." We're goofy and nerdy and love to prank each other.  For April Fools this year, I surprised him with a plate of "weenie linguine." He ate all of it with a smile on his face.  

I look forward to many, many more years with this guy and our weirdo, messed up dogs. 

I'd write more, but my time is up.  Happy Earth Day, internet.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Doggie Dash 2015

Please click on the link below to help me reach my goal of raising $150 for the Oregon Humane Society!

Doggie Dash 2015

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Monday, November 3, 2014

I have won Satan's lottery.

"It shouldn't matter. His senses are keen and his heart is righteous."

This weekend, my husband and I added to our little family; we adopted a very special puppy who we've named Bummer, after the dog in Christopher Moore's novels "You Suck" and "A Dirty Job." 

Rockerboy, Curly Joe, me and 7-Up/Bummer at Oregon Dog Rescue

Tank has been gone almost five months, and though I vowed to never get another dog, Facebook had something else in mind for me.  I follow several dog rescue groups on Facebook, and one relatively local one posted a picture of some very unique-looking puppies. They caught my attention because a) PUPPIES, and b) they looked like my childhood dog, Duke, and my old dog Bernie who died several years ago. It wasn't until a week or so later that I saw it mentioned that a couple of the pups were blind and deaf.  My sister and I, over the years of taking in animals, became known as the Island of Misfit Toys for animals. If it was messed up in some way, it was OURS. And we took the best care of them, and they all lived long, happy lives. My heart went out to the puppies, especially as I watched the adoption announcements pop up for the "normal" puppies.  7-Up and his sister, Rootbeer, remained behind at the rescue. 

I brought it up to my husband, "How would you like to adopt a blind and deaf puppy?" and he was understandably nervous at the prospect.  "What if I step on it and hurt it because it can't get out of the way?" Not to mention, how do you train a blind/deaf puppy? Finally, I said, "Well, what if we just foster one of them? See how it goes?"  Before I could look into that, I saw the notice that Rootbeer had been adopted. A couple of more adoption events went by, at which 7-Up was present, but wasn't adopted. He was all I could think about. I knew in my heart that he should be with us, and when another picture popped up of him in a little Oregon Ducks sweater, I became determined to make him ours, if only to get him out of those Greenbay colors

A lot of people commented on the photo, saying they wanted to come out and see him at the next adoption event, and I panicked: someone else was going to snatch him up before I could. Then my car went kaplooey to the tune of $700. 7-Up's adoption fee was about half that, so needless to say, I was devastated.  I read in the rescue's description of him that he was mostly blind and deaf.  Mostly? Well, I can work with that! I fostered a deaf dog when I lived in upstate New York, and he was a great companion. Friday rolled around and when I went to pick up my car, found that it wasn't as bad as they'd feared, and the bill was $300 less than expected. Then my husband came home and told me he didn't have to work on Saturday, and that we could be at the rescue in the morning, right when they opened. We pawned his amp for an extra $200, and I told the rescue that my husband and I and Curly Joe would be there to meet 7-Up. When I got home from work Saturday morning, I stayed up and cleaned and at 9:30 took Curly Joe for a walk. We left at around 10:30 and got to the rescue right as the volunteers were bringing the fostered dogs in.  As we parked the car, I kept saying, "Is that him? Is that him? Is that him??" but none of them were. 

We took Curly for a short walk, then sat in the car for a few more minutes. At 11:00 on the dot, Rockerboy, Curly Joe and I walked into the Oregon Dog Rescue and asked to see 7-Up. We were told he hadn't arrived yet, so I sat down with Curly and Rockerboy excused himself to use their restroom.  A few seconds later, a woman walked in with a small carrier, and one of the volunteers said, "There's 7-Up!"  

As soon as Rockerboy came out, they brought the puppy over to see us and it was love at first sight. Which sounds mean because the poor guy is mostly blind, but there it is. Love at first blur. The first thing I noticed was his muppet face, the second was the ridge of fur stuck up in a stripe along his spine. They let us into this little gated meeting area where we could interact with the puppy. He hopped out of my arms and trotted around like he had 20/20 vision, totally ready to play with Curly Joe. His foster mom came in and talked to us about him, how he got along with her two other dogs, how he got along at home, etc. I guess all the puppies have that ridged stripe of fur, and one of them has been renamed Stripe. (They were all named after different kinds of pop: 7-Up, Rootbeer, Mountain Dew and Sprite.) 

After what seemed like two minutes, we were signing papers and going over the adoption process. 7-Up's foster mom brought us his things, and said goodbye before she started crying. Rockerboy and I were choked up as well, mostly because we were finally meeting him after all that time, and he was so adorable and awesome, and his ears do the "happy ear" thing that Tank's used to. 

He has an appointment to be neutered on the 11th, which is already paid for so YAY. I'm going to request that night off of work because Rockerboy has zero puppy experience and even less than zero post-surgery experience. 

We had originally thought of renaming him Bonzo because it sounds like a muppet and he looks like a muppet, plus: Zeppelin. But Bummer seemed like HIS name. One of the things Rockerboy and I bonded over after reconnecting on facebook was our mutual love for Christopher Moore's novels, and Bummer is one of our favorite characters. Little Bummer passed out in my lap on the way home.

As soon as we walked into the apartment, he walked in like he'd always lived there. It was a gloomy afternoon, so I turned all the lights on so Bummer could see his new living space as best he could. He bumped into a few things (mostly while playing with Curly Joe), but nothing concussion-inducing, and really you can hardly tell he has vision issues. 

Having been awake for 24 hours at this point, I decided to take a little nap on the couch.  Bummer joined me.

We woke up a few hours later, just in time to veganize my mother-in-law's stuffing recipe and watch Svengoolie. We all ended up passing out on the couch, and I got up around 6:00 to take the puppy outside.  He's peed every time I've taken him out and pooped almost as often. So far, no accidents in the house. I don't expect that to hold out, but for now it's nice. It's hard to put his collar on him so we can go outside because he's just so PUPPY EXCITED and has NO idea why I'm messing with the back of his neck, and once we get outside, he does his business and that's about it. Sunday afternoon, we took both dogs for a short walk around the complex, and Bummer was so happy to be walking with Curly Joe, he started frolicking. Like, Kermit the frog spaz dance frolicking. So bad that I had to pick him up and carry him for fear he'd frolick himself right off of the sidewalk.  I'm thinking I'm going to get blinking lights to put on our shoes and Curly Joe's collar so that he has a better visual cue as to where he's walking. I am also going to get him a safety vest for the express purpose of drawing "cautious" attention to him. I'll write "I  AM BLIND AND DEAF" on it so that people will know to ask before trying to pet him.  

I've already contacted Petsmart about special classes for him, and was so jazzed to find out they offer private and group classes.  I have a couple of days off this week, and I may take Bummer to see the trainer I spoke to, so she can get a better idea of how we should approach his training. 

All in all, he's settling in nicely here. I think Tank would have approved. He reminds us of Tank in a lot of ways, actually. Maybe that should upset me, but it doesn't. We both find it comforting. Considering all the little things that led up to Bummer's adoption, I think Fate had a hand in this. I've had animals my whole life, and I am a firm believer in the right dog finding you at the right time. That was never more true than with Tank and how he chose me, and I think this time it was my turn to choose Bummer. The thing that touches our hearts the most about Bummer is that he was born right around the same time Tank died. We joked that they met in passing; Tank on the way out, Bummer on the way in, and Tank said to the puppy, "I have just the family for you.  Hold on and they'll find you." And we did. Money is tight, my debt is high, life is stressful, but it's all easier to deal with now that there are two dogs in the house again.  Only having one dog felt wrong, for us and for Curly Joe. And though Curly is having some issues adjusting, it's not hard to see how happy these two make each other. 

(The noise you hear around the 20 second mark is me having a breathing treatment.)