How do you let go?

She is getting tired.

Dogs, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Chessies

Watching her closely with sad hearts.

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Our sweet sweet girl is starting to look very tired. So very hard to see her this way.We know the time is nearing but our hearts are not ready.

Just Ramblin’

A Moment

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Miss Stella and Miss Sadie share some secrets. Time keeps marching but our hearts continue on pause. We are watching our girl on a daily basis … her gleam is not so sparkly, her ‘boss mode’ and bark arrive less often, and her eating has slowed. More accidents occur in the house and often she struggles after being carried to the yard. However, she still loves her ear scritches and that ‘look’, you know the ‘tired beyond able to rest and catch up’ look, has not quite shown up yet. Her Chessiness is amazing in that she has such tenacity and durability. She seems to want to grab every moment of life and living possible. It is as if she is almost trying to teach us something and we ‘two-leggeds’ just do not quite have it yet. I am determined to listen to this sweet girl. She has something to say and we are listening.

Just Ramblin’

I’ve Got Sunshine

Miss Sadie Lou continues to be strong. She wants to get out to run and play in the yard like when she was a young pup. We carry her into the yard, let her get her footing, and she picks one of the squeaky toys to start bossing. She will wobble her way a few feet from us, drop her toy of choice, and begin to nudge it with her nose and bark at it bossing it with complete confidence. No arthritis nor age will take that from her. We have to stop her and bring her back in, otherwise she tries to run and chase but this she is unable to do any more. She has lost a great deal of weight, is having more accidents in the house, and has extreme difficulty with getting up and down from the floor; yet in her Chessie determined way, she continues to make the best of it with grace and dignity. May I have even the smallest part of what this little girl has when I begin battling the process of aging.

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Miss Stella continues to grow and keeps us on our toes. Her personality is amazing and perception of Miss Sadie’s needs even more so. We have celebrated her second birthday (typical post with pictures to come soon) and are constantly surprised by what a wonderful pup this girl is each day. The seasons of life seem to recycle. Having lost our Miss Maggie with Sadie guiding  us through the process, we have now been blessed with Miss Stella and her Newfieness to help us deal with this phase of Miss Sadie’s life.

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Soaking up some sunshine with a little squeaker.

I continue to thank you for your patience with my lack of diligence in blogging and commenting.

Just Ramblin’

Paw Prints

Newfies, Dogs, Pets, Gentle Giants, Newfs

I hope to be able to read and respond to comments and others’ posts soon. I appreciate your patience. Having lost so many loved ones, I know time with Miss Sadie is the most valuable gift and I need to spend it hanging with her and Stella. I continue to still focus on being present in Sadie’s moments as they are precious. Miss Stella is her true Newfie self and bounds through the days with much enthusiasm. Her ability to bring happiness everywhere she goes is astonishing. We think she is keeping Miss Sadie motivated. If we are outside playing fetch, Miss Sadie wants so much to race after the ball and will attempt to do so but we have to intervene as it is to hard on her little bones. If allowed, she will try to race using just her front legs and her back side will move as one unit and not two strong legs. It is taking her longer to greet me at the door at the end of the day which completely breaks my heart. We often call her ‘Chicken Noodle’ as she wiggles her way like a cooked noodle, rather than walk, bringing us her typical sweet Chessie smile in greeting. But more often than not these days, she snoozes rather than struggle to get up and walk. I understand. It hurts her bones … and our hearts, hers included. Her eyes are starting to get a little softer and more tired. Her movement, more staggered and sketchy. She spends more time trying to get up than staying up. Yet, put her duck, tennis ball, or squeaky in front of her and she will boss it like she is still a young pup. She can often be found laying at our feet and you feel a slight trembling … it is her. I will lean in to her, scratch that sweet soft curly fur behind her ears and on her neck, and try to truly hear her.

Chessies, Dogs, Pets

She is my Chessie. I will listen to her. She is leaving paw prints on my heart and in my life.

Just Ramblin’

Lean On Me

Just a quick up date. Please accept my apologies for not being around the blogging community. I miss reading, sharing, and commenting. However, my focus is Miss Sadie Lou. Her struggle is tough, but her spirit even more so. She has had 5 shots to help with her pain and mobility and most likely little to no more will be allowed as they can be just as tough on her little body. We continue to let her guide us.

Chessies, Newfoundland Dogs, Newfies, Dogs

In addition to using her sweet and strong Chessie spirit to fight aging, she has helped me with a leadership project at work. Many have fallen love with her and Miss Stella as they try to share words of wisdom to help others become strong leaders for tomorrow. Miss Sadie provides an amazing example of true leadership.

Just Ramblin’

Taking Care of an Elderly Pup

Sadie.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Chessies, Dogs

Sadie Lou Simba Nala.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Chessies, dogsThe girls each wanted to name her and neither could decide which was willing to give in, so I let them both name her. She was both of theirs anyway so it made sense. And it fit.

Perfectly.

We have been amazed at her tenacity. Her strength, courage, and ability to fight. She struggles every day with her hips and joints, but she still has that ‘puppness’ that lets us know she is maintaining quality. I often look at her during our morning time when we share my toast. I mean really look at her. She does look older. Her body has lost weight and she has a curve to her back-end. She creaks when she gets up or settles for a nap. Rarely does she have accidents in the house. If she does, she lowers her sweet head as if embarrassed. She stumbles and has trouble getting back to her feet, often waiting for one of us to get to her. Forget stairs. The two that lead from the deck to the yard are too much. Occasionally she will try to go down them if we are not there quick enough, and trust me, we race to get there. It is heart wrenching. But she turns to look at us, and the stairs, and I would swear she is saying, “Ha! Look at that. I still got it!” Even though she basically slid down them. She gains some footing and takes off to the best of her ability, trying to run and finds a spot to do her business. Then she barks at the wind and talks to her toys. She plays with Stella and they ‘talk’. If only I knew what wisdom they were sharing with each other!

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In due time, she waddles her way to the stairs and barks. She has given up trying to go up. No effort. But there is also no look of defeat in her eyes there either. Pure Chessi stubbornness, durability, and strength.

meds for aging dog

We have had her on some meds for a while. We did something similar with Maggie Mae. She has a dose in the morning, and a while back we added a mini-dose late in the afternoon. There are no problems other than arthritis and aging issues and these meds have helped her for some time. A few months ago, we noticed the stumbling and difficulty getting back to all four paws increasing and knew that time was getting more measured for our girl. With our hearts still, we called our vet and discussed the steroid shots we had used with Maggie Mae. They seemed to work wonders for her, even if only a few were used.

elderly dog

At Thanksgiving, we pretty much knew that it was getting to be ‘that time’. Once you have been there, you never want to go back. Ever. We took her to the vet and decided to try the shots and just take it moment by moment. And we have been. We have gained a month with our sweet girl. She has brought laughter and fun to each day. She has reminded us of our own need to find the will and strength to open the door you thought was closed on the ability to laugh and smile. All of us have been on that side of the door, the one which feels as if it is no longer going to be good. Yet it can be. There has to be hope and strength and a willingness to try. Giving up is not an option. Sadie lets us see this each and every day. She reminds us to find it in ourselves each day. Her strength and spirit are truly amazing.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Chessie

Each day is a gift with her. Some days she mostly sleeps, others she is more talkative and tries to be up and about. No matter which, she is a true gift wrapped up in Chessie fur.

Just Ramblin’

How to spend a holiday.

I chose to spend this Thanksgiving hanging with my pups. Sadie Lou could not have handled being boarded even though we have an amazing vet and boarding facility. The cold and lack of family interaction would have been too much.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Newfoundland Dog, Newfie, Gentle Giants, Chessies, Dogs

We had a very close call the Saturday before Thanksgiving and were trying to prepare ourselves … as if that is possible. Maggie Mae went through a period like this and got to ‘that point’. I called our vet to talk and ask about the shots we gave to Mags to help out when she got real bad with her walking and hips. I have Sadie on meds, but these shots were something we only used when things were really bad to the point where Mags had trouble getting up due to being so sore and stiff. We opted to try the shot and hope for the best as Miss Sadie has so much pup in her heart and soul. You can hear it in her bark and see it in her eyes. At this point, I knew that my extended family would understand that Sadie deserves to be comfortable and content right now. She deserves to be with her family.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Newfoundland Dog, Newfie, Gentle Giants, Chessies, Dogs

The two pups and I had our own little holiday, while the rest of the crew visited  out-of-town family. Sadie Lou ‘bossed’ and nosed her duck around the yard as much as she could, chilled with me with her head on my lap, and Miss Stella stood by her side. We were lucky to have fairly decent weather with warmer than normal temps so the pups could hang outside a little extra.

Chessie, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Dogs

Sadie Lou would stumble and fall while waddling afterher toys, refusing to sit still while in the fresh air. She would wait a few, then with a little help or sometimes on her own, wiggle her way back to all fours and start bossin’ her toy around with her bark and nosen’ it across the yard. She wears quickly, and often refuses to head in but rather heads to her den under the chimney. We added a blanket and put a water bowl right beside her so when she is in this stubborn mode, she is comfortable.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Chessies, Dog

When ready, she barks at the back steps, as if telling them that she will continue to come outside to play even if they try to get in her way. This certain bark lets me know she is ready to come inside. We usually have to carry her back in, and get her to carpet so she has footing to stabilize her walk. I have found that two of our non-skid yoga mats end-to-end work beautifully (for Miss Stella too!) on the hardwood floor. They provide the perfect non-slip surface. The color may not be perfect, but who cares. They allow both my pups to be safe, sturdy, and stable!

Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Newfoundland Dog, Newfie, Gentle Giants, Chessies, Dogs

We spend out time together. Sharing. Being. Loving. For now we are day to day and moment to moment. Cherishing each and every one. This sweet little girl of mine is a gift beyond measure.

Chessie, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Dogs

Grabbing each second. Holding on tight.

Just Ramblin’