Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Dog gone it, I had a gurr-ate time the Monday at my Spa Day. My person dropped me off on Sunday and my spa 'treat'ment began. I was a bit tired from my busy day of fetching my ball and digging in the yard, so I howled for room service and then tucked myself into bed early. Monday morning I was served breakfast in bed, had a stroll in the park and then I was ready for my day.
The hair stylist trimmed and coiffed my fur, she was very well trained. Then it was time for my nail trim. Now I had a little beef about that ordeal. I tried to play the sympathy card, but no one was paying attention to my sad droopy eyes or my soft whimpering. Up I went on the table and my manicure/pedicure began...I paws-ed, let out a low woof and it was over. I cannot bark enough about how kind these people are!
Next was a nice hot bath...now that is something to howl about! Lots of suds, went in my ears, between my toes and under my pads. The relaxing, hot bath made me roll over for a tummy rub! OHHHH! That feels so good!
My Pink bandanna matches my Coach leather collar, so in the end...I truly felt pampered. When my person came to fetch me, I was sparkling clean and frisky as a puppy!
Visit my favorite pet resort & spa - click on headline and go fetch!
Friday, August 13, 2010
They tell me people know when they are ready to die, they can’t do anything about it, it’s against the law, but they know. Dying people can say, “I am ready, let me go”. Dogs, well, all animals for that matter, just can’t say, ‘it’s time’. However, when an animal is very close to their person, that person can most often tell, by looking into their pets’ eyes, that it’s time. That is what happened to me. My person knew, she looked at me and simply asked, “Is it time?”
Let me begin, where we began, in order to help you appreciate the relationship we have. I was a stud, a pretty good one at that…the females drooled over me. My coat was shiny, my legs long, my bark was deep and my shoulders broad. I was a handsome guy! My people, the breeders, really didn’t take notice of my looks. All they cared about was how many females I could impregnate and how many championship puppies I could yield.
I was not allowed to wander freely, my home was a medium size pen with a locked gate, When I was young, I frequently walked over to the large barn located some 2000 paws away from the pen. The barn is where the females were housed…that was my only exercise, besides the tryst with the girls.
As I aged, the visits were less often and when my bones began to ache, it became challenging for me to get around, even in my pen. When I wasn’t feeling well, my breeders called in the Vet. Carrie was her name and she had a kind touch. But her news was grave. I was diagnosed with cancer. Carrie said I should be fine for a few years, but my mating days were over. And my friend, that was the slurp of death for me.
It was a beautiful sunny day when my person came to my pen and asked if I wanted to go for a ride…oh boy, I loved riding in the truck I get the entire back end to myself! My ears flop, my tongue wags and I ‘fly’ for miles while my person drives around town. With aching bones I leaped into the truck and off we drove…ahhhh the feeling of freedom, they feeling of flying! The throbbing in my bones disappeared, if only for a short while.
We turned into the airport, and I thought “oh boy, we are going on a big trip – together!” To my surprise, we stopped at a run down row of shacks, just off the runway, I heard other dogs yelping, crying, and barking…I was confident we were just stopping for directions; I was convinced we were merely lost!
But I was wrong. A gruff looking man with a chain in his hand came lumbering out of the shed. My person gave my leash to him and turned and walked away. I took a deep breath, the air was bad, and it smelled of sadness, even death. What was happening? Why was I being left here? My person never even turned to say good-by.
The big man put the chain around my neck and pulled me into the shed. He pushed me into a pen that was so small I could not even stand up. Was this where I was going to spend the rest of my life? Was this where to was gong to die?
I spent hours that turned into days that rolled into months dreaming of flying in the car, or even walking to the barn, those dreams helped the pain subside. What little freedom I had enjoyed was all but gone in a flash. My muscles got stiffer; the cancer crept through my bones like a hot scalpel. I couldn’t eat, and it seemed like the big burly man didn’t care. Soon he just stopped bringing me any food and very little water. The quiet was deafening. No one barked, no one howled, we all just waited …for the end. The loneliness was overwhelming.
One dreary, rainy morning, I heard a car door slam and a man’s voice echoed through out the cages. He was accompanied by a police officer. I could barely make out what they were saying, but suddenly, my pen door opened and I was being lead out by this newcomer. Was I going home? Could I fly home with the windows wide open? I was weak, he had to carry me. My 175 pound body had wilted down to less than 80 pounds. My paws were raw, my mouth was dry, and when he picked me up, my head felt so heavy I could hardly hold it up. I heard him whisper, “don’t worry old boy, we will find you a home”…what? I wasn’t going home. What was happening to me? In my weakened state, I managed to give a little woof woof to my friends in the pens, not knowing if they were better off staying there or going where I was headed.
I slept in the car, no flying today, my legs would not hold me up, I prayed the pain would stop and my broken heart would be mended as I dozed off to the rhythm of the motor.
When I woke up, the cage I was in seemed larger, the bowl of food that stood at the end of my tail was fresh, and I could see sunlight.
Still too weak to stand up, I could hear voices in the distance. “Did you hear Friskie got adopted today, and Duke went to his new home on Friday.” Days must have past, before I felt a gentle hand on my legs, slowly rubbing them, the boys voice cracked when he spoke. “Don’t worry old boy we will find you a good home.” This was the same voice I had heard at the airport. It was calm and caring, his name was Jimmy.
“But you must eat something, boy, to get strong. People won’t take you home if they think you are too sick and feeble,” he whispered. I was at a shelter and they were hoping someone would come and adopt me. Oh how I longed for a home. A place where gentle people loved gentle giants. A place with a soft bed, good food and a soothing hand. I slowly picked my head up and looked at the boy with a defiant stare. “Come on Wendell you can do it,” he bellowed. “Let’s get you a home.”
Days later, with Jimmy’s encouragement, hand feeding and relentless courage, I managed to stand on my own. Day after day he would walk me around the ‘campus’ as we called it, cheering me on. I was tired, I ached all over, my paws were still raw. I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to even want a home. The loneliness was over powering and the expectation of finding a new home was his dream, not mine. My fight had come to an end. I was ready, or so I thought.
The trees had begun turning bright orange and red, I could see from my cage, which by the way was 8 feet tall and I had become skilled at standing in my new home!!! Just not for too long or not too often. The sun was bright, the air clear and the day was young. I could tell when Jimmy was approaching because he never tied his sneakers…the slow flip flap of his shoe strings told me he was on his was to my cage. This day, the flip flap was quick, his voice was raised, and it was all happening too fast. I couldn’t make out what he was saying, but he was not alone. I was afraid of what might be happening so I closed my eyes and waited.
“See, there he is, that is Wendell, the dog I was telling you about,” buzzed Jimmy.
“He is so beautiful, so thin, can he stand up?” whispered a soft, tender voice.
“Oh sure he can, Wendell, get up, show these people what a handsome, strong boy you are,” shrieked Jimmy.
With one eye a jar, I saw her. She was beautiful. Her eyes were a blue as the sky and her smile was captivating. With her, was a younger version of herself…I deducted it could be her daughter.
“Can he walk? Can we take him outside?” she asked.
“Oh sure, come Wendell show them your stuff”, he wailed
My stuff was weak, but I managed to pull myself up and walk outside. Once in the sunlight, I could see the two of them, yes, mother and daughter. The sun ran circles around their heads like halos. I slowly moved my tail to the left in an effort to give them a wag, but my weak muscles could not move my tail even ever so slightly.
“Can I pet him, she asked.
Yes, but be gentle, he remarked
And I felt a soft breeze run across my head; it felt like a feather flowing down from heaven. She rolled her hand down my spine and softly murmured, “he is so thin, but so handsome.” Mr. Wendell, if you could talk to me, what would you tell me today?”A pathetic growl came out of my mouth, “Go away and leave me alone”, I moaned. I was so weak, I couldn’t even drool on her or raise my paw. Jimmy sensed my fear, not of her, but of disappointment. Soon after, both girls left and Jimmy and I were alone with our thoughts.
“Don’t worry old boy, I have a good feeling about these people. They had another St. Bernard at home, one they rescued a few years ago. They will be back, you will see.”
The days turned into nights, I envisioned a soft bed and treats with long walks in the early morning, time to chase rabbits and just rest in the sun. But who was I kidding. I couldn’t run, or talk long walks. Who would ever want this old heap of crumpled mutt?
Saturday always make me sad, families come from all over, thinking they will adopt a pet and be heroes! They walk by, stare at each and every one of us and then make comments that are uncaring and often cruel. “Look at that old thing, who would ever want him”. They would pass me by and cuddle and laugh with the puppies across the way. I was a puppy once, you know…and in my heart, I dream that I am still a puppy flopping around with nothing to worry me.
Saturday brought the rain, not too many families today, I thought. I took a deep sigh and then I heard it…a fast flip flop of laces, that same high pitched voice came calling…”Wendell, Wendell, get up she’s back!!!!”
My heart was pounding, was it really her? Did she come to take me home?
“Listen old boy, she has come with her family and their other dog, Holly, so you have be nice, no rough housing, just be polite and maybe, just maybe you will be on your way!” counseled Jimmy. No rough housing - did he forget who he was talking to? I only dream of roughhousing!!!!
We walked outside and there she was, standing in the rain with a big smile, just for me. “Hello Wendell,” she chirped, “meet Holly and John!!!!”. I waddled over, slurped on her coat and stopped in my tracks. There she was, precious Holly, their rescued Saint. She was nervous and didn’t like the smell of the shelter, but then neither did I. I tried to communicate with Holly but she was too scared…must have had a bad experience in her day, too! Holly was much younger than I was, but just as misguided. We walked in various trails, tried to be kind to each other, but both of us were damaged goods, with baggage that was hard to shed.
“What do you think?” questioned Jimmy.
“Well”, she looked at her husband and Holly, they all seemed to know what to do. I shivered from the cold rain and a wave of emptiness grabbed at my heart. I froze in place
.She looked down at her coat, slobber all over it, shrugged her shoulders, “Well, we had better get home before it starts to pour.”
Jimmy’s head turned to me, I cocked my head to the right, my heart sank…
She spun around with Holly at her side and cried out, “Mr. Wendell if you could talk to me what would you say?”, and before I could let out a bark, she said, “I bet you would tell me, Let’s go home, mom!”
Jimmy was jumping up and down and running towards me! He hugged me tight and muttered, “I told you we would find you a home!” and pulled on my leash, “Come boy, it’s your turn to fly!”
They had to lift me into the car but there I was, Holly in the middle seat, me in the back. And my new people in front. Off we went, waving to Jimmy, I let out a low and croaky woof exclaiming, “See-ya Jimmy!”
They told her I would only last a few months and to keep me fed, watered and comfortable. My paws, by now were completely raw. It hurt to stand on them. The infection had spread to all four feet. The cancer had also spread, which made me weak and unable to move quickly.
The house was big, the grounds were vast and I was home at last. The first two days I slept most of the time, enjoyed a few treats and drank some water. The trip ‘home’ had taken its toll and I was sure I would be gone in a week or so.
Their love for me was energizing. But the pain I felt was so deep, it made me appear to be vicious. If I had had the strength to lift my head, she would have seen in my eyes, that I was grateful, but I was just too weak.
Days passed and I found myself getting stronger, able to endure the pain. Holly began to comfort me in her own way. “Get up big man” she would whisper, “Mommy and daddy are trying to help you. Don’t you see that?”
“Yes, my little friend, but I am so old and frail, I am not sure I can muster up the strength.”
“You must”, she barked, they will take care of you and love you like you have never been loved. They saved me from a shelter once, too.”
“Grrrrrr” was the only word I could muster up. She laid her body next to mine and together, we fell asleep for the afternoon.
This was the first time in my life that I had been invited inside a house to live. When I was able, I would lumber around taking in all the sites, then fall asleep under a table or play hide and seek with Holly
“WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOF, WOOOOOOOOOOOOF,” it was the middle of the night and I was alone. Where was I? I was frightened, someone please help me! Everyone was up, scurrying around, Holly was running so fast she tripped over me. My new Dad touched my head, my mom’s hand was at my tummy…”Poor sweet Wendell,” she cried, “If you could talk what would you say to me today? “Would tell me you are afraid?” I would tell you, “You’ll always be safe with us.”
That night was a turning point for me. My strength started to return. The new medicine for my feet was beginning to heal my pads and Holly and I would share stories and fall asleep together in the quiet darkness of the nights.
After a while, I was able to sit outside by myself and watch the birds and the bunnies! Oh the bunnies!!!! Occasionally I would run after them, but my gate was much slower than theirs, lucky for them I would say. My people even took me in the car so I could fly again….my head held high, my ears flopping…I was happy, I was loved and I was safe!
Two months turned into five months. The holidays were fast approaching, I was doing so well, Holly and I got to go to camp for a few days. A hot bath, lots of brushing, we had our nails done, too. Holly and I slept close together, cherishing every moment of this paradise.
Christmas brought the snow, and even though I was still having difficulty walking, I chased snow balls, made snow angels and thanked the heavens for good people. I even had my own stocking to hang on the fireplace and found a new collar and some treats from Santa inside.
New Year’s Eve was a quiet night at home, just the four of us, just our little family. As we brought in the New Year, my mommy said to me, "Mr. Wendell, if you could talk, what would you say to me today?” I cocked my head, lowered my eyes and in my heart I said, “Happy New Year my sweet person. I am ever so grateful to you and my new family. I shall never forget you.” Then I would toast to a good New Year and Holly and I would clink our milk bones together!
The winter brought more snow and it was a struggle for me to navigate the ice, my walks were shorter and my outside time was just for relieving myself. Once in a while I would sneak in a snowball or two and chomp them down!.
Eight months turned into nine months and I could feel myself deteriorating with each day. The new rug became my bed and when I was unable to walk, my people would pull me from room to room on my magic carpet. Thinking we were playing around, Holly would jump on top of me every time. My favorite room was the library, where the fireplace crackled and kept me warm. My mom and I would sit by the fire and she would whisper, Wendell if you could talk to me, what would you say today?” There were many nights I would lay my head on her lap and purr like a kitten and say to myself, “I would tell you that through you, I have learned to love and I thank you for giving me a home and so much affection.”
I don’t know why things happen to nice people, but that winter my dad lost his job. And when they say timing is everything, I now know why.
By the tenth month, my cancer had spread throughout my body. The pain was excruciating, the arthritis in my front legs prevented me from getting up by myself. At night I would moan until my Dad came down stairs and then he would stay with me. Eventually, he just stayed on the first floor at night and gently touched my head. If he moved I moaned, not because I hurt, I simply wanted the feel of his tender touch. I slept well and I was sure he didn’t!
Holly, Dad and I spent every minute of every day and night together. My dad took me outside so I could go, I maintained my self respect by never messing in the house, If nothing else, I needed to hold on to what was left of my dignity.
April brought the rain and the mud. The weather sent chills through my weary bones. For a short time, I welcomed Spring with a spring in my step. Was I in remission? It didn’t matter; there were days that I felt like a puppy, others like a dying old man. At night, along with my dad and Holly, I held on to the puppy moments and that helped me fall a sleep.
The May flowers started to bloom and the aroma of lilacs in the air made me feel good. We could sit outside for hours, sleep under the sun and no one bothered the three of us. My mom worked, so when she left in the morning, we played, ate and loved each other.. Most times Holly would be inside and it would just be the two of us…the men, protecting the homestead!
It happened really fast – my bones were all too weak and I could not stand. I had no desire to eat and my mommy had to force me to drink water. Her touch, oh I will never forget her touch. Like a soft breeze flowing across my back. When she held my paws, I could feel her pulse. A closeness I will long remember. Being with my mommy was like floating in the air. Her hand moved gently across my shoulders and on to my forehead. She whispered in my ear, “Is it time? And then she gently murmured “Mr. Wendell, if you could talk what would you tell me today?”
I looked in her deep blues eyes and from my eyes to hers, I said, “It’s time, Mommy. I am ever so grateful to you and my Dad (and Holly, too) for giving me this time and such deep love and affection. I don’t want to leave you, but I am tired and so weak. Can I go for a ride and fly just one more time…then let me go and I will wait for you by the Rainbow Bridge.”She hugged me and looked into my eyes, her hand held my paw and she said, “Yes, Mr. Wendell, I hear you, now get your collar and lets go fly.”
It was peaceful, my mommy’s arms were tightly wrapped around me when I heard her whisper, “Mr. Wendell if you could talk what would you say to me today.?” and I slowly fell asleep.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
This morning while I was enjoying my breakfast, I noticed, a Wall Street Journal story about the Animal Medical Center in New York City. My person always puts the WSJ under my plate so I can read while I eat....Well, the good news is that they are working on a cage large enough for a human, why? Woof! Woof! So when you're in the hospital for an extend stay, your person can stay with you. Now I think that warrants a big Ap-Paws!!! To learn more about this very specail animal hospital, visit their website www.amcnyc.org. To keep up on current tails, try their blog: amyny.woodpress.com
Let's give our furry friends who are currently hospitalized a soft bark and a tail-wagging smile!
...it was just a woof!
Let's give our furry friends who are currently hospitalized a soft bark and a tail-wagging smile!
...it was just a woof!