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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Okay . . . Here I Am!

Whilst my life lately has not been complete shite (only 99%), it CAN be summed up by the set of cocktail napkins my oldest GF got me:  "Some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant."  'Nuff said?  Ohhhhh, you want details!

Okay, so I have - let me count - 16 (!!!) major things going on to tell you about.  And, since this is my first real day off in 9 days, I feel like I finally can take a little time to check in with you.  In no particular order, the Big Things are:
  1. My godson's mama.
  2. The forest fire.
  3. The jungle-like yard.
  4. The rain.
  5. Maisy.
  6. Being served.
  7. The dates to be out.
  8. Nannying.
  9. The rummage sale.
  10. Not major at all, but interesting tidbits at work.
  11. Microsoft, the bastards.
  12. Judy's gift.
  13. New venue for selling photography.
  14. A new computer client.
  15. FoxyLady retiring.
  16. Being so-behind-it's-NOT-funny-in-the-least with my business(es).
I'll try to mix the bad with the good (or, at least, benign), okay?  So, good first!

The rummage sale.  As I'd mentioned, I'd had dear friends hold a 3-family (including myself) rummage sale on the weekend of May 18th & 19th.  They asked me to be a part of it as a way to help me out.  I didn't need to do anything more than price my items and deliver them.  Even though I had minimal time (I felt due to my schedule - NOTHING to do with the PLENTY of advance my friends gave me of the sale) to prepare, I came up with 103 things to sell plus 8 free items!  And, all but 36 of my items sold and I was gifted with an envelope on Monday containing $291.00!!!!  

This set of snowshoe furniture was for sale.  I had it priced both individually and as a group.  The rocker and footstool sold to one of the three families participating in the sale.  Had I know THEY were going to buy them, I would have given them free . . . which is probably why they didn't tell me until it was all said and done!
Okay, now for a bad.  And it's the worst.  The thing that's kept me from writing.  Maisy, at just 8 1/2 years old, is dying.  It's a long story, but a fall followed immediately by obvious illness prompted me to take the morning of Saturday, May 12th, off to drive her to Canada and the vet's.  As soon as the vet saw her, she said, "Oh!  She's VERY pale!"  (You can tell when a dog is pale?  Who knew?!)  Blood work revealed severe anemia.  An x-ray revealed why.  She has a large (about the size of a grapefruit then and larger now) bleeding tumor on her spleen.  Splenic hemangiosarcoma.  Inoperable cancer of the spleen.  It's so severe that they didn't dare turn her from her side onto her back for the second x-ray.  Her stool suggests that it's already in her liver, too.  Surgery at this stage of the cancer would buy her, at best, 3 months.  And that's not taking into consideration the recovery of such a major surgery when she's already so sick.  Her estimated time left is days to weeks.

I'm a pretty stoic gal, but I couldn't help a few tears when the vet showed me the x-ray and told me that time-frame.  I felt like I'd been socked in the gut.  When we were finished with the visit and I was back out in the car with the dogs, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, the breeze from a hot spring day in Canada blowing in the open windows.  I couldn't stop crying until I was 10 miles out of town.

I got to work about 1:00 that afternoon.  No one at work really knows of my current struggles, but they'd all known why I had to take the morning off for the emergency trip.  Three of them (all dog or cat owners) were standing together when I walked in, my face wiped of all emotion and ready for a busy Saturday full of tourists.  Immediately, one of them asked, "How's Maisy?!"  Uncontrollably, I burst into ugly, hitching sobs.  And then I was surrounded by the love of three women I'd not really let into my personal life, and they were hugging me and we were all crying.

When the Kleenex was passed out and our tears somewhat banked, one of them sharply asked, "WHAT are you doing here?!  Go home and BE with her!"  I sniffed and said that she was fine - laying in the sun at my folks' - and then wailed, "I need the money!"  

I tried to compose myself and continue with the day, but I couldn't stop the damn tears.  Then, one of them said, "You have a lot to do in your aisles upstairs, don't you?"  (That's where our storage is.)  "Why don't you go work up there all afternoon?"  Through tears, I asked the boss if that was okay, and she said, "Absolutely."  And, it was a huge blessing:  my two aisles were OVERFLOWING, and so I cried and worked for the next 4 1/2 hours - everyone taking turns coming up to check on me throughout the afternoon. 

So, treatment for Maisy?  Nothing, really.  Just lots and lots of TLC.  I've never kissed her nor told her how much I love her so much in any three-week period!  She's not in acute pain like she would be with a broken bone.  Instead, she just generally feels like sh*t.  The vet explained it to me by asking me to imagine what it would feel like if I had a large tumor bleeding inside my gut.  Ironically, I know pretty much EXACTLY what that feels like since my hysterectomy following my years of illness revealed a "baseball size rotting cyst" (the doctor's actual description)!  I'd joked, after getting that confirmation of how I'd been feeling for so long, that my tombstone (had one been warranted!!) could have read, "See, I told you I didn't feel good!"  (And, see, I do still have a little of my sense of humor.)

Since the vet's visit, there've been two times when I was sure she wouldn't make it through the night - the first Thursday following the vet visit - and then again earlier this week.  Both times, I had to pick up all 72 pounds of her and carry her into the house.  Here she is, the day after the diagnosis, asking why I suddenly refuse - adamantly and absolutely - to throw her any more balls:
Her face grows more grey hairs each week.  So sad to see her turn from a still-hyper-Golden-at-8-years-old into an old girl overnight.
Here we are, my eyes red-rimmed from crying, that first time I didn't think she'd make it through the night.

I must be out of my mind, sharing such an awful picture of myself!  But, it's not about me; it's about Maisy.
It's been - and will continue to be - such a roller-coaster.  She'll have a stretch of good days and then, without warning, a bad day.  When I think she won't make it.  But then she does.  This last one, on Thursday night, REALLY scared me because she wouldn't come in to go to bed.  When I got out of the shower, I couldn't find her in the house, and that worried me.  I went out with a flashlight and found her:  she'd taken herself outside to lay in the tall grass away from the house.

She wouldn't get up, but it was a cool, beautiful night with the moon shining brightly down.  Not a cloud in the sky and nary a biting insect.  I lay with her for a while and then went inside to bed, leaving the front door open and telling Tucker to stay with her to keep her company.  Neither he nor I slept well that night.  He came in after a while but barked throughout the night, seeming to be crossly telling her to come inside and behave normally.  :(

But then, she takes her recovery time and bounces back to her new Old Girl Normal.  She lays in the sun at Mama & Papa Pea's and gets extra love there, too.  On days that she won't eat, we coax her with scrambled eggs (which occasionally works) or organic bison (which she hasn't yet, thankfully, refused once).

Last night, she climbed the stairs with me when it was time to go to bed, a first in several days.

Something that we all know is both reassuring and sad, the other critters know that she isn't feeling well.  The cats have never given her any love before, but Dosie the Dead Cat (maybe not coincidentally??) will regularly flop down in Maisy's path now, barring her travel until she can let Maisy know that she cares.  I even caught Maisy tolerating some up-close-and-personal love from Dosie the other day:

I hate this next picture because Maisy looks so, so awful in it (it was one of her bad days), but it's also so wonderful in showing how Tucker is NEVER far from her side.  He's even taken to grooming her on many of our morning car rides to town, licking her all over her head as a cat would.

I'll wind up this post with a "good" picture of Maisy taken just Wednesday night.  We were out doing chores, and she was feeling well enough to leave the house and come along.  I was working away in the poultry yard when I heard this loud, loud crunching.  I saw Tucker right away . . . and that it wasn't him chewing on anything.  A peek through the fence into the thick understory surrounding the area showed me Maisy, chewing quite lustily on a rabbit!  The cats or some critter must have killed it very recently - the meat was absolutely fresh.  In her current state, I was worried about letting her "go at it", but then I figured that her final days & weeks should also be filled with as much "being a dog" as possible.  Unfortunately, this new (fresh meat & bone) introduction to her presently delicate system DID result in the 2nd time I thought I was going to lose her . . . but a dog's gotta be a dog, right?  

Fuzzy picture, but you get the idea!
Okay, that's all for now.  I have to get some other things done.  But, a HUGE thanks, first, to my folks who have been doing everything they can to help me with Maisy!  Secondly, thanks SO much to all of YOU who have been commenting and prompting, encouraging me to get writing again. 


  1. OHHH I am So Sorry on top of everything else you surely do not need this. What Maisey has is very common in all breeds of dogs. Hugs girl friens

  2. One way to tell a dog is anemic is to check their tongue and gums, they will turn from nice healthy pink to almost white. Keep taking those pictures, great how the cat and dog are showing her love too. Thanks for sharing. Good you have understanding people you work with. Take care, your list looks very long, time for a change and get some good things going on your list.

  3. I'm so sorry to hear about Maisey. I know first hand at what you're going through, and it's about the worst thing for one to go through. My thoughts are with you!

  4. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear this. It is so, so hard to lose a member of the family. Hugs to you.

  5. Massive hugs to you and Maisy!!!!

  6. Oh, CM. This is such heartbreaking news. I am so glad you are letting her be and lavishing all that loving on her. My heart goes out to you. It is so damn hard.

  7. I'm sorry to hear about Maisy, even though 8+ years is a decent ride for a purebred or large dog it doesn't make it any easier. You will feel this loss acutely, I know from experience - my Lab girl Jessie was with me through a marriage and subsequent divorce and my single life, she was my one constant in what was an emotionally awful time for me. She's your girl, love her with all you've got these last days, Tucker and the other pets will understand. One of my dogs did that same thing with laying outside the day before it was over, and I found myself carting a big old Bernese Mountain Dog up steps and inside, and I just laid with him on the floor for hours clutching fistfuls of fur and sobbing. It's awful, but you will look back and have so many smiles when you think of her with that darn tennis ball, or a rock :) Hang in there, my thoughts are with you.

  8. Sending you big hugs. Moments like these are one reason among many I'm not sure I'll have pets again :(

  9. I am so sorry that with all the other stuff in life you are having to deal with, Maisy's illness has come along. I know a bit of what you are feeling as several years ago I lost both my dogs within 4 months of each other. I am not sure if it hurts more while you are losing them or afterwards. Either way, it does hurt like heck. The important thing is to do what's best for her no matter how you feel. And yea, cry like crazy because if you keep that in, it will just make it worse or crazy. Stay as strong as you can and lean on friends and family when your strength wanes. I cannot help but think you are about due (actually way overdue) for some good news.

  10. Oh, I sit here crying for you. So, so hard when we love our pets like we do. My heart goes out to you. Big hugs.


  12. Oh, dear one! How awfully hard and sad! I'm sure it's going to be very hard on Tucker as well as you. I wish there was something that could make these things all better. Sometimes life here on earth doesn't make a lot of sense. {{Big hugs to you all!}}

  13. We are so sad for you! It is so hard to lose the unconditional, completely non-verbal love of one of our animal friends. Maisy's been a wonderful friend to you and you to her. Now all that remains is the love and advocating for what's best for her. I hope she is able to be comfortable and peaceful surrounded by all her buddies (including you) for all the time that's left. What more could any of us want?

  14. I am so sorry about Maisy. We lost our german shepherd last November to the same dang problem. She had several bad episodes where I thought she would be a goner, but the next day would rebound. I think our golden retriever may have something similar as well. I hope you can share some good days with her and find some peace.

  15. I am so sorry to read this news about Maisy. What a beautiful dog. The love shown to her now by Tucker and Dosie is incredible. The senses they must have that we have no idea about. And the love shown to you by the women at the store. There really are no words, except be gentle with yourself, love Maisy like you always have, and stay in your moment as much as possible, no matter where that is--crying, laughing, sobbing, laying with Maisy, eating, reading, working, ... . You and Maisy are in my thoughts. And pets on the head to her four-legged caretakers. And a big hug to YOU! (Okay, I know you are a writing wizard, so is the verb “laying” the wrong one in this case?!)

  16. Worst. Part. Of. Sharing. Our. Lives. With. Pets. Ever. We're so sorry. So so sorry.


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