Goodbye to Happy-ness

GroupThis morning at 5:30 AM I said goodbye to Happy, my beloved black Labrador of 10 years. I have written earlier about her weakening condition. Labradors are made of abundant dog fortitude. Happy never whined about the pain she was obviously having. She was strong and brave to the end.

On one of her last times outside, she walked slowly up the little hill on the west side of the house where she would sit for hours and look out across the wide backyard where she benevolently ruled for so many years. There she had chased many a rabbit. She and her brother sampled the latest cologne from a visiting skunk. She even argued with a ground hog once. From her vantage point she would monitor my grass mowing to be sure I didn’t miss anything. From time to time her buddy/brother Cody would join her and silently wait for something to chase or for a passerby to bark at. I remember times of calling her at dusk to come inside and she would look around at me from her post as if to say, “Just a little while longer…?”

But like all of us, time caught up with her. The emergency room Vet who examined her said that Happy had a large mass in her upper abdomen which was pressing up against her heart causing her labored breathing and sluggishness. The Vet also noticed some internal bleeding. Along with her incontinence, drooling, and sporadic eating the Vet said with tears in her eyes that my Happy was slowly dying. (She said that her own black lab had died of similar conditions.) I held Happy in my arms as the Vet administered the injections. She fell asleep and laid quietly at my feet.

Saying goodbye to such a companion is never easy. And yet, even as much as I could wish that she stay with me just a little while longer, such thoughts are selfish especially when such a beautiful animal is suffering. That moment of letting go is never easy. Yet, she has left me so many grand memories of her heart and her love.  I had a decade of days with this wonderful dog, and she will not be forgotten.

the slow goodbye?

Hap1Happy, my black lab of 10 years, is starting to slow down.

I’m not sure what the issue is. She just had her annual checkup several days ago, and the vet who examined her said she appeared to be fine. Her eyes are cloudy and he said she is slowly going blind.

But she is no longer eating dry food and I have to coax her to eat breakfast. She seems to be losing weight and I have been trying to make her comfortable.

It’s sad.

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I love God's creation. Seeing animals and learning about animals are always fascinating to me. Combine that with music and it's hard not to watch.

Here's a video I stumbled upon while wandering around the internet. Beautiful imagery and interesting music - I just had to post it in my blog...


ScrappyHe showed up shortly after I placed the bird feeder on my library window. I figured since I would be spending a lot more time in my home office, I might as well have a little visual enjoyment. It took a little while for the birds to find it and figure out there was food to enjoy, but once there was one, more arrived.

And one morning I noticed one of the red-headed finches seemed to have an injured eye. It would turn its good eye toward the food before selecting a seed to eat and rather than perch on the feeder's edge, this little bird would sit in the food.

Then during the summer I didn't see him. For awhile I figured he had died from the injury. Survival of the fittest and all that.

But yesterday he was once again sitting in the seed, enjoying the quiet and having all the seeds to himself.

I called him "Scrappy" - because in his short life I'm guessing he's faced more than his share of difficulties.

Half of his world is always hidden, so he's never sure what he's going to have to face. Other birds pick at him and chase him off - and he leaves. Then he returns to the feeder when the gang has moved on to munch somewhere else.

I hope it comes back often. It reminds me that no matter how much crap life throws at me, I can still keep going - even if no one else wants me around.

the blessing and lessons of Molly

Molly2This story dropped into my Facebook newsfeed the other day.  It's one of those universal tales that anyone who has cared for (a.k.a. "loved") a pet will recognize.  CAUTION: Grab a few tissues; you might need them while you read this one.

Almost twelve years ago, I saw a flyer in a grocery store advertising a dog available for adoption. She was a year and half old, 35 pounds, and spayed after already birthing a litter. My wife and I met her a week after that. She was goofy and sweet, friendly to people, but couldn't stay with the multi-dog family who'd taken her off the streets. Any female canine within visual range was on her "kill" list. That's part of being born as a street dog. I brought her home in the passenger seat of my 2000 Chevy S-10 about two weeks later.

My wife named her Molly.

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skunk wars

StinkyPeteYears ago we didn’t have residential trash pickup, a garbage disposal, or public sewer.  So we had a burn barrel for what we could destroy with fire, our wet garbage was put in a garbage bucket and dumped on a hill away from the house, and sewage which overflowed from an underground drainage field had to sometimes be scooped from an outside grease trap and dumped in another part of the property.

Yeah, it wasn’t pretty.

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for the birds

BlackbirdwhiteI have to admit that I’ve allowed some of my property to become overgrown.

Some of it is due to wanting to feel secluded. A family to the south of me and an older couple to the west of me are beyond trees and bushes.  The obnoxious building supply store to the north of me is blocked by the barrier of thuja giant evergreen trees I planted years ago. The east is open – well, fairly open; it’s sometimes blocked by railroad cars on the tracks east of the house.  Two tall evergreen trees and an adolescent maple tree give me some blockage.

But, another reason for the overgrowth comes from a love of birds.

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