Puzzles.

(Sometimes, when all the diapers are in the wash, Jake has to wear the pink diaper.  Don’t tell him I posted a video of him wearing that).

Puzzles provide a good brain workout for dogs.  Puzzles are also good for dogs with mobility issues as they have to not only figure out the puzzle, but also how to remain upright during the process.  Sometimes, easier said than done.

As for Jake and puzzles, 100% of the time, he cheats.

 

 

The little chicken is 8!

Happy Birthday, Jake!!!  It’s funny that Jake is only eight because he has always come across as the oldest dude in the house. Melvin was exuberant and jolly and Jake is a little more ‘reserved’ and ‘grumpy’.  But in a way that I love.  Come as you are baby cakes!

Jake was turned into to rescue on his 5th birthday.  I always wonder if his first family knew it was his birthday. From what I was told, it didn’t sound like they celebrated Jake very much so I doubt they knew.  His life has changed a lot in three years.

When Jake was five, he really only knew existence.  He sat and waited a lot.  Affection was not something he wanted nor was it something that seemed  familiar to him. His behavior with Melvin was primarily to snarl and lunge at him. But as his life progressed in his forever home, he learned that life here was soft.  That we were kind, loving, wanting to be near him.  That five-year-old Jake seems like a distant memory now.

Also at five, his legs worked fine.  But here is how I know he knows that this is where he belongs… when his legs gave out that fate filled day in December, his first, terrified glance was to me and his second, ‘help me’ glance was to Melvin.  He’d found his family and we vowed to never let him struggle.

Eight looks good on Jake. Even though he can only see it through one eye.  He owns his life like a boss. He’s more confident with his mobility issues now, he just moves forward in any way possible.  He has experienced the greatest love. I don’t know that he will ever love another dog the way he did his brother, but I do know that their beautiful bond transformed Jake and I do believe that because of their great love, he can do it again if he chooses to.

Jake is funny, stubborn, vulnerable.  He will lean into you for snuggles but if you stop petting him, he will leave.  He is unhappy when I leave a room without him, but will leave me in a room alone any time he pleases.  He is noisy, he almost always smells like pee (even post bath), and if you are a creature that is smaller than him, he will hunt you and he will kill you. He is a lover AND a fighter. But when he loves you, it’s fierce and it’s deep. Same with his hunting style.

I never knew I wanted Jake.  He found me.  I never knew I’d be a dog clothes person or a woman who would order a dog stroller. We have grown together, we have suffered great loss together. No dog has ever made me laugh as much as Jake has. We have taught each other about perseverance. He is my baby, I love him and I know that he knows that I am his forever.  He no longer sits and waits, he is found.

Happy Birthday, nugget!

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What’s happening?

There are always moments with our dogs (or cats) where we say ‘what in the world are you doing, you goofball?’.  And although we don’t really expect an answer, we ask it out loud anyway.  Probably to communicate to others that yes, we are in fact crazy and crazy people talk out loud to their pets.

But there are some moments with Jake, where I ask that and I really need to know.  Bud, what’s happening?

I came out of the office yesterday to find him like this. He’d left the office about 30 minutes prior so I guess he got five steps away and thought, too far, must rest. But why not lay down?IMG_5694

And he sat at the door, a door he never goes out of, staring at the closed blinds for 20 min.  I have been saying all along that I question if he has any vision in his bionic eye but perhaps his vision is now so spectacular that he can see through wood. IMG_5691

And this one from a few weeks ago.  Staring out the door, to the lovely landscape of the wall. IMG_5469

Pretty sure he expects me to rename this blog, Oh Jake! And in case anyone is worried, Jake sees a neurologist regularly for his spine from hell.  So from what we can tell, this is just Jake.

 

Five months.

It’s been five months since Melvin died.  The grief has settled in, it no longer feels like a foreign body trying to take me down.  It’s a part of me, like my hands and my thoughts. It’s still grief, but slowly it becomes bonded with memory.  One day it will just be the latter.

I can now go days without crying.  Photograph still plays on the radio when I walk in the house. It makes me smile and take pause in the most beautiful way. He may not greet me anymore but when I walk in and hear the song, I’m reminded that he no longer needs to greet me, he travels with me.

Losing Melvin was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through.  That is not to say that losing people in my life wasn’t difficult, it just goes to show you that you don’t get to choose what breaks you the most.  I will always miss him.  But slowly, it becomes less of a void and more of an awareness.

I have been using the ‘on this day’ feature on FB to reconnect with old blog posts and they make me smile.  So much.

I think I can safely say that Jake has gotten through his grief of Melvin.  I’m so grateful for that.  I’m guessing that after five months, there are no longer scents of Melvin in the house.  His ears still perk up when I say Melvin’s name in conversation however he no longer looks up or looks around when he hears his brother’s name.

Having Melvin here made me a really good person.  I can’t explain it but Melvin’s existence compelled me to be better, giving, compassionate and loving. He made me patient, which is odd since he was anything but. Since losing him,  I have to encourage  myself to do better, do more, be selfless.  It came easier when Melvin was here. With a single glance from him, I always strived to be more. For example, I get a little frustrated in the middle of the night after 6 or 7 bedding changes for Jake.  When Melvin was here, he’d sit up each time I got up to change the bedding and I’d see him and his face would say ‘poor little guy, he was sent to us for a reason’ and I’d never get frustrated.  I’m working harder on that patience and trying to channel my inner Melvin.

I have donated  a lot of his stuff.  Stored things that I will probably never be able to part with and set aside things that a future dog might be able to use. It’s funny the things I have not been able to purge.  There is a vial of his allergy shot medication in the refrigerator.  I am not sure why it remains.  I also still have his box of meds that I would pull out every Sunday to do his am/pm pill box for the week.  And I still have the plastic covered feeding instructions for him and Jake for the dog walker.  Grief is funny.

I have lost fifty pounds since the day I found out Melvin had cancer.  I jokingly call it the sadness diet.  At first, when he was diagnosed and I thought he’d die at any moment, I just couldn’t eat.  After he died, well after he died I just didn’t look at food the same way.  Food has always been a source of joy for me.  Melvin however was the greatest joy and when that was removed, my love affair with food changed. Other joy sources just didn’t stand a chance.  And as far as the food part went, that is a great thing for me. So it’s funny when people ask ‘how did you lose the weight’ and I smile and say the sadness diet!  It’s like, why is she smiling and what the hell is a sadness diet!?

Five months. We are surviving.  There was never a doubt that we would persevere but there were certainly moments when we didn’t want to.  #loveliveson in the most beautiful ways.

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Now watch me whip…

I was video taping Jake the other day because he was giving me slim-shady eye.  He would look at me, then if I was looking at me, he’d dart his eye away (keep in mind he can only look at me with one eye at a time).  So I started recording him.  There is about 10 seconds of his shady eye movement and then a liquid burp (keep it sexy Jake) and then he does a few moves that I am pretty sure are…

Now watch me whip…now watch me superman.  Then more eye darting.  Enjoy!

 

The eye saga continues.

Jake’s eye.  That eye really likes center stage.  It does not want to be a pair with the other eye, oh no, this eye would move to the center of his forehead if it could.

The good news is that the graft is starting to heal nicely.  We went in for our fourth appointment (the one month since surgery appointment) and the graft is FINALLY healing as they want it to.  Yay!!!

The concerning news is that, the red growth (that had started growing a week post surgery), was continuing to grow.  It is near the area where they harvested the graft  tissue (under his eyelid) and it is so big that his eye lid either can’t let it out or can’t let it back in. It actively bleeds, all day long. It is about the size of a marble.  We are seeing one of the premiere eye surgeons/ophthalmologists on the east coast and her exact words were ‘I have never seen anything like this’.

If I had a $1 for every time I’ve heard that.

I put a photo of Jake’s eye on our our adoptive parents FB page for the rescue I got Jake from and again, everyone said, never seen anything like that.  And that group has seen A LOT!

So the doctor removed it and sent it to pathology.  We are still awaiting those results.  In the meantime, within only days of being removed, it’s growing back.  I’m trying to stay on the positive side and patiently (ok, fine, I call to check on the arrival of the pathology report several times a day) waiting to see what it is.  Until then, although he has been cleared for the cone for the graft part, this growth is keeping him in the cone longer.  We are now in our 8th week of that mother bleeping thing.  There is a bonfire in that cone’s future.

Here is Jake, mean-mugging after I woke him up trying to take his picture.  IMG_5653

Where the wild things are.

You’ll recall the poisonous toad story from two-weeks ago (here).

This past weekend, we were out back for the before-bed-potty-break, standing in the glow of the motion light set up on one side of the backyard.  Jake was sniffing and peeing and then I saw it, ANOTHER LARGE TOAD WITH POISON SPRAYERS.

Just as I saw it, Jake saw it.  And the bleeping motion light went off.  I scooped Jake up before the light could even register my movement and got him inside.  I then went and got ‘the’ shovel.  It was dark and raining but for the love all things good, I was not stopping until I found that toad.  He was under a tree.

Crisis averted, although not loving my new career as a toad evictor.

This morning, I was having patio repair done (thanks a lot chipmunks) and one of the guys came up to chat with me.  At the end of the update of what they were doing he said: “oh, did you want us to leave the dead bunny in the back yard?”.

WHAT THE WHAT?????? Come again?

He said there was a dead buddy, a ‘jugular kill’.  I may or may not have passed out.  I somehow motioned with my hands the universal signal to ‘remove slashed necked dead bunny from my yard’ and went inside.

Jake did not kill this bunny.  I weeded the flower bed where they found it in just yesterday and I was with Jake on all his outings out back after that.  Also, it was an adult bunny with a big head. Jake can barely open his mouth and he has tic-tac teeth. He lifts food into his mouth with his tongue (meals take forever!) so so his killing is usually of the sitting on it variety. Unless you have a little head like frogs, birds and baby bunnies, then he will put you in his tiny mouth and suffocate you.  And often attempt to swallow you. So… I worried a little about what is using my FENCED IN back yard as a killing ground. After many conversations with me talking in a pitch only dogs can hear it was decided that the bunny was likely attacked outside my yard (probably by a dog) and crawled into my yard to die.  Otherwise, the hunter would have eaten his or her trophy.

Poetically, the bunny died in a little garden I made that houses memorial stones for Max and Melvin.  So it was a good choice on its part.  It’s not getting a burial stone, but it was a good choice.

In relate news, I still don’t enjoy nature.

Did someone say bunny?!IMG_5461