Migraines and visitors.

Where did this week go?  I was down for two days with a migraine.  I used to write about how awesome Melvin was on migraine days.  That dog could hunker down in my bed and wait out even the longest migraine.  He in some ways, loved that I was down for the count!

Jake is no different.  Well he is a little different in that he’s a meatball maker and I get pretty nauseous/sick with migraines so the moment I get one I pray he holds off on in-house production.  But like Melvin, if brought up on the bed or couch (Jake’s version includes 10,000 layers of blankets and pee pads and a double diaper), he will pretty much stay there until I say it’s time to join the world again. Dude will even skip meals, even though I would never make him do so.

His impression o f me with a migraine.IMG_6083 I treat him with fire time. IMG_6091 You better yet? Just checking if we are eating today. IMG_6086

After we healed, Princess Tutu came over for a visit!  Her first question when walking in was: Is Melvin still in Heaven? Me: Yes.  Her response: Ugh, enough already, he should come back!  Me: Yes!!!!!! Then she needed to do an exam of Jake’s eye to be sure she felt it was healing properly.  Then they had a kissing fest and we watched a Barbie movie.  All was right in the world!

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Living thermostat.

Jake has a very sensitive temperature gauge.

Anything over 75 and he’s too hot. Seriously, just standing outside in weather above 75 and he can’t take it.  He has to wear a Kool-Collar WHILE HE IS RIDING IN HIS STROLLER.  Riding. Not walking.  He needs an ice filled collar to sit.

Anything below 70 and his eyes bug out and he starts shivering.  He will not step paw into grass if it’s under 70 outside, I guess he fears frostbite.

True story:  if it is above 75 or below 70, I have to PUSH him out the door.  Otherwise he tries to pee on the door jamb area and come back in.

This week it ‘dipped’ down to 68.  I love 68.  I believe 68 means open the windows and dance around.  Jake needed a sweatshirt, a blanket and the fireplace on.

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Jake is a hitman.

We met the perfect dog on Sunday.  Perfect.  He is nine years old.  Nine!  A most wonderful age — I love me a senior!  He was sweet, so sweet. The moment I met him he walked over to my feet and laid down on me.  I was sold.  His head, so big, His paws, giant. His eyes…I fell in love. This dog had lived a life in a crate — all day, all night.  He was meant to come live here.

We met him at his foster house (he’d only been there a few days so he was not territorial at all) and he and Jake did great.  So great that I came home and got all of Melvin’s stuff back out – his bowls, his beds, his collars.  This dog was it.

We brought him over to our house that afternoon and he and Jake continued to do well on a walk in our neighborhood.  I obviously use the term ‘walk’ lightly, Jake got carried to each patch of grass.

Then we moved into our back yard.  Here is where the story starts to change.  Jake did… just okay in the backyard.  The foster was amazing, he just sniffed and gave Jake space.  Jake on the other hand started showing signs of ‘why is he in my  yard?’.   Even though, Jake, it’s really MY yard.  We separated them for a little while. Sometimes Jake gets tired and grumpy and his lack of mobility frustrates him so breaks are needed.  No prob.

Eventually, we brought both dogs inside, same door, Jake first then the new dog and that is the exactly moment that Jake went from Jake to Rocky with a side of Ozzy Osbourne.  Jake flipped out.  Jake continued to escalated in his fury. He wasn’t unhappy here and there, he was fully enraged this dog was in the house and re refused to calm down. The only time he was remotely calm was when he passed out from hyperventilating.  He didn’t really, but almost.  The other dog, calm as could be.  Only wanting to be near me.

We separated the boys and I got Jake cooled off and calmer.  He calmed down mostly because he thought the other dog had left.

At one point when we were trying them AGAIN out back, Jake believed he could fly and apparently he could and he lunged through the air and bit the poor guy’s ankle.  He easily traveled five feet in a single lunge.  As the dog was yelping and thinking ‘what the f?’, Jake lunged at his face.  Jake had graduated to Hannibal Lector. (Just to assure everyone, both dogs were on leash and Jake’s bites, albeit unexpected are not bites that can break skin, he’s teeth are worn down. But it did scare the dog. And me.).  The odd thing is, the ONLY one who would get hurt, hurt real bad in scuffle, was Jake.  Yet he was ready to rumble.

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Had Jake been unhappy with just certain things… the dog near his bowl, the dog on the couch, the dog walking by him too closely.  That would have been fine.  Those things can all iron out over time.  But Jake continued to escalate with every breath he heard the other dog take.  He did not ever, stop hunting him.  This is not the first time this has happened.  We had another ‘possible dog’ here for four days; Jake had to wear a cool collar and cooling vest the entire time (even though they were separated) because he remained in such a state of fury that he couldn’t cool off on his own.

We agreed the dog should go back to the Foster’s house.  Jake flipped out until the very moment the dog walked out our front door and then he laid down as if nothing had happened. Sort of like a serial killer.  Calm and content.

Unconditional love does not always require words.  I didn’t speak to Jake the rest of that night.  And he refused to come into the same room as me.

Since Melvin died, Jake is a bit unpredictable.  The good part is that he is doing much better with dogs outside of our home.  The bad part is he is doing much worse with dogs inside of our home. He is becoming territorially aggressive.  It’s not me, he doesn’t guard me.  The house and yard though, apparently he has staked a claim. Like a pioneer.

I refuse to give up — although it is not without worry. This dog was perfect for both of us, even if Jake didn’t see it.  He had a Melvin approach to Jake and that approach is key.  And I respect that Jake gets a vote, but I also think that Jake needs to realize that the new dog is going to HAVE TO LIVE INSIDE OUR HOUSE.

We shall overcome!

I will crush you dog that comes into my house. Or cat. Or frog. IMG_5653

Dear Melvin,

I miss you.

I’ve traveled halfway around the sun without you by my side. I won’t lie, it’s been tough, there were moments I wasn’t sure what direction I was even going in. It wasn’t forwards or backwards, it was more like sideways. If you were watching, I’m sure you had many ‘what the hell is she doing’ moments! This journey has felt long and short, at the same time. Long, because you aren’t here and your absence in my day is palpable. Short, because it’s only been six months, I have an infinite amount of journeys to take without you. I’m learning that, it will all be okay.

Perseverance is sometimes two steps forward, one step back.

Looking back on the days I got through is easier than looking forward to some of the days I have yet to face. I got through your gotcha day anniversary, the one month, the fourth month, that random Tuesday when sadness weighed me down and I didn’t leave the house. I’m getting through this letter. But I do dread some of the other first year milestones.  Like Christmas. Those ornaments with your name on them and your stocking, they haunt me. At the same time, I know there will still be joy.  This week, when the first frost hits here, Jake and I will go out and dance, in honor of you and your crazy allergies! In the same moment that time can feel hurtful, it often triggers a beautiful memory to see me through.

Even on our worst days, there was love.

People often ask me about that time post diagnosis, when you were here but I knew our time was short.  What was that like? Sadly, a few of our friends are in a similar situation. In looking back, I can so immediately be transported to the unbearable anxiety I felt.  The overwhelming fear of losing you at any moment was the hardest thing I have ever faced. I have never felt such fear, I hope to never face such fear again.  But as my words explain that painful part of our journey with cancer, I’m always saved, surprised and proud of the love that washes over me to guide folks through that time with you.  While it was the most terror I have ever felt, it was also by far the greatest love I have known. It was a month of true love. I got to love you and hug you and tell you every single thing that my heart had ever and could ever feel for you. As much as I will never let cancer define us, that month represents the very best of our love. And you handled that month like you handled your entire life – with exuberance and soulfulness and bravery.

It’s all about perspective.

I say it in almost every conversation about you…’he was the best dog’. I could write this blog for a million years and I would never be able to fully explain how perfect your existence in my life was. You grounded me, even when you refused to sit still. Your gravitational pull on me was strong and lovely and I’m honored that I was chosen for you. I’m so happy that your first family gave you up.  Without them, we would never have been! We overcame every single thing that got thrown our way.  In the end, I was disappointed that life gave you a cancer that had no treatment options for us, that there was nothing for us to try.  For a duo that was used to staring down health issues, we were left spinning, out of our element.  But on the flip side, you suffered very little. I’d do it all again with you, and I wouldn’t change a single decision. Your life was short, but sweet for certain.

I’m so proud of you.

I’m proud of so many things about you.  That you went from a dog that leapt off the back of my couch into a closed glass door the day you came to live with me to a dog that was in every way, my zen master.  That you were somehow the loudest and quietest moments of my day.  That you could love so hard, with a single glance.  Your exuberance reminded me to dance through this crazy life and your soulful, loving side taught me how deep a love for a dog could go. There is absolutely nothing I wouldn’t have done for you and I know that you felt the same for me.  But I’m probably most proud of, and still profoundly sad to have lost, your support of all things Jake. It’s one thing to love me, bud!  Jake didn’t make it easy on you.  You never once lashed out at him, even when he was jumping up (remember when he could jump!) trying to bite your face.  You just held your head up higher, offering him a tolerance I never expected. You were amazing. When he’d leap onto you from the couch, you’d just get up and move (closer to me/safety). You offered him the same understanding that I offered you.  And through your understanding and patience, Jake found a home. Jake found a place to take shelter, curled up next to you.  Jake found something to love, probably for the first time ever.  And you guided him and loved him back and your beautiful brotherhood lit up my life like nothing else ever has. And as your body started failing you, Jake knew first.  And he stood by you (literally) until I found out.  Our little family got it right, bud.

#loveliveson

You will inspire me to spread joy, until my very last day on earth.  Just the thought of you makes me want to do more. Melvin’s Project Joy, that little idea I had during a dark night with you, well it saves me and it has brought people together and we are celebrating dogs that have all kinds of unique traits, but are all ‘normal’ to us.  Oh bud, the people who reach out to us and share what an impact you have had on them! I mean I get it, but I never expected it.  It’s lovely, just like you. And in the spirit of love living on, it’s time for Jake and I to find our next family member.  The thought of that has not been easy for me but that pull I spoke of earlier, the one that connects you and me, well I feel you pulling me out the door, the way you always did. Forward. We have been meeting dogs and to my surprise, Jake is doing pretty great.  Do you have something to do with that? While there have been a few dogs that I thought he’d do ‘ok’ with, we haven’t met the right dog for us both yet. But we will! We need to harnesses up all this Melvin love, and pay it forward in the next beautiful way. I know it’s what you want for us. It’s what I want for us too.

Stay with me, my love.

I feel you with me all the time.  I see you in Jake’s mannerisms, ones he learned from you. I hear you in music. I have conversations about you with a five-year-old that make me smile – in her world, you and Jesus make the sun come up everyday. I tend to agree with her.  I see you when I close my eyes. Thank you for that, for leaving your heart with mine.  I carry it with me everywhere I go.  And thank you for being the most awesome dog, the most generous soul, the truest of all the loves. In this life, we won. You are my North Star, my beautiful purpose and the place where I park my gratitude. You are at the top of the best that this life has given to me and I’m forever thankful, grateful and blessed.

I love you, always.

xoxo, me.

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Photo credit: Kate Juliet Photography

 

 

 

 

Melvin’s Project Joy: Giveaway Four!

Time for more giving!

As a reminder, each month, we will do a giveaway that celebrates the unique nature of our furry friends. There will be monthly categories, so if you have a dog that falls into that one, you can nominate them to win. If your dog does not fit into this month’s category, do not fret, we have a pretty all-encompassing list for the entire year – we eventually got you covered!

This month, let’s celebrate: Dog’s who are hearing impaired. This could be fully deaf, deaf in one ear, missing an ear or ears (hopefully this does not exist outside of birth defects) and dogs with conditions that have them on the road to being deaf.

Here is how it works…

This goes beyond just a giveaway (but yes, there is of course some loot!). Our goal is to remind each other that we are all in this crazy life together. That through these giveaways, we can all bring empathy into play. As you share stories of your hearing impaired dogs, read the stories of others. You may nod, and realize you are not alone. You can message others and share your experiences and advice. Friendships will form. Support can be shared. Joy will be spread!

Share your hearing impaired dog (your dog’s name, a photo. and the story about their hearing) on either our Facebook page containing this post, on Sirius Republic’s Facebook page when they share this post. If you are not of the Facebook world, you can email your info to ohmelvinyojake@gmail.com. No matter how you submit your info, you will be entered to win.

READ ALONG AS OTHERS POST. DON’T FORGET TO REACH OUT.

We will pick one female and one male winner at the end of October!

Next month, it will be a new category!

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A lot can go downhill in three years.

You know when you read a lot of rescue stories and they are so inspiring.  The dog had faced some sort of hardship and through rescue they were delivered to a beautiful forever where they left their old life behind and thrived in their new forever home.  I mean not all rescue stories are like this but almost all surround the premise of: life is better post rescue.

Their stories are like hugs.

I feel like Jake’s story is low on the inspiration scale.

I met Jake three years ago this week.  The adoption process took a while so he was not adopted until Thanksgiving but nevertheless, three years ago to right now, we met.  At that point…

  • He could walk
  • He could hold his pee in
  • He could hold his poop in
  • He could see out of both eyes

Fast forward to today and Jake’s rescue story goes a little like this..

  • In his former life he was able to walk but now he drags his hind legs and has a wheelchair and a stroller.
  • With his first family, he was able to hold his pee, he now wears a diaper as he leaks pee all day.
  • Prior to coming to live here he used to poop in a back yard.  Now he makes meatballs whenever and wherever with zero warning. Usually at 3am.
  • Although his eyes were always googly, in his first life they both worked.  Now he has an eye that only sees light/dark.

So to sum it up, when he came to me he was 100% working.  Currently he at 50%.  Something seems a tad uninspiring about Jake’s rescue story!

I was compelled to write this post as a result of Jake’s last eye appointment where on our way out, he bonked his face smack dab into a closed-door because he couldn’t see it.

Laugh for us, don’t cry! There is still poetry in his story! He found true love in Melvin and me. And I vow to work until  the age of 104 to support him.

Here are the very first photos of Jake on our very first meet up.  A chance encounter with his then foster mom.

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And the very first recorded photo of the dynamic duo.  Little dude was just a visitor at that point.  Can’t you just feel the love! Jake wouldn’t face the camera and Melvin gave me the stink eye. 10 9 12b