Doug hates Halloween

Remember how I used to really kill it on Halloween with the dog costumes? Well, Doug does not do costumes. Unless do costumes = eat costumes off his back. 

Last year I dressed him up as a Handmaids TAIL, and he rammed the bonnet into the wall and destroyed it before I could even push the camera button on my phone.

The ONLY costume I have successfully kept on him for more than 5 minutes was Frankenweenie, when I drew the costume on him with liquid eyeliner (and I couldn’t get it off for weeks).

Here is a little walk down memory-costume-lane so you can waste a few extra minutes at work on a Friday.

Also, if you need me, I’ll be decorating for Christmas.

Frankenweenie (it worked because he had so many scars from his leg surgeries. IMG_7448Prisoner, because he was on lockdown during leg surgeries. img_0953-1Hannibal Lector, because he ate so many frogs. IMG_6124IMG_6128Mr. T and the Fool. IMG_0835IMG_0824

King of my heart. 11 4 13f

Snookie. 10 30 13a11 4 13c

He hated this so much. I took it right off him. 10 30 13

Punk Melvin. IMG_2839IMG_2819photo[1]

Where all my peeps at?

Hey yo! It’s Doug E. Fresh! She has been keeping me from my adoring fans and I am so sorry, that just ain’t cool, amiright?

As a reminder, here is my beautiful Chick Magnet being:IMG_7099

Here are some updates for all the interwebs people that love The Doug:

  • My belly is broken. I have no idea what that means but i’m guessing it  has something to do with the fact that I used to eat great food (and throw it up) and then I ate food that tasted like cardboard (and did not throw up) and then I moved up to a slightly more favorable food and yeah, throw up. The people at the shiny floor facility said I cannot eat the cardboard long term, and well YEAH, no sh!t, it tastes like butt. No wait, butt tastes good, it taste like cats. Because I hate cats.
  • Speaking of cats, I guess she thought Bob #2 was dead but now he is alive and since he started coming back to see her again she is all like ‘oh Bob, I love you so much, here you go, have the best food ever made because you are the greatest…’. Just stop. I live INSIDE the house and eat cardboard and he lives outside WHERE STUPID CATS BELONG and he gets food flown in on a private jet from Fancy Catville. Don’t ask me how I know it’s delicious, I just do. Also, cat food makes me throw up too.
  • When I come down the steps in the morning I go top speed, miss a few, ram by beautiful body into the island stools and keep on running, all day long. She calls me Mr. Lunatic. Then, at 7pm when I try to go to bed and I have to take one step at time and go slow-poke-mode, she calls me Grandpa Joe. She is dumb. My name is Doug.
  • She is not all terrible. She takes me for rides to nowhere, I am pretty sure she does that just to make me happy. But then sometimes she takes me to the ER shiny floor vet because of all the throw up and those are the moments I find her less desirable as a s’mother. She should only be allowed to take me for rides to Starbucks and to see my soulmate, Grandpa.
  • I’m on a die. What? It’s not called die? I think I’d know what it’s called and also because I MAY DIE IF YOU DON’T START FEEDING ME MORE. (Apparently, it’s Diet. I think the ‘t’ might be silent though).
  • She was supposed to go a concert in tex’s ass and, huh? That is so how you spell it. Tex’s ass. Texas is not a word, stop. Anyway she was supposed to go to a concert and I got sick so she stayed with me. She is not all bad.
  • I take that back, she is horrible. She has forgotten to feed me today. What the frick? She said someone wants to photograph my beautiful belly but what does that have to do with her STARVING ME? What is the hotline number for s’mothers who don’t feed their dogs and then brazenly EAT BREAKFAST IN FRONT OF THEIR EYEBALLS AS EXTRA TORTURE?

I cannot continue this post as I am about to pass out from hunger…

The Doug.

Time is funny.

I think it goes without saying that I don’t post here as often (hello captain obvious). One of those reasons is that I love Instagram and Doug gives me so much content for daily stories so we are over there each day and I sometimes just assume all of you are over there with us. The other reason I find myself over here less is that for a long time, I’ve felt uninspired, or maybe inspired differently. Instagram has been a great channel to share Doug because he is ridiculous and funny and the things he does require video proof. In fifteen-second intervals, people get to know Doug. But when it comes to blogging about him, I haven’t really felt the same connection between writing and Doug that I did with Melvin, and then Melvin and Jake.

Neither could read. IMG_9840

I had Melvin for a couple of years before I started this blog and you got to experience how my love grew for him. Jake fit seamlessly into the blog stories as his own googly-eyed personality but also as Melvin’s soulmate. You then traveled these pages with us as Melvin and I said farewell for now, as me and Jake mourned, and then as I said another painful see you on the other side to Jake.

Even when I forced myself to share Doug with you all, it wasn’t the same. It isn’t that I didn’t love telling you about him, I just didn’t derive as much joy from writing about me and him. And when Instagram stories became a thing, that felt way more right.

I’ve been thinking about the why of that lately.

I think part of it has to do with Melvin. This blog, the reason it exists, is Melvin. And it’s not because I don’t love Doug like I love Melvin, it’s that my love of writing this blog, was always tied to, my love for Melvin. I felt a disconnect when I started writing about Doug, because I couldn’t connect him to Melvin. I could have written every day about Doug and you probably would have kept on reading, but I wouldn’t have enjoyed it they way I should have, so I slowly tapered off.

That is probably not the only reason.

I’m also afraid of losing Doug. Not every minute of everyday, or even something I think about regularly. More so in the way that, sharing him in words on this page, make him a dog I will lose. He has had a ton of health issues this year and I want to come to this community and share it but there is a part of me who wants to keep his updates verbal. Nothing to refer back to, every detail not chronicled in words somewhere for me to linger on. No Facebook memory pop-ups to remind me of posts that end in heartbreak.

I still wholeheartedly chase joy and Melvin and Jake love lives on the most beautiful ways. But losing them, broke big parts of me. And for a long time, this blog haunted me more than it reminded me that joy is who we are.

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Photo Credit: Kate Juliet Photography

I know that Doug is connected through Melvin in the second best way; me. And these past few years with Doug, although not as much was chronicled here, he and I have forged a beautiful life. A life filled with love that healed a tremendous amount of grief in me. A love that soothes his anxiety and gives him something to rely on. A love that is fueled by Melvin and Jake but uniquely made for only Doug.

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And in the past month, I have found myself wanting to be here more. Wanting to write more about Doug. Moments in the ER, yes, but also moments where Doug steals hearts and brings laughter. So I have written some posts and didn’t post them because I wanted to really decided if we would be back more or not.

I think we will be here a little more often. If nothing else, you know that a piece of my heart will always be found at ohmelvin.com. Melvin and Jake #loveliveson here, it’s like coming home.

 

 

Three years of me and Doug.

In late Summer of 2016, two very different versions of me existed. Both versions, were heartbroken to have just lost Jake.

Sad Tracey, otherwise known as the artist formally known as me, ached in ways I was unprepared for. Missing Jake (and Melvin) aside, the house was dog-less for the first time since I’d had dogs AND the house was empty. This version of me couldn’t bring myself to meet dogs because it was too soon, even though I knew the emptiness of the house might suffocate me. This version of me found comfort in dark places.

Desperate Tracey, otherwise known as survivor-mode-me, kept screaming inside of Sad Tracey’s head that fixing the empty house part would help. That getting a dog, despite every theory of when is ‘too soon’, was an easy solution to a very, very big problem.

Sad Tracey pulled most of the strings and screamed FU to thoughts of a dog, there would never be another dog in this house, not ever. The current heartbreak was too unbearable.

Desperate Tracey went rogue and adopted Doug.

That was three years ago. Today there is (thankfully) just one version of me. The me that has loved and lost and found more love. The me that joyfully hops through life with Doug, as Melvin and Jake love lives on in us both.

Doug came into this home six weeks after Jake died. He didn’t get the best version of me, which is funny in a way because Melvin joined my home as Max was dying and he didn’t get the best of me either. Dogs don’t always need the best of you, as long as the worst of you is still based in goodness and love.

Dearest Doug,

We started off in a complicated way. I fought loving you because it felt like a betrayal to Jake, and you were pretty intent on eating my feet, literally. You and I had to compromise  a lot for each other. I had to make room for you in my broken heart and you had to deal with some pretty intense mouthing urges. Both were high hurdles.

After three years, all of that is a bit of a blur now. When I walk in the house and I see you, my heart beats with pure joy. I love you fiercely. It seems like you have always been here and I pray that is how it feels for you too. There was another version of you at one time also, but that discarded dog has found a forever with me.

I look at you and think, you are so much like Melvin and Jake. I guess that has a lot to do with you each getting the same love from me. But you are also, very much, Doug. With your odd bursts of crazy, and your love of destruction. I think the disruptive parts of you, are what moved us both forward at the beginning. I think my love has calmed some of your anxiety. Prozac has helped too.

I see you bud. I know you, I know you better than you know you. My life is about you now and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You make me laugh. You destroy my things but you remind me, things are nothing compered to you being happy and safe. There is nothing that you can throw at me that I won’t see you through. 

Then there is your breed. You being a hippopotamus and all. I have had to verbally defend you to people who don’t even know you.  I have had to explain, it is not how they are raised, it is in fact, the here and the now of who YOU are. The same as it is the here and now of who I am. I vow to always share your wacky ways in hopes that it will educate those who don’t know, just how silly and loving hipppos can be.

In the next year, there will come a moment that I will have had you, for as long as I had Jake. And in the moment that follows that one, I will have had you longer. Time is funny, how it marches on. I can’t control how long I have with each of you, I can only choose to focus on maximum joy and love with the time we are given.

Too soon is a barrier that broken hearts put up for protection. The leap I took with you, is everything now. 

I love you with my whole heart. Three looks really beautiful on us. 

Love, your s(mother). xoxo

 

Three years without Wonkalicious.

Jake went to be with Melvin three years ago.

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Putting it in that context has always made it hurt a little less. I was always meant to find Melvin, and so was Jake.

 

Losing Jake was so hard, something this community knows very well. Melvin was gone and Jake’s last year was so difficult. His soulmate had left him and he didn’t know why. His beautiful googly eye formed a hole from an ulcer and after emergency surgery, struggled to heal (never forget hamburger eye!). He went fully paralyzed in his hind legs.  He got MRSP. His body had a much harder time fighting infection and then cancer came knocking again, this time with two different types for Jake.

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I have conflicting feelings about his last year. He was so lost without Melvin and there were moments, where it was just me and him, that I saw how small and lonely he was without his big brother. But he and I got to have that year together, just the two of us, and I really do believe that is how it was meant to be. He got all the love, something he had never gotten from anyone, ever.

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We made the best of that year. Many moments of me holding him in my arms, dancing around the house. Trips to the beach, rolling around the hood in his stroller. Owning the front door watch post like a boss. Him doing all the meatball production and me doing all the meatball clean up.

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A lot has happened in the last three years, and in some ways, nothing has changed. I said goodbye to Jake and hello to Doug; my little family may look different, but Melvin and Jake are still part of it. Jake is still my baby, I don’t think any dog will ever need me as much as he did. Melvin is my co-pilot and Jake is Doug’s. He is the little voice that whispers inside Doug’s head, some are really good ideas and some are really, really, really bad ideas.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jake told me to do it. IMG_2805

Every year around the time of Jake’s death, I try to find a dog in rescue who needs a cart. It started with Oliver, just before Jake died, and this week, we bought our 4th cart in memory of Jakey, paid with love, for a little nugget named Declan. Declan is about to regain his mobility, and every joyful step he takes with his new wheels, will be more of Jake’s beautiful love living on, and one more step closer to Declan finding his forever.

I am so thankful this wonky-googly-eyed ball of comedy rescued me. I’m so happy to have been chosen to watch over both Jake and Melvin and watch their love grew. They brought me more happiness than I could ever explain! If you ever ask my advice on how to navigate all of  life’s beautiful and soul crushing moments, my response is always: Be the joy. So this week, in memory of someone who’s love should live on, be the Jakey joy. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Love. Lives. On.

 

The update on Bob.

I didn’t want to share the update on Bob. The last time I saw Bob was late March. I started getting very worried and reached out via our neighborhood Facebook pages for folks to be on the lookout for him. There were no reported sightings.

I reached out to the Cat Coalition that had helped me trap both Bobs, and they sent word out to their contacts. Nothing. They thought it would be odd behavior for him to move on his own. I took that as they felt he was gone (in the bad way). They had other theories, that were very depressing. I blocked those out.

I called the shelter. Nothing.

I put up an outdoor camera to see if he was coming by at night. I only saw a raccoon. And even the raccoon stopped coming. Was the condo no longer a 5 star abode?

I still put food out, every night. I also cried, a lot.

I have spent my whole life allergic to cats so I have never really had deep feelings for any. I basically saw them as a health threat. But then I rescued Bob’s mom, Bob(1) and she was a total bitch who hissed at me and pretty much terrified me on a daily basis but for whatever reason, I got her. She stopped coming by shortly after I took away her reproductive rights.  That seemed fair.

Then Bob’s son, Bob(2) started coming around. And he was sweet and gentle and he stared into my soul from the bushes. And after his man-parts were rendered inactive, he still kept coming. And I bought him condo after condo and the best food and when I saw him in the driveway I would run out and put his natural flea and tick preventative drops in his food to try and give him the best chance at joy. And he’d let me get pretty close and that was close enough because the ER bores me.

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I mourned my boy Bob for several weeks. I  had come to love a feral cat. I couldn’t believe it but I was a cat person. Well, a dog person who happens to have a feral cat that they are allergic to but that is pretty much the same thing. I kept putting food out, and some nights it would disappear and I was a little hopeful, but also just glad some creature was being fed.

Yesterday, I got an alert on one of the posts from FB that a neighbor (who knows Bob) said her husband had seen Bob in their yard and he even drew a photo to show what the cat looked like, and as the cat mom of Bob, that IS BOB!

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Could it be true, my cat Bob is alive and back???!!!!! Then another neighbor saw him and hot damn if I am not a crazy cat person again who in fact does not have to deliver the news of Bob(2)’s death!

Bob is alive! And Doug could care less. And yay for JOY!!!! All is right in our world.

Wait, what? Can you repeat that please.

As a reminder, Doug is impossible to keep weight on. We tried food after food to find one that he keeps down and doesn’t poop 25 times a day on and one that keeps his poops ‘moderately’ good. While on the one food that somewhat worked, he consistently lost weight.

His bionic leg endeavors deterred some of our digestive progress.  Or masked it. Or made us forget all about it. But he started throwing up regularly and we went to the vet. And the vet did bloodwork and it all came back terrible and they were worried Doug could be in organ failure and I was overwhelmed and he was malnourished and ok universe JUST STOP BEING SUCH AN A$$HOLE.

We did x-rays. We did ultrasounds. Scope was up next, but we decided to do a food change to see if we could pinpoint the issue. Doug went on the food that has pre digested protein. The one I argue is the worst.

You knew all of this from previous posts but I wanted to get you back up to speed. Also, here is a reminder of what Doug looks like!

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We did the food trial for 8 weeks. Doug went from skinny to pleasantly plump. I had to cut back on the recommended amount because he was clearly back up to healthy hippo weight, and maybe even for the first time, a little overweight.

We had his bloodwork redone and the vet called. I could hear in her voice that the results were unexpected, maybe even questionable. Then she delivered a statement to me that has never once been said, to me, about any dog:

Doug’s bloodwork is perfect. Like textbook perfect. Like we’ve never seen such good bloodwork ever, in the history of all the bloodwork.

I legit cried. I mean I’m not saying we will ever be able to find out what the mystery of an ‘annual vet visit’ is like, but hot damn, we got him from possible organ failure to poster child of health!

Turns out, Doug has an intolerance to Chicken. And a few other things. This explains while during the terrible weeks, when we put Doug on the bland diet (chicken and rice), everything got way worse. The predigested food is a short term solution as even that manufacturer of the foods says that dogs should not stay on it long term. Doug is now on a food trial with Kangaroo and higher fiber (which we know he does better on). He’s tolerating the food great and we will do another blood test after 8 weeks, but I can just tell, he’s nutrient boosted and being fueled by food joy. Yay!

Doug is the perfect example of how nothing happens overnight. This September will mark our 3rd year together, and it is has taken this long to figure out all his digestive issues. In between all of it was two major leg surgeries and a host of anxiety and behavioral learnings. He is never boring, currently his hind legs are posturing in a way that his outside paw pads and nails don’t touch the ground. We learned this by noticing that those nails are always super long, unlike the other nails that wear down normally on all the walks. Who knows what the solution to that is.

I think the moral to this story and maybe all of my stories about all of the dogs is 1. get health insurance for your pet and 2. there are no guarantees for how easy or difficult or challenging life with a pet will be. There is only what you make of the joy.

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