Oh Melvin, Yo Jake.

This Monday is the one year anniversary of finding out Jake had cancer. I remember sitting in my car after getting the call and my eyes and chest burning from sadness and fear. I couldn’t breathe. I remember feeling so overwhelmed because I was still mourning Melvin. Jake couldn’t have cancer, they must be wrong.  I raced home to be with Jake, since more than ever, every second counted.

Why are your eyes so leaky?IMG_6475

In two weeks, it’s the two-year anniversary of finding out Melvin was dying. Calendars suck.

11 7 13d

I don’t plan to remember these dates forever. But back to back loss makes me feel like I’ve been sad for a long time. I also know how far I’ve come despite losing them both so close together.

My love for Melvin continues to grow. He is me. He is my heart, my guiding light, the goodness I try to put out into the world.  As for losing Jake, he and I still have some first to go through on our way to the year anniversary of his death this July. I still feel that burning in my chest sometimes when I think of Jake. Sadness and joy still struggle for the win when I think of him.

But then there is this, in my world, Melvin and Jake are the sun, they are the joy, and the laughter and everything that is beautiful in this life. I have learned that great loss does not slow down the trajectory of great love.


Melvin was, and in some ways, will always be the muse for this blog. He is the reason it exists.Funny though, I have a hard time even recalling the posts I did about Melvin as an only dog. When I look back, it’s as if it was always Melvin and Jake. I guess that’s all part of  a love that was meant to be. Now that they are both gone, they are eternally one. Melvin & Jake. Jake & Melvin. My favorite odd couple. The source of so much of my joy.



After Melvin died, I mentioned that I might change the name of the blog. There were many comments asking me not to, that it felt wrong to do that, and in the end, I kept the name.

But now, its time.

Here is where my heart is…

  • Oh Melvin the blog started six years ago with just me and Melvin, hardly anyone even read back then! I chronicled his severe allergies, his tail amputation, his joyful exuberance.
  • When Jake came along, it was easy to add him and still feel like Oh Melvin worked. Everyday that passed, they became life partners. Now that Doug is here, and knowing other dogs will come, Oh Melvin feels…like a look back. Oh Melvin doesn’t feel like it captures this new world where I am without Melvin and Jake, where I am learning to chase joy with Doug.
  • Oh Melvin is from where I’ve come, and although it will always be a part of me, I don’t say those treasured words very often anymore. And the moments when I do say them, well now those moments are more personal, they belong only to me.
  • The URL will always be ohmelvin.com because Melvin is the soul of this blog. OhMelvin.com is the road that will always lead you to me and me to you, but it’s time for the blog name itself to support a past, present and future.

Moving forward is OK. Its good. Its how life goes.

I’m not going to do a big introduction, one day soon you will stop by and the change will have occurred (it’s actually all loaded up, I just have to publish it). The photo will change too, I thought I should warn of you that also. I hope when you see it, you smile. I can tell you with certainty that Melvin and Jake are fine with it.

Just as a sidenote, I changed our Instagram name this week too (it’s now: @dougholupka.for.president).  It only seemed fair that Doug get some real estate in some of our social media presence. I’m not sure why I never changed that account name after Melvin died (but had I, it would have either been Just Jake or Wonkalicious). I think Jake was ok living under the Oh Melvin umbrella though. I think he wouldn’t have had any other way.

Change is hard, but joy will guide us.

xoxo, Tracey


Does a blog about dogs age in dog years or calendar years?

April 1st is the blog’s birthday.  No fooling. I have never missed the anniversary, until this year.  In fact, had Facebook not sent me my daily-memory-reminder-for-years-past, I don’t think I would have remembered at all!

Losing Melvin softened some of my Type A’ness. At first it drove me nuts but now I just go with it!

So yay us! Friday marked five years of blogging! Woot woot!

The very first thing I felt when I realized the anniversary was gratitude, for all of you.  I love writing, coming here and sharing our life and having a repository for my thoughts, is my happy place.  You are part of our village!  This past year has been hard and having this blog and having posts to look back on has been a source of great healing and inspiration for me.

So thank you, for you!

I don’t know what this next year and blogging will bring. Jake’s time with me is going to be short. That is a reality. And even though this blog was my outlet for grief this past year, I don’t really want to write about grief…again. Heck, I don’t want to feel grief again but that is a whole different set of emotions! I’m not sure how long of a period there will be when there are no dogs here.  This clearly falls into, ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’.

For now, this blog is five and this blog is incredibly special to me and you, each of you, make my day regularly!

Thank you for following along, for loving my boys and for laughing and crying with us. Thank you for all things you! High-five to five!

In year one, there was just me and Melvin. And his girlfriend, fluffy pillow.IMG_0272

In year two, there was a new house and Melvin clearly hated it. 7 6 12

In year three, Jake joined.  He has always been so comfortable and natural in front of the camera. IMG_2745

In year four, there was so much love, we almost imploded. IMG_0493

And in year five, it was this guy and me. He is still so relaxed when the camera comes out. IMG_6475