Monday, March 28, 2011

Saying Goodbye...

We said goodbye to our beautiful Penelope Friday morning. It was quick and peaceful. We went in and I let her take her time sniffing the bushes out front even though we were late for the appointment...I figured it was her last sniffs, so may as well let her sniff as long as she wanted and they could wait!

We went in and they immediately escorted us to a really nice room with a soft bed and lots of plants. I brought her some ham as a last snack. She had about half the ham, then we saved the rest for when the vet came in. It wasn't the same vet as the day before, I didn't care too much for this guy. He asked if I wanted to stay, and I said of course. It seemed like he was trying to talk me out of staying, saying that most clients preferred to leave once they knew it would be taken care of, or to step out to the lovely garden they had behind the room, and why didn't I just think about it and let him know. Fine, buddy, but I've already made up my mind.

They gave her a sedative and left us for a few minutes. I gave her the rest of the ham while she got the shot, but she didn't want all of it. I sat with her and petted her. The vet came back, asked again if I was sure I wanted to stay, and had one of the nurses (turns out her daughter is one of Alex's classmates and we'd met on a field trip before!) take Carter to see the fish tank so I wouldn't have to worry about him.

They shaved a little bit of her arm so they could make sure to get the vein for the last shot (an overdose of a barbituate that would first shut her brain down, which would in turn make everything else shut down). I saw the life leave her eyes before the shot was even done, and she just went comepletely limp. They left me with her while everything else slowly stopped. I laid down next to her and held her and petted her and cried while she took her last breaths. The vet came in a few minutes later and confirmed that she was gone.

We're having her cremated, and will pick up her ashes in a week or so. We're planning to take her to Folly Beach and scatter her ashes there. When we first moved to SC, we lived in Charleston and Penel and I would go to the beach after work 2-3 times a week. Rainy days were the best, because there wouldn't be anyone else there, so I could let her off the leash so she could run. She loved chasing the birds and splashing in the water, so I think it'll be a nice place to go to remember her.

Everyone seems to be taking it rather well. Alex came home from school, looked around and asked where she was, then said, "Oh, she's dead." and that was it. Phoebe doesn't seem upset either - I was worried about how she'd take it, since they've only ever been apart once, when Phoebe was hospitalized overnight when she was sick. Other than that, they've pretty much always been together, ever since we adopted Phoebe as a puppy 7 years ago. Eric said it bothered him more than he thought it would, that he couldn't be there. And Carter, of course, hasn't noticed anything different :)

It's still a little strange to have only one dog, especially at feeding time. She had gotten to the point that she spent most of her time relaxing off to the side, so it's mostly just at times like when I'm in the bedroom and look to the couch and don't see her there, or when I'm calling Phoebe in, or that kind of thing.

It was a hard choice, but I'm glad it was made at this point. Keeping her alive any longer would have been selfish and I couldn't bring myself to let her suffer any longer - and she was obviously suffering.

She was a wonderful friend, and a faithful and loving companion. There will never be another Moondoggie....

Tucked in with Eric after getting hit by a car about 5.5 years ago, a week before we got married...

Watching Phoebe race around the yard with Alex...

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's that time...

Well, she's not doing any better. She even peed on the couch she sleeps on this morning, and I don't remember the last time she's had an accident. She's barely able to walk. I called the vet and am taking her in at 10:45. We told Alex this morning that she was probably going to die soon and he should give her an extra big hug before going to school, and it broke my heart when he started crying, saying he didn't want her to die because he loves her. But as all 4 year olds do, he got over it quickly. He never did give her a hug or anything, though. So Penel and I are going to have some quality snuggle time before it's time to leave. I know it's the right thing to do, to put her out of her misery, but every time she perks up about something, it makes me question the decision. But I know that she's in pain and hurting and that dragging it out isn't going to do anything.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Difficult Decisions

My poor Penelope hasn't been doing so hot lately. The poor girl is probably 11-13 years old and has been slowly showing her age. Winters are getting harder, and when the seasons change, she can barely get up.

Sunday afternoon, both dogs were outside enjoying the sunshine. I looked out and saw Penel twitching a little. "Aww, how cute!" Eric and I thought - she looked as though she was dreaming. But she wasn't laying at quite a natural angle, so I went out to look at her. She was wide awake, and shaking something fierce. Her stomach started convulsing - like it would be if she was throwing up, but her stomach was the only thing doing anything. Once that calmed down, we moved her into the sunlight with little protest, and went inside. She followed us almost immediately and went to lay down.

The rest of the evening was rather uneventful. She had another brief bout with the convulsing, but that was it. Not surprisingly, she wasn't interested in dinner.

Monday morning she wasn't doing much better. I got her to eat a little bit, and she was drinking like normal again. Tuesday and Wednesday were more of the same. Some meals she'd eat a couple of bites, others she wasn't interested in anything we had to offer her.

Wednesday night, she laid down, then when it was time to go out before bed, she was limping. She pretty much sat down to pee, she could barely put weight on one leg.

At that point, I knew we had no choice but to give in and call the vet. The earliest appointment they had was 4 pm, so I packed her up when it was time to go get Alex. The poor girl couldn't stand. We'd been having to help her up for a couple of days, but this time, she could barely stay standing. I lifted her into the car and off we went.

Penelope, like most dogs, LOVES the car. She was so excited, especially when Alex got in! She sat up and perked right up.

We went straight to the vet, since it's between school and home. They led us back to a little room and did all the preliminary stuff. A bigger room opened up, so we relocated and then the vet came in. She couldn't tell anything from a basic exam and decided to run some blood work.

Well, that came back with all sorts of bad news. Her kidney levels were high, but not alarmingly so. Her pancreas and liver, on the other hand, were so high that the machine couldn't even read them.

Next up was an x-ray.

More bad news.

There's a huge mass on her spleen. Looking at the picture, it's probably 6 or 7 times the size of her spleen. It's taking up a good 1/4 of her abdomen.

So the vet told us our options. 70% of the time, a mass like that is malignant. Even if they remove it, there's a great chance that it would only extend her life by a few months. Given the state of her liver, kidneys, and pancreas, it's likely that if it is cancer or something like that, that it's already spread. Unfortunately, there's no way to tell if it's malignant or benign without doing the $1700 surgery. (Although, to be fair, that price did include everything, including today's office visit, several days in the hospital, medication, etc).

If it's benign, though, she can live happily with it with no problems. If it's malignant, then it'll just keep growing until it eventually bursts and floods her insides with blood and germs.

I just can't bring myself to put my dog through a surgery that has a 70% chance of not helping. She's old, and given the state of her other organs, the recovery would most likely be a long road. Assuming there was a recovery.

So they gave her some IV fluids, pumped her full of some antibiotics and pain medication, and managed to get her to eat half a can of wet dog food. We brought her home and will see how she does tonight. If she's doing better in the morning, then we'll go get some more antibiotics and pain meds and see how those fare. She's perked up a little, thanks to the treatment, so hopefully that trend continues and she's more like herself in the morning.

The vet said that the last time she had a case like this, they did what we did - fluids, antibiotics, and pain meds, and took the dog home. He passed away that night. If Penelope takes that same road, then that's okay. She'll be at home, with the people who love her, in a happy place.

If she's still miserable, though, then the best thing to do will be to put her out of her misery.

I hate having that kind of power, to make that call. I don't want her to suffer if she doesn't have to, but I also don't want to have her put down prematurely. I've had Penelope longer than Carter or Alex, even Eric. Penelope made the long journey from Colorado with me. I can't imagine a life without her, but it's looking like I soon will have to...if not now, definitely within the next few years.

She's lived a long, happy, good life. I have many fond memories of time spent with her and while I'm prepared for the worst, will continue hoping for the best!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Interviewing Alex

I love the way Alex's mind works. To help a friend with a paper she's writing, I asked Alex three questions. He didn't actually answer any questions, but at least he didn't reference "bonka" or beer anywhere in his responses!

1. What is marriage? That's when you get married. You marry something. (Then he starts singing Bruno Mars's "Marry You")

2. Why do people work? Because you have to work so hard. Sometimes you stop working and get a drink. And dinner. Or food. Then you go back to work.

3. What makes you an adult? Work. And you eat a lot. When I get bigger, I can touch computers.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Little Nuggets of Wisdom, courtesy of Alex

I definitely need to start keeping track of all the amazing things Alex's a collection of a few I was able to scavenge off of FB comments, and I'm sure there will be many more in the be on the lookout for some random one-line blog posts :)

"Words can hurt you. So can cars."
"Walking in a winter wonderland is not a superhero. It's part of a song. But Cat Woman is a superhero."

"Bats don't have fire, they just have wings. And birds too."

"I want to be 8 for my birthday."
"I hear something. I think it's circles in my belly. And I just heard my heart move...I need to wiggle my hips!"
"See my sword? It has marshmallows on it."

"Look, Mommy, my shirt says, 'Vampires, I love you so much.'"

My other little leprechaun :)

When Alex got home from school on St. Patrick's Day, we had to take just a few more pictures :)

We tried to get a nice picture of the three of us, but a certain young man had other ideas.....

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Babies Gone Wild!

Carter and his friend Loralye have a love-hate relationship. Sometimes they get along, other times...well, not so much.

We went to Loralye's birthday this weekend, and everything was fine and dandy until it was time to go. Carter and Loralye went to say goodbye and that's when the cage match began!

It started innocently enough.

Then Loralye pushed Carter down.

She tried to give him a hug while he was down...she's got at least an inch on him, so she probably just wanted him down at her level.

That didn't go so well. They both toppled over!

She straddled him and he just laid there!

She got up after a minute and Carter stood up and they both went on their merry ways :)

Mommy's Little Leprechaun!

It wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without a few pictures of my little leprechaun!

Sorry, I got a little carried away :)

Shiny new teeth!

Carter surprised us by growing a couple of new teeth! He'd been drooling for a while so we knew it was imminent, but we had no idea they were already through until a particularly big yawn one day! So either he's a really good teether, or the amber necklace is doing its job. Either way, we'll take it!

This brings our grand total to 8 teeth...He's almost ready for a nice steak dinner!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Clean and shiny teeth!

Alex is a HUGE fan of going to the dentist! After his first visit last fall, he'd been asking to go back ever since. Luckily, he's very into brushing his teeth (I can even use it as a can't brush your teeth if you don't put your pajamas on right now!).

When I told him we were going to the dentist he was so excited...and then when I brought him his toothbrush and some toothpaste at school, he and his friends had a great discussion about which toothbrush was their favorite.

Alex did excellent (he picked bubble gum toothpaste, because bubble gum is like candy), and didn't even flinch when the dentist poked all his teeth. No cavities, and super shiny clean teeth!

Monday, March 14, 2011

I'm rather pleased :)

I LOVE pictures of railroads, and we have a railroad that runs all the way from our house to Alex's school, and I've been meaning to try to take pictures of the boys somewhere along it for ages. Well, I happened to have my camera in the car when I picked Alex up, so I figured what the heck! Neither boy was dressed special, but that's okay. I'm rather pleased with how the pictures turned out! A few were super overexposed, but I'm taking a camera class in a few weeks so I'll get better with that kind of stuff :) I edited the overexposed ones to make them a little better, and in general, I'm really happy!

Oh, and we got Carter's new Nightmare fluff from Licorice Lane in the mail today, so I had to put him in his new pants and take a few pictures too :)

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Another Fluff-date!

We got our diapers from Monkey and Bug last week! They are soooo cute, and insanely soft! Just look how cute they are....

Nightmare Before Christmas

Owls (to match the Mei Tai...yes, I know I need a life!)


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and Sushi :)

Plus, we got our new Mo Dia diaper as well! The inside is cow print to match the tabs :)

Now I'm just waiting on my new NBC and a hockey diaper. Then I'm done for real. Really for real. Unless I find another NBC one. But that's the only exception. I promise.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

World Cup, here we come!

Alex had his first soccer game today and it was so cute! I was so impressed with him, mostly because he actually ran around and chased the ball :)

Warming up...Patiently waiting his turn!

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Go Whitecaps! This was one of Alex's favorite parts of t-ball, was putting their hands together and cheering for the team :) He thought his t-ball team was called "Go Riverdogs" day he'll wonder why all his sports teams begin with "Go" lol.

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Chasing the ball!

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Yes, that's my kid in the goal, lol.

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But at least he kept his shirt on!

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About half way through the game it finally clicked, that he was supposed to kick the ball toward the goal, not just chase it around aimlessly, lol. I was so proud of him, he got the bal and ran across the field and almost made a goal! It went right next to the goal, but it was soo close!

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Alex's very favorite part of playing sports...getting a snack afterward :)

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Dying the fountain green!

There's a lot of festivities surrounding St. Patrick's Day around here....well, probably everywhere! We have an area downtown called Five Points - it's close to the college campus, and there are lots of bars, cafes, etc there. They have a really nice fountain in the middle, where the five roads meet, and every year, they have a big event where kids get to help dye the fountain green! They have other fun stuff...goodies for the kids, a leprechaun, bagpipers, Irish dancer, and a beauty pageant and more (we felt kind of like we were in an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras,'s funny, the girls who were dressed appropriately for their age and wearing minimal makeup were the prettiest ones. And of course, the pre-teen princesses were incredibly rude and kept trying to push our small kids to the side so they could be right in front of the news camera. Our kids were just at the side of the fountain, waiting to pour in their dye, not trying to get on TV or anything. It took a lot for us not to smack them and make them move! I really really wanted to "trip" and spill dye all over them, but that would have been really mean.)

Alex, Carter, and Emily with the leprechaun...Carter was not impressed.

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Emily and Alex blowing can see one of the overly made up girls with the news guy in the background.

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Emma, Emily, and Alex were so confused by the bagpipers.

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Pouring the dye in! It's just green food coloring....a LOT of green food coloring!

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It's slowly starting to change colors!

It's green!

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We tried to get a good picture of the kids...we got a great one of the three big kids!

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Carter was so distracted by the fountain that I could barely even get him to look forward! Alex had a mouthful of green popcorn :)

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This was the ONLY picture I could get of both of them, lol.