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Goodbye dear friend

February 23, 2010 10 comments

Baxter when we first brought him home

This month our little family faced yet another deep and difficult loss. Our precious dog, Baxter, passed away on February 18, 2010 at about 1:00 am. Words can’t explain the bond we felt with Baxter “BB”. He came into our life unexpectedly in June 2004. He had been abandoned by his owner and was being kept at my cousin’s house. They didn’t really have space for him and so we offered to bring him home. From that moment on, he was our first baby. I had never known immediate love before. I didn’t realize that it was even possible with anything other than your own children. But we did. We loved him deeply from the moment he came home. I remember he wandered off that first night and I was in tears. I was crying over a dog I had only known for about 5 hours. That was how instant it was. We got him home, cleaned him up, removed ticks, and fed him. We spent hours snuggled up with him. He was so sweet and easy to love. He burrowed his way into your heart and you just couldn’t let him go. He made an impact on everyone he met. I don’t know many dogs that have their own theme song, but our BB did.

Baxter the week we lost him

Baxter during the last week with us

We made it our mission to give him all he had missed in life and to make up for the pain he had suffered. He went with us hiking, canoeing, camping, traveling, shopping at Lowe’s, boating, and visiting family and friends. He LOVED to get dressed. He would prance around so proud. I think it was all the attention he received. He wandered off quite often… he loved to catch a scent, but always came home to us.

Baxter gave an immense amount of love and companionship. We joked that he was an equal opportunity lover. There will never be a dog like him. He was the best gift we could have hoped for. Several years ago, at a routine checkup we discovered he had a heart murmur. Over the next 4 years it progressed until the last year when it was as bad as it could get and he began coughing. The coughing turned to hacking and then to a distressed breathing. It was heartbreaking to watch our best friend deteriorate, especially when his mind and spirit were so strong and sharp. We don’t know for sure how old he was when we got him, but the vet guessed 5. So, he would be almost 11. Until the end he seemed so much younger than that. On the evening of the 17th we knew it had gotten bad. He had already had 2 bad days and a bad night and was now stressing to breath constantly. We called our vet at midnight and told her that this was it. We were not sure that he would make it through the night and we didn’t want him to go into distress. We knew it was coming, since she had told us a week ago that it was really up to us at this point as to when would be best, but we just didn’t expect it so soon. But we knew this was it. We met her at the office and spent an hour crying, sharing stories of him with her, snuggling with him and finally, saying goodbye. His weak heart only had 5 beats left in it and he was so peaceful. And in that moment our hearts were shattered.

Never would we replace Baxter. This was a truly special dog that had a place in our heart that will never belong to another. We cried and cried. On Friday, we brought home his ashes and felt some peace knowing he was home. More times than I count I would expect him to be there. Split seconds of forgetting he was gone. His loss has been unmeasurable.

So, a few days later, yesterday in fact, we did something we never thought we could or would do. We rescued another dog. Yes, less than a week later, we have invited a young puppy into our home and our family. We NEVER thought we would find ourselves here. We had wanted another dog many times, but always decided not to because Baxter needed to be an only dog. We were happy to make that sacrifice for him and his happiness. When the end of his life was nearing, we were in agreement that it would probably be a long time before we got another dog. Yet, here we are. How did we get here? How did we come to this decision for our family when we always felt it would only be proper and necessary to wait for a while after losing a pet?

Anyone that has lost someone very close to them will tell you that each day without them in the beginning feels like an eternity. And that has been so true. We have tried to just be open with our emotions. The first few days we cried as we shared stories and memories. We cried as we looked at his picture. But we started to realize something. We realized that we will be mourning him for a very long time. We realized that no dog will ever replace him. He has a place in our heart that will always belong to him. We realized that loving another animal doesn’t diminish him, doesn’t take away from him, but to us it honors him. It is a way to pay it forward. He gave us so much, we want to give to another dog.

We also realized how many dogs there are without homes that love them and commit to keeping them happy, healthy, and safe. It was heartbreaking. We realized that not everyone can rescue, but we can. So many insist on pure breeds for a number of reasons; always had a certain breed, wanting to “know what they are getting”, etc. But that isn’t true for us. When we started seeing this and realized this, it suddenly didn’t make sense any more for us to not give a dog a home as soon as we could. We will be mourning regardless, why not be loving and supporting a dog who needs us too? When someone has two dogs and one passes, they don’t stop loving the other dog. They mourn and learn and grow. There is enough love to go around. And that is what we learned. We are only limited by ourselves. We are capable of mourning and missing Baxter and wishing he were still with us at the same time that we learn about and love a new member of our family.

We never imagined ourselves here, but yet here we are. I am processing the loss of Baxter and remembering all the joy he brought, while Reagan is sleeping next to me. I think Baxter would be proud. He would be happy to know another dog has a chance at a home that will give him anything and take the time for him. And Baxter will always know his place in our hearts, we are confident that we did a wonderful job of loving him during his time with us.

Reagan on the way home

So, here is the new member of our family. Reagan Gold. He is a four month old Schnauzer, Yorkshire, Beagle mix. His mommy got pregnant unexpectedly and the owners surrendered the 3 pups. He was the last to go and we knew the moment we met him that he was meant to be a part of our family. Aaron is still sleeping with Baxter’s collar in his hands. I still cried as I wrote about Baxter. Our family has a lot of healing to do still. But we have also laughed and smiled many more times in the last two days. We have something positive to focus on if we feel stuck. And with all of the loss we have faced this year, Reagan is a gift for which we can’t even begin to say thank you enough.

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Reflecting on my first 30 days

December 5, 2009 1 comment

So, a month ago, I decided I would FINALLY get serious about writing again.  I would make time and get all the millions of thoughts that run through my head out for others to share.  What an experience it has been!  There has been so much fulfillment, encouragement, and growth in one month!  I wish I could say I wrote as often as I wanted to or that I was as successful, articulate, and prepared as I would like to have been.  But I didn’t and I wasn’t… but that is OK!  I made major strides, stayed with my commitment and now have a long list of blog ideas and feel empowered to continue!

I remember the first day I let it loose… I was THRILLED to be getting a consistent 50ish hits a day.  I know that is SUCH small potatoes for a website, but this was brand-spankin-new and just about me.  Then, I started breaking 100 consistently!  One day I even had 406!!  Over the entire first 30 days I had over 2200 hits!  That means that people felt compelled to see what I had to say at least 2200 times!  That is a real honor!  I hope to watch the viewership grow and develop over the next few months.  My GOAL is to have one month with 25,000 hits by the end of 2010!  That will take a lot of work and dedication, but I love this!!

One thing I learned this month was that in the blogging world, it isn’t just about what you write on your own blog, it is about joining the conversation.  I have met (virtually) some WONDERFUL and talented women (and men) this month and am amazed by the conversations being had on twitter, blogs, and elsewhere.  It is a true community that is built by taking the time to share your thoughts on your own site and then visiting others and creating that dialogue.  One of the great examples of this was momalom.com‘s 5 for 10 experiment.  Those of us that took part committed to spend at least 5 minutes a day for 10 days on their blog (and others if we chose) and they would do the same.  This encouraged us all to step out and see what others were talking about and join the conversations.  It was a major success, opened me up to many new bloggers, and increased my own readership a lot. I have also taken part in the Wordless Wednesday blog carnival and the Not Me Monday blog carnival.  These are great to keep the blog fresh and meet new bloggers regularly.  I will be doing another new carnival from Momalom called the Half-drunk Challenge… I am a little scared… blogging tipsy?  YIKES!

I also learned what an honor it is to have someone recognize publicly what you are doing and saying.  This happened three times for me in this first month!  Again, WHAT AN HONOR!  First, PhDinParenting highlighted a blog I wrote during her week long commitment to more reading and commenting on people’s sites.  She would list on her blog where she visited that day and pick a few to highlight.  Her blog is a very respected resource for MANY people so it was a huge honor to receive such a notation from her.  Next, Birthing Magazine featured a link to a post of mine on their Facebook page with over 400 fans!  And finally, Best for Babes, an organization that is focused on helping change the public perceptions of breastfeeding, mentioned me when they posted how to get involved in their ad campaign.  This wasn’t in reference to my own writing or anything, but it was an honor to be credited as helping them with their movement.  These recognitions mean so much to me personally and for the growth of my blog.

During this month I have tried to cover many diverse topics that I am interested in (almost all come back to breastfeeding).  I have written about books, breastfeeding, toilet learning, reflection, nestle, and activism.  I have learned some about marketing myself too.  One thing I love about the blogging world is that it is more about building the relationship than just flat marketing.  People see my link when I comment and post elsewhere, but it is secondary to what I have to say.

In my life, I have grown quite a bit this month.  I learned how truly persistent my son is, perhaps more than any other human being I have met.  I learned that, because of this, I have to let go of all I have tried to hold on to as a “typical parent”.  Typical parenting isn’t what he needs.  He needs to have more control, more respect, more choice in his life.  He needs more guidance, more understanding, and more patience.  I have to trust him to grow and mature at his own pace and listen to his needs first.  I have to continue to grow so that I can be the mother he needs.  I lack the patience and creativity he really needs from me.

I have also learned this month that I AM on the right path.  Every turn has been a reassurance that I need to follow my heart.  I haven’t answered all my questions about how to make the needed changes, but I know I will. (RN or no RN??)  It feels great to be building myself up each day and being able to also reflect on where I have been.  I am looking forward to continuing with my writing and seeing where it takes me with each new post!  Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read, comment, and revisit!  I hope you will continue the journey with me!!

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Categories: Goals Tags: , , , ,

Not Me Monday 11/30/09

November 30, 2009 9 comments


Welcome to Not Me! Monday!  This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

I like to think of myself as a rather reserved, respectable, controlled individual so I, of course, was NOT doing the total happy dance when I saw that Birthing Magazine had highlighted one of my blog posts on their Facebook page.  How unbecoming that would be!  I most definitely did NOT get butterflies in my tummy and a smile stretched across my face from ear to ear.  I was in NO way filled with total joy knowing that a periodical thought enough of something I wrote to mention it to their readers.  That would be so immature and in no way within my character.  And because of this you know that I didn’t call my husband and my mom to tell them how awesome I am.  Nope, not me.  I am the picture of cool, calm, and collected.  Oh, and in case you didn’t see it… 😉

Birthing Magazine Feature

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Categories: Not Me Monday Tags: , ,