Lessons in gratitude


This is a repost from my photography blog. It has been a really long week. Flocko did great, we will know more after the biopsy results.

My pity party that I was so good at ended promptly when I saw the three deep scratches across the hood of Karen’s car. It was only a three-hour drive from Bend to Salem over the mountains, and it only took her a split second to fall asleep at the wheel and drift into the oncoming lane. She was lucky, only a row of mailboxes stood in her path. I don’t even like to think about the other possibilities.

My pity party started one week ago. The cytology report came back on Flocko’s lump. It was malignant and it had to go. Flocko was dog number three since June to have the evil “C” word. Why was it happening again?

By Saturday I had chilled and then the whole toy thing happened. Sara was playing with Timber’s stuffy. She was having a blast and so cute and she jumped and shook the toy. Jillian ran by and snarked at her, nothing big. Slinky ran behind Jillian and Sara lashed out. The minute I yelled she backed off, it was only bite at the neck. Greyhounds have such thin skin anyway, so the tear in the skin on the shoulder wasn’t a complete surprise, but it the size of a 50 cent piece and I ran out to clean out my car so that I could run her over to the emergency vet for a couple of stitches. It took me minutes to clean out the car, run back into the house and Karen said she was coming with me. A pool of blood the size of a grapefruit had collected under Slinky chin beneath the skin. We called the emergency vet, only five minutes away, from the car. There was a mis-communication and we thought we would have to drive to Portland, I told Karen to call our vet and see where she suggested we go.

Our vet offered to meet us the clinic and a vet tech arrived shortly after we got there. Within the hour, Slinky was having emergency surgery. One of her larger blood vessels had been completely severed. Karen and I were so thankful to have Slinky in the hands of such a skilled surgeon, so quick on her feet and so willing to help at a moments notice and at an odd hour of the day.

Sometime after midnight we transported Slinky to the emergency clinic where she stayed until Tuesday morning receiving absolutely the best of care. We could not have asked for more. When I took her into our vet clinic Tuesday morning, they told me she was ready to go home.

On Monday afternoon, Karen and I took a few dogs out to the boarding facility we use. I called on a moments notice and Lisa graciously said she would take our youngsters. I knew we would need a quiet house for the two healing dogs. When we got home, Karen hopped in the car and headed to Bend to work.

Slinky was doing so well Tuesday afternoon. I am still thrilled by how well she is doing.

Tuesday night, I had a real quick session in the studio and when I came back into the house, I realized that Barney had collapsed and was having a hard time breathing. I have always wondered how I would react if I were at home alone, and an emergency occurred with one of the dogs. Would I be able to carry one of the greyhounds out to the car by myself and not panic? I often joke that Karen is the nurse and I’m the artist, but really, it isn’t that much of a joke. Much to my amazement, I never gave it a second thought. I scooped him up, got him out to the car and was on my way back to the emergency vet within minutes.

They met me at the door and were wonderful with him as they triaged his condition. By the time I left for the evening, he was stable and really looking good. I fully expected to pick him up the next morning and he would walk back into the house. That was not to be. By gurney he left the emergency clinic and by gurney he entered our clinic.

I dropped him off and ran home to get Flocko, it was Wednesday and he was scheduled for his surgery. Flocko’s surgery was uneventful. The tumor was removed and we are waiting for the biopsy results.

Karen left Bend early that day so that she could get home to see Barney one more time.

Barney’s heart was letting go. In all fairness to Barney, he was nearly 15 years old and he had been strong and vibrant right up to Tuesday night. We have always believed in quality over quantity and Barney had both. His life was great. He was happy and healthy and enjoyed the acre many times every day. Now he was tired and with sorrow in our hearts we held his paw and told him how much we loved him as he left us for more happy adventures.

I look back over the last seven days. I no longer linger in the pity party, I don’t ruminate in the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s. I am so grateful and thankful for all of the things that went right. So many things could have gone horribly wrong but they didn’t. We were surrounded by compassionate and skilled care from our own veterinarians and staff at Companion Pet Care North Salem and from the veterinarians and staff atSalem Veterinary Emergency Clinic. They got our babies through the worst of times.

Karen could have crossed into oncoming traffic, but there wasn’t anybody coming, she was so, so lucky.

Our sweet friends Becky and Steve brought us a couple of exceptionally good meals to help get us through.

Lisa made room to board a few dogs for us so that we would have a little quieter house for the healing dogs.

Yes, today is a new day and it is a good day.


No, not Flocko


I am still in a state of disbelief. Karen found a lump about four inches above Flocko’s hock Wednesday night. I knew by her concern it was probably more than just a fatty tumor. We did a needle biopsy yesterday and the results came back today. He has a soft tissue sarcoma.

We just went through this with Flo months ago.

It’s not fair. I’m angry, I’m hurt, I’m scared. His blood work was and he’s scheduled for surgery on Wednesday.

A moment of panic


Every year since about 2005 I have put together a calendar for our flock o’ hounds. It always has a theme and I’m always sending it out the door just in the nick of time.

Every year, I vow I will do better the next year and have them completed by Thanksgiving.

This year found me hopping with dozens and dozens of other dogs before my lens and not many of our own. I’m guilty, I feel guilty, I’m the plumber and every faucet in the house is leaking. Karen even went so far as to say… gulp… a calendar might not happen this year. That thought alone sent every obsessive, compulsive brain cell in my head into hysteria.

Today I was creating a million ads for work and I just needed a break. So I ever so slowly went through all of my posts this year is search of a theme, any theme, I’m easy. Right before my very eyes, “the 45 mile per hour couch potato” ala victorian. So I started count… 11 dogs on the settees. Woo hoo! There will be a calendar in our future. All of those settees are saving the day.

We’re home


We are back home after a wonderful vacation. The dogs all had a grand time at Camp Lisa and they all came home exhausted.

After I left for Maine, Flocko had two more grand mal seizures. His vet increased his phenobarbital and he went the entire time we were gone seizure-free. That was a huge relief for all of us. He got this huge deluxe kennel with multiple beds for padding, just in case.

I can’t even begin to describe how good it feels to be back at home with the doggies.

And, stay tuned. I might just have a surprise in the near future. 😉

Made it

Rockport harbor   

Well, despite all of the challenges, I made it to Maine and Karen got all of the dogs to the Camp Lisa today.

Flocko continued to have seizures through the weekend. Poor baby. We decided that after his 6 pm seizure Saturday night that we would take him to evet for observation overnight. I hated leaving him there, especially since I knew I would be leaving for the airport in just a few hours, but the one at 6 pm was especially violent and he really hurt himself. Karen picked him up Sunday morning and took him over to our vet and sure enough, he had another seizure.

At that point, our vet decided to increase his phenobarb while we are gone and we will re-evaluate when we get home.

On a sadder note, Adam was having a really hard time getting around Saturday. The heat has been brutal for him and he was so tired. We decided that the kindest thing we could do would be to send him off to the bridge. We worried so much about him falling or worse yet putting him in position that Lisa would have even more problems. And, we wanted to both be there with him for his journey.

My heart is still hurting, but I know that it was the best decision for him.

My class started today at Maine Media and I think it is going to be phenomenal. I know I will learn a lot. Karen will join me Wednesday night.

WTH Flocko!


It has been over a year Flocko. Why, oh why, oh why, did you choose today to have a seizure? I always worry about you, always! Did you have to ratchet my worry up about 37 notches?

Oh yes, I know, you don’t have any control over them. I totally get it, but geez… I am leaving tomorrow night. I’m going to be worried sick getting onto that plane.

I’m ever so thankful that you will be staying with Camp Lisa. She will take better care of you that I probably could.

So big guy, let’s just pretend that you had a seizure today to get them out of your system. K?

Bracing for round two


Not much sleep last night, but we made it. Now we are bracing for round two. Fireworks are not like Thanksgiving, enjoying leftovers for days. Since they were going until 1 am this morning, they should have just used all of them up… or somebody needs to invent silent fireworks.