Sunday, November 22, 2015 word of the day...

 Never an issue for these pups really.  just an issue for humans.  animals just take life in stride.  kill when killing is required, but otherwise who cares who's drinking out of the same water hole as you are.  President Obama said in a short speech that he was ashamed by those who would try to prevent these refugees from entering the states who would say maybe only Christian refugees...all the people who are paranoid and freaking out.
 Honestly, if those in the West or i guess more of if the general populous coexisted with those who are believers of Islam, these terrorists groups wouldn't stand a chance.  Humans aren't like dogs though.  they have a much harder time drinking from the same watering hole without constantly being worried that the other beasts will take all the water or attack them.  perhaps we have evolved to a point where we have completely lost our basic instincts.  an animal tends to know when to have a real fear or concern and when there is no danger.  they may be wrong from time to time, but they seem to pick up on that and then they move out of a panic state.
 it is just sad that these people who desire to lead our nation are spreading hate and encouraging this negative attitude towards helping others who are desperately in need.  even worse that so many seem to be getting sucked into this negative battle of words.
 These are out at Oceanview Bluff Park.  probably some good sledding happened there today.  we got several inches of fresh snow.  i worked last night so i slept the time i was up the trails were a bit packed down.  it was a bit of a workout for both Blossom and i out there today.  not overly packed down but too much for we were hoofing it.
 Blossom has laid on Rio's beds and sniffed the blankets that we'd had around Rio the other day.  tonight i pulled those up and put them in the wash.  seemed best to leave them out while i went to work the last 2 nights. she does seem a bit quieter than her usual. it will be hard to leave her and head to California, but i know Val will spoil her with loves.
 after stepping on water bowls that have been spread all over for Rio's sake, it occurred to me last night that i no longer needed 5 water bowls scattered around the house.  we are now down to 2 water bowls for Blossom and 2 small ones for the cats.  i'll no doubt be cleaning up spots of Mastiff drool for months.  a friend who had lost hers said for months she'd see a bit of drool some place and she'd laugh and clean it with mastiffs.  haha.
 i still look for her when i wake up or come home from being out.  Blossom and i have walked the last 2 days without having to worry about settling Rio in.  for some time i have adapted life so that i wouldn't leave her alone more than once and then possibly a second time leaving her with Blossom, like for going to work.
 Today, as i expected, my regular vet called.  she was really upset about what had happened that day.  apologized profusely, said she would understand if i never returned but hoped i would.  she said there would be a meeting and possibly someone would no longer be working there due to this.  she just felt like she can't have someone working there who could be so uncaring.
 i later texted her to say that i appreciated the girl who called back.  that she was clearly just trying to rectify the situation, for me it was just too late that day and i had made other arrangements.  all went well as far as Rio was concerned in the end.  we got what we needed.  i felt the first desk girl was more clueless than uncaring.  nice that she called and apologized though.  life is as it is and you have to be willing to forgive.  as they say...shit happens.
 i mentioned to her that as long as she was having this staff meeting she may want to mention the use of cell phones while in rooms with clients giving treatments to dogs.  while Rio was getting subQ fluids the other day the tech was texting and took a call.  this also upset her as she said she has rules about this.  so not a great way for her to come back from her vacation.  i know she has always had a soft spot for Rio.  it would have been great if she could have been there because i know Rio had worked her way into her heart  i know the desk girl that called me back has always liked Rio.  i was at the movies soon after Rio was treated for colitis recently and after the movie i hear,"how is Rio Catalina".  took me a minute in the dark to figure out where the voice was coming from, but it was her.
 so...time heals wounds, life is as it is.  people screw up....mostly you forgive because it's best for everyone.
 will be up late as i was suddenly super tired this evening and took a nap.  i'd gotten up early to play in the snow.  tried to hit a store to shop and then i realized how very,very tired i felt.  so i put back a few things i had debated purchasing and headed home.
 my last two nights at work kept me busy.  i was in ER one night and then in the adult ICU the next.  between the dog park and work i got over 16,000 steps for that 24 hour period.  haha.  gotta love work.
 probably a bit of a blur in some ways.  did have Rio on my mind a bit.  thankfully i work with many dog lovers.  nobody bats an eye for you calling out because of your dog.  they understand that our pets are our families.
 lots to do to get ready for my trip.  i leave in less than 24 hours...i'm sure i'll get it together.  it will go fast, it always does.  hate the travel part, love the visiting part.  also hate getting packed and all that.  really, i hate leaving the animals.  i miss them as soon as i start planning a trip. once i'm on my way to the just let it all go.
 have hoped to get some of the Christmas stuff taken care of.  we shall see.  did get the Christmas cards all addressed.  that tends to be a way i get the gift giving part of Christmas organized.

 Blossom wasn't keen on my selfie idea.  could have been the extremely low temperatures.  it was -14 as we left the animal hospital after letting Rio go.  i worked the next night and as i left work that morning it felt nearly tropical.  it had warmed up into the low 30's.  amazing how warm that feels after it's been sub zero.
 i love winter though.  my whole mood lightened when the temperatures dropped and then lightened more when the snow was falling down.  we all watched it out the patient room windows all night.
 bummer to leave just as this snow hits.  hate to miss any time in Alaska.  it's just so beautiful here.  i have little need to travel outside of Alaska.  every day is a vacation here.
 loved these of Blossom on the ice.
 stopped on the way to our walk today as i spotted a large bull moose on the side of the road in the woods.  he had a lovely rack and the snow had settled on his rack.  looked cool, him walking around eating with this snow stuck to him.
 when we got to the trailhead we were greeted by an old dog friend.  a friend had rehomed the dog and this was only the second time we've seen him in the year.  he looks great and happy.  the new folks just adore him and he has blossomed under their care.  she didn't recognize me of course, but after we spoke i reminded her that we had run into each other in the bog soon after they'd gotten Indy.  the two pups were again thrilled to see each other and played a bit.  we saw them later on the trails again.  so cute.  she says he is no longer dog aggressive. he just needed to build confidence...which he's been able to do under their care.
 NPR was speaking the other day about President Bush right after Sept 11.  that speech was really great and they were speaking a bit about that and also how he had made sure to emphasize that Islam doesn't equal terrorists and that we needed to not make the leap that every Muslim is some sort of terrorist.  while i may not agree with all that happened after that that moment i must say he did shine in the words he spoke.  i see no such leader in the Republican Party currently.  they are seeming to be a racist and scary bunch.  so's frightening to even ponder any of them in that office. not that i'd say the Democrat group is anything i'm ready to jump for joy at.
 Blossom is for sure slower these days.  she is 10.  is it Rio...or have i just been so preoccupied with Rio of late that i didn't notice her slowing.
 i will say...the cats are not altered in the least with the loss of Rio.
 much talk this week about the FDA approving genetically modified salmon...or as Alaskans call them, "frankenfish"  no support for these fish in Alaska.  they don't even have to label them as genetically modified.  i'll shop in the waters of alaska for my fish..
 a bill passed i guess to make it even more difficult for these refugees to get in to the US.  it's already a rather restrictive process.  people should really be more focused on our less restrictive rules for student visa's and such...those are more of our weak areas.  then i laugh because Canada will now take in something like 900 refugees/day.  we have pretty porous borders with Canada.  those who are paranoid about these refugees would probably be better off vetting them through our process.  the fact remains though...most refugees are not your suicide/terrorist types.  it's too long of a process for someone to be stupid enough or patient enough to try that route as a terrorist.
still i find the attitude of my fellow countrymen sad, embarrassing and shameful when it comes to helping the many refugees out there.
 a veteran has left his full time job to try and make a go of helping other veterans who are homeless and otherwise troubled.  he is walking the communities for 22 days to raise awareness as i guess the reports are that 22 veterans/day kill themselves in our nation. he wants to make public service his lifes work.  sounds like he's still trying to figure out how to make that happen but i do applaud him his efforts and wish him well.  was just writing about how helping our veterans and our own homeless population should be something that people here get involved with more at the community level.
 i realize the VA is a federal government based organization but there are many local levels and local ways to get involved.  just another one of those hot ticket battles this week.  suddenly people who could care less about the veterans a few months ago are suddenly angry that Obama was going to help the Syrian Refugees before we clear our streets of all the homeless.
 my neighbors to the left are moving i guess.  saw the husband yesterday.  he's sad to be leaving this little neighborhood.  you could tell he was really bummed. sounds like they are moving into his wife's fathers property which is larger.  i suspect for him this feels like he's stepping backwards.  they bought this house that they have been living in....i get that.  it's too small for their needs, i suspect his wife feels that more than he does.  not sure yet if they will rent it out or sell it.  there is pride in being a home owner.  maybe more for some than others.  felt badly for him.
 the last of the government owned research chimps will retire to sanctuary.  happy we are closing the door on that era.
 so many animals at risk out there.  i'm signed up to try and help the walrus...there are so many other species at risk. ultimately you just do what you can in life.  at least you have to put up the fight.  sometimes the fight is a fight of words.  so far for WARIS that has been our best option.  newspaper articles and letters, emails, petitions.  words have power
 these moose are from our bog walk.  as it turns out it was Rio's last walk.  we took our time and we had to extend the distance to avoid this pair.  they were right on the trail and moose are not animals that give up their location very easily.  city moose are not concerned with what your walking plan is.  we ended up going out to the neighborhood and then returning back into the bog in another entrance.
 makes me smile that Rio got a chance to sniff moose before she left this earth.  she always got excited and i could see that she was pretty excited when she caught that scent on that, her last day of walking.
 this is the young guy.
 bombing in Nigeria by another terrorist group.  they don't deserve to be named i've decided.  just crazy cults as far as i can see.  violent cults.  live off of brainwashing the weak.  many have recently been on a kick of killing elephants in order to sell the ivory to fund their terrorist activities.  more lives lost, human and animal.  i'd prefer we keep any troops off the ground for as long as possible.  rather drops bombs on these jerks...can't even ponder the hell that would happen to any ground troop captured by these violent idiots...none of us want that.  just don't want to ever give these evil jerks the option.
 a patient's wife was talking about how the Syrian terrorists want to establish the site for the apocalypse to take place...we both seemed to agree that we were all for clearing all the decent folks out of Syria and then we'd be happy to create an apocalypse for them...not for nuclear bombings, but it would be tempting to collect all the terrorists in one area and then just bomb the hell out of them.  good riddance.
 not sure why i took this shot.
 joined a friend out at Kincaid for a walk.  liked this little snowman someone put out there. they show up everywhere.
 always fun to walk with KR.  i have found some amazing walking buddies over the years.  always a few favorites.
 actually i think i impressed that patients they were walking in ...they passed me and i said to the nurse bringing them back, "rock?".  you can spot those poor souls with kidney stones pretty easily.  looks damn miserable.  more common than i knew.  fun working in the ER really.  i used to work ER for dogs and cats and i think i have always loved that atmosphere.  i ended up working ICU's which i liked as well.  fun to be in the ER, which i think i had thought in nursing school was where i would work.
 a 74 year old is missing in Unalakleet, early alzheimers i think they said.  when you wander off in the bush in the winter the outcome is rarely good.  thoughts for her and her family and hard.

 guess i should get off this computer.  pay a few bills first then do a wee bit of packing..i'm running out of time.  eek!!  such the procrastinator. haha
 will be off until December.  still have calendars and stickers for sale.  hit our web page. i will get them mailed off in time for Christmas when i return!!!
thankful for:  1. snow  2.  old friends  3.  warmth, safety and indoor plumbing.  :-)

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Farewell My Rio Catalina

 Just took a few minutes and looked through some old photo's of Rio.  she was a rescue dog, Many thanks to Friends of Pets for deciding she was worth sparing.  we are grateful for the many years of joy this sweet pup gave us all.
 she came to me at the age of 2, blind.  she had juvenile onset cataracts.  her blindness didn't stop her though.  that nose worked overtime and she was always willing to do most anything with a little encouragement at times.  she trusted me.  i let her down a few times and she would crash into a tree or a fence or some other obstacle.  she was forever the trooper though.
 i knew she would do anything i asked.  we worked together those first months and years finding cues that would help her make her way in this world.  Mostly, i made her walk off leash those first years, helping her gain confidence.  at some point i decided we may have over done the confidence thing as she began to wander off towards a moose smell at every opportunity.  a few close calls later, she was left mostly on the leash.
 Her blindness wasn't the only medical obstacle she had.  she survived surgeries and illness with grace.  she was always an easy patient.  willing to please everyone whom she met
 she had a life of great adventure.  she has traveled by boat and car.  these were not her favorite modes of transportation.  she had her anxious moments.  mostly, she feared being separated from Blossom and I.  as long as we were with her she was calm and happy.  we drove the Haul road, to Denali, Fairbanks, Valdez, Homer...she has been around.
 always gentle, always sweet, always kind.  those are the things i will always remember about Rio
 Rio had her bloat surgery in early June and she did great, but she remained a bit weak after.  this didn't stop her from walking every time she felt the desire.  over the past few months that weakness had become more pronounced.  first her back legs seem to be giving out on her and then these last weeks her front legs.  going up and down stairs or just outside became more and more difficult.  can't say she complained, but i knew life was getting tougher for her. her spirit never waned though.  she wanted to do all she had before...
 one of several coats i made for Rio over the years.  i think this one was everyones favorite..her coat of many colors.  many people in Anchorage knew Rio.  i'd get stopped, they would ask, "is that that blind mastiff" it was always baffling how so many people had been touched by this sweet face.
 yesterday in the early morning hours i heard Rio get up, i'd been waking up a lot of late to help her move around.  this time i heard her fall though.  when i got down to her she was unable to get up and had peed all over herself.  i think i knew at that moment that i needed to let her go.  i think she would hang on to be with me longer, but that would be selfish and cruel.  one good thing about life with dogs is that you have options when it comes to the end of their life.  options that prevent suffering and extended pain.
 making this decision is never easy.  anyone who has loved a dog can attest to that.  it's painful and emotional.  thankfully, i have some wonderful friends, some of whom work as vets and techs, others who just love dogs or Rio, some who are just listening and understanding friends.  i'm grateful for the texting and calls yesterday that helped me find my way to this decision.  the right one for Rio.
 the emotional decision was made a bit more stressful and painful when i called my regular vets office and the office staff informed me that i didn't have an appointment and i would need one and none would be available for at least a day or two.  i found this appalling after i've been a client there for years.  i texted a friend in tears.  "help" i texted.  she has some local vet friends here and was able to make the arrangements at Dimond Animal Hospital for 7pm when her friend came on shift.  he would help us with Rio as his first duty that night.
 through the day, the text call went out.  friends stopped by to be with Rio and I.  it was a Rio sit in or love in or sorts. thanks to all who stopped by and texted support and Rio love.
 since dietary restrictions were no longer of concern so Rio got spoiled with some of her favorite treats, pigs ears and hamburgers.
 i'm sure she was unaware why she was getting all the loves and attention.
 it's difficult because if all she had to do was lay still she could live for years.  her head was clear and her appetite stellar.  sadly, she is not a small dog and not being able to move freely is a huge issue for a large breed dog.  watching her fall over and over has been really tough.  she's slid down the stairs more than once.  it just is not something you can do with a large dog.
 we got a harness for her but it stressed her out and made things worse. i did put it on her to help us get her out to the car for that last ride to  the vets.
 2 friends joined Blossom and I as we headed to the vet.  i'm so happy i took Blossom along.  hopefully these aren't morbid.  these two below are after Rio has passed.  Blossom lay close to her with her paw nearly touching.  we stayed for some time afterwards.  i wanted Blossom to have that time
 Blossom was only 6 months old when Rio entered our lives.  Rio couldn't play with her like she did when she was younger but she was always that presence in Blossoms life.  hopefully, Blossom will cope without her. i sense she will get a bit lonely without her dog companion.
 you don't often see mastiffs out on the trails and out adventuring in Alaska.  perhaps that is why so many people seemed to recognize her as we took walks. she stood out.
 these photo's just remind me of the good life she had and all the adventures she has lived.
 good buddies

 G reminded me that Rio can now see.  she is free of her blindness and the pains and struggles of life.  she is making her way to what animal loves call the rainbow heaven.
 i hope that i live well and can find my way to dog heaven one day to join with all the wonderful pets that i have shared my life well as the coolest people in the and cat people! they will be in dog heaven too.
 Rio was up for any adventure and i've no doubt that spirit will live on as she travels to heaven.
 many would say there is no such thing as dog heaven..of course, many would say there is no heaven at all.  at times like this it helps me to say goodbye though. the idea that we will one day be together again with those we love, be it human, canine or feline.
 S said her dad had told her that God wouldn't have created such a bond between human and dog only to never let us be reunited again.  not exact words but i think there is truth in that.
 i'll just have to hold onto the old pictures and memories for now though.

 we learn a great deal from these lovely animals that share our lives.  it's more than companionship.  they let stuff go, they are happy to see you always, they forgive, forget, they don't argue, they are grateful always.  they are dependable, loyal, kind.
 they are there when we return home, wagging their tails.
 as i go forward i will probably discover all the time and energy that had become required to care for an aging mastiff.  when you have pets, you just do what needs to be done for them.
 i cried again this morning as i had one less food bowl to fill.  one less dog to let outside.  a hole is there and will be for some time i suspect.
 Blossom gets much of the attention in this family...because she demands it.  haha.  Rio though was always my snuggler.  we spend much time on the couch snuggling.  she snored, she farted, she stepped on my bare feet.
 she was super sweet though.  those eyes are soulful, she couldn't see through them, but you could see into them and they told you she was kind and sweet and loving and loyal.
 her loyalty could make you nuts at times, but i knew she had the biggest heart.
 friends used her as a gauge....was it a Rio walk?  they would ask.  if Rio was coming then they could come along and not feel guilty if their kids slowed down a walk i think.  Rio wasn't in a hurry.

 she was afraid of water when she first came into my life. i recall spending a good hour at this tiny creek crossing trying to convince her it was safe to cross.  over time that trust grew and eventually, i had to keep a leash on her near water or i feared she'd get in too deep.

 the element was a car i purchased to some extent because of this giant dog. easier to get her in/out of and room for all of us comfortably.  we all snuggled in there out camping and she was in the car the day the grizzly bear attempted to join us inside the car while we were sleeping.

 us snuggled on the couch together
 these were in Homer right before she bloated.
 it was a really relaxing and fun trip.  she was doing pretty well.  maybe she overdid it that trip.  happy we were able to get out there though.

 just wanted to leave a little blog entry just to have and wander to on those days i think of Rio.
 these are just a few of the many photo's i took of Rio over the years as you can imagine.  she wasn't always the easiest to photograph.  in general if i tried to step back far enough to snap a photo she was already walking back towards me as i attempted to step away.
 she woke us with her snoring and i loved when she would dream.  so often in her dreams her tail would be wagging.  i knew she was happy dog.
 we gave her a happy life and she gave us all she had.  she was a a good of the best.  i've been really blessed to have found this sweet face.
 she and blossom met in a park.  they bonded with each other immediately.  we had a trial period of 3 weeks for the rescue group but i knew within 24 hours that it would be cruel to even consider sending her back.  she had decided this is where she wanted to live and she was happy.
 i hope we made her life as happy as she made ours.
 travel free to the bridge Rio.  we will take you with us in our hearts.

 Thank You for sharing your quirky and beautiful soul with us...Love Betsy and Blossom and the cats.  :-)