Friday, March 30, 2012

Doing better!

My last post was severly depressing. I apologize for that. Losing Charlie was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but I'm happy to report that we are all doing MUCH better. First off, Charlire isn't really gone. Body form yes, but his toys are still scattered in our toy bin, his favorite blanket to snuggle with hasn't been washed and still sits next to my bed. His kennel is exactly how he left it, blanket, bed, bag of food and medicine still inside, plus we have received another statement for his surgery fee. I'm sure it won't be completely paid off for a few more months. Plus I received a few cards and 2 bouquets of beautiful flowers and they are still being displayed on my table. I know I should get rid of a few things, or put some of the aforementioned items away, but I'm not ready for that yet. I like the fact that I can walk around my house and see little things that remind me of Charlie.

Its a very popular choice to get a new dog or puppy with that passing of a beloved pet. That's actually where we got our Simon. We had to put Joe's childhood pal, Edison, down in 2008 and about 2 or 3 days later, we drove to Payson, UT to grab Simon from a breeder. We always thought our family was complete with 2 dogs and when we brought Charlie into our family we worried it would be 'too much' to handle. And it was at times. 3 dogs is a lot!! But Charlie settled into our family so well, it only got easier and easier. Now with him gone and us back to the family of 4 I always pictured...I still feel a loss, like we aren't complete. There is a possibility there is another dog out there that needs our help. I know there are PLENTY at our local shelter... But I'm staying strong. I don't want to replace Charlie and its true 3 dogs IS a lot to care for. For the time being, I'm taking the money I couldn't easily spend on a new miniature dachshund and buying a ticket to go see my Aunt & Uncle in Gilbert, Arizona. My birthday is next month and I think heading out of town for a few days and enjoying some visiting time with family I rarely see, is a great idea.

Again thank you to everyone for the kinds works, support, cards & flowers. Joe and I are doing very well and live each day with Charlie in our hearts. Now to just move forward and press on!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I can't think of another word to describe how I'm feeling, other than heartbroken. I posted a lot on Facebook yesterday, but if you haven't heard, Joe and I had to put our sweet Charlie to sleep. Its sad to see that just 2 posts ago I was bragging about how incredible Charlie's recovery has been and how nice its was to see his bright, fun personality come back. It just makes me sad reading over it, knowing that just a few weeks later we flipped a 180.

Charlie started showing signs of back problems again this past Wednesday evening. (3/14/12) We limited his activity all day Thursday, even gave him a pain pill to give him a little comfort. But unfortunately Thursday evening he was barely walking on his own. First thing Friday morning we noticed he was no longer able to move the lower half of his body. No walking, no potty breaks...nothing. I even tried a pinch test on this legs & tail and it didn't even phase him. We were warned before his surgery in January that if his back problems got worse, paralysis can happen over night. I'm guessing whatever was going on with him on Wednesday, was our early sign of paralysis. But we hesitated on taking him in, hoping it was just a sour muscle or over exertion.

After an emergency run to the animal hospital yesterday afternoon, we found out through x-ray that the bottom half of his spine was collapsing. (Not the section originally operated on.) Talking with the doctors, Joe found out its was possible Charlie was born with this condition. That his back never gained full strength or his disks were either very unstable or thin. Whatever the reasons were, surgery was needed yet again. Not only were we worried of the cost, but the doctor said Charlie was very weak and he might pull through surgery or ever fully recover. Which that, just broke my heart even more!! My poor Charlie. Only 5 years old and look at what he's had to go through.

We made the tough decision to put him down after weighing all the odds. Unfortunately I was unable to leave work and Joe had to do all this on his own. (Luckily I was able to give him goodbye loves, just in case this was the outcome) Joe held him, snuggling him and gave him kissed until his last breath. The hospital was so accommodating and Joe was even able to stick around 10 or so minutes after just to recoup.

I'm past the crying point. Again with me working yesterday, I really didn't have the time to 'feel' or cry. I guess I should be grateful for that. I did break down as soon as I got home and again when we headed to bed. Charlie was a huge nuzzler and he loved sleeping up near my head so he could be near me. I don't have tears for it anymore. I mean, life moves on. I have 2 other dogs that need my attention, a job I still have to go to and a life we still have to live. But I'm not going to lie, I'm severely depressed about it. I keep wondering if I loved him enough, or if he knew how much we loved him. Was there anything I could have done differently? Should we have kept him in a bubble until he was fully healed from surgery? Should I have left him in his kennel all day instead of out in the dog run with our other dogs?

I know I'll get over the sadness and depression. Time heals all wounds. Plus its a dog. My life can easily go on without being hugely effected. But right now I'm just grieving. Grieve hardcore.  My heart just constantly aches and my stomach turns every time I think about what Joe had to do at the hospital. Plus I really want to break down and cry when I see his chew toy, his blanket, the holes he dug out in our backyard...even the empty spot where he slept.

Again, I know I'll be feeling better soon. But I at least wanted to document this and always remember the wonderful things about Charlie, in the short 6 months he was in our lives. Out of all my dogs, he was the most calm, even tempered and loving. My favorite things. I'm gonna miss that cute cuddle bug. He was a perfect lap dog. Lazy, cuddly, lap dog.

Thanks for reading. Ugh. I'm anxious for the saddness to pass.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sharing our milestone

I turn 30 this year. That's right, I'm hitting a big milestone! I'm lucky enough to have some great friends that are also turning this great age and we've decided to celebrate together!! Back story for a few that don't know, I graduated high school in a very small town down by St. George, called Enterprise. Its a long story as to why I didn't graduate Murray High School, but we leave that for a verbal conversation. Enterprise is a real small town; I think the population was 1500 when I lived there 12 years ago and I know its grown some since, but its still a great, little town that holds a special place in my heart. Going along with the small town description, I should let you know that my graduating class was made up of only 50 students. I remember the time when I knew all their names, knew who was friends with whom, who dated who and where they headed after graduation. However 12 years is a LONG time!! Thanks to Blogger and Facebook I've been able to keep in touch with quite a few people. Even friends who graduated after me. That's a great thing about Enterprise, everyone is friends with everyone. I love it! (Shout out to all my E-town readers & followers!!)

I had a group of really close friends Tyler, Ben, Shannon, Susan and Carson and through the years not only have we stayed friends and kept in touch, but our friendships have expanded to their spouses, siblings and more friends!! I love that even after all these years, we can still get together like no time has passed. Ben & Shannon married each other and Shannon threw a 30th birthday party for Ben back in November. Joe and I drove down just for the dinner. (A quick "leave Saturday come back Sunday" kinda trip)  We had a great time visiting at dinner, going out afterwards to 'The Office,' and it was there we came up with idea of celebrating all of our 30th birthdays together. I am the the only one that lives more than 100 miles away; (like 350 to be exact) luckily they are all pretty close and getting together for dinner isn't too inconvenient. And another joy of being self-employed, I'm able to sneak down on a Saturday to join in with no problems. The biggest issue we've found is finding a weekend convenient for the majority of the group. 

So far, we've gotten together for 3 birthdays in November, January and this past weekend in February. Again they are all real short trips for me, but definitely worth it. I've really enjoyed reconnecting, having a great time and feeling young again with my high school buddies. My birthday is up next in April - oy vay, but I'm fortunate that most of the group has offered to drive up to SLC for me!!  I don't know if it will happen for sure, its so much easier for 1 person to drive a long distance than multiple families, so we'll have to see. Joe hasn't been able to go down for the last 2 dinners, but I'm hoping he'll make the next one. We have a few more birthdays stretched out until October, Tyler and his wife Trina are coming up to SLC for a Roller Derby bout in March and then we have Carson's wedding in May; I'm really excited to see them so much this year. All the visiting and chatting is long overdue.  

I also need to give a shout out to Tyler & Trina. They have offered me their hospitality on these trips I've traveled alone. I have had many offers from all my friends, but I usually end up at T&T's house. The extra time I get to visit with Trina has actually been one of my favorite parts of these trips. Love our 'girl time' chats!!

As you can tell, I've really enjoyed seeing my friends and catching up. The trips are short, arriving just before dinner and either driving home right after dinner or early the next morning.  It really is only 3 1/2-4 hours of a drive and when you're listening to good music or reliving the good times in your head, it goes by really fast. Thanks guys for letting me celebrate with you. I'm lucky to have met some new friends, Shelley's husband Kyle and then Sue, a mutual friend of the group. This year will be FULL of great memories. Makes turning 30 actually fun and exciting!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


This might be a repeat for those that follow me on Facebook, but I wanted to document my little Charlie's surgery.

We adopted Charlie this past fall from a couple that was looking to rid themselves of the financial hardship from owning a dog. A mutual friend introduced us because we already owned 2 miniature dachshund and she thought we might be interested. Sure enough, we fell in love right away. We took him home to meet our other pups and it was true; Charlie was the missing piece to this family that we didn't even know we were without. He jumped right in and blending with our little family just perfectly.

At the beginning of December we noticed Charlie was walking a little differently and it was hard for him to walk up & down our stairs. After a few different vet visits, we finally concluded that he had a possible 'collapsed disk' in his lower back. My vet forewarned me that surgery might be necessary, but since his office doesn't offer operations of that scale, he recommended a nearby hospital for a second opinion and pre-op information. After my visit with the new doctor, Dr. Bagley, and some x-rays, he suggested an MRI would be a better option to see a more 'circular' view around the area and to know for sure whether or not surgery was necessary. Of course in talking about possible surgery, I was told the entire surgery was going to cost quite a few thousand dollars. EEK!! I left that appointment feeling rather confused, sad & frustrated. It was a lot of money to come up with on the spot, but if my poor Charlie's back continued without an operation, he would go completely paralyzed in his hind end. Which we would then need some sort of wheel chair to help him get around and some special care for the rest of his life...including potty issues.

Joe and I took a day to think things over; figuring out if we could get the funds together and make it work. Of course the thought of 'putting him down' did come into our minds. Its a simple solution and cost friendly, but I just didn't feel right about it. He's only 5 years old and has another good decade left in him. Plus his previous 3 owners passed him around because of the financial burden and I just couldn't succumb to that same solution. I couldn't give up. Luckily Joe agreed with me and we decided the MRI was a must. Before I could call to schedule the MRI, I missed a phone call from the hospital and was told a sweet woman (that I met in the waiting area of the hospital just a day earlier) had offered to front the $1600 bill for our Charlie's MRI. I was baffled when I heard the voicemail and immediately called back. Sure enough, a woman named Melissa, offered to help us with the MRI cost.  I couldn't believe this sweet soul was so generous and was willing to help a complete stranger. I was told that she was the woman I had spoken to, while I was waiting to pay my last exam fee. I had to search my brain and remember someone I barely spoke too and never officially met. Apparently after I left the hospital that day, she told the receptionist that she wanted to help and called the next day offering the $1600.

Charlie had the MRI the next day and immediately after his results came in, I got a call from Dr. Bagley and was told Charlie had 2 herniated disks that were pinching on his spinal cord and were about to severe the connection completely (which would end in permanent paralysis). He advised that surgery was needed ASAP and the operating room was currently available, but after that night, wouldn't be for another 2 days. It was a quick decision that Joe and I had to make in a matter of 10 minutes. We already had an angel pay for a good portion of the cost (the MRI was included in the surgery cost I had been warned about earlier that week) and we knew no matter what the bill, Charlie's welfare was worth it.

We were able to pick up Charlie 2 days later and he was on STRICT, limited activity for 2 whole weeks until the staples were taken out. I got to take him to work with me and he just cuddled in his kennel, drugged up on pain meds and slept while I worked in the salon. After his 2 week check up, we were told he was making remarkable progress and as long as we still kept certain activities out (like climbing, running and long walks) he was good to go & live his normal life. It has now been over a month since the surgery and Charlie has made a 100% recovery. Playing with his ball, digging in the backyard, jumping & messing around with our other pups. Even his personality & spirit has come back. You can tell he's very happy!!!

Joe and I did get a little scuff for spending so much money on a dog, but on the other side of it, we were overwhelmed with support & concern. I guess you just have to be a dog person to really understand. He is a part of our family and surgery was needed immediately. Joe and I treat our pups like kids, so you can imagine, just like a parent to a kid, when the priority is their health & welfare there really is NO OTHER option. Putting Charlie first and getting his mobility back was OUR decision and I don't regret it one bit. Even if some personal things for Joe and I are now on hold or pushed back. That's just being a parent - even if its to a dog.

Thank you to everyone for your kind words on Facebook, text messages and verbally. We're lucky to have all the understanding and support. Charlie is doing great and we couldn't be happier.

Here are a few pictures of Charlie:

Before the surgery

This was taken just after picking him up from the hospital. 36 hours post surgery. He cuddled with me all day - because he was in a drug-coma

Its kinda gruesome, but here is his incision.

A closer look. 8 staples!!

And here he is, hanging out with me at work. He pretty much stayed in his kennel & slept the whole time.