Friday, July 27, 2012

Settling in Nicely

Annie and Molly have been in New Jersey for almost 48 hours now, and they are settling in nicely. Here is a shot of their first meeting with their big sister/doggie mama, Emma.

Emma, Annie, Molly
Emma isn't sure if they are cats or rabbits or what, but she knows they can't possibly be dogs...

Emma and Annie
Here she is saying "What is this thing, and why is it sniffing my butt?"

Emma is pretty much ignoring them right now, which is OK. She will come to love them, I'm sure. She has been through a rough couple of months, and it will take some time, but we will all get there. In the meantime, Annie has claimed the biggest, comfiest doggie bed...


...but Molly isn't content with a doggie bed. She has to be on the over-stuffed chair with all the pillows that she can push around until she gets them in just the perfect position.

One of their favorite things is shopping, as you can see from this photo taken yesterday at PetSmart.
Annie and Molly
Molly was bark-bark-barking when she was walking around the store, but she quieted right down when I put them in the cart. She likes to ride in style.

Annie & Molly
Don't they look like stuffed toys?

These little munchkins are so precious, and have already brought a lot of joy to a house that was so full of grief and sadness over the recent loss of Tara and Cooper. They will be heading down to Fortescue this weekend for their first taste of the beach! Welcome to New Jersey, little girls!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In which Emma has puppies...

The past couple of weeks, or really months, have been so very difficult. In addition to coping with the loss of Tara and Cooper, we have been trying to keep Emma's spirits up. Not an easy task, as she misses her siblings terribly. She is sleeping better at night, but when she is left alone, she will howl. Not a barking kind of howl. It's a soft, coyote-like, kind of howl that is totally heartbreaking to hear.

Take a look at her in this picture. She was "helping" me piece together a quilt. She soon had enough and decided to lay down on the work in progress. She always has this sad, defeated look on her face now. It breaks my heart to see her like this.

 Emma on the quilt pieces

My sister and I have both been looking at possible siblings for Emma. I am still very raw inside, and wouldn't think of an addition if it weren't for Emma. She apparently needs the company of other dogs. Humans can only offer so much comfort, as we all very well know.

Anyway, rescue is the only option for us, so my sister has been scouring Brittany rescue sites like American Brittany Rescue, New England Brittany Rescue and National Brittany Rescue and Adoption Network.
We took Emma to "meet and greet" an available Brittany, but the meeting did not go well. It was one week after losing Cooper, two weeks after losing Tara, and I think it was just too soon for all of us. Emma positioned herself in between the other Brittany and us, and snapped if she got too close.

We started to think that a puppy or a smaller dog would be better, so I have been setting my sights on another breed altogether. I have always, always, always loved the look of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

z cavs1

I have shied away from the breed due to their many health concerns, but there are no guarantees with anything in life. Look at my sweet Tara for an example of that...

After looking at a couple of Cavalier rescue sites, I filled out an application with Cavalier Rescue USA. To make a long story short (or at least less long), there is a pair of Cavalier girls about three hours from here who are in need of a loving home. Their owner passed away, his daughter couldn't keep the dogs and placed them with Cavalier Rescue USA. They were adopted out to a loving couple last month, but the wife has developed some very serious health concerns, and they are no longer able to keep the dogs.

Meet Annie and Molly:
Molly and Annie

Those are the names given to them by their original owner, so I don't want to change them. I have no idea which dog is Molly and which is Annie. They are approximately 5 years old, and Molly is perfectly healthy, but Annie is deaf and has a grade 4 heart murmur. ( I can handle this, right?) My dad and I will be driving down to Maryland tomorrow afternoon to pick up these cute little girls. Don't they look like Brittany puppies???

I have a really good feeling about this. I am positive that Emma will love and care for these two as if they were her own puppies. Let the healing begin...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Coping with loss.

I want to thank everyone for your comments and support both here and on Facebook. I have never gone through losing two of these precious souls so close together. Two dogs in two weeks. It's rough. Really, really, rough, but we are trying to keep everything as normal as possible for Emma. Unfortunately, Emma is extremely intelligent, and one of the curses of having an intelligent dog is that she sees through all of the false bravado and forced cheer. I swear she is more "human" than some humans I know.

Anyway, one of Emma's issues right now is sleeping at night. She doesn't want to do it. At least, not in either my bedroom or my sister's. Normally she would come to bed with me for an hour or two, then jump down and go into my sister's bedroom for the rest of the night. (She likes to spread the love, you know?) Since losing her siblings, she won't sleep in either bedroom. She wants to sleep in the great room, but not alone. No sir-eee. Someone has to sleep out there with her, or she will bark. She will bark, bark, bark, and then bark some more. Then nobody gets any sleep. Needless to say, my sister and I have been taking turns sleeping on the sofa. Problem solved.

Another challenge for Emma is being left alone. It's not an option right now. She will howl at the door whenever she is left alone in the house. Not a big surprise, as she has always had another dog or two to keep her company. Our solution? Don't ever leave her alone in the house. There is the small issue of my sister and I both having jobs, so we are getting over that hurdle by Emma going to work with my sister.

Here is Emma just lounging around when she really should be doing some filing.

Emma 7-12-12

Emma is learning how to use the telephone. As long as someone holds it for her, that is.
Emma 7-12-12
Beware of dogs popping their heads up from under computer desks.

Emma 7-12-12
Emma can just...about...see...over...the...counter. We need to see someone about lowering these countertops...

Emma 7-12-12

Recycle? Of course we recycle here. Anything edible goes into Emma. Everything else goes into the recycle bin.
Emma 7-12-12

Of course, this situation can't go on forever. Eventually, the summer will end and my sister's school will be filled with kids again. While that's not a problem for Emma since she absolutely loves kids, there are a couple of kids in the school who have severe allergies. So, along with the no-peanut-butter-allowed-in-the-building rule, there is also a no-animal-with-fur-allowed-in-the-building rule. ::sigh::

I realize that so far we have been using short-term solutions. The long term solution would be to get a brother or sister for Emma. I'm having a hard time with that right now, and am nowhere near ready to get another dog. It's too hard. I know that they give so much more joy than the heartache that losing them brings, but having that heartache so fresh, from losing TWO of these beautiful souls... I'm just not ready. I can't even think about it right now.

That said, I have been thinking about it. If it wasn't for Emma's issues, I wouldn't consider it, but Emma needs a friend. She needs a brother or sister who can give her what us humans simply can't. I have been looking on the American Brittany Rescue website and there are so many dogs out there in need of homes... Emma needs a sibling, and there are dogs in need of a home. Any way you do the math, how selfish would I be to say no to another dog?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

And then there was one...

It hardly seems possible, and I'm still in shock, but it's true. Cooper is gone. Emma is all alone now. She has been grieving for Tara, and now she has lost her brother, too. Cooper has--had been having asthma-like problems for months now. He had xrays and bloodwork in December, and had been on a couple of different meds until we found the combination that worked for him. He has--had been stable, only having episodes when he was excited or scared, like during a thunderstorm. This morning he was fine, ate his breakfast, got into his usual mischief, then all of a sudden he couldn't get enough air. We tried to calm him down, but nothing helped. We rushed him to the WonderVet. He gave him a couple of shots, put him on oxygen, then took xrays. His lungs were worse. Much worse. End-stage-disease worse. Despite everything the vet could do, every breath was a struggle. For the second time in two weeks, we made the hardest decision in the world. But also for the second time in two weeks, there was no decision to be made. We could not allow him to suffer. I can still hear his gasping struggles to breathe. I will hear them until I die.

Cooper on the day we found him, June 19, 2008. He was 9 years old at the time.


Cooper helping with the dishes, and breaking the dishwasher door in the process.


Cooper helping mommy knit.


Cooper at mommy's work.


Cooper enjoying being an inside dog after a lifetime of being outside

Loopie Coopie

Cooper, my boy, my little man.


 Four years with Cooper was not long enough. No matter how long they are with us, we never have these beautiful souls long enough.