June 21st 2007 9:53 pm
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June 21, 2007
This diary entry is provided for Lama in loving memory. Today we had our last day with Lama.
After being diagnosed with cancer in July 2006, she far outlived her expected lifetime and last nearly a year. A careful cancer-fighting diet of raw meat and oats along with Chinese herbs helped to extend her life as long as possible. At the end her tumor was as big as a football on her side and protruded also, we learned, all through her lungs. The tumor was distorting her ribs and forced her left leg to turn outward.
Although she had been slowing down, just last week she was being very peppy and playful. This weekend, she got to see all her most special friends, Bill, Beth, and Adam and even got to say farewell as her friends Eric, Darcey and Nick drove off to move to Ithaca, NY. At the last moment, she even hopped into their station wagon to go along on the adventure. That afternoon, we had a nice walk in a country park in Fairfax.
Unfortunately, starting Monday, she stopped eating and pooping. By Wednesday night, her belly was noticebly bloated. As we went for a walk, she barely made it beyond the next building before wanting to turn back. So we decided to just step into the backyard, but had to sit down once just walking from the front yard to the back yard.
At the vet, they advised us that she would only have a few days at most and that the suffering would increase. Happily, she showed a bit of appetite and happily enjoyed her last 5 or 6 cookies and hung out with her favorite quail toy. She was comfortable and we lay on the floor with her and she even showed a bit of a smile as we scratched her head. Although very fatigued, she was able to walk herself around to the end. She was euthanized at Bay Area Veterinary Specialists at 4:20. At the last moment, they inject a sedative to relax the body and she lifted her head slightly for the first time, as it to say "what?" and gave me a last kiss. Then she went to sleep.
This last year of her life has certainly been more than any dog could hope for. Highlights include going to Tahoe with Grandpa Bob and swimming in the Pacific ocean with us and her Uncle Schrafty. We were wading deep into the ocean, since the beach was very shallow and Lama managed to doggie paddle far off shore and swim a circle around us. She would run alongside and chase us as we boogie boarded onto the beach. She rode in the front seat of an open air VW Thing taxi in Mazatlan. She took boat trips in San Blas, Mexicaltitan, Zihuatanejo, and Barra de Potosi. She lived with monkeys in Guadalajara. She had many mexican friends at the Gypsy Cafe and learned several words of Spanish to add to her 30 or so words of English. In Mexico, Lama had countless boyfriends and admirers including the David Bowie dog with different colored eyes in Tlaquepaque and Mr. Midnight in San Antonio square in San Miguel, Vino the weimaraner with enormous balls. Througout her life, she was always impressed by big balls.
Recently, after we returned from Mexico, she was able to come camping with us and had her last real hike (two hours) with her Uncle Schrafty. While staying with at my sister's, she spent considerable time bonding on the carpet with our one-year old nephew Nicholas. While we were in Chicago, she got to spend several days of quality time with her friends the Laines and her pal Sandy. As we we're headed to the Laine's going away party, Akire told our other two-year old nephew Alex that he was invited to the party and he asked, "Is Lama going to be there?".
We lived with Lama for the 8 years since she walked into our friend Darcey's church in Stockton, CA (who originally thought to name her Wendy). She hung with HATFYR at so many rehearsals and many gigs, sitting by the drum kit to soak in the bass. Especially lately, after we bought a VW Vanagon, (for her --essentially a couch on wheels) and decided to stop kenneling her, we have been together everywhere, day and night, indoors and out. She was always the consumate party dog from her 'coming out ' at our 1st Burning Man Decompression party-fundraiser to our going away BBQ in San Miguel de Allende.
This was a spiritual, sensitive and intelligent being con mucho corazon who held herself dignified with a no-fear attitude towards the mystery of death, she mindfully entered the next realm with an extrodinarily high consciousness for a canine: just like when she came to us and we knew her name would be TEACHER, the LAMA. We learned so much from her and we hope we could one day be as unselfish a being as she.
Lama, we will miss you, our best friend.
June 21st 2007 9:25 pm
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When we had her as a puppy, the first day we had to leave her in the house alone, she ate two doors.
At band rehearsals, she would step on our pedals and change our effect patches. Her favorite position was to be to lying with her head next to the kick drum.
When our dogsitter lost Lama and she got kidnapped while we were in Death Valley: Barrett to the rescue.
Playing fetch with her in the reeds at Fallen Leaf Lake in Tahoe. She loved running the feel of the reeds on her face, they made her feel fast.
When we were sledding in Tahoe, she would bark and nip at us so much that eventually we had to have one of us hold her back so the other could get a good clean run.
Lying upside down with flappy lips.
Lama understood about 30 words of English and 5 words of Spanish.
Insisting on sitting under the dining room table even with six or seven people there.
Fort Funston, San Francisco. Heaven for dogs.
Holly Park, Bernal Heights, San Francisco. She had many admirers, but was more interested in the salad bar.
Sheep herding with her Rottweiller mix friend Dempsey.
She and Sonny Smith's dog Tortilla used to go at it while we were recording in the studio. Go at it meaning, 2 girls dukin' it out.
'Must be a special lady, and a very exciting girl. Must be a special lady, cause she's been sitting on top of the couch, sitting on top of the couch!'
April 4th 2007 5:09 pm
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Hey amigos, it's Lama here. Mexico was great - and I am turning 9! This week is special, it's almost been 7 months in Mexico and now I'm back in California. I had a great time, getting as far south as Barra de Potosi, and life sure smells different there. It's also almost been a year since I found out I had cancer - and I am doing great with alternative medicine! I am a lucky dog for sure, and now I can relax in northern california with my family again, feeling good, looking my best, and it's just fantastic. Having fun on dogster -- Lama!