March 31st 2009 7:02 am
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I hate to inform Camper's friends that Camper is gone. He had to undergo surgery for a stomach issue. It wasn't emergency surgery but it was serious. We sought several opinions, and all of the doctors agreed it had to be done. The surgery was done by the best specialist (whom Camper thought was named Sir Jin) and he appeared to come through just fine.
But in the middle of the night the surgeon called and told me that Camper was being taken out for a walk and collapsed. Dad, Meri, Zamboni and I rushed to the hospital, but Camper had already died.
We are devastated. Camper was funny, intelligent, energetic, and our household revolved around him. He would have been three years old in May, and we were planning a trip to his Grandma's house to celebrate his and Zamboni's birthdays. We are stunned that he is gone so soon with so much living to do. Yesterday, he was energetic and active. Today, he's gone. It's too much for us to comprehend.
Zamboni and Meri were able to see him, sniff him and and know that he is, in fact, not coming home. They are shocked as well.
I know that Camper made a lot of you laugh. His diary here trailed off the last several months as he and Meri kept each other busy. He's been busy "agilizing" (as he liked to call it) and with the uncommon amounts of snow we've had this year. You should be assured that the fact that the lack of activity here means that Camper was having more activity -- more happiness and fun -- in life. And that's good, as these months ended up being his final months.
"His final months." I can't believe I just wrote that about My Crazy Man. I love that guy so much. He's my service dog and I'll be lost without him. But even more than that, he loved us, and we cherish and love him. I don't know how we'll ever move on from that. We're just lost right now.
Thanks for being such appreciative fans. I know his antics always made me laugh, even when he was breaking rules and even when he was bugging the heck out of me. I don't know what we'll do with this diary. My head is spinning and my heart is breaking. One thing at a time.
Bless all of you.
November 29th 2008 7:34 pm
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This morning, I woke up early because Dad woke up early. He was putting on his play shoes, which I always take as a good sign. When he puts on his shiny black shoes (that sometimes are brown), that means he's about to abandon me for the day. But when he puts on his play shoes, I follow him around the house just to remind him how much I love him, what a great companion and protector I am, and that yes, I would enjoy a soccer or frisbee game very much. Even a walk would be nice.
But today, no matter how much I followed him around, he wasn't paying much attention to me. I followed him around the garage, where he was gathering metal sticks and stuff with cords (that I learned as a puppy that if you even think about chewing on them, humans get very excited.). He took out the flashlights even though it was day time, and some other stuff I had no idea what it was. And he said, "Camper, you're going to stay in the house with Mom."
What? Why would I do that, when Dad clearly was about to undertake something very important?
With that, he closed the garage door, walked me into the house, and closed the front door behind him. I was trapped in the house, like a prisoner. So, as an unhappy abused prisoner, I jumped up on the bed next to Mom, who was still asleep, since it was still dark out. I tried to figure out what was going on. Where was Dad going? With whom? And most importantly, Why didn't he take me? It hurt my brain to think about it anymore. I was trapped in prison, and I couldn't do anything about it. So I stretched out on the bed, which was cushiony and warm, put my head on Dad's pillow and went to sleep.
I was dreaming about herding turkeys when I heard big fat squirrels on our roof. I often hear squirrels running on our roof, and they kind of bug me. But usually, I hear them during the spring and summer. But it's winter now, and these squirrels sounded like they weighed about 100 pounds. Seriously! They thumped around and bumped around. It sounded like they were rolling around 50 pound acorns up there. So I started to bark.
Mom rolled over and told me to "be quiet, it's just Dad. " Then she went back to sleep. Mom was obviously confused. Dad had left, and our house was under attack by giant squirrels. Not only that, but the squirrels were Rogue Hard Rock Rodents who were piping some very disturbing noise into our house. I'm sure it was part of their plot to warp my brain so I couldn't defend my home and family. I was determined to protect the house. I started to run around the house and bark some more.
Mom called me and said, "Camper. Stop. You're being crazy." She told me to Hop Up on the bed. But I couldn't. How could I lie around while our home was under attack? I whined to her, hoping she'd understand. She didn't. She put me in my Boardroom. She went back to sleep. So I just lay there and listened to the rabid overweight squirrels take hostile control of my territory.
After a while, Mom got up and let Meri, Boni and me out to the backyard. I ran outside, barking as I ran through the door, announcing the the squirrels that their days were numbered. But when I looked on the roof, there were no squirrels. There were no giant acorns. Nor did I see any giant paw prints or marks from huge acorns. Most disturbing of all, I didn't smell anything. It's like they were rodenty phantasms!
Mom called us in for breakfast. I saw no reason to stand outside in the cold and look for something I clearly couldn't see while my meal got cold. I thought about all of this while I was eating. Something was definitely up though. Then I heard Dad call out to Mom from the garage. Dad was home! He asked Mom to give him something, which she did. But when I went out to the garage to see him, he was gone again.
That was odd. Did the squirrels take Dad hostage and Mom was paying a ransom? That made sense. I mean, I see that happen all the time on TV.
I went back outside and sat in the back yard for a while. I waited for a couple hours. I played with Meri during that time. Mom and I played Chuck-It. I wrestled with Zamboni until she got mad because I play too rough. I watched Meri dig a hole and then get in trouble for that. I saw the stupid crows. I thought about asking them if THEY saw any giant squirrels, but I figure that they were probably in cahoots with them, so I just barked at the crows more vigorously than usual.
But I never saw any giant 100 pound squirrels.
Then I went in the house and I HEARD them on the roof again! I rushed outside, and they weren't there. There was nothing on the roof!
Finally, Dad came home again. He changed clothes in the garage and took a shower. I whined to him about the 100 pound squirrels but he didn't understand what I was saying. I think he thought I was a madman.
But I know what I heard. I'm not crazy.
November 28th 2008 2:17 pm
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Happy belated Thanksgiving.
It's called belated because I be late.
I was having too great of a day to stop and write my diary, although I thought about it, and Mom even said to me, "aren't you going to write your diary today?" But first I was watching the Macys Thanksgiving Parade with Zamboni and Meri, and we were waiting for the Underdog floaty balloon thing. Underdog is superhero, of course, so we love him, but since he's a beagle, Boni has a secret crush on him. Meri was very excited to see him too, because we have told her that as a beagle, she could grow up to be in the parade some day. I know, this isn't very nice, but it's funny, don't you think? That's what little sisters are for, after all. To give a hard time to.
Then the National Dog Show was on T.V. and I was cheering on the Herding Group (the German Shepherd in particular, of course). So I figured I'd get to my diary later. But by then, dinner was served, and of course, we had to watch Mom and Dad eat to see what we would be enjoying for OUR dinner.
I love Thanksgiving. Next to Christmas and my birthday, it's my favorite day of the year. Mom and Dad start cooking early and they're always in a great mood. This year, they sliced off the breast part of the turkey, so that I could have the rest of the raw turkey during the next few weeks, which was very considerate of them.
Mom decided to grill the turkey outside, so it was like a summer Thanksgiving. Every time we went outside to play (during commercials), we could smell the delicious turkey cooking. Meri kept walking over to the grill just to make sure that Mom hadn't dropped a bit of meat. Meri is a beagle; she's fastidious like that.
Meanwhile, they were cooking sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, vegetables, dressing and all sorts of other wonderful things in the house. The house smelled buttery, potatoey, piey, and everything. That's the thing about poor little human noses. They can't discern all the amazing smells. They just sniff and say "this house smells great."
But we dogs, especially dogs like German Shepherd and Beagles, who have especially great sniffers (220 million scent receptors, as opposed to a human's paltry 5 million scent cells.), we smell everything separately. I smelled the apple, onion, celery, cranberry, broth, and each of the fresh herbs in the dressing. I also noticed that there were several kinds of bread in the dressing, including wheat, white and sourdough. Boy, that smelled GREAT!
Boni and Meri would like point out that they are better sniffers because they're little and have the same amount of scent cells as I do in my bigger nose. However, I would like to point out that I have a bigger brain, and don't just think with my nose. So there.
So after the humans ate dinner, it was time for clean up. As she traditionally has, Zamboni stood by the oven and waited. If there are succulent tidbits, Mom hands her a bit, and she samples them "just to make sure." I've asked to "to make sure of what?" But she just rolls her eyes at me, like I'm a moron. It's tradition, and she and Mom have done this for 16 years now. Dad always asks, "must Zamboni stand RIGHT THERE???" as he steps over her to put the extra food in little contaners for the refridgerator, rinse off dishes, put dishes in the dishwasher, and all that. Zamboni and Mom just look at him like he's a moron too: "Yes."
And that's that. Tradition.
Tradition is very important in my family. You don't ever mess with tradition. Mom and Boni are serious about tradition. And if you really want to get your head knocked around a bit, just go ahead and try to mess around with Grandma's traditions. She's little, but Grandma will make you regret ever asking to change things one iota. Seriously.
So, all the dishes were clean; all the food put away, and then, the best part of the night -- our dinner. Now, it wasn't served on the fine china, which always bugs me a little. We just ate off the everyday stoneware, which, ok, is better than our usual bowls. And I admit, my bowls that Mom bought at a pottery sale, are much nicer than any "dog bowls" that I've ever seen at pet stores or online. But still, the china is very nice. It even has platinum ring around the outside. I think it would be very fine to eat off of it just once. But I've never asked. It seems a bit presumptuous, you know?
Zamboni says she has eaten off of china once or twice and the food tastes exactly the same. I shouldn't make a fuss over it, but just enjoy the food. But still, it seems a little disrespectful to me that on holidays, our humans don't let us eat off "the good stuff."
So this year, Mom cooked up turkey just for us. She cooked it in a pan with a bit of olive oil, some herbs, and some spices. We didn't get the grilled turkey -- she said it might be too fatty for Meri, who is still a puppy. Then she mixed in sweet potato, which we love, and she piled the mixture high on our plates. For Meri, she mixed this into her kibble.
It was warm, it was hearty, it was perfectly Thanksgiving food. It was delicious. Then Mom gave us each one bite of pumpkin pie. Our neighbor who is very nice, Mr. G, brought it over early in the day (I barked hello, then went back to watching the Hound Group on TV.). Mrs. G had made it for us. Zamboni got a regular bite. Since I can't eat crust, I got just the filling, which Boni says is the best part anyhow. Meri got a small taste. And finally, Mom brought out the can of whipped cream, held it upside down, and squirted a bit of it into the air above Boni's mouth. Zamboni is an expert at Canned Whip Cream, and she caught it with her tongue, kept her head back, and Mom squirted a bit more.
Then it was my turn. Mom squirted the whipped cream. I sort of caught it with my tongue, but missed some; it landed on the floor. I'm not allowed to eat off the floor, so Mom just squirted a bit on her finger, and I licked that. Mom wiped the floor, and that was that. Pumpkin pie with whipped cream. The best!
By then, we were so ready for naps! After LONG naps, we played for a while, then we went to bed early.
So, you can see why I didn't have time to diary yesterday. I had a wonderful day, filled with my wonderful family and amazing food.
I was also busy being Thankful. I am very lucky. I know that. I have a great family, including my family down in California. I have trainers who really like me and take good care of me. I have Doctor, Dr. B and Dr. H and all of their staff, whom Mom trusts with my life, so I do too. I have friends, and I have you, my readers.
I could not ask for anything more.