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Pretty Lil' Angel

October 21st 2011 11:32 am
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October 15, 2011

I was walking back from the store yesterday and across the street I saw a man with a Basset Hound puppy. I yelled to him, “Hey can I pet your puppy?” He stopped, and I ran over to them. I knelt down and was smothered with puppy kisses! “How old is she?” I asked. “She’s four months old”, he replied. “I got her from the San Francisco SPCA; someone had received her as a gift and wasn’t able to take care of her.” I loved on her some more, and then I asked her name. “Her name is Lucy,” he said.

My Pretty Lil Hound Lucy and I lived together for four years. I’d known her for nearly 14 years, when after ten, she wasn’t able to stay with the family she’d grown up with, so she came to stay with me. She was the sweetest dog; I would often look at her and say, “Lucy, you are soooooooooooooo SWEET!” Lucy was always so easy-going and no matter where we were or what we were doing, she would go along joyfully. Even after losing her sight to glaucoma three years ago, she kept her endearing spirit and made her way through life with a trot in her step and an enthusiastic wag of her tail. She showed me that it was possible to flourish and live happily under the most challenging circumstances. She was my hero.

Lucy loved to be anywhere I was. We went everywhere together. A few weeks ago, we were packed up to spend the weekend at the Russian River for my friend’s 40th birthday. When we’d returned from our walk that morning, I noticed that she was having trouble getting up the stairs to the house. Nonetheless, when our ride arrived, she got right into the car, excited for the journey.

A few of the ladies traveling with us that weekend had made appointments for spa services in Calistoga, and since dogs weren’t allowed at the spa, Lucy and I spent the afternoon at a small park. We had a picnic under the shade of a big tree; I fed her chicken and I ate a sandwich. Lucy got up occasionally and sniffed her way slowly around the park. We napped. It was a day I will always treasure.

The house on the river was beautiful and for three unforgettable days, Lucy never left my side. There were six other ladies in the house and they showered her with love and attention. She slept most of the time, only waking up for a few short walks, or to drink some water. I could tell that she wasn’t feeling well. On Saturday morning, I grilled some chicken for her but she wouldn’t eat it. I immediately called the vet and made an appointment for Monday afternoon. She drank water all day and later that evening, she ate the chicken. I was so relieved.

The next day she had some more of the chicken, but threw it up a few minutes later. On the way back from the river, we stopped in Petaluma and had a picnic in the town square park. Lucy was having trouble walking up the hill, so I picked her up and carried her. She lay on the blanket next to us while we ate and drank a bottle of wine. At one point, I looked at her and started to cry. When we got back to San Francisco, her cat, Cow, was waiting inside the house for her. He rubbed up against her, purring loudly, as they made their way around the house. A few minutes later she went to lie down in her bed. I grilled a steak for her that evening which she devoured enthusiastically. She slept curled up next to me in my bed that night. I woke up several times during the night to give her water and kiss her furry little face.

The next morning, I tried to feed her the rest of the steak, but she wouldn’t eat. I sent a text to my friends at Dogster HQ to let them know that I wouldn’t be coming into the office; “Lucy isn’t doing well and we have an appointment at the vet later this afternoon.” I had a sinking feeling that this appointment wasn’t going to be about how to get Lucy well again. She was listless, wouldn’t eat, and had no desire to get up and move around. It became clearer, as each hour passed that morning that Lucy was letting go.

I needed to talk with someone. I needed comfort and reassurance. I didn’t call my family, or one of my close friends in the area. I called a friend, with whom I had met on Dogster. Right after speaking with her, two more of my friends from Dogster called. Jacqueline, Sally, and Kim, thank you for being there for me that day. I love you.

Later that morning, a thread was started for Lucy and I in the Plus Power of the Paw Forum on Dogster. I stayed in bed with Lucy, reading the posts, the Paw Mail, Comments, and the gifts that followed. I have an abundance of gratitude for the Dogster and Catster Community for the caring kindness Lucy and I were shown. And to the B&A, you are the heart and soul of Dogster and Catster, I cherish you so much!

In the afternoon, I asked Lucy to please let me know if it was time for me to let her go. She licked my hand and nuzzled closer to me. I decided to take her to the park. When I put on her leash, she wagged her tail. I carried her down the stairs to the sidewalk, I took a couple of steps, but she wouldn’t budge. I picked her up and carried her halfway down the block into Golden Gate Park, and sat her down in the meadow. She walked a few steps, sniffed around a bit, and then came and sat down next to me. We sat in the park for close to an hour; I pet her and told her over and over again how much I loved her.

My mom arrived around 5pm to take Lucy and I to the vet. I was sitting on the couch with Lucy on my lap. “We have to go Babycakes, its almost 5:30,” she said. “NO, I cried, tears streaming down my face, “SHE IS FINE; LOOK AT HER, SHE DOESN’T WANT TO GO! WE ARE GOING TO STAY RIGHT HERE FOREVER!” My mom came down and sat next to me and said, “You are giving her a gift. I just wish that someday, when I am too old and sick to go on, that you could do the same for me.” I got up, sat Lucy down, and put on her leash for the last time; she wagged her tail.

Dr. Fong has been Lucy’s vet since she came to live with me. He took care of her when she got glaucoma. When we were in for Lucy’s senior wellness exam a few months earlier, she was doing really well; her appetite was healthy, and she was still enjoying her life. He and I marveled at her endurance and agreed that at close to 14 years old, what mattered most was Lucy’s quality of life.

My mom, Lucy, and I were taken to an exam room. I sat down, holding Lucy in my arms like a baby. She loved to be held like a baby. When Dr. Fong came in, I said, “I think its time to let Lucy go. “ I started to cry. He looked at me knowingly and said, “Tell me what’s going on with Lucy.” She won’t eat,” I said, “she doesn’t want to go for a walk, she doesn’t want to do anything. “ “The last time you were here, he said, “we talked about the importance of Lucy’s quality of life and that what really mattered was that she was still able to enjoy the things she loved, eating, walking on the beach and in the park, going places with you.” “It seems she is not able to do those things anymore.” No, she’s not, “I said, “I am ready to let her go.”

He carefully explained what he would be doing to help Lucy on her journey. The veterinarian assistant came in and I gave Lucy to her. She carried Lucy like a baby to another room so they could put in the catheter. When they came back, she laid Lucy, now wrapped in a blanket, gently onto the exam table. I wrapped my arms around her and put my face to hers. My mom put her arms around me **lovenhugyoumommy**. Lucy lay there quietly, she did not stir. I told Lucy again and again how much I loved her. I thanked her for blessing me with her company. Dr. Fong gave Lucy an injection that put her into a deep sleep. She grunted a couple of times like she often did before falling asleep. He gave her a second injection and put his stethoscope to her heart. Moments later Dr. Fong lifted the stethoscope.

I picked up Lucy’s cremated remains today. They came in a small wooden box, engraved with the words, “Pretty Lil’ Hound.” There is a place at the front of the box for a photo. I am going to put a photo of me holding Lucy in my arms like a baby. I had also requested to have her paw print in ceramic. Included was an envelope that contained a copy of the Rainbow Bridge Poem.

I walked home carrying these mementos of Lucy held tightly to my chest. When I got home I placed them on the table next to my bed, along with a white gardenia in a heart-shaped bowl, and the “Whispers From Heaven” Teddy Bear from the Roo Crew. I lit a candle in memory of the Pretty Lil’ Hound. Lucy wagged her tail and the flame flickered.

Lucy McGruff 10/28/97-09/26/11

With love always,

The Lady Who Fed You and Who Will ALWAYS Love You Most


Proportions Called!

July 22nd 2010 9:48 am
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Yesterday, I received a call from Casey at Proportions. She just wanted to check in and see how Lucy was doing on her new food! Told me to call and ask for her personally if I had any questions or concerns.

VERY impressive Customer Service!

Still lovin' the food and still runnin' to the bowl every time! BOL!


Proportions Whole Food Challenge!

July 19th 2010 9:48 am
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Proportions has selected members of the Dogster Community, including Lucy and myself, to participate in the Proportions Whole Food Challenge.

We will receive a FREE two month-trial of Proportions Whole food canine nutrition delivered to our home, and will be required to use the product and provide feedback about the pet food on Dogster, in the Proportions Group on Dogster and in Lucy’s Diary. Each whole food meal is custom-made, with pre-measured portions based on Lucy’s specific needs (breed, age, weight, activity level, etc.).

Lucy's Transition Starter Kit was delivered to our home last Wednesday. I LOVED the Basset Hound sticker with her name on the box--nice personalization! Only later did I learn that if I add her photo to her profile on Proportion’s Web site, that future deliveries will include a label with her actual photo-PAWSOME!

The box contained 10 days worth of meals, along with detailed instructions about transitioning into the whole foods program. Unfortunately, I did NOT follow instructions and started Lucy with days 7-10; I was so drawn to the beautiful packet of dehydrated fruits and veggies included in that I didn’t bother looking through the entire box until later in the week. **blush**

The first three days, I was supposed to reduce her normal food by a third and pour the Chicken Stew on top. Lucy had finished all of her regular food, so that wasn’t an option anyway. Today is Day 5 and she is eating the Crunchy Blend and Chicken Stew.

I am very impressed with the quality of the food. The Chicken and Brown Rice Senior Dog Formula Kibble lists chicken meal and brown rice as the first two ingredients. The Harvest Mix is a beautiful mix of dried and freeze dried fruits and vegetables; carrots, broccoli, spinach, peas, apples, blueberries, bananas, and the Chicken Stew has CHUNKS of hand-carved white chicken meat in a thick pumpkin soup.

Lucy has never been a food-motivated dog. I can fill her bowl up with her usual kibble, Blue Buffalo Chicken & Brown Rice Senior Dog Food, in the morning, and she may or may not eat it until much later in the afternoon. I usually fill up her bowl a couple of times each day, but her bowl usually has some food in it at all times. Well, that has all changed with the introduction of Proportions!

On Day 1, I opened the Chicken Stew, and Lucy stood in the kitchen and started barking at me; the food smelled so good! When I walked over to set the bowl down, she literally RAN to it! She stuck her nose in the bowl and ate and ate and ate. She came up for air only once! I’ve posted a video, documenting her first Proportions meal, on her Pet Page!

Her enthusiasm for the food hasn’t wavered and I am met each morning and evening in the kitchen with her “feed me NOW’ bark!

More here later!


Follow Me On Twitter!

September 15th 2009 12:13 pm
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I am Pal of the Week!

April 17th 2009 2:54 pm
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OH MY DOGNESS! I am absolutely thrilled to be this week's Pal of the Week in Administrators of Catster & Dogster Groups!

This is an incredible honor for a pretty, lil' stinky hound!

Thank you!


Tag I'm It!

January 17th 2009 12:02 am
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I’ve Been Tagged by Maximillian The Trickster, Mirra, and fagged by Rudy Patudy!

This is a game to help us get to know each other!

Here are the Rules:

Choose seven pups and notify them via Paw Mail or by Rosette that they have been tagged and to read your Diary for the instructions on how to play.

Tagged pups must post the rules, the seven facts about themselves, and the names of their seven chosen pups, in their Diary.

Seven Facts About Me:

• I suffer from car anxiety
• I’m a whiner
• I like to chase my own tail
• Before going to sleep, I scoot backwards in a circle on my behind 4-5 times and curl up in a donut shape on my bed.
• I’m an HQ Pup!
• I like to lick everything- the licky, licky, the licky licky
• I love to nuzzle and get kisses on my fuzzy face

The Pups I’ve Tagged:

Sadie Boo


Do You Remember Love?

April 6th 2008 2:54 pm
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My furiend Brody sent this beautiful poem, Do You Remember Love, to me. I suggest selecting View Moving Picture With Music Only. Get out the tissue; it is a tearjerker!


Everyone Knows it's Sammy!

April 5th 2008 7:36 pm
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I had surgery to remove my right eye two weeks ago Tuesday. There were absolutely no complications with my surgery. My biggest challenge was the cone. The cone, coupled with the "loopiness" from pain meds, made "mapping" my whereabouts and maneuvering around difficult; the cone also interferes with my hearing. I was only blind a week prior to the surgery and was just starting to get around without my sight, so these first few days after her surgery were a difficult setback. I had a tendency to get stuck in one place and couldn’t find my way out. I would just sit down and whine. I’m a hound so I whine a lot more than other dogs anyway, but I whined a bit more that usual.

The first weekend after my surgery, Moxie, my furiend from work, came to stay with us. She wouldn’t come near me because she was afraid of the cone, so we removed it, since I would be supervised all weekend. I didn’t scratch at my stitches, so the cone came off permanently. After the cone was removed, and with some coaxing from Moxie, I started to move around a lot more. Every day my confidence grew and I can now find my way around the house with no trouble at all. I can find my way outside, into the living room and up on to my favorite spot on the couch. I can find my bed in the bedroom and know exactly where They keep the treats! I can also hear much better. I keep my ears perked up a lot more than I used to and everyone thinks I look really cute with my “perky ears.”

I was hesitant to go out for walks at first and would stubbornly refuse to move. But today I was trottin’ along and enjoying every minute of my morning stroll. Today is a beautiful sunny day in San Francisco, and we took a walk down to one of our favorite places to have breakfast. The restaurant has an outdoor patio with a water bowl for dogs and I got some bacon! On our way home we ran into Dr. Fong from Irving Street Veterinarian Hospital. He performed both of my enucleation surgeries. I recognized his voice immediately. He was so happy to see me doing so well. He took a look at my stitches and said they could come out in a few days. He thought I looked really good.

I also got to stop and sniff all of the dogs we met along the way. I’m no longer afraid of other dogs approaching me. A lot of people stop and ask about my blindness. Most of them always point out that I don’t seem to have a problem using my nose to get around. Which is so true! I do love a good sniffin’!

I continue to be showered with love, reassurance, and encouragement. My furiend Kansas suggested we order the book "Living With Blind Dogs.” It just arrived from Amazon so we’re looking forward to learning more about my life without sight. We’ve also heard from a lot of pups on Dogster who have offered great advice. Thanks everyfur!

We are completely overwhelmed with all of the Gifts and Rosettes, and Paw Mail we’ve received. We have every intention of personally thanking each and everyone but in the meantime, please know that each and every kind word has touched our hearts so deeply and we are so grateful for your love and support.

One of the dogs on Dogster that has been one of my greatest sources of support and inspiration, Samuel Jacob, whom I fondly refer to as my beloved sweet Sammers, a dog of great strength and determination, left this world yesterday and crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Our hearts go out to his Mom and Dad and his brother and sister, Mickey and Bernadette (aka The Roo Croo).

One of the things that Sammers loved to do most was run and jump. His back problems, and the loss of his back leg, made this difficult. I find comfort knowing that he is pain free and runnin’ and jumpin’ to his heart’s content. Last night we we’re havin’ a cuddle on the couch and the wind howling. All of the windows in our old Victorian were rattlin and I knew that it was Sammers with all of his runnin’ and jumpin kickin’ up all the wind. Sammers, I love you dear friend and every time the wind blows, I will think of you and know that it is you runnin’ and jumpin’.

For what is it to die, but to stand in the sun and melt into the wind?
-Kahlil Gibran


Seeing With The Heart

March 19th 2008 6:13 pm
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I had a terrible spike in my ocular pressure Saturday morning and lost my sight.

Today is day five without my sight and everyday I become more confident. The vet says I’m walking in circles sometimes because I’m “mapping out” my surroundings. I may need a snout guard to help cushion the **bumps.** Yesterday, I found my food and water and made my way outside without a lead. Stairs are scary, especially going down, but they get easier to maneuver every time I take them. I’m a bit weary of strange dogs, but I my office “furiends” have been a big help with alleviating my fears. They all met me at the door yesterday morning and I was VERY happy to have them around me.

I’m learning a lot of new voice commands like stop, downstairs, upstairs, and bump. Of course, She never leaves my side and always offers encouragement and reassurance.

I'm going to have surgery to have my eye removed on Tuesday. Relieving any discomfort from the increased pressure will help me adjust much quicker.

A heartfelt thanks to “everyfur” that has reached out through Paw Mail, with Gifts and Rosettes, and in the Forums to wish me well and offer kind words of support, advice, and hope; they are a cherished comfort.

When I'm not sleepin', my tail is still waggin’ non-stop!

A Poem from my beloved pal Sammers:

Poem about a Blind Dog
by Sherrill Wardrip

I cannot see you Mommy, when you cuddle me so near.
And yet I know you love me, it's in the words I hear.
I cannot see you Daddy, when you hold me by your side
But still I know you love me when you tell me so with pride.

I cannot see to run and play out in the sun so bright
For here inside my tiny head it's always dark as night.
I cannot see the treats you give when I am extra good
But I can wag my tail in thanks, just like a good dog should.

"She cannot see. The dogs no good" is what some folks might say
"She can't be trained, she'll never learn She must be put away."
But not you, Mom and Daddy You know that it's all right
Because I love you just as much as any dog with sight.

You took me in, you gave me love and we will never part
Because I'm blind with just my eyes, I see you in my heart.


Afternoon Cuddle

March 12th 2008 10:21 pm
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Everyday at the office, usually sometime between 3-4pm, She scoops me up and takes me to the couch for an “Afternoon Cuddle.” She and I, along with other team members and their dogs (vv brings his fish, fishbowl and all), take about 15 minutes to snuggle up together, get belly scrubs and ear scratches and kisses all over our furry lil’ faces. If you call between 3-4pm and nobody picks up the phone, we just might be on the couch having a cuddle. So, grab your pup and cuddle with us!

Just a short note about my glaucoma. I’ve had a couple of spikes in my ocular pressure the last couple of weeks. The pressure went down immediately following my regular eye drop application and medication, but the vet is concerned about the effect the spikes may have on my vision. My laser surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, March 18.

Sadly, my pals Arthur and the puppopotomus Shebaboth went to the Bridge last month. We miss them dearly.

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Lucy, Pretty Lil' Angel


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