Puppy Love

Anyone who knows me or follows me knows that I am the doting “mama” to two of the world’s cutest miniature dachshunds, Wyatt Earp, a mischievous red dapple with one blue eye and Josi, a raven little long haired wire haired tiny beauty.

Several months ago, a new neighbor moved in next door and, like I and many people in our neighborhood, he too has dogs. But his canine companions, Zoe and Oscar – are two very large, undeniably imposing animals. Both are of questionable heritage, and each are large enough to have struck terror into one sweet little lady who lives around the corner and was summarily convinced that they are “pitbulls”. She clutched not only her pearls, but her little terrier as well and ran in the other direction when she first saw them.

On the dogs’ first foray out with their master to survey their new territory, my two little scamps raced out into the yard….and promptly came nose to nose with two behemoths that literally dwarfed them. Then, the most amazing thing happened.

Tails wagged.

Sniffs were exchanged.

Inconceivable friendships were born.

Over the last months, their buddyship has only deepened.

All I have to do is say “Where’s Zoe and Oscar?” and ears perk up, eyes light up and the puppy happy dances begin all the way to the door.

Little Miss Josi, my mill rescue baby who is 10 pounds dripping wet and was heretofore terrified of her own shadow has a puppy crush of epic proportions on Oscar.

Wyatt Earp, the 13 year old, 12 pound stud muffin legend in his own mind seems to be similarly enamoured of Zoe.

You see, Wyatt and Josi have never seen the network news or read the newspapers replete with reports (much like those a generation ago about German Shepherds and Dobermans) of the reputation as a thoroughly dangerous breed that their new objects of affection have been wrongly saddled with by a fearful little lady. As such, they didn’t succumb to irrational fears, or immediately look for the worst. They just saw, well, two other dogs.

As the mailman, trash man, UPS guy and FedEx delivery men (who have still not managed to break into my house and attack me in all these years) can tell you – my dogs are abundantly aware of any perceived danger and they are rightly protective of their abode. But, they’re also pretty darned good judges of who and who not to like. That they like Zoe and Oscar is good enough for me.

To be fair, in my life I have met a Chihuahua or two who were the very embodiment of the phrase “death from the ankles down” – so I can testify that it’s not the breed, it’s the environment and the treatment that matters.

And, gentle reader, such is life. We can choose to only accept stereotypes and look for the worst in others and be rewarded with finding it each and every time, or we can realize that, in the end, we’re all just puppies.

Decision 2016

I’ve made my decision.

Actually decisions.

1. On Thanksgiving, I’m going to make that tiny turkey that I bought for just the two of us when I was exuberant about hubby doing so well. With all the trimmings, just as we’d planned. And one, possibly two, bottles of the finest wine I can rustle up.

2. I’m going to decorate the snot out of the Casa del Judi for Christmas. Just like he and I did ever so many years ago, but hadn’t been able to for the last several years because he was so ill.

3. And, because I’ve decided that the best way to honor his life is to live mine to the fullest:
I’m meeting with friends who are going to help me with editing and publishing this week, and my first book is going to be a reality. Soon.

Stay tuned.

Angel Noogies

This rather long missive is meant to bring you all up to speed on the life and times of Judianna, as my blog has been sadly unattended for some time.

My husband lost his long battle almost two weeks ago. It was expected, but unexpected at the same time, if that makes any sense.

Bear with me, because, although the first “historical” portion seems to be maudlin, this is not a “boo-hoo” blog.

First, and most importantly – please know that I am overwhelmed with the kindness and the love from all of you (well, almost all of you), and I cherish all of your supportive comments.

Because hubby passed away at home and wasn’t in hospice, it was deemed an “Unattended Death” and our home was technically a crime scene Friday night (October 21, 2016) until the coroner arrived and released him to the funeral home many hours later.

As many of you know, he had “graduated” from using a wheelchair to a walker and he was actually getting so much stronger that I purchased a small turkey for Thanksgiving.

Even though I had concerns, he was truly excited and looking forward to go in for one additional procedure on October 13th to place a more permanent dialysis catheter (a graft, actually) in his thigh so he could get rid of the temporary “permacath” in his chest.

Apparently, the outpatient surgery was just too much for his already weakened and incredibly damaged heart to handle. While he made it through the procedure itself with “flying colors” and even joked with the OR staff, he just never bounced back. He was weak, nauseous, dizzy.

We talked about whether this was too much for him, if he wanted to just call hospice. He said no. With the same determination I’d seen countless times in our 22 years, he said “I want to fight.” And… he fought. He fought with the heart of a champion until the very end.

On the afternoon of October 21st, I brought him home from the Friday session of his three times a week dialysis. Got him in his comfy chair, and gave him a homemade popsicle. He ate it, and settled back for a nap. The dachshunds and I were camped out in our recliner next to him where we had been since we brought him home from surgery.

At 7:20 p.m., he asked for another popsicle. I handed it to him, and told him I was going to go to the bedroom to get him a change of clothes out of his dialysis shirt and pants so he could get changed into something comfy.

I wasn’t more than 10 feet down the hall, when I heard him say “AAHH!”. I ran back in and found him slumped over in his chair, the half eaten popsicle on his lap. Thank God I told him “I Love You” and he said “I Love You” back when I handed him the popsicle – those would be our last words to each other.

Despite my panicked call to 911 and me frantically doing CPR until help arrived, he was gone.

The coroner, fire department, paramedics, police department and everyone who was on scene were so compassionate, so caring. The coroner told me that he died instantly, and that there was nothing anyone could do that would have saved him.

I suppose if there can be such a thing as a “good death”, that was it.

His “gift” to me was to wait until I had walked out of the room to leave me and leave us forever.

But his are (as they always were) the gifts that continue.

I read a book long ago called “God Winks”. They, according to the author, are those unexplainable coincidences, pieces of synchronicity that let you know all is well. Although I am in love with the term “God Winks”, I probably would be in terrible trouble if I were to use it, so I shall call them “Angel Noogies”.

The manager and assistant manager of our community, invited me up for lunch on the 24th. They not only fed my tummy, they nourished my soul. Unbeknownst to them, the delicious baked ziti they made for lunch just happened to be the same first meal I cooked for hubby 22+ years ago. And they generously offered to let us use the clubhouse for hubby’s memorial service that was to be a celebration of his life that upcoming Friday. “Angel Noogie” number one had arrived.

We laid hubby to rest on the 27th of October.

The cemetery is close to a major intersection, and during a rather emotional part of the committal, we were all getting even more teary eyed. Just then, a car drove by with its windows down and they were blaring “Tequila” by the Champs. I said “That’s Hubby’s doing”.
So, if I ever needed a sign, or an “Angel Noogie” – that was the second one.
And, because “Angel Noogies” come in threes….

About two hours prior to the Friday night event, the Celebration of his Life, I was pulling trays of these decadent little bacon wrapped cocktail sausages out of the fridge to broil so I could take them to the celebration. Mr. Wyatt Earp – the world’s orneriest dachshund – decided to snag one of them from the bottom tray before I could get it. He bolted it down – *Wooden Toothpick And All*!
I freaked out (not that I’ve had anything to freak out about lately), and made a panic call to the vets. But I got their answering machine because it was lunch hour there. I left a frantic message and, a couple of minutes later, decided to scoop the sausage snagging pup up in my arms and race him in there in person.
The second I got to the truck – I realized that… I had left my keys in the house.
I was fricking locked out of my house.
“I’ll call someone”, I thought.
I had left my iPhone next to my keys in my fricking house.
So, in full dress blouse, skirt, nylons, and pumps… I broke into my house.
(BTW, I’m dismayed by how easy it was to break into my abode and I’m working on more security this week.)
Once I got inside, there was a message on my iPhone from the vets telling me not to freak out – just to keep an eye on the little guy and let them know if he started getting sick or having “shitzus”.
I did end up taking my sausage stealing weenie dog to the vets on Saturday – the sausage & bacon (per the vets) did him more harm than the toothpick prolly – they gave him a shot, and gave me some meds for him. Although he’s had a couple of cookie-tossing episodes since then, he seems to be doing better.
My back (which I’d horribly wrenched in my unsuccessful CPR attempt the previous Friday) still hates me with every disk and muscle fiber of its being.
All I could think of was hubby laughing his butt off at me for breaking and entering while being so nattily dressed, and reminding me (as he often did) that there is no reason to panic and everything will work out. I’d call that an “Angel Noogie” for sure.

So, dear friends and followers, just saying “Thank You” seems so inadequate compared to the herculean amount of love, compassion, kindness and support I’ve received.

But thank you…

In no particular order, to – my family and my extended family – who have been there for me at the drop of a hat, who’ve helped set up, clean up, who sat with hubby while I raced out to grab yet another prescription or supply for him so he wouldn’t be alone, who’ve held my hands when there were no other familiar hands to hold them, who’ve shared in my tears and then cried their own even as they dried mine.

My/our longtime friends who became clients, clients who became friends, and neighbors who relied on hubby’s assistance and then, when he could help no longer, reached their hands out to us in help.

My FaceBook friends who drove all the way down from Denver to “represent”. Three beautiful souls that my husband and I had never met in real life until they physically were there at the celebration of his life in honor of his memory and as supportive, hugging, caring representatives of the love and support you have all shown through the years. Another guest said “FaceBook friends don’t do that!” I said “Ours do.” …and they did.

Strangers who are no longer strangers on FaceBook and Twitter, who’ve sent me messages of love, of comfort; who’ve prayed with us and for us countless times while hubby battled on for all of these many years. Who reveled in his successes, who joined me in concern for his travails, who shared in my grief at his passing. Beloved wonderful friends who have given their time, their energy and their donations to help make his last all too few months with me, with us, even more meaningful.

I fancy myself a wordsmith – but words fail me now. “Thank you” is inadequate. “Friend” is inadequate. “Appreciated” is inadequate.

My love for you all is immeasurable, unending. From my heart to yours…

I wish you love. I wish you joy. And I wish you all “Angel Noogies”.