Monday, July 31, 2017

LIFE AFTER DUKE: TWO DAYS LATER . . .


We call this picture of him "Sly Duke"
This is an especially difficult Monday for me. When I got up, I felt draggy, tired, and depressed. I'm told that those are classic symptoms of grief. If so, then I have a classic case of grief.

As I sit here at my computer in the office (which also doubles as a guest room), Duke is supposed to be lying on the bed over there as I type. In fact, it was never too long before he came to join me in here from any other part of the house, especially if Clark was outside (which he is now) or off to run errands. I find myself looking over at the bed often, at the spot where Duke always lay: on the right side, just in front of the pillow. I always covered him up with his little blanket that Holly gave him after his back surgery. Of course, I still have that blanket, and I'm going to make it into a pillow.

We still have his collar and his leash, but we gave Holly his toys for Sunny and Bruno. Duke dearly
loved squeaky toys, but he usually "killed" them in five minutes flat! That's a dachshund thing that doxie lovers know well. We also gave Holly his fleece animal print blanket which he loved to chew on--he always did that before he went to sleep. I suppose it calmed him.

His bear, 2007
His stuffed kitty? We buried it with him. We found that black stuffed kitty at a yard sale, figuring that it would be an inexpensive toy for Duke to chew on. But ya know what? He never chewed on it--he
lovingly licked it and didn't like for anyone to have it but HIM. It had gotten a bit smelly from his licking it so much, but I didn't ever wash it (he only had it a few months, anyway). We had no idea when we brought that toy home that it would outlast Duke.


So . . . this is where I am today, two days after Duke left us. The house is too quiet, too stifling, too sad--but I can't muster up the desire to go anywhere or do anything. Oh, Clark has coaxed me out to eat a couple of times (so I wouldn't have to cook and he wouldn't have to clean up the kitchen), but that's about it. I always thought that grieving people should get out, do things, see friends. But that's much easier said than done, my friends. Much easier said than done. I'm told it will get better, and I know it will. I feel better here and there, only to come crashing down in a vale of tears a few minutes later. I know God is in control, I know He is watching over me, and for that I am so thankful--but my heart hasn't yet caught up with what my mind knows is true. I can look out the kitchen window and see Duke and Shadow's graves across the creek. That doesn't make me sad: I recall how much Duke was suffering, and seeing his grave brings some comfort that he IS no longer in pain.

Typical: begging for some
of our food!
But I miss my dawg so much. My constant companion, he was what Clark and I called "a force" - he always knew what he wanted, and always managed to get it! If he was hungry, he'd sit and stare at us. When we looked up, he'd look over toward the kitchen. Being the intelligent humans we are, it didn't take us long to catch on. He'd look at what he wanted. When he was sick those last few days before we realized he needed the hospital, he'd stare at his water bowl (which we had moved into the living room after his back surgery in March). Clark would lift him and carry him over to his water bowl, then bring him back and place him wherever he wanted, which was either my lap or on the couch beside Clark.

Tug-of-war, his favorite thing
(besides food, of course!)

Soon, I know this sadness will be replaced with all the happy times we had with Duke, of which there were thousands, over the ten years he was part of our family. Granddaughter Annika called me last night in tears because she missed Dukie. I comforted her as well as I could, because I knew exactly how she was feeling. That dawg was downright human in his personality and emotions!

I had said, before we even started searching for a dachshund in 2007, that above all, I wanted a dog with personality--not a dog who would just lie around, eat, and sleep. Well, I got the dog I was meant to have, and he gave us far more than we ever dreamed possible. When we visited the dachshund farm that day, the breeder had about a hundred doxies running around and playing in her large yard. We didn't really know about rescue organizations back then, but this breeder had a high rating from the AKC, and all her dogs were well cared for. (Read I AM DACHSHUND, Book 2, to learn more about Duke's adoption). I wanted a black-and-tan boy, just like Shadow, so she took us inside to see Duke, her only black-and-tan male puppy ready for adoption that she had at the time. He licked my hand, then peed on it . . . the rest, as they say, is history. He made me smile every single day. He showed his love to us every single day. And now, I yearn to rub his ears, which he loved, massage his sweet face or back, feel his shiny black coat, or play tug-of-war with him (that scoundrel could nearly pull your shoulder out of the socket he was so strong!). When he looked into my eyes, I saw love, playfulness, joy, humor . . . and finally, suffering. I hope I will soon be able to forget the image of his suffering eyes near the end.

A better day will come soon when I can think of him without tears. I wish I could just skip over the grieving and the sadness, and go directly to happy memories beyond that--but that's not the way it works. I've lost other pets, but none of those losses were as heart wrenching as this one. I have heard this saying all my life: "The deeper the love, the greater the grief." Now I know what it means firsthand.

If you are reading this post, please don't feel sorry for me. I'm not looking for that, honestly. Writing this post helps to express how I'm feeling, and I sincerely hope that someone out there will be comforted because they are grieving, too. God bless all pet owners, because they will all face this moment at some time or other, too.

I am planning on writing a book soon to chronicle my journey through my time following Duke's passing. I want to be a comfort to other grieving pet lovers.

Enjoying the yard when he was healthy
Dachshunds . . . they become a part of your heart, but take it with them when they leave us.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

RIP, DUKE, OUR BELOVED DACHSHUND


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~RIP~
Sergeant "Duke" Hinton
"Such a Good Boy"
06/28/07 ~ 07/28/17

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We threw rose petals on Duke's grave yesterday

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Duke was always so excited when the grandchildren
came, because he loved them so much

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Oh, Duke ~ we miss you so

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We buried him beside our doxie granddawg Shadow,
who crossed the rainbow bridge 02/01/17. The spot is across our creek on
a little hill, under the trees. Our daughter Bethany and son-in-law Kurt are
providing his gravestone, just like the one they got for Shadow's.
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My beautiful roses from Holly and Philip (Sunny's parents)
given to me yesterday. Aren't they gorgeous??

We are terribly sad at the loss of our beloved Duke, but knowing that he is no longer suffering helps a great deal. We are also amazed at the outpouring of love and support we've received from so many people we didn't even know! We can never thank them enough, because this loss of Duke, for me at least, has been the most heart-wrenching loss I've ever had, including those of my parents. It was just so unexpected, whereas we knew our parents were very ill. Duke got sick one week, and was gone within a week. If we had known what was wrong at the very beginning, perhaps we could have saved him. But that's now over, and we must look ahead, not back.

I know that at some point in the future I'll be able to smile again instead of cry when I think of him, but it's a bit early for me. He was a big part of our family for ten years, and I probably spent more time with him than with any other family member! Clark substitute teaches a lot during the school  year, so when he was gone all day four or five days a week, Duke was my constant companion. If I went to another room, he followed me (he didn't want to miss anything, especially food, lol!). He would listen when I talked to him, twisting his head like he understood.

When I've been sick, and especially when I had my two knee replacement surgeries, he stayed right by my side when I came home from the hospital. He was always there, ready for providing doggie kisses when the pain was so bad. He rejoiced with us when we were excited, he stuck to us like glue when we were upset, and was overjoyed if we shared some of our meals with him.

His death is the death of a dear and valued family member. He might have had fur and four legs instead of two, but he was far more than "just a dog." He was our fur child. And he knew it.

Dachshunds . . . you gotta love 'em . . . always.

Friday, July 28, 2017

FINAL UPDATE FOR MY DOXIE DUKE


Dear friends,
Duke is no better this morning, and there's nothing further that can be done to help him, so we have chosen to send him over the rainbow bridge.He has much more swelling bc of internal bleeding, heart rate is up, his breathing more labored, no platelets forming.

More transfusions to "build him up" would only make him swell more, suffer more. So, as hard as it is, we don't want our beautiful boy to suffer further. I wish you could have known him and known his great personality!

We'll be at UGA by his side around 12 - 12:30 to hug him one last time and day good-bye. We'll have a family ceremony at home, and bury him on the little hill across our creek, beside his buddy Shadow.

Thanks for everything. My heart is too full to say more right now. God is good, even in the midst of deeply painful things.

Dachshunds . . . we always love them, even when they cross the rainbow bridge.
💔💔

Thursday, July 27, 2017

AWAITING DUKE'S PLATELET COUNT

UPDATE on Duke 07/27/17, 12:55 p.m.:

UGA checked his platelet levels this morning, and there is no change YET. The vet said we need to give it another full day, as the med often doesn't kick in for three or four days.

The internal bleeding (stomach/GI tract) is worrisome, and until his platelet levels come up, there's no way of stopping it--but it isn't heavy, thankfully.

Last night, that they had given him a red cell transfusion, as his levels had gone down due to loss of blood (also found in his stool).

So . . . we wait. Honestly, I was fine yesterday, not fine today. I miss my dawg and his dogginess. You fellow doxie lovers know where I am coming from!

Finally, whatever happens with Duke, I will NEVER forget the love and prayers shown to us by people from everywhere. I have felt your prayers, your love, and your concern for Duke and his welfare. People I don't even know have private messaged me, offering prayer and commiseration! People have asked pertinent questions, not "canned" comments. God is in control, and you have been His ambassadors to our family, from my hubby and me down to the grandchildren, who love Duke so much. They had lost their doxie Shadow in February, who was 16.

LOVE to all of you, many who are also going through difficult times. I offer my prayers back to you, that God will comfort and sustain you, just as He's doing for us through you, friends, and family.

Duke is holding his own--he's not better, but he's certainly not worse at this writing. I'll take that for now .


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

UPDATE ON DUKE



Duke had a good night and rested well. He's alert and calm--no blood tests today, just letting the meds to build up his blood platelets work. He's stable, and the vet also said Duke is a "sweet boy" (we knew that already).

That's good news. He's definitely not out of the woods yet, but we are cautiously optimistic regarding his outcome.

THANK YOU for all your prayers, kind comments, and concern. They are so uplifting right now.

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Dachshunds . . . you gotta love 'em, because they love us so much!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

DUKE IN VETERINARY HOSPITAL: VERY ILL



Duke began throwing up last Wednesday, so by Friday, we took him to the vet. She noticed some bruising on his belly as well as pinpoint bruising in his ears, a sign that all was not well. A blood test confirmed that he had extremely low platelets, 18K--the range should be 117K to 450K +. Needless to say, we were very concerned. She put him on prednisone and three other meds to build up his system.

Friday 3 a.m. he started throwing up a good amount of blood, so we ended up taking him back to the UGA Veterinary Hospital ER; by then, he was in much pain, lethargic, and obviously suffering.  Last night they gave him platelets, but he was having a lot of trouble with that, so they also gave him a regular blood transfusion, which seemed to perk him up a bit. Today, he is stabilized, but is not in very good shape. Their job is to determine what is causing his low blood platelet count. Likely not the bone marrow, since his other blood elements are fine; could be an autoimmune response, where his body is devouring the platelets; could be some form of cancer.

Being completely honest, I vacillate from "everything is going to be okay" to "I'll never see my sweet fur baby again." I have to accept whatever comes. If it means he has to be on autoimmune meds the rest of his life, we are willing to do that. We do want him to have a good quality of life, though.

This situation is very difficult to accept. We've had Duke since he was eight weeks old, and he's just turned ten. He's been a wonderful pet and companion, even a nurse when I had my knee surgeries--he stayed right by my side to make sure I was okay.

Your prayers would be greatly appreciated. I know he's "just a dog," but for those of us who think of our fur babies as family members, we go through about the same things as we do for humans. If that sounds weird or freaky, so be it. It is what it is.

God is in control, and if His eye is on a sparrow in a tree, He's watching over Duke right now.

Dachshunds . . . you gotta love 'em.





Friday, July 21, 2017

TYPICAL DACHSHUND OCCUPATION

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Oh yes. Dachshunds (or all dogs, for that matter), love to take naps, and in my view, they deserve an A+ in sleeping. Don't you agree?

Dachshunds . . . you gotta love 'em! *yawn*

Thursday, July 20, 2017

DOXIES: LITTLE DIVAS FROM DAY ONE

Yes, dachshunds, whether male or female, are divas from day one. Our little granddawg Sunny, now three months old, is already a true diva, and she growls if someone picks her up when she's bent on biting or destroying something she's not supposed to be bothering! 

She also has Bruno the boxer well trained to play nicely with her: and she loves to bite him and then retreat under the couch where he can't fit. What a dawg.

The photo below is not of Sunny, but it does look a lot like her:

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"You expect me to eat this without any CHEESE on top??"

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This is Sunny, Diva Supreme


Dachshunds . . . you gotta love 'em, but they do run the place.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

FEATURING THE DACHSHUND ESCAPADES: THE COMPLETE 5 BOOK SERIES


Today we're featuring the complete series in one convenient ebook! Check it out by clicking on the link below:


Chock full of hilarious antics and doxie wisdom, Sarge the dachshund relates his life from adoption at eight weeks of age until he "retires" from writing at age 15 with Book 5. Dog lovers of all ages love this insight from the family dog, and he pulls no punches in sharing exactly how he feels about humans and life in his "circus," a.k.a. his human family. Those strong doxie traits of loyalty, love, comedy, stubbornness, and love for life are prevalent throughout Sarge's tales of both joy and disappointment, but he rises to all occasions with savvy and keen perception. You won't be disappointed as you ride the roller coaster of Sarge's tales, full of humor and unconditional love.

Free Kindle reading apps available: www.amazon.com/kindleapp
(for smartphone, tablet, or computer)

Friday, July 7, 2017

WHAT ARE DOXIES REALLY LIKE?

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here ya go:




That's it in a nutshell, doxie lovers. Dachshunds . . .  you gotta love 'em!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

JULY 4: FAMILY TIME!

Our family always celebrates the Fourth the all-American way: a cookout, watch fireworks, and in our case, celebrate my hubby's birthday!

Our town has all kinds of festivities: concerts, food vendors, things for the kids (like bouncy houses), watermelon eating contests, etc. However, just about everything was rained out! They did manage to have the fireworks display at 9:30, so the grands weren't too disappointed.

We had a wonderful day, but Sunny and Sarge were none too happy with the fireworks! We live close enough to the town center (where the fireworks were set off) that they were pretty loud at our house. In addition, it sounded like people around our neighborhood were also setting off the boomies as well.




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Until next year!

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