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Monday, December 23, 2013


I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by. Even more, I can’t believe how much my life has changed since this time last year.

As a second shift worker, I’ve always tried to sleep late in the mornings so as not to be tired at work. I think back about when I was young and how sleep came so easily. I long for that type of sleep again, but I simply have too much on my mind. My thoughts keep invading my sleep and I wake several times during the night and much too early in the morning. This morning is no different, except that I don’t have a big Doberman head in my face telling me to get up and let him out.

I’m glad the weekend is over. I’d spent several days dreading its arrival, knowing that we’d made the decision to end Thor’s battle with cancer Saturday night. His cancer had spread throughout his abdomen and into his lungs. We knew he was having issues with pain and had increased his medications. It helped, but he was still having problems and I could not bear the thought that he might still be in pain. It was getting harder for him to get up and down on his three legs and to walk around. Even as he continued to smile his big Dobe grin at us, we could still see him struggling to enjoy the things he loved. Thor was a trooper right up to the end.

Enjoying one of many rest stops on his walk Saturday afternoon.

Saturday was a long day, but we gave Thor an early Christmas. He got his new blanket and went for a car ride on his pillow. On the way home we stopped at KFC to get him his very own mash potato bowl, something he loved very much. He had a long walk with lots of pain meds and even more stops to lay and rest, and he grinned the entire way. For dinner he had homemade lasagna and his absolute favorite - ice cream! Lots of visitors came by throughout the day to shower him with hugs and kisses. As my tired boy settled in for the night on his favorite cushy pillow, my daughter-in-law arrived at our home with the doctor who would end his pain and give him the rest he so desperately needed. Thor passed over the rainbow bridge shortly after 10:00 on Saturday night. There was not a dry eye in the house, but we knew it was the right thing for him.

Many of you have read my “Best Friends” blog I posted in 2011 and already know the story of Tommy and Thor. I take comfort in knowing that Tommy was waiting for Thor on the other side and that my boys are back together again. A friend told me that Tommy’s Christmas present this year was having his buddy back with him; I think she was right. Maybe they even have a golf cart to ride in heaven!

Tommy and Thor on their golf cart.

I have friends telling me I need to go get another dog. And I will, in time. For a while though, I’ll just shower my hugs and kisses on my son’s dog, Heinlein.

Sorry my friends, but here’s where I jump back up on my soap box! I know you’ve heard this from me before so forgive me for continuing to preach, but this is something I feel so strongly about. When the time comes for me to get another furry friend, I will go to our local shelter and bring one, or two, home with me. Thor was a rescue from a bad situation and he was an amazing boy. I know he can never be replaced, but I will save a life and share my home with another amazing friend who needs and deserves a home. The shelters are full of furry friends, some who have never had a loving home, others who were surrendered by their owner for some reason. Most of them will eventually face euthanasia. Please, if you are considering getting a pet for yourself or for a loved one, check out your local shelter. You might just find your next best friend there and also save a life. If you are considering buying a puppy, first ask yourself where it came from. There is a good chance that it came from a puppy mill, and if you don’t already know about puppy mills, please check out the information provided at this link - www.aspca.org/fight-crue

I will stay busy at work tonight and tomorrow night, but I’m off on Christmas day and Thursday. I’ll have Christmas lunch with Tommy’s family and then dinner at home with my boys, daughter-in-law, friends, and even Heinlein.

Please remember those who are less fortunate this year and keep them in your prayers. Even during our darkest hours, there is always something to be thankful for.

I love all my Spark Friends and I WISH YOU ALL A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Revelation 21:4
God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
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  • DOODIE59
    I am so, so sorry to hear this, but you are right -- those two good friends are together again. Imagine!
    You are such a remarkable person; the lives you touch are immeasurably enriched. And your wisdom is a gift to all of us who get to read your words. I wish the best for you.
    1392 days ago
  • _JODI404

    I am really so sorry to hear that the time came to let Thor go. I know personally very well how hard it is to have to make that decision. It really is a gift of love to the pet, but a sharp ache directly to our heart as well.

    It makes me smile and want to cry at the same time to read about all that great spoiling you did for Thor with his early Christmas! Your boy really got some special food treats -- I know how happy that makes the furbabies!

    In April, I had my beloved cat Domino put to sleep by a vet in our home. It was my first time utilizing this in-home service, and I recommend it so highly! It really is the kindest way for them and us to be in the comfort of home. I'm so glad you were able to do it this way too. I absolutely believe that Tommy & Thor are back together again, and that was a wonderful Christmas gift to Tommy! I know thinking of them together helps your soul to accept these losses just a bit easier.

    We go rescue all the way! Wouldn't consider any other way! We have 3 cats now, one (my most beloved!) with lymphoma. We are doing everything possible for her, and the vet was very pleased at her last check up that she is responding so well to treatment. Just like you did... we will keep a close eye on her quality of life, and when the time comes that the quality is not there, we will accept the choice to let her go on to rest. In the meantime, I treasure every single good day we have together.

    I hope you are sleeping somewhat better as some time has passed. There is nothing like grieving to make your mind just RACE wildly.

    I've been behind on blogs, but up to date with Friend Feed, so I know you have a new sweetheart now. I hope that is bringing you much deserved love and happiness that helps to further heal these enormous losses you went through in 2013. The LOVE of all the years together is more than worth any pain we go through at their end. I'm glad you were able to reopen your heart!

    Wishing you a wonderful 2014, FULL of new possibilities and continued healing, and moving forward!!

    Hugs & love,
    ~ Jodi

    1411 days ago
    I've been off Spark for a while & just read about Thor. I'm sorry to hear this, but know you made the right decision. It's so hard when they are such a part of the family. I know you will miss him, but I'm sure Tommy is glad to have his buddy with him again. Enjoy Sahara - she is adorable emoticon You have had a rough time but it's a new year. Wishing you all the best in 2014 Cindy.
    1415 days ago
    just read your blog, Thor was very much loved, and he is so happy with his best friend , know it is so hard to let them go.. hugs to you : )

    1424 days ago
    You and Thor have been on my mind. Sounds like Thor had a fantastic day before he left to be with Tommy. I agree, a perfect Christmas present for Tommy. I am so glad you are open to another dog when you are ready. You are so right...There are so many dogs that need to be adopted from shelters. Most of our dogs throughout the years we adopted from our local animal shelter. Sarge being the last dog..We never regretted adopting them, and they were/are so special. Sending you lots of hugs, and kisses from my fur babies.
    1425 days ago
    Thinking of you. Thanks for sharing so much with us.
    1425 days ago
    I don't even know what to say. There are no real words or comfort I don't think. But I do believe there is a reason Tommy and Thor passed so soon together; so they could be together again. I'm not not going to pretend I understand but I do believe they are having a great time, and when the time is right you will join them. In the meantime there is things for you to do here. But I send you hugs, prayers, and wishes to help you through this double major loss.

    1425 days ago
    Dear Cindy, so sorry about Thor, but sounds like you all shared the perfect last day together. So glad he could be at home with you and surrounded by so much love!
    I'm sure he and Tommy are having a wonderful reunion.
    Christmas Blessings to you and your family!!
    emoticon emoticon
    1425 days ago
    1425 days ago
    Cherish your family and friends at Christmas - as they do you!

    Your blogs are always worthwhile. You share so much with such grace and heart.

    I hope the new year is filled with blessings for you - joy, peace, health, happiness.
    1426 days ago
  • UNICORN212
    Sweet Thor - thank you for giving him peace and dignity.

    And feel free to shout from that soap box. Three of my last seven dogs were rescues or strays. The other 4 were from neighbors - two from unexpected litters who needed homes and one was an elderly dog who could not move with her owner to a retirement community (she was 80 pounds and they had a size restriction of 25 pounds). We gave her two more happy years.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family.
    1426 days ago
    Cindy, so sorry to hear about Thor, although I know also, that you did the right thing in taking him from the pain. You have had a lot of changes in your life this year and I will always admire the way you have allowed God to help you through this and that you have given Him credit always. Sending you love and prayers.
    emoticon Mel
    1426 days ago
    Oh my dear, how I know what you are going through. In June we lost our beloved rescue crossbreed Shirley earlier this year, at a good age but allowed to go to Rainbow Bridge when pain from an illness became too great. The following week our fabulous Champion Old English Sheepdog (12 1/2, on my homepage) was diagnosed with a rare swallowing disorder, megaoesophagus, and now has to be fed/watered bolt upright on a chair in order for gravity to take it all down - aspiration pneumonia is always just around the corner but he's otherwise doing fine; the week after that our stunning GSD x Rotti, who we rescued 2 1/2 years ago in atrocious condition, weighing just 40lbs, riddled with worms, her skeletal frame covered in slimy poo and mud, started to limp. We had taken her in shortly after losing our fabulous old Belgian Shepherd cross, she was our 13th dog in 24 years. Within 5 days we went from limp to having her front leg amputated in a bid to prevent the spread of bone cancer. It was a really hard decision but after such a horrific start in life, and with the support of tripods.com, we 'went for it' to give stunning Sarah, our 13th dog, a chance of life; some people criticised us, some were in favour - but at just 6 years old we felt we had to give her a chance. Wow, she has done amazingly, swims at hydrotherapy, drags us for a short walk on her special harness, going up and down stairs, jumping into the car etc etc. However, although we've won a battle we don't know if we're going to win the war. 90% do not, it's the most excruciating and aggressive of canine cancers. Time will tell. In August we took in a rescue Old English Sheepdog, Harley, our 14th dog, who is gorgeous but proving to be not the easiest member of the household - he's fantastic with us, we adore him, but although he loves our amputee he hates our other OES. Sigh. BIG logistical problems but we will deal with it. He's going nowhere! We've had rescues, crossbreeds, from shelters and rescue organsations, and I've also bought in pedigree OES's which I've shown extensively. I've retired from showing now but was always the only person I knew in my breed who also adored and had rescues and crossbreeds. Every single one of them has been loved the same and every one has broken our hearts when the time has come. BUT....

    ...we have a philosophy which works for us. Within a very very short space of time of losing one of our beloveds we bring in someone else. We NEVER replace the one who has left, but we move very quickly because we absolutely know that the one who has gone would want us to give its space to another dog desperate for a loving forever home. Every day we don't do this is another day a dog in need goes homeless and maybe, just maybe, has to be put to sleep. We have all the love in the world and we believe that our grief is but a small price to pay for a lifetime of exquisite joy with whoever has gone. Dog ownership should not be measured as a relatively short period of human grief, for in our view that is to diminish the years of pleasure and love that went before the end came. To only associate the one which has gone with our own pain not only sells the departed one short, but it can paralyse many people from moving on to give a loving home to another dog in need. Everyone handles grief differently; I would never ever judge anyone who can't go through it again - but I always ask people to give another viewpoint a chance, to think again, to look at it differently. I am convinced that the one who has gone is looking down and willing us to give the vacated space and love to another, so that's what we do. It's (sort of) our role in life. It's also the legacy they leave and so, in their honour, we give to the newcomer what we gave to them. We have no children so, for us, there is NOTHING which beats the love between us and our dogs. For many years we moved around in the military so had no garden in which to bury our beloveds. When we have their ashes returned after private cremation, I am finally able to settle - albeit in grief - because they are home where they belong. All 11 boxes are in the bedroom where we can see them - for us it's not maudlin, it's what gives us peace. They are both home AND at Rainbow Bridge!

    When you fill the vacancy with another, it will be a lucky dog indeed. I wish only the best for you and that you have a peaceful Christmas with love all around you.

    emoticon emoticon
    1426 days ago
    Dearest Cindy.....
    I just read your blog ---- through tear-filled eyes. Dear, sweet Thor. I am so sorry for your loss - but you sent him 'home' in such a magnificent way. If only every pet owner had the empathy and sensitivity to their pets' needs as you do. It came as a shock to me, altho' I don't know why....given that he had a long history of cancer. We want them to live forever -------

    And, my dear, you're preaching to the choir about shelter animals. I spread the word where and whenever I have the opportunity. Lucy is getting older - and has recently lost her hearing. I sense her confusion and her discomfort --- and I feel pain about it - literally!!! But she's herself most of the time.....my sweet girl. Everything changes, yes??

    I hope this coming year will be one of joy for you ---- of making new memories --- and having wonderful adventures. You deserve nothing less!!

    Giant and warm hugs.
    Libby emoticon
    1426 days ago
    You love so deeply it appears, and Thor was so lucky to have you. You gave Thor the best care, and he lived a great life with you and Tommy.
    My heart breaks again for you, Cindy.
    Now, Tommy and Thor are taking their walks together again, and I hope they have a golf cart for their rides!
    You gave Thor such a wonderful last day with all of his favorite things, which was so loving of you. It was also very loving to not let Thor stay alive even though he was hurting. We sometimes want our pets to be with us, but it is too selfish to keep them with us, when we know they are hurting. That was so nice that you had the vet come to your house, so he could be in his own home surroundings, and even in his bed when he went.
    I am so glad that you have such a great family support system, especially for times like these. (with Tommy, and now Thor)

    Big emoticon Cindy!

    Merry Christmas!
    1426 days ago
    1426 days ago
    Sorry for your loss of Thor; I was glad to hear he got an early Christmas -- you guys really gave him the best of care. Best wishes for your own Christmas! emoticon
    1426 days ago
    I love how you gave Thor such a special last day. Hugs!
    1426 days ago
    Beautiful blog. You are in my thoughts.
    1426 days ago
    I can empathize with your lack of quality sleep! I used to sleep like a rock! Now, unless I take sleeping pills (or NyQuil) I cant fall asleep! No matter how tired I am!

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!!!
    1426 days ago
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