Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bridget (Nov. 22, 2002 - Feb. 24, 2010)

Three months ago, on a Wednesday evening, Bridget had her first seizure (that we saw). It was a very small one, and we didn't think a whole lot of it, I think because we didn't want to think of it too much. But it was the first of many to come... many longer and more serious ones.
She didn't respond to medical therapy, and we weren't optimistic at the outset that she would. There just aren't any good reasons for a 7 year old Boxer to begin having seizures.

We were able to tolerate them when they were fewer and further between, but about 4 weeks ago they started coming every day. Treatment helped a little bit, but not to the degree that it restored any quality of life. As things played out, yesterday afternoon she was as close to normal as we had seen in weeks... and then last evening came. It was clear that she was not moving in a good direction, but rather a direction that was a slow downward spiral. We didn't pursue MRI because we weren't going to pursue surgery for the brain tumor that it would reveal. We stopped the suffering today because she didn't deserve any of it. We didn't want to put her to sleep because we didn't want to lose her.
But we had already lost her.

We have so many good memories of Bridget that we can't recount even a fraction of them here. In fact, Bridget didn't create a single bad memory for me. Sure she chewed one of Jenn's shoes when she was a puppy, but we asked for that, leaving her outside of her crate with things to chew on.

God really did bless me with a great dog for my time in vet school, and Bridget was always our "good" dog. She was absolutely wonderful with Lincoln from day
one when he was a cryer/screamer, and all they way through her last day when we were still teaching him how to pet a dog nicely. We couldn't have had a better family dog.

Jenn and I were blessed to have a few bonus years with Bridget.
You'll recall a few years ago that she had discospondilitis, a horrible bone infection of two of her vertebrae. I remember the evening like it was yesterday that I thought we were going to have to put her to sleep because her pain was so severe she could hardly walk straight and she couldn't use stairs. She endured extreme suffering before we could determine what was wrong, and she made a remarkable recovery. Her radiographs were never the same, but she was a happy, functional Boxer.

Bridget was part of our marriage from the start. Jenn and I picked her out in the winter of 2002, the year before we got married, after looking for weeks for a Boxer puppy. We went to a breeder that seemed to have good answers to our questions and there were two that held our interest. One was a fawn with a black mask and little flash that was darn cute but very mouthy. The other was a fawn with a lot of flash, a cow-lick like patch on the back of her neck, and not mouthy at all. Had we left the breeder with a pup on our first visit, we would have left with the former. But I insisted that we leave and think about it. We returned a few days later and came home with Bridget, and we never regretted our decision for an instant over the past 7+ years. In fact, from 2006 throught 2009, I told folks that my three least regretable purchases of my life were our cedar picket fence (at Norton Rd.), Jenn's engagement ring, and Bridget, and not necessarily in that order!

She was a great dog with Casey, Mom and Dad's old Yellow Lab. When she knew Casey, Casey was an old lady that couldn't wrestle too much, and Bridget was gentle with her. She was also a good dog with Kyra, our Doberman, as she could wrestle and bang with her and the two of them could wear each other out.
She was great with Betty because she could take a lot of her crap, but then lay the smack down with the swift movement of her paw, pinning Betty on her back and showing her who was boss. How can we replace that?

There's so much going on in all of our lives that
seems so much more serious than losing a dog. It may be hard to identify with our grief, and that's okay. Lincoln doesn't understand why his Mommy and Daddy are so sad right now, and he'll have no memory of Bridget when he's older. This is extremely sad for both Jenn and for me, by the way. But it's important to know that Bridget held a special place in our family that we simply cannot replace.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Late February

Our first dinner party at
2044 Forest Edge

German Chocolate

Lincoln likes to soup up his car before taking it for a spin.

~Up Close~

The new thing is pushing his cart across the floor,
and when he does this, he assumes a bowling posture.
It's a funny thing to witness.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Betty in a Box

After a week of working solo at the clinic, and Lincoln staying with a new sitter, and Jeen cooking an awesome dinner for our "adopted" Chinese students on Friday night, and moving more than a ton (literally) of snow over the past week, Jenn and I feel like this was a complete week. The capper is a big, fantastic dinner

Saturday's Dinner:
Salmon in Lemon Brodetto with Pea Puree
tonight with our small group from church.

On Friday night it was a Beef Short-Rib dish with a Malbec sauce and a Bananas Foster Upside Down cake (Jenn would be able to describe all of these much better, but you get the idea). Tonight we'll be having a Pork Roast with a homemade bread that Jenn was working on yesterday (it smelled wonderful!), and our friends are bringing salads and sides and things like that. This evening we'll be using for the first time our dining room furniture and the accessories that go with our Winter Frost dishes that Grandma Gates and Mom gave to Jenn this past Christmas. We're excited to host our first dinner party in our new house!

The fun continues at the Gates Home. Lincoln hasn't tired of playing with his boxes. This time Betty got in on the action.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baby in a Box

When Grandpa Doug and Grandma Paulette get back from their vacation, they're not going to believe all that Lincoln says now. He's stringing two words together, and repeating everything that we say. He stayed with Jen Claytor, a friend of ours from church, for Monday and Tuesday while Jenn and I were at work, and when I went to pick him up on Monday, Jen said, "Holy cow, he repeats everything I say." Jen took him to the Library for story time, to church for a mom and kid event, and Lincoln got to play with Elise Claytor, who's within just a few weeks of his age. Typically, he was an all-star for the Claytors, and now, on Wednesday, he's back to his usual I'm-at-home-so-I-don't-want-to-nap self. (Jen said that on Tuesday, he was taking more than 20 minutes to fall asleep so she went into his room and rubbed his head until he fell asleep. I'm sorry... you're talking about my kid????)

The previous Saturday, Jenn took him to Candy's house (Candy is a tech up at Village where Jenn works) and he played with her and her four grandkids. She said he was the best kid for her.

I've been trying to find new things to do with him at home, and I wasn't sure if he'd be interested in climbing in the box, but this turned out to entertain him for about 30 minutes. It was kind of funny because for months we've pointed to his diaper boxes and said, "Baby on a box!" This time it was, "Baby in a box!"

Another funny story, on Monday when we arrived home in the evening, Lincoln was a live wire. He started playing in the pantry, picking things up and moving them around, and Jenn looked at him when he had two objects in his hand. She said, "That's garlic and onion." He repeated, "Ga-lic... Onnnyin." And then he said it again, and again, and again for quite a while.

We keep getting dumped on as far as the snowing goes. Dad's snowblower has been ejoying Camp Ryan's Driveway for the week. I'm really going to have to get one of those before next winter!

(I apologize for the photo quality in the last post. I tried using an image compressor to save space in my online photo account, but they turned out really splotchy. It won't happen again.)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Big Snow

We've had quite the snow accumulation here in Ohio.
Also, for the Lincoln-starved, here's the good little boy at play in his playroom (our basement).

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sick - Jan/Feb Style

Lincoln's been getting over something for about 9 days now, I had it for a couple of days (ZICAM!!!), and Jenn's been struggling for a few days now (she's not taking any meds). Ugh. It's head stuff. No v/d, thank goodness.

Lincoln has been expanding the vocabulary further. Last night at the end of dinner, he gave us an, "All done!" He tells us often that the wants to go "upstairs!" It's the two syllable words and phrases that have been coming more frequently lately. So have the meltdowns. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, we're having to enforce a bit of discipline because the defiant behavior has been increasing as well. It's all part of growing up, huh?