Saying Goodbye to My Dog

I’m a firm believer in the idea that nothing good is free. There are different ways to pay for things: through hard work, time, perseverance, etc.

Perhaps the worst payment of all is grief. That’s the ultimate payment, and we can’t avoid it.

I recently had to euthanize my lab mix. She was fifteen years, seven months old. I know she was ancient. For her size, my dog was 107 years old! It’s mind-boggling, actually. But as old as she was, I wasn’t ready to let her go.

The cards were stacked against her from the time she was born. She was the runt of the litter, the last dog born to a malnourished mother. The sac didn’t pop, and had to be pierced manually by my husband. (She was the puppy of a friend’s dog.)

She couldn’t walk well at the end, and she always seemed to be in pain. She got excited about the ball for a minute or two, but she couldn’t really chase it anymore. She was eating, but not enough. She’d gone from a stocky 55 pounds to a skeletal 35 pounds.

And yet, until the end, she would follow me around the house. She’d go outside to do business, and she got excited about food.

Making the choice to end her pain was the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long time. I firmly believe that she would have held on as long as I wanted her to, because dogs don’t understand selfishness. She would have stayed with me because she loved me, so I had to make the decision for her.

Even though I’ve had to do this a number of other times with cats (and another dog when I was much younger), I did my research, trying to find something on the internet that screamed THIS IS THE RIGHT DECISION. It never feels right, even when it does. We always want just a little more time.

Almost unanimously, most veterinarians agree that it’s better to do it a little early while the dog is still themselves than to do it too late when the pain has stolen everything from them.

I found this great scale that helped me, so I wanted to pass it on.

HHHHHMM Scale: Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility, & More Good Days than Bad.

In the end, my girl wasn’t even having good days anymore. She was having good hours. Because we’d planned it, I got to make sure she did her favorite things. I took her to the creek, and though she could no longer swim, she waded. We got a brand new tube of tennis balls, and though she couldn’t chase them, she carried one around. She got a cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, and a milkshake from McDonald’s.

I’m going to carry those memories (and so many more) with me. Even though grief is a steep price to pay, it’s so worth it. The best things always are. And it doesn’t get any better than love.

Five Things Friday


What I’m Reading

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. It’s not a book I would have picked for myself, but I’m enjoying it. It was a birthday present from a friend. I love getting books as gifts because it challenges me to read things I wouldn’t have otherwise.


I started Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest, on audiobook. It’s to fulfill the Popsugar Reading Challenge Category: A Steampunk Novel. So far, it’s okay, but I can’t say I’m loving it.


What I’m Writing

In my August edition of “Five Things Friday,” I told you I was just starting the edits on Not Dead Enough. I’m happy to say that I’ve finished the paper read through. Now for the oral read through, and then I’m ready to start querying it… yay!

I’m also still working on my other book, The Cycle, and I feel like I’ve gotten into the groove of writing it. Normally I wouldn’t be working on editing one book at the same time I’m writing another, but these are so different that it’s no struggle keeping them in separate mental compartments.


What I Read This Week

I finished Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon (rated 4 stars on Goodreads). I can’t believe I’ve never read this before!

The new Writer’s Digest issue.


Apparently Alan Alda is a writer… who knew?


When I Wasn’t Reading

Well… I was cleaning up around the house. Let’s just say I have an older dog and leave it at that. I was also editing and writing.


Favorite Picture of the Week


These guys made me laugh with how they’re passed out, like they’re exhausted!

What have you been up to this week?

5 Things Friday

It’s been a busy month for me, and while I have a lot of great ideas for posts, I don’t have the energy to do them justice right now. So, instead of skipping today, I thought I’d do a fast and fun five things Friday. (It’s apparently a thing.)


What I’m Reading

Because I tend to reach for things I’ve already read when life gets stressful, I just finished rereading The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.



What I’m Writing

I’m just about to start seriously editing the last novel I wrote, Not Dead Enough, a YA thriller about a teenager whose boyfriend died in a car accident. But when she starts getting messages from someone claiming to be him, she has to question if she’s being stalked, or if he’s somehow communicating with her.

I’m also writing a novel tentatively called The Cycle about a woman whose children get taken into foster care. She grew up in foster care and group homes. The story is told with dual timelines of her at 13 and 22. Actually, that’s probably what made me think about The Language of Flowers.


What I Read This Week

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, which I rated 4 stars on Goodreads

Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin, which I rated 4 stars on Goodreads

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, which I rated 4 stars on Goodreads


When I Wasn’t Reading

I was writing, chauffeuring my two sick cats to the veterinarian, finishing some touch up work on the bathroom I painted awhile back, and walking the dog.


Favorite Picture of the Week

Version 2

This greedy squirrel is pretty much constantly eating. One of my cats loves watching him, and we call her a “TV addict.”

What have you been doing this week?



Feel Good Friday

Happy Halloween!  It’s my favorite day of the whole year!  I can’t wait until this evening.  I’m dressing up and I have a Halloween party to go to.

But enough about me.  Here’s your weekly dose of happy.

Cancer survivor’s best friend helps with her side effects.

A hospital revisits its no pet’s policy when a “dying” man improves after being reunited with his dog.

Learning new words activate the same regions of the brain as sex and drugs.

Surrogate and parents become close after the birth of their children…. there are all kinds of family.

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks up and delivers a powerful message.

“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”
-John F. Kennedy

Have a wonderful, safe, Happy Halloween!  See you in November!


Open Letter to My Pets

IMG_1833Dear Furbabies,

I just read an article on Facebook that really hurt me.  It was about a dog who had been shot for no reason, by a stranger.  His parents took him to the vet, went outside to discuss the cost of surgery, and never returned.  I presume they couldn’t or didn’t want to afford the cost of surgery, but I just can’t imagine leaving any one of you to wonder if I were going to return.  I’d never do that.  When I bring you home, it’s forever, for better or worse, and I mean it 100%.

I know that I’m your whole world.  I know that because I see the way you look at me, the way you greet me at the door when I come home.  The way you snuggle against me, or nudge my hand when I’m not paying close enough attention to you.  I know that I’m your only source of food and water, but what you want from me more than those basics is my love and attention.  Sometimes I get busy or stressed and don’t think about it the way I should.  I’m sorry for that.  It doesn’t mean that I love you less; it just means that I’m human: selfish and flawed.

Even if I don’t always give you enough attention or playtime, I promise you that I love you and will never leave you behind.  I’d rather live with you in a cardboard box than alone in a mansion.  I’ll be with you until the end.  I’ll make the hard decisions when I have to, because that’s what I took on when I brought you home.  Whenever that time comes, I take comfort in knowing that you, and all the ones who’ve gone before, will be waiting at the Rainbow Bridge.

It doesn’t matter what happens: there will always be room for you in my life.  That’s a promise.



IMG_1927I have 9 wonderful distractions in my house.  Nine wonderful distractions who jump in my lap and make nose art on my laptop.  They spill my drinks and have to go out.  And come in.  And go out.  And come in.  Andwhydoyouhavetogooutagain?  Youwerejustout5freakingminutesago!  Writing becomes the fine art of not getting so irritated that I forget where I am.

I love being outside when I’m writing, but if I’m writing in my yard, my dogs are with me, and if my dogs are with me, it’s a really really really good time to play ball or frisbee.  Only they don’t want to bring me the ball or frisbee so I can throw it.  They want to play keep-away with it until I sit back down and start to work.  Then it’s a good time to drop a slimy, sticky ball in my lap.

One of my friends (who is also a writer, check her out at Be Nice And Follow The Rules) mentioned that she goes to Starbucks to get writing done.  I never really thought about doing that, but I realized that at a coffee shop, I don’t have to do dishes or take dogs out to walk.  I won’t be distracted by the bills that need to be paid or think about vacuuming.  When I used to work in Mobile Crisis, we’d sit at a coffee shop sometimes between calls, and I was super productive there.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m moving from Arizona to Austin in the next couple months.  Austin appears to be a wonderful place for indie coffee shops and bookstores, so my hope is to find one that appeals where I can park it for a few hours a week and get some productive writing done.  In the Phoenix area, my favorite coffee shop was Copper Star coffee. It’s a local place with cool local artwork and a laid back feel.  Though it was always busy, there was almost always at least some seating available.

Where’s your favorite place to write or get creative?

The Fun Hater

No fun for you! Photo Credit: RJS Photography

No fun for you!  I’m watching!
Photo Credit: RJS Photography

I have two dogs, and one of them is a Fun Hater.  I didn’t know there was such a thing, but yes, that’s my older dog, Midnyte.  She’s 11 years old, and for the first 6 years of her life, was an only dog.  She was always a joy to be around, all wagging tail and bright eyes.  But then we got Ripley.  And it all quickly changed.

Suddenly, Midnyte was only happy when Ripley wasn’t around.  When Ripley is around, she spends most of her time being bossy, barking and growling to make sure Ripley doesn’t do anything like try get attention or affection.  God forbid Ripley has a squeaky ball.  That’s cause for the Fun Hater to practically have a meltdown!

If you or someone in your family is affected by a Fun Hater, please know there is no cure.  Just use your two arms as wisely as possible to give hugs, and know that when the Fun Hater growls, it’s not directed at you.

A Street Cat Named Bob- A Review

UnknownWe all know that pets are great.  They help lower blood pressure, cheer you up when you’re having a bad day, and are just the best friends that most of us could ask for.

For James Bowen, Bob, a stray cat who found him, saved his life.

James Bowen was off drugs but directionless, playing music for change in the park.  When Bob came along, Mr. Bowen had purpose, someone who depended on him.  Bob went everywhere with Mr. Bowen, often riding on his shoulder.

This book is a fast read and highly enjoyable.  It’s a bit of sunshine and encouragement for anyone who’s ever gone though a tough time.

If you like inspirational stories with animals, read A Street Cat Named Bob, by James Bowen.  He also has tons of YouTube videos.  Just search for “a street cat named Bob.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable

100_0001Of course for a photo challenge called ” Companionable,” I’m going to post a picture of my dogs.  They’re always at my side, and underfoot, and on my lap.  Sometimes they annoy me, because I can’t even use the bathroom without them wanting to be with me, but really, I have to remind myself that they love me.  They wait for me all day when I’m at work.  How many of us have anyone else truly happy to see us when we get home, without any recrimination for how long we’re gone, just pure joy and gratitude?  My puppies are my best friends, my anti-depressants, and my guardians.