Paws On Durham is pleased to announce that Rebecca Forcier will serve as the new Field Assistant for the company. Rebecca is a recent Duke University graduate and brings great energy to the position. Rebecca's main function will be to serve on the front lines with our clients and the humans that care for them. She will also interact closely with our team of pet sitters to ensure quality and consistent pet care. Read more about Rebecca's qualifications here. We look forward to great things from Rebecca. We know she'll be a great asset to Paws On Durham!
For the past month, I’ve been thinking about the events that unfolded last year after the veterinarian spoke the most horrific words to me, “Lulu has cancer.” My heart stopped and my darkest nightmare had just become reality. And in the blink of an eye, she was gone. I’ve played the scene in my mind over and over in the past year, and it never ends well. She’s still gone, and my heart still aches for her. As I write this, I think to this exact time of day last year, sun shining, cloudless sky, a slight chill in the air. We walked Lulu in her wagon to get her some fresh air. She was severely anemic at the time, and could not walk without becoming weak. So we loaded her in the wagon and took a nice stroll in the neighborhood, took her out of the wagon, let her walk in some nice grass, and took some lovely pictures with her. They would be our last pictures and our last walk with her. That night, Lulu ate little and was very weak. She laid in her bed and watched my every move as I made dinner. The radio was on, and Joe Cocker’s, “You are so beautiful” came on. I laid on the kitchen floor with Lulu and held her in my arms as tears streamed down my face. I knew it would not be long. In the early hours of the morning, Lulu’s breathing was labored, and I knew it was time to call the veterinarian. She arrived a short while later, and as we laid on the floor with her, the doctor gave Lulu a shot to help her sleep. As she took her last breath, Lulu licked my nose to tell me goodbye. Lulu was no longer in pain, but for me, the pain and longing has never stopped. A few minutes ago, I laid on the floor and enjoyed a sunbeam as it shone through the window. As my eyes closed, I remembered all the other beautiful sunbeams I enjoyed with Lulu and her brother Monty. Monty would lay near me, and Lulu would balance herself on my chest or on my ribs if I laid on my side. Such a perfect way to love and be loved by my pups. These I count as my most precious and heartwarming moments. The year has passed quickly, and though time has healed some of the wounds, not a day goes by that I don’t think about Lulu…her face, her personality, her smell, her soft fur, and her constant companionship. She was my sweet and special girl. Daddy’s girl. As with Monty, Lulu’s remains are on our mantel, and I greet her every morning and bid her a good night every evening. She was a faithful companion for three days short of 11 years, and I owe her my lasting gratitude and love. I can’t reverse time to undue Lulu’s fate, however, I can look to the future in anticipation of enjoying a perfect sunbeam in Heaven with her. Until we meet again, Little Girl.
On a recent visit to a potential customer’s house, we were introduced to a beautiful senior pup named Ziti. The owner told us Ziti was 15 years old, suffers from severe arthritis, dementia, incontinence, blindness, etc. Ziti’s owners’ clearly were willing to do anything necessary for their boy, as he had a special space in their home, complete with areas for him to relieve himself when needed without soiling the home. Ziti was obviously very well loved. A couple of weeks later, I received an email from the owners apologizing for not having enlisted our help for caring for Ziti. The owner explained that since our last meeting, Ziti had taken a turn for the worse and they had actually contacted their local veterinarian to help relieve Ziti from his suffering. According to the owner, the veterinarian was not available to assist, so she believed it was meant to be. Ziti continued to eat, sleep, pee and poop, so the owners took it as a sign that their boy was not ready to leave them. As I read the owner’s email about Ziti, I was transported to times in my life with my beloved pets that I feared to make the decision to relieve them of their pain. Obviously, our pets aren’t able to make the decisions themselves to relieve their pain or suffering. Sometimes, it is our heavy responsibility to make the tough decisions when our loved ones should leave us. As and adult, I’ve been blessed with six different and special pets. Of the six, I’ve lost three in the past few years. My ex-wife and I were fortunate to have been on hand when our beautiful bulldog, Winston decided to leave us. He had just enjoyed a nice dinner of BBQ brisket and was laying in our living room. He began breathing heavily and erratically, and then he stopped breathing. It was time for him to go…his body was ready to give in. We mourned him and paid his life homage as a faithful companion, friend, and special boy. He was our first pup as a couple, and it was hard losing him, but we could hope for no better ending to a special life. In September 2013, our sweet and faithful pug, Monty also made the decision that it was time to leave. Monty was my most special boy. He was my constant companion for 15 years, and he was the sweetest pug you would ever hope to meet. Through the years, Monty’s health continued to decline…a partially collapsed trachea which caused a persistent cough, arthritis, blindness, hearing loss, incontinence, etc. Through it all, he continued to eat, sleep, drink, poop and pee, so his life was full though his body couldn’t always function as it did when he was a pup. I came downstairs one morning to let him out and feed him prior to going to work. By the time I reached him, he had already passed on; laying in his bed as if sleeping. His loss was also very hard and our mourning is still very fresh, but Monty’s endearing attitude continues to fill our hearts with joy and special memories. The blessings of long lives and special endings came to a screeching halt with our very special girl, Lulu. Through her 10 year life, Lulu was a force to contend with. Confident, intelligent, sometimes conniving, but always faithful and loving. Shortly after Monty left us, Lulu was diagnosed with cancer of the colon. At her height of her health, Lulu weighed 17 pounds. Within three weeks of being diagnosed with cancer, she dropped to an unrecognizable 11 pounds. The chemotherapy tore through her like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Though the toxic cocktail of pills and IV’s was supposed to help her and eradicate the cancer, it only succeeded in making our girl miserable and severely anemic. On her last night with us, she was very weak, would barely eat, and was having trouble breathing. I laid on the floor with my girl that night to ensure she was comfortable, and at 4:20 a.m. she woke me with a sad little howl. She was breathing very fast and she was unresponsive…I knew it was the end for my girl. Rather than prolonging her agony, we called her veterinarian at 4:30 a.m., and prepared to let Lulu go. The doctor showed up a short while later, and right before the medication was administered, Lulu became cognizant and licked me on the nose as if to tell me that it was ok. She was ready to leave us. It’s hard, so hard to say goodbye to someone or something you love. With today’s technology, our pets live longer than ever before. We’ve prolonged the lives of these beings, and they become our family, our kids, and our loves. We want them to live forever, but just as a human, their lives are fragile and finite. At some point, we’ve all wished they could just talk to tell us what is wrong, what hurts, and what we can do to help…alas, this is a wish that probably will never come true. We are fortunate to have been charged with the care of all the world’s animals. Some of us excel at the task, some of us fail. Anyone can own a pet, but only a select few can truly love, cherish, admire, understand, and coexist with their pets. These select few have the fortune to care for their pets and the unfortunate responsibility to make the decisions that count…the tough decisions. These are the decisions that we make for those we love. It’s an awesome responsibility that sometimes brings great happiness and great sorrow.
Welcome to the Paws On Durham blog! The blog will be used to provide short updates, interesting stories, pet-care trends and products, and great information about the wonderful pets we care for. Don't worry, we're not going to bombard you with post after post...rather, we're going to provide weekly or bi-weekly posts that should be short and interesting. Please help us to improve our blogs by providing feedback, comments, ideas, or thoughts of your own. We'd love to hear from you! With that, this is the first of many blog posts. We look forward to getting to know you! Paws On Durham, LLC