Tribute to the Best Dog Ever

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Emmy girl 

There have only been two times in my nearly 50 year old life that I can remember uncontrollable crying. The can’t contain it, can’t stop it once it starts, can’t breathe kind of crying. The guttural, overwhelming sadness kind.

This — was the third. I’m not a crier. So when the tears come from the deep, dark, depths, it’s very unsettling.

I had been cramming this cry down for 312 days. Holding my breath. Knowing it was coming. Thinking I could outsmart it, outmaneuver it, outwill it.

April 12, 2015 was her diagnosis day. I heard the words – kidney cancer. The options? None of them good. No chemo or radiation option. Major surgery to remove the kidney would maybe, if there was a miracle, buy her a year but most of that would be spent recovering from such a brutal surgery. For an 11 year old Golden Retriever, it was hardly a viable choice. So Emmy and I had a talk. And we agreed .. go for as many good days as possible. When she didn’t want to ride in the car anymore, that would be my sign. I trusted her to tell me. She trusted me to help her go when it was time. It was our pact.

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For 312 days, she (we) fought that demon like hell.  Just when I’d think she was declining, she’d rally. We changed from kibble to a homemade diet and an incredible supplement invented by our good friend, Nancy Seymour. Emmy had all but given up and she came back to life!

Processed with MOLDIV

Processed with MOLDIV

We learned what foods fought inflammation and we cooked for her. As she lost weight, we’d try some other food combination. Constantly making adjustments to keep her quality of life. There were days we cooked three meals for breakfast to find one she wanted.

Second Mommy Cindy Sink deserves a ton of admiration and appreciation for her excellent care! TeamEmmy was relentless. Taylor, Curry, MaryAnne, James, Grandma, Aunt Laurie. All of our family who loved her so dearly.

If you’re reading this, you’re also part of TeamEmmy — cheering her on Facebook, shouting your encouragement from near and far, heeping her with compliments. She loved you. She loved everybody (well humans, not necessarily dogs.)

When she climbed out of that sleeping pile of puppies and into Taylor’s lap 13 years ago, we all won the lottery. She chose us.

 

And we adored her every day of her life. She was the happiest dog. The Walmart Greeter of dogs. Took us forever to train people coming to the house how to not be bowled over by her enthusiastic greetings that included flopping onto her back, whipping you with her tail and knocking down the less sturdy.

Emmy finally got everybody trained though and her greetings became the absolute best. She was patient. Smart as a whip. A pleaser who worked until she mastered the trick.

She went everywhere with her boy, Taylor. She especially loved golf cart riding around her Timberlake neighborhood. Snuggling with him. Being at the pool. Playing ball. And riding in his truck. Such a playful companion.

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She had a stunning life. A gorgeous dog who melted hearts everywhere she went. A nearly human soul who was a demand for your attention. An expressionist. A fashionista. A gentle spirit full of delight for life. And that SMILE!

She loved unwrapping Christmas presents, but only when she was told it was okay!

As our family went through hard changes, Emmy was the constant. She was always there with a hug, a nudge, a cuddle and a kiss.

She was a generous girl who, after 11 years as an only dog, welcomed in a homeless pit bull who desperately needed a pack.

 

She helped teach Lola her tricks.

To our delight, she was the maid of honor in our wedding this past August. Walking down the aisle with Lola and our good friend Mary Lou.

 

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Shelly and Cindy’s Wedding 08.27.16

And the car rides. Oh the wonderful times we had driving around town and road trips.

 

Emmy outlived every single prediction. She beat cancer 3 times. The vet called her the WonderDog. After 13 years, 2 months and 9 days, she looked at me and she told me she was ready. She had done all she could. We had done all we could. We had a deal. I promised we would let her go when it was time.

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Farewell, Emmygirl. Until we meet again. You were the greatest dog ever. Know we’re okay and we’ll be waiting for your spirit visit. We trust you’ll know when the time is right.

You always did.

 

Golden Retriever kicking cancer’s tail

I knew. She’s been my girl since she was 12 weeks old. She’s survived it twice. I could see it in her eyes and feel it in her presence. I knew the darkness was back.

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Tubular adenocarcinoma of the kidney.

DAMNIT.

At 12 years old, my Emmydog has already outlived the statistics. Beating mast cell cancer two times. Losing her spleen. Battling arthritis like a prizefighter. The thought of putting her through radical surgery to remove the kidney and tumor was gut wrenching. The alternative…unthinkable.

Tears. A LOT of tears.

Was she in too much pain already? She’s not eating much at all and is pulling away into the backyard and away from her people. This.can.not.be.happening.

My dear friend Nancy Seymour quickly devised a nutrition plan to see if we could get Emmy eating again.  We took her off dog food and put her on a vegetarian whole food diet and the superfood supplement Nancy invented. (Seriously, read Nancy’s story here!)

BAM. In a day, she’s eating again! And in ten days… THIS!

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Processed with MOLDIV

She’s like a different dog. She’s jumping up and down at feeding time. She’s running some in the backyard. Playing with her toys. Happy.

That’s all I want for her. As many happy moments as possible.

We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, remember ShiningStarPets.com.  It’s a revolutionary product and it’s going to take the world by storm. And my Emmy will be part of its legacy.

 

 

Life Lessons from a Pit Bull

Pit bulls are the poster children for discrimination. They’re mean. They’ll rip your face off. They’re fighters. 

Two months ago, we adopted Lola, an American Staffordshire Bull Terrior, otherwise known as a Blue Staffy Bull. Judgment started when we started telling our family and friends we were considering adopting a “pit bull.”

What? Why in the world would you want that kind of dog? Aren’t you scared of it? Won’t it kill Emmy (our Golden Retriever?)

We felt the discrimination from a neighbor, who had always been friendly towards our Golden, who threatened to poison our dogs if they did their business in his yard. Coincidence?

We felt the breath-holding gasp when we took her into the vet waiting room the first time. I could feel the “Uh-oh pit in the house. Be careful!”  stares.

Pit bulls have gotten a bad rap. They used to be known as the “Nanny dog” for their gentleness with children. Credible canine organizations call them “eager to please, faithful and enthusiastic friends.” Yet, people are afraid of them. Somewhere along the way, gangs, dog fighters and thugs chose the pit bull as their dog of choice, and danger and fear replaced adoration of the bull.

Are some dogs just inherently “bad?” Consider a dog whose ears were butchered with kitchen scissors, presumably to make her look mean, a dog who was used as a breeder for 4-5 litters of puppies in three years, a dog who was then discarded…THAT dog, the one found emaciated, with broken ribs and a broken shoulder…THAT dog is the sweetest, most trusting, loving, snuggle muffin dog I’ve ever met. Are pits inherently mean? I think not. 

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Lola changes hearts and minds everywhere we go. Starting with mine. I wasn’t totally for this adoption in the beginning. Not because she was a pit bull, necessarily, though it did give me pause. I had an 11-year old “only dog” I’d had since she was weeks old. How would she adapt? Would she welcome another dog?

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To learn about the breed, I started watching Pit Bulls & Parolees on Animal Planet. Host Tia Torres is a force of nature. She says she rescues pits and people, and is on a mission to change the perception of the world’s most misunderstood breed of dog. While she’s at it, she’s giving both people and dogs a second chance. Tia’s tattooed, pierced and hard looking family and her parolees began to soften my heart. I started noticing my unspoken fears and judgment, and I completely changed my mind about these dogs and the people saving them.  I opened my heart and Lola came right on in.

Pit bulls, like people, can be trained to be mean. Like people, they can learn bad habits. But what if they, like people, are born wonderful, loving, trusting souls? What if those inherent qualities are there no matter what’s happened to them? What if they’re here to teach us these life lessons? Our Blue Staffy Bull has done just that. Lola has rocked my world in the best possible way.