Monday, June 24, 2013

RIP Bubba June 24th 2103

Bubba was my first dog. He came to me as a result of a friend who stayed with us who could no longer keep him. He was a little white lhasa apso and wore red T shirts. He quickly adopted me.

It was not long until I discovered that Bubba had some mystical and very special powers. He was not a dog. He could heal people and was caring and compassionate and wanted to look after people. He became a therapy dog and he and I would visit Alzheimers patients and the true magic became apparent. That little dog would know who needed him and his soulful brown eyes would enable them to feel better. Watching Bubba made me realize that God works through his creatures in this case my little Bubba.

Bubba was handsome and debonaire and had a wardrobe that rivalled any diva. He loved to dress up and looked especially dashing in his leather bomber jacket.

He also loved the Conroy pit and other dog parks and loved to explore nature. He developed a special attachment for Cyrils's garden and enjoyed sitting on the deck in the sun.

He was caring and compassionate throughout his entire life, visiting the sick and the lonely but a few things really stand out in my mind. One day after we had worked in a retirement home, we went to Timothy's for coffee. I had coffee, Bubba would sit across from me and have lemon loaf which I would purchase for him. A man came in with dementia shouting with his embarassed son. Bubba noticed and moved to sit beside him. The man made some remarks about dogs but quickly calmed down as Bubba remained by his side.

Bubba did a lot of this. When I brought in Sophie, Bubba accepted her whole heartedly and the two of them became the darlings of the Conroy Pitt. Sophie was with us three years.

Tragedy struck Bubba some two years ago in the form of a soft cell tissue cancer. Bubba was in pain and yet despite his pain welcomed our newest dog, a traumatized little miniature poodle named Luna. He put his paw on her three days after her arrival. He healed her,

His leg was amputated last year but about two months ago, a large tumor developed on his shoulder. It grew and was very aggressive. Bubba was in pain but managed by medication to a large extent. Earlier this month, Cyril went to hospital and Bubba made his last visit as a therapy dog. Once he visited Cyril and knew he was okay he slept very well. Cyril returned home and made a wonderful recovery. Bubba's last patient was alright, Luna was recovered and today at 1300 hrs, the vet administered a lethal dose to Bubba. He died at home surrounded by the people who loved him.

There could not be a braver, more compassionate and beloved dog as Bubba. I read some Scripture to him and sang for him before the vet arrived. Bubba had a dignified end.

Bubba taught us so very much but mainly the idea of being compassionate. Bubba lived compassion and love and mercy throughout his life. There could never be a kinder dog. There will never be another Bubba.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Bubba is a wonderful dog who has been to Shakespearean plays, worked as a therapy dog, helped me with two rescue dogs, is a comfort and a very dear soul.
Last August, he had his leg amputated for cancer and lives as a tri paw very nicely. But the cancer has come back.

He has a tumor that is inoperable and now we are into pain control and quality of life issues. Today was a good day for Bubba, he greeted our guests, went for a small walk ate well and is pain free but we both know he does not have a long time with us.

I will grieve terribly for my little fellow. He adopted me 13 years ago when he left his owner, who was renting from me to come with me. I knew nothing about dogs and Bubba taught me so much.

Bubba has taught me how to be present in the moment as I am with him. He no longer follows me as he used to, and sleeps more now. It will not be long when I will not hear his hop hop as he hops around the house. Soon the garden will be without its protector.

All flesh is as grass that fades and withers and dies. I know this and yet it is so hard. Oddly I am comforted by thoughts that I will see him, as all my pets in full health again. Some call it the Rainbow Bridge, I like to call it the hereafter or heaven. For a variety of reasons, I rarely attend church these days but I do believe in a loving God who in heaven, will reunite us with our loved ones. When Bubba will come to greet me, I am sure he will be the fastest of all of my pets.

For now I have the present and thankfully wonderful pain medications that allow him to live comfortably in his last days.

Bubba will turn 18 in August. A very long, rich, fulfilled and most importantly his life was filled with love, compassion and mercy,

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Easter Poodle

Everyone has heard of the Easter bunny..but let me tell you the Easter bunny has slipped over the years. How many people get inferior quality chocolates from the penny pinching rabbit? How many folks have had to settle for those horrid Cadbury Eggs...where oh where can we find an Easter animal with taste?

Enter the Easter poodle. The Easter poodle is a very elegant black miniature poodle who has impeccable manners and impeccable taste. Her calling card: The finest and best chocolate for the finest and best people.

This year the Easter poodle made four deliveries. The first was to our neighbours children. They were thrilled to find chocolates and a note from the Easter poodle. The little boy Carson was told that it was likely Karine but I corrected him that it in fact was the Easter poodle. The poodle also stopped at another neighbour whose grandchild had cancer. The poodle brought chocolates and a beautifully crafted ruby throated humming bird finger puppet. The intrepid poodle stopped at another neighbour who had a sick dog, now recovering, and the mother of a dog that we baby sit.

Her trademark chocolate is Lindt. She feels that lindt chocolates are smooth, creamy, delicious and have none of the horrid stuff found in cheaper imitation chocolate. She also brings toys as you see.

The little poodle has put away her basket for this year. She feels that she has done her share. Her housemate is also known as Santa Dog who brings homemade soup to the elderly on our street for Christmas.

If the Easter poodle visits you, consider yourself blessed as she also gives very nice kisses!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Luna almost a year later

It will be one year on January 1st that Luna entered our lives as a terrified and shaking little dog who did not know how to eat out of a dish. What a difference time, love and good food makes! Of course, it helps that Luna lives with Bubba, who is the most patient and kind dog imaginable.

Rescuing a dog like Luna is a blessing as I was able to watch her grow and blossom. Whereas Luna used to cower when people came to the door, she now runs to greet people and waves her little black paws in the air in a ritualistic dance of the poodle spirits.

Luna did not know how to walk on a leash. She walks like a champion both on and off leash.

Luna is still fussy about her dishes and has one dish, known as THE dish in which her meals are served. One day THE dish got broken and it was hastily glued lest Luna starve!

Luna loves to be groomed and has decided that she too can groom..her people. She tries to comb my hair when I sit with her. Vidal Sassoon has nothing to fear from Luna!

We have learned that Luna is a hoarder. (I know there are TV shows about this). Luna will take a treat but not eat it and run with her 'stash'. She has a few of them. It is food in case of nuclear disaster. Bubba used to raid her stash to show her how silly it is. Luna will also stash her toys there. Luna has not yet internalized that she has no need to stash, that there will always be plenty to eat here. Bubba has never known deprivation, and has no concept of a stash.

We have learned that Luna is a talker. She is my second female dog and like Sophie, Luna has a range of vocalizations and sounds. She does not just bark..she will actually talk. So far, we have deciphered that a high pitch ammm awmmmn mmmm means I am thrilled to see you. A lower pitched, sound that drops at the end of her 'sentence' like hmmm hmmmm mmmm means "let me out please" if you ignore or do not hear her request, she will repeat it never loudly but with more emphasis, the pitch rises. Bubba has a baritone growl grrrrrrr. His grrrr can mean "Get off my chair" or "I want more food or a". It is really quite interesting to note that their vocalizations are very specific...and by no means random. Where is the Star Trek universal translator when you need it?

Luna is also quite the dancer. When she returns from a walk and has extra energy she will dash madly in the livingroom and spin at a very high speed. All the while, she sings it sounds like a growl and to the untrained ear could sound aggressive but this is her ritual dance. She is dancing to her gods..dancing for joy. After a few minutes, she stops whirling and she goes on the couch for a sleep.

Many people believe dogs are purely creatures of instinct but I have seen a little creature that was surviving(just barely) and terrified of everything...develop a personality and cultivate interests and a soul. She sings, she speaks and rejoices in life with her dancing. Initially, Luna would have been incapable of doing any of these things as her basic need for security, food and shelter was not met. She has now self actualized in the sense that she has a personality that is independent of her basic needs and distinct from me or Bubba.

Bubba has been amazing with Luna. He has NEVER growled at her despite the fact that she will steal treats from him as he is eating them. He has never been impatient with her, and a week after she arrived, Bubba (who at the time was in pain from a cancerous tumour), walked over to her, tapped her and invited her to play with him. Quite an effort for him. Bubba shares his plate and even his bed. He allows Luna to take his favourite spots and not once has he crushed her spirit or growled or barked at her. Bubba has been instrumental in her healing. Unfortunately, there is only one Bubba!

Bubba has shown that when dealing with dogs that have PTSD as Luna certainly had, the key element is gentleness and acceptance. Come share my blanket...share my food. Bubba never pushed her.

Following Bubba's lead, we have encouraged Luna and allowed her to grow and become the little black creature that she is today, full of joy, energy and love.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Imagine the perfect dog

When Luna came to me, she could not walk far, was shaky on a leash, did not know how to eat out of a dish, was terrified and had mange and ear infections. The rescue agency was worried about her because she was so timid.

Imagine a dog who snuggles with you, walks like a champion, has perfect recall, has a glossy coat and shiny teeth. imagine a dog who plays with you AND puts away her toys. Imagine a dog who is perfectly socialized with people and other dogs...and for a bonus snuggles into you until you go to sleep..when she goes back to her own bed.

Imagine a dog who is so gentle when taking treats or food that you can barely even feel her lips.

That is what Luna, the puppy mill survivor from PawsRUs has become. How do you spell perfection? LUNA

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bubba the Tripawz. Pistorious take note

About three weeks ago, Bubba's right front leg was amputated. It became obvious to everyone that the soft tissue cancer was causing him agony. The vet was concerned due to his age 17 but his bloodtests were remarkable and so.

Three weeks later, Bubba has a faint scar, he walks the same distances he used to when he was well, his appetite has improved and he is a healthier, happier little soul.

Bubba hops at great speed and still insists on sniffing every tree and bush on our walks, much to Luna's chagrin!

Bubba is an example of perseverance. He makes people smile when they see him and they comment on his bravery and comportment. Bubba does not see himself as handicapped or challenged in any way. He is the Pistorious of dogs!

Bubbas fur is growing back nicely and he is anxious to get to a groomer to even his cut. At the moment, he is enduring barbering from me...not the best of options!

Luckily Bubba has very well developed rear leg muscles from all that walking and running I did with him. Couch potatos take note!

We love Bubba to death and if possible, even more now!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

On Miracles

When you read about miracles, they are sometimes so unbelievable and dramatic that you imagine that they happen to other people, or are figments of imagination, luck and don't happen at all. Miracles are always larger than life but in my life I am living with a miracle. The miracle comes in the form of a little white dog who has given so much joy to others as a therapy dog and has healed so many broken hearts and brought light where there was none to his Alzheimers patients. I am speaking about Bubba.

Bubba is 17 years old and was diagnosed with a virulent soft tissue cancer in his right paw. It was clear he was agonizing and suffering and the tumour was partially removed. It came back with a vengeance and Bubba's suffering increased.

I came home from a bike trip to see his paw triple the size and the poor soul agonizing. He was refusing his meals and nothing gave him joy, he no longer wanted to go for walks.

My vet recommended ending his life but also advised that if the leg was amputated it would be a cure..but he is 17. Younger dogs can recover very well, but I was warned this is a very major surgery. When I agreed to the surgery I don't think they expected very much. As I left him at the vets office, Bubba looked back at me and I left in tears thinking I may not see my little friend alive again. I was torn with guilt and remorse..why had I not seen it sooner? Did I make the right decision?

To be fair, I thought the tumour would not progress with such speed but once it regrew and burst when he was at the groomers I knew I had no choice.

Two weeks ago Bubba was amputated. He runs, eats prodigiously, is happy and no longer refuses his walks. The vet is amazed and so am I,

Yesterday Bubba returned to the St. Paul market and spoke with his favourite vendors all of whom were pleased to see him as they knew of his surgery. I don't think anyone expected him to do so well. Bubba wears a shirt while his hair is growing to conceal his scar. Cyril seems to think that once I put a little golf shirt on Bubba, he felt better as his dignity was restored.

Today Bubba attended his friend Ludmilla's 92nd birthday party. He had white chocolate, cookies, lots of water and then blissfully slept while we sipped dubonet and toasted Ludmilla. Bubba had often visited Ludmilla but for the past year had more bad days than good.

I called this blog a miracle story and yes, I do think this is a miracle. Bubba defied all odds and all norms. We prayed for Bubba and I believe God listened to the wishes of our little furry friend. Bubba hops with great speed and enjoys the grass and truly wants to do marathons but I stop him. He sports a shirt or a soft sweater and is surrounded by love and prayer. Do miracles happen? I think they do.