Category Archives: love

I Waited My Whole Life ….

…for a girl like her. Today I mourn the loss of my canine soulmate. Cinder is my everything. She is more than I ever could ask a canine companion to be. She is a German Shepherd like no other I’ve ever had the chance to meet, and the best part is, her and I, we were one, for 6 wonderful years.

She is so incredibly intelligent, balanced, respectful, protective and kind. It’s her unconditional love that I will miss every day of my future life. She helped me show people that German Shepherds are not to be feared. She got camp grounds to remove their bans on German Sheps after meeting her and proving them wrong. She showed the fearful that she was a kind and gentle soul and would slather them in kisses to prove it! She even won over the haters!!

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How we got to today.
Just over a year ago Cinder ruptured her ACL on her hind left leg. X-rays also revealed a partial tear of her right ACL. Surgery was upwards of $8-$10,000 and not a guarantee with a fairly long restricted recovery. We took an alternative route, a brace for her ruptured leg, cartrophen shots at the vet and some natural supplements.

Now, Miss Cinder can be a bit stubborn and it took us a few different styles of braces before we got one she would walk in while wearing. If you knew Cinder well, you’d know she spent most of her day roaming our 23 acres while on flock protection duty. Her brace wasn’t meant to be worn other than for ‘short designated’ walks. Well, I wasn’t telling them that this working dog stays at it most of the day … We were just going to figure out what would work.

We had already retired the ball and chuck-it as soon as the first ACL ruptured. She lived to find that ball after we buried it in the bush and we took the throwing of it away to help preserve her right leg and reduce her pain in the left. Every day she would get her ball and drop it at your feet and stare at you. Waiting. Not understanding. Eventually she’d take it and give up and roll all over it. The ultimate love of a toy. Now to tell her to stay put on her bed, she’d have to be in her dog crate/kennel locked up for that to happen. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do that to her. It’s not in her DNA. This is a German shepherd, the working and incredibly intelligent breed! My golden retriever would ask for that recommendation in writing so he can show me for the days I force him off his bed but Miss Cinder wouldn’t have any of that. She had a job to do.

The brace helped. It definitely did. However, it wears on her, and if worn too long she will bleed. We made some adjustments and got minimal use out of it before she would start to tug at it. She wanted freedom.

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Most recently she completely ruptured her other ACL. These are very painful conditions. As far as pain goes, on a scale of 1-10 their pain can be as high as a 9. We were now dealing with 2 legs in excruciating pain. Every day.

I asked a lot of her to live with one ruptured ACL and the pain that goes along with that. She did it for me. She would do it longer and again if I asked her. She did it without even flinching in her personality for over a year. Her demeanour, kindness and loyalty never wavered. Not even once. I could not ask her to live with twice the pain for another year. She has served me and it is my turn to serve her, to finally release her from her pain.

It was such a heart wrenching, soul twisting decision to make. I paced the floor for days, knowing what the right thing to do was, but getting there took a lot for me to finally acknowledge I had to let go. To not ask her to hang on longer. I desperately wanted to, I was ready to beg her …she would. But it wouldn’t be fair.

I love her fiercely and I still can’t imagine my days without her. She’s my girl. We are a team. I still need her. Very much so. I’m not ready to let go. Six years is not long enough for such a beautiful soul. But I had to accept and I love her enough to release her from her pain. It couldn’t be about me any longer. I have been selfish long enough.

It’s been her and I for 6 years. It was her and I with her last heartbeat. I couldn’t imagine any other way. Her and I. Always. To the end.

I feel very alone in my grieving. No one loves her like I do and I know and felt her love each and every day. She would give her life for this family without hesitation. Such a huge loss. The loss of love to give, and the loss of love to receive.

I haven’t cried so very hard from the depths of my soul in such a long time. I was at her side until the last beat of her heart. Her last breath. I held her long after she was gone. I cried into her chest. The sadness is overwhelming. I hugged her and told her I was soooo sorry I kept her in pain for so long and she needed to be free now. I thanked her for her loyalty, devotion to our family and her immense love. I laid on the floor with her, hugging her until it didn’t feel like her anymore.

Such a tragedy. Cinder is gone. Forever.

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Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

There is love on this earth and then we have the love of a canine.

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                                                                       Nothing like it!!!

A Bakers Dozen Of Reasons Why Dogs Are Better Than Humans

1. They never tell all your secrets to anyone, not even a fur-sibling.

2. They never complain when they eat the same thing for a decade.

3. They are ALWAYS happy to see you. 2 minutes or 2 weeks, the party for your return is always the best day of their life!

4. They know how to be there for you … Silently at your side.

5. They always forgive. Always.

6. You don’t have to pay to send them to college/university and you don’t have to worry about them getting hooked on crack while at college.

7. They don’t keep a messy room like the human teenagers.

8. They keep you company while you’re sick, sad, angry or annoyed with the world. (which is often all at once for me)

9. They are always willing to finish your dinner for you when you can’t.

10. They don’t want all their friends to sleep over every weekend.

11. They will always stand up for you, even if you don’t want/need them too.

12. Who needs a door bell when you have a built in dog.

13. And the best reason of all…. TRUE Unconditional love like no other!!!

R.I.P. Mr. Bojangles

Mr. Bojangles, today we had to say goodbye to my little rock star!! How you have touched our lives and shown us the most amazing GIANT love of a mini lop. You are one of a kind and you will never be forgotten. That would be impossible!

You absolutely refused to play by the bunny rules. There would be no crates, no cages, no confinement for you. You were not going to sit in the corner of a bunny cage and just exist. You demanded your freedom. You quickly took over our huge screened in room on the deck and even took over the veggie garden in the summer. It was the cutest thing when I would find you sleeping under a big zucchini leaf, just like something you would see in a disney movie, only better.  Except you, Bojangles, would stretch right out like a young child who doesn’t have a care in the world. My variety of lettuce plants and kale plants didn’t stand a chance with you roaming in the garden every day, but you sure were happy when you forgot about a plant and a new leaf would grow!! I will miss washing the bunny hair off our tomatoes and looking for little sample bites.

The grocery store is going to wonder why I’m not buying you an insane amount of dandelions every week and looking for all the torn off carrot tops. The farmer down the road will miss keeping the torn off lettuce leafs for you, that she does to make her items look fresh. I’ll have to let them know that you won’t need them anymore and we’ll share some funny stories of my crazy Bojangles. You would eat at least 1 bunch of dandelions each day, some Kale and an apple and your alfalfa hay. You were a mini breed but your appetite, like your love, was far from small. I’ll have to eat my strawberries all on my own now but I will always remember who got the green leafy tops and who got the berry. Rabbit pellets? That’s for fools right Mr. B?!

You watched cartoons with Flyp in the mornings before he went to school. You groomed him and you gave him unconditional love with each one of your bunny kisses. The power of love from a pet is always astounding and impressive in its form, but you took it to a new level Mr. B.

You ate my paperwork while I was trying to get work done. You would crawl up my leg persistently until I put you on top of my desk. You would take sheets of paper and try to build a bed while I was trying to work. I would get you newspapers, but no, you had to have the ones I touched. So cheeky you were!!

You tolerated your fur siblings (dogs) drinking your water and sometimes eating your poop out of your litter box. You even got a little crazy once in a while and would dash too far from home, but Cinder (our German shepherd) would go and get you and bring you back. Then you would spend hours obviously annoyed thumping your back feet while bathing and re-fluffing your goober covered fur, the consequence of Cinder carrying you in her mouth back home, where we needed you. You were so independent and wild at heart.

You loved your cuddles with Drake and even slept with him on occasion, our Golden Retriever. Sure you got goobers all over you when he licked you, but you just shook it off and gave him a little kick, which usually lead to another lick. You will always be the best cuddlier in our family and we will miss your big floppy ears that dragged on the floor and watching you clean each one, lick by lick.

We will miss your show off jumps and your ‘puppy moments’ when you had bursts of energy and would run around and kick your feet out, stop to clean an ear or two and start the craziness again. Run, jump and kick. I will miss our morning walks where you hide in my coat and snuggle in and have a good snooze at the constant motion of my walking.

I’ve accepted you having to leaving us, as I know with absolute surety you had the best possible life and we will cherish all of our memories we made together.

You are the sweetest bunny we could ever have and thank you for letting us love you for 7 1/2 years.

R.I.P. My little rock star!!

Xoxoxoxox

Happy Birthday Dandan

My grandfathers birthday is today. Jack Dickens. Born March 11th 1923. He would be 92 years old if he was here with us today. My sister who ‘knew’ him before me (long story) declared his name was Dandan, which is what all his grand children and great grand children have called him.

Today in his honour I’d like to share a bit about him. This was my grandfather. Dandan.

He was tall with dark hair, pleasant features and he tanned so well in the summer. As I child I remember thinking boy I’ll never be as tall as Dandan, he’s a giant. Not really, but you know how kids think.

My family is crazy and loud and full of superstars who love the spotlight. I don’t think quiet conversations ever has been a ‘thing’ when the family gathers. Dandan was always confident and quiet. He could sit in a room full of family conversing and carrying on with loud laughter and just watch the conversation flow and be more than comfortable not saying one word. Magically he was a part of the whole atmosphere without really taking part in it. I remember at times, often actually, the abundance of noise was overwhelming for me, probably the beginning of my introvert life, and he would give me a nod with a tug of his head and I’d crawl up on his lap and soak up his soothing calmness. After a few minutes I couldn’t resist my wild and crazy cousins any longer and rejoined the pack rejuvenated.

His calmness is forever remembered with me. My life has been crazy, like most and I wish I could find what I assume was his submission to all of life’s chaos. As an adult I admire his strength to exist amongst such strong personalities, hold his own and he did it with such class. You never felt unwelcome or it was a bad time, or that you were taking up too much of his time. I admire that he didn’t need to be the clown or the jokester, the drunkest, the chef, the smartest or the loudest. He would just putter around or read his books or listen to the rooms conversations.

During the period of my life with the most memories he was a math teacher, assistant head master and then head master of an all boys private school. He was fun and active. Once in a while he’d be cheeky and in my older teen years I would take a double look at him and he’d give me a wink. He played cricket, squash and I think tennis and I have thought deep, but I don’t really have memories of him swimming. My Nannie (his wife) swam a lot and taught my sister and I how to swim and to not fear but respect water. My sister and I would go and watch him play cricket and as we got a bit older we went to check out the boys. Haha! ADMIT IT SISTER!! Cricket is terribly boring by the way, but I thought he was famous or something cause they would all clap when he took the bat thing. Ok, my cricket lingo isn’t up to par. Is par in cricket? Do I get a point for that?

I remember him playing squash with my dad. I think I can even remember it was typically Thursday evenings, but a twinge of a memory also tells me it was twice a week for some time. We would normally go to my Nannies for dinner and my dad and Dandan would head to the courts and whack it out. Sometimes my sister and I would go watch but it was usually the freedom to walk around the campus that we were after. It was exactly what my dad needed with his long hours and stressful job. I always remember the difference in my dad’s mood after playing squash and they would joke about who kicked whose butt back at the house. My dad took a beating sometimes haha – or so he says he did, but for both of them I’m sure it was never about the score. In my adult perspective maybe it was a bit about my Dandan taking a somewhat of a fatherly role, one that maybe my dad lacked a bit of as a child. And/or It could of been Dandans way of inviting my dad into the family and my dad accepting the invite. It’s exactly something my Dandan would do. Good times regardless.

My grand parents took my sister and I to Florida. At least once. I don’t have many memories other than having to do school work in the back seat while we drove down south, battling car sickness. It was horrible. If I signed up for a second trip I’d be surprised at myself. I do recall that is where I discovered Filet-O-Fish from McDonalds. My sister and I would be given money and told to go explore and gather our own lunches. It was their way of allowing us to be independent, make choices and feel in control. I lived for lunch hour!!! The Sand Dollar Cafe has just surfaced as a memory, with our sun dresses .. I’m thinking we must of ate there for dinner a lot too. If you know me, you’d know that to remember food is characteristic of me haha!

It would be hard to pick out ONE favourite memory with Dandan. I do have one that is very true to the type of man he was…

Approximately somewhere between 1976-1978
My grandparents took my sister and I to an island. Not just any island, an isolated island on a warm lake were we stayed naked almost the whole time. Rabbit Nose Island.  We were instructed by my grandparents to not lie about being naked but we didn’t need to offer certain details. Yes we had a naked vacation. Being as young as we were, we understood the message and giggled about it to ourselves often. We figured our parents would lose their minds at the thought of their 2 daughters being naked all day every day for at least a week. I loved that we were doing something with permission but that they would hate. Defiant from the beginning. My sister threw her clothes off almost immediately and was in a naked state long before me. They didn’t pressure me just said it was an option if and when I was ready. It took me about 2 days but once I was naked that was it, no turning back. If I’m honest I can tell you I have no idea if my grandparents were naked with us. That tells me the age was perfect because it didn’t matter. Well done Nannie & Dandan.

Karen, do you remember the bunny shed?? Some big pink floppy eared bunny on the shed or cabin off to the side? We spent a day crammed in with dolls and books when it rained for one day. We could barely turn around with the 2 of us in there but we managed a whole day. Ha! Good times.

So during this time frame I struggled with number 6 and 9. 9 was 6 or 6 was 9 and it wasn’t seeming to sort itself out. Being a math teacher I’m sure it drove my grandfather bonkers when I said they were the exact same and it didn’t matter. (And you can bet I said it with a lot of arrogant conviction lol) I tried for hours to convince him they were the same and he was wrong. Why would they make the same number look different? It’s the same just turn it around. See? I told you so Dandan. Oh boy I was stubborn. He never lost his cool over it, I can’t say the same for me.

Anyways, while I was naked on our Gilligan’s Island, I spent most of my time in the water. I would build forts for the fish in the shallow part and capture them, put them in their safe home (so they wouldn’t get eaten) and name them all. I even had one for some little cray fish or whatever they were with their little lobster like bodies and legs. So I would count them as I caught and added them to their new Fort. 1, 2, …5, 9, 7, 8, 6 and Dandan while reading would gently correct me. I’m sure I told him he was breaking my concentration or something snippy, but he didn’t flinch or give up, just corrected me while he obviously pretended to read. Nannys rule was I had to let them go every night because they had family to go home to. I said I was their new family and what if they weren’t there in the morning bla bla bla. She said you must take one wall down and if they want to leave they can. Fine. The next day I’ll get them all this time and they can all be a family in the Fort but that was mission impossible I learned as the days went on. I’m assuming after a few days of my collection obsession Dandan must of come up with an idea. He told me he had a new game he wanted to play and asked me if I would play with him too. I asked what it was, he said either you want to play or you don’t, but once you say yes you have to keep playing until the game is done. Fine. As long as I could keep catching my new family and hugging them and naming them all. I had to count, 10 fish allowed in each Fort and if I got 6 and 9 confused (he never said wrong) I had to release them all and start back over. Challenge accepted!

I first had to build more and bigger Forts cause I was about to win a lot!! 1 fish. 2 fish. 3 fish. 4 fish. 5 fish. 9 fish. He would gently remove the rock wall on one side and the fish would swim away. I would huff and puff and storm around before settling back in to recatch my new family members. He said Sandra listen to me. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10. He would repeat it a few times but me being me, I was always right (not so much) and just knew I would get it right next time. So the capturing started again. 1 fish. 2 fish. 3 fish. 4 fish. 5 fish. 6 fish. 7 fish. 8 fish. 6 fish. There goes the wall. This went on for days!!! He would write the numbers with a rock sometimes on another rock (you know, the chalk like mark it makes) and we would read together and he would wash it away. I would start my capturing again. Failure. He didn’t give up, but neither did I.

The next day he cut our toast for breakfast into soldiers, to dunk in cracked boiled eggs, and would count out loud my sisters portion and mine, making a big deal out of #6 and #9 and where they belonged. I’m pretty sure back then I even rolled my eyes.

Back out we all went to the lake and my forts. There was obviously some rough waters during the night and my forts were ruined. We decided to build some new forts and he helped. We counted the rocks together me always mixing up 6 and/or 9 and he didn’t make a big deal, he would just keep going. That day we went through the capture and release again. Not getting my numbers right at all. That night by the Bon fire I sat on his lap and cried while I told him I was dumb and we should just leave 6 and 9 alone. We don’t need them anyways, they are stupid. He cuddled like Dandan did and assured me I wasn’t dumb, and he said besides one day you need to be 9 years old and we aren’t giving up.

The next day we started the damn fishing again. Those nets where the best investment Nannie made haha! After a few errors about half way through the day I started counting my next attempted batch. 1 fish 2 fish 3 fish 4 fish 5fish 6 fish 7 fish 8 fish 9 fish 10 fish. Then I moved to the next Fort and it was 1 fish all the way through to 10 fish correctly. He didn’t say a word. I didn’t notice. I filled up the next fort counting correctly again. I continued to play and count oblivious to my accuracies. After we ate dinner we had our Bon fire and he asked me if I noticed that I got them all right for the afternoon. (You have to understand how long it took me to catch 1 fish, never mind fill 3 exotic resorts of fish!!) I said noooooo I didn’t and started half giggling and crying at the same time. He said yes you did!! What are you talking about Dandan ? I never get it right. And he took me through the recall of filling all 3 forts. How did you fill all 3 if you didn’t count it correctly? Humpfff I thought to myself still half giggling and crying. I might be smart after all.

The next morning we played 1 fish 2 fish…I got it wrong a few times but it wasn’t that frustrating anymore because now I knew I could and have been correct. By the time we left the island I had made up a bazillion counting songs. I’m surprised my sister talks to me after listening to all those numbers for almost a week. By the time we left naked-ville I had conquered number 6 and 9 but I will always give props to Dandan for being persistent, constant and holy patient batman.

The best part: For the longest time when we saw each other we would whisper or mouth the numbers to each other. It was like our very own little secret.

That is the most in-detail memory I have with him. I can even see his hat and the orange folding chair he sat on day after day with his feet in the water at the shoreline. I can even picture him, the age he must of been at. When he got up from the chair his back had the lines from the horrible plastic stringy fabric on his chair. It’s amazing. It’s a memory that has never been lost on me. I’m sure my childhood feelings today, as an adult would translate to the acknowledgement of unconditional love from him and a feeling of accomplishment for me. Amazing.

He is missed a lot and often I think of them both. I’m fortunate to have had him in my life. It wasn’t because of blood linkage that brought him into my life. Was it luck? The stars lining up? Whatever it was, it is obvious I needed him.

My goal in life is to leave a print of the same magnitude on my own children. I’m still working on it.

V-Day or D-Day. The Choice Should Be Yours.

I must admit that it is very liberating to be free from the Valentine’s Day pressures. As I converse with friends, both male and female, I realize how different of a conversation each has. Women are looking forward to it, excited, full of expectations and anticipation, hoping for some jewelry, flowers or other prized possessions. Bragging rights February15th is prime time. The feed back I’ve gotten is men resent the day (at least the ones willing to admit it) but feel it’s a guarantee for some body slapping later.

We have a construction company and I can tell you 100% of the men hate Valentine’s Day and wish it never existed. You want to hear some foul language and f bombs? Walk on a construction site and ask their opinions of Valentine’s Day. They only thing they’ll brag about is the sex perk that is a given apparently. One of our trade workers said ‘the message that is given to my wife if I don’t want to go guns a blazin on Valentine’s is I don’t love her.’ He said ‘how did this get so out of control?’ I wonder if men could come out and voice their opinion, consequence free, how many would be honest and say they don’t like or do like Valentine’s Day? Would be very enlightening I’m sure. I wonder how many women would be willing to drop v-day if their partner wanted too. I wonder how many other women have a perspective like mine?

I asked myself a long time ago if I would ever want someone to show me love because of a date on a calendar. I decided I didn’t want my love to be a burden or an expectation to perform, ever. Oh don’t give me that crap of if he loves you he won’t mind for one day bla bla bla. It’s far harder to live with me day to day AND love me each of those days, then to buy me roses and dinner on one day/night.

I am happy to say in this home we are free of all manipulation and commercialization leading up to, day of, and passing of Valentine’s Day. I have also released Einstein from the manipulation. I can not imagine being male and having to deal with Valentine’s Day. Typically the pressure is for men .. In my opinion. Hopefully Flyp feels the freedom to do what he wants to do, if anything, on Valentine’s Day in his future.

I just don’t buy into the whole Valentine’s Day pressure and commercialization crap. There isn’t one gift that can ‘prove’ to me that you love and respect me on this one day of the year. It’s not about me, it’s about us. 365 days a year. I don’t and won’t accept that pressure and would never expect anyone to have to deal with it either, for me.

When Einstein and I first staring dating many moons ago, it was engrained in him to over achieve one day a year. Valentine’s. Really, Valentine’s is weaved into our brain from pre-kindergarten onwards. Remember those stupid little cards? That’s the start to the conditioning. I was pressured into it so my kids wouldn’t be left out at school. The bullshit never ends. I won’t even get started on that rant. Thank me later.

Anyways, I caved into Einstein’s request with his expectations of how Valentine’s should be spent and we went for dinner at The Keg and a movie. Horrible horrible mistake. Keep in mind I’m an introvert and don’t like public gatherings. The worst dinning experience ever. Traumatizing. People everywhere. Service sucked. Despite the reservations Einstein made, we waited a very, very long time for our table, with a million other people. It then took a further hour for appetizers to even hit our table. Ugh, gives me a headache just thinking about it. Don’t get me wrong, super sweet that he went out of his way, had a thought process to make reservations on time, bought me a dozen red roses, an extravagant diamond bracelet (that I never wear – they don’t match my sweat pants) and he even thought to pick up the movie tickets earlier that day. It’s a chaotic disappointing experience. I asked him the next day if he had a good time. Of course he lied and said yes.

Approaching the next Valentine’s I told him I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t interested in it and didn’t want anything to do with Valentine’s Day. He hung on every word as I presented my case. Service sucks. Too many people. It’s an industry manipulation. Pressure. Big expense. I explained I’d rather get random flowers here and there. Random. Just because. Not because a date is set on a calendar and is commercialized that you must prove your love with gifts etc. He hurdled the fence and jumped on board. I’m sure if you ask Einstein he will tell you I’m the absolute best about that kind of stuff.

Ever since, we live pressure free on Valentine’s. I don’t ignore Valentine’s entirely. I’m not a total Scrooge. I will make a homemade chocolate cake in the shape of a heart, their favourite dinner (organic chicken Parmesan) and pick up an action movie. I say ‘their’ because we have Flyp and I love him too.

The best feeling is when I send Einstein and Flyp to get milk and a few grocery items and they come home with a small bouquet of flowers. They even go to Canadian Tire for guy stuff and come home with a movie for $6.99 that they think I’ll like. Make no mistake, that is real love wrapped up pretty in freedom of expression.

Show the love 24/7/365! Don’t make V-Day your D-Day.