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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

woulda coulda shoulda

Today would have been Annie’s 13th birthday. I realize I never did a post last Monday for Jinx’s 6th birthday, but life got a little overwhelming and I forgot. Less time blogging and more time spending with Shawn and Jinx in real life. I guess that’s the best thing to do.

I miss Annie so much. So, so, so very much. It hurts like hell and I can’t stop thinking it shouldn’t hurt this much for a dog. I have lost my  favourite Aunt/Godmother, Grandfather, Grandmother all in a row. I lost my best friend and her mother when I was only 18. I have suffered loss, terrible loss. And yet I can’t seem to shake my sadness over losing my Annabelle.

We woke up to this huge snowstorm this morning. A snowstorm that was cancelled yesterday by Environment Canada (way to go there). I have been sick most of the weekend and I was feeling down and like crap and then we heard the weather and looked outside and I just knew I had to call in sick. I was so overwhelmed by everything and shivering and no voice, I stayed home.

Shawn said, “Well, crap!” (only he might have said something stronger than crap) “Of course there’s a snowstorm! It’s Annie’s birthday!” And it made sense. Annie loved the snow. So much so that she would turn into a puppy in her enthusiasm for romping through the drifts and eating it all up. This is a dog who didn’t play with anything. Not a thing. But put some snow on the ground and she was in paradise. She would have loved this storm. Whereas we might not have been all that thrilled to get 30cm (66cm in the Easter Townships from what I was told by a friend) Annie would have been beside herself with joy. Wagging tail, bounding through the yard. Yes, even in her old age, she was still agile and puppy lovey with the snow.

Today’s weather was in her honour. I know that deep down. Ok, I could have done without the most major or storms we’ve had ALL season in my town in MARCH, but we went for a walk when the sun was setting and romped through the snow drifts for Annie.

I miss her like crazy. There’s such an emptiness inside me that I can’t shake. I feel like there should be more important things to grieve over and that I shouldn’t been this hurt over her passing. But I am. I can’t help it.

I miss my Annabelly so much that I forget to breathe sometimes. I want this feeling to be over.

the extraordinary annabelly

Annie 2003

I thought she’d live forever.

I mean, I knew that wasn’t going to happen, but Annie was oddly Benjamin Buttonish as she got older she became younger. She was more playful, active and puppyish with each passing year. It seemed like she’d never get old. The only indication we had that she was “old” was right after her 12th birthday last year, she started to slow down a little. Yet she still took off like a banshee and romped through the dog park that we started going to in the spring. She hobnobbed with the Bernese Mountain Dogs and the Rottweilers. They were her kind of people. She would just hang with them as they slowly trundled through the park.

Towards the end of the summer she stopped wanting to eat her dry food. We figured her teeth were bothering her so we started mixing wet with the dry after a while and she’d gobble it up. She’d try to eat anything other than her dry food so we weren’t concerned. When the snow came she perked up like she always did. Winter was her season. It was tasty and cold and tasty and cold. After Christmas however she started going on hunger strikes again. There were a couple of weeks in January where I was certain this was the beginning of the end. There were some other complications aside from the picky-ness in food. I was worried. Then it all went away and she ate everything in sight for almost two weeks. We couldn’t buy the food fast enough. She was eating the amounts she should have been eating and it gave her more energy.

The last two weeks have been tough. She was even refusing to eat her favourite things. I had hoped she’d stick around, unsuffering, until her 13th birthday on March 7th, but after this past weekend it wasn’t looking too promising. Monday night, even though she came down to the basement with us while we watched the news, her eyes started squinting. Shawn carried her back up the stairs because her legs were weak. We started having that talk, the talk no one wants to have because we didn’t want her suffering. All day at work yesterday I thought about it and I had come to a decision, it was like I knew, we had to go to the vet. When I got home from work I wanted to look at Annie and wait and see what my gut said. One look at her when we came in the door – she didn’t even get up to greet us, first time EVER – we knew. I said “We have to call the vet now”. Shawn agreed. He’d been working up the courage to tell me he felt the same way all day. But that look on her face when we came home made the decision for us. She was ready and we would listen.

Aside from the insanity of the price of the visit ($182!! JEEZ!) it was a good visit. Annie was calm and quiet the entire time. She didn’t shake when we got there like she normally does. She just looked at both of us as if to say, Thank you. Shawn went in with her, I couldn’t. I sat in the waiting room, called and cried to my parents to tell them where I was. Texted my closest friends and left a message for my boss at home, she knew this was coming and she understood. Thank the gods.

We are sad. We are crying. Jinx isn’t quite sure what is going on, but we’re trying to give him as much attention as possible. He’s out a big sister that will wash his face and ears every night after dinner. I have never been in a two animal home before when one passes. I have always only had one at a time. This is new territory for me and Jinx is a very sensitive and wussy sort of guy so I know he’ll be depressed for a while. Once he figures it out that is.

I have had other dogs in my life and I have loved them deeply. But Annie was The One. That one animal you have that you connect with so strongly, the one that fits just perfectly with you and your soul. That’s who Annie was for me. She was my perfect dog. She was beautiful and judgmental (ha) and sweet and gentle. If I’d been a witch or a magical whatever, she’d be my familiar. She was mine. My girl.
Shawn and I were talking last night about how normally when you lose a  dog you have all these reminders all over the house of them. With Annie – none of the toys were hers, she couldn’t care less about them – we have her bowl and other than that? The baby gate that was set up in front of the bathroom on the main floor because she’d go in and steal all the toilet paper for a snack. When I went to the bathroom last night and didn’t have to move the gate I started crying. It just hit me. Annie was gone, we didn’t need the gate anymore. The other thing is the coffee table. The coffee table, people! She’d run laps around it when she was excited, anxious or scared. She loved to run laps around it when she emoted. And when she didn’t want to be found? She’d lie between the table and the couch. We called it her Table of Invisibility. You could still see her, the table was open underneath, but she thought she was safe.

Annie came to live with me at a time in my life when I was on the edge of losing myself. She came after a rotten year of losing another dog, a relationship, friendships, health and more. She was the gift I can never thank my friend enough for. She helped save me. She had the first litter of Finnish Lapphund puppies in Canada in 2002. She was so small and beautiful and shiny. She was cheeky and a diva and you had to go to her for attention, not the other way around.

She developed a much more demanding yet lovable personality after living with my in-laws for a year when she realized she had to compete for attention between Jinx (just a puppy) and my in-laws’ very spoiled Standard Schnauzer (whom Jinx idolized). She started wagging her tail, confused as to what it was doing (ha!), she started barking when we’d get home. A couple of little woofs to greet us. She started coming over and body checking the other dogs out of the way for her own pets. She made sure, in the most subtle and gentle ways ever, that every one knew she was the Queen of the Pack and she always, always, stood beside me. I was her Mummy and I was the problem solver and the comfort and the safety.

She loved her belly rubs, hence the name Annabelly. There was a time all Shawn would have to do was move his arm in her direction and her back leg would go up to expose her belly as if on a string. We used to laugh so hard at that and do it over and over, letting her do leg lifts like an exercise video.

She loved bananas. If you even picked one up off the counter and she was in another room, as soon as you turned around she was sitting right at your feet staring very intently on your banana. It was as though she teleported there. You’d make no noise at all picking it up and there she was. Like frickin’ Jaws of the Banana.

It doesn’t feel like she’s only been part of our life since she was 4. It feels as though all of these 13 years have been spent together. I did meet her when she was 7 months old when I went down to adopt my first Lappie. I remember being so smitten with her and joking about stealing her in my suitcase when I left. I had no idea that 4 years later I’d have Annie in my life full-time.

She was our flower girl in the wedding. She’s come on vacation with us to New Brunswick. She’s always been there.

I miss her like anything, but I’m going to be ok. I slept oddly well for what I was going through last night, but I think the absence of the anxiety over how she was feeling and if she’d be there when we woke up helped me sleep better.

When we turn our kitchen calendar over next Tuesday it will have a photo of her and the caption “Month of the Belly” since it’s her birthday month. (This month is Month of the Winxish.) It will be hard to look at her for 31 days but each day will get easier and we’ll stop crying over things like the baby gate and we’ll laugh over the silly things she’s done or that we’ve done for her in the past. We will snuggle Jinx and hold hands and recall all the smiles she’s given us.

We miss you Annabelle, you were the most special dog I have ever had.

(My husband’s post here)

things happened this week

And I didn’t blog about any of it! What’s up with that? I did write a bazillion reviews on my book blog, but other than that? I didn’t blog at all. That was not my plan!

I had a very nice, busy week off from work. There were some downsides (like Annie not doing well at all) but mostly I was content all week.

I shall sum up my week in photos (apologies to J for the photo heavy post. =P)

Tuesday we went out and about and I found boots! The wonderful leather ones that my mother-in-law got me in 2008 have started to give up on life. The souls are worn down and have no grips. I’m even slipping indoors. They are also starting to leak, so I thought I would just get a pair on sale for the end of this winter. Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t find anything in my size! Argh. Walmart won with a $15 pair of boots that fit and don’t leak.

I feel quite sure-footed now! I am ready to tackle the steep hill that I have to climb to get to the gym twice a week for my Body Design class.

We were out all day looking for boots. I almost gave up but we stopped at Walmart after dinner and I was in luck.

With my new boots ready for action we went to the Ecomuseum on the West Island on Wednesday. We chose Wednesday since Thursday and Friday were supposed to be raining a lot. Turned out Wednesday was cool and over cast and Thursday was the nicest February day in ever. Argh.

I am super impressed with the camera on my iPhone 4. I didn’t even take my little pocket camera because I didn’t want to carry it around. I was VERY impressed with the photos in their original state but of course I am obsessed with Instagram (have an iPhone? then GET IT!) and I had to edit my favourite photos.

We were very impressed with the Ecomuseum. It’s about a 45+ minute walk outdoors and there’s this indoor night time sort of thing (the frogs and creepy owl were in that space). Anything in an aquarium, my photos came out very well. I am so excited! My point and click camera does not like low-light photos. Even the almost pitch black section that Mr. Creepy Owl was in – the photos came out. Yay! Anyhow, if you come to Montreal and want to spend $12.50 and see animals that are being cared for (the animals there are all either injured or abandoned, they are not fancy kept for show things). The raccoons and bears were hibernating so we couldn’t see them. I would like to go back in the late spring or early fall and take a look around then as well.

Thursday was a lazy day for most of the day, but in the evening I had my monthly trivia charity event and Shawn filled in for our missing fourth.

The money collected goes to Centraide (The United Way in the rest of the world, of course it is called something different in Quebec because this is a stupid province). Our team is made up of admin staff from the Music faculty, hence the name. 😉

Friday was a weird day. We went out to breakfast, had issues getting to a breakfast place which sort of added some stress into our relaxing day, then we went to see a movie (I Am Number 4 – only because it was the least bad looking movie out. It was… meh… although I now want to read the book, which I didn’t care about over the summer). We came home and I was fighting a horrible migraine  – I had forgotten about the caffeine in the soft drink. I have cut out all caffeine because I have been having awful month-long migraines and it’s been helping. So that one small beverage I had – killed me. And then…

I haven’t said anything on the blog, but Annie’s not been doing very well. She should be turning 13 two weeks from Monday, and I have asked her to please hang on until then, but some days I feel the worst. Since the summer she’s been going on these hunger strikes, she’d have more good days than bad, but now it’s the complete opposite. She’s lost so much weight because she won’t eat anything, for a while all she’d eat was the Beneful wet food and now she’s turning up her nose at that too. At least she’s not pooping blood anymore, that was January’s fun time. Her legs bother her a lot and between the probable arthritis and her lack of strength from not eating, Annie can’t stand up very well or walk very far. She’s better outside than inside (wood floors = slip and slide).

This weekend I have managed to get her to eat a few Kraft singles, an entire small bag of little chewy treats and just tonight half of a tiny bowl of tomato soup. I just want her to eat. Poor thing.

She’s got huge lumps, 3 I think, around her throat and I don’t know if this is causing her to have difficulty eating? She doesn’t get sick after eating and she’s going to the bathroom just fine. She’s not ready to go yet, but she’s on a pretty downward slope. She still gets up to greet us when we come down in the morning and when we get home, so we’re happy with that.

She went about 2 weeks in January, while pooping blood, without eating and then had almost two weeks of eating everything in sight. Luckily the wet food went on sale that week and we could pick up enough to keep her in eating. She should have 3 containers of food at least a day and she wasn’t even eating half of one and then she was eating two a day. I am wondering if she’s going to bounce back like that again. We’ve stopped taking her on walks because just a walk around the block knocks her out for 3-4 days after. It’s sad.

Jinx doesn’t quite get what’s going on so he’s eating all sorts of things he shouldn’t be right now but in small doses so he doesn’t gain 100 lbs while Annie loses weight. He’s also too dopey to figure out that Annie is very fragile now so he still tries to jump on her or push her out of the way when we give her attention and he doesn’t understand why we yell at him. I feel bad, but right now Annie needs the extra care and he needs to stop being such a jealous boots and suck it up.

I am having a very hard time with this, hence the lack of writing about it. Friday Annie had such a bad night I could not stop crying and crying. Then our dryer stopped working with two loads of wet clothes to hang all over the house. I just couldn’t cope.

Shawn called his dad for advice about the dryer Saturday morning and his parents ended up coming over – with a brand new LG front-loading washer and dryer for us. 0.O

This was very surprising and unexpected and I was just so… thankful. We joked that we need to call my father-in-law for advice more often. 😉 I was also happy they came with their dog, Hex so Jinx had someone to play with and we could all be distracted from the Annie issues. And I am happy they got to see her just in case something happens.

So that was my week. I was so stressed and anxious yesterday that I didn’t go to choir or church, but my in-law’s were also here until close to 3pm so it would have just been too much to handle. I couldn’t breathe Friday night and the thought that I had to go back to work on Monday was just too much.

Then our internet stopped working. A videotron guy was here today to fix it even though it was working by this morning. We got a new modem, they think maybe that was the problem. But they don’t know. We are not impressed with videotron I can tell you.

I am ending my week off feeling more anxious than when I started the vacation. I can focus on all the wonderful stuff that happened but in the end, when I close my eyes to sleep, all I see is Annabelle. It’s not easy.

But I’ll leave you with one final photo (happy, J? ;)) to make you smile – goofy Jinx!

i’ll just have the garnish, thank you

Annie hasn’t been eating lately. This is a BIG DEAL because normally we have to keep Annie away from Jinx’s food as she’ll wander on over to him after she vacuums her own food down and try to eat from his bowl. But lately she’s not been eating any food.

Any dog food that is.

Due to Annie’s tendency to not chew but just suction up her food, pilling her is ridiculously easy. We put the pill in her food and it’s gone in a nano-second with the rest of her kibble. It’s been harder this last month as she’s been sniffing her food, looking at us with disgust and then waddling to the other side of the room and plopping down tragically.

We’ve been trying to decide if she’s just playing the “I want something else” game, or if something is wrong. The vet checked her out yesterday at our annual appointment and she doesn’t have a fever or anything blocking her little doggy bum. It could just be her age. In fact the day she turned 12 (March 7) she seems to have just gotten OLD. That’s about the time she stopped eating her food as often. She’ll eat anything else if offered and she’s not throwing up or anything. So maybe she’s just gone back to her original ways of not being all that food-oriented now that she’s a crotchety old lady.

Jinx has never been one to care much about his food bowl. He’s one of those dogs who could just have his food left out and he’d eat it whenever. We got strict with the meal times due to Annie’s increase in appetite with her allergy medication. We couldn’t leave Jinx’s food down. He had to eat it in the allotted time or he’d get another chance at the next meal (breakfast and dinner).

Neither of them are really eating now, which is just an odd thing in our house. Part of the problem is Jinx tends to only start to pick at his food AFTER Annie has eaten. And by pick I mean eat one…piece…at…a…time. He’s the slowest eater I have ever met in the dog world. He chews each piece individually, walks around, checks everyone out and then goes back for piece number 2. Weird.

So pilling Annie is getting to be a challenge. We’ve been mixing in a quarter of a can of wet food on pill mornings, or if we’re out of that, we’ll wrap it in a kraft single. It’s not that we have to hide it from her, it’s just that we have to get her to EAT in order to get pilled. This morning I had heartworm pill #1 to give her and as she was coughing a lot all night I decided she needed an allergy pill as well. I put some left over hamburger in her bowl (and Jinx’s of course) just to encourage the eating this morning (she only ate yesterday’s breakfast at 4:30 pm that afternoon). And so she ate cleverly this morning and when I looked up I had food all over the floor. Tricky Missy.

She ate the heartworm pill in her gobbling of the meat, but missed the teeny-tiny allergy pill. Drat. Out came the cheese for that one. I wanted her to stop coughing, I could have given her the other pill any time today.

I love that she spits out the kibble from her mouthfuls of beef. (That’s what she said?) She also give me a glare with each piece she spits out. It’s heart warming I tell you. I can just feel her love.

Jinx isn’t as easy to pill. I put it in his food with the burger on the off chance he make a mistake. But that dog examines everything he puts in his mouth that isn’t mud or poop. So I put it in cheese. He spit out the pill and ate the cheese. So I ended up pilling him the traditional way by ramming my finger down his throat. I hate doing that, I feel cruel.

So my picky Belly is lying across the room staying as far away from her food bowl as possible. I’m waiting for Jinx to realize there is food on the floor (because that is the BEST tasting food!) and I’ll let him clean it up. Whether they eat from their own bowl or the other’s bowl I don’t care right now. I just want to make sure they eat. 😉

birthday belly turns 12!

My self-imposed promise that I would stay away from the computer this weekend to help my eyes heal is being broken just for this important event. Annie turns 12 today!

Trying to snap a photo of her this morning in the lovely spring-ish sun proved to be difficult due to the fact that Jinx felt he had to be the center of every photo. Each time I snapped a photo he’d push his head in and push Annie away as the shutter clicked. Great. Thanks, Jinx. I managed to get a couple of non-blurry shots of Annie with only a hint of Jinx (just don’t look at the right side of the photo) but I seem to have lost her ears in them. Oops.

It feels like only yesterday that Annie came into our lives, when in fact it was in November 2002, a week after I had my ruptured appendix taken out and had a 6-inch incision in my abdomen which was still glued together. We had our first storm of the winter that month when Linda drove up from Memphis in her huge truck that didn’t have snow tires. Annie seemed like the most beautiful dog I had ever seen. She was almost all black with only the little raccoon eyes that she still  has now and she was very pregnant. It wasn’t until the puppies were weaned that she came back to live with me full time at the end of January 2003.

Now? I can hardly think of a time in my life where I didn’t have Annie with me all the time. Annie has filled a part of my soul that no other dog ever has. Yes, I loved Lady, the dog my family had growing up and I adored Kewpie for the brief time we got to spend together and of course I love Jinx Puppy. But there’s always been this connection with Annie that I have never had with another dog. Even in October 1998 when Miriam and I flew down to Linda’s for the first time to adopt Kewpie I met Annie for the first time (only I didn’t remember until she came to live with me). Annie was 7 months old on that trip and she was all black with little brown eyebrows and she stood over me when I got knocked over from all the puppies and licked my face. I remember joking that I was going to sneak back home with her that weekend.

Seems like fate that we ended up together.

And now my Annabelly is 12 years old and she’s a much more dog-like creature than the cat-like one she started out as. Her tail wags (although somewhat stiffly) when we get home. She yips at us when we come home or come down the stairs in the morning. No other barking does she do, not for anyone but us when she’s happy to see us return. She loves to be pet and have her belly rubbed. She’s even started to catch Jinx’s toys if we toss them at her. This has been something in the last year she’s added to her repertoire… I think it’s only because she’s curious as to why Jinx loves these toys (when they are obviously NOT food) and we make such a big deal when he plays with us. She’ll spit the toy out almost as soon as she catches it and then look at the treat cupboard, but still, she’s playing.

Annie sadly is covered in lumps (which the vet says are like fat tumours? I can’t think of the name.) and seems to have a couple of growths on her. This doesn’t seem to bother her much except for being uncomfortable lying on the floor, which is why we got her that big ol’ cushion (which she fails at). She’s still energetic and loves her walks and loves her cuddles, she seems in better spirits and health now that she ever has. But still, at 12 I tend to get nervous.

I believe Annie is the last of her family right now. Her sire George (the first Finnish Lapphund I have ever met) passed away on New Year’s and her brother Dan, who carried our rings, died suddenly and out of the blue last month from a stroke. Dan’s passing had me in tears for two days and I still tear up when I see him in a photo. Her dam, Jessica (who was also Kewpie’s half-sister) passed away a couple of years ago as did her two sisters. George and Jessica were my two favourite Lappies at Linda’s. They have held special places in my heart since 1998.

Happy birthday to my Queen Annabelly. May you live long and healthy in the years to come. I, personally, hope you will live forever. I love you.