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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

the most difficult goodbye

Tonight we said goodbye to Jinx.

The loss of every pet is beyond difficult, but some hurt in different ways and some seem like they hurt more. We were devastated when we lost Annie back in 2011. She was just shy of her 13th birthday, and she was old. And although Annabelly was my soulmate dog, Jinx… well, Jinx is our heart.

This fluffy, perfect gentleman of a dog was the most polite, dignified, and happy dog I have ever known. Jinx was just so full of love. Love for everyone and everything (except for squirrels). He was the happiest of creatures, his tail always up and wagging.

Jinx was diagnosed with lymphoma this month, and it was apparently very aggressive. Over Father’s Day weekend we noticed that Jinx was peeing a LOT. So much that we made a vet appointment a week later and we all thought he just had a urinary infection, but we did a blood panel anyhow, just in case. Aside from the excessive urination and drinking, Jinx seemed fine. Just tired from all the peeing. He was eating well, we was still happy and bouncy. He started having trouble holding himself up on his back legs, but we thought maybe he was just in pain because of the urinary issue. He had antibiotics and that seemed to help after a week’s time. But then we got the blood test results (2 days later) and Jinx’s calcium levels were 2.5 times what they should be. It was severe and dangerous. So we did another blood test to see why there was the calcium issue. And after those tests, the vet did an extra exam to see if there were any swollen lymph nodes. And there were. A few, only they were hardly enlarged at all. She took samples for biopsies and on Friday last week we got the call that they came back positive.

Jinx had cancer.

More specifically, Jinx had lymphoma. We met with the vet Monday evening and discussed options. We were supposed to see an oncologist today, but Jinx hasn’t been eating since Friday (without us forcing food into him by syringe) and the oncologist had already told the vet that Jinx’s prognosis wouldn’t be great even with thousands of dollars of treatment. Without treatment, he gave Jinx less than a month left. We were going to meet with him anyhow, but this morning… we made the decision that we needed to for Jinx. He was obviously suffering. He just lies in one spot and his breathing is laboured. He’s not eating (although he apparently goes CRAZY for McDonald’s fries. So we fed him a bunch of those last night.) and he’s sad.

Jinx isn’t ever sad. He’s happy, offended by impropriety and squirrels, and gets a little down if someone is upset in the house, but he’s never sad. And it’s obvious he’s unhappy and in pain. So we cancelled the oncologist appointment (4 months isn’t something I’d wish on Jinx) and I called our vet.

This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. It was tough with Annie, but she let us know she was ready. And we knew it was coming. With Jinx… we’ve had about 4 weeks to watch him get worse, then better, then worse, and then… cancer.

Out of nowhere. He was FINE in April when we went for our annual checkup. Maybe we should have had a blood panel done then. Maybe we would have noticed the calcium thing then, but it would have been a treatable thing. But we weren’t going to do any blood work until he was 10 because 9 isn’t that old for a Finnish Lapphund. Especially not a perfectly healthy one.

Our little puppy, always a puppy in manner and action. Goofy, loveable, proper. Waggling tail. Always waiting to be invited onto the couch, bed, or to take food from you. Always making sure you don’t stand too close together when you hug (No, puppies!). Always telling you off when you have the audacity to walk backwards, or try to sneak up on someone. Nothing aggressive, just a warning BIG YAWN and if that doesn’t get the message through, he lets out a little RAOOOF to let you know he means business.

Jinx has had four homes in his lifetime. His first four months were spent in Tennessee until he drove all the way up here (yes, on his own) and joined us on our wedding day, then we had a lovely year in Verdun – until the house fire. Jinx spent his formative (read: CHEW ALL THE THINGS) year with us in the basement of my in-laws’ home for a year after the fire before we were able to move into our own home. Our first home owned completely my ourselves. While living with his Pawpaw and Mama in that basement, he managed to help them remodel a few wooden items, like their deck. He also loved to carry around rocks and logs of wood. One of his favourite toys that year was a chunk of  foundation cement that his Pawpaw had drilled out of the wall to install a vent.

Most of the chewing was out of Jinx’s system by the time we bought this house. There were a few incidents while here, but we realized after the loss of Annie, that she might have been framing him all this time. Jinx is a good dog and generally, if you tell him not to do something just once, he’ll listen. He doesn’t like to upset people and he doesn’t like to do the wrong thing. He’s a tender soul. Kind. Gentle as all get out. Playing with smaller dogs, or children, he’s so gentle and lightly paws at them, or rolls over on his side so they can jump all over him. We have always been surprised and impressed by Jinx’s gentle and thoughtful nature. He really had a human sort of nature when it came to understanding things. And honestly, he was better that a human because he just LOVED so hard and so unconditionally (unless you were a squirrel or a rat).

You could tell Jinx something once. Just once. He would get it. And you could have conversations with him, and he would GET it. He understood tone. He understood moods. (He was scared of bad, angry moods, and would hide in another room. But if you were sad or sick? He was right there next to you, with a paw on your arm.)

Jinx loved to play soccer. He would kick a ball around with his paws forever when he was younger. He would squeak the squeakers out of squeaky toys for hours. He would eat the ears off toys and destroy indestructible toys within 10 minutes of taking them out of the bag. He loved to sunbathe. He hated shade. Our arctic breed dog, loved the sun. I’d tell him to get in the shade and he’s slink back on to the deck and sort of lie in the shade. He knew the letter of the law and he knew how to manipulate it. He knew. We never explained to him what “sun” and “shade” was. But the first time we said, “Jinx, get out of the sun and into the shade, you dopey dog.” he walked right into the shade and laid down. He was smart. He was sweet. He was sneaky about getting sun when he could. We always watched him closely because we didn’t want him to get heatstroke. Never thought cancer would be in the cards.

The most surprising thing I learned about Jinx was that he loved to garden. We’d never had a garden before and a few years ago I planted some cucumbers and tomatoes to see if I could get anything to grow and Jinx took over that garden so fast. Not once did he destroy anything, there was no pottying, no chewing, just absolute GLEE in wandering through the plants and snuffling everything. He’s the one who would alert me to ripe cucumbers (which he LOVED) and tomatoes (which he HATES). His love of the garden quickly became our summer amusement and for the last three years, Jinx has been a proud gardener and the garden has thrived. This year, Jinx hasn’t really been down there since the plants only really started to grow after Father’s Day weekend, so they are all smaller and less fruitful than normal. It’s rather sad.

He loved that garden though and he was a surprisingly good gardener for a dog. He had a Green Paw and I don’t even have a Green Thumb!

We couldn’t let Jinx continue to suffer and although this entire day has been almost nothing but tears, Jinx has been bombarded with love and McDonalds fries and hugs. My sister and nephew came over to say goodbye. The new neighbours who have Ellie, the Golden Retriever that Jinx Looooooves, came over after work and they sat in the backyard with us, and said their goodbyes to Jinx. Ellie, as in her fashion, barked at Jinx almost the entire time. They were a sweet couple for the last 6 months. Aside from some private messages and texts, the only social media that this was announced on was instagram and the outpouring of love from friends over Jinx has been so heartfelt.

We took Sophie with us tonight when we went to the vet. We didn’t want her to see us leave the house with Jinx and then come back without him. And it would help us to have her to hug and kiss and cry into after we left without Jinx. So all four of us were together in the examination room when Jinx got his shot of morphine.

We all said goodbye as a family.

I could be there for that, but I couldn’t stay with him for the rest. Shawn stayed with Jinx through it all. He was there for him, like he was for Annie, so that they weren’t alone for their final moments. Jinx was all comfortable on a blanket, on the floor of the room. (I didn’t even tell the vet how much Jinx loved fuzzy blankets, but they had one for him just the same!)

We did something for Jinx that we didn’t do for Annie. We will be getting his ashes back in an urn. We both had the same thought – we needed something for Jinx’s Garden. We both had another idea at the same time earlier today when we’d made the very difficult decision to call the vet – we wanted a sign for his garden.

We went out to the art store and bought paint and a wooden sign. We (messily) made paw prints on the sign, and I’ll be adding to it (his name, and some coocumber drawings) and then varnishing it. It will hang over his garden. We will have a little Urn (that I can paint myself) to place in the Garden as well. It will say “Jinx – The Happy Gardener” on the plaque.

We said goodbye to the most polite and gentle dog tonight. The best wedding gift ever. The Happiness and Heart of our family. Now we are three, and Sophie is confused – that hurts just as much as losing Jinx. We have each other and Jinx was a wonderful part of our lives for 9 full years.

Sophie will miss you.

Your father will miss you. I will miss you.

Find Annie, Jinxy. She’s out there waiting for you. She’ll take one look at you, sigh, and promptly wash your face and ears like she used to every night after dinner. She will be quite miffed that you haven’t kept up the washing, or the dreadlocks behind your ears like she used to make for you. You listen to her well. She’s your Big Sister and loves you. We miss you so much already, Jinxy, but we know Annabelly will look after you now.

I love you Jinxy. Goodbye.

jinx puppy turned nine

Fancy dress for his birthday dinner

Somehow, Jinx Puppy has grown up. It’s like we’ve blinked and he got old. But he’s not old. Yet, on February 28, 2014, our little puppy turned 9-years old! Shawn and I spent the last week of February shaking our heads in disbelief. This little guy – the best wedding gift ever! – was only 4 months old when we met him. How did he grow up so fast?

Looking through photos, I noticed that he celebrated his third birthday in this house. This also means we’ve had the house a long time. Not to mention the fact that we’ll be married nine years come July.

NINE.

Next year will be 10.

TEN!

Shawn and I both still think of Annie as being 7 years old and yet it’s been three years since we lost her. Jinx will forever be our Puppy. Our gentleman puppy. Protector of All Things Proper.

Are you really trying to take a selfie with me? Do you want to be THAT person?

Jinxy sleeps a lot now. He also snores very loudly. He limps a little when he gets up from one of his naps, as I think his hips are possibly bothering him when it’s damp. Once outside, he’ll happily romp around with Sophie in the snow (he loves to pull her tail) but he’ll quickly plop himself down at the bottom of the stairs, in the snow, and chomp away on pieces of ice he has found.

He’s not as spry or sure-footed as he used to be, and really, most of these changes have happened in the last year. Funny how that can happen.

Don’t panic, Mummy. I’m right here. I just need a little more blanket though…

As much as Jinx loves his comforts, and pretty much all of my fuzzy blankets, these days, he’s always there when I desperately need some love. If I’m crying, or really sick, and if I’m having an anxiety attack (as I often do these days) he’ll be right there. Next to me. He’s not a huge snuggler, not like Sophie. But when he knows I need that extra comfort, Jinx is there. He’ll put his paw on me, or sneak his head into (or at least, squished up right next to) my lap. He’ll beg me for pets and snuggles by pulling at my arm with his paw. He’s sensitive and caring. He’s my protector. He’s my comfort.

Wild party times for Jinx’s 9th birthday!

My little boy is technically a senior now, but he’ll always be our puppy. He looks like a puppy and most of the time acts like a puppy (a very well behaved one!) What a weird reality to accept!

Happy birthday, Billionaire Jinx Puppy! There were no party hats, just a nice tie. I know how much you like things to be proper. I love you, you big goofus.

diary of a non-jogger – i will be the unicorn!

End of  Week 1 Redux

Today marks the end of the second time I have done the Week 1 training routine for my Couch to 5K app. This means I have successfully run 6 times in the last 2 weeks. (And there was that unsuccessful almost half-way through the first day of Week 2 in the middle, so did run 7 days, sort of…) As much as I have to push myself through those last 3 60-second runs, I am seeing progress in my distance while running and my pace. I don’t feel like collapsing and giving up before I read the half-way mark and I am not as beat up when I end the 31 minutes.

I think I will give myself one more week of this schedule and then attempt the Week 2 schedule again. I am still not convinced I will be able to run for 90 seconds, since towards the end of this one I am struggling with the 60 seconds. I am not going to force myself to get through if it’s too painful/difficult. Right now I am at my limit of what I can push myself to do and I am not injured & beat afterwards.

I think I might also open my Runkeeper app and see if the distance matches up, I’m confused as to how it’s always so different. Not to mention it stops calculating when the time is up, so when my 5 minute cool-down is over, the distance stops. I still have to continue to walk HOME. I don’t just POOF where I am. Obviously. =P

As much as this can hurt physically while my body gets used to it, and as little fun as it actually is, I find that it is helping me. Not just with the weight loss/getting in shape, but with my mood and with the anxiety. I mean, to top off all the traumatic stuff from 2 weeks ago, this week my husband was given notice that he’s got 2 months of work left as his company laid off 2/3 of their office in Montreal. LOVELY.

I still feel like I might never be able to run 5K, or even more than 60 seconds at a time with a break in-between, but there’s a noticeable difference between now and the first day I tried this, so I am trying to believe it will happen. At my own pace. I try not to get discouraged and/or jealous of all the “I just ran 5, 7, 10k in x-amount of time!” posts I see my friends writing. These people are runners. They didn’t just step out the door for the first time and run 7km. Some people might be able to do that, sure, but it’s not me. I will just be happy when I can run those 90-second bouts in this training thing. The weather is HOPEFULLY getting nicer finally (I didn’t run on Friday because of the SNOW STORM. Really, April. Get over it.) and I hope running will be easier when it’s not so chilly.

I think I will have a teeny, tiny window of decent weather though before it gets way too hot to want to do anything. Running in damp, cold is one thing. Running in extreme heat and humidity isn’t going to be fun either.

But I will do this. I will don my Runnin’ Rhino t-shirt and I will BE that unicorn!

diary of a non-jogger – i get by with a little help from my friends *waggle*

Me and my pink hi-lighter hair took to the streets again this evening when we got home from work. You can’t tell in this photos, but I had a cute little poof and aqua bow hair-style going on today. Aqua looks GREAT with fluorescent troll-doll hair, btw.

I didn’t go to aqua fit today. My body hurt. Rather, my bones felt like they were hurting. I am great at listening to my body, so I made the call and skipped AF today. I went out to lunch with Mo and friends instead. They ate, I had a snack and looked forward to my home-made lunch back at the office. Thing was, on the way back to the office, a construction site dropped something that was so loud and sounded so similar to the jumper hitting the pavement two weeks ago that it freaked me out. A lot.

Mo, Jo and Erin all fussed around me and I took deep breaths and we crossed the street. My heart was in my throat and tears were in my eyes. And just as I was telling them that I’ll be ok, but wow, it was exactly two weeks ago TODAY that the incident happened –  IT HAPPENED AGAIN! We passed a delivery truck that ALSO dropped something heavy and loud as we passed it. I swear I thought I was going to pass out. Mo, the blessing of a friend that she is, took my arm and petted me as we walked away saying “everyone is alive and well. No one has died.” And although I KNEW I was safe, my body was in hi-alert mode and up until I went running, I was still very shaky.

So I made the decision when I got home – I was running (or attempting to) before we ate. I said I’d go alone. I’d take Jinx. But Shawn came with me and walked the dogs. I did take Jinx though because the last two days we went out, as soon as I started walking BACK to Shawn & dogs, Jinxy would start to bound to me looking all happy and tail-wagging. Therefore I said I would try taking him with me this time. If it didn’t work out, I’d just drop him off with Shawn on one of my walks.

As soon as I took hold of Jinx’s leash he wanted to RUUUUNNNN!! He was so very, very happy. I kept talking him down to a fast trot because “Mummy’s only on her 5 minute walking warm-up, sweetie. We’ll run soon!”

And he RAN! He was so happy the entire walk. I started out trying to keep him even with me, but he wanted to bound ahead, so I let the leash go a little (it’s a 6 foot leash, so why not use it?) and he just GALOOOMPHED! ahead of me and would slowdown, look back at me and settle into a nice trot for him as I ran.

Honestly, as much as my body ached (not in a concerning way) and didn’t want to run tonight, watching Jinx bound and be so blissfully happy that he got to run with me, was inspiring and made me forget about “how much time is left in this stupid 60 seconds” and how much I hurt (not in a concerning way) and I ran faster.

Jinx was slowing down in the end and I did do one 60-second jaunt without him because he just wanted to stand and sniff. I gave him to Shawn for that. The poor boy IS 8 years old now and running isn’t something he’s used to either. But that 60 seconds was HARD and I had to stop, but as I stopped the chime sounded to start walking so, go, me! I took Jinxy on the last run and he was happy to be back with me. As long as it’s cool I will try running with him again. Finnish Lapphunds cannot do heat at all and I don’t want to give him heat stroke or a heart attack. 🙁

So I did my 31 minutes of running/walking and I listened to my body.

My shoes are fine. They were bought from The Running Room and they make an amazing difference in running than any other show I have ever tried to run in. What hurts is my body reacting to the running. To my feet hitting pavement. I feel the pain in my bones (with the exception of the back cramps I get randomly… I have no idea why??) I can tell the difference between pain and BAD pain. I have been dealing with chronic pain issues for years now, I assure you all I am very in tune with my body. I just pay attention to what I am feeling and where I am feeling it as I run. I am curious as to how each time out something feels different or the same or better or worse.

For instance, my lungs don’t hurt at all. I can BREATHE while I run, which is a new thing. I am not breaking down into a 15 minute bronchial cough once I get home and stop running. I am not gasping for air in a painful way as I stop running and start to walk. I can take deep breaths and have been getting better at breathing while I run. I consider this an accomplishment and I sort of feel that if there’s hope for my lungs, there’s hope for my bones. I am not feeling pain in my muscles (very much, anyhow) it’s a deeper ache that doesn’t feel wrong, it just feels different and it is different every time I go out.

BUT I can almost reach over and put my nose to my knees when I reach for my toes sitting down. (You know the leaning forward with legs out in front of you?)

I am still pushing myself to make it through these 9 broken-up minutes of running though. It’s not easy and I sometimes feel like it won’t ever be easy, that I’ll never be able to run more than 60s at once. I am going to try though and having Jinx along helps me get through it without thinking about how much I have left (until I am sure I have 3 runs left and I start each one with “Oh, GOD!” as I set out. heh)

I am enjoying listening to my body when I am out there doing this. It keeps my mind off other things like work, school and stupid jumpers. And.. I’m starting to not hate the way I look in photos either. So, there’s that.

So, to Mo, Jo, Erin, Jinxy, Sophie and my extremely wonderful & patient husband – thank you for making this all a little bit easier. I couldn’t do any of this without you.

that time our dog beat us at cards

Christmas vacation means that I get to spend time with one of my dearest friends, Jill. We’ve been friends since the first day of high school, way back in 1988. Yikes. We’re old. Jill is also Jinx’s girlfriend. He looooooooves her so much. More than I have ever seen him love any other female we have had over. Jill’s visit this year was during our huge snowstorm (45.5 cm in one day!) and it was iffy getting her to our house, but we managed. Sadly, our traditional meal of St Hubert BBQ chicken wasn’t a reality since the restaurant was closed due to the storm. (It takes a LOT for something in our area to close for snow, so that’s an idea of how bad it was out.) Jill brought with her a card game, much like Apples to Apples only for people with sick and twisted minds. Cards Against Humanity is a game of association. Everyone gets dealt a hand of 10 white cards and with each turn one person turns over a black card and you have to put down what you think would go best with the prompt. The person whose turn it is picks which response is best. If your card is chosen, you get to keep the black card.

Jinx started off all sweetness and light, with “cuddling”.

You need at least four people to play this game so Jill dealt a faux hand, then Jinx settled himself down next to the cards on the table. We called that Jinx’s hand. We would just toss a card from his hand on to the table to mix in with ours. It started off as a joke but quickly dissolved into more when the Jinx hand began to crush us all in winning plays!

I won, Mummy! I won! Can I have a treat now?

There are some really crass, crude and politically incorrect cards in this game. It happens to be hilarious. It’s especially hilarious when the cards played from Jinx’s hand fit perfectly with whatever the prompt was. Or when they were just so horrible it was too much to handle coming from the Gentleman Jinx on the floor.

My name is Jinx and I am SO GOOD AT THIS GAME! *waggle*waggle* I’m beating Mummy AND Jill!

Seriously. Jinx’s hand just kept winning and he was laying, sitting or standing right there almost the entire night. We laughed so hard at the answers being played, both by human and dog, and we were stone cold sober. We played until we hit the bottom of the black card deck, which means we did this for almost FOUR hours. It was hilarious. I think I burned a zillion calories just from laughing.

One of the answers to one of the prompts was “Puppies!!!” and Jill joked that Jinx had played that card – turns out, she was right (photographic evidence above). The next time Jinx played an awesomely funny card was during this hand:

You call me Billionaire Jinx Puppy, of COURSE I’d play BATMAN!!! (Also, he’s just cool.)

The fact that the Batman card is in all caps with three exclamation marks just made it extra hilarious that it came from Jinx. Also, he totally won that round.

Some of the cards are fill in the blanks. Some are random questions and some cards get a little personal…

Not funny, game.

I don’t think there were many rounds without laughter. This was just so fun and if you follow me on twitter, instagram or facebook you’ll have noticed I kept posting these photos. Turns out I desperately need this game. So I signed up on their website to be notified when they are back in stock. This game sells out. Fast.

Jinx’s hand started off really sweet and innocently. The cards from that phantom hand were all nice like cuddling… then Jinx began to concern us. He had an awful lot of answers about BALLS! and not the tennis kind. We think he might be a little bitter about getting “tutored” when he was a puppy. And sometimes, his answers really concerned us and we might want to consider getting him some therapy…

Ethnic cleansing? Really, Jinx? Really??

I am sure playing this game with 4 actual people (or more) will be just as entertaining, but honestly, having Jinx laying next to “his” hand in this game made for a lot of extra laughs. Not to mention – he beat the pants off all of us. He came in first, second was Shawn, third Jill and I was last place.

Snowstorm or not, this was one fun evening. Even if we were beat by our dog. 😉

Good boy, Jinx. Don’t mind us, we’re just removing all sharp objects from the house now…