My furry family and I live in Atlanta. I care for a 12 year old pittbull mix (Brendol) who underwent an amputation of her front right leg for bone cancer. I also care for a 10 1/2 year old chow/border collie mix (Aissa) and two sister cats that are 3 (Mathilde and Morrigan).
Our community suffered another loss yesterday, and as it tends to happen, it led me to thoughts of you.
My beautiful, sweet, happy girl. That lived for moments wedged beside me or chasing glimmers of light. It’s surreal how time can move so slowly and quickly all at once. For, at this moment, it seems odd that you have truly been gone for over 3 years. My sweetpea, you know I think of you all the time. I talk about you to so many people. I haven’t written in your blog in over a year, but you haven’t been replaced. That could never happen. <3
For anyone that hasn’t seen Brendol’s blog before, I now use it as my letters to my girl. There isn’t much insight here. Just meanderings through my memory. But I try to always leave a few pictures for enjoyment. Following are pictures from my office. Complete with the large print of my Brendol that still is displayed with prominence. Anyone that enters my office, knows that I am a lover of animals.
A year and a half ago, Adelaide and I found a little 6 month old black kitten in the freezing cold and made him a part of the family. We already had two black cat sisters, Mathilde and Morrigan. So, when trying to think of a name for this little guy, I was trying to come up with a name that started with an “M”. But nothing seemed to fit. Then the idea hit that what if I gave him a name that started with a “B” in honor on my B, Brendol. Plus, even though he’s another black cat in the family, he’s a boy and not one of the sisters. Therefore, he became Bagheera (the black panther in Jungle Book).
Now, some of y’all, like Sally, have said all along that Brendol sent Bagheera to us. And I don’t disagree. But today, a light bulb went off.
I was getting the pups (Adelaide and Aissa) ready to go outside this morning, and my phone made a reflection bounce across the wall. Whooo Bagheera’s eyes lit up, ears perked, and he was ready to play. And there was the light bulb. That is exactly what my B always did. She loved her tinkerbells. So I played with him with the tinkerbell for a little bit and then took the girls out. While walking the girls, I was thinking, you know, B was my cuddler. Well, Bagheera is now my cuddler.
From the first 5 minutes I had brought him inside, his favorite spot is this…
That’s me in the pink, underneath him, about 1 week after he came to live here. This next picture is him from this past week.
Then, I thought, well, nah. He’s such a little shit too. He chases Mathilde and Morrigan and pounces on Morrigan all the time. Brendol wasn’t like that. But….. well….. Brendol did love to jump at the cats and make them run. She wouldn’t pounce on them. She just thought it was fun to make them run. She would act like she was going to pounce on them. And then when they ran, she would turn to me with a goofy grin like, “Did ya see that? Made ’em run!” So, maybe that too is like my B.
Sally – you know where this led me. You got it. BUBBLES
What about bubbles? Brendol loved her bubbles. I have tried the bubbles with Bagheera. And I do have catnip bubbles (yes they make them). Well, let’s see.
It’s wasn’t love. He sat through my blowing two sets of bubbles, but then he took off. I let him smell the bubbles, think the catnip my change his mind. But no. He does not share this love.
He still shares a lot with our Brendol. And Miss Brendol is always looking over us and him. Here is where he fled too. And if you look in the background, you will see the pastel sketch of who other than our B.
And the bubble session that he wasn’t enjoying? Let’s take a look at those pictures more closely…
That is Brendol’s urn and paw print, sitting on the end table, always watching over us.
So there were signs, everywhere signs, that Brendol is here and keeping an eye on us and doing what she can to still take care of her family. And she has had some influence in the new addition to the family, even when I wasn’t paying attention.
To end on a fun note, Bagheera recovered from the bubble attack quickly and played on his cat tree with his kitty kong. Here is a short vid eo for your viewing pleasure. And FYI, he is laying on top of my as I write this, in HIS spot. (Thank you my Brendol, love you my sweetpea)
Whew, sometimes the memories of you and sadness that you are no longer here hits me suddenly and like a ton of bricks. I was talking with Star’s mom, Jayne, tonight and her pictures of Coco sure reminded me of you. So I showed her some of your beautiful pictures and a video of you and your bubbles… with tears streaming down my face. Of course, your video also made me smile. You were such a special girl. I may not blog about you much, but you are never far from my heart and mind. This Christmas you would have been approximately 14. Your birthday was most likely in December by vet estimations. For any new readers, or old friends that just want to reminisce with me, here are a few oldies and goodies (turn your volume down)…
Yeah, it’s not a day I want to mourn. But it’s hard to “celebrate” it either. Because one year ago today, I had to let you go. But that also means that one year ago, your pain and worries were left behind. So, for you, what a celebration to be freed from such things. For me… well, my heart will have a little crack in it with your name on it for the rest of my life.
I sure do miss you little girl.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss
“The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is: a miracle and unrepeatable.” – Storm Jameson
“If we are ever to enjoy life, now is the time, not tomorrow or next year…Today should always be our most wonderful day.” – Thomas Dreier
“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa
“Every day should be passed as if it were to be our last.” – Publilius Syrus
Good-night! good-night! as we so oft have said
Beneath this roof at midnight, in the days
That are no more, and shall no more return.
Thou hast but taken up thy lamp and gone to bed;
I stay a little longer, as one stays
To cover up the embers that still burn. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Life is eternal, and love is immortal,
and death is only a horizon;
and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. ~Rossiter Worthington Raymond
…and now I sit here crying. Sure miss you my sweet girl. I don’t say it a lot, but it’s true never-the-less. I look at the big photos and artworks that I have of you every day. And I stop by your urn without much thought and give you a little rub or pat and tell you I love you. It is so not the same as having you squished up next to me sleeping. Sweet muzzle resting on my belly or arm. I don’t think anyone else will ever cuddle with me as well as you did.
Remember this? Your vacation to Savannah. That was a pretty good time.
Puppy dog eyes for treats… (you were only about a year and a half here)
Well folks, the Morris Animal Foundation walk in Los Gatos, CA is coming up soon and Team Tripawds will be participating at the April 13th event. A donation to this worthy cause was made in Brendol’s honor and I wanted to get a tribute ribbon put together for her for the Oaktown Pack to add to the tribute leash.
I couldn’t find a ribbon narrow enough that I liked, so I took a 2″ ribbon and cut it in half. Here’s B’s ribbon and charm.
The little crystal is in honor of her love of chasing tinker bells (light that gets reflected off shiny things) and so are the little beads at the end. And the polka dots are of course in honor of her love of chasing bubbles. But the permanent marker bled on the fabric type of the ribbon, so I overlayed it with the glitter glue…
You are never far from my mind. I even keep catching myself hollaring at Addy and calling her Brendol. Love you my little girl.
For more information on the Morris Animal Foundation, the Team Tripawd participation at Los Gatos, CA, the Oaktown Pack, or the Tribute Leash Project, click on the links within the blog. Thanks.
Just catching you up. We keep swimming along here without you. But miss you every day. You would have turned 13 about a month ago. Never knew your exact birthday, but know it’s probably around December. And at this time last year, you were not feeling so good and I had just found out on January 31st that you had osteosarcoma. So I was researching like crazy on the web and crying a lot and hugging you more. On February 6th, we got rid of that painful awful leg so that you could feel better, and you did. Who would have thought that at this time this year, you would no longer be snuggled up beside me. And instead of you here, there is now the additions of Adelaide and Bagheera.
Yep, that’s right. Nearly 4 weeks ago, your sister Adelaide found this little 6 month old boy hanging out out back on a cold cold morning. Don’t know why, but he crawled right up into my arms and hasn’t left since, so a little boy has been added to the Girl household. You’d be having a blast with Adelaide taunting him I’m sure. You always thought it was so fun to make the cats run. I was thinking of naming him with something that started with an “M” so go along with his new feline sisters. But I wasn’t finding anything that sparked my interest. And then I ran across Bagheera, the black panther in the Jungle Book. And I liked that the character was sweet and charismatic. And I liked that it started with a “B”, just like my Brendol. This is Bagheera:
It’s been slow going integrating the household, but we are getting there. For the last few nights, he has been running free in the house with Adelaide hanging out too. And yesterday, I got both of them chilling on the couch together.
You missed a decent snow this past week. I still remember when you were introduced to your first snow. We were in Dallas, and you ran ovals in the back yard banking so hard that as your were turning at full speed, your waist was almost brushing the ground. You had such a blast. Well, this was another one like that. Not deep still, but fun enough to run in. Your sister Adelaide had fun with it, it was her first snow too. I kept thinking about how you were.
And then there is your sister Aissa. She’s been doing pretty good. I can see her slowing down, like you did. Not that she was every a big ball of energy like you and Addy were as young’uns. But slower never the less. She still knows how to have a good time though. And she’s keeping Adelaide in line as much as she can.
Anyways, we all miss you. We all love you. And I love you from the bottom of my heart. You were and will always be my Baby B and my Poochy Butt and my Sweat Pea.
Warning, anyone in a happy mood may not want to read.
Brendol, my baby.
It is Christmas and the holidays just aren’t the same. Don’t worry about me, I’m ok. But my heart hurt today because you aren’t here with me. I was driving home and thinking about how my friends gave me dog related gifts and the two dog plaques that I got to take to my office. And where would I put them? Which got me to thinking about your lovely big picture of you chasing your bubbles and so happy. And then it shot through my heart that you weren’t going to be at home when I got there. It made my heart physically hurt as much as it did the moment you left.
Maybe my playing with my friend’s pup Sadie also reminded me of you. She is a little brindle bulldog. And while you were not a brindle, it does have the link to why you were named Brendol (long story hunh). But her hair was short and sleek like yours and she was so solid and rolly polly. You were so solid, I loved holding you in my arms. I wish I could have kept you safe forever, even from cancer. But it wasn’t meant to be.
I miss you my baby girl, and I wish you were here for me to hold. I love you. I will always love you.
In honor of what would have been Brendol’s approximate 13th Birthday this December, I wanted to remind everyone to give their fuzzy kids a hug. And if your fuzzy boy or girl is now at the Rainbow Bridge, and if you do not have other furry friends, then a human hug will suffice.
Type in “health benefits of hugs” in a google search bar and you will find a number of articles about how hugs have been scientifically proven to aid in fighting depression, relieving stress, creating healthy bonds between people, increasing levels of oxytocin, reduces blood pressure, decreases the risk of heart disease, and decreases levels of the stress hormone cortisol in women. What this search does not specify is that hugs do not have to be just people. Think about how you feel when you give your dog or cat a hug and you will most likely identify that there is a sense of contentment, relaxation, and love. And that has to be reducing blood pressure, relieving stress, and increasing your serotonin levels. So hugging your fuzzy friend is good for you and good for them.
Many members of the tripawds site are going through some very stressful events for themselves and their pets. Surgery being the biggest. But also the stress of recovery, health uncertainties like those diagnosed with cancers, and behavior changes. It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. Additionally, we are coming up on the most stressful time of year. According to a study by the APA (American Psychological Association) 38% of people feel more stress during the holiday season that at other times of the year. Layer that on top of what may already be a stres sful time for a tripawd parent, and that is a lot of stress. When the study narrowed it down to women, 44% of women said they felt more stress. (http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2006/12/holiday-stress.pdf)
The following is a list of 10 reasons we need at least 8 hugs a day according to an online article published on MindBodyGreen.com:
1. The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety. This helps with open and honest communication.
2. Hugs can instantly boost oxytocin levels, which heal feelings of loneliness, isolation, and anger.
3. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.
4. Hugs strengthen the immune system. The gentle pressure on the sternum and the emotional charge this creates activates theSolar Plexus Chakra. This stimulates the thymus gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, which keep you healthy and disease free.
5. Hugging boosts self-esteem. From the time we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. The cuddles we received from our Mom and Dad while growing up remain imprinted at a cellular level, and hugs remind us at a somatic level of that. Hugs, therefore, connect us to our ability to self love.
6. Hugging relaxes muscles. Hugs release tension in the body. Hugs can take away pain; they soothe aches by increasing circulation into the soft tissues.
7. Hugs balance out the nervous system. The galvanic skin response of someone receiving and giving a hug shows a change in skin conductance. The effect in moisture and electricity in the skin suggests a more balanced state in the nervous system – parasympathetic.
8. Hugs teach us how to give and receive. There is equal value in receiving and being receptive to warmth, as to giving and sharing. Hugs educate us how love flows both ways.
9. Hugs are so much like meditation and laughter. They teach us to let go and be present in the moment. They encourage us to flow with the energy of life. Hugs get you out of your circular thinking patterns and connect you with your heart and your feelings and your breath.
10. The energy exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship. It encourages empathy and understanding. And, it’s synergistic, which means the whole is more than the sum of its parts: 1 1 = 3 or more! This synergy is more likely to result in win-win outcomes.
Of course I have nothing to post about. We have no more chemo triumphs or bubble parties. Just wanted to touch base with the tripawd world because it would break my heart for my baby girl to be forgotten. The other night as I was leaving the office and Brendol’s picture was on my screens desktop, I could physically remember holding her. The bulk of her in my arms. When she was younger, she was a very muscular girl, so she always had a specific feel. I miss that.
This is the picture that is on my desktop right now… my pretty, happy girl.