Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Parting is such sweet sorrow

I remember the day we adopted Tiggs like it was yesterday. Earlier in the week, I’d been surfing the net (as we said in those days) while I was at work...oops. There was this stripey, five month old puppy at the Larimer Humane Society in Ft. Collins. They had his breed listed as a “pit bull/whippet.” He actually was neither of those things, and I’m sure if they could have listed hyena as a breed, they surely would have.

At the time, we’d just gotten married and we were about one month away from putting everything we owned in storage to travel around North America and climb full time. Not exactly a great time to get a puppy. Never mind that fact that our 8 year old dog, Winnie, also from that same shelter, was not a fan of other dogs (read: dog aggressive). It really wasn’t the time to bring in another dog, but instinctively, I called Adam and told him we should go meet this little pup that day after work - miraculously, he agreed. We arrived, and immediately found the lurpy, goofy looking guy. We had him out in the yard and fell in love instantly. Trying to be sensible, I told Adam we should go home and sleep on it before committing to adopting him. In that moment, Adam picked him up and held him and said, “I think we need him tonight.” This was rather unlike Adam, but after seeing the family next to us we called them The Farkle’s)  sizing him up and filling out the adoption paperwork for him, we decided right then and there we were taking him. We couldn’t let him go with a family that would probably never give him the kind of mountain adventures that  we would. They put him on hold while we ran home to get Winnie. We didn’t know then what we know now, and that could have been dangerous to introduce them the way we did. But by some miracle, Winnie actually loved him. Instantly. That was it, he was ours.

The next month, he pooped all over the house and was as wild and wily as could be. Crate training? What is that? We didn’t have a clue. But in a few weeks, we packed up the truck to hit the road, guessing that his training would be worked out on America’s open roads, in the woods, and at the crags.

For 13 months, Tiggs ran and romped from Ontario, Canada, to the Dirty South, Vegas to Vancouver and everything in between. He made human and dog friends wherever he went and would run for 8 hours a day straight. He rolled in dead things, ate poop and had a blast. We never once worried about him. He was a spaz, our spaz. An eventful stop in New Jersey resulted in him eating a pound of my freshly acquired Mortadella, which he promptly burped back up into my face. That same stop, he chewed through a live extension cord (I don’t know how he didn’t die then). That was the start of Tiggs’ nine lives (maybe more!). At the Red River Gorge, Adam hit a bump on the dirt road out of the Motherlode. We didn't’ realize that our backpacks, along with Tiggs, flew out of the back of the camper until we were at the top of the road. We turned around to find him sitting in the middle of the road waiting for us with a shit-eating grin.

He has eaten gravel, battled two deadly auto-immune blood diseases that nearly killed him many times, smiling through it all. Tiggs always had a zest for life - a true joie de vivre. At Joe’s Valley he’d roam the hillsides for hours, setting off an avalanche of rocks when he’d come bombing back down steep embankments.

He has always been at our side during adventures, never one to pass up a car ride or a hike up the hill with Adam behind our house. He’s really the only “real” dog we’ve had. Honey, Ollie and Cappy have all been cartoon characters in dog suits who’d never last a minute in the wild. Tiggs is a true mountain beast - he’d follow us anywhere, happy to be part of it all. Tough, happy and true. Never one for the camera or too much attention, Tiggs often faded to the back of family photos while the other pushy dogs stole the spotlight - that was ok by him. Always a noble, zen-like creature, he was content to howl at the moon outside at night and seek affection on his own independent terms.

When we found out a year and a half ago that Tiggs had polycystic kidneys and was in kidney failure, we couldn’t believe it. He was still such a crazy puppy at the age of 10. We vowed to do what we always have with him - enjoy each day with him to the fullest, just as he always did. These last two months, we’ve homecooked anything he’ll eat - beef, chicken, gravy, bacon, pureed veggies, whatever he wanted was his. We’ve given him IV fluids here at home every other night to keep him hydrated and help his failing kidneys flush out toxins. But in the last two weeks, his body has failed. He no longer wants food of any kind. His kidneys became so large they pressed into his tummy, causing pain. He has grown weary and thin. And though he is still our wild and crazy Tiggs, his body can no longer carry on. It’s time for one last great adventure...the one up in the sky, where all dogs go to heaven and romp at the rainbow bridge.

I will miss my adventure buddy and all of his wild ways. Who will keep me safe from the postman and the UPS deliveries? Godspeed, Tiggs. We will meet again.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The End of an Era

Tuesday afternoon, Winnie peacefully crossed the Rainbow Bridge. She was at home, on her dog bed, lying in the sun, surrounded by love and her mom and dad. It was as gentle, and beautiful as it could be, and she passed quickly, and pain free. There was a gentle breeze, and dappling sunlight as she left us, and she is forever at peace.

Our hearts are broken, and the grief is almost unbearable, but we are reflecting on the long and wonderful life that Winnie had. She was 14 and a half years old.

Winnie loved her brother Tiggs, and he was with her before and after she passed.

I adopted Winnie when she was 12 weeks old from the Humane Society of Ft. Collins. She was the last dog in the back row, and she stole my heart. She used to carry my purse around Ft. Collins, and loved to chase the prairie dogs at Pineridge. She loved in her younger years, jumping for the branch in our backyard. One day after a snow storm, she actually caught it. She was very proud. She loved car rides, and sticking her head out the window to bite the air. She really loved playing the "hose game" where she would chase the spray from the hose all over the yard. Winnie loved going on climbing trips, even though she didn't always behave. She and Tiggs accompanied us on our year long road trip all over N. America. She was a well traveled girl.

During the last year, Winn had grown more and more anxious, her body started to grow weary, and there were starting to be more difficult days than good ones. We want to remember the Winnie that loved all of her favorite things and the Winnie who had a strong body and strong mind.

She had many good friends over the years, stretching from NY, to Colorado, to all across the country. Everyone loved Winnie, and she loved their belly rubs.

We prefer not to have phone calls right now, but if you have any memories to share, please email us, we'd love to hear your favorite Winnie stories.

I've created an album of some of my favorite pictures of Winnie, and I also went through my albums to find prints (Winnie was old enough that there were no digital camera's for the first half of her life!). I intend to scan those in to post her pictures from when she was a young girl.

With heavy hearts and much love,

Adam and Melissa

Thank you to all of our good friends who have sent memories and emails, your kind thoughts mean the world to us.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Spring Zanyness

OK, ok, for my good friend Mike D, whom I miss very much by the way!

I wish I could say that I've been off jetsetting to Cabo, or Font, or surfing in Costa Rica, but alas, I haven't been doing any of those things. I have, however been working a lot of weekends and evenings doing special events, event planning, and working hard. I love my job. Working in animal welfare is an avocation, as well as a vocation. Sometimes it's hard to turn it off. There is always one desperate phone call or email to return, and when it's an innocent pup that's at stake, you just do it, doesn't matter the time or place.

The next month doesn't show signs of slowing. I'll be at Strut Your Mutt with some adoptables on May 22, then I'm planning my first ever large event, Pet Bull Palooza, which will vaccinate and microchip 100 dogs free of charge, as well as provide 60 free spay/neuter vouchers, free dog food, leashes, collars, and dog toys too. I hope it's a huge success, but I haven't slept in weeks. The weekend after that, I head to NYC to help with the first ever Tri State Super Adoption, then off to the Animal Farm Foundation for an internship working with what else? More shelter pit bulls! WooHoo. June will be a crazy month, but I'm excited.

I am also trying to train for climbing alot, mostly in the gym, it's all I can really fit in, plus, WTF, the weather is awful! So, Mike D, if you are reading this, come climb with me, even if it's only on plastic!

Lastly, I'm helping take care of my mom, who became gravely ill with bacterial meningitis while driving from NY to SLC this past week, so I've been at the ICU alot with her. She is doing really well, and her prognosis is very good at this point, so thanks for all of our friends and family who have sent emails and phone calls checking in.

So, that's the Spring Zanyness Report. What are all of your Spring Zany Plans?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Laundry Room is Famous

Which I find slightly ironic since Adam and I despise laundry and it is currently piled higher than the North Face of the Eiger (great movie by the way, highly recommend it, but dress warmly as it will make you slightly chilly).

It's always an honor when one of my house photos ends up on the design blogs I love so much. I was just thinking how bad my laundry room needed a spruce up...I was thinking of marmoleum or epoxy flooring, a sparkly white coat of paint and some brighter lighting.

Maybe one of the fans of my laundry room would like to come an help me do my laundry, that'd be swell.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Skiing and Coffee and Animals, Oh My!

Well, it's no secret that I'm not the biggest fan of skiing, 4.5 years of staring at fungal toenails in a ski boot shop and the person attached telling you what a big deal they are will do that to you. However, I am an athlete, and as such, I can certainly appreciate the coolness of the sport at the Olympic level. I for one have watched just about every Olympic sport playing on my new flat screen 42" high def TV nightly from Vancouver. I'm hooked.

Of all things, I think I enjoyed the mogul skiing almost the best. I was blown away at the springy-ness of the competitors legs and the cool tricks they throw down in the middle of their ski run. Wow. And, I was super psyched for the genuine good energy that Shannon Bahrke had after her bronze medal win. I loved her free spirit, her pink hair, and her family cheering her on. Then I found out she is living here in Salt Lake City. How cool is that?! Then, on top of all of that, I learned that Shannon is a huge supporter of Best Friends! Not only that, but she has her own coffee company- AND, that she has several bags of Best Friends Blend. With each bag, Shannon donates $5 to the Sanctuary. A rippin' skier, a coffee connoisseur, and an animal lover and philanthropist? That's my kinda girl.

Shannon also supports other athletes by having different Athlete Blends that feature the them and they all designate their favorite charities. Shannon then donates $1 to their charity of choice, then a dollar goes towards helping the athletes fund their Olympic dreams. Rad sauce.

Thank you Shannon for supporting the animals and your community!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Coffee Covet

Want this, based solely on shape and color...love.