Love this cartoon on HI Art Magazine's site: Buddha Cat and Dharma Dog. Here's the link:
I had been so sad. Haku was moping around the house. Kris went into action. I found him in his office cruising the internet. There was a site called kijiji.com that pulled up two cocker spaniel litters on Oahu. Kris wanted to go by himself so it wouldn't be so "emotional", but I begged him to let me go with. That was the fun part - looking at puppies.
We visted a military couple who had buff and tan female puppies. The mom was all buff and reminded me so much of Latte. She had her face and mannerisms. The dad was parti-colored and had a flatter face. They were adorable, of course. The next stop was in Hawaii Kai. I was hesitant to go because they had four males and I really wanted a female.
The four were chocolate and white, black and white, all black and all chocolate. I would have taken them all! We played with them, met their mom who was chocolate and white. Their dad didn't like the pups , but the owners brought him out for us to meet. He was beautiful - all black. He seemed to have a good temperment...just was done with puppies. I wasn't sure if I was ready for another dog and wanted to think. We took photos of the pups with my iPhone.
On July 6, we went back to pick him up. We brought Haku with him as we wanted to see what he would do. Not really a good idea as you can't tell anything when dogs first meet. I guess we wanted to make sure that Haku wouldn't try to kill him.
The little pup took one look up at Haku and ran between my legs. I guess he wasn't going to be a threat to Haku.
It took a while to pick a name, but Murphy is perfect. His other nickname is Taz (as in the devil). Sometimes Taz fits him better.
He has totally taken over our household and is more than a distraction. He terrorizes Haku, but I think Haku is getting used to him. We've got to get him to puppy school soon!
Yesterday our little Mocha died. She had a seizure in the morning that she just didn't come out of. She had been diagnosed with kidney and liver failure and had heart problems for years. How could a little dog survive with so many vital organs going out on her? She did her best to fill the void that Latte left - the little dog spot. Their energy is so wonderful to have around. Now they are both gone and it's the end of a wonderful time in our lives. They will forever be alive for us as they taught us so much.
Mocha had the best temperament ever and was the kind of cuddly dog that gives so much comfort and joy whenever they are needed. She also had a feisty side that was full of confidence and she stood her ground in our house. Her walk had a bounce displaying her confidence. She loved the comforts - soft pillows, cool tile, and chicken treats from Trader Joe's. Every evening she hung out in the kitchen until we gave her a treat. If we forgot and went to bed, she would wait until we went looking for her.
This evening we will be taking her ashes for a walk on Kailua Beach, a place she loved with a passion.
I just love this book. It's hard to believe it's written by a surgeon. A surgeon...a scientist...
Here's a quote from the book describing a client who is worried about his dog: "He is holding it together but only just, proud, helpless, and completely vulnerable, tethered by that wonderful and inconceivably powerful bond to the animal in his life."
This has so much heart and humor. I've often wished that my vet was my doctor!
On December 3, we found out that my beloved Cocker Spaniel, Latte, has kidney failure. There is no cure for it. By the time, it can be diagnosed through bloodwork, the kidneys have failed 70%. We got that diagnosis in September and we were treating it with diet, Chinese herbs, and acupuncture. She was doing fine until December 3. I was at sessin (zen meditation) when Kris found out. I left sesshin on the morning of the fourth to accompany him to the vet to learn how to administer fluids subcutaneously. That is with a needle under her skin.
That weekend, there was no improvement. She threw up continuously and wandered around the house all night in obvious discomfort. On Monday we went back to the vet. We were told that she should have showed marked improvement if her kidneys were functioning at all. A dramatic change in her personality should be expected within 24 to 48 hours. We didn't want her discomfort to continue so we made the very difficult decision to put her down on Tuesday evening. Our vet was willing to come to our house to do it. I called another retired vet and she confirmed that Latte should be put out of her misery and would be experiencing extreme pain soon.
On Monday evening, we barbecued a leg of lamb. It was always one of her favorite things. She's always had the voracious appetite that Cocker Spaniels are known for. Kris often said that she would eat ketchup on cardboard if we offered it to her. Kris brought the cooked fragrant lamb into the kitchen to be rested and carved. To our surprise, that little dog appeared in the kitchen nose pointed toward the roast. I cut a piece into tiny little bits for her. She rested well that evening, but did throw up. We knew she didn't get any nutrition from the little she ate.
In the morning she rested peacefully and I knew that she was not ready to die. Must have been that lamb...too much to live for. I called the vet and cancelled the euthanasia appointment. I am so glad that I did as we've enjoyed every extra moment with her. Business is usually slow this time of year so we've been able to spend all of our time with her and our other dogs. No running off to another island or traipsing around the world.
Hydrating her with saline twice daily has become a ritual. It's intimate and enjoyable. She eats very little - her latest favorite is banana cream pie. We're watching her closely for signs of discomfort. I'm hoping that she'll go peacefully in her sleep.
On December 21, my mom was admitted into the hospital. She had been in a care home and began refusing food and water. Her condition improved with hydration, but after testing, the doctor informed us that without a feeding tube, she would be unable to obtain enough nutrition to survive. My brother, sister and I talked to Mom and she was quite clear about not wanting a feeding tube.
We decided to take her home with hospice care. The people we've talked to with hospice are amazing - compassionate and caring. On Christmas Eve, mom came home. She's been happy to be home. My brother, sister and I have all been able to spend time with her and have important conversations with her.
Kris and I spent Christmas day focusing on all the things we have to be grateful for. We have the best and most caring friends in the world. I haven't been able to talk to many of our friends because I didn't want them to feel bad about our situation. We all have to deal with death at some point and I feel sure that both Mom and Latte will be going on their way in the most peaceful way...surrounded by their family. We're happy for them.
Lighting incense, watching movies, drinking champagne...we're all living. Time passes quickly...enjoy life!!!
For Christmas, I purchased some extremely cool dog toys from Bodhi Toys. There is a great design store in Chinatown in Honolulu called Into. I love shopping there as the owner is the nicest guy with the cutest dog. Okay, I love dogs.
Here are some photos of my dogs playing with the toys.
Latte with the Flower Ball.
Latte with the Lucky Carp.
Haku and Shanti stick.