Friday, July 23, 2010

Sierra's Story

Yesterday, we lost a dear friend. Her name was Sierra.

Sierra was a Black Lab/Rottweiler mix. The Rotty in her made her tough and she never put up with any bull from other dogs, but her heart was so kind. She was often referred to as "Big Puppy" and even though she was over 16 years old, she was indeed a puppy at heart. A puppy with incredibly soulful brown eyes. I want to share some pictures of her with you and hopefully by the end of this blog post, you'll get an idea of the "huggy bear" that she was.

Mr. H and his parents got Sierra when she was about 6 months old. She was, as her name implies, born in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. She was owned by a fireman who couldn't keep her and by way of his father, she made her way to Texas and into our family. I didn't meet Sierra until she was about 6 years old. She was indeed an Alpha female, but she welcomed me with wet nose kisses from the very beginning.

Meeting Autumn was a different story though. I don't think she ever felt threatened by Autumn, she was just annoyed by her. ha! Autumn was 11 years younger than her and she could run laps around her- and she did. She was ALWAYS kissing all over her and wagging her tail in her face. They seemed completely opposite, but mostly it was because of their age difference. Autumn has more energy than she knows what to do with and Sierra was always calm and just wanted to chill. Sierra quickly realized that Autumn wasn't going anywhere and she accepted her. She even began to enjoy her company and would look forward to coming over to our house to play. When we'd go over there Autumn would run into every room looking for her friend until she found her and she greet her with wet kisses. Towards the end, it was as if seeing Autumn gave her a little more energy. She seemed a little more lively and she was comforted by her presence. Autumn was so sweet with her too. She was gentle and careful to walk around without disturbing her. She was tender and caring and so affectionate towards her. She was very concerned about her friend.

She was never a cuddly dog, nor was she a prissy thing. When she was little she'd play with a tennis ball or two, but she couldn't be bothered to play with toys or squeaky stuffed animals- she was too cool for that. She was independent and could do everything on her own. She didn't need to be kissed and rubbed to feel loved. Of course she did LOVE to have her rump scratched and if you stopped, she circle back around until your hand wound up on her back end so you'd could continue to give her some lovin'. If you wanted to rub her soft as silk ears, she was okay with that too.

'Sweet' was her middle name... as long as you didn't get between her and her chew bone :-) It was always funny too see her and Autumn be so territorial over their chews. Then they'd give up the act and switch chews and head in different directions to devour them. Sierra was a little bully though so if she wanted Autumn's chew then she'd get it. Autumn was happy to give it up- anything for her friend.

She was a great traveller and loved to ride around in the back of their SUV. She had her own ramp to help her get in the truck but she had a routine. First she's like to go around the front of the truck then make her way to the back- all on her own time. I had the opportunity to travel with her to Durango and to Santa Fe over the years and she was just as interested in getting out of the truck, taking potty breaks and exploring as much as we were. She was just as happy riding to the doggy park to let loose and chase squirrels too.

Sierra also loved my baking. One of the first things I ever baked when I got together with Mr. H was homemade vanilla wafers. I took the time to stack them and roll them in plastic wrap and tie the ends with ribbons. They made it to Mr. H's parents house and onto the coffee table where his mom was sampling and enjoying them. Sierra somehow snuck over and ate them all when no one was looking. Most recently, I made cinnamon raisin bread and sent a loaf to my in-laws. Sierra lost her appetite and hadn't been eating much over the last couple weeks. I suggested they skip the canned dog food and try some scrambled eggs- she scarfed them up. After a couple days when she tired of eggs, she turned to my cinnamon swirl bread and ate half a loaf :-) That was okay though because most days she refused to eat anything.

On a good day, Sierra weighed between 85 and 90 pounds. When she died, she was about 60 pounds. Her ribs and spine were visible through her thick shiny black fur. If you looked at her from above and she was standing, you could see her pelvic bones- which measured about 8 inches across. She was typically a healthy dog, but because of her breed, she was susceptible to hip problems. Towards the end, it was very difficult to get around. She managed on her own but she was slow. At times, her hind legs were very weak and she couldn't stand for any amount of time and they'd buckle below her. They had to use towels to cradle her in a sling to help her along. There's carpet all throughout the house and that helped with her traction, but there were occasions when she fell and couldn't get up. The past couple of days she just lay on her side and we transported her through the house by dragging her or lifting her with a towel beneath her.

Sierra's liver was also failing due to her age. After all she was 112 in people years. She was on several daily medications and vitamins but it got to the point where they weren't helping her anymore. After she stopped eating, we knew it was only a matter of time. We fed her whatever she would eat. Sometimes it was ground beef, or chicken breast or turkey from my sandwich, other times nothing interested her, not even cheese or ice cream, which were her favorites. She was known to polish off a plate of cheese and crackers that was left on the coffee table or lap up a bowl of melted ice cream. On Sunday she had a little filet mignon and she had a little canned food on Tuesday but I think that was the last she ate. She wouldn't even take water anymore- she didn't have the strength to hold her head up to lap up any water. We don't believe she was in any pain but she didn't have the energy or strength to move. She was in her final resting spot for over 14 hours. Her breathing became labored and my MIL had several calls into vets but she couldn't get in touch with anyone.

Finally a doctor and a tech (which was also her pet sitter) came over after hours to relieve her. They gave her a sedative to keep her calm even though she hadn't moved in hours. Her eyes would blink and her brows would move around when she heard Autumn or someone walk by, but she was just so still. They gave her a shot and within seconds she was gone. At peace. And so still. It was very difficult to watch and it happened so fast but it would have been selfish of us to have kept her any longer. She lived a wonderful life and she was very well taken care of. She brought immense joy to our lives and we will miss her always.

April 1994- July 22, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dusting Off This Blog

It's been almost a month since my last post. And even though I only blogged once for the whole month of June! That's sad, it really is. I think about this blog often and I attempt to write at least once a week, but then I get to the blank page and just stare at it. I don't know what to say. Either I don't feel like it's important or relative or...I'm at a loss for words now!

So just so you all know that I'm alive and well and this is really me and now some stranger who has high-jacked my awesome blog (ha!) I'll let you know what I've been up to.

  1. I'm still working as a part time nanny 3-4 days a week. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out but I love the boys so I get over it. If I could just figure out how to get the 3 1/2 year old to poop in the toilet and not in his pants "just a little bit" then things would be so much better.
  2. Father's Day was interesting. We spent it at home and my in-laws came over then we went to dinner. I don't have a close relationship with my dad so I didn't even attempt to contact him. I did call my grandpa and I sent him a card. I got a card and a small gift for Mr. H and we got a golf gift certificate and pj's for my FIL. I got a gift for my stepdad but I don't really think he's much of a father so I didn't call to gloat on him. In fact 98% of the time he's a complete ass. He and my mom were pissed at me for not making more of an effort to celebrate him. I was pissed about it for about a day then I got over it because he's not a father to me, why should I pretend?
  3. My birthday was a couple weeks ago. I had to work that day but I had a nice time celebrating with family and friends the day of and the weekend prior. Obviously I don't feel any older but I'm starting to get wrinkles around my eyes and I'm NOT liking it at all. Any suggestions on eye/wrinkle cream would be greatly appreciated :-) If you would like to read about my birthday, you can go here.
  4. Mr. H and I are going away for a couple days this coming weekend. Then I'm taking vacation for a week. We don't really have any plans for my time off, I just plan on relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet.
  5. On the TTC end- it's still going. We bought some fertility aid vitamins that were supposed to improve sperm quality and general fertility. I was really excited about buying them, $100 and a month later, they were still in the bag untouched. I don't know why I didn't/couldn't take them. So I returned them. I can always repurchase them right? I guess deep down I knew they wouldn't really help anything.
  6. I 've been wanting to paint our bedroom and rearrange furniture in there for a while. But I'm a nerd and I needed to make sure that the furniture placement would work the way I wanted it to so I had to draw out a plan first. It will work :-) Now I just have to do it. I haven't really decided on a color yet, though I'm leaning towards lighter blue/gray/greens. Our room doesn't get much light so I don't want it to feel any darker than it is. Our bedding and decor is in these tones and we have dark wood furniture. Any suggestions? I'm all ears.
  7. The Texas heat is killing me and causing me to melt away a little at a time. Why is it so dang hot and humid here? I can't wait for the fall again.

Guess that's all for now. Hopefully I'll blog again before the month is over! I hope you are all doing well. Miss you guys.