Dear friend, I will see you again

A letter to Newton

A great day
Another one of our great days.

Yesterday I sat with you, holding you as you took your last breath and went over the rainbow bridge. Your tail still wagging as we told you over and over what a great boy you were. Forever thanking you as you’ve done your job better then we ever could have imagined. You exceeded our expectations, you showed us what real and pure love feels like. A love without judgement, a love without anger or any of the petty selfish emotions we humans dwell on. To lose you so soon, is completely unfair.

I can still remember bringing you home a little over 2 years ago. You were so full of life, giant paws and soulful eyes, with the a lack of coordination that never ceased to amaze us.

Your giant heart quickly captured ours.

You have the most gentle and kind nature, especially since you considered yourself a 100 lb lap dog. To know you, is to love you. I see the emotions of people around us now and know that you were loved by many.

I sit here numb, but the tears still pour down my face. My only solace is that we kept our promise to you from my first letter and promise to you.

My beautiful brave dog, you were my best friend. We saw you peak and fall too quickly and all in the same week. Your stoic nature would never allow a whine or a groan to escape, I think you knew it would break me. Your wonderful vet friends all tell me you never suffered a moments pain from this terrible disease. When we made the final walk into the vet, you still greeted all with tailwags and affection.

While I don’t believe you felt pain, you were very uncomfortable the last night we were together. You stood in the same place, and would not move even as I did. I’m so very sorry that you suffered even a moment of discomfort. I realize now with clarity from your Grandmother that you may have been afraid and uncertain. I am so thankful that she told you what to expect to try and ease your uncertainty.

We brought you home 5 days before and tried to give you, your perfect day, everyday. We tried to wine and dine you with concoctions I have watched you dream about for two years. Your dad took you on your favorite walks. We knew we did not have time to give you everything as you deserved, I wish we did.

After we visited with your original family, it seemed like you had seen everyone that you loved most in the world: as your grandparents, your brother and sister, favorite aunts and uncles & furry cousins came to visit, wrote encouraging words and sent all their love. You were now waiting for us, you knew it was time.

Please forgive me dear friend, as we made the decision that we could not stand to see you suffer. This shattered me, you never deserved an uncomfortable moment. We needed to grant you a peaceful exit, surrounded by those you love most. I will be forever grateful to your Grandmother, as she told you what I forgot to, she told you what to expect after. All the friends that were going to meet you, that you wouldn’t be alone. I told you you were loved, that we will see you again, that it would not hurt. She thought of you and told you what I forgot.

Please forgive me as I know you would not want to be the dog you were so shortly about to become. This was the hardest decision we’ve ever made in our lives. Please know that it was not an easy one to make.

All these books, websites and people tell me to write, so I shall. Because, dear Newton, I know you know all these emotions and thoughts, but you deserve to hear them. I’ll tell you my weird and deeply personal secret – I believe you were the daily food for my soul.

The separation and loss I feel cannot be computed into words. Even as I try, the sadness rips into my core. You were what my world revolved around. Your daily schedule was also mine. I’m at a loss on how to move forward. What to do next. You were our first true love together. Your dad and I love each other, but we’ve never loved something together so true.

I am truly thankful that your dad spoiled you as my back was turned, he let you enjoy the foods I was so desperate to keep away from you. He did what I was unwilling to do – he spoiled you with food. We both spoiled you with love. The house is so empty without you. Your favorite places are now vacant, I can’t even look at the backyard.

Anatole France once wrote, “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened”. I believe this accurately describes everything we are going through, and why.

Dearest friend, you’ve given us more then enough memories to last a lifetime and in only 2 short years. Yet you’ve done more then most people have done, you’ve changed your dad and I into better people. You’ve taught me life lessons that I think it’s only fair that I share with you.

So here you are.

Life Lessons from my best friend

1. It’s ok to stop and smell the roses every once and awhile, even the smelly ones.

2. Give hugs and smiles – often

3. Always tell the ones you love, you love them

4. The forever optimist you are – Look at the world with eyes wide open

5. Love big

6. Practice patience and be kind to others

7. Appreciate great food

8. Love the outdoors. Every time I walk our favorite trails, I will picture you happy beside us

9. Give everyone you meet a chance, they may surprise you

10. Don’t ever go to bed angry

These are things that I will take with me forever, as you have changed us into better people. It does not help the deep hole of loss that I feel as you left us for your better place. I know that I will need time. I thank you for absolutely everything, I appreciated you and loved you every day of your life. My day will not feel complete until I see you again and get my daily hug from you.  In case I never told you, those hugs were my favorite.

Please know that you will be forever remembered. I will miss you all the days of my life. Thank you so much for everything you have done. You’ve done what many others can only hope to do, you’ve left a legacy.

You loved all you met, big or small, furry or human. I promise to visit all your friends often, and spoil them with affection that I know you will send their way. Your dad and I will visit your favorite places, and remember you as we do so. I invite you to come with us as we do this, and any other time you like. In fact I look forward to it.

This letter doesn’t even begin to describe everything. Forgive me again as I cannot start to move forward until I say a tearful goodbye until the next time we meet. I picture you now like the photos below. Happy in your favorite places and fields full of wonderful adventures, a world full of cheeseburgers and bellyrubs. I selfishly ask you to wait for me, until I can meet you next. For you will be the most wonderful greeter that I can ever imagine. Go and enjoy your peace, as you so deserve it. Run in the fields and play with your furry friends.  Please visit me often in my dreams, as I will always welcome you with arms wide open.

Forever yours,

Mom

I will always picture you here.
I will always picture you here.

Newton newton 4 newton 3 Newton 2 newton 1

Bad news bears

Dear Friends,

We sit here, emotionally exhaused. What we found out on Friday is not the news we were hoping for. Newton was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney disease. A routine teeth cleaning turned up blood results that were terrifying for us. We just found out that his kidneys are worse then the thought and he’s unresponsive to the fluids they had him hooked up to since Tuesday. We have been given a few days to 2-3 weeks with our beautiful gentle giant.
We asked for a second opinion, and a third.. but the news is unchanged. The wonderful vets who have taken care of him all week have asked if we want a biopsy done to better focus their diasgnosis. The prognosis and treatment however would be very similar. Instead of putting him through more tests, poking and prodding, we brought him home as he is without pain. I stayed with him for quite a while the night before, sitting in his kennel at the vet. There was no rest, wearing the cone of shame and getting your fluids changed every few hours. He’s happier, as we all would be at home. Further treatment, at this mark would be pointless.

Therefore we made the decision out of love and respect, we brought him home and plan to spoil him rotten. All the food we have not allowed him to have, We’ve cooked up a storm of it all: Cheeseburgers, Homemade Roast Turkey and buttered sweet potatoes. He looks up every time as if to say, “Is this for me?”. Other then a little more tiredness, he’s the same as ever. He’s our big, beautiful wonderful 85 lb lap dog. He’s our best friend and deserves to go out with the best.

 

We’re staying home or going out to his favorite spots, hoping that every day will be spent doing one of his favorite things. If we’re lucky and Newton does stay with us till the weekend, I will be bringing him home to our home in the country where he can be spoiled by all. We’ve made the difficult decisions, and know the signs to look for. He will not suffer a moments pain for us.

 

We write and tell you, fellow dog/pet lovers as we know you’ll understand.

Give your furry best buddy an extra hug today – they’re worth it!

 

 

A Promise

Newton
Newton

I found out yesterday that our wonderful gentle giant of a dog has chronic renal disease (CRF). As it turns out he was dealt some bad kidneys at birth, we found out they are abnormally shaped which has lead to his disease.

I took him in for a routine teeth cleaning yesterday and I ticked the box to get his bloodwork checked. Our vet called us later on that day, I thought to tell us we could pick him up. I was not expecting what she said in the least. See Newton always has been a bit on the lazy side, every since he was a pup. He hasn’t exhibited any of the signs as listed below, except for excessive water intake. So it shook the ground I thought was stable and threw me for a loop.

Chronic renal failure is one of the most common diseases seen in older dogs, right up there with arthritis and cancer.

Unfortunately, by the time most dogs show signs of kidney disease, much of the irreplaceable tissue needed for good renal function is already destroyed.

Many pet owners mistakenly think that as long as their dog is peeing a lot – often more than he did in his younger years, in fact – his kidneys are still working well. In fact, the opposite is true.

A dog with developing kidney disease will feel the need to drink and urinate more in an effort to keep his body free of waste – a job his kidneys once did with a whole lot less effort. This cycle of over drinking and over urinating will work for a while, but eventually, no amount of water will be enough to get the job done.

By the time your pet starts showing other obvious signs of illness, for example lack of appetite, weight loss or low energy level, significant irreversible kidney damage has occurred. (Thanks http://healthypets.mercola.com for this descriptive).

My heart is shattered. I am still in shock. He’s on an IV to try and increase the functionality of his kidneys until Saturday. Best case scenario is that he lives for 3-4 more years with meds and a special diet (yay!). Worst case is that he won’t live another 6 months.

Everything about this is unexpected. As an owner of a pet under 3 years of age, you do not expect to have to think about these kinds of things, this soon. I’m at the angry stage of my acceptance. He does not deserve this, the prodding the procedures. One thing I will never accept is for him to be in pain. So far, he is not.

As most pet owners can understand, He’s my best friend. Where I go, so does he so it’s hard to think about a parting. You know this will happen eventually, but not before your story together has had time to develop.This has been a very difficult time for us, this period of not knowing. Friday is when we’ll have a definitive answer of how long my loving giant has with us and how far his progression is.

To help me cope with this, I turned to writing. I wrote my very best friend a letter and made a promise.

My promise

It’s with the heaviest of hearts I write this.

Today I was told you weren’t perfect.

To me, you still are.

The doctors aren’t sure if you’ll live 6 months or 4 years.

I want you to live forever.

I visited you today in your sterile temporary home.

I missed you and cried when I saw you. I could not hold it together.

I thought of everything you’ve given me over the past 2 years, and as I looked into the kindest big brown eyes I promised you:

You will never suffer or be a prisoner of your own body for my selfish reasons.

You have always treated others with the gentleness and tolerance I can only admire.

Therefore, I pledge to you, my very best friend, that whether you live for 6 months of forever:

You shall be treated with respect.

You shall only be treated with love.

You, my gentle giant deserve only the best. You’ve given me so much. You’ve been the keeper to my secrets, my shoulder, my confident, my jester, my soldier, my love.

My favorite moments are when you sneak up and give me hugs as I’m tying my shoelaces, letting me know you understand I’m leaving, but not forever.

What am I to you?

I can only be more.

First Crack at Tabata Training – Crossfit

It gets ya every time
It gets ya every time

Tabata training, holy shit….

Pardon my language, but this melodramatic opening is rather suiting to describe what last night’s WOD was all about. I once again felt like this, this morning…

- Needed to include a post with Grumpy Cat
Grumpy cat is once again correct..

For those of you who do not know what Tabata is Tabatatraining.org explains it very well:  Tabata was founded in Japan by Izumi Tabata. He conducted tests on two groups of athletes; comparing moderate high intensity training with high intensity interval training.

The results were that the athletes training in high intensity interval training improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic system. The athletes who did the moderate high intensity training only improved their aerobic system and had little to no increase in their anaerobic system.

My definition is that it’s a high intense cardio inspired workout that will kick your ass.

Tabata training can include really any exercise. The basic timeline usually looks something like this.

•     4 minutes long (the entire session)
•     20 seconds of crazy intense training
•     10 seconds of rest
•     Total of 8 sessions or rounds

Looks easy on paper… even as I type I’m checking this out thinking hmmmm. Then I remembered.

We did a double Tabata: 8 rounds of v-snaps or sit ups, then 8 rounds of squats & then the maximum about of kettlebell swings i.e. do them until you can’t anymore. EEEK!

If that wasn’t enough we went right from our kettlebell swings into a 400 m sprint. Thank GOD we were running on the padded floor. Due to the squats followed by kettlebell swings I swear to god I was running like this penguin.

Accurate
Accurate

Slowest sprinter EVER! My legs were so jelly-like and lacking control that even though I felt like I was running fast, I think it was more like a fast walk.

Still, I think I had a better time this this poor penguin….

It was stupendously strenuous. I feel it all over my body today. Somehow the soreness makes the workout validated. Isn’t that weird?

So the scoring of a Tabata workout is that you take your rep count from your lowest set of reps out of your 8 rounds (ex. Round 1 – 12 reps, Round 2 – 11 reps, Round 3 – 12 reps and so on. Your score would be 11 due to Round 2 being lowest). Therefore you need to ensure your consistent throughout your set. For me, I thought that 12 squats sounded reasonable… Reasonable yes… for the first 4 rounds. Round 5 found me dropping one rep, as did round 7 *sigh*.

Final score for me? 12 situps + 10 squats + 40 kettleball swings = 62

Upon finishing the above workout, I felt simultaneously like this: 08_28_small_freaking_awesome_kit_allen and this….

Let's be honest, I looked much more like this...
Let’s be honest, I looked much more like this…

That’s what my benchmark it. I am considerably modifying this workout. I only used a 18 lb kettlebell, rather then the recommended 35 lb.

Despite my constant whining throughout this post, I really enjoyed Tabata. I’m doing Crossfit to push myself hard and to get stronger. Tabata will certainly help deliver that.

Till next time friends,

AJS

I leave you with this... haha
I leave you with this… haha