Of Cooking With the Troops
Said Goodbye to
Read Her Story Here
The Story of Jenny, Part 1
The Story of Jenny, Part 2
The Story of Jenny, Part 3
The Story of Jenny, Part 4
The Story of Jenny, Part 5
Joanie Walton Bacci
Fly high my precious Mattie
Wait for me at the rainbow bridge
I love you ..Matilda Bacci
Farewell Good Friend and Companion
Malagold's Indiana Bones "Indy" 1997-2010
Barry G. Hohlfelder
If You Knew Indyby Barry G. Hohlfelder
Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 3:55pmHe was the pick of the litter. Indy and I came together on a return trip from a Champ Car race weekend in Michigan. I can't remember exactly, but I think there were four males available from which to pick. It didn't take long. We connected immediately after he stretched out in front of me with his hind legs trailing like Underdog in flight, a trait similar to his predecessor, Stormy. Any fears that he might be intimidated by his mature kennel mates evaporated when he leaped off my lap to begin a romp that lasted with various companions for more than thirteen years. On his puppy checkup our Vet scooped him up and declared, "I'm taking him home!" He had the run of the clinic all his life. The staff believed if I'd have shown him he'd have gained championship points.
I loved driving around with him. He enjoyed connecting with people at stoplights, sticking his bear like head out the window and making eye contact with people and actually smiling. They'd break out in open laughter.
I've never crated my dogs at night. They'd find their own places, under the kitchen table or under a coffee table. But until recently, Indy slept with me either at the foot of the bed or on the carpet next to it. As he got older, he didn't wait for me. I'd see him at the foot of the stairs at 10:00 p.m. and he'd look over his shoulder, climb up to the loft and warm the bed.
When Indy turned ten a routine blood test indicated a problem. We discovered a thyroid tumor that would damage internal organs without intervention. Surgery was scheduled. Afterwards tests indicated a second tumor undetected on the ultrasound. He endured a second operation and became a favorite patient at the Animal Emergency and Treatment Center. When I came in to take him home, I was greeted by a staff member who asked if she could help me. I said, "I'm here to pick up my dog, Indy". She stepped back and replied, "Indy is my dog"!
My hope was to buy him two years. We got three. But in June he was diagnosed with splenic hemangiosarcoma. Given his age, the decision of whether to put him through another surgery and aggressive chemotherapy was difficult. But in the end, I decided I'd been given a warning that hadn't been afforded me when I lost previous dogs. This is one of the best choices I've ever made. Throughout the summer we celebrated every moment, every meal. Neighbors greeted and rallied behind him every day. I served him grilled hamburger with every meal, right up to the last morning. The day before I lost him we enjoyed one of his more energetic walks. And he spent his last afternoon basking in the sunshine with his two younger buddies at his side. I don't think he suffered until those final couple of hours. I've been told in this life a man deserves one good woman and one good dog. The good Lord has seen fit to just give me a pack of great dogs. At this point in my life I'm perfectly happy with that.
The Gift That Was Gibbsby Barry G. Hohlfelder on Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 10:18amHe was only supposed to stay with us for a short time and then hopefully move on to his "forever" home. We knew he had behavioral issues, in that this was his third foster home, the previous two lasting only hours and days. We also knew he had an abusive start to life and was an epileptic dog. He came here barely leash trained and not completely house broken. He was a counter surfer grabbing food and would stick his nose into any cabinet I opened. He chewed up blankets, dog beds and even an expensive pair of eye glasses I foolishly left on a coffee table.
He was one of the best things with which I've ever been blessed.
At first, during training walks he would jump, bark and lunge at strangers we'd meet. But as we progressed, he not only walked calmly, but even became a favorite of the neighbors. His incessant barking at the back gate began to subside. He had intense brown eyes that could look right through you and he was smart. In the two boarding locations where he was a guest, he had a reputation of learning how to open gates and setting his kennel mates free. Despite that, he was a favorite at Bark'n Park where he stayed several times.
I took him to the "As Good as Gold" rescue reunion picnic in September. The people who had rescued him and hadn't seen him in months were amazed at this calm, affectionate, well behaved Golden. He had a great afternoon and I was so proud of him. But later that night our lives took a dreadful turn. He'd had mild seizures before and we thought they could be controlled with medication. But has the dosages needed to be increased the side effects worsened. I became convinced there was more of an issue than just epilepsy. We took him to the neurological department at the Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center. But while Doctors attempted to balance the medications, he continued to deteriorate. He was barely able to walk. He would stumble across the room and put his chin on my knee, his eyes glazed over. Then after breakfast (He never missed a meal through all of this!) he began to have seizure activity. A quick trip to the local veterinary clinic was followed by a mad dash to Animal Emergency and Treatment Center in Grayslake. X-rays indicated a buildup in his lungs and onset of pneumonia. He was put on oxygen overnight and in the morning I took him back to the neurologist in Chicago. They called the next morning and said he was doing better, but he'd be there through the weekend. Later that night I received the call that he'd gone into uncontrollable seizures.
I thought back on how long he and I waited in the examining room the prior morning. How I got to hold him securely on the table and comfort him. I didn't know what was taking so long, but what a blessing to have that final time together. Two caring staff members finally came into the room took him to the treatment center. One of them commented how handsome he was. That's the last I saw of Mr. Gibbs.
When Robin Sweeney, the president of "As Good as Gold" call to deliver the terrible news, she apologized for the outcome of my first foster experience. No apology was necessary. Gibbs taught me more about patience, love, determination and canine courage than I ever thought possible. I'd always admired people who found time to care for these rejected creatures and I'm proud to have followed their lead. As I told Robin, if I knew of the challenges and the heartache and the tragic outcome before he was brought to my front door, I do it all over again. Gibbs was a gift!
Jamie Hansen Farrel
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