In the Beginning

Where to begin . . . as close to the beginning as I can remember; at least the parts that my foster mom told me about my beginning.

Before I arrived at my foster mom’s home, she said they had some photos and X-rays.  She said I looked pretty sad.  I vaguely remember that I was not feeling well and not looking forward to my life as it was.  I was in a lot of pain, and I was hungry most of the time.  Apparently, trying to find things to eat, I started eating things that were not good for me, like rocks and sticks and bones.  These things showed up on the x-rays along with the reason my rear leg hurt so much.  It was broken in a few places and my hip was crushed.  I think this happened when I was struck by a vehicle while running on the Reservation.  There was no one to take care of me and I had no real home, so I did a lot of wandering around. 

It was also difficult to find something to drink.  I was so thirsty that I drank some water that didn’t smell too good.  As a result, I got sick with an infection.  I tried to hold it in but I couldn’t help pooping all over myself.  It was really smelly and I was embarrassed.  My foster mom said not to worry, that she would take care of me because that’s what moms do, they take care of you.  My foster mom also gave me my name, Cruiser.  Up until that time I didn’t have a name.  I liked the name Cruiser, I think it fits me perfectly.

I was in pretty bad shape when United Animal Friends initially found me.  I ended up in a vet clinic in New Mexico where I got a rabies shot but nothing else.  I think that was because UAF had already decided they were going to take me to Arizona and help me heal.  I was barely tipping the scale at 35 pounds, and I was really weak and in a lot of pain.  My foster mom said “yes” immediately when asked if she would take me in.  I’m glad she did and really happy that UAF decided to take a chance on me.

Even though I was in really bad pain and no one on the Res helped me, I knew in my heart that people must be compassionate.  I was right and wanted to be close to the people who were now helping me.  I tried my best to show how much I appreciated their help and love.  I hope I was able to get my message across to them.

Once I was safely with my foster mom I went to a Vet here in Arizona.  They tried to rehabilitate my rear leg.  I remember being in a water tank and trying to walk on it, but it was too painful.  I was thankful for all the help I was getting but I just couldn’t put any weight on my leg.  My foster mom told me they would have to amputate my leg.  I really didn’t know what she meant but I trusted her to take care of me; after all, she did promise me that my life would get better.

I also had surgery to remove the all the rocks and other hard objects from my stomach and intestines.  Sorry if this is a little gross for you to read, but I really want you to understand what had happened to me.  I also want to be sure you know about United Animal Friends here in Arizona.  They are a great group of volunteers who go to extraordinary lengths to help dogs like me.

When my foster mom went to fill the medications prescribed by the Vet, she was asked for my date of birth, my foster mom told them it was February 14, 2016, Valentine’s Day.  I don’t remember being born, but from what I’ve been told, Valentine’s Day is full of love, like me!

So, I had my surgeries and felt 100% better almost immediately.  I was thankful for the love I was receiving and the good food and water as well.  It was such a relief to have something to eat/drink and a warm, soft place to sleep.  I got lots of attention and got to go to a few different places so prospective “forever home parents” could see me.  I was really fortunate that my forever mom saw my photo on the UAF website and decided to meet me.  My life really did get better, and it keeps getting better.  I’m so happy that United Animal Friends decided to take me in and help me. 

I’d like to encourage anyone who is looking for a forever friend to adopt one who doesn’t have a home, one who has been abandoned and may not be a cute little puppy.  Everyone deserves a home, everyone deserves to be wanted, everyone deserves to be loved.  There are more like me out there who need a home and need love.  Please take some time to give someone like me a second chance at life.  You’ll save two lives, yours and the one you adopt.  I know, it happened to me, now I hope it happens to all the others out there wandering around looking for love.

 

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Greetings!

Hello Everyone

My name is Cruiser and I’m relatively new around here.

I arrived in late June, brought to what would be my new forever home by what I now understand was my ‘foster mom.’  She’s called a foster mom because those who stay with her typically are there on a temporary basis, until they find their forever homes.  I’ll get into my background and history a little later, I really just wanted to introduce myself and let you know a little about me.

I’m probably a little under 2 years old about now, I really don’t know, my puppyhood was all very confusing and a bit frightening.  You see, I’m what they call a ‘rez dog’ having been found on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico.  My foster mom gave me an arbitrary birth date of February 14, 2016.

I’m of indeterminate breeding, maybe a little terrier, perhaps some pointer/retriever, maybe even some Airedale mixed in there somewhere.  Personally, I think I’m just made of a bunch of love and joy.  I’m about 60 pounds now, but when I first got here I was a scrawny 48 pounds.  See what love, regular feeding, and lots of exercise can do for you.

So, as I mentioned earlier, I arrived here at the end of June.  Mom told me she saw my photo on the United Animal Friends website, read my bio, and just had to meet me.  When I originally arrived at my foster mom’s home I was in pretty bad shape but she promised me that my life was going to get better.  She said from that point on I would not have anything to worry about and I would be loved.  Boy, was she right.

I adapted pretty quickly to my forever home and began to enjoy my new life.  Mom and dad were really loving, I got lots of attention, a bit of training (to which I responded really well, you see I’m pretty smart), great food, and I was introduced to some playmates on different outings.  Every now and then, Mom would call me “Bear” and I wasn’t sure if she was talking to me or someone else.  I asked her about it one day and she told me all about Bear, who lived here before me.  Mom was a little sad as she talked about Bear, but said he had a great life while he was here.  She told me some of the fun things they did like camping, and I started to look forward to the times I’d get to go camping too.

Then she told me that Bear was the one who started this blog.  She had to explain what a ‘blog’ was, you see I didn’t have access to a computer on the Navajo Reservation, actually I didn’t have access to much during my time there.  Once she explained what a blog was, I asked if I could start writing.  I told her it would be just fine if she didn’t want me to do it, I know she and Bear had a special relationship that was shared on this blog, and if it was still too painful for her I made sure she understood that I was OK with any decision she made.  She thought it would be a good idea for me to start expressing my thoughts, but for now wanted to keep the original name “Bear’s Blog.”  I thought that was a fitting tribute to Bear.  Even though I never met him, I feel as if I know him through Mom.  She mentioned the word ‘essence’ and I think I know what she meant.

Well, that’s it for now.  As I said earlier, I just wanted to introduce myself and let you all know that I’ll be writing down some of my thoughts about life, love, and my adventures.  I think I got really lucky when Mom found me on the UAF website.  It’s almost as if we were made for each other.  I hope to have lots of fun adventures to write about and lots of years full of love, happiness, and peace.

Talk to you soon.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been writing this entry for some time now.  We’re never sure how much time we have on earth and with our loved ones, and I wanted to be sure to get these thoughts written out.

I talked to mom about it and she agreed to post this for me, you see by the time you read this I will have crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  Mom got a little upset while we were talking and I did my best to console her.  She asked if she could add a post script to this final post and, of course, I said she could and that I would be honored if she would.  It will be nice for you to hear from my mom at this time.  If you have a little bit of time, I’m sure she’d appreciate a comment or two.

Well, here goes. 

I loved my life and the ones who shared it with me.  They were caring and fun to be with. 

I went on a few adventures with mom and dad.  I loved camping with them.  We would sit outside the camper and enjoy the outdoors.  Those were some of my favorite times.  I wish I could have done more of that with them, but I am grateful for the memories we made.

I appreciated all the good food and the wonderful care I had over the years.  It’s tough getting old and as we age we need more medical attention sometimes.  My mom was always keen to my medical needs.  She knew when I wasn’t feeling well or when something wasn’t just quite right.  I had a wonderful Vet, Dr. Julia Lynn at Kachina Animal Hospital.  She, and all those who worked there were fabulous.

I loved my dog brothers who went before me (Taz and Joey) as well as my cat brother (Dante) and cat sister (Maya) who I left behind to comfort mom and dad.  I hope they are up to the task.  Dante was sad when his dog brother, Taz, crossed the bridge.  You see, Taz used to clean Dante’s ears all the time, but I think you may already know that.  Anyway, after Taz passed, I took up that job.  Dante seemed OK with it and we bonded over many an ear-cleaning session.  Maya never liked her ears cleaned, but she would occasionally lie on the dog bed with me.  She was nice.

I enjoyed playing in the snow, even though we didn’t have much in our area.  When we did, mom would run around with me out front, throwing snow balls for me to either catch or find.  You know, it’s tough to find a snowball after it falls in the snow.

Mom took lots and lots of photographs of me.  Besides being a Personal Trainer she is somewhat of an amateur photographer.  I didn’t really enjoy having my picture taken, but I tolerated it, for mom’s sake.  One thing I want to pass on to you is to take lots of photographs, there are no cameras at the Rainbow Bridge.

Last but not least, my mom.  What can I say about the human who loved me unconditionally and provided for my every need throughout my life with her.  I wish we could have found each other sooner, so we would have had more time together, but the time we did share was absolutely wonderful.  I love her with all my heart and I hope that someday I will find my way back to her, and she to me.  If you recall in an earlier post I talked about us exchanging pieces of our hearts, so we are able to keep each other near, now and in the future.  I just wanted to let you all know that I have a piece of mom’s heart with me, something I will cherish always.  She has a piece of my heart as well.  She said when our hearts beat together we are always together, regardless of time and distance.  I like that.

 

Post Script:

I stroked his fur until it no longer felt familiar.  I breathed in his scent until it no longer held his essence.  I closed my eyes, let the tears fall, and said my last goodbye.

I knew this day was coming.  I was not prepared.

Hi, Bear’s mom here.  The journey with Bear has been difficult for me but he was strong throughout it, so I did my best to be strong for him as well.  Thank you for your care, concern, comments, encouragement, and sharing of stories.  I have read all of Bear’s posts and the responses by his many followers.  I cannot begin to express my appreciation, and love, for all.

I believe Bear wrote about anthropomorphism in his first blog in January of 2017.  He was correct when he told you about my academic writing and how I had to be extremely cautious to avoid anthropomorphizing things that were not human.  I succeeded in my academic writings but not in my personal life, but that’s OK, and I would have it no other way.

We are all connected in this universe, at a molecular level.  Everything in the universe has an essence, that’s what makes them what they are.  Bear had that, which is why anthropomorphizing is not applicable to him.  He was family and always will be.  I have had a number of fur-babies pass through my life; they never stay long enough.  And, although my heart is breaking and a piece has left with Bear, there will be another entering my life in the future.  I am sure of it; and, this new family member will join a heart that is comprised of many, many pieces of those who have passed through on their journey.  I don’t know who it will be, when or where, but it will be soon, of that I am sure.

Bear started something here that is important and I’m sure he would want that to continue.  I don’t know who will pick it up, perhaps Dante or Maya will begin to express their thoughts, then perhaps another who has yet to join us will take over.  Whoever it is, someone will step in.  They will never take Bear’s place, but they will add to the essence that remains in our home, the essence of all who have passed through as well as those yet to come.

I will leave you with a few thoughts of others:

Search for and read Rudyard Kipling’s “The Power of the Dog” and you will find the following lines near the end of some stanzas, (https://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/power_of_dog.html)

Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware

Of giving your heart to a dog to tear. . . .

You will discover how much you care,

And will give your heart to a dog to tear. . . .

So why in — Heaven (before we are there)

Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear

I believe, giving our heart to a dog to tear makes us whole, makes us care for others, makes us genuinely compassionate.  And while the pain is unbearable as our heart tears at their passing, we are stronger for it.

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”  Pericles (495 BC – 425 BC)

With any luck, you have had, and will continue to have a fur-baby who has woven itself into your life.

A little more about my cancer

Hello again – Bear here, a little sooner than I truly anticipated.  Seems I have a bit on my mind and not wanting to post l-o-n-g drawn out diatribes I find I may need to post a little more often.  But you know, we’ll play it by ear and see how it goes.  Things are a little bit of a whirlwind for me and mom right now and we’re trying to figure it all out and get a handle on it.

First, my apologies if you happen to see an ad on my blog page.  Mom is trying to work out the budget so she can dedicate as much as humanly (pun intended) possible toward my treatments.  She doesn’t see the point in paying for a so-called ‘premium blog site’ in order to eliminate the ads.  Please do your best to ignore the ads, unless of course, you see something you like and you want to follow it.  It’s kind of like when we head outside on the property for a quick bathroom break.  I’m walking around, looking for and smelling for a good place to go when all of a sudden – BUNNY!  I really don’t chase them, only take a few steps in their direction.  I’d really only sniff and play, but I get that they are a lot smaller than me and I may look like a predator to them.  I’m not sure about this whole “SQUIRREL” thing that’s been going around, we have bunnies out here by us.  But I digress.

Well, I started my chemo pills a few days ago, and so far, so good – no nausea.  We’ll keep an eye on that as I continue to take these chemo pills.  Mom has to wear gloves when handling this medication as it can react with her immune system, and she certainly doesn’t need that to happen. 

I have an appointment on Monday with the cardiologist for an ultrasound of my heart muscle.  Did you know that the heart is a muscle?  I did because my mom told me about it.  It needs exercise just like your other muscles.  My mom is a personal trainer and knows all about that stuff.  Oh yeah, the cardiologist – we’re going to see how well my heart muscle is functioning and if there is any fluid in the pericardium.  Do you know what that is?  It is the sac that encloses your heart muscle.  A buildup of fluid in the pericardium is not good as it can exert stress on the heart muscle.  We’re also checking for any unusual growth or mass on the heart muscle.  There wasn’t any detected when I had a preliminary ultrasound prior to my splenectomy but that scan was not done by a cardiologist.

Did I mention I had a splenectomy?  Well, I did.  This was a result of a mass that was discovered growing on my spleen.  The ultrasound that detected the mass was a result of mom taking me to the vet when I wasn’t feeling my best.  I was tired, somewhat lethargic, and she was worried.  You know, I’m not a young pup any more.  Anyway, we ended up having blood work done and my iron levels were low.  Since I wasn’t bleeding in my digestive tract, our vet suggested the ultrasound.  You have to give my mom credit, she followed me around with a ‘poop-stick’ so she could collect a sample.  She’ll do just about anything for me.  The specialty clinic I go to is about 90 minutes away, in Scottsdale, AZ, and mom has no problem driving me there whenever needed.  During our trips we’ve been listening (and singing) to the Springsteen channel on Sirius/XM as “The Boss” is mom’s favorite.  He’s my favorite too.  Mom mentioned we may start listening to his audio book, “Born to Run” – that sounds great, don’t you think?

Anyway, my spleen, along with the mass, was removed and multiple samples of tissue from my abdomen were taken to be tested.  The results were mixed, but not too good.  The mass on my spleen tested positive for cancer as did the spleen tissue. The liver tests were negative, which was some good news.  However, since the mass on my spleen showed signs of rupture, bleeding, and then healing, samples were taken of the omentum, the connective tissue that binds the organs in the abdomen. The bleeding was why my iron levels had dropped and I was feeling lethargic.  Unfortunately, those tests returned positive for cancer as well. What that means is that the cancer cells from the splenic mass have seeded in the abdomen and now have the ability to move further through my system.

Wow, that was a lot of information in one paragraph.  I hope it wasn’t overwhelming.  The official diagnosis is hemangiosarcoma, a tumor of blood vessels.  My breed can be prone to this type of cancer, bummer.  The prognosis is not the best either but I’m not going to dwell on that.  I’m going to make the best of my time and enjoy life.  My mom told me she would make sure I have the best life possible.  That’s a promise she made to me when she adopted me almost four years ago, from an Aussie Rescue group.  That’s what life is all about, right?

Talk to you soon.