Let's start with the good news, shall we? Good news is infinitely more fun that not so good news. Some of you may know and some of you may not, but my Mom and Jim are living with us right now while they remodel their newly purchased home. Because they are remodeling, they are frequenting the local Habitat Restores and Salvation Army stores and Lowes, etc. Well, a nice perk to that frequenting is that we've been the recipient of some of their finds. In this case, laundry room cabinets (and the angels began singing in the background). Our laundry room has been a hot mess since we moved in. There are no functional pantry cabinets in our kitchen and thus we've used these wire shelves in the laundry room as a pantry. I cut out cardboard to lay on the shelving to keep things from falling through. Super classy y'all. Anyhow - enough with the wordiness. Here are the before and after.
Now I realize that this room is super bland and not fun at all but hey, at least it's organized now right? Our #1 priority has been overhauling our garage but once that is finished we will start on other areas of the house. At least we've got a super nice start now thanks to my mom and Jim!
Now for the not so good news. Brace yourselves. Right before Christmas we said farewell to a member of our family. I first "met" Harley when I was at Tri-County studying to become a veterinary technician. The local shelter brought her in with a group of dogs to be housed at our school. Each student was assigned a cat or dog and they were our responsibility for the duration they were with us (socializing, immunizing, overall behavior improvement, surgical recovery, etc.). Harley was assigned to me...she was my responsibility.
I'm not sure of Harley's background before she came to us but she was extremely afraid of people and other dogs. She was extremely sweet and docile, but extremely afraid...of everything it seemed. For almost 2 weeks solid I worked with her and she never ate. I tried everything to get her to eat and she just wouldn't. I eventually started making food for her at my house and taking it up to her at the school at night when no one else was there and she began to trust me and would eat out of my hand but not out of a bowl. Slowly I trained her to eat out of a bowl by herself and then in the kennel. She became a class favorite - she would sit in our classroom during lecture and just lay there - never making a peep. She became the "go-to" for all of our practical hands on studies - she didn't even need sedation for an EKG because she was just that good. Everyone at school adored her...including me. Needless to say, when our term with all of those dogs (including her) was done I couldn't bear the thought of sending her back to the shelter environment after how far we'd come and so..she became mine. She was the first dog I personally owned myself.
The more and more she came out of her shell the more and more I learned about her. For one thing (it still blows my mind) she was a digger - any time spent in our yard = holes...big ones. She remained an incredibly docile dog and even became a licensed therapy pet who could and did visit elderly people in nursing homes. She was a blood donor and saved countless dogs lives with the blood she gave (again - never having to be anesthetized or sedated because she was just a GOOD DOG. As we added children to our family and pets to our brood she never once caused a problem, never once showed aggression and my kids could do ANYTHING to her and she'd never even flinch. Over the years people have given her countless compliments about her behavior and her nature - often calling her the "perfect dog" and she really was.
We were so saddened about a year ago when she began struggling with incontinence and real arthritic pain. Those two conditions began to worsen and with it she developed an incredibly frequent, yet inconsistent habit of emptying her bowels in the house. We lived with about 2 accidents/week for way longer than I care to admit because I just loved her so dearly and wasn't sure if she was ready and honestly - if I was. After trying every medication we could, we admitted to ourselves that it was in fact "time" to say goodbye to our dear sweet Harley girl. We allowed the girls to have some time with her before explaining to them that she would not be coming back:
That night in the veterinary clinic I cried a good ugly and sobbing cry. With every loss of every pet (being that each time we've had to make that decision) there is so much doubt and questioning..."Is it time", "Do they know I love them", "Do they understand I'm only doing what I feel is best for them"? I can only hope that she knew I did the best I could by her and that I felt it truly time to allow her to go on and not be in pain and not be embarrassed by the frequent accidents she was having and I hope she knew it hurt - it hurt me to let her go because she really was the best dog and I just loved her so very much.
It was weird coming home without her and it was strange in the days that followed to only have Molly and not Harley. I will say, however, that the redeeming quality about children needing your attention 24/7 is that you can't stay "down" for very long because, well - the show (as they say) it must go on. Motherhood - it is a job that doesn't end and there are no breaks so I had to pick up and move on caring for my family and loving those that are still here needing me and my attention. A few weeks after we said "goodbye" I received this in the mail from the veterinary clinic. A sweet reminder of a dear friend...one that I can keep forever.
Last week I received a letter from the clinic letting me know that they had made a donation in her name to Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine. How special and touching and appreciated.
We will miss you so dear sweet Harley!