Ode to Joy

Today, we said goodbye to our sweet pup, Cali.  She’s in a better place, at the Rainbow Bridge {how fitting}, and no longer suffering.  I’m pretty sure that covers most of the clichés one might offer in this situation.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think these clichés are trivial; I’m just not ready to hear them.

I pet her as she laid next to me in bed last night.  Her pleural space was filled with fluid.  Her breaths were labored.  We spent the last six weeks seeking counsel from veterinarians at two “ER” animal hospitals, two “regular” veterinarians, as well as the rescue we adopted her from.  Test, after test {after test} came back inconclusive.  It became evident the past few days she had some type of lymphoma.  Had she been diagnosed six weeks ago, we would still be where we are right now.  I would not have pursued chemotherapy.  The course of treatment would have been steroids {which we did} for however long they worked.  The steroids gave us four more weeks with her, for which, I’m grateful.

About four and a half years ago, after learning about Chapman’s Dachshund Rescue in York, SC, I decided we needed a companion for our dachshund, Chloe.  I knew I wanted to skip the puppy stage {been there, done that} I wanted a dog between two and three years old.  I spoke with Gina Chapman, the founder and rescue owner, about adopting a breeder surrender.  She told me what to expect, and not expect, from a pup who has been surrendered by a breeder. 

The first time I laid eyes on Cali was {unsurprisingly} on Facebook!  I had been showing my husband pictures of rescue dogs in my News Feed almost every day since I discovered the dachshund rescue.  Okay, you’re right, it was multiple times, every day.  Our 20th anniversary was on the horizon when I flashed my iPad at him with a picture of a dog named Apple Pie.

Apple Pie at Chapman’s Dachshund Rescue

 “Ooohhh, what a GREAT anniversary present she would be!”  {wink, wink}

“No more dogs,” he grumbled.

He was right.  Another dog would just be more work.  I didn’t need more to do. Chloe was perfectly happy being top dog.  I ‘d been thinking a lot about what Gina told me about breeder surrenders; how most have never lived inside a home, they’re not socialized, and they’re used to living in a pen 24/7.  I didn’t need a dog that would piddle in the house or refuse to come out of its crate.

The second time I laid eyes on Cali, she was on my pillow! It was mid-September and I was visiting Chicago for the weekend. I took the late {late} flight home. At 1 a.m., I tiptoed to my side of the bed, in the dark, trying not to wake my husband or Chloe. Moonlight streamed through the window, onto the bed. There, on my pillow, eyes shining in the moonlight, tail thumping ever so quietly, was Apple Pie. I smiled. “Well hello there,” I whispered, trying to pet her head as she simultaneously tried to sniff my hand, “I’m your new mommy.” {I had been tipped off about the surprise earlier that day, when a friend who saw the kids outside with two dogs texted, “Did you guys really get a new dog?”}

Apple Pie’s name was quickly changed to Cali.  Fortunately, there was no legal process involved {joke} I quickly realized what Gina told me about breeder surrenders was true.  Whenever Cali felt unsafe or insecure, she hid in her crate.  When I tried to pick Cali up, she would cower and piddle on the floor.  If I raised my voice in any way, she ran away with her tail between her legs.  She didn’t know how to walk on a leash, and, the stress of doing so caused her to have diarrhea at least a dozen times as we walked down the street.  At breakfast and dinner, she would gobble her food in 10 seconds.  Outside, she ate everything, including her poop!  Hugs and kisses?  Forget it.  She cried and jumped out of my arms when I tried to hug her. 

It took some time {one year, to be exact} and patience but Cali finally came around. Her furry big sister, Chloe, gave her confidence and made her feel more secure. She learned to trust the people who visited our home, and only went inside her crate when it was time to “kennel up.” She learned that having hands touch you can be a good thing. She learned to walk on a leash, and, walked proudly, holding her head high. She learned there would be food for her to eat when she was hungry. She learned getting hugged and kissed was a good thing. She became a lap dog with an insatiable desire to be pet. Sadly, she never gave up eating poop {sigh}

Yesterday, we celebrated her life, and how lucky we were to find her.  She enjoyed full size treats after potty trips outside {no halfsies}  She shared filet mignon and a special dessert from the dog barkery, with her BFF Chloe.  This morning, after greeting me by sticking her wet nose in my mouth as I yawned, she ate her favorite breakfast – Chick-Fil-A chicken minis. 

This afternoon, I held her in my arms and we said goodbye in her favorite spot, on the deck, in the sunshine. I take comfort knowing the greater part of her meager five years was spent being lavished with love by four people, and one bossy dachshund, who are going to miss her terribly.

Rest in peace my sweet Cali girl.

5 thoughts on “Ode to Joy

  1. She was so lucky….and so were you. A fitting tribute to honor her spirit. Run free beautiful girl 😘😢


  2. Dear Cindy, I’m so sorry about your sweet Cali. It is so difficult to say goodbye. Cali know how’s how much you loved her. She will always be in your heart. After putting dogs to sleep. It was different over 2 years ago when Angel #1 passed away at home. We held her and she passed away on a friends of ours lap. Then Kenny gave all of the food and letter to this friend to give to Vet. Our friend is really an pet lover. She and daughter have cats, dogs and birds. When Angel #1 passed. He said no more cats I said yes right. Three weeks went and our care giver went to a pet store to buy to  coat milk for the deer that was born by her house. She saw a white and I had to go to see it her name was Angel. Kenny was not happy but it was meant to be. I have Angel #2, we first got her she was so different from our first cat. I love it when she runs to me so I can pet her. Pets are amazing. They are family.

    Love you,Dorothy


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