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Written by Casey Dickson, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation's largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.

Get your Gold Star in Pet Sitting

You’d think that the only prerequisite to being a great pet sitter would be a love of furry friends, but there’s definitely a lot more to it. It’s certainly a wonderful quality that people look for when they’re hiring a sitter to tend to their four-legged precious cargo, but as for the rest, be sure to keep in mind the following…

Be aware that no two pet-owning homes are alike.

Dogs, cats, and other furry friends all become fiercely accustomed to the layout and elements of their home, and—just like us—they develop a routine and certain preferences for how things should go, from how and where they eat their dinner to when they need a nap. Be sure to pay attention to things like what kind of food (and how much!) they eat, what kind of food they can’t eat, and what their eating routines are like: do they need you in the room while they dine or does your furry charge like his or her space?

Stay attuned to their needs: exercise, play time, or simply providing space.

From breed to breed and pet to pet, the levels of necessary stimulation and rest (and everything in between) vary greatly. Err on the side of providing attention, affection, and opportunities for exercise—from runs and walks to dog parks and time with toys—but also pay attention to lags in energy and your charge’s need to rest alone and have some down time. One of the many wonderful things about four-legged friends is that they’ll usually tell you what they need via audible alerts and physical hints—listen to them!

Keep in frequent touch with your charges’ parents.

To a pet parent leaving their little four-legged loved ones behind for a night, a weekend, or longer, there’s nothing worse than having to wonder what their fur babies are up to. This is where you come in: keep the photo stream and text updates coming, because when it comes to their sweet cat or dog, there’s no such thing as spam. (Of course, to each their own, and this is not a hard and fast rule to be applied to all pet parents. If your clients indicate that they won’t be near their phones or want a quiet weekend free of electronic alerts, definitely back off the updates. In this, as in all cases, the best way to know is to ask.)

Always take a job you’re comfortable with.

If you come across a pet sitting request that asks you to tend to a cat or dog breed (or personality) that gives you any kind of anxiety that can’t be solved by asking further questions or having the right resources around, don’t take the job! This doesn’t make you a bad person or pet sitter, it means you have the right instincts to know that what’s best for the pet is a sitter who’s ready for anything.

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Warning: Graphic Images: Viewer Discretion AdvisedHarris County Animal Shelter in Houston, TX is a tough place to be if you’re a dog. They are overcrowded and understaffed. A group of volunteers work tirelessly creating videos to post socially for the ones who need the most help getting out.

Two nights ago, it was Goldilocks’ turn. She is a 12ish year old blind cocker spaniel with a huge tumor. Here is the video which has been viewed over 28,000 times to date:What Happened Next?1. The director of Gulf Coast Cocker Rescue, Stephanie Collins, received 100s of pleas to pick up this dog from the shelter after people saw the video. But her rescue is full, their funds are low, and the group would need not only a committed foster, but one who would agree to take this dog into their home and their life forever if it came to that. It was unclear whether Goldilocks would be a hospice case at this point or not, but for sure she had a long way to go. And a lot of vet appointments.2. Vickie Grissom is a volunteer for the rescue group and has fostered over 30 dogs in the past 5 years. Most of them were special needs. Vickie, her husband Ashley, and Vickie’s parents (who live with them) made the committed offer.3. An email was sent to the shelter and plans to pick up Goldilocks were made for the next day. I met them at the shelter.
“It is overwhelming and easy to get swept away by the magnitude of the homeless pet population, and to become overwhelmed at all the deserving animals needing a home.”
— Stephanie Collins
“It takes resolve, focus, compassion, and a belief that the individual dog, like Goldilocks, has a value that makes the extraordinary commitment of time and money worth it. Given that little dog’s attitude and spirit, it is obvious to me that she deserves this chance.”
— Stephanie Collins
“Our motto is ‘quality care and forever homes, one cocker spaniel at a time’. The never-ending supply of these dogs is suffocating, but we founded on the principle of ‘if everything we do is for “just one”, it’s worth it.’”
— Stephanie Collins Once they saw how bad she looked in person and smelled the stench of the tumor, they decided to bring her from the shelter directly to the ER for evaluation.
“The point is, everyone who is bothered by the problem needs to engage and do something to help it. They are either part of the problem, or part of the solution. There sure are a lot of people who jump on a thread and demand someone do something, especially when they see horrendous photos like hers, but how many of them actually step up to foster, volunteer, or donate? It takes all of that to help the organizations like ours who will go out on a limb for the one like her.”
— Stephanie Collins
“Gulf Coast Cocker Spaniel Rescue will never be a high volume operation. We find ourselves full of old, sick and behaviorally challenged dogs that just don’t move quickly, if they move at all. But there is nothing sweeter than being able to help one of them...and, thankfully, we find that like-minded people have been drawn to us. We often refer to the Starfish Story when we begin to feel overwhelmed, and it takes us back to our founding principles... focusing on The One.”
— Stephanie Collins Here was the first report about her condition:Her white blood cell count is very high due to the infection. It is around 47,000, instead of the 15,000 it should be. Additionally, her red blood cell count is very low and she is quite anemic. This vet said the low end of normal is around 37%, and she is only 19%. They planned to put her on antibiotics, orally as long as she would eat for them, and to see if the numbers started to head in the right direction. We need the RBC count to bounce back or they may recommend a transfusion.While the shelter estimated 12 years of age, despite her cataracts and overall poor body condition… The vet felt it is a very likely possibility that she is younger.What I would love would be to be able to restore her vision in at least one eye, but first we need to address the tumors. There is one big mammary chain down the entire left side of her body, so they would address that, the baseball sized growth, and spay her. We would then start heartworm treatment once she gains her strength a bit.

Friday afternoon report:

Clinically, she's still doing great. She's happy, eating, and resting comfortably. The results of the ultrasound were as follows:
• distended uterus with wall thickening. combined with high WBC count, pyometra (severe uterine infection) is suspected
• well defined cysts in body of spleen, cancer/neoplasisa is considered unlikely, but while in the abdomen, suggests removing this as if the masses grow (whether or not benign), the spleen is at chance for rupture
• changes in pancreas, consistent with chronic pancreatitis
• lymph node enlargement in abdomen, but it's likely secondary to pyometra
• Nothing to note about the diaphragm Next steps: They are contacting a surgeon who does emergency/more complex surgeries for them, and has been doing so since 2004/2005. The question remains if this would require one surgical procedure or two. If two, the large tumor and mammary mass removal would be first, followed by the spay (to remove the uterus) and splenectomy a month or so later. That said, due to suspicion of pyometra, it's probably best to get the uterus out sooner rather than later, but obviously, the large, ruptured mass must come off as well.

The determination of how to proceed will, unfortunately, have to be made once the surgeon 'gets in there'. They are touching base with him this afternoon to find out when, over the weekend, he might be available to do this.

Red blood cells are holding steady, so soon this precious angel will receive the help she so desperately needs!!

Stay tuned... and please help if you can.

Update:  Surgery is tonight at 8 pm. 
Pray
And
BELIEVE.

The rescue group is accepting donations now for her care here. And thank you.
To Be Continued..
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When Catherine got in touch about doing an End of Life photo session for her dog and explained he was going downhill quickly, we made plans right away. Then she told me the story about how he "wasn’t really her dog.”

His photo had been circulating on a shelter’s page last October and he was at risk of being put down. A woman in Dallas said she wanted to adopt him, so Catherine offered to pull him from the shelter and foster him until she could come to Houston to pick him up. But that never happened. For whatever reason, the Dallas woman decided she couldn’t manage a new dog in her life at that time.

So, here was Catherine with this dog, a middle-aged pit bull mix, who she never intended on having for more than a couple of days..he’s sick with pneumonia, reactive towards her 2 small dogs, and ZERO plan for what to do next.

She prayed about it, reached out for help, nursed him back to health, got a dog trainer, and enlisted the help of her large extended family with this dog now known as Bittycakes.

A few weeks ago Catherine noticed that his belly appeared a bit distended and took him to the vet. Bitty was diagnosed with an enlarged liver and spleen and an autoimmune blood disorder. His health declined quickly, his kidneys were failing, and cancer was suspected.

We pulled up at the same time. There was Bittycakes..in the front seat of the minivan..smiling at me through the window. I went to say Hi and the first thing I noticed was his very pale gums and tongue. It had apparently been a rough night. Catherine told me that she scheduled his euthanasia for 11:30. Shit.

I asked her to give me a tour of their place so I could determine the best spots for photos. The family members filed in one by one and it all of a sudden became a crowded, busy work space. The portrait photographer part of me got stressed. How was I going to get cute photos for her?? And what was this conservative Asian family doing working out of a house in the heart of Montrose across from gay bars and restaurants?? And how did Bittycakes get so sick so fast?? My head was spinning and the questions were overwhelming me and I sat down at a table so I could try to get unanxious. Cuz, afterall, this ain't about me.

I took a breath and asked for guidance. Ah! It wasn’t time to take pictures was the message I received. It was time to talk to Catherine. So, we sat and spoke for almost an hour while Bitty roamed around with his G’morning Hello’s to all the family. There were already lots of treats and toys involved. Although, I had the distinct impression that this was just a normal day and they weren’t treating him any differently than they would any other time.

She told me about how important religion was to her family. That they had been praying so hard for Bitty. They are house church shepherds and hold prayer gatherings at their home for several families. This is something new..they started around the time Bitty came into their lives and they love it.

Her kids have picked up quick. She told me about a conversation she had with her 5 year old son that morning:

Mom: “Bittycakes is going to Heaven today.”

Son: “How is he going to meet God?”

Mom: “God sends angels to get him.”

Son: “I’m going to live until 200. Is Bitty going to still remember me?”

Mom: “Yes, Sweetheart. They wear name tags in Heaven.”

Natalie, Bitty's trainer, with Bitty & Catherine

This would be her first dog she would need to say goodbye to in this way. The others died of natural causes. But she didn’t want Bitty to suffer one more day.

When I asked her what Bitty came here to teach her, the answer didn’t come that easily. I told her I believe that our pets come with a certain mission. They sign up for it and when the mission is complete, it’s time for them to go. They know how they’ll go and they are ok with it.

What she said was, “I didn’t have a lot of faith that he could change his reactive ways towards other dogs. But he did. The progress was slow, but steady. At 35 years old, I’m pretty set in my ways. But he has inspired me to accept that I can change too.”

About this time we started taking photos, took a nice long walk to look for the kitties on his normal route, and of course, had more treats. The only thing that mattered at that moment was just being and feeling the love.

LOVE is the most important thing. At the end, it’s the only thing that matters. I hope you can see that here. Enjoy the photos and the sweet notes from Catherine..

“Bitty is in heaven now. Thank you. He just gave me a sign that he's ok. You're not going to believe this."
"I went through the McDonald's drive-through for lunch and ordered a ranch wrap. Well I drove off didn't check my bag and they didn't give me a ranch wrap, they gave me chicken nuggets, a cheeseburger, and fries. Bitty’s last meal today during the photo shoot, as you know, was chicken nuggets, a cheeseburger, and fries."
"He wanted me to know he's in a happy place. I took that as a true sign that God and his angels have him and that he is A-Ok now.”
"I was listening to a medical missionary at my church speak today about all the various patients that they see at the hospital in Kenya. Many are seeking cures for life threatening and terminal diseases.

One thing she said that really spoke to me was that she couldn't fix many of the people or cure their illnesses. She simply loved them and ran the race alongside them. And that sometimes God calls us to heal. Sometimes God calls us to finish the race alongside a dying friend. But most of all, God calls us to love."
"And then I realized that I had spent a lot of effort trying to fix Bitty. Fixing his dog aggression. Fixing his incessant chewing on his calluses with eucalyptus oil. Fixing his illnesses (which I ultimately failed at and couldn't).

But what he ultimately wanted and needed from me each day was simply to love him and make him a part of the family. And looking back, what he enjoyed the most (though Natalie is amazing) wasn't training, it was sitting on that disgusting green couch where many fosters have sat, and simply existing with us, his family."
“So you asked me what I learned from Bitty... as I lead my house church with my husband (the shepherd) and I listen to many of other people's marital problems, financial problems, all kinds of problems, I'm really not there to offer any advice to fix and provide a solution for someone.

I’m simply there to love and to run the race alongside them. In fact, the burden of fixing a problem, illness, is too great a burden to bear on my shoulders because I don't know God's plan. I only know his command to love one another. So that's what I'll do. Funny to learn that from a dog.. But I think I got it now..”
"Yes, Mama. I see you received my messages. Thank you for giving me a family and for everything you did for me. My work is done here. I'm so proud of you. Love, Bittycakes"

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The Story.

This wasn’t the type of post I was used to seeing on Jessica’s page. She usually shares photos of her daughter Alexis with their rescue dogs or happy videos of her dancing. So last Sunday’s post stopped me in my tracks and I felt horrible. No one came? WTF?

Before long, the post made it’s way to Charlie Diggs, who offered to throw Alexis another birthday party the following weekend. There was something in his tone and the excited responses that you just knew this guy meant business.

Who is Charlie Diggs?

He is a single father, cherished event promotor, and founder of Charlie's Helping Hands Foundation. According to the Facebook page, their primary focus is on helping catastrophe victims, veterans, and children. He has huge connections in the community and posted daily about the party taking shape. Donations of time, products, and services came pouring in. From Snow to Porta-potties to Princesses! Before long, it had taken on a life of it's own and hundreds of people were RSVP'ing that they'd be there. Many more sent video messages and gifts for Alexis. Just amazing.

Who is Alexis?

I’ve been an Alexis fan for over a year. In fact, I planned to write an article about her several months ago. She is a pint-sized dog whisperer, horse whisperer, Little Miss Dolittle, and I wanted everyone to see. She learned from her mother, who is the director of Ranch Haven Rescue, an organization that works to help rehabilitate and re-home animals in need.

But something told me to wait. I didn’t know why but I’ve learned to follow my gut, and apologized to her mom, but that we would definitely circle back in the future and get it done. When I saw Jessica’s Facebook post about the party, I knew it was Alexis’ time to shine.

By the way, Alexis has alopecia, which is an auto immune disease that attacks hair follicles causing hair to fall out with no known cause or treatment. She doesn’t have cancer and isn’t sick, but her appearance often gets mistaken for both.

The Plan.

I arranged to do a family photoshoot out at their house in the morning so we could have a story to tell Alexis. About an hour later, a limo came to take us to the party, but we pretended it was taking us to the next location for more photos.

Alexis is a dancer. A princess. A free spirit. I just love her.

She was clueless about the surprise. We watched Frozen in stereo in the limo donated by Bob Milner of Mercedes Benz of The Woodlands. It was surreal. She had no idea that she was about to see live princesses and virtually become one herself. My emotions were bubbling up around this time, just before we arrived at our destination, and I said to Jessica and Kyle, "This will be a story to tell your grandkids."

The Party.

She was overwhelmed by the crowd of approximately 1,000 screaming when she got out of the car, but it quickly turned into happiness when she saw the gigantic birthday banner and her mom whispered in her ear that everyone was there for her.

There were guests who flew in from out of state to be there. Several people living with alopecia came to support Alexis. There were princesses. Snow. Birthday cakes. Gifts. (Tons of them..which will be donated to an orphanage in Galveston). A representative from The Children's Alopecia Project came in from Pennsylvania. Miss Texas was there. Alexis had her own bodyguards for the entire event. Police were directing traffic. There was a Paint Lady, Santa was there, Moon Walks. Channel 11 filmed the whole thing. Gosh, so many things and I want to credit everyone but I don’t have all the info, sorry. See the rest of the photos from the party below. It was a great time. Especially for all the kids, who only wanted to take selfies with Alexis and be her newest friend.

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Click on the triangle play button below to start the podcast. OR you can also listen to and subscribe to future episodes on iTunes or by going to the Podcasts app on your phone and searching by my name. Or by going directly to this link. Today's episode is sponsored by:

Julia Long after car accident with puppies she saved.

Swan

Swan video below.

Here is a video of Swan's puppies.

If you would like to help support the care of Swan and her puppies, you may do so directly from The Love, Molly Fund's website or email Julia Long at thelovemollyfund@hotmail.com.

Visit Purple Cat Resale online here.

Clyde

Clyde

Clyde is available for adoption through The Love, Molly Fund. All inquiries: thelovemollyfund@hotmail.com. He's scrumptious!

Thank you Julia.. For your bravery and kindness and generosity. You inspire me daily. XO

If your business would like to sponsor a future podcast, please inquire through the contact page on this website.Bringing you these dog stories takes precious time and resources. It's important to me, and I'll do it no matter what. But your small donation — even $1 or $2 — goes a long way toward helping me maintain my website and continue to invest my time and energy into helping give voice to these animals who so desperately need one. Give Now
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Beyla

It’s rare that we get to hear the backstories about dogs who come into rescue. This is an opportunity to do just that..and so much more!Click on the triangle play button below to start the podcast. You can also subscribe to future episodes on iTunes by going to the Podcasts app on your phone and searching by my name. Today's episode is sponsored by:

Beyla is available for adoption through Southern States Rescued Rottweilers. Here is the link to her adoption page for more information and all inquiries.

Matt with Beyla

Beyla

Matt and Ryan training Beyla and Sarah's dog Bronson together

Sarah and Matt training with the dogs.

Rea and Sarah with Bronson

Thank you Sarah, Rea, and Matt. It was an honor to chat with all of you. Your love for Beyla continues to inspire me, as does your bravery in telling her story. XOIf your business would like to sponsor a future podcast, please inquiry through the contact page on this website.Bringing you these dog stories takes precious time and resources. It's important to me, and I'll do it no matter what. But your small donation — even $1 or $2 — goes a long way toward helping me maintain my website and continue to invest my time and energy into helping give voice to these animals who so desperately need one. Give Now
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Robyn Arouty by Robyn Arouty, Robyn Arouty With Reg.. - 8M ago
So many cool dog peeps. So many great dog stories. And I want to help tell them!

Join me for my first podcast here! Have fun looking through the photos as you listen to this interview with Regina Adams about two dogs she rescued recently and is fostering in her home. Just click on the triangle PLAY button below to listen!

Please direct all adoption inquiries to Regina @ RAdams@rbaplaw.com.

Regina with her beloved Shadow taken a few years ago in my studio.

Miller's BEFORE!

Bringing you these dog stories takes precious time and resources. It's important to me, and I'll do it no matter what. But your small donation — even $1 or $2 — goes a long way toward helping me maintain my website and continue to invest my time and energy into helping give voice to these animals who so desperately need one. Give Now
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It was a bit of a trick question (given my years of experience in the psychology field and some things I’ve been wondering about lately), but I posted this on Facebook the other night anyway.
“I’m just curious.. What is the longest time you’ve grieved for a pet? & What amount of time do you feel is appropriate to grieve for a pet? This is a very personal topic and there is no right or wrong answer.”
I noticed some trends in the comments received, so I decided to consult with a couple of expert friends on the subject.Several people thought since my Ozzy had just passed that I was asking for advice for myself. So they consoled me. Super sweet. But that wasn’t the reason for the post.I picked up Ozzy’s ashes that afternoon and felt a very peaceful love for him and from him. I didn’t break down or cry like I was concerned about for the past week while I procrastinated on retrieving his remains. I suppose most of my grieving was done in private while he was still alive with cancer.The first person I spoke to about the post was Kira Ellis of Intuitive Pet Care. She is an animal soul translator. Best I can describe it is she helps people understand the connection between their lives and the missions of their pets. When I told her about the condolence responses she said,
“What they are telling you is what they need to hear for themselves, so they are really speaking to themselves in your eyes.”
I loved that. If the questions I asked brought healing on any level to my friends still grieving their pets who have passed on, I’m all about that.Some very powerful things Kira had to say about losing our pets:The death of a single animal has the power to generate a thousand human blessings.When an animal crosses over they set SO many blessings in MOTION — blessings we aren't always ready for or know how to receive. We rarely see the blessings because of all the pain:What we don't see are the 50 comments filled with love and support on the post we made about their death.
What we don't see is the newfound motivation we now have to leave a dead end job or relationship. 
What we don't see are all of the missed calls from people who cared.
What we don't see are the years of built up emotions now pouring out of us because we lost the closest thing to our hearts.We aren't always ready for them to leave because deep down we know that if they leave things will change. Our comfort zones will shift and more things will come, more things will go. The timing never feels right because they provide an incredible amount of safety for us. When they leave it’s the equivalent of a blankey being taken away from a small child. Losing an animal is incredibly painful because they SEE us. They see our hearts like no one else. Being seen by them is a gift in and of itself that we feel cannot be experienced outside of them. What they want us to know is that we CAN experience love like theirs, but in order for this to happen room must be made. This is why they leave. To release us to the world to experience a greater kind of love that they will now be guiding us to from the other side.THIS is their greatest wish for us.To Be Continued..

Bringing you these dog stories takes precious time and resources. It's important to me, and I'll do it no matter what. But your small donation — even $1 or $2 — goes a long way toward helping me maintain my website and continue to invest my time and energy into helping give voice to these animals who so desperately need one.

Give Now
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Ozzy in Galveston. Photo by Kristen Smith. http://shaggychichouston.com/

Pet hospice care is different from human hospice care in that it provides the option for euthanasia. The intention of pet hospice is not to cure your pet’s illness, but rather to ensure a peaceful end of life experience in your home.

Every end of life is different. My pets’ conditions in the past didn’t leave me much choice about making the decision to euthanize. One was almost 17 years old and her liver was failing, one was young but had dangerous behavioral problems, and the other had severe swelling of the brain. Making the decision to know when it’s time if your dog has cancer or another terminal illness can be much trickier.

Most vets do not offer this type of in home care. In fact, our vet sent us home with a terminal diagnosis, stool softener, no pain meds, and not much of a plan. I'm guessing that is how it's normally done but I just needed more support than they were able to provide.

I have known about Last Wishes In-Home Pet Hospice and Palliative Care in Houston for a while and decided to use their services with Ozzy. It’s perfectly ok to work with a new vet in this instance and you can have a copy of your vet records sent over to them. Dr. Cornelius and her staff were a godsend in our lives. They visited with Ozzy in our home every few days and were available daily for consultation as his needs changed.

Ozzy’s quality of life was my main priority. There was a lot of discussion about weighing risks throughout the entire process. When it was clear that the tumor under his pelvis was growing larger and preventing him from being able to poop, Dr. Cornelius reviewed her Quality of Life Journal with me. It really put things into perspective nicely and I figured if it helped me then it could help many of you in similar situations.

Here are the reasons I chose pet hospice care for my Ozzy:1.  Kept us out of the Pet ER.

They taught me how to give an injection for severe pain and fluids for dehydration in case of emergency and provided us with all medications just in case.

2.  Gave me time to get used to the idea of his passing.

A diagnosis of 2-6 weeks to live is shocking so that extra support really meant a lot. In our case, there wasn’t going to be surgery or other medical treatment for his cancer.

3.  Daily support.

You never know what the next day will bring. Pets with terminal illnesses have good days and bad days. I enjoyed celebrating the good ones with our hospice peeps. They were so patient and loving.

4.  Comfort care.

Ozzy being blind added more of a challenge to it. A dog’s eyes are very telling about how they're feeling, their needs, etc. and I didn’t have that benefit.

5.  Pain management.

This was everything. Liver flavored treat-like pain pills 3X/day.

6.  Be in the Now.

Last Wishes was really rooting for Ozzy and did everything they possibly could to prolong his life. They helped me stay in the moment with him.

7.  Know when the time is right.

It’s such a slippery slope and can be very scary trying to seemingly play God all on your own.

8.  Gave me overall peace of mind.

It’s been 2 days since we said goodbye. I miss Ozzy so much but I know we did the right thing.

9.  Euthanize in a comfortable place where he was less stressed.

He was well enough to play with toys an hour before the end of his life. He went to sleep happy and relaxed. We didn’t have to let things get ugly. I chose to not have my other dogs present, but that is an option with Last Wishes if you prefer it.

10. Grieve in the privacy of my own home.

I tried to be strong for Ozzy up until his last breath. But my emotional outbursts afterwards would have really disturbed business at a vet clinic.

Bringing you these dog stories takes precious time and resources. It's important to me, and I'll do it no matter what. But your small donation — even $1 or $2 — goes a long way toward helping me maintain my website and continue to invest my time and energy into helping give voice to these animals who so desperately need one. Give Now
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Time is funny.

We waste a lot of it. Either being overwhelmed with the past — feeling guilty or sad for what has already happened, or being stuck in the future — worrying about what might or might not happen. This is what anxiety is made of.

But there’s nothing like a loved one’s prognosis of “2-6 weeks to live” to make time stand still.

That moment really stung. I reacted emotionally, as you might have noticed by my last blog post about Ozzy. Over the next few days I felt like a victim, which isn’t my normal style. I was angry. I was sorry for us. I had regrets. I was desperate to change our reality.

My energy went into resisting Ozzy’s diagnosis and all that would surely follow. So, I prayed for strength, peace, and a deeper understanding to guide me through this f*cked up situation.

Then a shift happened: I accepted that Ozzy is going to die.

I have chosen to not allow his inevitable passing to consume my thoughts and take away the precious moments I have with him right now. Trust me, this is a conscious effort on my part. It doesn’t come naturally and isn’t easy; it’s tough inner work. I’m no expert, but it feels like the right way to be right now.

I surrendered to what is and immediately started living in the moment. When he had a setback the other day I didn’t freak out. I wasn’t thinking about how long he has or what the end will look like. I’m living and loving with him in the moment and handling our business as it comes.

Ozzy is not his failing body. That is just his form. I know when Ozzy leaves his physical body he’ll still be supporting me on my road to becoming the best version of myself I can be in this lifetime. He’ll just be doing it with my Angel Team above.

So, what really matters now? Paying attention. I’m taking time to talk to Ozzy. Pet him slowly. Feel his curly fur between my fingers. Revel in the joy I feel when he kisses my cheek. Cheer him on when he navigates my steep set of stairs on his own once again. Smile when I talk to him and it appears he can see me because he’s looking right through me with those beautiful light blue broken eyes. I want to remember all of this.

I am grateful for these gifts of peace Ozzy has given me.

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