Our friends who are now living beyond the Rainbow Bridge with all the ArfAngels.


Cyrano

Cyrano

Stan and I sat in the living room tonight drinking a glass of wine. The weather was strange today, overcast, cloudy and a wind that is unusual for a June day. Maybe the heavens were a flurry preparing for his arrival. His entrance into heaven is sure to be uniquely Cyree, just as his entrance into our life was.

He came to us just short of four years ago. It was a warm July evening when Stan and I drove down to the Vacaville outlet stores to pick up two foster dogs from ESRA (English Springer Spaniel Rescue of America). Marie Clair was meeting us with two older dogs that had been picked up by animal control just wondering in a store parking lot. After staying at the shelter for the required days for strays and not being claimed by their owner Marie Claire took them into the ESRA program and needed a foster home for them. This was their first piece of good luck.

Donny and Marie were their names given to them by the shelter. Marie Claire thought Lilly and Zack fit them better. On our drive down to get them Stan and I thought that Dylan and Lilly would be best but the truth of the matter is none of those names fit. No, none of those names were right. Like a fine wine that should not be opened until it’s time, names should not be given too quickly, you must be sure that the name is absolutely fitting first. What’s the hurry?

The male immediately took to us and I always said he was looking for someone to love him, anyone and wasn’t shy about it. He attached right away, right in the parking lot of the outlet stores. The female however wasn’t so sure about what was happening and you could see that she was quite stressed about their situation. We brought them home and the male made his grand entrance by running in and hitting the hardwood floors like an ice skater who can’t skate. He fell spread eagle, gave out a big sigh and with his chin on the floor and all four of his legs out from under him, he peed. He peed on my hardwood floor for the first of many, many times.

Over the next few days and weeks their personalities started to come through and we tried on many names but when Stan came up with Cyrano we hit the jackpot. Yes, he made us laugh and he had that big old nose, he was definitely a Cyrano and she a Sally Rose. The two never left our house to move on to what rescue calls “forever homes.” No, their fate was sealed and their next piece of luck came when it was clear that they could not be separated without Cyrano having a complete meltdown. If Sally Rose was not in the same room with him he would stress so much he would collapse his trachea. This was a habit that after a few months he transferred to me. He was OK in the house but could not be at the vets without me in site or he would start his stressing and collapsing his trachea. This all meant that they needed to stay with us, forever. Lucky dogs.

Life around her rolled along pretty nicely. Cyrano and Sally Rose made the spaniel count five and the other three, Coyote, Louie and Goose were very willing to share with the two new family members. Cyrano on the other hand thought he would try and take over. Poor Louie, he really took the blunt of Cyrano’s strikes. Although Cyrano did his fair share of attacks on Coyote and Goose it was of course the other male in the house that he hunted down most of the time. As I look at this little old man it is hard to remember those times that I had to pull him off one of the other dogs and really get in his face about it. That lasted for about a year or so and then he got old and got tired of me protecting the others so he gave up the fighting and was just sweet old man. Thinking back on it he was so lucky I didn’t get rid of him. There’s that Cyree luck again.

As Cyrano and Sally Rose grew older with us we started to call them the Hobbits. Why? Well, they had hairy feet, the hairiest feet I have every seen on a springer. Hairy feet and they liked second breakfast. I never feed the younger dogs breakfast before we go to the ranch for their morning runs but Cyrano and Sally Rose were having none of that so I would feed them a little breakfast before we went and then again when we came home and everyone ate. Hence, second breakfast. The two of them were such a funny pair, walking side by side on our greenbelt walk or slowly walking the orchard rows where once in while they would get a wild hair and brust of young age energy and run! But run at Hobbit speed…..kinda fast.

The last two years of his life with us got complicated. Cyree’s depth perception was going and he would have a hard time stepping down curbs or coming down stairs. I lived in fear as he would sometimes come down the stairs like batman, but without the flying power of the bat cape. He would jump from the top of the stairs and hit the wall of the landing. Finally he came to realize that he couldn’t make it down the stairs and he would stand at the top of the stairs calling for help and Stan or I would have to go up and carry him down. He was good at calling for service. In April of 2006 he had emergency surgery for bloat and we both thought he wouldn’t make it thought the surgery. Still in possession of cat luck and nine lives he made it through that surgery and he continued to enjoyed life. He loved his nightly walks around the neighborhood with Stan. They had their routine and all the neighbors would smile when they would see Stan coming down the street with Hobbits. When we lost Sally Rose his walks continued with Cyrano and the neighbors were always touched by how compassionate Stan was with this old dog on his nightly walks.

Today Stan told me he made the appointment for tomorrow. He said he was going to give Cyrano a bath and I offered to do it. He said, no they had been in the trenches together for the past seven months and it was something he needed to do for his buddy. Yes, for the past seven months, their have been few times that Stan did not have this dog with him. He cared for this old dog and refused to put him down until he knew in his heart that he had done all that he could do. Through sleepless night and days of full time care for Cyrano, Stan did it. That dog went everywhere with him. He cooked for him and bought him double cheese burgers, he bathed him and nursed his wounds. And as he had done with bogie, Sally Rose and now Cyrano, Stan squeezed out every last bit of life that he could for them. I have given him an argument on all three, he was right.

As Stan and I sat and talked this evening we both remarked how it felt like Cyrano was halfway gone. Like his life force was leaving us. It’s time for Cyrano to make his grand entrance wherever doggy souls go. I am sure that he will do it with the humor and style and everyone will know that he has arrived.

We will miss our sweet old man.

July 25, 2006
Today we said good-bye to Sally Rose. Stan and I held her and kissed her on the head telling her we loved her as the vet gave her the final injection. It was time and she was tired of the fight. Sally hadn’t been doing well lately having been diagnosed with renal failure she had spent three full days at the vet’s getting IV fluids. The plan was to jump start her with the IV and then do sub-Q fluids at home and return on Tues (today) to check her kidney values. If the values improved then we would know we were doing the right thing. That was our plan. So starting last week Stan would drop her off at vet’s along with her bag lunch of baby food or a McDonald’s hamburger and then pick her up that evening to come home. We started the sub-Q fluids twice a day and she seemed to perk up for a few days.

Eating in our house is always a big event when you have spaniels. Spaniels love to eat and they never complain about the cooking. Sally Rose was no exception. As soon as she saw me start to prepare the food bowls or saw me open the lid of the peanut butter jar she was barking. Her bark of joy would radiate from down deep in that little spaniel soul, her ears would fly up and her front feet would leave the ground….PEANUT BUTTER, my favorite!, she seemed to bark. Sally Rose loved food and she was the chubby one of the group until recently. With the renal failure her interest in food was starting to wane. She would want to eat and start to get excited about it but then she couldn’t bring herself to eat. One day she would love the ground turkey, rice and veggies I would make. She would clean her bowl and ask for seconds and we would oblige. Then the next day that dish held no interest for her. We would BBQ steak and marinated pork roasts for her. Stan thought maybe she would prefer “dog food” so we purchased a can of every brand of commercial dog food out there. Stan would do a test putting out three bowl of food to see if she preferred one over the other. She would and that would last just long enough for us to have gone out and purchased more only to have her say no thanks to it the next time we offered it. Her barks of joy for peanut butter or a cookie weren’t there although she would lift her nose and let me know she was interested in checking out what I had to offer and when it was something that she would actually eat it, well it was my turn to jump for joy.
Sally Rose came into our lives on July 10, 2003. Asked by Springer Rescue if we could foster two dogs that were found as stray in Antioch, Stan and I drove down to the outlet stores in Vacaville to meet the rescue worker who had pulled them from the shelter. The two of them were found wandering the parking lot of the SaveMart store, they had collars on but not tags and their coats had been shaved down. The shelter named them Donnie and Marie. The rescue person who pulled them from the shelter renamed them Zack and Lily and then finally after some time with us trying on names we found the names that fit, Cyrano and Sally Rose. We were only going to foster them but it became clear that Stan loved them too much to give them up and don’t tell him this but I did too. They made us laugh. Spaniels do that, they have a clownish way and a real sweetness about them, but add to that old dog cuteness and they were funny. We affectionately called them the hobbits because they had hairy feet and liked second breakfast and we were sure they would live to be a hundred and fifty.
Sally Rose loved her peanut butter and she loved going to the ranch. She was the quiet one of the two dogs and she was slow to warm up to us. Cyrano just came in loving us, Sally Rose wasn’t so sure. It was a good month or two before she started to come upstairs at night to sleep but after that, once she opened her heart to us she loved us just as much as he did, she just did it quietly. Sit on the couch and she would join you, allowing you to rub her ears as she laid her head in your lap and moaned with pleasure. Go for a walk and she would tell you which way to go. If you were going left when she wanted to go right those hobbit feet came to a stop and seemed to be drilled into the ground. Give Sally Rose her way and go to the right and breaks were released and she happily went with you and forgive you your sin.
Oh Sally Rose!……This morning it was clear, the fight was over. We came back home to a sad house. How can a house with four other dogs seem so empty with the fifth one missing? You could feel the hole that she left. You look around and see her bed, her collar, her meds and all the other worldly objects that say Sally Rose was here….. Was it my imagination or did the other dogs feel it too? All of them seemed quite sedate. Do they know Sally Rose won’t be coming home?
Sweet dreams my sweet spaniel….no more pain.


It’s with a broken heart that I tell you our little Star went to The Rainbow Bridge at 11:30 last night.

Star

Star

One day five years ago our friend Jude Fine of the Senior Canine Rescue Society in Calgary called us to ask if we’d foster a 10 year old female Springer. We’d adopted our Springer Nicki from Jude 2 years earlier and then adopted Opus through ESRA 6 weeks after Nicki. Having a 3rd one (to only foster of course) didn’t seem like a big deal. We met Jude halfway between Calgary and our home in Saskatoon to pick her up. Her family was getting divorced and neither Mom or Dad wanted her – although they’d had her since she was a puppy. Although not abused she was neglected – hadn’t been spayed, was in the early stages of pyometra and had several mammary tumors.. She also had a growth under her neck which later turned out to be a spindle cell tumor.

She jumped up in the back seat of our car without a backward glance and we heaaded off on our 4 hour drive home. I’m sure we hadn’t driven more than 15 monutes when she got down off the seat and was nosing about the floor. The next thing we knew she was squeezing her way in between the drivers door and drivers seat and in no time at all she was happily curled up on Bills lap. It was love at first sight for the 2 of them. Our vet told us that sometimes a dog will come into a home and look at 1 person and say “I pick YOU” Star definitly picked Bill. She was a shameless flirt with him and would follow him anywhere – taking the garbage out, working in the garage, going to the store – wherever he went she was right behind him. He called her his velcro dog.

As we learned more about her tumor we felt that it would make it difficult for her to be adopted and so we happily failed fostering (as if Bill wuld have let her go!!). Less than 2 months later the tumor was gone – completely – no sign of it anywhere. Our vet and the Vet College in Saskatoon were dumfounded. We always felt that once she knew we were keeping her she didn’t need to play the sympathy card with us any longer.

When we moved to Nova Scotia 2 years ago our pack of 3 came with us on that long drive across the country. She was a trooper in the car – they all were. As long as she could be beside Bill I think she’d have gone to Siberia and back.

She was a mother hen – wanted to know where everyone was at all times. She’d waddle around the house with a worried look on her face till she’d located everyone then she was happy just to be. Whenever we fostered she turned into a completely different dog for a few days – the mother hen turned into the rooster just looking for a fight. Didn’t matter that she was smaller and older – it was HER house and she made sure they knew it. After she felt they knew their place she’d revert back to the mother hen and sleep with them, groom them etc.

She had a little tiny nub of a tail that we called her Timbit tail. She was also known as the Sidewinder due to the fact that her back end just never seemed to follow the front. Her round belly earned her the nickname of the Unibody Dog – she was the same size from shoulder to butt. When she ran at the off leash park she’d run on ahead but always keep us in her sights. She was always on the lookout for a quick and easy treat – she once slid just the sausage out of a bun that a friend of ours was holding. She was so stealthy that the sausage wasn’t missed till Dana went to take the next bite. And there sat Star, contentedly licking her chops!

At around 7:30 last night I fed she and Clancy their dinner and within about 15 minutes she started vomiting. Her breathing was rapid, she paced, couldn’t get comfortable. If she drank a bit of water it came right back up again. I was worried about bloat. We took her into Halfax where there is an all night emergancy vet clinic and they X-rayed her immediately. The X-rays showed no bloat but there was a huge mass on her spleen. The mass had ruptured and the spleen had been pushed up into the stomach – hence the vomiting. It was hard to believe that this desperately sick little dog was the same on who had run at the off leash park earlier in the day and eaten her breakfast with gusto. The on call vet gave us our options – surgery or letting her go to the Bridge. There was no way we’d put her through surgery – she was 15 and it might give her 2 months. We discussed bringing her home and calling our own vet first thing this morning to get her to come to the house as she had done with Opus last year when it was time to let him go. The vet gave her a shot of narcotic that would last 5-6 hours and enable her to at least sleep but he warned us that once the narcotic wore of she would be in pain and could die before we could even get hold of our vet. We knew that we were only prolonging the inevitable.

So we laid her blanket from home on the floor of the clinic, laid her on it and then lay down with her. Within seconds it was over and our little Star-Baby was racing across the Bridge to be reunited with Nicki, Opus and Jude. Somehow I know she’ll find a way to keep close to Bill – a bond like that can’t be broken even by death.

We know that this can be endured and that there will come a day when the memories of her don’t cause tears and an ache in the heart but it’s been a difficult 2 years. Our original pack of 3 – Nicki, Opus and Star have all gone to the Bridge – Nicki in May/05, Opus in April/06 and now Star. Our beloved friend and rescue mentor Jude also left us last year.

Don’t worry little Star – I’ll look after Dad for you.

Megan, Bill and The Clancy Man in Nova Scotia

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