Piper Update

  • Piper went to an emergency vet clinic at 4:00 Eastern Time. Although we knew Piper’s heart is enlarged, and has been for years, it does not look like he is in congestive heart failure. His liver is extremely large because of his heart problem. His liver is pushing all of his organs, including his stomach, down, causing the distension in his abdomen. His food was just sitting in his very full stomach. The food had nowhere to go since his intestines were also full. The dogtor did something called a rectal (don’t know and don’t want to know) to clear it out. That worked, and Piper went outside and pooped for five solid minutes. He felt much better, as we all would in that situation.

    He went home with instructions to go to his regular vet and have his insulin level checked. He is an insulin dependent diabetic. He seems to be out of the woods for right now. As funny as it sounds, the digestive issue would have been life-threatening if it hadn’t been resolved today. We just don’t know yet what can be done about the enlarged liver and the problems it is presenting. Many thank to everyone for their POTP, prayers, concern and comments.
    Piper was feeling much better, with a smile on his precious face even while his eyes were getting heavy on the way home.


  • My Week in Pictures, or How I Got Fired

    Hi this is Lucy. I finally got Amy to help me with a post. After all, I now share this post with my sister Angel Lexi.

    My week didn’t start out the best. Riley went off with Andrew and left me at home all day on Tuesday. Here’s what he was doing. I am not sure I would have wanted to do that with him. But he’s my boyfriend and I think he should have at least asked me.

                                        The water’s not cold — it’s refreshing!

    Then he teased me with this video.

    The next day, I showed him! I went to work with Amy and left him at home!! When Amy wasn’t paying attention, I wandered down the hall and went into the nursery. It smelled funny, so…


    I figured everyone was leaving pee mail, and I would say hi too. Boy, did I get in trouble! Amy lectured me, and said I got one more chance when she brought me back the next day. The next day was Thursday, and it started out really great. All the little people came and I got to be the greeter!

    Welcome to St. Luke. I am Lucy, and I will play with you.

    A little later, I really had to do my business, so, since Amy had given me another chance, guess where I did it. Amy told Jeff and Jeff told Andrew and Andrew said he would clean the carpet before the babies and toddlers came in on Sunday. Then I got fired. When we left for home, Amy said I should tell the pastor, “Goodbye, see you in a year.”

    When I got home, I ran into Jeff’s office because I knew Amy was still upset with me. Riley was there, and we practiced our coordinated half moon sleeping position.Today after work Amy put me and Riley in the car and took us someplace called a dog park. She said we could only stay if no one else was using it, which she said is usually the case. I think it would be lots of fun if there were other dogs there, but she said after what happened to Riley at another dog park, she wasn’t risking it. This one is just a big grassy area enclosed by a fence. It’s tons bigger than our dog lot. It has a bench for peeps to sit on and a sign with rules and a stream running through it.  Except there was no water in the stream today.  Amy said most people don’t come ’cause it doesn’t have any ex straws. I don’t need ex straws, whatever those are. Riley and I had tons of fun there just like it is!

    At first we just played like we do at home.

    Then, we ran like the wind!

    I hope you enjoyed catching up with what I’ve been doing. Now that I am unemployed, I will have to find other things to get into things to chew activities.

    Lots of love, Lucy

     

    Gracie’s Busy Day

    Gracie here again. Today was the day that the peeps get rid of their kids by giving them to the church for a while. I love this kind of day. I am free to love on the little people, and made 87 trips downstairs to do just that. Their giggles make me wiggle and their sticky, tasty fingers and faces are fun to lick.

    It is also the day peeps come in to get pieces of paper to trade for food. They all seem to need a dog to pet, so I was there to help with that, too. Lexi had told me this was her most important job as the Church Dog, so I take it very seriously.
    avi-and-gracie-revisedThe pastor’s daughter came after school and we played and played. We both finally got worn out and waited on the couch in the room that has lots of books until it was time for her to leave.

    When we finally got home after 87 hours of working, I jumped from the car and ran to the house, already thinking about seeing Mr. Jeff and eating my supper. When Ms. Amy opened the door, there stood another gimongous dog. His name is Riley. I backed up and refused to go in until Ms. Amy picked me up. He could still tickle my toes, so I was relieved when we went upstairs and shut Riley downstairs with Mr. Jeff.

    Riley

    I found out Riley was Lexi’s brother and used to live here, too. You probably already know Riley, but for anyone just tuning in, this is a picture of him taken a few years ago.  He is even bigger than Lucy. Speaking of Lucy, she is still wearing the Cone of Destruction and trapping me with it like a Bullie Dozer. I know Lexi never had any problem dealing with all these big dogs in her house, but she forgot to teach me that lesson.

    I wonder who is going to show up next…

     

    Meet Lucy

    lucy-on-couch

                     Lucy in my office at St. Luke

    This sweet girl is a rescued, dark brindle bullie mix. She came to live with us a week ago on Saturday, while I looked for a good home for her. I don’t get attached to dogs quickly, so no problem. Besides, she isn’t a schnauzer! We figured it was better to pick out a name to call her rather than keep referring to her as “the dog.” I came up with Lucy.  Monday afternoon I approached Jeff with tears in my eyes and asked if we could keep her. Without hesitation he nodded and said, “Of course.” WE HAVE A NEW DOG!

    Lucy makes the house feel alive again. She has also filled a little bit of the space in my heart that Lexi’s passing left desolately empty. I imagine that space will keep filling as we get to know and love each other even more.

    Lucy has been accepted as the new, permanent church dog. Everyone who meets her falls in love with her- staff, volunteers, parishioners, children. The pastor’s 10-year-old daughter comes after school and runs through the hall playing with Lucy, and sits or lays on the floor petting and hugging her, and saying, “I love you, Lucy.” Lucy has also been great with the few younger children she has chanced to meet over the last week.

    Lucy sitting

    Jeff called her “the perfect dog.” She has a temperament that can’t be beat, is playful without being obnoxious (you know what I mean), knows a few simple commands, barely sheds and has not had any accidents in the house. No, she waited to go to work with me to pee on the hallway runner. And to Petco to pee about 87 gallons on the floor while I sorted through new collars. So, maybe “almost perfect.”

    I took her to the vet on Tuesday, where I found out she is a little over a year old and 58 pounds. While there, I was able to observe her interacting with two smaller dogs. I saw tail wags and friendly nose touches. That is also where I realized  – while the vet was searching her abdomen for a scar indicating she had been spayed – that she had gone into heat. She went back yesterday for an ovario-hysterectomy. She is home now, resting at my feet, and obviously not feeling her best after major surgery.

    Lucy asked me to let everyone know that she looks forward to blogging with all of you and making new friends, and hopes to be accepted and loved in this community as well. She indicated that she will start blogging after she has had time to recover from her surgery.

    An aside to all who might be wondering if this means I am no longer looking for a schnauzer. Not as obsessively. Not as actively. But there is always room in our home and hearts for a second dog if the right one comes along.

    Church Dog of the Week

    Woof! It’s me, Gracie. I am staying with Ms. Amy and Mr. Jeff over Christmas while my Mom and Dad go on vacation without me. Come to think of it, they always go on vacation without me. It has something to do with flying, which I haven’t learned to do yet.

    gracy-car-window

        I still have to travel by car.

    Speaking of flying, that reminds me of wings which reminds me of Angel Lexi, who earned her wings almost four months ago. Ms. Amy left my food dish at work today, so I get to honor Lexi by eating my supper out of her green food dish tonight.

    Speaking of work, I have earned the title Church Dog of the Week. Wouldn’t Lexi be proud? I went to work with Ms. Amy yesterday and was minding my own business when this appeared in the doorway to our office:Odin

    Jiminy Cricket! This beast was HUGE! He looked like he could have swallowed me in one big chomp. I was mightily afraid for awhile, but then got a bit curious why this beastie was sporting the GQ look. Maybe he wasn’t a bad sort after all. So I thought, OK, I can try to share church space with him, even if I didn’t want to be BFF’s, if you know what I mean. After a while, all that tension of trying to not let the beastie be my bestie wore me out.

    Gracy in her bed

                   Dreaming I’m in a land far, far away.

                                 Meantime…

    Odin 2

    Yep, Odin was still there when I woke up. Eventually he went in the office with his Momma and left me alone so I could help Ms. Amy get her work done.

    When I went to work again today I got the best reward! There were 87 gazillion little peoples downstairs and they all wanted to pet me and kiss me. I ran between them and wiggled and kissed them back for what seemed like hours, until I got totally worn out. Lots of big people came in to see me today too, and I greeted everyone with tail wags and wiggles and they all loved me, too. I think I saw more people today than I have all year long. Good thing my bed is there so I can rest. Lexi never told me what hard work it is to be the church dog. Finally, it was time to go home.

    Gracy-coat-church hall

          I’m ready Ms. Amy. Are you coming?

    I’ll say goodnight for now. I need to get my rest so I can get up again tomorrow and do it all again.

    Kisses and wiggles,
    Gracie

    Memory Monday: Whose Interview Is This, Anyhow?

    I promised to do Memory Mondays after Lexi left for the rainbow bridge. Even though I have been following your blogs and getting smiles from them, it has been too painful to post anything, other than helping Piper from time to time. Every time I think I am beginning to heal, the wound rips wide open again. My precious husband is grieving much more quietly, but still grieving nonetheless. He has lost so much weight that his pants bag and try to slide off, and he is pulling out the clothes that fit him several years ago. We miss our little girl terribly. The house feels so empty with just Jeff and me here. Everyone else has moved on, one way or another.

    It helps that it is October, with Jeff working Rocktoberfest every weekend and me accompanying him every Saturday. Even there, though, there are so many memories, as Lexi always went with us.

    1011151202

    Last week our eight year wedding anniversary came and went, with neither of us feeling like celebrating.

    So today I am determined to tell a story I promised one of Lexi’s wonderful blogging friends not long ago. It is the story of how Lexi helped me get my job at St. Luke, where she was so loved, even to the point of a memorial service after her passing. So here goes.

    In the spring of 2015, the Ochs Center – Lexi and my Tuesday and Thursday job – closed up their offices. Lexi loved going there and it was quite difficult to leave that last day.

    Lexi leaving ochs

    Last time at the Ochs Center: I know this is our last day here. So many good memories. I don’t want to leave…

    The board president told me about her church needing a part-time office administrator and said she would recommend me for the position. Happily, I got the call and scheduled an interview. The next Wednesday we celebrated Lexi’s 12th birthday at St. Timothy’s, where I worked the other three days of the week, and where Lexi usually joined me on Wednesdays and Fridays. I brought cookies and people came by my office to wish Lexi a happy birthday and to eat a cookie. That afternoon it suddenly dawned on me that my interview at St. Luke was immediately after work that day. In looking forward to celebrating Lexi’s birthday, I had completely forgotten, and it would take me an extra hour to take her home and drive back into town.  I decided I would call to see if I could bring Lexi with me to the interview. Bold move, but I was desperate. As a contingency plan, I called Jeff, who said he would meet me at the foot of Signal Mountain to take the schnauzer if they said no. I made the call, explained the situation and made my request. Unbeknownst to me, I was speaking with a volunteer. He said, “Well, we don’t usually encourage dogs at the Sunday service, but I reckon it would be ok to bring her with you to your interview.” So I did.

    It was certainly providence that the three ladies who interviewed me were – and still are – dog lovers. Lexi was on her best behavior as she sniffed around the room and under the table, then, not finding any food, sat quietly beside me. The interviewers were all impressed with my resume, but I think even more impressed with Lexi. After a rather brief interview, I was offered the position with the caveat that Lexi would also come work with me.  We started work the next week. She always believed she was the reason I got the job, and I won’t be the one to argue with that.

    I had been sitting while being trained on phones, but decided I could learn as much in a more comfortable position.

    I (Lexi) had been sitting while being trained on the new phones, but decided I could learn as much in a more comfortable position.

    How my Week Turned Around by Piper

    About 87 weeks ago I agreed to go home with my Aunt Amy and Uncle Jeff ’cause I knew they were sad and I wanted to help. But it’s been real hard for me. I missed my own Mom and Dad and my sis Ella so much. At Aunt Amy’s, I would sit at the top of the stairs where I know people come up from their cars and I would watch down to the driveway from the patio to see if my Mom was coming. I whined and breathed hard and refused to take my pills (they got stuck down my throat anyhow) and didn’t much feel like eating. Finally, Aunt Amy told my Mom I really needed to come back home because this was too hard on me. I really wanted to be here but I wanted my Mom to be here too.

    Aunt Amy would not take me to work with her on Tuesdays because I have never liked being around little kids, and the Parents Day Out program kids come to the church on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I tried my best to go, but she still left me all alone at home. By the time she and Uncle Jeff got home last Tuesday night I was a wreck. I even had what she thinks was a little seizure from getting so worked up.

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    Thursday: a happy, relaxed boy

    Wednesday morning finally arrived and I got to go to work. It was just me and Aunt Amy there. I was very, very  good. I got to run all over the church – except for the place where they hold the Sunday worship service – and I wasn’t nervous so I didn’t mess anywhere. I was such a wreck home alone on Tuesday and so good at work with Aunt Amy on Wednesday that she decided to “go against her better judgement” and take me on Thursday. Thursday is the day the people come in to get their food vouchers to go to the Food Bank and get their food. That opening you see behind my foot goes between Aunt Amy’s office and the volunteer office where those people come. I thought about what Lexi had told me, how she always went to them very calmly and suggested that they pet her. I thought I would give it a try with the first two ladies that came in and guess what? It worked!  So this is therapizing, the therapizing that Lexi loved to do and was so good at it. Well, I could be good at it too. In my desire to therapize, I forgot about what color people were, what they smelled like and how big or little they were. I made them feel happy and they pet me and made me feel happy. No wonder Lexi loved to do this!

    In between therapizing, I ran downstairs to see what was up with all the little kids. I have a reputation of not being especially fond of little kids. I decided right then that if I could therapize people in the office, I could therapize little kids in their classrooms too. Twice Aunt Amy called me to come back upstairs. The third time that I ran down, she just said, “Well Piper, you know who is down there and you go at your own risk. Come back when you are ready.” I discovered when I went in the first classroom that the kids loved me. I mean they loved me! They were sweet with me and pet me gently. I made sure everyone was happy and then went into the second classroom. Sure enough, the same thing happened. And guess what? Lexi never did this!!  I think I finally got one up on my cousin. I even think I heard someone say that I could be the church dog!

    So you think this is good? I have to tell ya’, things only got better from there. Over the weekend I went for a ride up Lookout Mountain to Rock City with Aunt Amy. On the way, she said we would see my Uncle Jeff and, 15886-1and, and my Mom!! Woohoo! I got to lead the way on the trails and sit with my Momma while we listened to the oompah band, the Wurstbrauts. Mom even helped Uncle Jeff teach polka. The only bad part was when I got tied to a chair. Momma was on the dance floor and Aunt Amy was taking pictures. All these middling size kids kept running past and it kind of scared me. I started yelling “Momma! Amy!, Momma! Amy!” My Mom finally heard me and pointed at me and Aunt Amy saved me. Whew, that was a close call.

    Now I am safely and wonderfully home in Kentucky with my Mom and Dad and Ella. I miss Aunt Amy and Uncle Jeff.

    I am Piper, the why-can’t-everyone-just-live-together schnauzer.

    Lexi’s Memorial Service – Recorded

    For those of you who were unable to watch live this morning, here is the link to the recorded service. The sound levels are not great on this raw footage, so please bear with it. They improve a bit into it. Later, when my dear, over-worked husband has a bit of time to work on the sound, I will repost it. But for those who don’t want to wait, here it is on Vimeo:

    Lexi’s Memorial Service at St. Luke UMC