11 Apr 2006, 3:37pm

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Thank you Nanny. I will miss you.

My car has been converted into a hearse and Nanny’s body lays in the back of it waiting until her grave is prepared under the noble fir tree.

She sat up and made as though to get up and greet me today when I got home.. happy to see me.. but, in the end, she was unable to get up.  Her pain and suffering when I was not around to cheer her was, indeed, quite severe.

When I had a place in the car ready for her I carried her out in a sling made from a sheet and put her into the hatchback. I was bawling, as silently as possible, of course, so as not to disturb her and ended up rolling down the window and trying to sing little songs like we used to when we would go for a drive together.

I got about 2 miles down the road.. telling her prone form she was a good girl when she started wriggling, trying to right herself.  I pulled over and helped her change direction in the back of my small car and to my surprise she stood up completely.

With the window rolled down, one ecstatic, aged golden retriever and I drove the rest of the way into town.  She wasn’t able to walk again when we got there and I carried her in through the back door to the major surgery arena and onto the exam table/scale. Not too long after resting there with me petting her face (a paltry 68.8 lbs) she went into another seizure and I saw it for the first time with my own eyes.. holding her and reassuring and keeping her from falling off the table.

Dr. Mike asked me if it was time and I nodded through my tears and said I thought so.. and told him about how this was my beautiful Dogter.  I pet her face and nuzzled her stinky ear and rubbed her back and Dr. Mike drew a vial of pink liquid, found a forearm vein, and very carefully administered the drug that ended my dog’s life.  After the end I carried her body back out to my car, alone, despite offers of help.. though I did let someone get the door and I drove home.. where I am now.. freshly out of a shower.. while my dog’s body lies in the back of my car and my little brother begins a grave under that noble fir tree.

I have a flood of memories about how I took her to the vet for the first time.. and the last time.. on my own.. and that first time, at 12 weeks, when I carried her to cross the streets.. and carried her inside and out of the vet office so she wouldn’t catch any germs.. (I carried her both in and out this time too) ..about how that was the first time I’d ever taken an animal to the vet all alone.. (this is the first time I had to take a friend to the vet to die all on my own too) and how she was the very first pet that I ever had (at my 18 years of age) that was all mine.

She was such an exquisitely beautiful dog. People stopped wherever we went to admire her.. just looking at her sleeping or chewing a toy or some other such thing filled my heart with joy. Her little quirky cowlick making a Mohawk stripe down her nose between her eyes..

Dr. Mike performed an emergency spay about 7 or 8 years ago when Beamer (the old man Rottweiler) accidentally bred her.  (I think they meant it, it was just an accident to us two-footers.)  We went ahead and filmed her hips and elbows to see if they were good enough to eventually breed her and raise healthy golden retriever pups like I had wanted to do.

Dr. Mike said her hips were superb, but in his opinion, her elbows were only fair and Beamer was displastic, so we spayed her and averted having the litter of potentially crippled pups to struggle to find good homes for.  It was the right thing to do, but it was still a sad day, I think for us both, as we would have enjoyed raising up puppies together.

Camping and swimming in the lake and driving trips continued.. and she demonstrated a tolerance which grew to affection for my own crawling pup.. and helped me to raise my daughter.

One day she must have gotten out and was not being watched.. got hit by a car or kicked by a horse and came home with damaged vertebrae. She was an instant ‘old lady’ and I nursed her through her arthritis and back pain and watched her face come into grey and her beautiful show-perfect body turn softer and less artistically perfect.

Still, she captured everyone’s attention with how happy she was.. showed off at her obedience hand signals and willingness to do whatever you asked of her.. and she and Beamer were the inseparable old married couple as she took care of him.

There are more stories.. but I’m crying again.. so time for me to go.   Thank you Nanny for being my friend and confidante these last 11 years.  Your companionship will be sorely missed.

Love, America

22 Dec 2005, 3:36pm

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All I want for Christmas …

Princess Clara of Applegate was proud to lose one of her front teeth in time for Christmas 2005.  The other front tooth?  It wiggles!

Lightning Loves Me

Lightning stayed up with me all night to help me study for a final.  🙂

– America

We’re going to the zoo zoo zoo! oh. wait.

Clara and her girl scout trip went to the Newport Aquarium while on a coastal camping trip!  A lot of fun was had by all.  This trip, our favorite was the sea otters!

oh oh oh she’s Magic!

Here’s Brian and his mare, Magic, at the Crabbet show this year.  Boy did they have fun!

Happy Hula Birthday Girl

Clara was a thrilled, if chilled, hula girl for her 6th birthday party!  Here is one pretty happy in pink girl!

Happy Birthday Clara!

My Two Daughters

Nanny, my dogter, and Clara, my daughter, are enjoying a mid afternoon nap in the middle of my bed.  Awwww.

Little Bit Of Magic

Racing pigeons have a concurrent history with Arabian horses. Homing pigeons were used for communication by the peoples who had Arabians. A European man by the name of Ulens imported carrier pigeons from the region and began what has evolved into an extensive sport around the world. The most notable import was a bird called The Persian Carrier. These birds were famous for carrying messages 1500 miles and were used by middle-eastern merchants, monarchies, armies, etc back into ancient history.

My father grew up in Brooklyn, New York and competed in the sport. He continued when we transplanted to Arizona and decades later here in Oregon. My father called them the poor man’s racehorse. He would rather have raced Arabian horses, but that was beyond his means. I inherited his birds and our whole family got into the racing pigeon fancy in a big way. My then 6 year-old son won a large combine race with one of his birds. It was a big win for anyone and a great experience for one so young.

My wife, Claudia, noticed I was wearing sweat pants and a sweatshirt to bed and shivering under several covers one night. She asked me what was wrong and I told her it was no big deal, I had forgotten to wear my dust mask while cleaning the coops earlier. She asked me how long had my apparent allergy been going on. I admitted for about a year. She had just been going through losing her legs to diabetes and she proclaimed the pigeons were going. I said no, I’d just wear a dust mask. She used that nasty sensible logic on me, we can’t both be disabled and take care of the family.. if you are on a respirator, who is going to do the leg work’? She called our pigeon buddies and all the coops and birds and equipment were gone within a week. We helped a new person get completely outfitted.

I was understandably moping around after my loss. Claudia, also being a mental health professional, quizzed me as to what we could replace the pigeons with. We both knew I had a vacuum that needed filling. She helped me explore by asking what brings me joy. I answered, you do. That pleased her. She asked what else and I answered, our kids do. She said, that also is a good answer, but what else that is not in our life currently would bring you joy? I thought as I looked out our picture window into the oak tree pasture and answered, well, a nice Arabian mare out in that pasture would sure bring me joy. Claudia said, I’ll see what I can do.

Several weeks later, Claudia had me drive her around and wouldn’t tell me what it was about. We went to the ranch of a woman we knew and she proceeded to show us a Morgan/Arabian cross yearling. She offered to sell us the horse for a mere few thousand dollars. I was aghast as it looked like Claudia was actually considering buying a mongrel horse and pay purebred prices! I got her aside and said, what are you, nuts?!? She gave a smug smile and told the woman we would consider it. As we drove away I continued to sputter and challenge how she could possibly consider it.

She had me drive about 30 miles to Michele Hawkins Horse Academy. As we pulled up the driveway, Michele walked out of the barn with a gangly bay Crabbet Arabian filly and began showing her to Claudia and asked her what she thought. Claudia said, I don’t know, what do YOU think of her, dear?

I picked my chin up off the ground and was mostly speechless. Michele handed the lead rope to me and the deal was set in concrete! I was hopelessly smitten. I realized later that I had been played with the classic sales technique called High Ball/Low Ball. I had NO objections to whatever we had to pay to own that mare.

My Pretty Pony

Here’s some of the family playing ‘My Pretty Pony’ with Nicholas, the Welsh Pony.  Cousins Gretchen and Brigitta, Michael and Sparky, and America, Scott and Clara are all playing out in the pasture.

Wedding Rehearsal

America, Brian, Claudia, and Michael slow down for a moment to pose for a picture the day before Scott and America’s wedding.  The chapel is being decorated in 30 Christmas trees, each strung in 1000 white lights.  No other illumination will be necessary for the ceremony.  Enchanting!

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