Tag Archives: Bear the Lab

A dismal grey week

punctuated by a few brighter moments…  last night I went to our monthly Salt Bay Treadlers meeting and we had a great time.  We had a lot of wonderful food and a lot of laughs.  Pam of Hatchtown Farm brought along her bottle lamb (because she has a cast on her leg) so we had some alternative entertainment as well.  I needed a good laugh and we had a multitude of them.  I wish that I had remembered to have my camera along as we also had plenty of photo ops!

Tuesday evening John, JD and I spent hours on the floor in the kitchen with Bear the Lab, talking to her as she let go.  She was wagging and alert to the last.  Bear now has a place of honor in our Rugosa patch, right outside the dining room windows on the SW side of the house.  We miss her terribly, but 13 years is a good life and we enjoyed it all with her.  I can’t really put into words how much a dog like Bear can enrich life so well.  We will miss her something awful.

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The week that was

Never even got close to creating a blog post this past week.  Budget crunch time in my school district, so there were budget and board meetings to attend.  Very exhausting and very tough times.  I am still hoping that I have a job next year, even if it isn’t full time.  But on the brighter side, I really think we have shed our long johns for good!  Well, at least until next fall.  The day has been gorgeous and bright.  Can’t get enough of it, but I see that the black flies have joined us so that battle begins afresh.

Bear and Tesser sitting on John's lap, many years ago

Our sweet Bear is still here, but she is winding down her time with us.  She sat outside most of the day enjoying the air and the sun.  She is still on her pain pills and she seems fine on that front, but is slowing down more each day.  My biggest wish is that she will just close her eyes one of these nights and not wake up.  Tesser knows things are not right and has changed her daily patterns as well.  She doesn’t spend time with Bear on her blanket anymore.  I guess they know.

Bear update

Bear in one of the more recent snows

Bear is doing a little better on her new meds and has perked up considerably since we had her to the vet last Saturday.  She seems to be more alert and taking more pleasure in things, so hopefully she is as comfortable as we can make her.  We took her to the vet this morning to have more bloodwork done, and we have ruled out anything like Lymes’ disease or heartworm (although I am diligent about the heartworm pills, so that one would have really shocked me).  She remains on her heart medication and some pain medication and is more actively eating her kibble.  For now, that’s about all we can ask!

Vacation begins on a low note

Our sweet Bear

We have known for awhile that our Lab, Bear, is getting old.  She has really slowed down, and has lost a lot of strength in her hind quarters over the past year or so.  When you are an 88 lb. dog and you are almost 13, losing weight and slowing down is just the way it goes in the normal progression of things.  So we have been watching her and in the past week or two she very suddenly has just dropped many pounds.  Barely gets up.  Doesn’t eat much.  We took her to the vet to see if we could get an idea of what’s going on and how to make the end of her life a quality one.  We are pleased that she has had such a great, long life.  We have been steeling ourselves for  the worst, but for now, we have gotten the gift of a little more time with her.

Our vets are wonderful and we agreed that we would treat her for her symptoms to make her more comfortable.  Pain meds, heart medication and some pred have already perked her up in the last 24 hours.  It’s a treat to see! She has enriched our lives immeasurably, so I guess we can just be thankful to have shared the time with her.   Any extra is a plus!

Snowday redux

Old Bear still loves the snow!

Another storm.  Another snowday.  More photos that don’t look any different from the last ones I posted.  The sun is shining this morning and everything looks clean and white.  Such a surprise!  I can’t complain, however.  We had a good day yesterday.  It gave me one more day to recuperate from the stomach flu.

John's breads from the book "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day"

John did some bread baking, Sawyer began his career with blocks, watched some movies and did some reading.  (Yes, we did have a little bit of a Thomas the Tank Engine marathon!).  I got the better part of a baby cap knit up as well.  All in all, a pretty relaxing day until the storm wound down and John went out to get the tractor started so that he could get us dug out.  Thank goodness it isn’t as windy today!

(Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoe Francois, 2007).

Sawyer checking out the possibilities while waiting for dinner

Dog magnets

Mealtime is a busy time of day

Are the words “dog” and “magnet” written over our front door or on our foreheads???  Maybe.  Or just:  2 big animal suckers live here?  We have had a chihuahua and a lab for many years, but then few years ago we inherited a Jack Russell from friends, and now it appears that our son’s dog is staying with us for awhile.  Daisy the Bluetick/Walker hound mix, 8 months old.  She is a sweetheart, big and gormless :*)   I guess our 20 acres is perfect for a dog like a hound.  She and Bear the Lab have a great time wandering and checking out the sights and smells. They look like two best friends going out the back door and heading into the woods in the snow.  And then two funny faces wait for us at the back door. But… it also makes for a pretty busy household!   Everyone has their place and a different relationship with their people:  Tesser the Chihuahua makes sure to sleep with us at night; Josie the Jack Russell sleeps in the dog bed in the bathroom; Daisy sleeps in her crate, and Bear spends her evenings outside the bathroom door, and daytimes she spends it on her blanket in front of the south-facing french doors.  I guess maybe everyone likes that location pretty well, come to think of it!

Naptime for the big 3!

Bear Update

Bear enjoys her new freedom, without the cone!
Bear, 11, enjoys her new freedom, without the cone!

We have finally crossed another milestone:  Bear is  free of her cone of shame!  It’s been a long summer with this poor girl.  Our house wasn’t set up (is anyone’s?) to accomodate a 93 lb. dog with an enormous plastic cone (12″ high and 19″ diameter) on her head.  Her leg operation back in July was necessary, but it was so long in mending that it seems like forever.  Two months did feel like forever!

But here she is, yesterday, just after the removal of her cone, relaxing comfortably.  Looking pretty good, Bear!  Now she can have all the hugs she wants, without knocking our lights out :*)

Bear's scarry patch is almost faded into hairiness
Bear's scarry patch is almost faded into hairiness

Every dog in place

Having 3 dogs is always an adventure.  We, of course, dote on them like crazy.  Tesser-the-4lb-Chihuahua, the boss of everyone; Josie the Jack Russell, the 12-lb. nudge; and last but not least, our gentle giant, Bear the Lab.  They are quite a crew.  After a summer off without a tight working schedule, I find it very funny that the three dogs really know what’s happening when things start to crank up and I begin to rush around again.  The other morning I was frantically digging through a pile of clean laundry wondering what I had done with my favorite shirt, and I stopped to look at what was going on in the main-floor bath… Tesser and Josie were maneuvering for their daytime snug spots, which they only do when they know we are all going to be out of the house for a workday.  Pretty amazing!

Tesser wins the coveted doggie bed in the bathroom!
Tesser wins the coveted doggie bed in the bathroom!
Josie get the tubside spot after losing the plum dog bed spot to Tesser
Josie get the tubside spot after losing the plum dog bed spot to Tesser

And Bear gets stuck with her usual spot:  under the dining room table!

Bear in her assigned area
Bear in her assigned area

Alternate Reality, Redux!

Big sigh!  Just as we thought things were getting back to normal, Bear’s stitches began to lose their grip.  So many of them let loose that our poor old girl had to go in and be anesthetized again on Monday morning and have some different connectors hooked up.  So she is home again, with her conehead and her poor sore back leg.  No need for pictures of her boo-boo, it’s not so pretty!  Just a nice one of her pretty face!

Recuperating Bear
Recuperating Bear