The first quarter of 2010 was met with much sadness with the loss of both Angel and Serena.  
They are both enjoying the return of good health with the angels at Rainbow Bridge.
Even though we knew they would both be leaving us, it doesn't really make the losses easy to
accept.  I have two new empty spaces in my heart that belonged to them, and to them alone.
So, my little ones, may you both rest in peace until we're together once again.
Our little Angel had a mind of her own and the rest of our pack respected her as their leader
or they just completely ignored her frequent temper tantrums.  I, very lovingly, called her my
"Demon Dog".  She always made her presence known and let everyone (canine and human alike)
know what her wishes were and her intention to get whatever she wanted.  And, believe me,
she got whatever she wanted.  
I always looked upon Angel as being invincible - nothing would ever stop her, not even severe
heart disease.  From the time we brought her back to life after her birth and tube fed her
for five months until her cleft palate could be surgically repaired, I thought there would be no
battle fierce enough to take her from us.  Even on the morning of the day she left us, she was
racing around the house doing what only Angel could do - drive all of us into a frenzy.  When
the angels came for her that afternoon, she went with them quickly, leaving a trail of sadness
and disbelief throughout our home.  The other dogs who considered her nothing more than a
pest mourned her death.  I have left her crate and toys untouched, and every day the other
dogs go and look for her.  I still listen for her howls of protest when I leave the room she was
last in.
In October of 2009 the vet predicted that Angel would be in Heaven before Christmas.  Of
course Angel had to prove them wrong as she was always right!  Instead she probably
purposely chose my birthday to leave because she knew I would always remember her on every
birthday to come.
I will never, ever forget my little Angel or ever stop loving her.  She has left her pawprints on
my heart and they will be there forever.  She will have it no other way!
From the very first day that I met Serena as a 12-week-old pup, I knew there was something
very special about her and about the way our relationship would blossom and grow.  As long as I
was somewhere in the house, she would always be right there beside me.  She was by no means
a clinging lap dog.  In fact, she really wasn't that fond about sitting on anyone's lap.  But she
had to be as close to me as she could get.  Many times that was either lying on my feet or next
to me on the sofa.  She would either sleep on the foot of the bed or in her basket right next to
the bed.  What was very unique about Serena was that she always had to have something that
belonged to me near her.  That might be a shirt, my shoes, my purse, and even my car keys on a
few occasions.  She would never touch anyone else's personal belongings but would search until
she found something that belonged to me.  Then she would carry it off to her bed.  She had a
favorite blue flannel shirt and slippers that went with her everywhere, including the vet's
office or the boarding kennel if I had to leave her for any length of time.  I let her take the
shirt and slippers with her to Rainbow Bridge when she left.
There are so many words that come to mind when I think of Serena.  She was loving, devoted,
committed, loyal, and an inspiration of all that I wish I could be.  No matter how many
obstacles she had to face later in life, she faced them head on, accepted them, and continued
to move forward.  She went into congestive heart failure in December of 2007.  The vets at
the emergency clinic where we had to rush her late one night told us she probably wouldn't
survive through the night.  But she did survive through the night and then went on to survive
longer than the vet's one-week prediction at the time she was released from the emergency
clinic.  In fact, she survived more than two years after that.  Our own vet indicated that her
heart sounded like a washing machine and he couldn't understand why she was still alive.  But I
understood.  Serena was committed to staying with me and a bad heart wasn't going to stop
her.  She collapsed two or three times over the last two years of her life, but each time I told
her she had to fight and come back to me -- and each time that's exactly what she did -- for
In July of 2009 Serena faced yet another obstacle -- total blindness.  But even this didn't
stop her from always finding me and/or her favorite shirt, slippers, shoes, etc.  We worked
together for a few days, both of us adjusting to her blindness.  Even living in a new world of
darkness didn't stop her.  She soon learned to navigate her territory like a pro and life
continued on like before she became blind.  
A few months later two forms of cancer set in and again changed her world.  An aggressive
tumor had to be removed from her shoulder.  Before the surgery, I whispered to her that she
had to pull through this surgery for both of us.  She heard me.  The vet thought he lost her a
couple times during the surgery because her blood pressure fell to a dangerously low level,
but she fought back and came through the surgery tumor-free.  But cancer doesn't give up
easily.  Bone cancer was developing in her left rear leg.  The vet knew she would not be able to
survive amputation and I knew it too, so I didn't ask Serena to fight that one.  Instead we
managed it with pain medication.  Even though the tumor grew to golf ball size on her knee, she
never once complained.  Still she kept moving forward with anticipation of the next sunrise.  
Then one night as I was going to the yard for something, I passed her just coming back in
from the yard.  I stopped to give her a hug and tell her that I loved her.  I knew in my heart
that she was tired and hanging on only because I had asked her to fight.  This time as I was
hugging her, I whispered to her that I knew how tired she was and that if she had to leave me,
it was okay.  I would be okay because her love would always be inside of my heart.  When I said
that, she licked my cheek.  This was very unusual because Serena was not a licker.  Within ten
seconds she leaned against me and slid down to the ground.  I carried her inside and put her in
her basket and put the basket on my bed.  I sat with her and rubbed her head, still telling her
I would be okay.  John, Rusty, and Amber came to join us and held vigil for Serena's last
fifteen minutes on this Earth.
I often wonder if I hadn't given Serena permission to begin her journey to Rainbow Bridge,
would she still be here today.  In my heart I know she only stayed as long as she did because
of me.  I had kept telling her to fight.  And each time she did.  She is at peace now and there
is no longer a need for her to fight.
Her spirit is still here -- young and strong and always alive within my heart.
To visit Angel's
Personal Page and
then the "Back" Button
on your browser to
return to this page.
To visit Serena's
Personal Page and
then the "Back" Button
on your browser to
return to this page.
This is the final picture I took of Angel about 6 days before she left us.  She was trying to be
funny as she knew we would always laugh at her and tickle her belly when she laid on her back.
The next group of pictures were taken of Serena during January and February of 2010.
She was always able to find my shoes, coat, etc. and carry them off to her bed.
Serena and April grab a quick nap until Max comes to give Serena a kiss.
This is the last photo of Serena taken shortly after I gave her permission to leave if she felt
she had to.  Her last 15 minutes with us were very peaceful for her.  Rusty and Amber kept
vigil with us the last few minutes.  Rusty seemed very sad and remained at the same spot for a
couple hours as if he was expecting her to come back.
Bailey eventually tries to comfort Rusty
Now we can move on to the rest of the gang.  Most
of these photos were taken on April 7.  A few of
them were from earlier in 2010.
Tucker has developed a few health problems.  He has some symptoms of Addison's Disease but
the vet feels with only a couple of the symptoms, he will wait with testing and monitor him over
the next couple of months.  He has had a high potassium level along with some muscle tremors.  
He still has a few spinal problems as well but not serious enough for further testing.  We will
continue to watch him closely and get him treatment if anything further develops.

Benji and Dusty show off their new haircuts.

Max and Amber still enjoy giving each other a daily back scratch.






(April is a little fuzzy as I let her hair grow out a little when the weather was
cooler than normal)
Notice the floppy ears.....
Guess DeeDee wasn't visiting when these pictures were taken.

(Before & After)


(A Young 17-Year-Old Lady)
April 11, 2010