Over 16 years ago a little poof ball came into our lives. We named him Chance. He was one of the best things to ever happen to us. He was our chance to raise him completely together, on our own and in my eyes, a way of redemption.

My wife and I were together for about 10 years when I had to put my childhood dog down about 18 months earlier, just before we moved to Idaho. Moe was 16 and my best friend but wasn’t treated well but my family. When I moved out on my own, I treated him like a king but I always felt guilty for not being able to protect him when I was younger. I think that’s why I sought a chance for redemption.

My wife’s childhood dog, Sassy, passed away unexpectedly from cancer about 8 months later. They were never apart and shared a personality. It was hard. We were still mourning Moe and now we lost her too. We felt alone. Our childhood had officially gone, leaving a hole in our lives.

After six months I started thinking of getting another puppy. I didn’t really feel ready and neither was my wife. We looked around, met some pups, fell in love with them all and eventually decided on an Australian Shepard breed. We met with a breeder and visited the litter. We decided on a small, gray merle pup but it didn’t seem interested in us. In fact none of them did except for this one little fat, puffy, brown and white guy with a spot on his head that kept pushing his way to us. He chose us and we accepted. They were only four weeks at the time so we had to wait a bit longer before taking him home.

Chance was cute and cuddly, loving, playful, silly and smart. Always found his way out of a crate. Potty trained himself and never used the bathroom inside. A star pupil in a doggy training class. A first place champion kisser in the Valentine’s Day doggy kissing contest. A great Hide-and-Seek player! And an excellent trainer!

Over the years we made many memories. Tossing him in a snow bank to watch him dig out and run back to me to do it again. The way he would climb into our hoodie for comfort. The way he would drop to the ground in a platypus position so I can pull him around with his tug toys. How he would lay on the back of the couch like a cat. He wouldn’t fetch but instead played ‘keep away’ with us, showing off his great football moves. His favorite place in the world was always right in the middle of us.

A few months before his 15th birthday, he lost his sister, a Red Australian Cattle Dog named Spirit. They grew up together and had many adventures throughout the years. Chance and Spirit were inseparable. They had to be together on walks and car rides. They played keep away from us and each other. When they played tug, he would drop into his platypus position and she would drag him around the room. They were silly and both had their quirky personalities.

Chance had struggled with depression since Spirit passed. She was gone and he wasn’t accepting our other dog Koko that we got several months before Spirit got sick. He perked up at times but was never really the same. I understand. He lost a part of himself just as I did. He loved her, played with her, tolerated and protected her.

Over the summer he would perk up some. Towards the fall, after he turned 15, he started having a hard time walking. We thought it was because of arthritis. It seemed to depress him again. He would eat less and was losing weight. We didn’t think he would make it through the holidays. But he surprised us and bounced back.

In January we took him to the vet hoping for a different medication to help his arthritis and his appetite. Instead, we found out he had a tumor on his liver, pushing on his stomach. It was devastating. We didn’t know if we had days, weeks or months. We felt helpless but we loved him and cherished the time we had left.

In the beginning, Chance would have some bad days but bounce back to being his old self. The bad days grew over time. In April, we thought it was the end. He got a nose bleed that wouldn’t stop and kept getting worse. We rushed him to the vet. They were closed for a meeting but when they saw me yelling and covered in his blood they let us in for emergency. It wasn’t our usual vet so we filled them in on his condition. They stopped the bleeding. They could feel the tumor and thought it may have ruptured and caused the bleeding. There was nothing more we could do. They said it’s probably his time and another bleeding incident might not stop.  We took him home and prepared for the end.

Chance wasn’t ready to go. He bounced back and hasn’t had any more bleeding since. He just wasn’t ready to go yet. We continued the back and forth routine of good and bad days. We played ball and took him for rides. I looked into his eyes as the bad days grew and he let me know that he’s still not ready.

As his 16th birthday approached in August, he struggled more with walking and standing. However, he had no problems doing his favorite activity, being held! So, we got him a wagon. We pulled him around all over and he laid in it while we worked. He loved it!

It’s the middle of October. Lately the look in his eyes has changed to tell us that he’s tired, he’s hurting…..he’s ready and he’s ok. There’s no good time to lose a loved one but the holiday season seems to make it harder. He loves Christmas. Laying under the tree…ripping open presents…waiting for Santa Paws. But that’s two months away.

We’ve never put the Christmas tree up before Halloween but we decided to bring Christmas to him. We made his final vet appointment for November 16th with his favorite doctor. Until then, he gets to experience one final Christmas, complete with lights, decorations and presents. We have time off so we can be with him…holding him…loving him. It’s so hard…

Why does it have to end? We only have a short time with our pets and during that time they become our children. We would do anything for them, even die for them. 16 1/2 years is a long time but still not long enough. We love him so much.

We are so fortunate to have over 16 years with him and even more so that we were able to work from home over the last few years. While the pandemic was difficult for many, it gave us the opportunity to spend more time with Chance and his sister Spirit, especially in their final days. They will forever be in our hearts, never forgotten. As time goes on, we will think of them and smile for it is only their body that is gone.

Rest now my dear Chance. Join your sister, run and jump together again and watch over us. We will miss you, always.

How is it Done?

I’m new at blogging. It’s not necessarily hard for me. I feel like I can write something worth reading. People have told me in the past that I’m a good writer. But something is just not working. I have an idea of what it might be.

I started this blog months ago and have since posted just a few times. I have, however, written a lot. The problem is, as I start writing about something, I seem to take a left turn and start writing about something else. Eventually I get lost, just like in real life. Even a step by step GPS doesn’t help me.

Let’s take this a little further. I mentioned GPS in the previous paragraph and almost started writing about how I’m directionally challenged. That’s where I have trouble. I start writing and then I realize that I have three different posts going. It’s not a bad thing but it is annoying to me. I feel like I’m writing a paper on English Literature and Ethics back in college. Getting the minimum words is easy, choosing the ones relevant to the subject is difficult.

Part of this is caused by my tendency to keep everything in my head. Not written, not spoken and thus not shared. I’m working on that for my own development. I want to help others by sharing my experiences and thoughts. I have so much trying to get out that it is sometimes difficult to articulate but I’m not giving up. I shall work through this. You will see more posts from me and hopefully they make sense and don’t make a lot of left turns.

There’s a lot of good stuff in my head. It makes me laugh all the time and some of it is intelligent too! Stick with me through this process and I’m sure you will be glad you did!

Enter 2022

We are nearly 2 months into the New Year and February will be coming to a close soon. We are all still wondering, anxiously, “What will this year bring?”

The last two years have been different for the entire world. Why should we expect this year to be any different? Maybe there’s no going back to normal because this is our normal now. If that’s the case then can we expect another COVID variant to hit, another stock market crash or some other disaster? That seems to be the precedent set by the 20’s so far.

But not everything in the 20’s is so bad. We can have anything delivered. We can work remotely with our family and pets at our sides. We have sent civilians to the edge of space. We even brought Keanu Reeves back to Bill & Ted and resurrected the Matrix!

2022 is just getting started and it doesn’t have to be miserable. We just need to remember that with all the bad comes a lot of good. There is a balance and one can’t exist without the other.

Here We Go

I’ve been rambling. Writing snippets that I haven’t posted because…they don’t seem complete or they don’t seem right or they just don’t make sense. They’re just not what I’m trying to say. But what am I trying to say? Am I looking for perfection? Maybe it’s none of those reasons. Maybe it’s fear that it’s not good enough or too personal or maybe I just don’t know what I’m doing.

I have several things in the works. Side hustles as most call them these days. Realizing that my day job might disappear, I took up crypto mining, video posting, woodworking, blogging, photography, consulting and life coaching. Sure they all seem like great ideas, I know a little about each of them and they work out for many people. However, my approach trying to do them all at once is just not working.

I’m realizing that I need a plan. A real plan, written and shared with others that support me. Currently, the plan is in my head and nobody really knows what it is because I don’t really know either. How can I? There are to many things competing for my attention and I can’t do any of them very well without a more focused approach. Multitasking does not work here.

I also have real life to deal with. A pandemic. A senior dog needing extra care. A young dog that needs attention. A wife that needs my love and support. A house that needs to be sold. A floor that needs fixed. The list goes on and I’m sure that everyone has a similar story.

So where do I start? Here. Right here. I shall write and post my thoughts here. They don’t need to be perfect, they just need to be here. It’s a sort of therapy and accountability for myself. I wanted to start this blog as a means for others to learn and gain encouragement from my mistakes, setbacks, perseverance and triumphs. Welcome to my first post. Here we go!