April Reflections ~ 2019

Hard to believe this is the last day of April and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge some watershed moments that happen in April. Seventeen years ago I moved into my current home on April 26th. I purposely picked this neighborhood for its close proximity to downtown where I worked plus the fact it was a long-established neighborhood in the city. I loved the community feel that has been woven into my very soul. Safe to say, I am deeply connected here with the location and its inhabitants.

April is also the month when I first began publishing this blog some five years ago, although WordPress counts March as the birth month which is technically correct, yet the first post didn’t publish until the end of April when I finally took a deep breath and pushed the ‘publish’ button. What a terrifying moment that was and life hasn’t been quite the same since ever since.

Posing Sam

Twelve years ago this month I began the process of adopting a certain (sub)Standard Poodle who was being rehomed, though he became a member of the Ranch household the first week in May. Who’d have known at that time what a fortuitous adoption that would be and resulted in us embarking upon a pet therapy odyssey a few years later after it was very clear he was a very special dog. Six years ago this month, Sam and I began volunteering at the hospital. I wanted a way to share our pet therapy moments since it was clear my first blogging idea of sharing home design/DIY had no chance to launch due to lack of abilities on that front. Luckily Sam does all the work and I just drive him to the hospital, I knew I could document this Knucklehead’s ability to connect with people. It’s been a ‘pawsome’ collaboration ever since. We’ve had many highs and known a few lows but it has been one of the most rewarding journeys ever. Sam is now two visits shy of making 200 visits brightening the lives of patients, staff and visitors. We expect to continue as long as possible but at 13 1/2 years old, I hold no illusions. My baby is slowing down and while he still loves the adventure, visiting sick people wears him out too much. We may look into a reader program or a senior living situation but for now, things are full speed ahead with hospital pet therapy.

I would be remiss not to mention how much we value your part in this journey. I swear you guys are some of the smartest, funniest, kindest people I’ve ever known. Your clever posts and comments have made me laugh and in some cases cry. Your ability to convey deeply personal experiences inspires and moves me to do better, write better and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

AnniversaryOver the weekend, my family celebrated my parents’ 70th wedding anniversary. Yes, 70. freaking. years! All the siblings and their spousesย  enjoyed a lovely celebratory get-together. Just thinking about the smiles across my parents’ faces as they looked around and saw their children, a couple of grandchildren and a great-grand and a half (one niece is expecting any day now) was beyond heartwarming. Congrats Mom and Dad!

Last week was a difficult week for both me and Sam with a number of personal loses. Two of our pet therapy dogs passed away, which is always sad, but particularly one…Truffles, a big chocolate Newfie who was especially beloved by Sam, will be felt for a long time. A dear friend who was a mere 42 years of age was laid to rest. A kinder, gentler, more generous human you’d be hard-pressed to find. Tony brought joy to all who knew him and while his physical body is not with us, his spirit will live on within each of us. Sam adored Tony and my one regret was not being able to bring Sam to his bedside at the end. I know his tail would have wagged furiously and no doubt he’d have hogged Tony’s bed while Tony happily provided plenty of ear rubs.

We visited an even younger woman at hospice last week. Probably in her 30’s, Shauna was conscious enough and very insistent on visiting with Sam. The pain on her face as she readjusted herself to be able to pet him told me how important his visit was for her. Her best friend (and visibly pregnant) since the 7th grade was with her in her final moments, a true friend right to the end. While visiting with them, I noticed a large tattoo on Shauna’s forearm. It read, “The girl who lived life” and it told me about the core of this brave woman. As her body was failing her, I knew she had made a special mark with her passion and spirit much like my friend Tony did. Recalling both of them her, more tears stream down my face. I know both are free of earthly bonds, no longer held hostage by unbearable pain but they will remain in the hearts of those who cared about them. They may no longer be with us physically, but will always guide us toward our own final path. I only hope I have as much grace and dignity as they both did.

So yeah, April is a big deal around the Ranch. I look upon it and celebrate the accomplishments, the anniversaries and share the losses because they all add up to a community I cherish and which allows me to share it with you. I plan to explore more reflections on the death and dying aspect of life in the future but for now thank you for coming along with me.

Live, love, bark! ๐Ÿพ

81 thoughts on “April Reflections ~ 2019

  1. April is a very big deal! So sorry for the losses and congrats to your parents 70 years strong.

    1. Thank you. The family is in awe of them reach the 70 milestone which we think is pretty incredible.

  2. We are so sorry for the losses you experienced last month, but we are glad that April continues to be a special month for you.
    70 years – wow – that’s amazing!
    We are glad we found you along the way on this blogging journey. It certainly does change our lives, doesn’t it? Whenever I have doubts about continuing…..it’s the community that keeps me going. โ™ฅ

    1. Amen! Pet blogs in particular provide much needed comfort at times and smiles. Thank you for being a valuable part of our little acre of the โ€˜Net. ๐Ÿ˜

  3. Wow, April is significant for you! Mostly good things – your blog anniversary, parents anniversary and connection to your neighborhood. So sad to read about Truffles and Shauna who seems like an inspiring, strong and free spirit until the end.

    1. Indeed they were. We were fortunate to know them, even if just a short time in Shaunaโ€™s case.

  4. So sorry about your losses, Monika and Sam, but happy that life seems in balance again. Happy Anniversary to your pawrents, what a great milestone and that cake looks delicious. Pawkisses for a Relaxed Wordless Wednesday and Happy New Month๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ˜ฝ๐Ÿ’ž

    1. Thanks for the kind wishes. Yes, life goes on. Hope today is extra special for you this May Day.

  5. April has always been a good month. Thank you for all the lovely things you said and for all the years that it has been my pleasure to talk with you and Sam – and now the dear Ninja. My records of you only go back to 18th September 2015, that’s when I first read your post. I have had the pleasure of being invited to a 60th. Wedding Anniversary but a 70th. That’s Something!! Thank you for all the fun, thoughtful and wonderful posts. Perhaps when Sam retires you could look at a new career as a reading dog – one who goes to school sits down with a child and listens to the child read to him.her. That would be good. Anyway, thank you for the past and the present and I look forward to more posts in the future.

    1. Thank you for your continued support and fur-iendship. We ๐Ÿ’–you and sweet Benji.

  6. What a month of milestones for you. Congrats to your parents and all you have accomplished. We hope the joy of the anniversaries to celebrate help soften the pain of your losses

    1. Many thanks, sweet Mabel. I know April was tough for you too and hope things look brighter soon. ๐Ÿ’–

    1. Thanks. Itโ€™s quite an accomplishment. Certainly not one I could have mastered. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  7. Monika,

    So many of my favorite numbers kept showing up in this post. From seventeen to five, and then twelve and thirteen plus. And I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe that peeps attract like minded peeps.

    To you, and to Sam. And to meeting in this WP middle. I’m lucky to have made your acquaintance. ๐Ÿ™‚

                1. And especially the Vancouver Canuckleheads. I don’t think it possible to ever forgive Marc Crawford or Todd Bertuzzi for ending Stevie Moore’s career with a worse than cheap shot.

    1. Thanks. Can’t even begin to wrap my head around 70 years. It seems unfathomable.

    1. Thanks. Sam is the real story here. Heโ€™s amazing when it come to his therapy work.

    2. Sam’s the real star, his empathy and compassion are astounding to me. And I love that he makes no judgments. I wish I were more like my dog. ๐Ÿ˜

    1. Aw, thatโ€™s very sweet of you to say. Weโ€™re both blushing ๐Ÿ˜Š

  8. All I can say is…wow…there are a lot of old people posting here. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ I just stop by to add my youthful perspective. I kid, I kid. April is/was a pretty heavy duty month for you. One other thing that struck me as I read your story is how fast our dogs have been aging as we have shared our WordPress tales between us. That whole 7:1 or 6:1 or whatever. Somebody slicing onions around here?

    1. ๐Ÿ˜Š As always, thank you for being one of our closest blogging friends. Youโ€™ve made me smile more often than I can count and for that I cherish our connection. As for Max, please give him a good long ear scritch for me. ๐Ÿ’ž

      1. June 25, 2014. Say what? Well, since we’re going down Memory Road, that’s the date of the first comment you made on Max’s silly dog blog. Around 30 dog years ago, give or take a furball here or there. โค back at ya.

  9. This was such a thoughtful, loving, heart-felt post (just like you!) I am thrilled for all you have accomplished! OMG!! Also your parents!!!!!! That is simply unheard of in this day and age……huge congratulations to them!! I am so sorry about the losses, simply heartbreaking…….your blog is beautifully written and informative! We value your friendship and give special kisses to Sam and Elsa!!

    1. You make me blush with your kind words and support. Thank you for being a loved friend.

      Yeah, 70 years…incredible. I barely reached 70 months one time. ๐Ÿ˜‡

    1. Isn’t that beyond amazing?! I barely lasted 70 months let alone 70 years with the same person. ๐Ÿ˜†Thanks for the well wishes.

    1. Thanks. It’s especially wonderful since we almost lost her a couple years back. But she decided she wasn’t finished yet and flunked out of hospice. Luckily we were the beneficiaries. ๐Ÿ’–

  10. Life is full of wonderful, painful and memories. Thank you for letting me go along.

    Big hugs to you and lots of scritches to Sam. โ™ฅ

  11. Well, wow! It certainly is an important month commemorating so much – sadness and happiness and change and routine – all such important parts of life.

    Love and licks,

    1. Thanks, Cupcake. It’s been a lot to process these past couple of weeks. Luckily Sam and Elsa help with the celebrations and providing comfort. I am very blessed.

  12. So much here. Congrats on all the good stuff and my condolences on the not so good. We lost a friend (human) this week too. Time marches on. We are blessed with some warm weather and sunshine and that is healing.

    1. So sorry for your loss. I wish our society dealt with dying better-we don’t discuss it as a general rule. Warm weather and sunshine are always good for the soul, especially at times of loss. ๐Ÿ˜

  13. Oh, my friends, I am so very sorry for your losses. And so happy for the anniversaries that bring you joy. Your own soul is as beautiful and loving as that of your friends who no longer grace this earth. Thank you for sharing with us.

    1. And thank you for always being here. I couldn’t do it without the warm support of my readers. ๐Ÿ˜

    1. Thank you, Helen. The audience here deserves so much credit-they revel in our joys and comfort us in our losses. We are very fortunate.

  14. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. I was especially taken with the descriptions of the spirt of the two who are now memories. Seventy years is amazing. What a blessing.

    1. Thank you. Seventy years IS a long time; and sometimes the journey can be rocky. We nearly lost my mom a couple of years ago so this anniversary was particularly poignant.

    1. You’re so kind, Colin. I appreciate you following our antics. And I say the same thing back to you and Ray.

  15. Quite a month for you! Sorry about the “downs”, but happy about the “ups”! When I read about Sam in your blog, I think he has become a therapy dog for you, too. Please, give him and Elsa a nice scrtach behind their ears and some pats from me.
    Take care, my friends,

    1. Sam has always been my own personal ‘therapist’ which is why I knew he’d be good bringing joy and happiness to others. He’s lived up to it every time he goes out.

  16. I’m crying too. How poignant. I’m so sorry about the two human losses and the doggie loss. All will leave a hole in life’s fabric. Congrats to your parents… not many can say they’ve been married that long. Love, LeeAnna

    1. Thanks for your words of comfort. It was good to balance out the month with some celebratory ups this month.

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