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Current blog look inspired by and dedicated to Chance, Blaze, Fiona and Zappa who all kicked ass against cancer and liver disease.

Brut Quote

Brut Quote

Friday, December 31, 2021

2021- The worst year ever

 It was the worst year of our lives, losing three dogs within a matter of months.  Blaze on March 14, Chance on May 5, and Fiona on May 8.  The sequence of events still sends me into shock sometimes.  They all died of liver disease and/or liver cancer.  It was in their genetics.  We had a DNA profile of all four dogs and Blaze, Chance and Fiona all had the gene for ALP and ALT liver levels showing high, which leads to liver failure and they all died from it.  

Zappa on the other hand doesn't have ALP or ALT gene, but we just found out that both of these levels are higher than they were in August.  Which means there is stress on the liver coming from somewhere else.  We will be getting x-rays and an ultrasound done in the coming weeks.  It seems time is starting to tick for him now.  

I thought I could write more.  But I still don't have many words.  My whole life feels like a vacuum.  The puppies 14th birthday is coming up on January 2.  It is going to be a hard day not only for the loss of our three, but we found out just last week that one of our homed puppies we visited every year or so died earlier this year.  So if you are counting, out of ten puppies, 6 are gone, that we know for sure.  There are two we will never know about, but is safe to assume they are probably no longer with us.  And one puppy with some possibility of finding out if she is still here.  Zappa may be the only one left and who is still alive.   The last of the "Power of Ten" litter.

At least I know Zappa will more than likely make it to his birthday.  That's the best I can say right now...

Thursday, December 30, 2021

The spirit of my PTSD therapy dog

Never fear...Chancer Dancer is still here!!

 One of the biggest things I miss about having Chance, he always knew when I was having a PTSD flashback.   I was triggered on Christmas day and it took more than two days to realize what was happening.  With Chance there, that would have never happened.  Zappa has never been a therapy dog to me.  It was a pretty scary experience.  

What helped me out of it? and how did I figure out what was happening?  I went outside and there were dogs barking out in the neighborhood.  That's when I snapped back to reality.  It was a cool feeling, as I believe Chance and the gang were still helping me out in their own way.  Revving up the outside dogs, which on a normal night you don't hear too many dogs, if at all, but tonight there were several.  And while I miss the direct contact of my hand on Chance's fur, which always woke me up out of my nightmare, he was still there in spirit right next to me.  

I've been pretty fortunate that I don't have many of these flashbacks anymore.  Every so often one will hit, but this was definitely the longest one in a long time.  Another reason to miss my boy.  It was one of Chance's special gifts, as he wasn't certified or trained, he just knew me.  Now it is time to trust Chance's spirit and let him guide me through the next PTSD episode because I know he is still here.   

Friday, December 24, 2021

Merry Christmas Blogsville!

It has been a hard year for so many of us.  So many losses.  Just know we feel your pain and are right there with you.   

Our hope is that you have something to celebrate, even if it is just a moment of time, that makes you smile.  

We have been so blessed to "know" all of you and your furbabies through our blog and want to thank you for being part of our joys, our sorrows, and our pain.  Thank you for being there for us.

Merry Christmas Blogville!

Friday, December 17, 2021

And now for some good news!

Zappa is experiencing a whole new adventure these past couple of months, he is getting cold laser therapy treatments for pain in his hips, lower and upper back and his knees.  And so far it is working!

Zappa has never had fear of our vet or any other vet, until the dogs died.  He's never had fear riding in the car until the dogs died.  And he has never went any great distance in the car in a very long time, long before the dogs died.  So combining all these fears, on top of the cold laser treatment has been a challenge for Zappa to say the least.  Yet, he is coming through with flying colors, slowly but surely.

Let me back up for a minute...

His pain.  He was having a hard time standing, sitting and lying down.  It was slow and painful.  Right now over the last 8 courses, he can stand up relatively steady and quicker than before.  There were leaps and bounds of progress to reach this point.  

He started sitting in the last couple of weeks, which was HUGE progress.  Zappa hasn't been able to sit at all for the last couple of years.  So this was phenomenal!  And if that weren't enough he started sitting in the van on the rides to the appointment.  He had been standing for the entire hour and a half ride, there and back.  Causing more strain and tension going to the appointment and after treatment that we didn't know if there was any point to continuing therapy.  It seemed it was all going to be counterproductive if we couldn't get his anxiety under control during these car rides.  I mean, he was just shaking like crazy, a total bundle of nerves, all through the visit and all the way back home.  We needed help! 

Thank God for anti-anxiety medicine!  We finally got Zappa some by the third visit and it was the only thing that worked.  

So now we're about half way in to the treatments from where we are now and Zappa is standing through the car rides, but isn't shaking and is more relaxed.  He is starting to calm during the laser therapy.  Each time we go he is staying still longer and longer.  Then it doesn't take long and he finally lays down in the car on the way home one day.  Then he does it on another ride for a longer period of time.  Then he lays down on the way there and we are unwinding with him at each move.  The three of us have become one big knot that finally started to unravel.  I didn't think we would ever get to this point.  

Right now we are going twice a week, same days and time, making a steady routine for Zappa and us.  We are continuing this schedule until the end of the year.  If all goes well, we will only have to go once a week to manage Zappa's pain.  

And all of this is happening because of my husband's determination and perseverance and of course love, because he didn't want Zappa to have to live on pain medicine for the rest of his life.  The best part is that it is paying off and if working.  This whole experience has been worth seeing Zappa move easier and with less pain, without the side effects of medicines.  

Pretty cool!


Saturday, November 27, 2021

I'm going to miss it

 Fall was long for us and rather mild.  So, with the onset of winter and snow, blistering winds and ice in the last week, I am already getting cabin fever.  

The dogs were always great at breaking that fever.  Dog sledding, dog walks, rough housing and running in the snow.  We always had such fun!  I'm going to miss those times.  That and our indoor games of "find it."  We always had a blast playing that game!  Hiding treats all over the house and having the dogs find them.  Some were obvious places and played over and over again.  But there were always a few treats that were really hidden in a new spot.  Chance and Blaze were geniuses at the game.  All I had to say was, "I see one, two, three, etc. that you missed and they were back in it.  Searching frantically to beat the other.  It wasn't often but I have stumped them a few times and had give some clues as to where the hidden goodie was.  Oh, how I miss playing that game with them!  

I miss having a pack of dogs around.  I miss the aggravation and the laughter.  I miss wanting to pull my hair out and wanting to hug them.  I miss the love that filled this house.  Every room filled with a dog.  I miss the antics, the barking, and the howling choir.  I miss grumbling about every day chores and how the dogs made it fun.  I really miss behavior training.  It was the heart and soul of those misfit huskies and the rewards were priceless!

This will be our first winter without all of the above.  And I'm going to miss it.  

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving 2021!

To  all our US friends, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

From the 24 Paws of Love ❤

Fiona and Zappa

Blaze and Chance

These pictures are from last Thanksgiving when we were getting photos for last year's Christmas card.  

Some of my favorite pictures of the end of fall, in the woods with my best friends.  Doing what we loved and smiling all the way. 

Have a wonderful day my friends!  Life is short, hug your dog!

💗 Mark, Patty and Zappa 💗

Thursday, October 21, 2021

No words

 I used to get upset when a blogging dog would pass and you would almost never hear about the dog again.  I had invested my heart and emotions into that dog for years and poof, they were gone.  I felt like I never got any closure and I would struggle with my emotions.  

Now I get it.  

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago:

The feelings of loss is still strong.  I keep thinking I'll be able to write about some of the memories I have with Chance, Blaze and Fiona, but for now it still hurts too much.  My sweet babies are gone and I can only digest it in little bits.  So much loss in such a short amount of time.  It is still so hard to believe.  So hard. 

I am still trying to comprehend it.  I didn't understand because I was able to write and write about Brut, about his passing and after.  I wanted to do something different and share about the loss and the pain and the hope and I can't do it with Chance, Blaze and Fiona.   I am still stunned and there are no words.  I can't even seem to dig up a picture to post.  The effort and emotions are too much.  

So for those of you I silently criticized  and was disappointed in, for not sharing more of your dog after they passed, I am sorry.  I didn't understand.  Forgive me. 

I get it now. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Zappa initiates

 Zappa initiated the day by coming in the kitchen while I was figuring out breakfast.  We shared some croissants then hung outside.  He never comes in the kitchen except to pass through, so I took that as a big step.  Considering he'd been barking on the bed just before and he doesn't like to get down very easy, so again, this was huge.  After our outing he went back on the bed.  I was just going to mow the lawn, when he woke up, got off the bed and wanted out.  So we hung out in the backyard, for quite some time before going out front.  Next thing I knew it was 4pm.  

I could have taken him back in the house and mowed, but there was something special about him today and I couldn't pass up the time to be with him.  He made the first move and it was up to me to honor that in every way possible.  And it was very sweet of him to think of me today.  

It was my turn to walk him and that just topped off our evening.  Then Daddy came home and all was perfect.  What a beautiful awesome day.  And it all started with Zappa and a walk in the kitchen.  


Monday, October 4, 2021

Zappa happenings

Zappa is coming along and is showing more signs of happiness than sadness.  Beside my hubby Mark, Zappa is bringing the joy back into my life again.  

Here are some of the Zappa happenings: 

Zappa has been going on these long barking sprees and for the last couple of months, we don't know what they are about, but we either ignore him or join in.  Think he just wanting to hear barking again, even if it was his own voice.  

While he used to not like a lot of attention, Zappa has discovered that attention from us gets him whatever he wants.  And he is liking that.  He has been using this power, to teach me the language of his barking.  He thinks he is pretty clever getting us to jump when he calls.  He is the new King!  lol

Not only does Zappa have full run of the house and both front and back yards, he is the first dog to experience hanging out in the driveway with us.  I think he likes his new found freedom!

We are developing a routine with him for our days together and that has been pretty cool.  I didn't think I would ever get used to having only one dog, but I am kind of liking the quiet and calm that comes with it.  Not to mention the extra time to get to know Zappa on a whole other level.  Since it is just Zappa,  we are witnessing his true self evolve.  It is not only getting exciting for us but for him as well.  When treat time comes around he will sometimes get up, bark and shake and whip his head around.  Which is hilarious because that's what Fiona used to do.  Before he would stand and bark,  He was always a happy dog, but his happiness is lasting longer than it used to as he was more serious with the other dogs around.  

And it has been fun getting to know Zappa all over again.  Before my moments with Zappa were few and far between with the rest of the crew, so I really didn't know him very well except in those moments.  And now that we are through the scare of the dogs' death, Mark and I are both getting to know the real Zappa and that is pretty cool.  

I am kind of liking this new dog world we are in with Zappa leading the way.  It's still too early to think of adding a dog or two, neither of us are ready for that, which makes this time with Zappa even more special.  We have been so blessed to have him every. single. day.    

Monday, September 13, 2021

Zappa and I danced!!

 Zappa and I had a blast  today together.  It was great to enjoy each other's company and not be crying and emotional.  Zappa actually came out of his lean to and we hung out together.  It had clouded up and the air was cooler.  A nice break from the sun, which aided his decision to lay down in the dirt next to me.  Now Zappa is always in his lean to during this time of the day, so this was his way of making the first move.  It was my turn now.

So I invited him out to the garage with a little of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," playing and we began to dance.  Something we have only done in the house. with the other dogs around. It has been far too long that Zappa and I have danced together and we had a blast!  We danced, talked and sang with each other.  It was nice to just forget about everything for a while bonding with Zappa.

My next move was taking a walk.  I didn't know how long Zappa could go, but I'm getting pretty good at reading his body language, when enough is enough.  He surprised me, slow, but full of energy.  We took the paths in the little woods across from our house and took a longish walk for him.  He did fantastic!  And there is nothing better than walking in the woods with your best friend.  The peace, the greenery and being connected.  It was so wonderful.  

Then to top it off we came home and chilled for a half hour, then I fixed Zappa his dinner.  He didn't want it.  So I went with plan B, some Gravy Train canned food.  He ate the whole can!  It was the most I'd seen him eat of any food since the dogs died.  It was so exciting!  We have been through so many different dry, canned, fresh, dog foods that it has been unreal.  We have given him people food and he still won't eat anything but a small amount.  So this was a big win.  He's never had Gravy Train canned food, but we were getting desperate for Zappa to eat, that we have been trying everything.  So, that ended the day on a very positive note.  

One of the best days I've had since the dogs died.  And I think Zappa would say the same thing too.  

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The tears just sprang out of nowhere

 It started with Blaze's song and ended with paw prints and two lift harnesses.  

I haven't cried over just Blaze in a very long time.  It has taken this long to be able to process her death, without thinking of Chance and Fiona.  I never really got the chance because the focus immediately went on Chance as he struggled through Blaze's death.  And then we put Chance down and buried him and Fiona started her tailspin to her death the next three days.  And it has been an almost constant of Chance and Fiona, Chance and Fiona.  Never getting the chance to grieve my Sweet pea.  This was like a crack in the dam.  To be able to touch it and feel it.  

It started when I was trying to figure out what was wrong with me.  What diagnosis did I have for today.  When I remembered what a friend said about going through a traumatic event.  Three deaths so close together.  Of dogs, no less.  And that's when Blaze's song went through my head and I broke down, only thinking of my little Blaze.  I missed her so much.  Not being able to grieve for her, the only thing I can remember about her is her barking at mealtimes.   Like it's the only thing stuck in my mind.  Hope that breaks along with this open healing.  I know there was more, but right now I can't find it.  

Fast forward to evening time, I sat in the garage while Mark did odds and ends.  Chance and Blaze's pawprints were on the floor in a box in garage.  Where they had been all summer.  I finally picked them up and put them in the bedroom, in the bookcase with the others.  Their last steps.  I labeled and put them away along with Fiona's and Blaze's collars.  

The last thing in the box was the red lift harness.  Still with their fur and smell.  The tears were filling up, I hung them quickly and walked away.  I wasn't ready to go there, yet.

The dam broke later that night as I was flooded with grief and sadness for my little Blaze.  And with it came all the memories of her and our life together.  It hurt but it was a good hurt to remember, feel and be in touch with my one and only Blaze. 


Friday, September 3, 2021

Zappa peace

 Zappa is such a tender subject.  Being the only dog, all our focus is on him.  Something he doesn't like.  I don't know that he will ever get used to it.  

Zappa was asleep on our bed last night, a deep, comfy sleep.  He was so relaxed he just melted into the bed.  His wrinkles showing through his face and muzzle that he almost looked like a basset hound.  He was that content.  

I knelt on Fiona's blanket to say "good night" to her and began quietly sobbing.

Seeing Zappa's face, struck me how much pain and stress Zappa has been under without his siblings, especially Fiona, and the contrast his face was showing
at this moment.  

Part of the tears were relief.  Zappa was making it through this most difficult time in his life.  For a while we did not know for certain if he would leave us too.  There were some scary moments when we weren't sure.  

And yet despite our fears, Zappa was here, sleeping in such complete peace.

I don't know how he got to that point, but I hope I can emulate it someday.   


Thursday, August 26, 2021

Pack Mentality Mom

Even though they were separated, they were so together and in tune with each other and me.

I was sitting thinking about Chance, Blaze and Fiona and the grave loss Mark and I have had.  We had spoken earlier about how all this loss felt.  I said, "it still feels like the Twilight Zone." and he said, "it feels like a nightmare."

And as I thought those feelings, somewhere in the midst of it, I thought, I'm a pack dog mom.  I can't operate with just a dog or two.  I need the complexity and togetherness of a pack.  I think like a pack dog, I act like a pack dog, I am a pack dog.  I think that is why I struggle with Zappa, I've known him through the pack.  It is almost like I am hardwired that way.  Like a Husky.  

See, through the day I'll be going along just fine and then all the sudden I will feel out of sorts.  Then I start thinking what is wrong with me?  What's going on?  That's when it starts feeling like a Twilight Zone episode.  I will either freak out or slump into a depression.  I've had dogs in the past, single dogs that I didn't experience that pack mentality with, but when we had the puppies and then the six dogs, I got it.  Even though I didn't realize how much I had it until the loss of the three, then I felt it.  Losing that pack mentality, I feel lost.  Like I can't think for myself.  A huge emptiness.

And if I'm feeling that, I can't begin to imagine what Zappa must be feeling and going through all by himself.  Somehow this clicked for me, I wonder if it has clicked for him.  I know he likes to be with both Mark and I when he can.  And the cats are venturing out more, so they will also be part of his "pack."  

Even so, I'm beginning to see where Zappa has been coming from with his actions and behaviors.  He's lost too.  We are navigating new roads and plowing new paths and we are doing it together.  Neither of know how to operate without a pack, so we will make a new and figure it out together.  

Monday, August 23, 2021

Apologizing to my Chance

 Walked into the kitchen with the cats on my heels.  I let them come in and the tears immediately fell.  I apologized to Chance for letting them in.  I sobbed.   

The cats haven't been in the kitchen since Chance and Blaze died.  My barriers are starting to break down.  

It was hard enough letting them in the dog's room.  Some days I couldn't do it.  

It hurt so much.  

So the cats would have to stay in their room for the day.

I'll never be 100% comfortable with the cats in the dog's room, but I'm living with it, one day at a time.

It has just been in the last two days that I let the cats in the kitchen for any length of time.  I don't know why I did.  I just didn't have the emotional energy to shut the door.  

Chance did not like Boxer in his space and the kitchen belonged to Chance and Blaze.  He tolerated Boxer for me and it hurt to let Boxer in.  

As I sat outside writing this post, four Tufted Titmice came and sat on the tree behind me.  One by one they hopped on the fence only a couple of feet from my face.  They leaned in looking at me.  I talked to them.  Then after a few minutes they fluttered away. 

It wasn't until the last bird that I remembered that the Tufted Titmouse is Chance's spiritual bird.  He forgave me.

Tufted Titmouse

(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)


This is a song I've been listening to, when I am sad.  Mostly when I think of Chance, but really it fits for all the dogs.  

It's sad.  It's beautiful. and it is short.

By Royal Blood-All We Have Is Now

Take a listen...

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Zappa scare and update

 Here's an update on Zappa:

He can feel coming in the air tonight...

He has been struggling to eat and sometimes wouldn't eat at all.  

We got x-rays done and everything was really good.  All his organs were in good shape.

We also got blood work, a full panel, to see if anything was wrong.  

And we just got the results today...all he has is a bladder infection!

All his levels are within range and normal.  Woo-Hoo!

We were so worried that something was seriously wrong.  

Thank goodness for modern medicine test.  

Now all he needs is some antibiotics and he's good to go!!

Friday, July 23, 2021

The Power of a Door

 Walked in the kitchen from outside and my heart jumped. The door that used to separate the two packs was open. I am not used to it.  It has been very strange having the door open almost all the time and Zappa walking through it.   It still freaks me out even though it has become our new "normal."   I like it and I don't like it.  For 13 years I must have opened and closed that door thousands upon thousands of times and to have all that motion and conscious effort stopped is the reality I live.  It is the most tangible object that Chance, Blaze and Fiona are gone.  

It was that door that kept our family safe and "together."  It was that door that despite all the "fights" that were happening on both sides, that stood and never broke down.  It was that door that time after time I made a conscious effort to make sure it fully shut.  Every.  Time.  And it was that door that gave us peace of mind and the ability to keep all our dogs, in spite of their differences with each other.   That door kept us all alive and helped the 24 Paws of Love to thrive.  Not that there weren't a few accidents when the door didn't shut and there was an all out war between the two packs.

It just proves even more how important that door was.  And how special and sturdy it really was.  Holding two packs together and apart at the same time.  

A door, that made the 24 Paws of Love possible. 


Monday, July 19, 2021

Where there is life--there is HOPE

Written on July 8, 2021 

Hanging out with Daddy and Blaze

Zappa's been coming in the Front Dogs yard (Chance and Blaze's territory) as of the last couple of days.  The first few times he was out there were short and sweet.  The last few times have been about a chipmunk that he's hoping to see again, even in the pouring rain.  

At first he seemed so alone out there and it made me realize how he was the only dog.  It didn't stand out so much when he was out in the backyard, his domain, as it did out front.  

Then yesterday he discovered a chipmunk and he has done nothing but hunt and wait for it.  I don't know how to break it to him that they won't come out in the rain, but he sits and waits for it anyways.  

It has given Zappa a purpose, a reason to live doing something he loves.  In the place where Chance and Blaze had the joy of chasing chipmunks, now Zappa is blessed with them.  

And seeing how the Front yard is smaller and more compact than the back, Zappa can use less energy since he isn't as swift as he used to be.  Making the chipmunks more viable to chase and maybe catch.  

And that creates hope.  

Hope I think we all needed at this moment in time.

Hope to carry on with life.

Hope to believe in a tomorrow.

And hope to live on.    

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Dear 24 Paws of Love Readers,


Zappa's inherited lean-to from Brut, 
his favorite spot to be.

As you might imagine we have been at a loss these last three months since Blaze, Chance and Fiona died.  

I am at a loss of words to express how I feel.  I've never lost more than one dog at a time, so you can imagine how devastating this is for us.  It still seems so surreal.

Blaze's new roses~Sunny KnockOut roses.

And what is just as surreal is having just one dog now.  Zappa is all that is left of the 24 Paws of Love.  It is so sad, but we are so grateful he is here, and we can't say that enough.  It has been 20 years since we had one dog, but never under these circumstances.  To say that this is the hardest thing we've ever been through in our marriage would be an understatement.  Losing Brut was hard, but nothing compares to losing three so close together.  

Fiona's new roses~ Coral KnockOut Roses

I just wanted to let you know much we appreciate your love and support through this difficult time.  We want to also let you know that all of the 24 Paws are better dogs because of all of you and we are better humans because of you as well.

Check out this unique rose of Brut's 
Red Knockout

  I wish all of you could have met them.  They were the best dogs ever.  

I don't know that I will be taking an official blogging break to mourn, but there may not be many post for the next couple of months.  Nothing out of the ordinary, but just in case we are quiet, you will know why. 

And Silver's Pink Double petal KO roses

Thank you for sticking by and God bless! 

p.s. we are still waiting for Chance's roses to arrive.  It is taking forever, but will hopefully be here soon!

Friday, July 2, 2021

Zappa and the separation door.

 Today we let Zappa in the kitchen while we ate dinner.  

We left the door open at first, and he just stood there at the threshold with this look of disbelief and surprise.

Mark gave him a piece of pizza crust and Zappa walked right in.  

He walked around and sniffed everything while walking back and forth to our sides for a bite, which we obliged.  

Then when we were about done he went back out to the living room and laid near the door.  

The door of separation.  The door that kept peace and war alive in our home.

I felt a sense of relief letting Zappa through that door.  Instead of always shutting the door on him and the guilt that came with it.

It's been since he was young that he has been in the kitchen.  Like before Blaze came home at 7 months.  

After 13 years with two packs of dogs, it was a long time coming.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Amongst our grief, is Brut's anniversary.


6 years ago today I buried my best friend.  

My canine-soulmate.  

Hard to believe it has only been 6 years.  

Seems like forever.  

And now Brut is with his girl Silver and their kids,

Chance, Blaze and Fiona.  

I hope they are having one hell of a celebration up there.  

Love ya, Bruter Boy!

Friday, June 4, 2021

And then there was one...

Zappa sleeping on Fiona's blanket

 I don't know if I am ready to share about how Zappa is doing.  Being that he is the loan survivor of the 24 Paws of Love, I'm feeling very protective and quiet about him.  (Other than the fact of grieving the loss of three dogs)  

I just don't feel ready to share yet.  

He's doing OK.    

It was touch and go there for a while.  Not critical, but he was having a rough time.  

He had the basic symptoms as we had.  Not wanting to eat, sleeping more, isolating, depression and sadness.  The first two weeks were the most important.  We are still keeping an eye on him and it has been 4 weeks.  It has been a huge adjustment for everyone. (including the cats)  I wish I had better answers for all the WHY'S out there, but I don't, so we are coping the best we can.  

It's difficult when Zappa doesn't want the attention.  He's very independent and hates to be fussed over.  (Like all the dogs were)  So it is difficult to grieve with him, without touching him in some way  (or is that just for us?)  Maybe a kiss or a quick hug, but that's about it.  There's no cuddling or snuggling with him.  And most of the time there is little to be said.  (for me anyways)  I'm still learning to communicate with him as he has always been a challenge.  

So, we just take care of each other the best way we know how as we go through this loss together.  Because everything changed for all of us and all we have each other.  ♥

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

What happen to Fiona

Today marks Chance's three week anniversary.  This was written a week after his death and about Fiona after we buried Chance.  This was one of the hardest post I've had to write.  May they rest in peace. 

It has been a week today that we buried Chance.  He was alive until 2:45pm, then we did our burial ritual and he was buried.  It is also one week since Fiona had her first episode of not being able to walk.  The harness was fresh off of Chance and onto Fiona.  Scared the crap out of both of us.  We thought it was a bad sign and a horrible message.  Then she was fine the next day.  Was going to take the harness off that day, but decided to wait..."just in case."   She ate on Friday morning.  Good sign.  Then somewhere it changed to she couldn't walk anymore.  Her eyes were darting back and forth, she was shaking and when we tried to move her, awful sounds of pain came from her.  She fought and struggle, we thought we were hurting her with the harness. So we switch to the blanket and took her out to make her pee by hand.  She was in sheer terror from the  move.  Really no urine, she hadn't drank all day, so we took her back in the house and into bedroom.  More terror.  More pain.  Eyes darting fast.  Some how in that state of mind she rested, or at least stopped moving and closed her eyes.  I stayed up all night with her, except going out in the living room a couple of times and going outside with Zappa once.  Mark knew it was the end.  The pain was horrifying.  And if nothing else confirmed it, moving her into the van to go to the vet did.  Her whole world was spinning.  Her body was in constant motion.  There was no stopping this.  

Discussed with our vet what was going on.  She said it was vestibular disease (old dog syndrome) having to do with deep in the inner ear.  Mark thinks it was brought on by a mini-stroke.  Loss of balance, everything spinning, nausea, serious head tilt and eyes that dart side to side.  Our vet said it was like Fiona was on a merry-go-round that she couldn't get off.  Whatever it was and whatever caused it, was one of the worst things I have seen.  Fiona was suffering.  We had to make it stop.  Recovery was very, very slim with her liver condition.  And so, we put her down that Saturday after this short onset on symptoms that took over her body.  And she was set free, from all of it.  Running and playing with Chance and Blaze.  I saw her.  She was happy.  

Today I cried for that girl I miss and what happened.  That it wasn't enough that we loss Chance, but had to lose Fiona too and it doesn't make any sense.  I don't understand.  But then I think I do.  I just don't know for sure, but it doesn't make it hurt any less.  My sweet girl was doing so well. I was looking forward to the extra time together, now that Chance was gone.  And didn't even get that.  So fast.  So quick.  She was gone.  Never to hold her again.  

Today as I sat out front, Mark and Zappa going to grab dinner, I saw Blaze, sitting in front of me.  I hadn't forgotten, I hadn't had the time.  But she was there to comfort me.  And I could see and feel my little Sweet Pea.  Life is so unfair and must move on, but it will never stop me from loving all of you no matter where we go.  I will always take you with me.  And you will always be here.  I love you.  I love you.  I love you.  Now and forever.  Forever and always Amen.   

Monday, May 10, 2021

Run Fiona, Run Free

JANUARY 2, 2008--MAY 8,2021

55 days after Blaze died and 3 days after Chance died, our little Fiona, is now running free with them.  I can't explain what happened except it was neurological.  Maybe someday I will try, but for now it is beyond my comprehension.  She started having symptoms the night we buried Chance and from then on it only got worse.  There is a possibility for recovery from this aliment, but with Fiona's liver condition and hip dysplasia it did not look good.  So we did the most loving thing we could do and released her from her pain.  

Heaven gained one hell of a Diva Princess and true warrior of love.  

Prayers are welcome for Zappa, who is now the lone dog of the 24 Paws of Love. And for us as we have lost 3 dogs in less than 60 days.   

Thank you.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Run Free Mr. Chancer

 On May 5, 2021, 52 days after we laid Blaze to rest, we set our Chancer Dancer free from his cancer-ridden body.  

Cancer may have taken Chance, but never his spirit.  He fought right up until the end with all the love he could give.  

Our hearts are broken, but we are soothed knowing Chance is with Blaze again.

Our heavenly warrior is back where he belongs, with his girl, running free in God's kingdom.

Run free Chance

Chance Markiewicz
January 2, 2008-May 5, 2021

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Back and Forth Love

 Today Chance started a new thing.  Mark and I were sitting outside facing each other and Chance went to Mark to be petted then turned and came to me to be petted.  Then he went back to Mark, and continued going back and forth between us about 3 times.  It was sweet and loving.  

Then later in the house we were in the kitchen and he did the same thing.  

Just when I have my doubts about what we are doing, Chance shows me different. 


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Chance, our walking miracle

Chance is our walking miracle.  This journey with him through his liver cancer and hip dysplasia is one I will never forget.  

In September 2020, Chance was diagnosed with a fist-size tumor on his liver.  Which means it had been there for a while before being discovered.  By my guesstiment, I'd say it has been almost year since the tumor started.  

I woke up today with Mark whispering Chance's name and for me to come quick.  Chance's back legs had collapsed and he couldn't stand up on his own.  Luckily we had a lift harness that we had bought for Blaze, that we were able to get underneath and around him.  

He had a very hard time walking, but with our assistance, we did get him outside to take care of business.  Chance was exhausted and couldn't stand on his own, so he was laying there in the grass and my first thought was, "This is it."  And my second thought was we haven't dug the grave yet.  My mind was whirling with having to go to the vet, the grave, and that we were here, at the end of the road.  I thought that because I didn't know if the weakness in his legs was generated by his hip dysplasia or his liver finally giving out.  And the whole thing triggered off Blaze and when she died.


At the time of our little emergency, I wasn't thinking about how Chance would handle the lift harness, because for the last 10 years he still cringes when I put on his walking harness.  Under the circumstances, he was OK with it, and by the end of the day, he didn't seemed bothered by it at all.  Which is good because he is stuck with it.

As the day wore on, Chance was feeling better, walking by himself and getting up on his own.  Even by bedtime, he was still moving just fine on his own.  I finally felt relieved and like I could breathe again when we said our prayers tonight.  The scare was over for now.  Chance had made it through the day.  

We made the choice to ride out Chance's life to the end.  Whatever that means and how ever it comes.  I have grappled with this decision since Blaze died, until today.  Today made the turnaround for me when it comes to ending his life.  We'd never let him suffer and he is not suffering.  There is a whole lot of dog left in him.  And for that I am grateful.  So very, very grateful.  He is not ready to die and I am respecting his wishes.  Blaze was a hard loss.  Out of the blue she went downhill fast and we were nowhere ready for it, but we learned so much from our little girl.  Knowledge that will save Chance's life for as long as he is here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

How we lost Blaze-Part 1

We just passed the five week mark of losing Blaze.  The time has been a blur as most of the focus has been on Chance.  Who is doing fine by the way.  No major changes and that is good, because when it changes, that means the liver is failing.  Which can happen at any time.  One minute everything is fine and the next they crash.  That was what happened to Blaze.  We took her to the vet for her heartworm test and to have the fluid drained out of abdomen, she walked out of the vet's office and into the van.  When we got home, she walked in the house and collapsed on the floor, eagle spread.  We were shocked, but I attributed it to her hip dysplasia, getting up and down several times the day before going in and out, and the fact she had to stand to have her abdomen drained.  Figured she was just exhausted from all the spent energy.  She hadn't ate the last couple of days and we thought she just needed to regain her strength.  We didn't know she was going into liver failure.  Nothing prepped us for this.

We had to carry her with towels to take her inside and outside.  By the second day she was weaker, refused to eat and still would only lay spread eagle.  She wasn't getting better, she was getting worse.  Unfortunately, we didn't know her liver was failing and it was all happening so fast.  That's we discovered her stool was black and looked like coffee grounds, she was bleeding internally from her upper GI.  It all went downhill from there.  Even with medicine, nothing could stop what was happening before our eyes.  Most of time she was out of it, but she had her alert moments.  Making the decision even harder.

We talked with our vet, we still couldn't totally comprehend what was happening to our girl.  I felt like we weren't getting any clear answers as to what direction to take.  The shock and disbelief were overwhelming.   But by the third night we knew she wasn't going to get better, she was barely functioning, except to drink water.  I stayed up with Blaze cleaning up her rear and comforting her as she was bleeding heavy through the night. 

It was time to make that decision.  

We took her in the next day, on a Sunday, at 2:15pm, in our van, as our vet assisted in the cross over for Blaze.  The vet at one end while Mark and I were looking into Blaze's eyes for the last time, saying our good-byes.

It was quick and painless and Blaze was finally set free from the wretched body that had betrayed her in the end.  It was over.  Her pain was over.  

Sunday, April 4, 2021

I miss my little spitfire-

 It has been a long three weeks since Blaze left us.  We've settled into a routine without her smiling face and spunky eyes and life seems so empty.  She was the catalyst of the bunch.  Always getting something started.  She never did like a boring life.  

An hour an a half before breakfast, dinner and snack time, she started her famous mealtime is coming up bark.  Blaze always knew when it was mealtime and wanted to make sure I didn't forget.  

She used to drive me crazy with her barking, so I started talking back to her.  I miss our conversations.  

watch on YouTube

Monday, March 29, 2021

Chance update

 Chance is overall doing OK.  You may remember he was having nose bleeds on and off, well,  he had one that went most of the day so we took him in to the vet.  Vet did an x-ray and found a tumor at the bridge of his nose on one side of his nostril.  That explained the bleeding, which did eventually stop.  In fact, the last two days he hasn't bled, so that is good.  I'm sure we're not done with the blood, but it is nice to get a break from it.  

On another day this past week, we took Chance in for another x-ray of his liver tumor.  Mark felt pretty unsettled about it and needed to know.  Well, it fills the whole abdominal cavity and is pushing all his organs back and up.  So there is no question we are near the end.  He is still eating.  Which is amazing because his nose tumor, we believe is affecting his smell, so trying to find something he will eat has been a challenge.  He's showing interest, he wants to eat, but the food doesn't smell good.  Right now canned dog food is his best friend and he is eating it heartily.  

Paw prints on the grave

Evenings are still a struggle.  I think this is when he misses Blaze the most.  He will pace, inside and outside, scratch at door and us and really has a hard time settling down.  I do believe we are over the hump of Chance's grief.  Mark has been giving lots of squeaky toys, bones to bury, and lots of attention.  All this is helping in the healing.  

To say it has been easy would be a lie.  This journey with Chance has been frustrating, difficult and emotional on so many levels.  Trying to help him, understand what he needs and helping him with his grief.  Sometimes I wonder if his time is up, but he's not ready to go yet.  I know Chance or his body will let me know when it is time.  

So we are hanging in there.  Thoughts and prayers are welcomed.  Thank you!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Blaze's song

Every dog that has passed on has a song.  My song for them.  A song will just start playing in my head after they are gone and it will remind me of them.  

This is Blaze's song.  The first morning she was gone, I got up and this song by Slaughter was playing in my head.  I hadn't heard this song in years, like since high school and there is was playing loud and clear for Blaze.  

I miss my girl.  She had a smile that could light up the world.  

For you Blaze...

Fly to the Angels


Friday, March 19, 2021

Chance's Grief

The first night without Blaze was the worse for Chance.  Mark was up with him most of  the night while Chance paced at several different speeds through the house throughout the night.  Inside, outside he didn't know what to do.  He kept looking for Blaze, even though we showed Chance her body before burying her, but he couldn't find her.  He kept looking from the spot where her body was to the grave.  

The second night Chance sniffed around the grave and dug just a little into the sand on top of it.  The third night he got right on top of the grave and sniffed it for more than a few minutes.  And on the fourth night, just last night, he buried a bone at the head of the grave.  Later today, he dug it up and chewed on it for an hour, outside, standing up the whole time.  When Mark went to take him for a walk, he didn't want to go.  Chance has never turned down a walk.  EVER!  He's still eating and drinking water, which is good, but we found blood in his stool tonight.  Time might be shorter than we think or hoped for our Chance.  Turning down a walk is a good indicator that something is wrong.

So between the cancer and losing Blaze, this might be more than our loving boy can take.  Please keep Chance in your prayers and thoughts.  Thank you!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

With Heavy Hearts...

We let go of Blaze... Sunday, March 14, 2021 

She was bleeding internally.  The cancer caught up to her.

So, we set her free

Another Princess warrior to add to heaven's army.

Please keep us in your prayers and thoughts.  Especially Chance who is lost without his girl.  

She was so loved and will be so missed. 

Run free my girl  ♥ 

Blaze Markiewicz
January 2, 2008-March 14, 2021

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Chance's health report

 Chance got an excellent report from the vet yesterday!  I'm still beaming!  We took him for a heartworm test and an overall assessment.  He did so good, I still can't believe it!

My-must-wear-a-muzzle-dog-because-he-hates-to-be-touched, got a blood draw for the heartworm test, as well as a blood count.  He was checked over.  Heart and lungs good.  Weight is steady.  All good signs.  He's been having a reoccurring nose bleed after a fall a couple of weeks ago.  It happened to be bleeding during the exam, and when our vet checked him over, she concurred that it was just a broken blood vessel in his snout that may come and go intermittently.  Then he had his nails trimmed, something he's NEVER had done before EVER and was she said he just stood the while they did it and was excellent for the procedure. The vet even took off his muzzle!  WOW!!  So cool!

And I was a nervous wreck about taking Chance to the vet.  I didn't think it was a good idea and was completely against it.  I didn't want to put Chance through the anxiety and pain, especially with a muzzle.  But now I'm glad we did because not only did Chance pass with flying colors, it show he's in better health than we thought he was or could be at this point in time.  Something must be working!  Now we just need to get more weight on him.  Chance is allowed to eat anything he wants (as long as it is safe for dogs) and as much as he wants. 

I would have never guessed we would be this far into Chance's cancer with him doing and basically feeling so well.  I have been blown away how physically well he is and believe me, every night we thank God he is still here!

Have a fantastic weekend! 

Monday, March 1, 2021

How is Chance doing?

And the boy likes his space.  I'm surprised Chance lasted this long and this close to Mark, so I could get a pic.  lol  He jumped off after I snapped!

Chance is doing pretty good, considering he has liver cancer.  He seems to be in some sort of remission as he isn't getting better or worse.  He hasn't lost any more weight.  He's thin but looks like he gained some muscle.   We started walking him every day, as opposed to every other day like we were, to help with his high anxiety.  He's been eating his meals in full and all necessary business is good.  

We started giving Chance CoQ10 a few months back.  I had read that it may help in shrinking the tumor and was also good for his mental and emotional state.  Maybe it's working.  He is quite alert and responsive.  Definitely can't hurt him and maybe it is why he's in remission.  Who knows!?

Chance has always been like a race horse coming out of the gate when we used to go for walks.  And was still pulling me along up until about three weeks ago.  I used to have to speed up to stay behind him and now I have to slow down to walk beside him.  I don't think he likes me sharing the lead with him, he is used to being the lead dog.  So sometimes he turns his head towards me telling me to get back.  

For those who may be curious what we are feeding Chance, really, anything he will eat.  For meals, he finally settled on cooked chicken and his prescription canned food, because he won't eat the dry anymore.  My Mr. Veggie lover, will hardly eat vegetables any more.  He used to love almost all veggies.  I don't know what cancer is doing to him, but he will hardly eat them any more.  The good news is that he will eat almost anything else, so we haven't hit that stage of not eating yet. 

Chance does have some bad times, in the morning and in the mid-evenings.  He isn't a morning dog and can look pretty beaten down.  Like he's lost all hope.  He mostly sleeps through the morning.  In the evening he tends to be very unsettled, has a hard time lying down and paces quite a bit.  Like he can't get comfortable.  I don't know if it is the tumor or his arthritis in his hips and back, or if he has anxiety about something I don't know.  It really tends to ramp up after dinner, and may or may not settle down by bedtime.

When we had the ultrasound done in September 2020, and discovered the cancer/tumor, Chance was doing really good at that time.  Our vet said that he might live for 6 months to a year.  March 24 will be 6 months since she made that prediction.  So far, so good.  We are just grateful for every day with him.  

Thursday, February 11, 2021

And then there is Blaze

On January 29, 2021, a Friday, we took Blaze to the vet.  She had fluid in her abdomen that had gone down and I was hoping to get an x-ray, looking for tumors. I had suspicions when  I noticed Blaze had begun mimicking Chance's behavior.  I don't know how to explain it, but they were like carbon copies of each other.  Unfortunately I was right.  A HUGE mass in her abdomen, coming from the liver, that is pushing her intestines forward. 

Our second dog to currently have cancer, next to Chance.  

Blaze at the moment is doing pretty good under her conditions.  She's doing all the normal doggy things: eating, drinking, walking, sleeping...so for that we are grateful. 

Any prayers or well wishes would be greatly appreciated.  

Love, Mark, Patty and the 24 Paws of Love 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The best unlaid plans

 It was a new morning.  The clouds were parting for the first time in weeks, showing a faint blue sky and some hazy sunshine.  It was mild again today, the temps in the 30's.  Fantastic weather for mid-January in Northern Michigan.  

Hubby and I had our morning ritual, talking about all we could do on this nice winter day and what we'd like to get done.  For the most part our minds were content.  The dogs were doing well and we couldn't ask for more.  

Despite our excitement over our plans for the day, we moved slowly through the morning hours.  Taking our time with the dogs, when we noticed Fiona in pain.  That darn torn tendon in her right shoulder.   We'd been lucky so far with walks on ice and snow and in the yard, but she most have strained it somehow.  

Watching her pace back and forth is difficult to watch.  Or she stands, then lays, then is back up again, only to walk to another spot and do it again.  

And that was all it took for our day to crash to the floor.  Between Silver's anniversary yesterday, Brut Thursday (today) and Chance, our emotional plate was full, only to have it toppled over now that our little girl was hurting.  It became a day of hugging the dogs and spending time with them.  Which isn't a bad way to spend the day, it was just hard under those circumstances.  It just makes for more tears when you are sad and scared. 

By the end of the afternoon Fiona was doing much better and moving without pain or extra pain medicine.  Mark walked Chance, Blaze was at my feet and Zappa was comfortable in his chair.  

And it turned into a great day after all.  Even with all our plans being squashed and the daylight fading away, we spent the day with the ones we love most, which was the best unlaid plan we could have had.  ♥   

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Love you Silver!

 Four years ago today, we lost our sweet Momma Dog Silver.  It still feels like it has been an eternity since she left us.  It doesn't feel like she died, but just faded away.  She was a spunky girl who had a gentle life force and a nurturing soul.  Silver was the counter balance to Brut's aggressive ways.  Her genes softened the rough edges in their kids.  I see Silver the most in Fiona and Zappa, probably because Silver rubbed off on them being part of their pack.  

Silver was our first puppy together who started this whole journey we are on with her kids;
who are now as old as she was when she died.  It doesn't seem possible.  

She was a good first-time mom.  She already had the mothering down by practicing on me.  lol  She really was a natural.  We were so blessed that she took good care of her puppies.

And when those  puppies grew up she took a backseat to her own needs and made sure they got the care they needed.  She was amazing that way.  I always felt so guilty that she was always last compared to Brut and the kids, not realizing, that is what a mother does.  


All those years I didn't understand.  I thought she just didn't fit in with the rest of them and she didn't.  She was a mother first and a dog second.  She'd been that way from almost the start of our relationship.  I thought I understood the true mother Silver was to me when she was here, now I'm finding a deeper root of what
her mothering has meant to me.  Silver was exactly the mother I needed and still do.  

So on this day, I honor my girl, who taught me the true meaning of what it means to be loved unconditionally and forever.

                                                   Love you Silver!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Chance is stable

 So far, so good with Chance.  Stable is the best word for his condition right now and we will take it.  He's lost weight over the last couple of weeks, but that seems to have balanced out at this point.  We made some changes to his diet and he is now eating all his breakfast. It is a nice sweet spot to be in and we are all getting a little respite out of it.  Just enough to take a few breaths and savor the moments.  A little God-given peace to enjoy that extra time with our special boy.  

Chance thanks you for thinking of us.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Bittersweet 13th Birthday

Woke up in tears this bittersweet day of January 2, 2021.  Crying about Silver and the day she gave birth 13 years ago to 10 healthy puppies.  There, in our master bedroom where we were part of the beginning.  Squeaks, oohs and ahs filled the room as we reveled at the miracle that was before us.  So many wonderful memories on that day and so many more that came that are still with us now.  

13 years later and the puppies are all considerably older.  Each with their own set of ailments.  How fast time has changed them, even with the difference from a year ago.  

So, while this will be a day of celebration, it will also be a somber one for hubby and I.  Our babies are old dogs and the inevitable is waiting.  It has been a tough year for the Power of Ten litter, as I wonder about the other homed puppies and how they are doing now that they've hit the 13 year mark.  If any of them are still alive?  What ailments they may have?  Questions, we may never know.  I just hope there was a lot of love in their lives and to let them know how much we still love them.