True Thankfulness

Here it is Thanksgiving time again. Have you ever really sat down and given thanks for all you have, without wishing you had something else? It is definitely a hard task. I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed holiday.

Cheese Acres Farm

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Here are a few thoughts about thankfulness that I’d like to share.

First, God tells us we should be thankful in everything. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says we are to be thankful in all circumstances. Ephesians 5:20 tells us to give thanks always and for everything. Give thanks ALWAYS? For EVERYTHING? You might wonder how a person is to give thanks when they are: broke, jobless, homeless, have a serious illness, lost a precious family member, or any other crises they are facing. Yet, these two verses clearly tell us give thanks to God in all circumstances.

I’m sure you have heard the expressions, “It could always be worse”, and “There is always somebody worse off than you.” (By the way, those are the last things a person in despair wants to hear)
When we go through the difficulties that life throws at us and we feel there is no one…

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Dogs, Chickens, Goats and more

First let me say please forgive my absence from the blogging world. I just haven’t felt it lately and I will tell you why. In my last post I told you all how we were a year mourning our precious Sara Lee. We finally decided it was time to get a pup because Hemi was so lonely. We ended up rescuing two of them. They are adorable German Shepherd and black lab mix.

 

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Phoenix and Onyx napping while we plant potatoes!
Phoenix and Onyx napping while we plant potatoes!

 

Sweet pups
Sweet pups

 

 

 

 

Hemi learned to love them and they were getting along so well and then the unthinkable happened. We got a call…Hemi had been hit by a car. A year and a couple of weeks after Sara Lee. Oh how our hearts hurt. I know you must be wondering so I’ll go ahead and say it..We live at least a 1/4 mile off the road. Hemi did not go to the road. She had no reason to with all the fun here. Last year we determined that she and Sara Lee ran across the road chasing deer.  This time no deer, no reason to be there. Trees around us were cut and it is more noisy out here. We are hearing cars and seeing neighbors lights that we’ve never heard and seen before. Our best guess is that she heard something she thought needed investigating. The person who hit her was kind and apologetic and that helps but our son is still aching for his sweet Hemi.

We got our goats finally late January. They are boers and we are totally in love with them. Buddy, Daisy and Butter Cup bring us a lot of joy. Hemi had been totally fascinated with them. I imagined that she was thinking “What kind of dog is this? She stayed beside them for weeks.

 

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Peek-a-boo

Since Hemi’s passing we are focusing on each other, the pups, the goats and chickens, ducks, and the garden. There is always so much work to be done. Life is still good out here on the farm despite the losses we have faced. I know all of you understand. Sometime life is just tough. However, we are taking things one day at a time and counting our blessings and not our sorrows.

Can I drive this thing?
Can I drive this thing?

Precious Memories

Our hearts hurts. One year ago, January 27th when we came home from work we found our precious Sara Lee was injured, hit by a car. She couldn’t walk. I hadn’t seen her yet and wondered where she was. When Farmer Cheese got home she came out from under a building walking on her front legs and dragging her entire lower body. We were both stunned. We put her in my car and raced to the vet. When I think about it feels like it was yesterday. The days we spent at Auburn University veterinary School, the hope of recovery only to be dashed by bad news again and again. The heartache, the pain, the weeping, the joy on our sweet baby’s face every time she saw us…It all still feels so fresh. The day we lost her, Feb. 1st was the longest and possibly the hardest day of our lives so far. And yet some how we did manage to go on. We take comfort in knowing we and the skilled doctors did everything humanely possible to save her. We take comfort in knowing she is now longer suffering. We take comfort in each other and our other dogs who still miss her too. So many times a day I am reminded of her sweet face, her loving snuggles, her incessant bark, her demanding us to throw her a pine cone. Our hearts will always hold the precious memories of our dear sweet Sara Lee.

A collage of memories.
A collage of memories.
Before surgery kisses
Before surgery kisses

Change in the dogs “pecking order”

Since we lost our precious Sara Lee 4 months ago I have noticed some changes in the dogs. For those of you who are new to us and don’t know our story see our blog about losing pets and grief. It will fill you in on the whole story. Hemi, our sons GSD, turned a year old last month. She grieved for a few months before she got back into her normal groove. The veterinarian gave us a blanket to cover Sara Lee during her trauma and her scent still lingers. Hemi will sniff it every time she gets in my trailblazer. No one has the heart to throw it away. She still stops and looks at Sara Lee’s grave from time to time. Whoever said dogs don’t have feelings and good sense was a little crazy in my opinion. Dakota and Gracie our beagle and black lab seemed lost for a while as well. Then suddenly I noticed Hemi and Gracie have become better “friends”. Gracie has become a little more active. It’s as if she realizes Hemi needs her. Hemi has taken on a role of looking out for Dakota, even though Dakota is the oldest. They seem to have found a way to handle their grief and move on. As far as us people, Hemi is right by her PaPaw’s side night and day just like Sara Lee always was. I think it helps ease his pain just a little.

A collage of memories.
A collage of memories.
Dakota
Dakota
Hemi
Hemi
Gracie
Gracie

Coping with the loss of our Sara Lee (Pets and Grief)

This is how we will remember our sweet girl. Always having fun.
This is how we will remember our sweet girl. Always having fun.

The day the vehicle hit Sara Lee I skipped the first stage of grief (denial) and headed straight for the second- ANGER. Why? Why were the dogs at the road. I say dogs because she and Hemi, my son’s shepherd pup were never apart. Farmer Cheese thinks they may have chased deer. They may have followed the scent of my sons truck as Hemi was inclined to do from time to time. But they didn’t usually go to the road. Not with all the fun woods and a pond. Why wasn’t they driver looking? Or going slower.  People seem to drive so fast with not a care in the world. Was she putting on her make up? Was he texting. I was furious that my baby was hurt, seriously hurt. And we were headed to Auburn University Veterinary Hospital.  X-Rays at our home doctor revealed more spinal damage than he could care for. It was operable in his opinion so off we went. That night, Tuesday January 27, 2015 is one that we will never forget. We arrived in Auburn after midnight. 12:20 to be exact. We waited in the ER all night. We went from a spinal injury needing surgery to non responsive brain trauma and calling in a neurologist and ordering a CT.  All we knew at this point was she had a cracked cheek, no brain bleed and was at a fair to guarded prognosis. However her hip and spine appeared better than we thought at first. To add insult to injury the hospital estimated our entire bill and we had to pay half upon arrival Tuesday night.  An  MRI was ordered to further assess the spine and brain trauma. Wednesday,much much later in the day we got good new from the MRI. The neurology report looked good. Her spine looked better than originally thought. She had a fractured cheek as well as a few other fractures that wouldn’t affect mobility. Her discs were not as compressed aswas thought. That was good news.  As of that moment the doctors thought she would heal in time and  wewere elated. That was until Thursday morning when we discovered that although she was alert and bright cognitively, her rear end was no longer responding to deep pain as it did the day before. Doctors believed her spine was actually more compressed than the MRI showed. We were now back to square one and headed to surgery. For those of you with medical knowledge, a laminectomy with decompression. The surgery went well, most of what they were seeing was from the initial trauma, not compression material. She also had a small tear thatwas been repaired. Her recovery prognosis did not changed. But she pulled through the surgery. She was a real trooper. Sara Lee seemed to be doing well. She was even giving kisses to Laura the student who was her primary caregiver. She was happy each time we saw her.  We saw her Friday before we made a trip back home to check on things. Saturday she seemed to be continuing to improve. Then Sunday morning came. The phone rang. Our lives changed. Wewere headed back to Auburn as fast as we possibly could. It was unbelievable. Her right leg, the good leg had infection in it and was not responding to antibiotics. The doctor feared the infection might be in her heart.  My heart , and Farmer Cheese’s heart didn’t think they could take this!  As fortune would have it, the infection was not in her heart but she had gone down fast. She barely had the energy to lift her head to kiss us. Her leg was at least 3 times its normal size and preliminary tests showed that this was a systemic infection and spreading.  She had been on a broad spectrum antibiotic with no improvement. Now we were faced with the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make. Our baby girl was tired and weak. She’d used all the strength she had. Even with all the money in the world, which by the way we don’t have, the outcome was the same. Her fight was over. It was best for her to allow the doctor to give her the euthanizing drugs. Was it best for us? No, our hearts were torn in two. And yes, we don’t have to watch her suffer. We said our tearful goodbyes. The doctors were kind and gentle with our girl. They even gave her a few french fries. Our baby girl is gone. We brought her home in a cardboard coffin and buried her overlooking the pond.  In her little casket are a stick, a tennis ball, a duck, and a pine cone. All her favorite things.

Now it has been three weeks. And life dies go on whether we want it to or not. Our house and yard are too quiet and we still shed tears when she is not here to chase a stick or give us a kiss when we get home. The sadness and depression lesson each day but I have a feeling there will always be a tear when we think of our sweet girl.

Sara Lee, you loved us well and we loved you with all our hearts. If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. Rest in peace sweet girl, until we meet again.

Before surgery kisses
Before surgery kisses

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 Better days with my sweet girl. Our camping trip.
Better days with my sweet girl. Our camping trip.
Sara Lee always had a stick in her mouth when she was outside.
Sara Lee always had a stick in her mouth when she was outside.