Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thinking About Thankfulness

I am thankful for having had a great dog in my life. I've had plenty of wonderful dogs, but only Bouie was great. And, I'm thankful for having his "lady" and his offspring in our home to love.

I kinda like my husband, too. I'm thankful he has been in my life these many decades.

I'm thankful for our healthy children and grandchildren, and for the opportunity to see them regularly without having to drive 7 or 8 hours.

I'm thankful to have my father, now 86 years old, still with us. And, I'm thankful to be able to go to doctors' appointments with him so he won't have to walk so far. And, I'm thankful to be here in Little Rock to support him as he begins radiation therapy for lung cancer. I'm truly and prayerfully grateful that his prognosis is good.

I'm thankful for good friends.

I'm thankful I don't have to move anytime soon.

I'm thankful for my Senior Discount at Krogerville. And, I'd better go use it before all the other geezers get all the good stuff.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Heartbreak at Moogie's Manor

We spoiled him mercilessly for the last few weeks of his life, cooking steak and burgers for him every few hours so he wouldn't starve. We soaked up all the love we could manage, then we let our precious pup, our Bouie, trot across the Rainbow Bridge on November 3rd. He was suffering from untreatable, diffused carcinoma of the liver, and even though he gave it a valiant battle, he let us know that he was ready to move on to his next adventure with companions, both old and new. The following is my Facebook post on that sad, sad morning:

"We held our Bouie as he crossed the bridge this morning. We took turns last night lying beside him on the floor -- he was always a floor kind of guy. He ate some rotisserie chicken for breakfast after a last walk with his best friend, and his canine family. He was so weary and weak that it didn't take long for his great, strong heart to stop, peacefully and painlessly. I told him that we'll see him soon. His best friend wrote a beautiful tribute to him. I love you, Bouligny Voodoo, forever and always. Au revoir, my precious puppy."

Here is Pepper's:

Somehow, my house, usually full of joy and activity, is very lonely and empty today. My best friend and soulmate, Bouie, went to heaven today. He was very sick with cancer and was becoming uncomfortable, and so we went yesterday to duck camp and walked around the fields and blinds for one last time. 

This was a great dog. He was a superb hunter, retriever and flusher, yes, but he was also a loving friend to all who knew him. He had ultimate patience, and let grandkids pull on him, run over his tail with bikes, all without complaint. When we went hunting, he knew the minute we stopped the truck where we were. He was excited and alert, wanting to miss nothing. When the alarm went off in the mornings of a hunt, he was first up, ears perked, pacing, ready to go. And he could go all day. Strong, fast, and bright, he hunted like the champion he was. 
From the time I drove to Texas to pick him up, as a strange, gangly, somewhat homely puppy with a pointy head and a long nose, he was skeptical at first, but soon became my best buddy. I can't say I walked him every day, but I bet I got 90%. It was our thing, to walk every morning and every evening, to run miles on the neutral ground. We would go to Bayou St. John twice a week and practice duck dog jumping and retrieves. We would practice marking and retrieving two, three, four birds. I taught him how to flush in one week, and he was one of the best at our hunting camp.
When Katrina hit and we moved back after a long evacuation, the City Park golf courses were closed, so we were able to run almost every weekend along the cart trails and through the woods, chasing whatever was there, and diving into any lake, bayou or creek that looked inviting.
This is the prayer I whispered in his ear as he went to sleep today:
"Dear Father, please welcome our boy Bouie, into your house, into your arms, into your heart. Please make him strong, fast and free again, without pain. Find some folks around heaven who will take him on walks, play fetch and retrieve with tennis balls and dummy ducks, and play catch with popcorn and pizza crusts. Every now and then, let him run through a park chasing white birds until they fly, and diving into water at full gallop. However you hunt in heaven, please take him along. He is masterful at it, and he loves it so. Most of all, Lord, let him find friends who love him, and who he can love. He is really good at that, and he loves it most of all."
Goodbye, my great friend."

An anonymous friend sent us this lovely Memorial Candle and "Bouie's Prayer." It warmed our hearts.

Some favorite Bouie moments:

 Bouie Puppy splashing in the waterbowl.
 On sentry duty
 Sweet face
 His favorite nap spot in Little Rock

Our hearts still hurt, and the girl dogs are still confused -- although they are very cuddly and mindful of where we are at all times.  My chest is tight and my eyes are a little leaky right now. There are just some family pets who creep into your very soul. He was one of those, and his absence physically hurts.

I brought Bouie's ashes home last Friday, so he is here with us again, resting in a place of honor where he can watch over all his loved ones.  So, cheers to you, Bou Boy!  See you soon.