Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Feeling Pretty Low

We made it back home to WV from our vacation in Emerald Isle, NC this past Friday evening.  I wish I could tell you that I had a fantastic time, but unfortunately I had to go to the beach with a VERY heavy heart this year.  Don’t get me wrong, the beach was beautiful, the house was amazing, my friends were awesome (all 15 of them), and my little brother even proposed to his girlfriend, Kristy!   Like I said, though, it was just very unfortunate that my heart wasn’t 100% into the vacation this year due to the sudden loss of my Jocie the day before we left and, of course, the tragic loss of my Lou just a month prior to that.  Still, I tried to put on a happy face and not think about the sadness for the majority of our vacation, but it all sunk in pretty hard during the drive home.

All of us in Emerald Isle, NC, 2012
I also wish I could tell you that my mood improved greatly once I was reunited with Margot and Sam, but again, unfortunately I cannot.  Although I was VERY happy to see Sam and Margot again, my heart still remains heavy, as I have had to make a very difficult decision this past weekend.   Margot has basically become obsessed with Sam and will NOT leave her alone.  It’s very sad because she is only being a normal puppy and wanting Sam to play with her, but it truly is making Sam’s life a living Hell.  Margot is constantly nipping at her, climbing all over her, and running circles around her, which is driving Sam crazy.  I did some reading about this type of situation online, and everything advises against yelling at Margot because it might really confuse her, as she is merely behaving like a normal, playful puppy.  The articles I’ve read said that the best thing to do is separate the older dog from the puppy while the puppy is being playful, but that has proven to be a problem for us because Sam doesn’t like spending time alone.  We’ve tried allowing Sam to go upstairs by herself in order to get away from Margot for a while, but if Justin and I BOTH are not upstairs with her, she doesn’t want to stay up there.  She’ll come back down to the baby gate and cry until we let her back down, despite knowing that the puppy is going to continue picking on her. 

Reunited and it feels so gooood!

Fortunately, Justin’s mother apparently fell in LOVE with our Sam while she babysat the girls for us last week.  She loves how affectionate Sam is, and she even let Sam sleep in the bed with her at night, which is Sam’s idea of HEAVEN.  Not only that, but Sam also loved spending her days lounging on Justin’s parents’ screened-in wrap-around porch and enjoyed their large, fenced-in back yard.  Therefore, I am considering a sort of “joint custody” arrangement between us and Justin’s parents because not only do I feel like it might make Sam much happier, but Justin’s mother has mentioned several times how much she misses Sam ever since we picked her up last Friday. 

Even as I type this, though, the thought of not having Sam at home with me 24/7 makes my heart ache, which is why I’m only considering doing this on a trial basis for now.  The thing is, I really don’t know how much time Sam has left, and I’d much rather her spend her golden years enjoying a big back yard, chillin’ out on a screened-in porch, and soaking up the tons of affection that I know Justin’s mother will give her than spend her final days constantly trying to avoid the annoyance of an incessantly nipping, rambunctious puppy.  Believe me, I would not be giving this “joint custody” idea one ounce of consideration if I didn’t feel like it would make Sam a million times happier, and everyone who has seen Margot pestering Sam over the last couple of days has agreed with me 100% that it is probably a good idea.  So, starting tonight, we’re going to try leaving Sam with Justin’s parents during the week, and then we’ll bring her home on the weekends.  If Sam seems even the least bit upset about being away from home, I will just have to figure out something else.  However, if Sam truly seems happier staying with Justin’s parents, no matter how I’ll miss her or how much my heart will ache, at least I will know she’s happy.  (Ugh.  I’m tearing up just thinking about this.)

I really do wish I could have written a happier post about how much fun we had at the beach and how great things are now that we’re back home, but as you’ve probably gathered by now, this has basically been the worse summer of my life.  For the record, I’m normally a very optimistic person, and finding silver linings has always come very naturally to me, but it’s becoming harder and harder to bounce back from life’s “little” set-backs, especially when so many horrible things have happened in such a short amount of time, and they’ve all been extremely tragic with very complicated circumstances.  Just so you fully understand where I’m coming from, let’s re-cap, shall we?

Three years ago, I had to deal with my husband’s tragic (and highly dramatic) suicide on TOP of also dealing with his alcoholism and mental illness, and I even later discovered he had been lying to me for years about just about everything, including our financial situation.  My photography business basically came to a screeching halt after that as I focused on putting my life back together, mainly for the sake of my three girls (Jocie, Sam, and Lexie), which decreased my now single income even more significantly.  Last summer, I was laid off from my job due to cut-backs and struggled for two whole months to find new employment and practically drained my savings account in the process.  This summer, I spent two months draining my savings account even further (almost down to nothing) while running my beloved Lexie back and forth to Columbus, Ohio in an unsuccessful attempt to save her eyes, only to find out after putting her through three traumatic eye surgeries that she had Stage IV mammary cancer, which the so-called “specialists” at MedVet had somehow missed during previous testing.  During all of this, on the 4th of July, I learned that one of my best friends from high school, Beth, was found dead by her 16 year-old son after she laid down for a nap the previous afternoon and never woke up (they believe she had a seizure).  Then, a few days later, the day after Lexie’s stitches were finally removed from her pointlessly empty, infected eye sockets, Lexie was in so much pain from her mammary cancer that she collapsed and had to be put down.  Justin and I tried to bring some happiness back into our lives by bringing home Margot, which worked for a few weeks, but then, just one month after losing Lexie (a couple weeks ago), I had to put down my oldest, Jocie, the day before our summer vacation after learning that she had advanced kidney failure and was no longer eating.  And now, here I am, thousands of dollars in debt and about to send my sweet Sam off to live with another family because I foolishly thought an 11 year-old dog and a less than 4 month-old puppy would have no problems living together. 

If I REALLY wanted to pile on the doom and gloom, I guess I could also mention that over the past two years I’ve managed to fall madly in love with a wonderful man who also just happens to have Type I diabetes and was told when he was 8 years-old that he probably won’t live past the age of 40.  That, of course, probably isn’t true, and it was horrible of Justin’s doctors to tell him such a thing back then, but the fact remains that he WILL eventually develop serious complications due to his diabetes.  Hopefully, that won’t happen for many, many years, but every single day I live with the fear that I will someday lose him and ultimately die alone.   So, how’s that for an extremely gloomy ending to an incredibly depressing rant?

Okay, okay…I will now try to prove that I’m normally an optimistic person by ending this Debbie Downer blog post on some positive notes.  For one, as I mentioned earlier, Zach and Kristy are now officially engaged, and I am beyond excited for their wedding next year!  (The date hasn’t been set in stone yet, but they’re thinking about the end of September, 2013.)  I am also extremely honored that Kristy has asked me to be one of her bridesmaids.  I’ve photographed literally HUNDREDS of weddings over the past eight years, but I’ve never actually been in a wedding before!  I’m so happy for both of them, as they make each other very happy.

Left - Margot at 7 wks with Mandee; Right - Margot at 11 wks with Ashley
Another positive thing is that our friend and roommate, Ashley, returned home from her three-month-long trip to teach in Africa this summer and finally met Margot for the first time on Sunday night.  I’m pretty sure that she and Margot fell instantly in love, and Ashley seems excited about having a new puppy in the house.   Ashley is also a lot of fun to have around, so I’m looking forward to many laughter-filled nights hanging out with her at home. 

Finally, I wouldn’t dream of ending this blog post without saying at least a few positive things about Miss Margot.  For one, I couldn’t believe how much she grew during the one short week that we were gone!  She’s so long and lanky now, and her paws are absolutely HUGE.  I don’t know how she’s ever supposed to grow into those paws if they just keep getting bigger as the rest of her grows!  I was a little worried that she may have become a little less disciplined while we were away, but thankfully Margot is still a very good puppy.  Don’t get me wrong, she has her moments, but overall she really is surprisingly well-behaved for being only 11 weeks-old.  I also think that she may be officially entering the teething stage, as chewing on the Nylabone is her #1 favorite thing in the world right now.   She continues to show bite inhibition when she plays, though, and she is still happy to redirect her play-biting to a toy when one is given to her, so I’m very happy about all of that. 

Teething time!

I will also say that, despite all of the above-mentioned doom and gloom that is currently hanging over my head, it is impossible not to smile, laugh, or feel at least a small amount of happiness when I’m playing with Margot.  She is so much fun and such a joy to have around.  I wish with all my heart that she and Sam were getting along better, and I hate, hate, HATE that Sam may occasionally have to stay somewhere else for the sake of giving her a “happily ever after,” but I am still so thankful that Justin and I decided to bring Margot into our lives because, otherwise, I feel like we would just be holding our breath and counting down the days until we have to say good-bye to Samul, too.   Margot gives me a reason to look forward to what lies ahead instead of just dreading what might happen next.  She also continuously surprises me with her ability to lift my spirits, no matter how overwhelmed by sadness I am or how hopeless I may feel, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time. 


  1. We were on the receiving end of our daughter giving us her doberman when they were moving into a new house and had baby #4 arriving shortly after. They decided that they did not want to have Zoe at their new house for fear she would ruin the hardwood floors and yard. They felt they were not being fair to her either since they never got to exercise her because of the heat. So a year ago this month our daughter flew Zoe from Phoenix to NYC and she has been our joy ever since! She is "tolerated" by our 9 1/2 yr old dobe. Zoe is 3 1/2 but acts more like 1 yr with so much energy. I think you are doing Sam a good deed. It is so hard though. We just sned our daughter lots of videos and facetime often. She know Zoe is so happy here. I know you do not know me but I feel a kinship because of the dogs!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I know that Justin's mother will love having Sam at her house, and Sam will probably love being there, but I can't help but feel like I'm being a bad mother by "giving away" my Samul. I know, I know...it's not really like that, but I still feel guilty and hate the fact that Sam will probably be much happier living somewhere else without me. :(