August 5 – Pond Fun
August 6 – Day on Campus
We decided to walk around campus (who knows how much longer we will live here and be able to do this). We walked up the mall, checked out Old Main, and then went to the Alumni duck Pond. It was a beautiful day to enjoy our beautiful school.
August 8 – Last Soccer Shots for Nolan
Nolan definitely learned a lot this time with Soccer Shots. He listened well and did a great job with each activity. When they would play their games, he would stand back and watch so he needs to improve on that, but he had fun.
August 11 – RIP Lady
On July 31, we woke to find vomit, but weren’t sure which dog it was from. Watching both dogs throughout the day (well, before we went to the family reunion and after we got home), we realized it was Lady. She was very lethargic, wouldn’t eat, couldn’t get up the steps or onto the couch, and wouldn’t even acknowledge our presence when we walked in the room. That night she didn’t sleep with us nor did spend anytime in our closet which was where she usually spent the majority of her time. She got into the garbage the night before so we thought we’d give her a few days to see if she gets better. On Sunday, she didn’t throw up, ate a tiny bit of food, and would acknowledge us when we walked in a room. By Monday, she was walking up the steps, eating 1/2 of her food, and spending time in the closet again. We thought she was getting better.
The rest of that week went by without any major red flags. She still wasn’t eating normally (but she would go through periods of not eating and we never worried because she would always eat again eventually), was having trouble going up the steps and getting onto the couch, and would sprawl flat out on the hardwood floors when we she tried to walk on them. Twice she laid on the floor (once in the kitchen and once in the dining room), unable to get up, making the saddest bark I’ve ever heard in order to get my attention so I could help her up. We found random vomit and pee spots throughout the house. She wouldn’t come and bother the boys for food while they were eating, she didn’t run to lick the dishes as I was putting them in the dishwasher, and we left diapers on the floor and food within her reach that she didn’t bother. She definitely wasn’t herself, but we thought since she was old and her back legs were clearly bothering her, this was just going to be her new normal. On Thursday (August 4), Nevin bought supplements for her joints which said they take about 4-6 weeks to work. We decided that we’d give them time to work and if they didn’t work in the 4-6 weeks they recommend, we’d then take her to the vet.
The weekend went well and we were getting used to Lady’s new normal (not eating, not sleeping in our room, laying on the rug in the family room most of the day, random vomit and pee spots in the house, etc.). Throughout the week, I’d give her crackers, lunch meat turkey, noodles, and other leftovers and she would eat them without a problem. On August 10, we had several thunderstorms and Lady did not freak out like she always used to do. We also found a vomit and 2 spots of pee in the house. She did not go outside at all that day. While we were giving the kids a bath, she had diarrhea in our bedroom and while I was cleaning it up, I saw blood in it. This was the point where I put my selfish desires aside and said we had to take her to the vet. We decided this didn’t warrant a trip to the vet emergency room, but we’d see how she was when we woke up.
She made her way to our closet by herself that night, but she never came downstairs in the morning. We called the vet and they immediately wanted to see her. When Nevin tried to get her out of the closet, she wouldn’t stand up. Nevin carried her down the steps and out the front door for the last time. Spencer and Nolan gave her a kiss before we left.
Lady walked into the vet by herself. We told the tech what had been going on. Dr. Griffiths examined her and said her heart sounded great, but she did have arthritis. He suggested blood work, a Lyme test, and a urine test to see if anything was wrong systematically. It was a lot of waiting but after talking to him, I had some hope. When he finally returned, he said he had some good news and some bad news. The good news was that her blood work came back sort of normal. The bad news was that he found a large tumor on her spleen. He suggested that we either hospitalize her or put her down. I knew it was going to come to this, but hearing him say the words made it real. He left Nevin and me alone to discuss and we realized that hospitalizing her probably wouldn’t fix her. Yes, it may have prolonged her life for another month or 2, but it wouldn’t have helped her. She’d still have the issues with her hind legs and hospitalization wasn’t guaranteed to solve the not eating and vomiting issue. When Dr. Griffiths returned, we asked him if he thought hospitalization would help her and he said no, not in the long run. He suspected that the cancer spread to her intestines which is why she wasn’t eating and was vomiting. Even though her kidneys weren’t in failure right now, they were misshapen and would eventually fail, her potassium levels were increased, and he suspected a bad disc in her back which would eventually lead to paralysis in the hind legs. He explained that if we have seen her back legs in strange positions and she hasn’t moved them (which I have many times this past week) that it was because her brain is having trouble sending messages to her legs for what to do. I have always said that I would not let my dog suffer just so I could keep her longer, so as painful as it was, and as much as we didn’t want to do it, we knew it was the right thing to do. We made the decision to put her down.
Neivn and I chose to stay in the room with her until the very end. We were offered to take her outside under a tree or in the pavilion, but Lady was so miserable that we didn’t want to make her move again and said to do it right in the exam room. We were offered to take her body home with us or bring her ashes home in a week or so, but we declined both options. Before she went, I told her I loved her and thanked her for being the best dog I’ve ever had. I held, pet her, and kissed her until we walked out of the exam room.
As horrible of an experience as this was, every staff person and Dr. Griffiths were nothing but kind, professional, caring, and supportive. Considering the circumstances, we had a great experience.
When we got home, Nolan immediately asked where Lady was. I told her she died and he asked “who died her?” and “why did she die?. I explained that she was very old and very sick. Nolan sobbed while Nevin held him saying that he wanted to say hi to her. I showed him some pictures of her (the last pictures I’ll ever have of her) and it made him feel much better.
I’m thankful we got to spend Lady’s last 6 1/2 years with her. She was the sweetest, best dog I’ve ever had. We named her Lady because she acted like a Lady and that was true all the way up until the end. I keep expecting to hear her sigh or shift around in the closet, turn the corner and see her give me the “I need to go out” look, or see her come down from the closet for dinner. She will be greatly missed, but I am thankful I will no longer have to see her suffer and deteriorate. To my Lady Belle, thank you for being my girl and may you rest in peace.
I sat in the backseat with her on the way to the vet. You know something is up when she doesn’t completely freak out in the car:
August 12 – 5 Year Anniversary
While mourning the loss of Lady and of Nevin’s job, we decided not to celebrate our wedding anniversary by going out and stayed home with our family instead. Although we didn’t go out on a date, we still reminisced about that day and talked about how far we’ve come, all we’ve been through, and all we will go through in the future. When Nevin gets a job again, we will celebrate both the job and our anniversary as soon as possible.
August 13 – 20 – Family Vacation in Fenwick Island, DE
We left around 4:00 PM on Saturday so we did not sit in traffic once we got to the area. The boys were so excited to eat all of the snacks I bought and about 45 minutes into our drive, Spencer vomited on himself. We pulled over at the exact same location we pulled over when Nolan had to use the bathroom on the way home from Lake Tobias last summer. We drove about 1.5 hours to Harrisburg where we stopped at Wendy’s to eat dinner. Spencer ate everything and we (well, I was at least) were a bit worried about him getting sick again, but the roads were straight and he was fine. Spencer fell asleep around 8:30 and Nolan fell asleep around 9:30. We arrived around 11:00 to Pop in the parking lot so excited to see us. Unfortunately, Spencer woke up around 10:30 and we could not get him to sleep until after 1:30 that night. Nolan transferred from the car to the bed without a problem.
August 14 – First Time on the Beach
Even thought there was a heat advisory and it was 95 degrees at 8:00 AM already, I couldn’t stand being that close and not going to the beach. We headed to Delaware State Park where we paid $10 to park. Pop and Uncle Brad came, too. They had a concession stand and bathrooms, but we never used either of those. Nolan was a bit apprehensive of the waves at first, but warmed up quickly. Spencer did not like it at all and was pretty miserable. Maybe the fact that he was still up at 1:30 and woke up for the day at 5:30 had something to do with it! We blew up the inflatable pool and he was happy with that so we were able to stay until lunch time. We headed back to the condo around noon for lunch and nap. Spencer took a nap, but Nolan didn’t. After nap, we headed to the pool in the condo complex with Mimi and Pop. Spencer had a blast jumping in and having Mimi catch him and Nolan enjoyed floating around. We got take out from Smitty McGee’s which is directly across Lighthouse Road from the condo complex.
We met many little friends who wanted to spend time in our pool. I’m so glad we brought this. The kids played in it, collected crabs and shells in it, and we were able to rinse off toys and shoes without having to run down to the ocean. This will definitely come with us every year.
Nolan did not take a nap the first day, but fell asleep on the couch before we ate dinner with his cars from Mimi and Pop on the iPad. The sun and the sand will do that to you!
August 15 – First Time in OCMD
We went back to the same beach and stayed until around 1:00. Spencer was much happier because he slept (a little) better the night before. The whole family came with us and I forgot my camera (go figure). After the beach, we went back to the condo for lunch and nap. Spencer napped, but Nolan did not. We then got ready to go to Crab Alley in West Ocean City, MD for dinner. I spilled my cup of water onto Mimi’s table spot and we had to have them change the paper on our table before we even ordered. Nolan wanted crabs, so he got the crab kids’ meal. When they came out, they were covered in Old Bay and when I was getting the meat out for him, the meat was then covered in Old Bay and it was “too spicy” for him. Poor kid. He was so excited for those crabs, but then equally disappointed. The kids were very restless and after eating for about 8 minutes, they were ready to leave which left Nevin and me to force down our food as quickly as possible and get out the door. On the way back to the condo, we stopped at Dumser’s for ice cream. Nolan got banana and both Nevin and I got mint chocolate chip.
We went to the beach from 9:30 until about 12:30 and then came back for lunch and nap. After nap, we went to the pool in the back of the complex with Mimi and Pop. We then got Dough Roller pizza for dinner.
Since it was less than 90 degrees at 8:00am and overcast for the first day since we arrived, we decided to go to the OCMD boardwalk. We said bye to Mimi and Pop before we left since they were heading home. When we arrived, we first got Thrashers french fries. Nevin had never had them and after his first bite, he commented on how goo they were (crap, now I really want Thrashers!). We then walked down the fishing pier which was such a cool experience. We got to see dolphins very close to us and a man fishing next to us caught a baby shark that he let the boys touch. After that, we walked down the boardwalk and got Candy Kitchen and Dippin’ Dots. The sun came out and it got extremely hot, so we headed back to the car. After nap, we went to the public beach from 4:30-6:30. It was the perfect time to go because the sun wasn’t very strong and there were not that many people there. We fed the boys spaghetti and put them to bed. Then, we got Crab Cake Factory with Uncle Brad and Aunt Megan.
Afternoon at the beach:
The weather was absolutely beautiful for our last day on the beach. While the kids napped, the adults packed and cleaned the condo. We headed out around 6:00 and stopped in Delaware for dinner at McDonald’s. Both boys fell asleep shortly after we ate and slept until we got home which was a little after midnight. Nolan woke up when we got home so we let him hang out while we unpacked the car, but then he went right back to sleep. This was our first family vacation ever, our first vacation in 5 years, and we had a wonderful time.
August 24 – Mowing
August 29 – Nolan’s First Day of 2nd Year Preschool – Park Forest Montessori
Nolan’s school did the half days again the last week in August. The first full day was the Tuesday after Labor Day. This year, Nolan is going to school 4 mornings a week, Mondays through Thursdays from 9:00-11:30. Nolan was excited to get back to school and transitioned nicely.