Thursday, April 4, 2013

New Puppies, Re-birth and Maddie...

We had puppies on Good Friday.
It was kind of wonderful, really....
While I prayed and thanked God for his amazing sacrifice, I welcomed new Golden Doodles into the world.

This is a Doodle:

And this:

And these are baby Doodles:

A "Doodle" is what happens when you cross this:

(This is Mick, our Golden Retriever stud dog)

With this:

This is Libby, our chocolate brown Standard Poodle... 
And here's what's happened all four times they've mated...


Black puppies.

Don't ask, I try not to pry into their personal lives!

When people come to me for puppies, I lecture them.


I say sage things like, "Puppies should be crate trained"... and "Don't let your puppy run the house! Be the Alpha Male!" (or female, but they have other words for the Alpha female...


And I remind new pet owners that they will most likely outlive their dogs... That animal love is a temporary thing, that there will come a time when they need to make difficult decisions...

And then live with them.

I made that decision today. Well... Yesterday.

This is Maddie:

Isn't she gorgeous? She was a very naughty puppy... (most Goldens are!)
But what a wonderful dog!
Sweet, affectionate, funny, easy with kids, cats, chickens... 

Best of friends with Libby, the two ladies shared a room, shared space on my carpet and they never bossed each other around.

We found out ten days ago that Maddie had cancer.

It was a total shock to us and the vet. Instead of spaying her, the vet removed a huge splenatic tumor...

And we realized the beginning of the end.

Maddie. My friend, my pet, my sweet, affectionate girl was riddled with cancer.

Waiting for the histologist's report, I went online and read whatever I could find on spleen cancer in dogs.

Grim. Days. Weeks.

Those are the words I read and I steeled myself to accept what I couldn't change.
At age 6, I was about to swallow my own words of wisdom about Maddie...
I was going to face the tough choice I've watched others make.

We got ten days. It wasn't nearly enough to repay this sweet dog for the years of love and affection she bestowed on us.

It wasn't nearly enough for the litters of puppies she gave us...

Sweet red babies who've gone to multiple states and cities, including one named Jeter and one who live one subway stop from Yankee Stadium.

This is Libby nursing one of Maddie's litters two years ago...

And this is Maddie nursing Libby's pup that same year:

We got the official report from the veterinarian at about five o'clock Tuesday..

Maddie had been having a good day, eating... wagging her tail... smiling.

But I understood what the report meant...

And by nine o'clock that same night, we knew.

Maddie could no longer eat...

Her back legs stopped working.

She couldn't come upstairs to sleep in my room, so I came downstairs.

We napped in the living room together.

We talked about old times.


We discussed dog foods, the good, the bad, the forgettable.

We agreed not to discuss my shoes.

And instead of going to the vet's this morning to have her surgical staples removed,
we went to have our pretty girl put down.

She's here now.
Back on the farm.
Paul and Seth dug her grave.
Come spring (real spring, that is) I'll plant flowers with the kids.
We'll make a cool cross marker and they'll put her name on it.

And we won't forget.

But tonight, despite the coos and whispers of ten little pups, there's a yawning gap.

A silence that can't be filled.

Because Maddie's gone.

But she'll never be forgotten.


  1. Ohhhhh. I can't even see what I'm typing.
    Did I tell you I have a cold? So, lots of tissues. And now I'm using wads and wads of tissues to mop my face.

    Bless you for giving Maddie such a good life. I wish you'd had more time. (We always think we have more time, right?)

    I'm praying for your peace, and I know you'll spread that Maddie love around where it's most needed.

    1. Stupid tissues. They have a way of piling up, don't they?

      Thank you.... And your words are so perfect. (pshaw, as always!!!) :)

      We always think there's time. And so often we get caught up short. When I feel really bad I go peek at the puppies... Because they make me smile through my tears.

  2. I am so sorry Aunt Ruthie! Hugs and love and prayers for a peaceful heart. Wende

    1. Thank you, Wende! I'm so grateful for your thoughts and prayers and just for you!

      (Wende is an amazing and wonderful girl who married INTO our family and did not run, screaming. That makes her VERY SPECIAL in Herne-World.)


  3. What is it about cancer, whether in precious pets or people, that it surprises us and those we love at times when we least expect it, no warning and all that? Bad news.

    But how good is our God's timing that new puppies with their little round bellies appear to fill the void? How good is our God to gift you with the words to share, the faith to love and the wisdom make the hard call?

    Blessings as always Ruthy and thanks for the reminder to treasure the relationships we have with our pets AND those people in our lives.

    Must go upstairs now. There is a six pack of Kleenex boxes I need to break out.

    Peace, Julie

    1. Aw, I'm sorry. But you're so right... the timing of saying goodbye and saying hello. Very "Steel Magnolias"...

      And I love that movie but I cry every time I watch it and I watch it at least once a year.

      Because I'm a sap.

      Thank you, Julie. Love you.

  4. Well gee, Ruthy, Julie and Wende and Virginia said everything so perfectly that I don't know what else to say but I'm so sorry. ((((hugs))))

    Fenway just turned 5 so your post especially hits home. He was being especially difficult on our walk this morning, wanting to go back home because my husband was there and in his mind he shouldn't be out if daddy is home. I was extremely frustrated with him and had to go all alpha male. Now I think I'll go give him a hug instead cause I'm not a good alpha female. ;)

    I'm reminded of Tina's 2nd book where the phrase God's perfect timing came up so often. I'm not sure there's ever a time when death feels like perfect timing to us, but I guess the distraction of new puppies is as good as it gets. I'm glad you were able to bring her home. Now spring really needs to get itself here so you can plant those flowers.

    I'll be thinking of you and Maddie today and for many days to come. ((((Ruthy)))

    1. I'm eating up these hugs... and playin' with babies. And keeping one out of the toilet.

      That's something to smile about right there, LOL!

  5. So many have been where you are in making such a hard choice. God blessed you Ruth with the years you had...may your memories of Maddie give you more smiles than tears.

    1. Oh, he did bless us... My beautiful daughter-in-law and partner in crime Lacey is posting Maddie's puppy pics on Facebook. Such a stinkin' cute dog.

      And I don't even know if anyone is breeding red Goldens in our area. I love curly, red dogs. Just love 'em.

  6. I'm typing this through tears as well, and I'm at work. I'm so sorry, Ruthy! What a painful shock! I lost my little Elsie (shetland sheepdog) through lymphoma at a young age. Such a hard, sad thing. People who don't live with pets can't understand the bond that develops. God bless those puppies for being there and providing those opportunities to smile through your tears. Loving a dog is not for the faint of heart, but it is so worth it!

    1. Kav, it's like parenthood: It ain't for wimps! We've gotten three folks who are interested in puppies so far... which is wonderful. And I'll give my life lesson to them gently, but life with animals isn't always Disney-friendly, is it?

  7. Losing a beloved dog...we bring it on ourselves, don't we? Like you said, Ruthy, we know we're going to outlive them. We know what it's like - we've lost dogs before.

    But still, when that puppy shows up, we commit ourselves to all of it. The care, the feeding, the walks, the playing, the vet visits, and the watchful eye that sees when something is wrong.

    And we know, even when we look at those sweet puppy eyes, that there will be a day when we have to tell the vet to give the shot that will take away the pain. But not our pain.

    But we still do it. Because we know that no matter how long or short our time with that dog is, it's worth it.

    Such a sad time.

    1. Thank you.... it is. And I'm so grateful that we had those ten days, as crazy as it sounds. And you don't want to know what the vet bill for an emergency hysterectomy and splenectomy was... and our vet is way more reasonable than the high-priced animal hospitals around here. But that sweet dog was worth it because we didn't go into thinking we'd cure cancer... we thought she had an unplanned pregnancy gone bad. So finding the cancer was an eye-opener and completely accidental.

      I don't talk about her during the day, to the parents and the kids. It's just easier not to bring it up right now. Still too raw.

      And that's crabby old me saying that.


  8. Sniffle. Aw, Ruthy! My heart's breakin' right along with you. I've had dogs all my life, and you know when you get 'em that you're gonna lose them some day, but the love you share with them makes even the most difficult moments worth it. Doesn't make those "some days" any easier, though. Love you! Hugs!

    1. Thank you, Deb. I'm feelin' the hugs and the love. And it makes it easier knowing that all of youse understand what I'm feeling. We got a sympathy card from the veterinary office today.... With a paw print on it.

      BAWLED like a stinkin' baby.


  9. Okay, there should have been a warning at the beginning of this post. DO NOT READ WITHOUT TISSUES IN HAND!

    As owner of a lovable Golden myself, this just breaks my heart. Losing a pet is like losing a member of the family. So I'm glad Maddie's back at the farm, resting peacefully.

    Now I'm off to do some lovin' on my Dixie:-)

    1. Tissue alert!!!! I think I actually put that on the Facebook notice... I dunno, I was too busy wiping my eyes. Blotting my nose. Stupid human emotions.

  10. Oh, man, pass me the Kleenex as well. Ruthy, I'm so sorry. We had the same difficult decision just a month or two ago with our precious Libby (chocolate lab). And you know, moments of sadness still sneak up on me sometimes.

    How is your Libby doing? Does she sense that Maddie's gone? That's really difficult for us humans as well, watching our pets grieve.

    Big hugs from Georgia, Ruthy. I hurt for you.

    1. When our Connor died last summer, Wynter was just lost. She acted out for a few weeks - a bit more aggressive, antsy, etc. We just loved on her and gave her extra walks.

      Then I realized that although Wynter was the alpha dog, she relied on Connor (the big brother and much smarter) for cues on how to act in different situations. I didn't realize she depended so much on him until he was gone.

    2. Missy, here's a dog loves dog story.... Libby had been giving Maddie the cold shoulder since Saturday, when the puppies began mewling and squawking... She doesn't like other dogs around her babies.

      But the night Maddie got so sick, Tuesday night, Libby "woofed" softly to come out of the back room. I opened the gate, thinking she wanted to go out.

      She didn't go out. She trotted right through the kitchen and into the living room where she walked up to Maddie and touched noses with her. She stood there for a minute, kind of pawed at Maddie's neck, then turned and walked away. She went back into the puppy room (which is called a laundry room by normal folk) and back to her puppies.

      I swear she was saying goodbye.

    3. Jan, that's true. It's not a symbiotic type relationship but a balanced one. We have folks who bought a puppy from Maddie's first litter and they always get their second dog when the first one is old enough and settled enough to be a good example. When you think of it, it makes perfect sense. And it works.

      Dave suggested keeping one of the pups today... Libby will need a friend. And that's an obvious and easy solution. But somehow I'm torn because I miss my red-headed dog. My whole thing about finally buying a dog years ago was because I love red retrievers... But I love Libby just as much (She's got Brenda Minton curls!!!) so that's probably silly. And we know how delightful LIbby and Mick are, so that makes keeping one of these guys a smart choice. I have to pray on it. Give myself time to think.

    4. I was wondering if you'd keep one.

    5. Waaaa. Thanks for making me cry again over Libby telling Maddie goodbye.

      I think Duke sensed it with our Libby. But he had the grand-dog here visiting to help ease the transition.

    6. It took me until this spring before I felt like I could face getting another dog again. And even though I'd get another Border Collie in a second, I'm afraid I'd expect him to be like Connor was...and he wouldn't.

      So waiting for Corgi puppies to be born any day...

      We're such saps.

      Sniffling with you in the mid-west, Ruthy!

  11. I'm with Missy, thanks for making me cry again.

    Whitney was our last loss, in 2002. A gorgeous Belguin Malinois (sp) hubby found. Gracie was our next acquisition, an adoptee from the shelter. She's now 11 with "issues" emerging. Her barking drives me crazy, but I have a feeling that, when her time comes, I'll take it hard. We almost lost her to distemper as a pup. I nursed/willed her back to health.

    Wish I could send my Dixie to comfort you. She's definitely a blonde, though her daddy was red. But she's a bundle of love who's convinced that everyone who comes into our house is here to see her. She's kinda the epitome of fat, dumb, and happy. Tack on lovable though :-)

    Grieving with you, my friend:-(

  12. Aw, so sorry to hear about your sweet Golden, Ruthy. But I'm happy she had a nice ending, surrounded by the people and dogs she loves, and that she has a nice resting place on your property. The dog I had growing up lived 17 and a half years. Yes really. 17 1/2. We got her when I was in 1st grade and she died the summer before my senior year of high school. She was such a wonderful dog that my dad took a day off work to drive to our property 4 hours away and bury her (can't bury dogs in a city). So yeah, it was sad, but a full ending to a full life. The end doesn't wipe away all the wonderful years you had with Maddie.

  13. Ach! Senior year of COLLEGE. That's what I meant to say. I was in college and engaged when she died. She'd been around so long I would have friends from middle school wrinkle their noses at me when I mentioned her and say "You mean she's not dead yet?" :-)

  14. gosh I'm bawling. :-( didn't know about Libby either Missy. so sorry. my girls are 12 now and Kayla the lab is having more and more trouble with her hip/leg - so far a jont supplement and the occasional rimadyl seem to help and she wants to eat but she's losing weight bit by bit so not sure what's going on. Vet said all was ok our last visit other than arthritis and hip dysplasia which I thought her pup xray came back clear on that. so many pepole have told me I'm beyond lucky they've lived this long - esp the shepherd - but don't care - it's not still not 'until I die' so it's not long enough. also was told I'd never find the same dog in another even if they look alike. I got my dogs before we switched to 12 hr shifts at wrok so dont' know what I'll do - no way I'm leaving a puppy crated that long unless I arrange for someone to come in and take them out. sigh. i just want the dogs I have now forever.
    hugs and sorry for your losing Maddie.