Archive for pets

Winter Camping Trip

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , , , , on December 10, 2011 by brianestover

If you go camping in the winter you better be prepared. You’re going to need a fire to keep you warm. Bigger is always better when you are discussing fire. You’re going to need a sleeping bag. Not on of those two pieces of cotton sewn together stuffed with cotton. But a down or synthetic bag that keeps you warm down to 0F or so. You will need a pad to place between your bag and the ground to insulate you from the cold. You should also bring your favorite pets. Camping with your dog and cat is always better then camping alone. You can be assured that your dog will stay beside you all night. The cat, well it’s a cat after all.

Last week, I loaded up the sleeping bag, dog, cat and grabbed some padding to stick between me and the hard ground and made the long trek to our favorite camping spot. My living room. Yep, you read that correctly. I went camping in my living room. It makes complete sense. Your close to the fridge, no need to worry about food and a cooler, the fridge is 30 feet away. If you have to go to the bathroom, no bathroom is better then your own. Plus you think that fire lit itself on fire? You can do it on a week night, don’t need reservations anywhere and is environmentally friendlier then driving and camping all other things being equal. It really takes a complete badass to pull it off and pull it off I did.

First I chose a prime location next to the fire. Then I laid out my pad, which was a carpet remnant from when I had some carpet replace, tossed the bag on top and was ready to crawl in. I’m not going to lie, even with the carpet the ground was pretty hard. I grabbed a few blankets and put them under the sleeping bag to soften it up a bit.

Ready for Sleeping

The dog and cat settled in on their respective sleeping spots and off to sleep it was.


Chloe falling asleep


Stop with the photos, I'm playing Xbox

With the heat off in the house the fire place was our sole source of heat. This is the view we enjoyed from our prime camping spots.

The glow of the fire reflecting off the floor

So Long Bridgette

Posted in Stuff with tags , on February 11, 2010 by brianestover

You’ll be missed very much.

I had a last few weeks with her knowing this was the end result. I’m not yet sure if that makes it less or more painful. It’s weird coming home to a dog free house. First time in a bakers dozen that I’ve been faced with this.

She was different then my other dog, more aloof, liked to hide in the closet, make me step over and around her while trying to get the shirt and tie on in the mornings. Bridgette was the sweetest dog I’ve ever owned. I could walk her off leash with no worries. A quick whistle and she came right back to me. She was always in such a hurry to get out of the door for her walk and get back into the house when done. If in the future when I get another dog or two, if they are half as sweet as her, I’ll be one lucky bastard.

From good to bad

Posted in Random Stuff, Stuff with tags , , on February 11, 2010 by brianestover

Yesterday’s run was great. It was cold and raining. There was snow hanging low on the mountains. It was the longest run I’ve done since the day after Christmas. 7.2 miles. The sun popped out about halfway through for 3 minutes, giving me two huge rainbows to guide me back home. There was no one else on the path, just the sounds of my feet landing on the wet spongy ground. It felt like I was running, like I’ve turned the corner towards being a runner again. It felt good!

Last night Bridgette got worse. I’ve made the decision to put her down this afternoon. I’m hoping the vet can squeeze me in. When your dog can suddenly no longer stand up by herself when she has been laying down, it’s time. She has been struggling some with getting up, but has always managed to. But not now. I’ve made her breakfast for the last time. Only one more walk to go. A short jaunt down the alley to the park this afternoon to let her sniff around, then her final car ride. Even with a few weeks to prepare for this, one would think I’d be prepared for the finality of it. I’m really not.


Posted in Random Stuff, Stuff with tags , , , on February 8, 2010 by brianestover

Over the last few weeks I’ve been struggling. Struggling with trying to get back into shape, struggling with having to now put down Bridgette which has caused me to rethink lots of other things. I’m struggling to find a house I like enough to buy, struggling to get stuff around here done as efficiently as I used to. It’s kind of like I’m in some sort of haze which is making me go at 90% while everything else is full speed ahead. Lately I find myself questioning everything, things I used to take for granted.

Having to put Bridgette down this coming Saturday has really thrown me for a loop. If the appointment wasn’t already scheduled, after tonight’s walk, I’d put her down sooner. I could actually see her ability to walk decline as the walk progressed tonight. She became a little slower, started scraping her back paw against the ground more and she started limping. It was sad, I cut the walk short, I couldn’t deal with it. On the other hand, the prednisone has made her act 2-3 years younger. She is playing more around the house at least in spurts, squeaking her toys more then normal, flipping them around and chasing after them when she launches one across the room. It brings a smile to my face to watch her. It’s going to be weird not owning a dog after Saturday, or at least not having one around. Over the last 12 and a half years, I figure I’ve walked my dogs over 5,000 miles. That is a lot of time to spend with your dog. That seems to be the one thing I’m not questioning is having my dogs. I never really though about the day I’d have to stick them down. I don’t think many people get a dog with that end point in mind. Hey lets get a puppy, get really attached to it, spend all this time with it, have it amuse me for a 10+ years then put it down. I bet if they thought about how much sticking your dog down sucks, there would be less pet owners. I’m going to enjoy the last few days with her, gently playing tug of war with her, snuggling with her before we go to bed and petting her often. While I’m doing that, hopefully an answer or two will come to me as well.

Posted in Random Stuff with tags , , on October 4, 2009 by brianestover

I want to say thank you to Mimi.  That was the most reassuring hour I spent Friday morning confirming that the decision I was making was the correct decision for Gabi.

Thank you to everyone who emailed, texted, posted something and called yesterday.  It was uplifting and shocking how many people took time out of their day to expressed their sympathy.

Having to make an end of life decision is never easy. You leave the vet on Thursday night with your dog with the reassurances that if the blood work turns out well, the surgery will be short and easy back by 4:30pm for a few days recovery. Friday morning I dropped her off and an hour later got a phone call.  I saw the vets number pop up on my cell phone and before I could answer I knew the world I had know with Gabi was starting to implode.

Gabi somehow swallow a bottle cap. We are not sure if the bottle cap was the catalyst that caused her to eat only 10% of what she normally would and then the blood work found the liver disease or if the liver disease had progressed and the bottle cap was an incidental finding. There really was no great option to solve the problem. In fact solving the problem wasn’t a viable option.

I’ve always told myself that there is no reason to make my dog that has brought me so much joy and happiness through the years suffer.  It’s not fair to the dog just to allow me to have a few more days or a couple of weeks more with her, especially since she wouldn’t be eating and might have some stomach discomfort.

How do you tell a dog in 5 hours thank you for 12+ years of happiness? As usual we walked in the morning before going to the vets for her soon to be cancelled surgery.  After I got her from the vets late Friday morning to spend time with her and her to spend some time with Bridgette and Gravey, I took her and Bridgette to the wash to walk.  They could chase lizards and birds, although now they are both much older and more interested in sniffing then chasing. I was remembering all the times Gabi tried to catch lizards, how she would run after them, whining because she couldn’t catch them.  How do you compact 12 years of love and try to convey that in 300 or so minutes. I ended up pacing from the kitchen through the hallway to the bedroom back down the hallway to the kitchen where I made a U turn and repeated the process for a bit. I think I was freaking her, Bridgette and Gravey the cat out and I was freaked out.

Ultimately I brushed her, scrathed her hips since it made her wiggle to what ever side I was scratching.  If I did it long enough she would let out a bark of delight. We, all the animals and I, sat on the floor for about 30 minutes in a little group. It’s pretty rare that the four of us would just sit there all touching each other for that long. I fed them some extra bones, then I gave her a rawhide to chew on which she loved doing.  After a few hours she tired of that so she laid on the floor, licked her paws incessantly to get all the rawhide off of them and I cuddled up next to her, her body resting against me, my arm over her and I cried while she licked then slept for the next 75 minutes.

Finally I couldn’t stand being in the house anymore. I grabbed her leash, whistled for her come and she jumped into the backseat.  I drove her around a bit then made the turn towards the vets office.

I don’t know if she knew we were driving around so I could go put her down. I suspect she realized I was really, really upset. But the process is fairly quick and seemed really quiet for her.  I walked in to the vets and they immediately put me into a room, no waiting or even stopping at the front desk.  They told me to take as much time as I wanted.  She walked around sniffing the room, trying to open the door into the back of the office where the kennels and work areas are. I just pet her, buried my face into her neck and sobbed. Eventually I called the vet back.  After picking her up and putting her on the table, the vet explained how it would happen and asked me if I was ready.

Am I ready to put her down?  This is 12 years of having a foot rest while I sat at my desk, or if not petting her with my feet having to dodge her to get up from the chair.  This is the dog that was never more then 6 feet from me.  I still find myself looking down first before getting up so I don’t step on her. 12 years of walking, feeding, poop scooping (although she was a ferocious poop eater so maybe really just 8 years of pop scooping in aggregate), hiking Mt. Lemmon, watching her bounding through the farm field next to the house in Laveen chasing birds seeing her disappear under the brush then explode over the next row and disappear again, snuggling with her, playing tug of war, wrestling. Knowing I’d have someone to greet me at the door every time I came back from a run or came home from work or her wanting to be with me where ever I was in the house and yard, remembering how she would lay on top of the couch in the first house staring out the window once I left until I came home, thinking about the two weeks it took for her to actually bark after we adopted her. Remembering her whining when she was younger while failing to catch lizards in the wash, bounding through the bushes chasing birds, the battle of wills when we walked.  She was always straining against her leash with Bridgette snapping at her because she was getting tugged along as well. 12 years of petting her everyday, of her playing with her bone flipping it in the air then pouncing on it at night. Her and Bridgette wrestling, swimming after ducks, how she leaped out of the car, off the shore into water or off the bed. The way she breathed, the hu-hu sound of it, the way her ears flopped up and down when she walked and the way the tip of her tongue stuck out of her mouth just a bit.  How do you compact all those wonderful memories into a few short hours. Am I ready? Never, I’m still not.  I wanted her to live as long as I did so we could be put down at the same time.

The process goes quick, first they give her a sedative which puts her under like she was going for surgery.  I could feel her relax into me, as she slid onto her side.  She started to snore a bit and her eyes were not tracking movement, her breathing was steady and peaceful.  Then they administer the final shot. In about a minute she stopped breathing, I’m not really sure when or how. Suddenly I realized I couldn’t feel her chest rising up pressing into my body as I cradled her head and was halfway laying on top of her.  The vet put a stethoscope to her chest and said she has gone. I don’t know how long it took for me to let go of her, so I could pet her a little bit more for the last time.  Eventually I rang the buzzer so they could come get her unresponsive body, walking out, I touched the tip of her tongue one last time, gave her a rub on her neck, a kiss and rubbed her belly.