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Nothing But Love in Her Heart

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Dec 30

Eleven years ago today I adopted my best friend.  I’ve told the story before, but it’s a good one, so…

I will always love this picture of her. She is in her favorite place in the world, the yard.

Paul, Willow and I went out one Saturday morning just for fun.

Willow on the day we adopted her. Fallon really loved Willow.

We’d hop in the car just for something to do.  Today it was to see the greyhounds at the adoption clinic—not looking to adopt, Willow just loved seeing her people.  There were several dogs there, but I only remember one—Fallon.  She sashayed up to us, right under our hands so we could pet her.  We cuddled and lovelled her for over an hour, took her for a walk around the pet store, cuddled some more, then left—we weren’t there for another dog.  I always wondered how you pay the bills for two, especially when it comes to medical care (we learned this lesson hard about 9 years later).  I couldn’t get Fallon out of my mind.  Later that day I called the adoption people—and hung up.  We received a call back immediately and I was stunned that this most perfect dog was still available.  I said I wanted her and could adopt her next weekend.  They said sure!

Two best friends. With Paul on the Patio

The next few days are a little controversial and remembered differently by different parties.  I couldn’t wait until the weekend and made arrangements to leave work on Wednesday to bring our new girl home.  Her foster mom remembers the transaction as being initiated by her—Fallon has always been a love sponge, and attention hog, too much for a busy foster family.  I am sure there is truth in both, but lean towards the foster’s wishful thinking coming true.  Nonetheless, Fallon was ours, eleven years ago today.

Her initial time home wasn’t easy.  Fallon was virtually a pup, only a tick over one year old.  She would go bounding through the mud puddles, which is where my joke about “I should have adopted a BROWN dog” started.  She was aligned to kennel time, awake and active at 3:30—4AM every morning for months and months.  Paul tells the story of our annual trip to Hatteras Island that year, where our girls stayed with friends and on which I did not mention dogs for a whole 12 hours, my record since he’s known me while I finally got some rest.  But it all settled out.  My perfect girl was perfect.

We have tons of awesome memories of her.

Mom’s best office mate

Poor kid broke her leg in the second year we had her. We never figured out how.

She loved water and the beach

She made a difference in this world.  I truly believe this.  We stressed over every decision regarding her osteosarcoma treatment from the start.  Once we got led down a road, though, decisions became clearer.  Still stressful, but clearer.  The initial decision to amputate was most heart wrenching, but absolutely correct.  We had almost a year of pain free cuddles with our girl.  We wanted her to have the best treatment possible, so our internet research led us to Dr. Sue Ettinger—not the closest oncologist, but they were all far.  This was also the right decision.  Dr. Sue featured Fallon in several of her videos, so Fallon was helping educate others.

Fallon & Maggie: Tripawd and Quadripawd

Snow Day for Fallon and Maggie. ❄️⛄️❄️ Fallon's mom sent me this and said this is how well she's doing as a 3-legged Tripawds. She is doing GREYT!!!! Oh, she's also currently on chemotherapy too! She has 2 chemo treatments left to go. DYK that in one study of 64 dogs owners whose dog had amputation:✅ 91% reported there was no change in the dog's attitude✅ 88% reported complete or nearly complete return to quality of life before the amputation✅ 78% reported recovery & adaptation were better than expected✅ 73% reported no change in recreational activity✅ and 86% would do the surgery again#kickcancersbutt #tripawds

Posted by Dr Sue Cancer Vet on Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Fallon received the osteosarcoma vaccine and added to the data collected by the team running the vaccine study.  We tried to keep up with our Tripawds blog so other families in our impossible position could see this could be done—sometimes awkwardly, but done, and always with our loves’ best interest at heart.

She made a difference in my life.  My girl gave me so much, straight from her beautiful heart, about love and being more dog (before I knew that was a thing!) and am so honored she picked us to be her family.  She helped me see that I could push my limits, leave my comfort zone to fight for her.  She sidled up to us, eleven years ago today, for a reason.

I can’t describe how much I miss her.   I am so very grateful for all she’s done for me.

 

Sep 25

We’re back from our beach vacation.  It couldn’t have been better—weather was wonderful, lots of dogs on the beach—it was greyt.   Dewey Beach is 24/7 dog friendly after September 15 every year, so that’s when we plan to arrive.  It did not disappoint.

I brought along some of Fallon’s ashes to spread.  Dewey was one of her favorite places on earth, and probably on the moon and heaven, too.  She loved the water and loved to run on the beach with us.  The second she hit the sand, I felt better—like she was with me, like she was happy, like she was home.  I can’t explain the joy I felt immediately and wish I had brought her along sooner.  She’ll always be a part of her favorite place now.  I also spread her sister Willow’s ashes and felt elated they were together again.

I’m not one to enjoy just sitting, even on the beach.  I always need something going on.  This vacation was different.  There were a few windy days, which we needed for a break, but most days we took our shelter and gear to the beach and just hung out.  I took my Kindle, earbuds, and balls with the throwing stick for the dogs and had all I needed to relax.  Between reading, playing with the girls, swimming in the waves, and dog watching, it was all I needed.

Danica dug holes. It’s hard to see here, but she is standing on her back legs in her super deep hole.

Crowded beach. The awesome lifeguard saved a little girl when we were there–we all applauded

That’s our silver space age structure

We went to Rehoboth Beach for dinner—walked there and took an Uber back.  Our driver was a Turkish gentleman, and he had his iPad set up to watch music videos from his country while we rode back to our hotel.  On that short ride we heard some awesome music, and I took his referral for some other good Turkish groups to check out.  Between the waves crashing on the beach, the mesmerizing Turkish pop music, two dogs to cuddle and have fun with, and the feeling my Girl Fallon was by my side…oh gosh.  I haven’t felt that at peace in a while.

We’re back in the real world again now, but I’m still trying to hang onto that feeling—that paradise.  My Girl is always with me.

Sep 07

Rough day yesterday–It’s been a year without our girl.  Hard to believe—it’s been so slow and so painful, yet it flew right by.  And like most of our anniversaries, I dreaded the day.  Like everyone who loses their love, I miss Fallon horribly.  I will forever.

A long time ago I had a dream where she came to me.  I could feel her soft coat and her warmth, it was so real.  We cuddled and spooned and hugged all night, just like the good old days.  I keep waiting for that to happen again, but it hasn’t yet.

Danica has been a comfort.  She is intuitive about my feelings and seems to know when I need a cuddle.  Her timing is impeccable, she knows exactly when I need company, a kiss, a smile.  She looks me straight in the eyes, just like Fallon, and I feel her in my soul.  I have no doubt she somehow has a bit of Fallon’s spirit in her.  And Maggie’s still Maggie—wonderful, loving, affectionate.   Always my girl and support.  And she also seems more Fallon-esque as time goes by.  She had an amazing role model.

These girls are really in love.

We’re going to Dewey Beach next week.  It’s always been a favorite place of ours, especially Fallon.  We’re taking some of her ashes to put on the beach.  It’s definitely one of her two best loved places, our yard being the other.  Maggie and Danica also love the beach, just like Fallon.  They’ll run and play just like she would back in the day.

We just got a new car that Fallon would love—low to the ground so she could come and go easily, and lots of room in the back for a long car ride.  Not as much room for greyhound magnets on this one.  It will be good as our girls get older.

We were on our way to Myrtle Beach last year when Fallon got so sick.  It was the first time in the almost year we dealt with her illness that I felt really confident—like we had this.  Obviously, we did not.  We did not make it this year either despite planning to go because of Hurricane Dorian.  I was good with it, though.  We reworked our plans and went to Niagara Falls instead—another place we love to go, and have been so much that planning is done without much thought.

We took tons of pictures that are just like this, but different beautiful backgrounds.

They are good sports

Some things have changed.  I stopped cooking them breakfast a while ago—I am lazy.  They’re back on good quality kibble.   But I keep up with making healthy treats.

I’ll always second guess the things we did for Fallon, decisions we made, approaches we took.  I frequently think about how we would handle it if another one of our girls had osteosarcoma.  I don’t think I’ll know until it happens.  If nothing else, I have a clue now, whereas we had none before.  Tripawds helped us figure out our path, and I’ll always be grateful.  It’s hard to visit, but we do check in now and then.  I do read blogs that catch my eye and scan the forums on occasion.  I wish I could be more support to others in our shoes.  Maybe someday.

Jul 06

I’ve had a horrible last couple weeks, just missing my girl.  I feel such pain, staying up all night second guessing everything we did for her, decisions we made for her, wondering what bad karma I brought upon us to have to not have her.  I miss her so much.  I feel cheated.

I understand this is unreasonable, just can’t clear my head of it.

I ran across some tweets regarding grief that just explained it so well.  It’s good to know others struggle the same way (you know what I mean) .  This is a really elegant explanation:

 

My ball is huge now–or maybe it shrank, but is stuck over the pain button.  I am trying to make it move soon.

Our wheels

Jun 24

Fallon and her Dad have always had a special bond.  I meant to post this for Father’s Day, but couldn’t pull it off.

It’s easy to see how in love they are.

 

One of the best Dewey Beach pics of all time. Fallon loved the beach.  This is before cancer

 

Same beach, same sentiment…AA, after amputation

 

Dad – Paul, and Fallon.  On a beautiful day in the yard.

 

Same seat as above–with Willow, back in the day.

 

We trusted Fallon more than Maggie.  Fallon always stuck close

I can’t tell you how much we miss her.