Friday, May 25, 2018

Odie.

This week has been one of the hardest weeks for our family.

On Wednesday afternoon, we said goodbye to our sweet Odie.



Although we knew the end was near for our sweet old pup, we are still completely devastated and heart-broken when it all became a reality.  And I know it's going to take me forever to type of this post because every passing thought of him causes me to burst into tears.

So today, I'm dedicating this post to my precious fur baby.
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In the beginning...

Craig and I decided we wanted to get a dog in 2004, right before we got engaged.  Growing up, my family always had outdoor dogs and honestly, I was never super connected to any of them.  But Craig's family always had dogs.  All of them were indoor dogs and were legit members of the family. I always wanted an indoor dog growing up but my mom was a huge roadblock.  (Sorry, Mom.  #truth)

Both my parents worked full-time and my brother and I were so involved in sports that our family was always on the go.  It just didn't work for our family at that point in our lives and yes, I totally see that now.  Good call.

So when Craig and I decided to get a dog, I left most of the research up to him on which breed to get since he was a little more well-versed in this sort of thing.  Somehow, he decided he wanted a Jack Russell.  He found a breeder in Bunkie, LA (near his hometown) and we drove out one night to see the puppies.

There were only two in the litter.  A girl and a boy.  Immediately, I honed in on the girl.  She was darker and smaller and just so cute!  But Craig wanted the boy.  The boy was a gorgeous white and already a little big for his age.  

So what do we do?

We get them both of course!  And ohhhh that decision has been a blessing and curse from day 1 depending on which dog was in trouble.  ;)  #thatsyourdog #mydog? #youwantedtheboy #youwantedthegirl


We named the girl Abby because I just loved that name.  I even thought for a minute, "Crap.  Now I can't use it for when we have a little girl!"  #jokesonme #boymom

She is always either called Abby or Abigail.  Depending on my mood.  ;)


And we named the boy Odie because it just fit him so well.  I want to say I came up with the name but I'm not sure.  But I know that once it was presented as an option, we both knew that it was perfect for that puppy!  Odie was sweet, lovable, and completely okay with letting everyone else take control.  

His nicknames included Odie Bear, Wodie, Wo-Wo, and Odie-Man.  I honestly never knew what would come out of my mouth but I know it depended a lot on whether or not he'd just peed on my rug.  ;)


I still remember us driving back to Alexandria the night we got them.  I remember Abby falling asleep on my neck that night and it was so stinkin' cute I didn't want to breathe even though I was crazy uncomfortable.

Those early days were full of naughty puppy behavior but they were just so PRECIOUS!!  I had many flip flops destroyed but thankfully, I was still on that broke college girl budget so they were all about $3.  ;)

We tried to set up a metal "playpen" for them while we were gone to give them room to play and walk around while still keeping them contained but quickly realized Abby had figured out how to jump the fence!  I don't think we ever caught her in the act but she did break a toe or bone in her foot at one point early on doing that and to this day, when she gets to running around really fast, she still lifts up that back leg like it hurts and runs on 3 legs.

We came to realize after awhile though that our "Jack Russells" didn't really look like Jack Russells.  We figured out they are most likely Parson Russells.  Parson Russells are taller, have the longer, wirey fur and apparently, more energy.  #yep

I found this picture which shows a Jack Russell on the left and a Parson Russell on the right.  And the Parson looks EXACTLY like my Odie.  (Cue more tears.  I swear I can't stop crying.)


Odie was always completely submissive to his smaller sister which always cracked us up.  That girl is a BOSS.  Even though he was twice her size during his prime years, she ran the show.  He let her eat first, drink first, get the ball first...she was definitely the pack leader.  But he was perfectly content to play the goofball sidekick.


These two were there from our very beginning when Craig was on the brink of proposing and I knew it was coming but didn't know when.  They were our babies and we absolutely treated them as such.  We took 50 million pictures of them.  I made scrapbooks that were all about them.  I'd call my parents just to tell them the funny/bad/awesome thing they did that day.  (I bet that was annoying now that I think about it.)

When Craig went back to Green Bay for training camp that year, he took the dogs with him.  I was able to fly up for games often while I finished up school so that's when I'd get to see them.  And then after we got married, I got to be a full-time dog mom

These dogs have driven with us all over the country.  From Louisiana to Green Bay to Buffalo and then to Texas.  Long road trips with two Parson Russells can be challenging, let's just say that.


Odie loved to be the co-pilot.  He'd lay on his belly on the center console and let that cold hair hit his face.

But these pups were up for all the changes.  I think their favorite (and ours too) had to be our Buffalo house.

One of my favorite memories is of me coming home one night after a girls night to find half of the Buffalo Bills in the creek and weeds behind our back fence, in the dark..and snow...calling for our dogs who had gotten out during a poker night in our basement.

Those dogs used to be pure escape artists.  Any time that front door was left open for even a split second, they were GONE.

So imagine this next picture at night and covered in snow.  Now imagine at least 12 Buffalo Bills out there calling out "Abby!!  Odie!!" over and over while chasing them through the weeds and brush.


It happened so often.  I swear our dogs were infamous in Green Bay AND Buffalo.  ;)




He loved that red ball.  It would light up when you threw it and it drove him crazy.  There were only two or three toys we ever found that those two could not destroy.

Our first year in Buffalo, we had a crazy snowstorm in October.  We lost all power for several days and these two were our entertainment.



These dogs got to experience a LOT of snow too.  Insane amounts.  I know I have pictures somewhere (before iPhones were a thing) from Buffalo when the dogs would just run out the door through 3+ feet of snow.  Our backyard would look like the Labyrinth when they were done.

These shots were taken in Green Bay.  Much colder there but not quite as much snow.  Which is better?  They both sucked after about a week.



And then we moved back to Texas and started our (human) family.  I hate to say it, but these guys did get bumped from first place once the kids came along.  They were a little miffed for a while but they adjusted and learned to love their new people.




Oh, be still my heart.  That last one is a framer for sure.  Matthew loved his Odie Bear.

Over the past year or so, we saw huge changes in our beloved Odie Bear.  At one point last year, he just stopped eating.  He refused to eat his dog food.  We thought maybe his teeth were hurting him when he chewed dry dog food so we switched it up and he seemed to do better.  But that was definitely the turning point in his health.



January 2018
After that, he started losing a lot of weight.  His eyesight got pretty bad.  His hearing went.  His back legs were so weak due to arthritis.  And finally his mind just gave out.  He would wander all over the house at night.  He'd walk to the corner of a room and just stare into it.  He was constantly walking into our bathroom and staring at the wall.  He just had no idea where he was or what was going on.  At one point he'd been 26 pounds of muscle and just this week, he weighed only 19 pounds and was as limber as a cat.  There was no muscle left on his old body.

But on Sunday morning, Mason came to our room to tell me that Odie had fallen and couldn't stand himself back up.  I told him to just do what we always do to help him up and grab him under his tummy and pull him back to standing.  He said it wasn't working.  So I went out into the living room and saw him struggling to stand on the hardwoods. His feet were slipping out from under him with every try.  I scooped him up and cradled him like a newborn baby which he had come to love these past few months.  He had NEVER let you pick him up and carry him around like that when he was healthy.  But he loved it lately.

It felt exactly like picking up a cat.  His body was lithe and limp when you'd scoop him up and he would completely form to whatever position you wanted him in.  And then he'd stare into your eyes like he was trying to see you or trying to figure out who you were.  And it BROKE.MY.HEART.  Every time.



We hadn't taken him to his last grooming appointment because that stuff stresses him out so much.  And I was scared to death he'd have a stroke if they tried to cut his nails or give him a bath. So lately, his fur and shedding have been out of control.  I'd been wrapping him up in an old towel to snuggle so that I don't sneeze all over him or end up wearing a fur coat when I'm done.

After I got him picked up from the floor on Sunday morning, I just held him like this for 20 minutes or so while he calmed down and his breathing became normal again.  He was in such a panic because of everything that I really thought he was going to die in my arms that day.

But after a while he calmed down and I laid him down in his bed.  He stayed that way for at least 6 hours.  Every time I'd walk through the living room, I'd check to make sure he was still breathing.

And then over the next two days, it just got worse.  He could barely walk.  And when he did, it was slow and unsteady.  He wasn't eating.  He would walk up to his water bowl over and over like he was thirsty and just stand there, inches away but not drinking.  I think he had forgotten how to make his mouth work in order to drink.  After 48 hours of no water, I got desperate and found a medicine syringe that I could use to squirt water into his mouth.  

But on Tuesday, I felt like we needed to call it.  I just woke up that morning, checked to make sure my Odie was still breathing, and called Craig at work to tell him we needed to do this the next day.  He was going on 3 days without water and food.  He had no idea how to even make his mouth work in order to get water and food.  And he had no idea where he really was, I don't think.

Craig knew it was time as well so I called the veterinarian's office to schedule the appointment and I barely made it through the call.  I blubbered my way through the entire thing. I give major kudos to the sweet receptionist who walked me through things even though she could barely make out what I was saying.  It was the hardest phone call I've ever had to make and I still can't believe I even did it.

But I knew this baby was ready.  He was tired.  And as much as I wanted him to live forever, it was time for him to leave us.

We made the appointment for the next day at 3:20.  And Craig and I both prayed like crazy that God would take him in his sleep that night so we wouldn't have to follow through with the appointment.

But Odie woke up the next morning and started his slow, unsteady wandering through the whole house.

I tried my best to be brave.  But all I wanted to do was snuggle my little baby.  So we did this for a lot of the morning.


And Craig came home a few hours before it was time and we got a picture with him too.


I cannot even begin to describe the emotions that went through me as I was holding this boy in my lap as we headed off to the vet's office.  

There is no doubt in our minds that it was his time.  And prolonging it would have been torture on him.  He could barely stand.  He wouldn't have lasted a day or two longer without food and water.  And he was just tired.

Once we were in the vet's office, it's like it was all a blur, but time stood still.  I know those are completely opposite of each other but that's the only way to describe it.  I think I will always remember every second of it.  We stayed with our boy until the very end and cried and cried over him until Craig told me we needed to go.  Leaving that room without my dog was the most surreal moment of my life.

Most of my friends and family can tell you that my dogs have driven me absolutely crazy over the past 14 years.  They pee on things they shouldn't.  They bark when the wind blows.  They run out the front door and down the street in 20 degree weather so we have to go chase them.

But Abby and Odie were our first babies.  They were our first true loves together as a family.  And we love these pups as if they were our own kids.

Yesterday, Abby started to wonder where Odie was.  They haven't been super tight since old age has set in and barely interact but Abby definitely wandered around the house multiple times yesterday looking for her brother.  And again, I broke down.  Over and over.

This whole week has just been hell for us.  It's also the week I had 85+ orders due within 2 days of each other (normally it's more like 30).

This week has also looked like this:  Mason got his cast off, we've had tons of baseball, today is field day at school, Matthew threw up several times after his game on Wednesday night and missed school yesterday, and we have a baseball party at the same time as the awesome Wall Party in Erika's neighborhood on Saturday.  And I will not miss the Wall Party!  So I'm leaning on the greatest neighbors and friends who are picking up my slack and helping me out.  And did I mention Craig's at a camp?  Awesome.

I just want to hit pause on my life for a few days and catch up on everything.  I still have 120+ open orders at the moment.  Once I get passed this next week, things will be back to normal in terms of the Etsy shop.  (Meaning around 100 orders are due out this next week...).  But after that, I think I should be able to get a little bit of normalcy back.

And before I go, I want to say a big thank you to the sweet condolences left on my Instagram post this week.  I was so distraught I couldn't even come up with a caption for my post.  I've been pretty M.I.A. on social media and blogs this week.  I just couldn't conjure up the energy for it.


I honestly had no idea the death of a pet could bring about this much emotion until it was staring me right in the face.  I've seen friends and family say goodbye to their pets before but I've never let it soak in and really put myself in their shoes.  I tend to try to protect myself from major emotions as best I can because emotions SUCK sometimes.  I've been swallowed up in them this week and if you've been through this before then you know what I mean. 

And if you haven't, and think this is all a bit dramatic, then I get that too!  I was that girl at one point, thinking it was just all a bit much.  But it's not.  It's your baby.  Your family.  And that part of your family isn't there every morning anymore and it freaking HURTS.

Now, every time I walk through the living room, I see Odie's empty bed.  (Which Abby lays in sometimes so we haven't moved it.)

I am also now keeping the pantry door closed which we never used to do because Odie had his little room in the pantry under the stairs.  So we had to always have the door open.  Now every time I close the door, I feel like I'm locking him in.

If you've made it this far in this post then GOD BLESS YOU.  I know it was long. This post was mainly for me.  I'll want to look back on it and remember my Odie Bear.  But if you're still here then I'm going to leave you with two of my favorite pictures of our Odie.

My silly little goofball.



We love you, Odie.

1.3.04 - 5.23.18


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42 comments

  1. Wow—our very first Jack Russell, Sadie looks EXACTLY like your Abby. That full face of red! What’s also really strange; we lost our Sadie to dementia. She went from an always running, constantly licking (terrible habit), chasing any and everything, to literally looking lost and standing in corners. She would also walk in circles for hours if we didn’t stop her. And yes, walk over to the food and waster and just stare at it but not eat or drink. It was really hard to watch and even harder to finally make the decision that she’d had enough. I’ve never heard of a dog having “dementia” but when we took her to the vet, our Dr. asked several questions that perfectly described her behavior and we knew that she was right. Sadie lived about a year longer. I love Jacks and they are probably my favorite type of dog—perfect for a growing family. I am so sorry for your loss, it is like losing a family member. Many prayers!

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    1. Yes! Odie definitely had dementia. I googled his symptoms many times and he was a classic case. He did all of those things you you listed as well as all the constant licking. He had bad allergies. Abby does too but it used to be sooo much worse when they were younger. I’m so sorry about your Sadie!!

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  2. What a sweet sweet post dedicated to Odie. I’m so so sorry.

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  3. I am actually crying, Amanda. What a tribute to your sweet Odie! Oh my word! I am just so sorry for your loss. What a sweet, sweet, precious dog. xo

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  4. Oh my heart breaks for you! I understand this pain all to well! Ben and I got our first PUG a month before we got married. We lost him 4 years ago in March! I still can't even think about him without crying. I'm crying reading your post! They become such a part of you. Prayers for you sweet friend.

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  5. I'm so sorry for your loss. This post made me cry, but it was so beautiful to read about your great Odie.

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  6. Amanda, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Odie. I'm sure he was such a special part of your family. We had to put our 12 year old German Shepherd down in December, and we still miss her. Thinking of you!

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    1. Thank you, Tanya! I’m so sorry about your dog as well!

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  7. So sorry for your loss ❤️❤️❤️

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  8. I'm so sorry for your loss. It really is like losing a member of the family. So hard.

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  9. Sobbing....because I get it. We have a lab, Dakota, who is 9 and we adore the ground he walks on. Our whole family just loves him so much. He is loyal and faithful and so much fun. I can't stand the day he isn't with us anymore. I'm very very sorry. I get it, and you deserve time to grieve. Bless you for loving your pet so much and taking such good care of him. He was loved and he knew it. Hugs.

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  10. Sending prayers for peace, because I do understand and I'm so very sorry.

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  11. This brought back so many memories. Last April, we had to make the tough decision to let our boy go, too. I miss him to this day. Hugs to you and your family.

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  12. I’m so sorry Amanda! The way you described the last days is almost exactly how our Molly left us a couple months ago. She had dementia as well, and the last couple years were filled with cleaning up messes in the house and being awake at night barking to go out multiple times. She added so much stress to my life since we are a military family and I’m on my own a lot (like you seem to be!). But she was with us for 16 years. At the end she just shut down, gave up. Couldn’t get her footing, stopped eating and drinking...we knew it was time but it was heartbreaking making that phone call and taking her in. Now I like to picture her running around in doggy heaven back to her old crazy self :) Big hugs to you!! ❤️

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  13. We went through a similar experience with our 16 year old cat a couple years ago. It's so hard watching them decline. You know that the time has come but you just want to try everything to see a glimmer of their old selves return. Take time to mourn him and celebrate all the good times too. We framed pictures of our pet with our family and made a special ornament for our tree that year to remember him. Take care...

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  14. Oh I’m so so sorry. I just don’t have any words to help, but I’ll say a prayer for you as often as I can!

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  15. Ok...so maybe I shouldn't have read your post at work. haha I had to close my door so people don't think I am a wierdo with tears streaming down my face. Reading your post brings back so many memories of having to make say goodbye to all my fur babies. I still have moments of memories that just flash back in my head at times. I relate to everything you said and hope that maybe being busy this weekend will help the time pass by and take your mind off of the sadness for a while. RIP Odie.

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  16. Oh, sweet Amanda. I'm crying reading your post and knowing how much you and your family are hurting. If I lived there, I'd offer to help any way I could! So thankful you have a good support system and help! I'll be praying for you guys! Your post is beautiful and someday you'll be so glad you wrote it about precious Odie! I am so so sorry! Lots of love to you today!
    Simply Tish

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  17. I cried all the way through your post. We lost our precious Border Terrier last September and it felt and sometimes still feels like my heart was ripped out. I understand your pain and have you and your family in my prayers.

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  18. I cried through your entire post, what a beautiful tribute to Odie. We lost our Border Terrier last September and it felt and still feels sometimes like my heart was ripped out. I understand your pain and have you and your family in my prayers.

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  19. I'm so so sorry for your loss. I have been in your shoes, we lost our sweet Deuce in November & I still look for him when I come home. Sending prayers your way.

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  20. I'm so sorry! It is so so hard.

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  21. I've been there, Amanda and it does hurt! It's awful! I'm so sorry for your loss. Hold tight to those memories and remember you gave him such a good life!

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  22. So sorry. Its is very hard. I spent a couple months last year our 120 pound 13 year old lab mix would die in his sleep. He was in a lot of pain and could barely get around and due to his large size, hard to assist, up and down steps, in and out of the house. Finally, made the call and I felt like I was murdering my dog.

    Afyer a while, you'll be able to think about Odie and tell Odie stories and they'll make you happy

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    1. Edit: ...last year PRAYING our.....

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  23. The hardest part of owning a loved pet. We had to do this with our three year old pup last summer. It is so incredibly hard. Hugs.

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  24. I'm devastated at your loss!! I'm so sorry. I know this hurt and it's big and it's real. Thank you for sharing and I will go home and hug our four a little tighter.

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  25. I'm so sorry! I had tears as I read that- the hardest part of having our dogs is that we always outlive them. It's so hard and people either get it or they don't. I definitely get it and my heart aches for you and your family. It's awful to have to let them go. But you did the right thing in helping him go peacefully. I hope you guys are doing okay!

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  26. I’m so sorry. Pets do love us unconditionally ��❤️��

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  27. You made me cry with this post. My sweet 14 year old dog died in January. It really is like losing a family member. All we can do is hang onto the memories and move forward.

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  28. I'm so sorry for your loss. Our stories are similar in that our dogs were our kids before we had kids. They lived long and happy lives it it was so hard to say goodbye. I still miss them very much.

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  29. Oh my goodness, that was a moving, beautiful commemoration to your lovely Odie. Like others reading, I can truly feel your loss - it must have taken a lot to write this post. Odie looked like a truly wonderful little dog who had a great life and was completely loved. My thoughts are with you, it is a hard time xx

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  30. I’m just a mess right now after reading this. Finding out my toby had diabetes was the worst. I couldn’t do the injections. The night before I let him go was hell. A year and a half later I still can’t wear the shirt I wore that day. I’m dreading the day that’s coming soon when Oreo needs to leave is. God hold you guys close during this hard time.

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  31. Just seeing this post, as I recently bought a tumbler from you (which I love) and wanted to check out your blog. Now I'm in tears reading this. I am so so sorry for your loss. Odie looked like such a sweetheart and was adorable! I know it's such a tough thing to go through. We had to put our family dog that I grew up with to sleep on my 29th birthday and it was awful. I am by myself and keep considering getting a dog, but this is the part I don't want to go through. For now I just visit my parents' dog and pretend she's mine. :) Keeping you and your family in my prayers!

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  32. I just saw this post. I am so sorry for your loss. Pets truly are a part of your family! Prayers to you guys.

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  33. My sincere condolences are with your entire family. I cried for you reading this post. The love you have for Odie is and was the truest, purest gift you gave to him his entire life. We just lost our little girl in May and I know from living this that the heart can truly break. Sending you hugs and strength. You have a beautiful family and are truly blessed.

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