Thursday, August 28, 2014

Foudy

It's been over a year since I last blogged, but Mike and I felt this post was something that needed to be done so we wouldn't forget.  It sorta feels like I'm new to blogging again, and there are some glitches on here I haven't worked out, so please ignore the different font sizes and background color changes.  And hopefully I'll start blogging more regularly, like once a week or so.  We'll see. 

We lost our girl Foudy on August 3.  It has not been an easy loss, mostly for me.  Mike and the boys seem to be adjusting well, although each boy at various times tells me he misses her.  Since Foudy was like my shadow (but not at all in an annoying way), always going where I went, constantly keeping tabs on me more than any other family member, I am really missing her presence in my day-to-day life.

Foudy was born in Northfield, MN, along with at least 4 sisters and 1 brother on May 6, 2001.  There may have been more puppies, but I can’t remember.  Mike and I, fresh off our honeymoon, went to MN on July 5, 2001 to pick out a puppy as a friend/sister for Maggie, who was 1 at the time. After a brief stop at Sandy and Will’s to clean Foudy up and introduce her to family, Mike and I headed home to our apartment in Johnston.  This is where Maggie and Foudy met and became buddies.  I’ve recently watched video of the day we adopted Foudy, and she could not have been cuter or sweeter.  


Snuggling her new dad. 7/5/01


8/01

Foudy’s life continued much the way it started- with dirty/infected ears and the sweetest disposition you could ever ask for.  We always called Foudy our “pretty, pretty princess” because she was so beautiful.  People complimented her all the time.  Her parents were show dogs, or someone in her family tree was, which is why she was such a good size and just so cute.  Maggie is a sweet dog, but there are things about her that bug people (she licks, she barks more, she is bigger and a little more excitable), but Foudy seemed to be lacking any behaviors that would/could possibly annoy people.  She was the dog that could turn non-dog-people into dog-lovers.  

Here are some memorable things about Foudy:
  • I remember when Foudy was brand new to our family, and she could not get up on the bed in our apartment.  Maggie would lay up there and Foudy would sit and whine, so badly wanting to be up there with her new sister.  Eventually one day I lifted her up, and she just went right to sleep. 
Finally got up! 7/01

7/01
  • As a puppy, she sure loved her sister Maggie.  She always wanted to snuggle right up to her.  Maggie was less impressed but tolerated Foudy well.
Two can fit in here! 7/01

Snuggling Maggie. 8/01
  • She liked to sleep on our bed in the winter, and when it was really cold, sometimes she would sneak under the covers in the very early morning hours.  
Taking a nap with Dad and Maggie. '01
  • She would sit at our bedroom window with her chin resting on the windowsill so she could see outside.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to wake up early in the morning to find her sitting there, or she would sit there in the afternoon and just gaze outside.  As a result, I would leave the blinds at our middle window up about 10 inches so Foudy could see out at all times.
Keeping an eye on things in the backyard. '13
  • Foudy’s other favorite spot was the stairs.  She would lay about 3 steps up anytime I was sweeping the wood floor, or standing near the door talking to someone, or doing laundry in the mudroom.  She would lay a few steps higher often times when I was upstairs with the boys, putting them down for naps or something.  Her long, white hair is surely forever entwined with the carpet on the stairs. 
One of her favorite spots. 
  • Foudy also liked to wait by the front door if I left home but the rest of the family didn't.  Often times as I drove up to the driveway upon my return, she'd be there watching and waiting.  She also liked to watch for the boys' bus after school. 
Looking out the backdoor with Zach or Drew. 
  • Bubbles.  Nothing made Foudy more excited than bubbles.  Every time we were outside in the backyard, she would bark and whine for more bubbles.  And when you blew bubbles, she would run, jump, and leap to get those bubbles before they popped.  She didn’t care who was in the way, and she took out each boy more than once, especially when they were smaller (18 mo. to 2 years) and hadn’t caught on yet to getting out of her way. A few years ago we got a toy lawn mower that blew bubbles when it was pushed, and as soon as a kid stood near that thing, Foudy would stand by on high-alert, tail wagging expectantly, barking occasionally until the kid pushed it to make the bubbles come out. Here's a video of her chasing bubbles back in May of 2010.
video

  • When we were moving out of our house in Altoona, I remember hearing the tornado siren for the first time.  Foudy heard it and started howling, which just tickled me to no end.  After that, on many occasions I was able to start howling and could cajole both Foudy and Maggie into howling with me.  It sounded so mournful and sweet at the same time.  I was sad in the later years, when both dogs’ hearing wasn’t so good, that they couldn’t hear me howl as well and therefore didn’t join in.
Howling 10/05
  • Foudy was very in tune with moods and emotions.  Anytime I started to get annoyed or raise my voice at one of the boys, Foudy would scootch closer to me and start gently pawing at me, as if to say, “It’s okay, Mom.  Calm down.”
  • Foudy was such a lover.  She would very often come to me (or anyone) while they were sitting on the couch, and would gently rest her chin on my knee.  When I was stressed with the life of a new baby, or demand kids, Foudy would find me and rest her chin on my knee as if to say, "It will be okay, Mom."  If we had company over, Foudy would find someone sitting on the floor and offer up her paw for someone to hold.  She loved holding hands. She also loved burying her face in your lap if you were on the floor.  She did that to me for the last time about 2 days before she died.
Holding hands while Mom feeds a baby.  Summer '08?

I loved how she would lean into me. 5/12

The last time she buried her head in my lap. 8/3/14
  • Foudy enjoyed playing fetch in the basement with a tennis ball or other ball.  She’d chase that ball all over the basement.  When Zach was an infant, I’d get home from school and would sit down on the couch to nurse him.  Foudy would bring me a tennis ball, and I’d throw it over my shoulder into the kitchen.  She would chase it and bring it back to me.  At first, she always dropped the ball on the ground.  Since I was nursing Zach and couldn’t reach the ball, I taught her to put the ball in my hand or on the couch, and then we could play that game the entire time I was sitting there with Zach.  The second we went outside, though, Foudy had no interest in chasing a ball.  She only cared about “flutterbys” (a term Grandma Linda coined after watching Foudy go after tiny bugs as a puppy) and bubbles, if there were any. 
  • Foudy loved playing with Maggie, too.  Even when they were 13 and 14, they still played (though not often and not for long) in the basement.  Usually it involved a tennis ball.  
  • In Foudy’s younger days, I loved to take her for runs.  She ran with me many days a week during some marathon and half-marathon training.  Her longest run was probably 11 miles or so.  She was excellent on a leash.
  • Some of Foudy’s vices included an affinity for kleenex, grass (with the roots still intact), and a brief stint where she ate baby socks when Drew was a baby.  She would then either poop the socks out or vomit them.  There also was a time, when Maggie was about 5 and Foudy was 4, when suddenly the toilet paper was disappearing from the rolls.  I was certain it was Maggie, because Maggie had always been the naughtier of the two.  I never could catch Maggie in the act, though, because she only got into the toilet paper when I was at work.  One day, though, I was on the couch, probably with baby Zach, and I turned around, and there was Foudy standing at the edge of the living room with a roll of toilet paper in her mouth.  I was dumbfounded!
Getting comfy in the clean laundry, with grass stuck in her teeth. Fall/Winter '11?
  • Foudy hated raspberries, zerberts, etc., meaning the noise you make with your mouth on your arm or your kid's belly or whatever.  I think she hated them because occasionally I would do them to her by putting my hand on her stomach and then actually doing the raspberry on my hand.  After one or two times of that, she learned that if she heard that noise, she needed to leave the room immediately.
  • Foudy and Maggie both loved carrots, and so we made a game out of playing hide-and-seek with the carrots.  We would take the dogs into the dining room, put them in a sit-stay, and then the boys and I would go hide the carrots in the living room.  When we said okay, the dogs would come running and would find the carrots.  The boys loved this game as much as the dogs.
  • Foudy never had issues with the boys as babies, and welcomed each one into her pack happily.  She would sniff them delicately and give gentle licks (we called her our “gentle licker”), and lay by them on their blankets.  Foudy was always there in the boys’ rooms for stories at nap time and bedtime, at the door waiting excitedly when the bus dropped the boys off after school, and by my side we went from pushing one kid in a stroller to 2 kids and eventually 3 kids on bikes and no more stroller.  
Foudy welcomes Zach to her pack. 6/05

Foudy welcomes Drew to her pack. 3/08

Taking a nap with Mom, Maggie, and yet another new family member, Jake. 12/10


Foudy’s last few weeks were so quick.  Earlier this year she started delaying her own breakfast some, but we weren’t concerned, because usually she would still eat it by 8:00 or so.  On July 15 I took both dogs to the vet for a check-up and some vaccinations.  Dr. Allison was concerned that Foudy’s heart rate seemed pretty slow, but otherwise Foudy seemed healthy.  I talked to Dr. Allison about Maggie’s deterioration (difficulty with stairs, worsening hearing, possible arthritis) and how we would know when the time is right to euthanize her.  I stated that Foudy appeared to show no signs of aging.  Two days later, on July 17, Foudy didn’t eat breakfast or dinner.  She continued to not eat throughout the rest of the week and weekend, so on Monday I took her to the vet.  Dr. Allison noticed labored breathing and did a chest x-ray, which was clear, but there was something on the film that led Dr. Allison to believe Foudy needed an abdominal ultrasound.  So I took her to another vet to do the ultrasound, and we found that she had multiple spots on her liver as well as an enlarged lobe of her liver.  The only way to know it was cancer for sure was to do an intrusive biopsy, and given Foudy's age, we didn't think that would be a good idea.  We were supposed to be leaving for CO in 2 days, flying for once instead of driving.  We decided to cancel our plane tickets and delay our trip by a few days because Dr. Allison thought Foudy could have something called Addison's Disease.  We did the test, but it was negative.  Although Dr. Allison said that was a good thing (it's apparently pretty expensive to treat), I knew that it meant that the end was probably not far off for Foudy.  
Foudy after her long day of chest x-rays, abdominal ultrasounds, and time at the vet. 7/14


We ended up driving to CO a couple of days later and taking the dogs with us.  There was no way I could have left Foudy for 10 days.  I am so glad I didn't.  While in CO, she had good days and not so good days.  For a few days she was interested in eating Maggie's food, and I thought maybe we were turning a corner.  Although I think deep down I knew Foudy wasn't going to get better.  She became much more lethargic, and even on short walks she seemed to sort of lag behind.  On Thursday I did blow bubbles for her and she was interested in them, jumping for them and popping them.  That warmed my heart so much.  I had to video it so I would have the happy memory amongst all the sad ones. 


video

However, by Saturday she had stopped eating again.  I fed Foudy her last bite of food on Saturday evening- it was a piece of a King Soopers cherry chip cookie, one of my favorite treats.  Normally Foudy could not have had that due to her allergies, but I knew it wouldn't matter at this point.  

On Saturday morning I had to drive 3 hours to pick Zach up from camp at Rainbow Trail.  I called Mike along the way and told him to call to set up Foudy's euthanasia appointment.  Dr. Allison would be out of town through Monday, so Mike made the appointment for Tuesday evening.  Although the boys and I had originally planned to return from CO on Tuesday, I decided we would instead return Monday.  I had to share the news with Zach when I picked him up from camp, and he was very sad.  It was my most devastating moment as a mom- telling my son that our sweet dog would not recover and that we would have to euthanize her.  When we returned to Becky and Tom's house later that afternoon, Foudy wagged her tail at me and buried her head in my lap like she loved to do.  Zach and I loved on her as much as we could.  


Zach shortly after I broke the news that we would be putting Foudy down in a couple of days.

On Sunday we headed to my parents' house for the day, so I took the dogs with me.  By this point, I was carrying Foudy to up and down stairs, into the car, etc.  When we got to my parents' house, I carried her inside, and was confronted with Drew, who had been staying at my parents' the whole week, saying, "Mom, Jake said Foudy is going to die in 2 days. Is that true?"  Another devastating mom moment- having to tell another child about his dog.  Drew reacted more than I expected him to.  I thought he'd be sad and then move on, but he started bawling, and so did I.  


Drew giving Foudy love after he found out she didn't have much longer with us.


Sandy, Becky, and I took the boys to my parents' neighbor's pool to swim, and I left Foudy resting at my parents' house.  When we left the pool a couple of hours later, we came around the house to find my dad sitting in the shade of the pussy willow tree, keeping Foudy company.  Apparently she had gotten up so they took her outside to potty, and then she just laid down in the grass.  My dad didn't want to disturb her or move her, so he just got a chair and stayed with her.  Words cannot even express my gratitude that my dad was willing to just sit there with her, keeping her company and watching over her.  I will never forget that. As we approached Foudy, she looked at me and wagged her tail for the last time. 

We moved Foudy to the backyard by my parents' pond, and she was very lifeless.  She stayed in the same spot for the next several hours, never getting up, not drinking (despite water being offered), and barely lifting her head.  She didn't seem to sleep much, but just laid there, breathing heavily, eyes open.  I texted Mike and told him I didn't know if she'd make it through the day.  

Spending the majority of her final day by the pond at my parents' house.


Because my mom, my sisters, and I were hosting a Pampered Chef party at my parents' house that day, there were things that had to get done.  I had to get ready for the party I didn't want to be a part of (I hated to leave Foudy's side), but I had friends coming and felt I had to be social.  While I got ready, my dad and Sandy took turns sitting with Foudy.  At one point I returned to find Sandy singing Peace Like a River to my girl.  Such a beautiful song and so fitting for Foudy.  I stayed with Foudy as long as I could, then returned inside for the party presentation, checking periodically on Foudy.  During the party, my dad sat with Foudy. It was probably a good 2 hours or more.  Eventually I ate dinner next to her, and then it was time to head back to Becky and Tom's house.  

I loaded up Myles, Drew, Jake, Maggie, and finally Foudy into the car.  We said our goodbyes to Sandy and Anders and my parents.  Becky had gone to a soccer game, so I was on my own with the kids.  About 10-15 minutes into our drive, with Foudy settled on the floor of the front passenger seat, she began to seize.  I started to frantically say, "Oh no, oh no, oh no!" And Drew asked what was going on.  I told him Foudy was having a seizure and could die at any time.  I pulled off and called my parents, who suggested I call an emergency vet to euthanize Foudy right away.  I found one not far from where I was, and started driving there while also calling Mike to let him know what was going on. He then called Tom, who had spent the day with Zach and Cam, and alerted him to everything.  Drew and I were bawling, and Jake was fake crying because he thought it was appropriate.  Then, the one funny moment- Jake said, "MYLES!! Foudy is dying!" in a way that clearly meant he expected Myles to be crying as well.  I explained to Jake that it was okay for Myles not to cry.  

After a series of missed or taken-too-early turns (my mind was all over the place), and some emotional music (Coldplay's Fix You and Linda Ronstadt's Goodbye My Friend), we finally got to the vet.  During Fix You, Drew said, "I feel like we're losing something that can't be replaced, because Foudy can't be replaced." He also said as we arrived at the vet, "I feel like this is the worst day of my life." I told him it was my worst day, too. Jake and Myles had fallen asleep, as it was 7:30 pm or so on a day when they had swam, played hard, and not napped.  So I woke them up, had Drew hold my purse and open the door for me, and I carried Foudy inside.  Thankfully my mom was able to meet me at the vet shortly thereafter, and she could be in charge of the boys.  None of this was going as I had planned in my head.  I had always pictured Foudy living about another year (before she got sick I pictured this), Maggie going first, because she's a year older, and then Dr. Allison, Mike, and I having a peaceful moment with Foudy.  Instead I was at an emergency vet I'd never been to before, in Colorado, with my 6 year-old, my 3 year-old, and my 4 year-old nephew with me.  No husband, no vet who knew and loved Foudy and was there with us every step of her 13 years.  This was not how it was supposed to go.  

After filling out the paperwork, I took Drew back to the room where Foudy was, and he told her goodbye.  He said he'd never forget her, but the sad reality is that he probably will hardly remember her when he's older.  He then went out to be with Grandma, and I had time alone with Foudy before the vet came in.  There was a lot of uncontrollable crying.  I am not sure I even said more than 3 words to the vet (yes, when she asked if I was ready, and thank you before she left). It was very quick and peaceful (aside from my bawling). I told Foudy what a good dog she was, how proud and lucky I was to have been her mom.  I told her how much Mike, the boys, Maggie, and I all loved her, and how beautiful she was.  I was (and still am) more than heartbroken.  Eventually Becky and Tom got there, and Tom took the kids home.  My mom and Becky came to the room and comforted me and said their goodbyes to Foudy. It was so very, very hard to leave her for the final time, knowing that I truly would never get to snuggle, kiss, pet, or see her again.  I'd never get to hold her paw again or pull grass from her teeth.  And I was sad that Dr. Allison and especially Mike couldn't be there to say goodbye to her. I would have stayed with her body all night long, if I could have.  I am incredibly thankful that my parents and sisters were with me on Foudy's last day, and that my mom and Becky were there for me once it was all said and done.  I think about how each of my family members supported me that day, by staying with Foudy when I couldn't, singing to her, meeting me at the emergency vet clinic, taking care of the boys, etc., and I know I'm lucky to have such a supportive family. 

My final goodbye.

That was three and a half weeks ago.  In some ways I've adjusted to Foudy not being here, but in other ways I haven't.  I still think I hear her little feet clicking on the hardwood at times, or I think I hear her bark to come inside occasionally.  Every now and then I slip up and call Maggie Foudy, or I mistake a kid's toy on the ground where Foudy used to lay for her. I feel very lonely without her following me around all day, and I miss her on our walks.  Every dead worm I see I think about how Foudy would have loved to have snacked on it (one of her not so awesome habits she formed in the last year or so).  

A lot of people ask how Maggie is doing, and she honestly seems fine.  At first she seemed more awake and alert than normal, but now she's gone back to her normal tired self.  Maggie is definitely aging.  She is almost 14.5.  She doesn't come upstairs anymore unless we really cajole her into it.  I think the stairs are too much work and it's hotter upstairs, so at night she'd rather sleep on the main level.  Her back legs/hips are giving her some trouble, and sometimes she falls down because they just kind of give out on her.  I don't think she's in pain; I just think she has muscle weakness.  She has had 2 blood tests that have confirmed higher than normal calcium levels in her blood, which could mean she has a parathyroid issue going on or she could have cancer of some sort.  I don't think we'll go to the trouble of finding out.  At this point, we know Maggie has at best a few (maybe 6?) months left with us, so we don't want to put her through the stress of spending extra time at the vet or anything.  We wouldn't do surgery or chemo or anything anyway, so I guess not knowing isn't going to hurt us, as long as Maggie isn't in pain or discomfort.  One thing I've learned through everything that happened with Foudy is that things can suddenly happen very quickly.  It was honestly less than 3 weeks from Dr. Allison's first concerns over Foudy's slow heart rate to Foudy's death.  So I think about our time with Maggie and know that on any given day, I could have just a couple of weeks left with her, and maybe that day is today, or maybe it was last week, or tomorrow.  There's just no way to know.


Snuggly sisters in '01.

One last snuggle with her sister Maggie a few days before her death. 7/14
I've looked through tons of pictures lately of the dogs, and had a hard time narrowing down which ones to put on this post.  Maggie and Foudy have been there through every major step/stage of our lives at this point.  We have so many pictures of the dogs with the boys as babies, toddlers, and young kids.  Lots of photos of Zach snuggling with them, the dogs laying near the boys' blankets or near the boys while they played at all stages of their lives.  It's very, very hard to imagine the rest of our lives without these two.  We got so lucky by getting these two gentle and sweet dogs to be part of our family. 


Foudy and Zach checking each other out. 8/05
Foudy loving on Zach. 11/05
Zach helping Foudy eat. 6/06
Zach celebrates turning 2 with his dogs. 6/07
Zach and Foudy snuggling. Winter '07?
Foudy and Zach 11/09
Snuggles in Drew's crib. 9/08

More snuggles with Zach. 11/10

Snuggling Drew in his big boy bed. 12/10
Staying close to her new baby. 2/11
Playing with Jake. 4/11
Checking out Jake's activity gym. 1/11
Enjoying the afternoon sun with Jake. Fall '11
Jake helping Foudy with her breakfast.  Spring '12?

Trying for a good Christmas card photo. Fall '12
Getting love from Jake and Drew. Spring 2013

Coming home from the hospital after her total ear ablation. 5/13


Foudy loved the mountain stream in CO last summer.  She would wade upstream, frequently opening her mouth to catch some water, and then after a while, she'd turn around and sort of float downstream to the same point every time.  Unfortunately I can't load our video of it.  She was so happy in that stream.
Napping with Jake in CO. 7/13

Posing for a Christmas card photo. Thanksgiving '13

Playing in the snow. Winter '13
Playing pirates is exhausting! 1/14
Greeting Mom after a run. 6/14

Trying to hide to avoid an ear cleaning. 7/14
Last picture with Dad, before we headed to CO. 7/14
  
Rest in peace, sweet Foudy.  You are so loved and missed so very much.

May 6, 2001 - August 3, 2014