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On 22 August, I wrote: Misha: A humorous moment (she still has them)

I went home to check up on her at lunch today. She had urinated while trying to get up. I cleaned it up, went to mix up a batch of OdorMute (thank doG for OM), came back to the garage, and meanwhile, the dog who wouldn't eat her breakfast found a bag of treats in the "going traveling with the dogs" box (she had to stretch to get to this, too) . . . tore it open, spilled all the treats and was busy rounding them up and gobbling them down. Then she ate her breakfast . . . and asked for more. Up days and down days, just like my Mother . . .

On 23 August, I wrote: Misha wants, nay, DEMANDS her morning toast.

I'm looking for small encouragements, I know, but every bit helps . . .

For the first time in several weeks, Misha decided to come back inside after her a.m. potty break. Even though it meant wearing diapers. (Her diapers all night were dry, BTW.)

She ate her celery and carrots, but nothing else. Great - the doctor puts ME on a no-cholestrol diet and Misha goes on it, too. I offer banana - no dice this time.

Gotta get ready for work. BARKBARKBARK. "What do you want? Outside? Water? Food?" No response.

Gotta get ready for work. BARKBARKBARK. "What do you want? Outside? Water? Food?" No response.

Gotta get ready for work. BARKBARKBARK. "What do you want? Outside? Water? Food?" No response.

FINALLY, distracted DogMom that I am, I notice Cari lying by the microwave (where the toaster oven is located), April sitting by the refrigerator (where the bread is kept), and Misha is barking in the direction of the kitchen. A bulb (a dim one, I admit) goes off in my head - TOAST!!

Our morning ritual during work days is VetteMan makes toast for all his girlz . . . he hadn't been doing that and Misha hadn't been in the house to remind him. Well, she reminded him with a vengeance this morning . . . and she and the other two got their toast. With butter and honey.


The front yard became Misha's favorite resting place

Then I wrote: I MUST be a true Airedale Person . . .

I can still laugh at Misha's antics, such as they are . . .

I have to give her many pills, morning and evening. She no longer eats them voluntarily, nor can I hide them in her food - she finds them and spits them out (nothing wrong with the front end, as I've been saying).

So I put them down her throat, one by one. The jaws of death still open on command, thank doG. After pill number six or seven, pill number ONE pops out. How does she DO THAT????

On 7 September, I wrote: Misha Update . . .

I haven't posted about her; things just keep on keepin' on. Some days I think, this is it. Wednesday was one of those days; she hadn't eaten for several days and turned up her nose at everything I offered her. I spoke with both her vet and her oncologist and we all agreed that she was doing the BIGPAWDEMAND on Death's door. Her vet said he or one of his colleagues would come by any time we wish; just give them a call.

I gave one more try - CESAR food; it's gooey, it's meaty, it's expensive, it's probably rich and unhealthy as h*ll, but who cares at this point . . .

So I offered her duck . . . she scarfed it right down and demanded more - with a little orange sauce and, by the way, where's the wine list, please . . .

So I hit the grocery store and stocked up on all the flavors - chicken with liver and veal and turkey and beef and duck. More meat than this house has seen in five years of vegetarianism. I mix it with her Innova, and give her three small meals rather than two larger ones. She is so enthusiastic about her mealtimes she eats the pills hidden in the food without a single "Ptui"!

Small victories . . .

She drinks, wears her Depends with dignity (well, sort of; actually, she wears them with Velcro straps), walks to the corner and sometimes even around the block, has met the new puppy next door, and I don't see any more worms in her stool . . .

Her beard was so gunky and matted because of all our attempted temptings (gravy, ground beef & rice, etc.) that I had to cut it off . . . now BOTH ends look pretty silly. We call her "Needle-Nose".


"Ol' Needle-Nose"

13 September: I am such a BAD dogMom!! (kinda gross)

Misha's been wheezing for a few days - I thought, well, another symptom of her system shutting down. Maybe it's time to call the vet . . .


Yesterday afternoon, while giving her pills, a shaft of sunlight hit her muzzle just right and I realized that one of her nostrils was stuffed full of dog food! Geez, I thought . . . who'da thought of that?? So I inserted my pinkie fingernail and flicked out a nice chuck of dried CESAR food. Then I cleaned it all out with a q-tip.

So VetteMan's admonition, "Chew it, Misha, don't inhale it", which he'd used for years, was more relevant than we'd thought . . . and we both started to laugh and laugh - if looks could kill, I wouldn't be here to type this. Anyone have a way to clean a dog's nostrils? It's not like I can hold up a hanky to her nose and say, "Now, BLOW!"

The saga continues . . . and she continues to hang in there.


Telling me it's time to let her go . . .

And, at the end, on the morning of 14 Sepember 2001, I wrote: Candles tonight . . .

We will be lighting a candle tonight. However, it will be a personal one, with Misha's name on it. I have a call in to the vet and am waiting for a time appointment for him to come to the house this evening.

Later that evening: Misha's Gone

Tonight, at 5:35 p.m. CDT, a spirit that was strong is finally at rest.

You run in different fields now. Effortless.
You jump and play with wild abandon. Painless.
Eternally young and carefree. Timeless.

There is a shroud over my heart. Darkness.
Days are longer and empty without you. Cheerless.
I still keep your pillow next to my bed. Sleepless.

The years march on. Ceaseless.
The memories never wane. Impervious.
I feel the moment of my fading, then...Brightness.

We run in different fields now. Effortless.
We jump and play with wild abandon. Painless.
Together for all eternity. Glorious.

-- Jim Willis, "Promises Kept" copyright 2001

On Sunday, 23 September, I wrote: Misha - some ways I remember her

Many many years ago, while I was recording our answering machine message, she barked. I still use that tape, and once in a while, I call our home phone from work or from my cell phone, just to hear her bark again. . .

Her ashes came home Friday. The rain started just as I walked out the clinic door, so the splotches on my blouse looked like raindrops, but they weren't. I was under control 'til I came home, opened the box and there, in a flowered cookie tin, was all that was left of my vibrant demanding girl. So quiet, so undemanding, so unlike her . . .

VetteMan's Mother, who developed a true affection for Misha (and sent, for the ONLY time in her life, a pet condolence card), gave us a fake fireplace when she moved to an apartment this summer. It has been sitting in the dining room, just waiting to be made lovely. It has become Misha's Place, with her ashes, condolence cards, printed-out e-cards, several stuffed ADTs I've collected, gifts and plants we've received in her honor, FOAMF (Friends of Airedales Memorial Fund) contribution cards, and candles. So Misha is with me while I sew the SAR Fundraiser 'danas, appropriately enough. (For those who don't yet know about this project, visit HERE.)



There is another small shrine in the living room, by the door she would always BIGNOSEPOKE to tell us she wanted to GO OUT RIGHT NOW; this has a Nan Hamilton ADT lamp continuously lit, Misha's collar and tags, and Mary Lynn D'Aubin's personalized sunflower 'dana, the last 'dana that Misha wore.

So many wonderful cyberfriends sent messages of condolence; I tried to keep up and answer each one individually, but I became overwhelmed . . . please accept our fervent thank yous . . . I could never have gone through this alone.

Thank you all again for reading my musings on the girl who has left such an impression on our little world of dogs . . . and a big hole in my heart.

A month later, on 14 October, I wrote: It's been a quiet month by Lake Michigan . . .

(with apologies to Garrison Keillor)

The blankets and towels have been washed one last time, folded and put away (somewhat damp with tears). The leftover medicines have been put in a box and stored away. The DEPENDs have been put in the back of the linen closet. The travel crate and ramp have been taken apart and stored in the basement. The shrine has been set up; condolences acknowledged and displayed. The alarm clock has been reset (Misha-the-Clock no longer wakes me at 4:30 a.m.) . . . the white sandals with the muddy Airedale pawprints were tossed . . . the new white tennis shoes that replaced them have stayed white for a month now.

Life without Misha *is* quieter - people who come by aren't greeted by three barking girlz . . . April and Cari are more the "hi, how are ya" type of greeters, whereas Misha would BARKBARKBARK and start the others off, too.

The down side of that is no welcoming BARKBARKBARK when I come home, either. All I get now is, "Oh. You're home. How . . . nice."

I don't have to guard the food bin from a marauding Airedale who was always ready to snatch a kernel or two before being discovered. I only had to buy one bag of dog food this month instead of two.

April seems to have taken over the DEMANDing role - she reminds us when it's time for veggies, time for toast or time for a "just because" treat. She'll never be the alarm clock Misha was, though.

Life goes on. A little more empty, a lot more quiet. The days that went by so slowly became a month that went by too quickly . . .

While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till it be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it. --Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)

On 20 October: Hairecurls from Heaven?

This morning, in Misha's favorite spot in the bathroom against the cool side of the bathtub, lay a curl of Misha's hair. VetteMan has vacuumed that room at least twice in the past month . . . so where did it come from? We've heard of pennies from heaven, but hairecurls from Misha . . .

Misha was the reason I first started surfing the Internet, and she inspired me to become a webauthor and to join dog lists, thereby insuring that I would have many cyberfriends with whom to share her life. Here are pages specifically dedicated to her life:


     (An Interview With Canidlover About
     Pampering Your Dogs for the Howlidays)


     (Includes Downloadable QuickTime Movie of
     April's Sixth-Birthday Party!)


     (Includes selections from the CD, "Bark! the Herald Angels Sing")









     (featuring artwork by Bob Anderson)


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