Dear Heidi and Shelby,
so its been quite a while since I've written to you two...it seems like forever; so many things have happened since the last time I wrote. My last post was in October of last year. So many changes...
As you have seen, Mom and Auntie Ginny are packing. Mom has decided to file for bankruptcy and give up our little cottage on the river. You see, Mom has a lot of medical problems and cannot work right now. Although we did get some good news last week when I found out that I was fully approved for disability, it is not enough to keep our little family and house afloat. We will be going back to live with "other mumma" (grandma) and although I know it will be stressful, it is the best thing for us right now. Mom needs to get on a better financial track, and be able to care for you both the way you need to be cared for.
This includes having your teeth cleaned this Friday. I know you girls don't like to go to the vet, and you definitely don't like to be under anesthesia, but it is the best thing for you right now. Lets get this done one last time, so we can take out any problem teeth (Heidi, I'm talking to you) and lets get those babies pearly white so you never have to do this again. Hopefully this will be your last surgeries!!
That reminds me...of one of the events that took place earlier this year. Heidi, do you remember when I was grooming you and I found a lump near your bum? Remember how upset I got? I thought for sure you had your cancer come back; either another MCT or worse, a dreaded adenocarcinoma. Although we biopsied it with a needle and it came back good, I wouldn't have felt right about leaving it there...not with the potential of it really being something serious, or something that could grow and affect your way of life: moving, pooping, etc. So I decided to let you go under the knife yet again, and have this lump removed. Luckily the report on the FULL biopsy came back as a benign adenoma...and we should have no more problems from here on out.
And speaking of problems, Shelby, I believe that the last post was about your eye...anyone wanting to know what happened can rest assured that her corneal scratch healed fully with eye meds...no surgery for this girl!
Something else that was GREAT that happened, was our last job. Our DREAM job. A job where I could work with you every day AND get to help people. I was hired as an Animal Facilitated Therapist at a group of regional rehab facilities here in the New England area. Our job was to work with patients and their occupational, speech or physical therapists. Your job was to make the patient feel more at ease and forget the fact that they were scared, or hurt, or in pain...forget that they were doing therapy at all. You both EXCELLED at it...and I have to say, I thought I did too. But Moms anxiety reared its ugly head, and after 3 months, I went to my review and was told I had too many absences; they let us go. I wonder whether or not I could have kept working at that job. Most of my anxieties revolved around seeing you both age; seeing you get slower, or refuse to work because of fatigue. I now look back and understand that we were ALL out of shape, because Mom had spent the past year almost in the dreaded deep hole of depression, and we rarely got out. I would panic when I saw these signs, or worry about seeing them before we would even leave for work. I panicked so much that I immediately thought of getting another dog, to train to do your job (because I expected to be there long term) so you could take a break...have someone waiting in the wings. And that's where Norah comes in...
I found Norah on a puppy/planned litters website for Shiloh Shepherds. I didn't want another sheltie at this time, and was having German Shepherd lust. But I didn't want the typical "no off switch" GSD that had too much energy for me. I wanted a calm, smart working dog...that was big. So, remembering my experiences with the Shiloh breed from working at the vet, that's the breed I gravitated to. Norah came up from Florida and we picked her up from NJ (where her sisters parents lived and drove her to) on 3/17. By April, I could tell something was wrong. It turned out Norah had severe hip dysplasia and would need surgery on both hips. Unfortunately, I could not come up with the money to afford the surgery and rehab...I had to make the heartbreaking and gut-wrenching decision to re-home her...oddly enough with the people from NJ who had brought her up. I LOVED her. I thought she was going to be my next great dog, but fate stepped in, and severed our bond. I think about her every day, and know that YOU know that; I know because you see me still have crying fits and panic attacks when I think about her. I'm sorry I lose sight of you two, right in front of me, and being grateful that I still have you. But its like giving up a baby...a baby I will never see grow up; a baby who has issues that I couldn't take care of or fix. It not only feels like a failure, but a devastating loss filled with immeasurable grief.
But I am working on that grief, and with your help, along with "other mumma" and Auntie Ginny, I'm slowly getting through it. I'm trying to focus more on YOU two now, and realizing that you are my future and at this age, you need to be cared for, even more than before. Heidi, today is your 11th birthday...your considered by some to be an "old lady"!! But I tell people don't let that white on her face fool you...she is still as quick, smart, brilliant and playful as ever...and so is her sister, who is only 7 mos younger! You two give me a reason to get up every day, and are forcing me to get out and socialize. Id like to get you back into agility, even just open practice, so you can have some fun again and keep yourselves young =0) And of course, it wouldn't hurt me to get some more exercise!!
So that's where we've been the past 6 mos, and I will try my damnedest to not let another 6 mos go by before I write to you again. I expect many more adventures for us; especially this year and the year ahead. Get ready girls...Mom may not be 100%, but I'm trying...and I know you'll be right there by my side helping me get back to where I was...
I love you both SO much,
Happy 11th birthday Heidi,