Monday, June 30, 2014
So, it's been about 2 weeks now since Baby Benny crossed the Rainbow Bridge. While we have thought about the what if's of being down a pug has meant there are things that we hadn't really considered.
One of the main things is what to do when one of them has a "that dog only" appointment or event. For example, Luna will need to go for a recheck to the eye vet soon. Before, we could just bring Luna and the boys would stay home alone but together. They each had a stay home buddy to be with. In the example here, when it's Luna's appointment time, do we take her and leave Henry home alone? Or do we take them both? And what if the roles were reversed. This became a more immediate question recently as Henry was loosely scheduled to attend the Bark at the Park event at our local minor league baseball stadium. Of course, it would have been weather dependent. Being June in Florida, it's hot. Hot for pugs. WAY too hot for Luna and even pretty hot for Henry. But this was something we really needed to think about. As it turns out, it was too hot the day of the event. But the philosophy remained about how to handle these types of scenarios.
We definitely know that Henry cannot be left alone. He already has been wanting to go EVERYWHERE we go (this started even before Benny died). Henry just has a super strong sense of entitlement. He knows he is well behaved enough to go most places and just be a good boy. But there is no explaining that they simply do not allow non-service dogs into the grocery store, at the gym or the mall. He's smart but still not really to be reasoned with.
Luna, on the other hand,has never really given us a fit when one of the other pugs disappears for a short time. Either one of the boys could go to the vet, go see Grammy, enjoy a ball game or even just run to the mailbox without her batting a dry eye. But we never had to try leaving her home alone. (Insert Macaulay Culkin Home Alone face and scream here.) We really are not sure what she would do. She might continue to live in oblivion or she may go the route of her internal feisty self and pitch a fit, grumbling, barking and giving the air a "what for" attitude.
This leaves the question of do we even chance it? We don't want to get Luna all worked up (which could possibly be to a point of no return for her) and we already know that we cannot leave Henry alone, for sure. So, I guess, we have solved the problem. Either they both go, or neither of them go. So, it's the new dynamic duo now. They will do all things altogether.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Since Benjamin's passing, we have been trying to help the pugs's spirits. Since Henry has been down in the dumps and Luna's been extra feisty, we figured we should do something that would appeal to them both.
We know Henry loves car rides, but, anywhere we take them must be well air conditioned, so we opted to go to the pet store! This got them out of the house, got Henry a car ride and gave Luna some mental stimulation that she has so desperately needed.
We let them pick out some chewies and even gave them a little push in a little buggy. There was literally a little buggy there! They had a child sized shopping cart. This was perfect for Luna. Since we didn't trust her to be smart enough not to jump out of it we didn't leave her in there for long. Just long enough for the photo opportunity.
Oddly enough the area of the pet store they enjoyed the most was the fish department! Luna wanted to bring home a pet of her own and she even promised to feed it and take care of it and love it but we vetoed her choice of what to buy. Sorry Looney, you are going to have to pick out some non-living item to bring home. So, she picked a variety pack of compressed rawhide and seemed content with that.
Meanwhile, Henry was more looking for where he could "leave something" instead of "pick up something" if you know what I mean.
He got so excited that we had to take him outside so he could leave behind some bodily fluids and solids instead of making a deposit inside the store. There's Henry! Keeping up what once was a Benny only tradition! Attaboy, Hank!
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Our next door neighbors have 3 children. All boys. Well, now they also have a new puppy! It was an odd and bittersweet day. We had not seen our neighbors for almost a week after we lost Benny. The first time we saw them they were all excited and beaming. The mom bubbly bounced over to share that they had a new family member! If I am being honest it, at first it kind of made me sick inside. I know, it was just the anger part of grief speaking. I was mad that I did not have all the members of my family at that moment. I secretly thought, "Oh, good for you. You get a dog. Well, I just lost one! Harumph."
And, if I continue to be honest, that ugly thought was very short lived. I flashed to how excited I was bringing home the boys. And immediately I could not harbor a grudge for her excitement. I just missed Ben. I didn't have ill will for my neighbor, her children and certainly not for their new found joy. Lucky. Yep. Lucky. That's the new pup's name. It seemed very fitting to me at the time. They were indeed Lucky (and we were not). That was the last time the ugliness stirred though.
So, out of their truck little Lucky bounced. He was so tiny, I thought. He looks like a hound dog maybe. (Flash to Elvis's, "You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog"---now continue to carry that tune throughout the day. You're welcome! HAHA!) Anyway, Lucky was small. He was no pug. He has a snout! And a long straight tail! Crazy! Lucky is bouncing around in the grass between our homes. Since at first he was on Henry's blind side, Henry didn't even notice him. And Luna for sure was oblivious as she was practically falling asleep in the shade. Lucky leaped within Henry's field of vision and Henry was like, "Whoa! Where did you come from?!" And if I am not mistaken, I believe that Henry would have fully asked, if he could speak, of course, "Where did you come from, SQUIRREL?!" Lucky is marginally bigger than a squirrel right now and I truly do not think Henry thinks that Lucky is a dog. When Henry finally processed that there was a rambunctious little creature curious about him he perked up just a bit.
When Henry actually took a little more notice, Lucky took cover in nearby shrubs. He got a little more comfortable though and slithered out of the bushes and crept up on Hank. (Kind of easy now....blindside, you know.) Little Lucky then got in play stance! Oh! A daring little guy he was. If Henry could laugh, he would have. He would have let out a hearty chuckle. You could almost see him ask Lucky, "Little dude, really? First, I just lost my main man, Ben. Second, I'm 12. Don't you know what that feels like? And last, you are like 3 pounds and I am, well, let's say almost 10 times that. But if you feel like you can take me on little man, let's do it." Henry did not go into play stance. However, he did make a slight move as though he was considering. But what this small maneuver did was make Lucky think Henry was going into play stance. And that was all it took for Lucky to bolt. That's 2 for flinching, Lucky! (Now, undo Elvis song, insert line from Stand By Me movie.)
So, it was quite the little introduction. It perked up Henry's day a little and helped the humans to start to come to grips with the fact that there are other pups in the 'hood. We have to remember to love them all no matter if we've lost our own or not. Here's to puppy love. (Oy! Now, insert Donny Osmond song! I'm so sorry! I don't know what's going on today!)
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
As most of you may know, Benjamin and Cupid were the 2 fur babies in the house that were the least amicable. Their relationship didn't meet the whole philosophy of "fighting like cats & dogs" but Benjamin was just all too curious about Cupid. And Cupid knows that curiosity is HER job (even though they say, curiosity killed her kind). But Baby Benny just wanted one good sniff of that kitty cat tukhus. And Cupid just would never allow that to happen.
Benjamin, with his never give up attitude, well, he never gave up. He was always chasing kitty tush. Just one good sniff, QP! Just one, good sniff....
Well, now Cupid is getting what Benny never could. She is getting that one good sniff. At the same time, she is paying her last respects. You see, Benny was cremated and they sent him back to our vet in a cedar box. (As seen last week, we had our own urn that we preferred for him.) So, after the ashes were transferred from the cedar box to the metal urn, we were left with an empty cedar box.
You can see in the video that Cupid is not only getting the last word in (as cats tend to like to do) but she is finally showing the love for Benny that he rightfully deserved (but that he could never sit still long enough for Cupid to show). And she gets in HER infamous good sniff.
Monday, June 23, 2014
We wanted to share that Baby Benny is back home with his peeps and furry siblings. Albeit, he is safely tucked in an urn with puffy nearby. He is resting peacefully near Solsey and Lou C. (For newcomers, Sol was the black pug we foster failed/rescued and was with us for about 15 months (but it seemed longer). And Lou C was a bunny that we had previously, as well. So, Lou, Solsey and now Baby Benny are all sharing company together. Their spirits are frolicking over the rainbow bridge with other fur babies, such as the loved ones you all have lost.
OBP peeps have been very appreciative to all of you readers for you kind and supportive thoughts through this tough time. We recognize that each of you has either, or will likely soon, experience similar loss. We value the pug community and the support OBP has been able to offer to one another. We think it super cool that OBP has created friendships that may not otherwise have been formed. And we know that pug people are just generally cooler people than most others.
So, again, we hope you all know how important you are not only to us but to one another.
While, with time, the quiet that is now our home is getting easier to live in without the presence of boisterous Benjamin, some days are still so much harder than others. Certain meals that were his favorites to beg for are not eaten without tears or at least a lump in the throat. The grieving, in general, is still fresh.
Henry, Luna and Cupid are all processing in their own ways, as well. And so are Grammy and G'Ma. It has been tough on extended family and readers, alike. But the quiet. Oh the quiet. It is just so so quiet. For 12 years we didn't realize the level of noise and activity Benny brought us. It was just the sheer busyness. As a pup, he was full of energy and running around the house either knocking things over, tags jingling, toenails scrapping, scratching for treats, obnoxiously chomping on bones, barking, snorting, snoring or occasionally howling.
As he aged, he still jingled, scrapped, scratched, snorted, snorted, chomped and barked but the howling lessened and whining, tooting and hacking replaced the puppy noises. But no matter what, Benny brought a smile, joy and an unconditional love to all he met. He just always left you feeling better than you did when you came upon him. He left you feeling full. He filled your heart bucket with love. If you had a hole in your heart, he plugged it then filled you. He wasn't just a volcano of love with his noisy love, he was also a steady stream of lava love. Always warm though. Whether explosively warm or a level flow of warmth, that was Benny.
And now that is gone. In what seemed like an instant but in retrospect had been slowly disappearing. We hold it in our hearts We are clutching the memories as though with a grip so tight it makes the palms sweat. We are terrified of forgetting a moment and still living in a disbelief that no more moments will be created by Benny. Obviously, we are still all over the map.
We are still processing. Helping the others process, too. Henry has had some rough days. This is to be expected. The boys have been together virtually every day for their entire lives. Henry has always needed that nudge from his big brother to coax him into doing fun and mischievous stuff. Hank needed to be pulled out of his shell in ways that only Ben Ben could do. So, we are trying to help him through this in extra special ways. Luna, on the other hand, is grieving differently. She is becoming even more of diva (i.e. discipline problem, acting out, tantrummy). So, it is a delicate balance with how we are meeting her expressions of grief. Trying not to reward bad behavior but finding ways to help her feel secure and comforted. She was able to get Benny to do her dirty work for her in polished, more affable ways that only Benny could pull off. Luna, however, is more of a dig your heels in and demand it kind of girl. (Guess she never heard the phrase, you get more flies with sugar than you do with vinegar).
that is the rambling update. We will try to bring you more coherent stories soon. There are a few to tell but we are still trying to put ourselves together here in OBPland.
Thanks again for you patience, loving support and Benny reflections. When pumpkin bread season comes around again, you will probably see not only flashback stories but grief relapse....
So, for now....
Friday, June 13, 2014
I am very sad to say that Benjamin passed away yesterday morning. Wednesday night he had another one of his breathing/coughing/panting episodes. This one began shortly after dinner. We gave him one of the special shots we have on hand for emergencies like this, but it did not work like it did last time. The first time we gave him the shot, it took 9 minutes before he was calm and resting easy. Last night, it took 43 minutes for us to start to see any relief and the relief was only mild and not long lasting. As the night progressed it became more and more clear that this was going to be a long lasting episode. We did our best to keep Benjamin as comfortable as possible throughout the night and took him to the vet first thing in the morning.
While we knew Benjamin's trachea issues and other maladies were progressing, we were not expecting to get to this point so quickly. And although we anticipated summer being a struggle, we still thought we had a few more months at least.
Amidst the whirlwind of emotions and throughout conversations since Wednesday night, one prevailing theme has risen above all others and this is how happy and positive Benjamin was in life. He assumed the best in everyone and everything. He touched everyone he met and made them feel loved and left them with a smile.
In the spirit of Benjamin, I want to take this time of enormous sadness and remember all the joy that Benjamin brought to our lives. If you have a moment, reflect upon a favorite story or Benny-ism and post it in the comments for us all to share. I can't think of any better way to celebrate the pumpkin bread loving, pillow king that was the luxuriously wrinkly and most handsome pug we called Baby Benny.
On a side note, I expect we will take a hiatus from posting next week to take some time to process everything. We will return soon.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Henry is always looking for an adventure and with the weather already being too hot to take long walks we are becoming quite creative when thinking up new adventures for him. It seems he has become the official errand pug. His most recent errand has been gassing up the car. He really seems to enjoy this errand as he is ever so curious about the other people at the gas station. That or he is just looking for the person that gives out treats. Because whenever he goes to the bank or through the drive thru he always scores a treat. I think he is still trying to figure out the gas station adventure.
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