Life Is Getting in the Way of Living (Part 2)

Editor's note: this is part 2 of a series. Be sure to read part 1 and part 3!

Family far and wide

My husband and I have a large family. We have been married for eighteen years and each of us has four children. Six have spouses and/or partners. They are ALL my children. Not all feel that way, but that’s okay. It’s just the way they are and we don't see them often. Some do and it’s a blessing.

We have sixteen grandchildren. Two have spouses and/or partners. One is an angel grandbaby. Another has been missing since February 25, 2016. Our first great-grandchild is due in March 2022.

Our families live 70–1200 miles away from us. Our grandchildren live 100–1200 miles away. My husband works out of town periodically so I’m often alone.

My fur babies

My fur babies are my salvation. They are the ones that I am with 24/7. These pups could be classified as companions or BFF's. These four definitely make my days brighter. A person can't help but smile or laugh.

Yes, these pups are my support system and constant companions. These little ones try to pick me up when I fall and lick me until I get up. One might jump on my back for encouragement and another under my chest to push me up. Another might get my husband if he’s home. At night, one might sit by the oxygen machine until I turn it on.

Most importantly, these pups encourage me to get up and move around, walk, and exercise. It probably isn't surprising that they are the ones that I usually talk to. They are a lot of my life, my family. It may sound strange to some, yet those who are often alone likely understand.

Checking in

Our kids regularly call to check-in. They know that I worry about them even at their ages. I always tell them, my age doesn't bother me, their ages scare the heck out of me. Their spouses and partners check-in as well. It's a blessing when they call to share their day.

Calling 911 will likely bring someone that we know: the sheriff, police chief, or even the ambulance director. That's what happens when these are the people that we have worked with and been friends with for many years. By the way, my husband likes our dogs too, except maybe the poop scooping.


It was September 1, 2021, and our fifteen-year-old male Shih Tzu, Gizmo, couldn’t breathe. We rushed him to the vet and said goodbye as he was being put to sleep. Gizmo hadn’t been really healthy, but not too sick either.

A heart murmur and congestive heart failure took him away from us. He had never been diagnosed with heart problems before then. It was obvious with his symptoms before we took him to the vet.

We had adopted him when he was about 6 months old. He was a stray. We shared good times. In earlier days, he once went hunting with my husband. He even got up a pheasant - my husband shot it and when it fell, Gizmo sat on top of it. It sounded corny until I went out to the garage and he was sitting on the bird. My old man.


October 11, 2021. Abby, our thirteen-year-old female Shih Tzu, seemed down. As she walked across the yard alone, I said that she seemed like an old animal that was going off to die alone. We picked her up and brought her inside. Her tongue was white, her breathing was abnormal, she kept falling to the side and her eyes were fixed.

She had been diagnosed with a heart murmur a couple of years ago. A few weeks before, she and the others were diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection. Someone said that she possibly had a cyst on her spleen that ruptured. She died fairly quickly. My vet said with her health, that it was likely CHF or congestive heart failure. We didn’t take her to the vet for a necropsy, at this point, it didn’t matter.

My Abby, my princess and the queen. She was the matron and was regal. She was my main caretaker. Everyone loved her and she loved all. My princess, she is gone. I’m stressing out right now. Time to take my other two dogs to the vet. I'm so afraid of what we might find out.


My eleven-year-old "baby" Badger, who was really Abby’s baby, was actually born in my lap. Abby was terrified when she was having babies and ran around the room with a baby attached via the umbilical cord. I had to confine her. Actually, six babies were born on or near my lap.

Badger has had a heart murmur for a few years. This is getting much worse and was obvious on the radiograph (x-ray). He is now on heart medication twice a day to hopefully slow the progression of his murmur and help his overall heart health.

We also got a view of his back. He has very little if any gaps in the lower half of his spine. We won’t do pain meds until needed. He's back on antibiotics for his upper respiratory infection that seems to be hanging on. My baby seldom leaves my side.


Then there is Teddy, my five and one half-year-old Poochon. She’s a poodle/bichon cross. I got her for myself as a birthday present. She had been very healthy until this upper respiratory infection happened. The coughing and gagging were hard on her - actually on all of them. She seems good now but I will keep an eye on her.

She is so challenging to give meds to, especially heart guard. Any suggestions that we haven’t tried? I did find one chewable pill online.

When she was 3 months old, she flew. Yes, she flew from the floor, across furniture to her destination. She could jump over recliners without even touching them, then under the bed and back onto the furniture. She has slowed down, but she is still my crazy girl. Actually, I think that she likes my husband better. I tease and tell him that she is making him feel better!

Please pray

Please pray that Badger and Teddy are okay and that they will be with us for a long while, or as long as they possibly can without struggling and suffering from poor health. We do all that we can to give them the best home.

Will I get another pup? I think so. My husband isn’t sure. I know that right now isn’t the time. Stay tuned for part 3!

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