Time

Time is a funny thing. It seems like there is never enough when you want it, but there are also times where there is just too much. In some cases a lot of time makes things easier, dealing with loss for example, but in other cases the passage of too much time makes it difficult to do the thing you have been putting off. A good example of the latter is this blog.  So much time has passed since I posted regularly that I don’t even know where to start with the blog again. So, instead of trying to go back and talk about everything that has happened in the time since I last posted, I will give you a snapshot of what is going on at the MMNK household at this particular moment in time.IMG_6104
We have two dogs, but not the same two as the last time I posted. Sarge has been gone for almost three months, and it is still very difficult to talk about. I am planning to write a lot more about that later. Laynie has been a permanent member of our family for two months. She is doing really well and she is adjusting to our lifestyle. Nola seems to like tolerate her, so things are going pretty smoothly.
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We have been in our new house about a year now. We love the area and the fact that we are no longer crammed in a small house with a small yard in the city. The wild turkeys that frequent our neighborhood are a bit challenging with the dogs, but our fenced-in yard is amazing! Side note: did you know turkeys CAN fly? I didn’t believe it until one scared the bejeezus out of me when it flew out of a tree during a walk in the woods.

I am starting a new job next week! I left my previous job at the end of December and have been able to be at home with the dogs for the past three months. Although the job search was stressful, I am so grateful I had the time to spend with Sarge during his last days, with Laynie during her first days, and with Nola while she adjusts to the changes with the dogs in her life. My main goal was to find a career that merged my skills in marketing with my passion for dogs, but that is a challenge in Maine because there is limited opportunity. I am very excited about my new position, but will continue to pursue my dream career and am confident it will happen eventually.
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So there you have it: a lot of time has passed, but we have been trying to enjoy every minute. Some of the time was hard, some was sad, most of it has been happy, and we are glad we’ve had it. We hope during our time off from blogging you all enjoyed the time you’ve had as well. Remember:

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” – Harvey MacKay

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Our “Winter Break”

Besides my post about Ryder (who is currently in a foster home right now, yay!), I have not blogged since Christmas. I have several excuses, but only a couple of them are legitimate. Here is the biggest one: We’re moving!

Most of my extra time has been spent getting our house ready to sell and looking for a new house. We ended up buying a new house before our house was even on the market, which added some serious stress to our lives. But once we spent a couple weekends touching up some paint and fixing a few things, we listed our house and it sold in two weeks!The Mr. and I couldn’t believe it when we got the offer in and we are officially moving in just a few more weeks.

While I am so happy about how painless the process was, I am struggling to balance the sad emotions of leaving a familiar place with the happiness of a bigger, newer house. On top of that, I have had to think about the dogs’ adjustment and making everything easy for them through the whole process. In the long run, I think the dogs will love the new house. We have a big fenced in yard, a nice neighborhood to walk in and our favorite trail system connects just minutes from our doorstep. The house is about 20 minutes south of Portland, in my hometown of Old Orchard Beach (and more importantly the home of Lisa’s Pizza and Pier Fries!).  So now we will also be about 2 minutes from the beach instead of 20!

Besides dealing with house stuff, our winter break included a lot of snowblowing, playing in the snow, shoveling snow, and oh did I mention snow? IMG_4959 IMG_4976 IMG_4974

With all the snow days and work form home days, the pups got a lot of snuggle time in.IMG_5105 IMG_5168 IMG_5094

Although I haven’t had a lot of spare time to blog, I have kept up on Facebook and Instagram, so make sure you like and follow us there! I will be sharing more about the move later, but for now, here are some of the things that happened during our three months of blog silence (in photos): IMG_5161 IMG_5152 IMG_5120 IMG_5110 IMG_5054 IMG_5040 IMG_5337 IMG_5291 IMG_5269 IMG_5278 IMG_5267 IMG_5242 IMG_5214

 

 

Nola Muffin Monday: My Brother Sargent

When Mom and Dad first brought Sarge to my house (yes, MY house), he was just as much of a pain as every other dog they brought home. I don’t understand why every new dog has to come into my territory and try to tell me that it’s theirs now. It’s not. I am in charge and that is the way it will always be. Sarge tried to show me he wanted to stay by climbing on top of me. I’d have to bark and growl at him to tell him to stop, but he’d still do it! Sometimes, I think he’s just not very smart. Mom and Dad had to help tell him to leave me alone, and THEN he finally listened. He’s such a suck up! But since then, he’s slowly been growing on me. He’s pretty old, and way more slow than the other dogs that stayed here, so he doesn’t bother me as much. He does take my toys right out of my mouth sometimes, which REALLY annoys me, but then he gets in trouble by Mom and Dad (see, he’s not always a saint!). He also is kind of clumsy and knocks things over. Oh, and the WORST thing about him is his tail! I mean, it’s always wagging and he can’t tell how close he is to me so it hits me right in the face. Can you believe it? No respect.nola and sarge curled

The other day Mom and Dad left with him early in the morning and came back home without him. At first, I was pretty happy; I never get the house to myself! But then I saw that Mom and Dad were sad and worried so I knew something was different. When Sarge came back and he had that funny contraption on his head, I understood. Sarge didn’t feel well. IMG_4997

Although I can’t say I love sharing my toys with him, I do think he has been the least annoying sibling to share my house with. And, since he’s been here they haven’t brought home any other fosters. So, I figured I should be nice to him when he’s not feeling good so that they’ll see that I like him a little. nola and sarge snuggle 1

In the spirit of the how-lidays, or whatever it is that make Mom and Dad put up all the lights and put funny smelling boxes under the inside-the-house-tree, I have been trying to make Sarge feel better by snuggling with him. I have realized that he makes a pretty good pillow, and he seems to not mind when I get close to him. I DO appreciate that he doesn’t try to snuggle with me too much; I snuggle on my terms only.Nola Sarge's tail IMG_4992

It seems as though the old guy is staying around for a while, and although I will make sure he still knows I am in charge, I guess it’s ok with me.

The Dreaded ‘C’ Word

It’s probably the worst word you could hear starting with the letter ‘c’. Think about it, most ‘c’ words are happy ones: candy, cookies, cupcakes, cuddles, coffee, Christmas.

But this ‘c’ word is no good. People dread hearing it, and if you do, it changes your life.

 Cancer.

It affects millions of people, and millions of dogs. According to the National Canine Cancer Society, one out of every three dogs will be diagnosed with canine cancer, and of those, half will die from it. It’s pretty scary to think about. And, it’s even scarier now that Sarge is one of them.

Last week I noticed a growth on the inside of his back leg had gotten much larger. He is a pretty lumpy guy in general, he’s old and has lots of skin tags and bumps. But, this one just didn’t seem like the others. After a needle aspiration and a look under a miscroscope, the vet determined it was a mast cell tumor.

Mast cell tumors are the most common skin tumor found in dogs. Older dogs of mixed breeds (like Sarge) have a high susceptibility for the disease. There are three grades of the tumors, based on how aggressive they are. I declined to have Sarge’s tested right away, because our course of treatment would not be any different based on its grade. Bubba boy is too old to be put through chemo or radiation therapy. The tumor will be removed on Thursday, and after that we will find out what stage it is and whether it has spread to other parts of his body.

The Mr. and I are dreading this surgery so much that it hurts. Although he shows no sign of any pain, lameness in his leg, or anything but pure happiness, it is sad to look at him and think our time together could be coming to an end. We knew when we decided to keep Sarge that eventually something like this was probably going to happen. We promised him that we would give him everything he could possibly need or want to live a fantastic life until then. But really, I didn’t think it would happen this soon. It’s only been 8 months since we walked out of the shelter together and only 5 since he was officially our Bubba Boy. His high level of activity, happy spirit and eagerness to please just led me to believe he’d be around forever. I made Nola promise me that she’d be the first dog to live forever, so I was hoping that Sarge would be the second.

While I have a tendency to think the worst, and know that things will probably be fine, it’s still so heartbreaking. You never know how a dog will react to anesthesia, and what his recovery will be like. We will do our best to give him everything he needs to come out of it ok and in as little pain as possible. We just have to hope that his 14 year old body is strong enough to fight along with us.
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Snood Dude

One of the first purchases I made for Sarge when he joined the M&M&NK household permanently was a jacket and a Sirius Republic snood. As an older gentleman, I knew he would need some extra protection from the cold Maine weather. And, it was good timing because we had just gotten a little snowstorm! Nola loves her snood (well maybe not, but I certainly do!) and she’s even a model on the website! Not to be outdone by his supermodel younger sister, Sarge was just as handsome as can be modelling his new accessory. We chose the football pattern for him, because even wearing clothes picked out by his mommy, he has to represent the Mr.’s passion for the manly sport.

Check out this cuteness:

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Thanks again to Sirius Republic for keeping the handsomest elderbull warm this winter!

Sarge’s Photo Shoot: The Old Man and the Sea

“Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.”

― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

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“No one should be alone in their old age, he thought.”
― Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

Thanks to the amazing Liz Donnelly from Portland Photo Company for the beautiful photos of our old man Sarge!