Archive for the ‘loss’ Category

In Memoriam

Bluff Country Skittles Bluff Country Skittles – May 7, 2003 to Summer, 2010

It is with deep regret that I inform long-time readers of this blog about the passing of one of the great Shetland rams. Bluff Country Skittles passed away in the high pastures of Colorado this past summer. Skit was a young ram, just 7 when he died, but he left a large impact, as big as he was, on many hearts during his life.

Skittles had gone up to Jared Lloyd’s ranch the summer about this time last fall. I needed new bloodlines for my small operation and Jared was very keen on adding Skittles genetics to his flock as well as “collecting” him for posterity and keeping his genetics available to future generations. Sadly, that was not to be.

One morning this summer, Jared said he walked into the sheep shed to find Skit lying down, front legs crossed and his chin resting on them the way he slept many times. But he didn’t move. When Jared went over to rouse him from his sleep, he discovered that Skit had passed on. There was no sign of trauma or markings in the dirt of a struggle or thrashing. Just Skit, asleep.

I know I will miss him. He was one of my first Shetland loves and a truly majestic ram in so very many ways. He had almost perfect conformation, was large but well-built and had personality to spare. I couldn’t have asked for a better ram to begin earnest breeding with. He had it all.

I will miss our walks around the place, Skit…and how you would gently sway me towards the apple tree for a snack of leaves if you could get away with it. You left some mighty big hooves to fill, Buddy…

…and I will miss you.

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A Sad Goodbye


1994 – 2 February 2010

Yesterday, we lost our gentle giant of a cat, Ziggy. While the day before he had shown some signs of a little improvement – talking more to me and eating more than he had been – by that night it was clear something else was going on. We found him in the morning, in the sunroom, unable to move and yowling in a tone I had never heard come from him. I picked him up and returned him to the chair in the office where he had been battling the pneumonia. How he made it to the sunroom I will never know. We never heard a sound throughout the night indicating his distress. It looked like a stroke.

I placed Zig on the heating pad to warm him back up, but by then he was yowling almost constantly. I also noticed his pupils dilated and the light that had been in his eyes the day before was gone. He was as comfortable as possible and I was there, petting his now unresponsive body, as he slipped from this world into the next. Softly, as he left, I thanked him for sharing his life with me and told him what a good friend he was.

It was in 1995 that Ziggy appeared at our house. My DD had come home from work to find a young cat wandering where we park our cars. He followed her down to the house, begging to come inside by sitting on a garden bench on the deck and staring at us through the sunroom windows. And stare he did. I have never seen a cat with such riveted eyes.

We tried placing him in the barn’s feed room thinking that would satisfy him. At that time we not only had many housecats already, my father was living with us with his two small dogs. We really didn’t have space for another cat. But as many times as I would put Zig in the barn, there he would be, at the sunroom windows, staring in at us. It wasn’t long before my DH asked if we could at least bring him into the basement until we could find out whom he belonged to. OK. Will do. Once inside it became obvious. If no one claimed him, he at the very least claimed us.

I never saw a cat with such a penchant for playing fetch. Zig would drive us nuts each evening by insisting we throw a rabbit-fur mousie for him to retrieve. He would be satisfied for literally hours of this while we wore out. No matter how hard or where we threw his toy, it would be instantly brought back and dropped by our feet to please throw again.

That behavior remained until a couple of years later when Ziggy accidently fell out of the second-floor bathroom window. He seemed fine at the time but years later we would find out that he had in some way hurt his spine. The Mousie Game stopped and he started to lay around much more. We thought it was his getting older and outgrowing the game. It wasn’t until later when an upward curve developed that it became apparent of the now way-past injury. While he didn’t run after mousie any longer, it still didn’t stop him from playing, eating, taking walks on a leash around the farm.

And he was huge! Not only big of frame, but he had gained weight up to 26 lbs. Our vet at the time would comment on his size, tempering the comments with the fact that he was in perfect health, and how the vet should be able to feel his ribs. My response would always be, “Press harder.”

A little over a year ago, Zig started losing weight. It was determined that his thyroid was doing too good a job and he was placed on medication. This winter, though, there was something we just couldn’t put our finger on. Something was different even if all the tests showed he was OK except for the thyroid. Then, about a month ago we had an upper respiratory bug hit some of the cats. Hindsight always being 20/20, now we know it was just too much for Zig’s system. The round of antibiotics just didn’t seem to work. There had also been some internal bleeding due, we believe, to a sinus infection which ruptured and may have also cause the pneumonia. Well, you know the rest…

I will miss my dear friend. My heart feels like part of it was torn out yesterday. I know that, with time, it will heal and the hole replaced with fond memories of my friend.

And I know one thing for certain: As much as the heart hurts at this time of loss, I would do it all over again. My life has been very blessed with good animal friends…like Ziggy.

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At A Loss

Some of you have been wondering why my entries in this blog have not been many for the past few months. Well, a dear friend of ours had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Yesterday morning she lost her fight.
I first met Julie when we moved to Flagstaff. My DH had one last tour of duty in Korea before his Army retirement, leaving Kelly and me behind to hold down the fort. We knew no one in Flagstaff. All we knew was it was centrally located between our respective families and looked like a nice place to retire to. Feeling somewhat cut-off, I joined both the quilters’ guild as well as the weavers’ guild, knowing that both groups were full of people known for welcoming newcomers. That’s where I met Julie.
I guess Julie really met me. We had taken a class our local quilt shop put on, sitting next to each other at the work table. Soon we found out that we were both Army Wives (the real ones, not the TV show ones) except that Julie’s husband had passed away a few years before while mine was just “gone”. If I missed a meeting of the guild, or at her house where our Tuesday Night Ladies Quilting and Terrorist Society met, the phone would ring the next morning with Julie on the other end asking if we were both OK.
We loved chatting about experiences past and present. She had an extremely interesting life with the Pentagon as well as for the military overseas in Paris and Germany. She and her husband were married in Paris as well. Just the name “Paris” and you could see a smile on her face and a gleam in her eyes. True love. Julie + Lee + Paris.
She was always there if you needed help or that piece of fabric the quilt shop had sold out of and you needed more to finish a project. Kelly became like a granddaughter to her. Julie always was there with a graduation present or a wedding gift. We’d talk about the military…her about the time she and Lee spent in Europe and Lee’s involvement with liaison work in Germany after WWII…me about what it was like to be a WAC, then the transition to the New Army including my becoming an investigator. I remember one evening at her house with the TNT quilters. We had been discussing work and the military. I was explaining what some of my investigative work entailed, then I had to stop due to the discussion getting a bit “touchy” on things I couldn’t discuss. A young woman made a flippant remark like “What? Will you have to kill me if you tell me?” I just smiled and said nothing. Julie knew. Julie just said, “Probably.”, smiling sweetly. She knew. And because of it, she was about the only person (other than my DH and a few friends) who also knew I turned down a job offer at the White House on the Army staff (way back then). She knew I loved field work and crime scenes more than the prestige that job would have brought me. She just knew and I didn’t have to go into detail.
And gourmet food was top on Julie’s list of “the Good Life”. Foods of all sorts. Christmas always saw a bag of goodies presented to us with treats from around the world along with an appropriate wine selection paring.
Then this spring the coughing wouldn’t stop. A mutual friend stopped in to find Julie very ill, but not wanting to “bother” anyone to take her to Urgent Care. She called me from the hospital to tell me she was on a “vacation” but if I was in the area she’d love to see me. I went right in to see what was going on. Fluids on the lung were drained, tests were done, and then the bolt out of the blue. Cancer. Adenosarcoma. It was everywhere by the time they did the first PET scan. She was too weak to do chemotherapy. And I saw my petite friend shrinking before my eyes.
She had no family – or at least family she wanted contacted. She had a brother but gave instruction to the circle of friends now joined to aid her in any way possible. She’d kick our butts if we did. Then this month, food wasn’t going down well. We all tried everything to no avail. By last week we could see she was losing her battle and pain was now setting in. By Sunday she was back in the hospital scheduled for fluid to be drained from around her heart. It didn’t improve anything. I saw her late Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning she passed on.
I will miss her smiling face and diplomatic demeanor. She lived life to the fullest, only missing her much beloved husband.

I know when the pain became too much and air could no longer fill her lungs, Lee held out his hand and asked her to go dancing in Paris. And Julie, being Julie, did the only thing she could have done…
she went.

And I will miss her.

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Maybe ’93 to 17 April 2009

We lost our buddy and friend, Max today. He had been in declining health but took an extreme turn for the worse these last ten days. He wasn’t eating much, drinking lots of water, as well as showing signs of pain. It was hard, but we let him go…peacefully.

Max came to our house in the spring of 2001. Years before, he had been abandoned at the farm of a person who worked at the Sheriff’s Dept. with Ralph. She said that was around the early ’90s. In 2001 she was moving from that place into town and since we were good with cats would we take him? It was soon obvious that before he was abandoned, he had been abused.
It took years for Max to start warming up to us. He would hide under beds or blankets to stay safe until evenings when he thought it safe to come out. It was apparent to us that a man had hurt him as he ran from any man in the house, even if that man just wanted to be friends.
After a while, Max started to enjoy lying next to me in bed or in my chair when I watched TV. He was such a sweet soul.
These past few days I had wished that he would drift off to sleep, dreaming of the happiest he’d ever been, then let go of his frail body that was failing his gentle soul.
Rest well, dear Maxi-Cat. I pray that someday our souls will meet again and leap for joy at each other’s sight.

And thank you for being a part of my life, adding to the richness of it with your love and trust. I will miss you.

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