Forty-six

Forty-six

Friday, April 24, I woke up beyond excited. My countdown was nearing the end. My countdown of when I could leave to pick up Jason.

As the morning progressed, my mood enhanced. The excitement was hard to control.

Friday marked the 47th day since Jason left. I was finally able to greet this man I love face-to-face at the Asheville airport.

On March 9, Jason left for Florida to start working on Sanibel at two jobs he was offered.

I remember that morning like it was yesterday. I remember the emotions that took hold, well to be honest, consumed me. That morning, March 9, was one of the hardest things I was ever faced with. You ask why?

Jason was leaving me in Kingsport, more than 800-miles north of his final destination.

My best friend, my boyfriend, my rock was leaving until we could make ends meet. Our goal was to work countless hours and get enough money together, so he could come back to get me and all of our animals and head back to Fort Myers.

The 46-days we spent a part had many high and low points.

It’s truly inspiring to see what you are capable of doing when faced with a situation like that. A situation where I was living by myself in a state where I had no family or good friends to lean on when needed.

I found such an incredible amount of independence deep down that I had no idea was there. I stayed true to my plan . . . I continued to live without the best part of my life right next to me. I found time to go running with Lucy, my puppy, reaching distances that made me proud. I even found a new passion of cooking healthy meals that were absolutely delicious.

The best, truly gratifying part, was the amount of work I was able to accomplish doing freelance writing for the three papers that hired me. I wrote enough articles and did enough editing to pay all of our bills for the entire month of April. All of our bills were paid by the second week of the month. That spoke volumes. It only reaffirmed that I could take care of myself, truly take care of myself while keeping a roof over my head and food on the table. That accomplishment set the ball rolling in the right direction. All of the hours Jason was working could completely go towards our move back to Fort Myers.

With that milestone met, I was able to book a plane ticket for Jason on April 7, Day 30 of us being a part.

Even with all the positive thoughts I tried to keep in check, I still had a few breakdowns, a few more than I hoped while Jason was away.

It’s crazy how many emotions you go through. I found myself crying at such random times, and also smiling when I least expected. The daily phone calls from my mom on her way home from work were comforting. My older brother also called often checking in on me.

My favorite part of the day was when Jason would call. I could not fall asleep until I heard his voice, to hear how he was doing, to hear he was okay.

I remember one breakdown as clear as day. It started one Friday night while Jason was away. I completely broke down. Lucy, our puppy, helped tremendously that night. She instantly became concerned as the tears violently fell. Lucy began licking the tears away before cuddling in my lap, helping me to gain composure again. I remember walking to bed, but was unable to sleep well at all. The next day my anxiety reached its highest point leaving me paralyzed.

That day was awful. I felt helpless. Everything I tried didn’t help.

Through it all, I felt an incredible amount of closeness to Jason as I lived my life in Kingsport, and he lived his in Fort Myers. Although we were living our separate lives, I felt we were still sharing our life together. We became closer. He remained my rock. He gave me tough love when I needed it to break through when I got the sinking feeling.

Jason shared how much he loved me and missed me on a daily basis. I felt how hard it was for him, as well, through our conversations. I knew, without a doubt, that he was doing everything in his power to come back to me sooner. Although he sounded exhausted on more than one occasion he woke the next day and worked another 15+ hour day, all so he could keep that promise he made before leaving.

So, back to Friday, April 24.

I arrived at the airport at 12:27 and he was supposed to land at 12:32. It was absolutely perfect timing. I had enough time to make a quick bathroom break and then stand where I could see Jason come into view.

It never fails. Six minutes turned into the longest 45-minutes of my life. Jason’s plane was delayed leaving Punta Gorda.

As soon as I saw him, I felt my entire body relax. I felt complete again. My true love was now in my presence. He was now standing in front of me. I was able to hug him, kiss him, see his smile instead of hearing the smile form over the phone.

I was giddy as all hell.

The relaxation that flowed through Jason’s body told me our decision to be a part was more than worth it. It was worth it because everything was coming together for us. Almost like it was meant to happen the way it did. Jason has been able to find work and continues to find more work. The stress we felt about making ends meet in Kingsport, I could sense was vanishing. He almost looked stress free. I didn’t even have to ask if we did the right thing.

The rest of the day was absolutely perfect. It was spent one-on-one, as well as with some of the friends we had made in Tennessee. I must have told Jason a hundred times how nice it was to have him back home. Well home, for the next 24+ hours until we headed south to Fort Myers.

Leo and Lucy at one of the many gas stations we had to stop at to fill up the truck.

Leo and Lucy at one of the many gas stations we had to stop at to fill up the truck.

After the truck was packed and we said our goodbyes to Frazier, we slowed down and fell asleep for a while before we hit the road at 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Those early morning hours finally ended as we arrived in Fort Myers around 8 p.m.

It was an incredibly long drive, especially when traveling with three animals.

Our poor Leo had a difficult six or seven hours before he finally calmed down and found some comfort with our puppy Lucy. Kimber was frightened and let us know she wanted out of the truck hours ago.

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Leo

 

Kimber

Kimber

 

Lucy

Lucy

 

Leo finally relaxed as Lucy layed on him.

Leo finally relaxed as Lucy layed on him.

Even through the constant desire to be out of a moving vehicle, Jason and I had some amazing conversations, especially as we neared 17 hours on the road.

Our connection only intensified. Our connection only strengthened, as we had those deep conversations of our present circumstances, our future plans and goals.

A cloud came into view that resembled a heart as we neared Fort Myers.

A cloud came into view that resembled a heart as we neared Fort Myers.

Time a part definitely makes the heart grow fonder. I feel so much closer to a man I had already felt a deep connection with.

Now we are in the limbo stages staying with my parents until our new place is ready this weekend. I’m looking forward to making us a new home once again. I’m looking forward to getting us to the point where we can both relax with all of our belongings and animals all under one roof again.

Another chapter has been closed. Another chapter is already well on its way. Our lives are intertwined again in the same state, under the same roof.

We are living in Southwest Florida once again surrounded by family and friends.

Two years ago tomorrow, we traveled to Kingsport to start a new life. We arrived at our new home on May 1. Who would have thought we would be back in Fort Myers so soon?

It made a difference

I’ve been contemplating a decision for a while now, a decision that has filled my thoughts on a daily basis. A decision that was greater than me.

That decision stumbled upon my thoughts after our new neighbors moved in a few months ago. Those neighbors brought a beautiful white dog with them.

The first day they moved in, Lucy and I were outside. I asked what appeared to be its owners if my puppy could say hello, sniff noses. She said she did not know if her dog was good with little dogs. So, Lucy and I went on our way to the backyard.

I’m a huge animal lover, which I’m certain developed while I was growing up. My sisters, brothers and I were surrounded by dogs, cats, horses and even a duck when we were little living on a farm. Those animals were always well taken care of, often times spoiled. There was absolutely no question they were loved and given the best home possible.

So, you see as the days, weeks and even months passed by, my concern only grew, as my heart continued to break.

The dog, yes the beautiful white dog, remained outside as the owners sought the comfort of their new home. This lonely creature was tied up to a tree without proper shelter.

The barking . . . oh the barking, which truly sounded like crying filled the sky at all hours of the night and day. The excruciating howling ignited a chain reaction with the other dogs in the neighborhood, often times getting the attention of Lucy as well.

I gave the owners the benefit of the doubt the first week as the dogs crying continued. On more than one occasion I had to turn the music on to drown the sound out. It was breaking my heart.

More time went by and still the dog was left chained to a tree, sleeping and going to the bathroom in a restricted area. In an area as far as its chain would take it.

I never saw the owners give the dog any kind of attention. I never saw the owners feed it.

What began as the dog getting excited when Lucy and I came into view slowly diminished. It appeared that it was too exhausted from lack of nutrition, or freezing because of the temperatures.

I believe the dog was losing weight. I could see it down its back and into its hind legs.

When the temperatures dropped into the 20s and we had frost, the dog was still outside tied to a tree.

Through nonstop rain, the dog was still tied to a tree.

Although Jason and I had talked about intervening on more than one occasion, it was always left untouched.

Last night, I finally broke down.

It had been raining all day and it was a wet cold.

After the sun went down, Lucy and I went outside, with a flashlight in my hand, as she made her way around the yard to go to the bathroom. When we came up to the side of the property, I shined the light where the dog is usually laying under the tree. Although I could see it, it did not move its head. It just laid there curled in a ball. After I said “hi puppy” it slowly lifted its head.

The poor thing had to be freezing.

I walked into the house and looked at Jason and said I have to do something.

I just couldn’t watch this poor dog suffer anymore. I could no longer sit back and watch. I could no longer listen to it howl, obviously saying it was uncomfortable.

I owed it to this poor dog to do something. Maybe enhance the life the owners were giving it.

Jason helped me track down the animal warden’s number for our area.

When I called I instantly felt a sigh of relief.

I did something.

I was however not full of complete confidence something was going to happen. They didn’t ask many questions and I didn’t share a ton of information. They did however have the address of where the dog was located and the woman told me she would have someone look into it.

Around 10 a.m. I started to hear voices out my office window. Voices coming from the property next door.

The animal warden was on the property talking to someone.

That moment, I thought “it made a difference.” That phone call made a difference. Someone listened and was looking into the well-being of that beautiful dog.

Shortly after he left, Lucy and I went outside so she could go to the bathroom. What I saw instantly sparked a smile. Instantly gave me confirmation that I did the right thing. That I made a difference.

The dog was eating. It was the first time I had ever seen it eat. It did not care that Lucy and I were within view. It chowed down on a bowl full of food.

Later I heard more voices and what sounded like hammering. This beautiful white dog was getting shelter. Not ideal shelter in my opinion, but shelter.

The dog now has space under stairs, room that was boarded off, as well as what looked to be some kind of bed. The dog will now be out of the elements, the rain, the snow, the frost, the sleet.

It is still chained up and does not have much room to roam, but it has shelter. Something I desperately wanted for this poor animal.

I feel so much better knowing that I made the living situation better for this animal.

My heart is warmed. I did a good deed. I helped a poor animal in need.

Now, only if they would give it the exercise it deserves and continue to feed it on a daily basis.

 

My best little buddy

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Yesterday was a rough day, which I know Lucy picked up on because she made me smile every chance she had. If she wasn’t doing something silly, she was curling up on my lap or giving me kisses.

The companionship that this seven-month old puppy has shown me in the last four months blows my mind. Lucy is always close by, or always within distance where she can see me, which gives me an incredible amount of comfort.

Even while we are sleeping, Lucy is curled against me completely under the covers. When I roll and move, she rolls and moves with me until she is touching me in some shape or form. I thought her sleeping with us would get old, but feeling her there yet again brings another level of comfort.

My favorite time spent with her is during our morning runs. I love running while also giving her the opportunity to exercise.

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This morning we only ran 2.22 miles, which is shorter than we normally do. Ever since we began running together we typically stop between 1.10 to 1.50 miles, all depending on her. Today when we found our bench of choice, she jumped up waiting for me to sit before crawling on my lap.

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After a few minutes she starting whimpering.  I think our midway breaks might soon be over. Lucy’s strength and endurance has certainly grown.

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I am so happy I have included running outdoors into my exercise routine. I often times get bored at a gym, doing the same routine . . . adding an outdoor run a few times a week keeps it entertaining, especially with an exercise buddy.

Although Lucy goes through her awful puppy days, she is a blessing. She has shown me so much joy, a joy I didn’t realize was missing.

I couldn’t have asked for a better puppy to have adopted us.

Camped out on the floor

Last night was our first rough night, our first long night since Friday.

Lucy and I slept on the living room floor.

Lucy typically crawls under the covers as soon as we make our way to bed.

Last night was not the case.

After an unsuccessful attempt of both of us lying in bed, Lucy and I came back downstairs.

Since her surgery on Friday I have put her cone on when we go to bed to distract her from licking. This unfortunately has been super uncomfortable and last night she fought it. She wouldn’t settle down.

Lucy tried to jump off the bed, which is unusual when Jason and I are both in bed.

I didn’t want her to hurt herself and certainly did not want her to jump off the bed.  So, I took the cone off and left the bedroom.

After a little while Lucy finally laid down next to me under the blanket on the ground. Before too long she crawled in her bed next to us.

It took me a while to get comfortable and fall asleep.  Honestly it took me a while because I was worried she was going to start licking.

Exhaustion finally struck. I didn’t wake until I started hearing Jason move around upstairs.

As far as I know she slept all night long. I usually hear her moving around.

Lucy hasn’t cried when she’s in pain, but rather starts shaking and lunges towards her stomach.  This morning when we were outside it started happening, so I picked her up and tried to calm the shakes and stop the violent lunging.

My body is beyond sore this morning from laying on the hard ground and I do not feel rejuvenated from a good night’s sleep.

Lucy, on the other hand, is sound asleep next to me once again. The pain must have gone away. I may just wait an hour or so before we climb the stairs and I start my work day.

Oh the things we do for our animals to make sure they are comfortable. 

Emotional day

Yesterday was a lot harder than I had anticipated. 

As I started getting ready yesterday morning, Lucy instantly knew something was going on. Once we walked downstairs she began shaking, which really didn’t vanish until we were half way down the road.

You see June 13 marked the day that she was being spayed. Our day started rather early because I had to drop her off at the vet at 7:30 in the morning.

The bad part of this whole scenerio is Banfield is right next to the Kingsport Greenbelt where we go for our runs.

The excitment slowly took over Lucy as she became aware of where we were. As the car continued to go past our regular destination, she began shaking again. After I parked the car, we sat there for a few minutes as I gave her a few last scratches, which she throughly enjoyed.

We walked to the front counter and as I was given paperwork, the nurses took her from me and walked away.

I was okay until I walked back towards the car with no puppy.  I have no idea why I became so emotional, but my eyes began filling with tears as I sat in the car.

At this point in time I was reminded how much this little puppy and I have shared in such a short amount of time. I cannot put into words what kind of bond we have formed.

Jason and I were able to save her when she showed up at our doorstep, and in a sense she saved me too. I love having a companion with me all the time, especially with how much Jason works.

I knew Lucy was in good hands, but she was still going to be given anesthesia and undergoing surgery.

I’m a worry wart, a very big worry wart.

Once I arrived back home I started to work on some articles, which was weird. There was no puppy under my desk, no little puppy footsteps following me everywhere, no breaks to go for a walk outside.

Jason and I made an appointment for our kitty Leo at Banfield for 9:15 the same morning. This was very hard. I could hear Lucy crying, but I couldn’t go and comfort her. Her surgery hadn’t started yet, and wouldn’t for another hour or so.

After bringing Leo back home, I went back to work, while watching the clock. The wait for the phone call, oh the wait.

I was finally able to settle down when the phone rang and I was told that Lucy did really well and we could pick her up after 4 p.m. Now a new wait was before me. Thank goodness I had a ton of work to get done.

This part of my day I will never forget. When the vet carried Lucy into room #2, she was wearing a light blue bandana. I stood up and walked towards her. I knew she knew who I was, but since she was still highly medicated her look was so far away. It felt good to pet her and let her know I was there. It felt even better to carry her to the car and bring her home.

After we got her home, Jason headed to the store to get us dinner.

I lost it .

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As she sat in her bed, she looked at me through extremely cloudy eyes. Lucy was right in front of me, but yet so far away. That look made me cry.

As humans we can verbally communicate how we are feeling. Although I know this puppy, I had no idea what she was thinking, how she was feeling.

Overwhelmed was an understatement.  I’m such a softy, such an animal lover. This puppy stole my heart from day one.

I’m happy to say the cloudiness slowly went away and the alert, loving puppy joined us by the end of the night.

She slept all night with a cone around her neck to prevent her from licking. She stayed close to my side,  often times repositioning herself to get even closer.

Today Lucy was back to normal for the most part. She definitely wants to be active, which I cannot let her do quite yet.

The hardest thing this week is going to be preventing her from jumping, running and chasing the cats up the stairs. I’m hoping we will have a successful week of recovery.

I love how much of an impact an animal can have on your life. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this little pup and I!

Good ending

Yesterday was nuts.

Well, let’s rewind, it all started the night before around 11 p.m.

Jason and I were snuggled close on the couch when Leo appeared and laid with us. This is the first time he has laid with me since we brought our puppy home.

Well things changed drastically after this.

Out cat Leo, who we have had since 2010, started to get sick. This of course happens from time to time with hairballs, but never to this extent. He kept throwing up, to the point where it was just stomach vile.

With deep concern, we all finally went to sleep hoping for the best after the vomiting subsided. As we all got situated in bed, yes Jason and I are accompanied by our puppy Lucy and other cat Kimber, every night, I spotted Leo laying on the ground between the wall and our bed. I’ve never seen him lay here before.

I scratched a few of his favorite spots and then put a blanket next to him on the floor.

I soon fell asleep to the quite breathing of Jason next to me.

Lucy woke me up early yesterday morning, 5:45. This is unusual for her. So, we went outside, so she could go, came back in and she had breakfast.

After Jason left for work, Leo jumped in my lap and cuddled close. Ever since we got Lucy in April he hasn’t snuggled with me. I enjoyed every minute, well until Lucy wanted to take his spot.

As soon as he jumped down, Leo started getting sick again. This kept on going on and off until around 11:30 yesterday morning.

My concern deepened with my heart heavy. Leo was exhausted by this point. He finally settled down and fell asleep.

After talking to Jason, I made an appointment at Banfield,  the same place we take Lucy. Unfortunately we couldn’t get him in until 3:15 that afternoon. I was so worried, I could barely concentrate on my work.

Jason came home on his break and helped me take Leo to the vet. I love this man so much for coming all the way home. My emotions were frazzled by this point and I didn’t want to take Leo by myself, especially without a cat carrier.

So after waiting a while after we got there, the vet finally saw him. She said he looked really good and without some extensive testing she wouldn’t know for sure, but it might have just been a rather large hairball that he was struggling to get rid of.

With both of us fearing the worst,  this was good news. Jason drove Leo home as I paid the bill and made another appointment for him.

Words cannot describe how much that meant to me. Jason works a good 40-45 minutes away from home. When I told him thank you, his simple response was “that’s what I do.” I love this man so much.

After he left to go back to work, Leo started acting a little more like himself. He even ate some food. Since I knew there wasn’t anything major wrong with him, I finally left the house with Lucy in tow.

I had to get rid of the stress of the day and give some one-on-one time to Lucy. So we went to our favorite place the Kingsport Greenbelt. It felt so good to be outdoors for an evening run.

Shortly after we starting running, we came to a stop when I saw four deer crossing the path a little ways before us. How cool is that? I love spotting animals in nature. I of course tried to take a picture, but with a puppy that doesn’t sit still it came out rather blurry.

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We kept going, until Lucy spotted our favorite place. This is where we stopped and took a break.

After some exploring, we were on the path once again heading back to our starting point.

We ran 2.48 miles going from 1147 in elevation to 1236.

This run was exactly what I needed, what we needed. So, feeling satisfied, we drove back home to wait for Jason to come home from work.

Yesterday shined some light on our relationship once again. There’s not anything this man won’t do for me and all of our pets. How did I get so lucky?  I’m so glad our paths crossed again.

I’m happy to say Leo never got sick again after returning home from the vet. He’s been talking up a storm today.

Oh, our life is back to normal.

Now to get some writing done, so I can hopefully go to the gym this afternoon.

One healthy puppy

I am beyond thrilled to say that our puppy Lucy is healthy. I’ve been worried since she arrived, especially since we know absolutely nothing about her parents, where she came from and how long she was wandering outside.

IMG_1548We took Lucy to the vet this morning and she did fantastic. She let out a couple little yelps when she was getting her vaccinations, but other than that she was beyond good. This little pup was really calm considering everything that was done to her.

It was interesting to see Lucy gravitate towards Jason between all the poking. She would walk over to me until I picked her up and then eventually crawled from my lap to Jason’s. This man of mine not only knows how to calm me down, but he has that calming effect on Lucy as well. She instantly curled up and closed her eyes.

I did not feel nervous, or anxious, but my puppy sure knew.

The vet said Lucy is a terrier schnauzer mix and based on her teeth she is about 13-weeks old.

After all our information was put into the computer Jason put her on the scale to see how much she weighs . . . 5.9 pounds. I knew she was tiny, but wow, she’s really tiny. She has a wonderful appetite though, so I’m sure in the next three weeks that scale will read more.

All her exams came back normal and she had four vaccine’s done, which made me feel good. My little puppy now is on a wellness plan to keep her healthy. No more wondering if she is okay. Now that we have vaccinations underway and received the first dosage of flee and worm medicine, she can definitely go on some hikes with us.

We now she is capable of going with us after her first adventure a few nights ago.

We took her for a walk on the Kingsport Greenbelt Saturday night and she was amazing. I forgot how much fun it was to go on a walk with a dog.  I don’t think she once walked while we went along the path and in the grass. It was cute to see her excited about exploring a new area. Often times she had me jogging to keep up with her pace. Once we got home, I gave her a bath and she curdled up in her little bed and instantly passed out. We wore her out.

It’s still sometimes hard to believe we are puppy owners. It’s surreal really. This little peanut and her sibling found us and we were able to give her a home. I love how everything eventually fell into place; that we were able to provide her a home that she deserves.

Her brother is still doing well and will be going to his new home next week. I met his owner the other day when Jason and I stopped by his house with Lucy. He is so incredibly laid back and very easy to get along with. He is already talking about fencing in his huge back yard for the little pup. I’m sure this little puppy will be very happy.

Lucy is such a smart little girl. She now knows three tricks – sit, up and down. Although we are still working on laying down and standing up, she knows sit really well. We have also been extremely successful with potty training. She no longer has accidents in the house! Lucy and I have been on a good routine. I take her out every one to two hours, depending on how long she naps for and she goes every time. You have no idea how exciting this is . . . I was starting to wonder early on because the accidents were so frequent.

This puppy has filled my heart with so much joy in such a short amount of time. I absolutely love having her with me all day. Even when Jason’s home, she finds where I am and lays close. At night, she sleeps with us, which I know probably isn’t a good habit to start, but it works just fine. She crawls under, yes, under the covers as soon as we lay down and stays there until she is ready to wake up.

This morning she started to gently kick my legs with her paws, so I moved the blanket from over her and she crawled onto my chest and then onto my pillow. She laid on her back as our noses were almost touching, so I could scratch her chest. This is one of her absolute favorite things . . . you need to calm her down, scratch and rub her chest and it works every time.

She is incredibly sweet first thing in the morning. Lucy always puts a smile on my face first thing, which is a great way to start the day.

Lucy filled a void I did not know was there . . . .