In late January, my elderly beagle mix Abby died suddenly of what was probably liver cancer. One day she just started hemorrhaging in her belly. I took her to the emergency vet, and putting her down was really the only option. She was almost sixteen. I got her as a one-year-old from Hearts United for Animals, one of the best no-kill shelters in the country. They specialize in long-distance adoptions, so if you're looking for a dog, you should check them out. Abby was possibly the most well-behaved dog on the planet. I still miss her.
Then, in February, a good friend of mine lost his mother to pancreatic cancer. She had been diagnosed only about twelve weeks earlier. It was very hard for him. And so, it was just a sad winter all around. I still miss Wolfgang, too.
There was happiness as well. Not long after I lost Abby, I decided to go ahead and look for a rescue beagle. This was mostly for Lola the bassador's benefit. Lola is a super playful girl, and neither Abby or Sam was much interested in playing with her. I found a beagle in Portland on CraigsList, and it was love at first sight. Her name is Annie, and she is fifty pounds of personality in a twenty-pound package. Her baying can just about pop your eardrums, and she is a Houdini at getting out of the yard. But she is a sweet little cuddlebug, and she loves to play with Lola. I'm happy I found her.
Sam the GSP is fourteen and hanging in there. He's mostly blind and mostly deaf, and his eye allergies make him miserable sometimes, but his heart and lungs are good, he's still steady on his feet, and he loves his food, his bed, his backyard, and his chin scritches.
One the horse front, I am currently riding a gray thoroughbred named Lee. He's a pretty boy!
Sadly, Camilla has decided to sell Huey. She wants to jump over three feet, and Huey just can't keep his head together over the bigger fences. It's not that he can't jump them; it's more that he gets totally jacked up and takes over. But on lower fences he's super, and he can rock first level dressage. I think second level is within his reach as well. At third, it would take a lot of work to settle his flying changes.
My big news is that I have decided to become a non-directed kidney donor, meaning that my kidney will go to whomever needs it and is a good match. I was inspired by a This American Life segment on a Jewish woman who decided to donate her kidney as a mitzvah, or good deed. I also read a New York Times article on the largest kidney donation chain of all time: 30 donors and 30 recipients. I'll write a future post on what becoming a non-directed donor entails; but I have to share my exciting news -- yesterday the hospital in Seattle called to say they found a match for my kidney, and that my donation will start a chain. My surgery is tentatively set for July 10. I'm excited to think that I'll be able to help someone who is chronically ill have a much better quality of life.