A New Beginning

Bert would be happy to know that there is a new puppy leasing his home.

This puppy is named “Dash” … please visit here:

http://dashthedachshund.com/

Just like last time, enter your email address to the right, and you will get to see what little Dash is up to. Hint … Dash is young, and Dash is fast.

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Goodbye

This is a picture I took of Bert, at about noon today.

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We went to see the US Womens National Soccer Team play Brazil last Wednesday night (six days ago). He sat in the car for four hours … a long stretch, sure, but not unusual for him. When we got back to the car, he was panicked, and had shortness of breath.  From that point until today, Bert didn’t do very well. Bad bowels, shortness of breath, weakness … lots of weakness. Didn’t want to walk. Probably couldn’t walk much. Loss of appetite. Very shallow breaths and rapid heartbeat overnight. On several occasions, he appeared to be ready to pass out, he’d get really low to the ground, and his eyes would bug out of his head.

On Monday, we sent an email to his cardiologist. His cardiologist recommended a blood test, and an x-ray of his heart. Oh, let me tell you, Bert hated getting blood drawn. Hated having needles put in him. Hated it. HATED … IT!!

I scheduled his appointment … for 3:20pm Tuesday (today).

Twenty-five months ago, our problems started when Bert ran up the stairs to enjoy a sampling of Frosted Strawberry Pop Tart crusts. He collapsed, and we learned his mitral valve was failing.

This morning, I carried Bert upstairs, and he thoroughly enjoyed eating Frosted Strawberry Pop Tart crusts with me … he hadn’t had any in two or three months. He loved eating them! He acted like a puppy while waiting for me to hand him the treats.

This, after refusing to eat breakfast this morning.

We had guests over today, a house full, through late afternoon. So I took Bert to the vet by myself – I carried him out to the car, sat him in his car seat, and off we drove. That was at 3:10pm.

At 3:19pm, we pulled in to the vet. I opened the door, picked him up, and set him on the ground. I wanted to get his leash, so I could walk him inside.

When I looked down, he had slumped over on to his side, and actually had rolled a bit over toward his back. Non-responsive.

I picked him up, and rushed him in to the vet. Had a hard time opening the door. I got inside, I set him on the floor, and I blurted out “Our Boy Is In Trouble!“. The use of the word “our” is appropriate. His vet staff invested a lot of energy and kindness to keep him plugging along through the years. One of the employees, present this afternoon, was one of his favorite friends – she cared for him when we traveled and he had to stay put.

His vet listened to his heart. He was having a massive heart attack. She asked how long it would take for Bert’s Mom to arrive? I said if I called, it would take 15 minutes to let our house guests know that our party was over and then drive to the vet.

Bert’s Mom made it in 12 minutes. Seemed like 1.2 minutes to me.

When Bert’s Mom arrived, Bert was mostly non-responsive. Oh, sure, he tried to knock off the oxygen mask a few times, but interestingly, the needles didn’t bother him. ‘Nuff said there. I asked him to kiss my face. He didn’t. He wasn’t “Bert” anymore.

We said goodbye. As Bert transitioned to being unconscious, a cat strolled into the room we were in, and sat down against my leg as Bert passed. We were told that the cat appears when pets are about to pass away. The cat waited until Bert was gone, and then, the cat moved along.

In less than an hour, we went from a dog enjoying a party to not having a dog.

We frequently asked Bert’s cardiologist how Bert would pass? We both hoped that Bert would have a massive heart attack, or would die in his sleep. We didn’t expect our prayers to be answered, given what the past twenty-five months have been like. But our prayers were answered. He had the massive heart attack that we hoped would make the decision so very easy. And he had the massive heart attack at the vet, one minute before an appointment. Those are impossible odds. All three of us were clearly blessed.

If you miss Bert, go back and read through his adventurous trip to Wisconsin. We had so much fun with him! Until the past six days, he had so much fun, too! I doubt there was ever a dog that derived more pleasure out of life than Bert derived. At minimum, no dog watched as much TV as Bert watched, critiquing animals in commercials with his trademark growl.

He was my friend. That’s a good thing.

We Were Livin’ In A Van Down By The River!

‘Sup pups?

Here’s a fun fact for you. I was given 6-12 months to live, following the heart attack I suffered when I ran up the stairs because Dad had just toasted a Frosted Strawberry Pop Tart that possessed succulent browned crusts that I desired to sup upon.

That was 24 months ago!

Here I am, not exactly moving fast by any means, but most certainly still moving. By the way, I enjoyed Frosted Strawberry Pop Tart Crusts this very morning, thank you very much!

So life is good.

Last weekend, Mom and Dad took me across the Cascades. Mom spent a few days at a quilt camp, while Dad and I explored the region.

When I think of last Saturday, I think, “Man, it was a hot one. It was like we were seven inches from the midday sun.” So Dad tried to take me up to Blewett Pass, hoping that elevation might cool us down a bit. Nope. It was hot, windy, dusty, and no fun at all.

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Dad thought some “higher education” might suit me better than “higher elevation”. So he drove me to 96 degree Ellensburg, home of Central Washington University.

Along the way, Dad stopped to check out a few of the scenic vistas along Highway 97.

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In Ellensburg, he found me some lush, green, moist fescue – just what I needed to cool down and relax!

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Whew – nothing like a little bit of moisture to cool down on a hot day!

On Sunday, a cold front blew through. Dad recommended a drive to the Yakima River Canyon, where we found a bridge over troubled waters.

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As you can see, fun was had by all!

But honestly, pups, I wore out a bit. Dad just parked us on Monday, giving me a chance to sleep all day. Ah! Peaceful slumber. Exactly what I needed. Especially after spending an afternoon livin’ in a van down by the river!

August 3 = Dog Days of Summer

‘Sup pups?

These are the fabled “dog days of summer”. Hot days, warm nights, and the persistent need to say hydrated. I ask, “Where is the water?”

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Oh, it is right there! Wait … it’s only water? Where’s the lemonade?

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When I was a wee-little pup, Mom and Dad gave me special treats. Those were the days.

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The grass was taller back then, too … no drought to worry about.

At least Mom and Dad are willing to park the rig next to city-approved dog fluid restoration centers.

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A few weeks back, my Grandma and Grandpa headed home after a lovely stay. Mom and Dad suggested we take our rig – leaky kitchen and all – to the Olympic Peninsula.

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The map depicts a town called “Ocean Shores”. It’s not easy to get to, it’s isolated, and it is an AMAZING PLACE for a pup who loves beaches!

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Even fettered with a leash, I could sense the possibilities!

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Mom and Dad thought that the half-hour spent in a polluted, radiation-saturated ocean was more than enough for my sensitive constitution. They wanted to hit the road. However, I longed for more.

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I begged for more.

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I still longed for more.

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But it was not to be. It was time to leave Ocean Shores.

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We drove north a few miles, and spent a half-hour with friends who are staying up in Copalis. But then, we needed to proceed north … we didn’t have reservations, so we needed to find a place to stay before it got dark.

One problem.

Everything was booked – campgrounds, cabins, hotels, motels.

We drove north. And north. And north. We ended up in Forks. You may remember Forks from the Twilight movie series. The place is downright frightening, pups. There’s always the threat of an undead vampire or oversized wolf getting in a fight. But we got through the town just fine … no hotels, no motels, no loss of life.

Then we drove east … past Lake Crescent … through Port Angeles … still no room at the Inn for a pup in swaddling clothes. Mom and Dad were getting anxious. They called a Quality Inn hotel in Sequim. They waited. And waited. And then … ONE ROOM AVAILABLE, DOG FRIENDLY!

We drove to Sequim, a full twenty minutes east of Port Angeles. It was around eleven in the evening. Let me tell you, this place opened up their doors for pups like me. Did you know that they have a Facebook page? Did you know that they feature pups like me on their Facebook page? Don’t believe me? Click here to find out! I am famous!

After a well-deserved evening of sleep, we toured Sequim, found it to be to our liking, and then headed home – with a brief stay at the Swinomish Casino RV Park. There, Mom and Dad were able to find one of the two major leaks in our kitchen … the lid to the sink has two holes in the hinge, and those two holes allow water to flow, unimpeded, to the drawers and ultimately to the floor of the rig. Dad believes he addressed the other issue – the air gap in the hot water heater had to be reset. This week, we take the rig in to get fixed … little problems like the stereo changing stations when you walk through the rig … that kind of thing, ya know?

So that’s what I know. It’s the dog days of summer. Dad promised me a trip to a foreign country back in June, then failed to honor the request. He says we have a trip to a foreign country planned for the end of the month. He won’t tell me what country we’re headed to, but it will be my third country (USA, Mexico). Secretly, I’m hoping we’re headed to Iceland. I like cool weather.

June 8 = A Bruising Experience

‘Sup pups?

My body slows, but much like you, my desire to experience fun accelerates!

Sometimes, however, fun takes a back seat to bodily function.

We arrive at the ferry landing, preparing to board a ferry to Lopez Island. Now, Dad has been working my emotions all morning, telling me that I’m going for a ride. Ohhhhhhh baby! So when we show up at the ferry landing, my gastro-intestinal system is primed for action. I walk about two blocks … and then … I begin to stagger. Wobble. Saliva drips from my lips. A burning sensation ignites my hind quarters. You know what comes next, right?

Here’s what comes next.

As I complete my duties, inappropriately soiling my delicate hind quarters in the process, Dad notices that Lane 11 is boarding the ferry. Our rig is in Lane 11. Dad asks me to run, and at a rapid pace. I balk at his request. Dad pulls on the leash. I balk at his request, and for good reason … I have to dispense additional (moist) waste products. So I assume the fabled crouched position. Dad notices that every car in front of our RV in Lane 11 is now boarding the ferry. Dad scoops me up, runs me to the coach, and literally throws me at Mom. Throws me! Like a quarterback pitching a football in a jet sweep to the wide receiver in a college football game. Dad bellows to Mom “His rear end is full of you know what, don’t let his rear end touch anything.

Dad fires up the RV.

Dad puts the RV into gear.

Dad doesn’t tell Mom that the RV is about to accelerate, downhill, at close to thirty miles per hour.

Dad stomps on the gas pedal, mashing it to the floor board.

It is at this time that the laws of physics take over. Mom’s feet remain planted where we were. Mom’s head accelerates with the RV. The inconsistent and highly twisting motion, a torquing of Mom’s body if you will, sends Mom from a vertical position to a horizontal position, smashing her arm against drawer handles in the kitchen.

Seconds later, when Mom finally came to rest on the floor of the RV, Dad was already half-way to the ferry, wondering aloud why Mom was no longer able to breathe?

I guess the contact between Mom’s arm and the handle on the kitchen drawer bordered on the excessive:

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That’s a meaty mess, folks. Mom tells me that, and I quote, “her arm hurts”. Heck, I can see all of the colors of the rainbow in that image. I told Mom, “it gets better”.

Apparently my bum made contact with a leather seat during the chaos … but outside of that, I didn’t leave residuals all over the rig as one might expect during an event as catastrophic as what Mom experienced.

Dad cleaned me up, Mom caught her breath, and we headed over to Lopez Island.

Mom and Dad took me to see the sights … though it was around 80 degrees, so I had minimal stamina. Still, I enjoyed the idea of eating deli food infused with mayo on a hot summer day.

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Mom and Dad ate lunch while I sat in the RV.

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Fortunately, Dad brought me back a small slice of bread while exchanging post-meal pleasantries.

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Whew!

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Eating a slightly stale chunk of bread wears a Corgi out.

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We eventually arrived at our campground … and as you can see, we had a fabulous view of elegant and functional garbage dumpsters.

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I was stealthily hiding behind a tree for one simple reason … rabbits! It will be hard to make out the rabbit here, but trust me, this place was infested with bunnies.

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Anyway, we thought we had our water heater and kitchen plumbing leak solved … no problems for seven consecutive days … and then, as we pack up to leave … we absorbed five drops of water. Five. So we’ll continue to try to figure out what is going on. It’s a mystery, folks.

Today, we checked out the home of friends who are traveling. On a warm day, I enjoyed shady grass.

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We keep having fun, pups. Dad tells me that we have another trip coming up in a couple of weeks. He says we are going to visit a town where a television show is filmed … and that the town is in a foreign country. Sounds like I will need my puppy passport!

Peace out,

Bert

May 9 = Orcas Island!

‘Sup pups?

I met with my cardiologist on Thursday. I’m sure all of you have a cardiologist that you visit on a quarterly basis. It’s a big part of the MommyDaddyCare plan that the government forces me to participate in. Anyway, my kidneys don’t like all the drugs I’m on, my heart disease is progressing a bit more than it had been, and most interestingly, my legs are starting to fail. I’m losing muscle mass in my rear hips, and my rear feet fold over when I walk. My cardiologist noticed the problem, too – he says it’s a disease called “Degenerative Myelopathy” – a canine version of Lou Gerhig’s disease. Mom and Dad told me that my great, great grandma had this disease as well. Oh, and I have a few lumps on my body that were very similar to the cancer I had a few years ago.

To recap:

  1. Failing heart.
  2. Failing nervous system.
  3. Skin cancer.

I still have my appetite!

And I still thoroughly enjoy RV trips. Last weekend, Mom and Dad took me to Orcas Island. You know what they have over there? GOATS!!

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Those crazy kids refused to come out and play with me, but that’s ok.

The goats were at a Farmer’s Market. They have all sorts of fun stuff at Farmer’s Markets, and I’m not just talking about unfettered quantities of kale. They had another corgi!

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Unfortunately, this corgi, let’s name her “crabby” for illustrative purposes, was not interested in comparing notes about Orcas Island. Or anything.

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Well, you can’t force ’em to love you, so we moved on. Dad made sure to park the rig near canine watering holes.

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We spent a couple of nights at West Beach Resort – another one of those four paw places that Dad likes to frequent (click here). I immediately set out to take Dad down by the ocean.

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I kinda ran out of real estate at that point.

Anyway, these four paw places are just what a corgi with crumblin’ health requires to stay vibrant, don’t you think?

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Mom and Dad took me to a really fun place – it’s called “Mt. Constitution” – with sweeping views of Puget Sound, from Vancouver BC all the way down to Seattle. In this snap, Mom is trying to force me to look at an active volcano known as “Mt. Baker”. But I want to look north, to Canada. Guess who won that battle?

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The trip left me exhausted – so tired that I demanded access to half of the bed in the new rig.

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We’ve been back home for a few days. I’m absolutely enjoying the strangely temperate conditions and blue skies that so rarely grace our presence here in the Pacific Northwest.

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And heck, even the trip to the cardiologist was, for the most part, just fine. It was a glorious day, weather-wise. Mom and Dad enjoyed a Gyro Picnic at a park – Dad even gave me small morsels of pita bread!

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Then came the blood tests – oh my goodness! They kept trying to stick needles into my skin, in an effort to draw life-giving blood from my veins. What’s up with that? After spending a few minutes with medics, I was bandaged up and was back in the game.

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So, I eagerly await our next adventure. Dad tells me it’s only a week or ten days away. I know where I’ll be!

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Peace Out,

Bert

April 6 = My Wardrobe

‘Sup pups?

Last Friday, Dad and I spent three glorious hours getting a wardrobe installed in my our Winnebago Era.

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I was offered the generous opportunity to sit under Dad’s chair as the installation progressed.

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I think the real issue we are having is a squink that drives Dad nuts. Something about the styrofoam covering the hot water heater rubbing gently and loudly against the kitchen plumbing brings the worst out of Dad. That, and a Badger loss in the National Championship Game. Stay away from Tropical Storm Daddy.

In other news, a pod of transient orcas locomoted through the channel on Easter Sunday morning. I was there to cover the action.

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Can you see the orcas behind me? Me neither!

This afternoon, Dad hinted that the two of us are taking the Era out for one final shakedown cruise before the first real trip.Your intrepid reporter will deliver you the details upon completion of the shakedown.