2016 was a rough year for many in so many different ways. I think the humans all got burnt out by the election process, no matter which side you were on. There were losses of many well known people, some very shocking and all sad.
The pet blogging community had many losses as well. Some of our closest blog friends lost furry family members, some expected because of aging and illness, but others more tragic and unexpected. The truth is, we thought we would be in the former group. When our golden retriever Sheba had her second surgery to remove cancerous lumps in December of 2015, we felt sure she would not make it through the next year with us, and never dared to imagine that she would even be with us this following Christmas and beyond.
I feared our move to a new home might be too stressful for her. We knew we were blessed that she was a trooper for that, and went on to look forward to the “Summer of Sheba”. That summer and fall was not without its ups and downs and scares for her health. Once those settled down, we started to have hope that she’d make it to her birthday in October, and then to the holidays, but we didn’t really expect that she would.
Then I started to have one more hope, though I wouldn’t write a word of it until this new year. You see, each full year since I started this blog (in August of 2012), we lost one of our “crew” members. We lost our golden retriever Moses (Sheba’s littermate) in June of 2013 to cancer, suddenly and unexpectedly. In February of 2014 we lost our beagle Kobi, and in May of 2015 our cat Conrad, both to old age. I felt cursed, and with Sheba’s cancer progressing, I thought the yearly curse would continue and we would surely lose her in 2016.
What scared me even more was that if that happened, what would 2017 bring? With two more senior girls in the household, beagle Cricket and cat Samantha, would the curse continue to this year?
Our sweet girl Sheba just broke that curse. I figuratively held my breath up until the last minute of 2016, and when we woke the next morning into the new year, here she still was!
We can’t deny the fact that Sheba is slowing down lately. Her appetite is not what it was, she no longer eats breakfast and only eats a light supper. She will, thankfully, still take treats throughout the day though. She often comes into the house to lie down before the outside ball games are over, something she never did before. This morning she didn’t get up with the other dogs. Cricket was worried, and at first she wouldn’t get up either. Then as the Dadz dished out breakfast, Cricket so sweetly came to check on Sheba again.
Sheba was OK, and she did get up a few minutes after that. She will still play with Luke a little bit too, but she hasn’t even attempted to destroy the new toys we got. She also seems to be losing her eyesight, at least long distance. She can’t see when the ball is being thrown, and in order for her to catch it, we have to get up to within about two feet of her and gently toss it. Yet she’ll still head outside every time we go to play, and enjoys herself regardless.
It’s tough to live with sometimes, seeing her a bit weak or stumbling at times. Mostly it’s the not knowing how it will go – will she decline slowly, leading us to have to make that dreaded decision, or will we wake up one morning or get home from work one day and find her gone? I try not to dwell on it, but it’s difficult to not think about.
As much as that weighs heavily on us, we still celebrate every day that she is with us. Bless her for fighting so hard to stay here for as long as she can, and for extending those days into the new year; putting an end to my silly, though not unfounded, superstitions. I sometimes think she knows exactly what she’s doing.
Hairballs and Hissyfits says
so glad to hear that Sheba broke the curse!
Just wanted you to know that I chose this post on Sheba from the last Showcase two weeks ago as one of my featured posts for this Showcase. I included this post as a memorial to your amazing girl. I know anyone who reads about her will fall in love just like I have.
Jodi Stone says
This made me cry happy tears. And I’m so glad she broke that curse. You want to try and be positive, but it’s hard as they age, especially if they have health issues. I don’t blame you at all, for not putting it into writing before now. I’m superstitious like that myself.
Happy New Year!
This time with her is so emotionally exhausting – I get it. I feel for you — I’ve also gone through with many heart dogs and you just celebrate every day and knowing they’re comfortable and happy is the most important thing. But it’s awful though. I know there isn’t anything I can say to make that pit go away but just know –we’re all thinking about you and sweet Sheba.
Thank you so much, Christy. Sheba is only our third dog to make it well into her senior years (counting Cricket), and the cancer only complicates things. So in some ways we still just don’t know what to expect; but we do know how grateful we are to get this experience, tough as it might be.
Anita Aurit says
Such a wonderful story and it reminds us all that our senior animals can live long and healthy lives. It’s hard as they age and we watch them more closely. I have lived in this health nether-world with beloved felines and the best we can do is offer them excellent care and watch them closely. Just because they are aging does not mean they are not experiencing a wonderful quality of life.
Thankful for the happy ending to Sheba’s story and our Tribe of Five says to give her a scratch behind the ear from them (and a meow if you’re so inclined)
Anita, Tucker, Jasmine, Lily, Oliver and Alberto
Thank you all so much!! I like to think the reason Sheba is sticking with us is because she’s still enjoying life so much. ♥
Roby Sweet says
Sheba is a beautiful girl. It’s hard to see pets, our furry family members, getting older and not able to do everything they used to. But I also look at it as an honor to get to care for them in the hard times, when over the years they’ve woken up every day with unconditional love and acceptance. Sending Sheba–and you–purrs and prayers…
Thank you so much. You are right, it is an honor to care for them; and the love they give back makes every struggle completely worth it.
Glad to revisit this post and get some more Sheba … this time under “official” duty as a co-host of the Showcase 🙂
You’re so sweet to stop by again!
2 Brown Dawgs says
I hope she is with you for a long time to come. You really have taken very good care of her and all of them.
Thank you, Linda. I’ll always feel like maybe I should be doing something more (like more homemade meals), yet you can’t really argue with success, can you? I don’t know if it’s what we’re doing, or just that she is such a fighter. Either way, it works!
Happy New Year to your family and most especially to your amazing little Sheba! She’s lucky to have you.
Thank you, Chris, and Happy New Year to you! It works both ways – we are so lucky to have Sheba as well!
I’m glad the curse was broken! Sending lots of good thoughts for continued good days together!
Dolly the Doxie says
It’s terrible isn’t it, wondering how our pets will go or when we’ll have to make that decision? My mom worries about your family too but knows you will do what’s best for Sheba, it’s amazing that she is still around. Mom’s Aunt’s husband died recently, her son took her to stay with him a few days only to have her cat die staying with her other son! She said that the cat loved Jim (husband) and ever since he went into nursing home in April she wasn’t the same. Almost like dying of a broken heart.
That story about your Aunt’s cat is so sad! I worry a lot also about how Cricket and Luke are going to take Sheba’s passing. Luke can be a loner at times so I think he’ll be OK, but Cricket and Sheba have been together since Cricket was just a few months old (she’s only two months older than Sheba).
On the other hand, our cat Conrad was extremely bonded with our cat Katie. When Katie died I know Conrad was heartbroken, yet he went on to live many years. I guess you just never know, and have to hope for the best.
Pat Panek says
Jan, you have no idea how timely this post is. I celebrate Sheba and pray for all of you. My senior dog Buster, age 13 +, has a rare liver disease and refused to eat this morning. I can’t give him some of his meds unless he has food in his stomach.
He had been doing better up until Sunday when his appetite was a bit off and his movements slower. He vascillates like that and every time he declines I am gripped with fear and such sadness. Like you, I don’t know what his final moments will be or when, I just know that every moment woth him is precious. I am not ready, but my readiness means nothing. This is all about him.
Thanks for reminding me to spoil the heck out of him. His life should be about what gives him pleasure and not about stressing over his not eating his nitritious prescription food. He Loves his Zukes and that is his call. It would be nice if he ate the good stuff, but at this point I think that would be more for my peace of mind and not for his joy. Thanks again.
Pat, it is so nice to hear from you; though I’m sorry to hear about Buster. The roller coaster rides of their health are so tough. Sheba does so well at times I could almost forget she’s sick (other than the huge lumps on her side). Strangely, at those times, I think I might be ready when it’s her time. But then when she goes downhill and things feel imminent, I know I never really will be. Just when I’m starting to despair, she’ll bounce back again!
So yes, all we can do is make the most of each day, spoil them rotten, and try to get them to eat what we can. I remember this way too well with our beagle Kobi, and eventually he just would not eat at all, and nothing we tried worked. He knew it was his time, and we really do just have to listen to them when they’re telling us that, as difficult as it is.
Pat Panek says
Thanks, Jan. After I posted, I forgot all about his healthy diet and gave him a small portion of cat food (what we call kitty cat kibbles) and Zukes. He gobbled it up and looks a little perkier. Was able to get his meds in him and now I feel better, too. I have a house full of senior pets: a 17 year old cat named Trubble, and my dogs Buster, 13, and Roxy 10. My Bridgett would be 12 now. My heart and prayers are with you and Sheba. Wishing us all a joyous day.
Thank you for the cat food tip! It’s toughest for us to get Sheba to take her pill in the morning too, but we used the cat food and it worked like a charm!
It is tough having a house full of seniors at times, isn’t it – yet they make the most wonderful pets. I think of you and Bridgett often….please keep me posted on how Buster is doing.
Mary Ruiz says
Janet I’m so glad she made it into 2017! It’s almost a year that my Toby crossed to the rainbow bridge. Not a day goes by that I do t think of him. Enjoy every minute of every day that she is with you. ((Hugs))
Thank you so much, Mary, and we certainly will make the most of every day. I can’t believe it’s been a year already since you lost Toby. Time eases the pain but it never goes away completely, and we never forget. ♥
Sand spring Chesapeake says
Yeah Sheba!!! You go girl so glad you made it into the new year and hope your here a long time! Keep doing what you are doing cuz your doing it right.
The Island Cats says
It’s hard watching our pets age. I’m glad Sheba continues to do okay…and that she beat the odds. Take it one day at a time…and enjoy every minute with her. ~Island Cat Mom
It can be emotionally exhausting having senior pets, especially when you start losing them close together. I’m so glad Sheba broke the “curse” and has thrived with you for the last year. I know you’re cherishing every moment with her and will help her enjoy every day.
Yay, she broke the curse!
Forest Poodles says
Yay for Sheba! I’m so glad she broke the curse and is around to dish out love to you and your group. May 2017 be good to you all!
Monika & Sam says
We are keeping our fingers and paws crossed that Ms. Sheba is able to enjoy many more moons with you and the pack. It’s definitely noteworthy and a great reason to celebrate! Bravo…with lots of ear scratches and treats for Sheba-girl.
I’m glad that Sheba is still with us/you. Thank you for sharing your dogs and cat with us. It’s always fun to read what others experience with their pets. Plus it’s funny when it’s not your furkid who’s in trouble again. ????
Thank you, Edie! I’m so glad you enjoy coming by to read about the crew’s “exploits”, and we truly appreciate all of your support! Since we stick close to home for the most part, it’s really nice to be able to share them with others who enjoy and appreciate them. ♥
Lynn LaChance says
So grateful Sheba is still with you/us! She is a beautiful girl still enjoying her life, even though quieter and slower. Love you all and Happiest New Year!!
I think it’s been good for her to see her aunties lately too! xo
Caren Gittleman says
Sending you (((hugs))) because I do somewhat know what you mean. My first cat was ill the last 2 years of his life….the Vet had said “it could be days, weeks, months”………..he made it 2 additional years. Savor each and every day as I know you are! Happy New Year!
Sheba is getting close to the two year mark herself, her first surgery was in early February of 2015. Don’t we love it when they beat the odds? ♥
M. K. Clinton says
I am so happy that Sheba broke the curse I hope 2017 is a great year for you. ♥
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Way to go, Sheba-girl!!! We have been praying and pulling for you throughout your cancer journey. Our sweet angel Callie has been a wonderful guardian angel for you.
Jan, I – like Daisy’s mom – am cut from the same cloth as you. Though sweet Callie didn’t have much time left with us after the diagnosis, she tried hard to stay with us and help raise Ducky and be there for Shadow. And at the end, I somehow knew she was too tired to go on. But, her flight to heaven helped bring a good change in Ducky. And she was able to watch over Sheba for you. I can’t think of a better candidate for Guardian Angel for your Golden Girl than my own Golden angel. ❤❤❤
I couldn’t agree more; Callie has been such a wonderful Guardian Angel for Sheba. I just wish she could have stayed with you longer. 🙁 I know she wanted to…but it’s so true that sometimes they just get too tired to go on, and they just can’t fight any more. I know Sheba will be at that point some day, but I am just so grateful that that day hasn’t come as soon as we thought it would.
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
So am I. Sheba is my living hope that one day a cure will be found for all cancers in time to save someone else’s beloved pet, family member, or friend.
We look forward to MANY more life lessons from Sheba!
She needs to get to work on some new ones! 🙂
Mary Hone says
I’m glad your curse was broken, and I’m certainly glad Sheba is still with you. It’s so hard to watch them decline though.
I know you know that with Roxy, and we’ve seen it in Cricket too, even though she’s doing better right now. At 12 years old, it could just as easily be old age taking Sheba from us as cancer, so we really are lucky that she’s made it this far.
Brian Frum says
That noise you might hear dear Sheba is all of us cheering you on. Go girl!!!
Thank you!!!! ♥
Give her lots of love and think as positively as you can. Katie made it much longer than we expected, but her last days were so much faster than we ever imagined. As you know, every day with any living being is a gift. Life can be snatched from any creature in an instant. Be thankful for each day and live each day to the fullest. We wish Sheba the best!
One of the vet techs at our vet’s office has said to us that when it does happen, it will probably go fast; your experience with Katie seems to hold that true. For them, that is a better thing, and even though I feel like I’m prepared….when she has a downswing I know I’m really not. But it’s so true, that we just never know every day how long anyone will be with us. In Sheba’s case, at 12 years old, it could just as easily be old age taking her from us as cancer. I really feel like she has already beat the odds, and that really is a blessing.
Yes, bless that beautiful girl of yours, and bless you and the Dadz too. It’s because of your love, care and attention that Sheba has been able to fight the good fight and break the curse. I totally understand what it’s like to live every day on that dreaded precipice and try to minimize the fear of not knowing the how/when of things. You and I are cut from the same mold when it comes to that. I’ll continue praying for Sheba and all of you, and I’m thrilled right along with you that your sweet girl has celebrated a new year with her family. Hugs to you all.
Thank you so much…for your kind words and your understanding. It’s been such a roller coaster ride, but we’re trying to just focus on the good parts and cherish each day that Sheba is doing well. ♥