Category Archives: Family

The Never Goodbye

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I’ve written this blog a hundred times at night as I lay trying to fall asleep, each time slightly different, each time with tears muffled in my pillow. Honestly, I don’t believe that I will ever be ready to write it. I force myself in this moment, with tears in my eyes, and an emptiness in my soul to type this out, as maybe in sharing our loss we will be able to take another small step forward in the healing process.

 

Today, March 11, 2018, would have been Leo’s 15th birthday. Leo didn’t make it to today. Leo lived to be 14 years, 5 months, and 10 days old. Our little old man passed away on August 21, 2017 (the eclipse), in the comfort of his home, surrounded by all the love we could give him. Leo took his final breath with mom’s hand on his little rib cage comforting him at 8:21 p.m. He passed naturally, with no chemical assistance (even though his vet did offer to come to our home and help him pass). Not sure how everyone else is with numbers, but we see Leo’s passing as significant as he took his final breath at 8:21 on 8/21, he wanted us to always remember just how amazing of a boy he was.
In the end Leo’s little body could no longer battle the Cushing’s disease and the cancer, but he sure tried. Leo outlived his vet’s life expectancy guess twice. In January of 2016 we were told we would be “lucky to have a few good months.” In June of 2016 we were told he probably had “a few weeks left.” The mum bear in me couldn’t handle the thought of only a few more weeks, so we made big changes to help keep Leo as healthy and happy as possible. Immediately we changed his diet to 100% homemade full of inflammation fighting and cancer fighting goodness to help him with his battle. We started him on a cannabinoid based supplement. Finally, I stayed home to care for him (though this put us behind, I wouldn’t have it any other way as being there to care for my old boy during the end of his life when he needed me the most was the best thing I could do for him as a pet parent). A diet change, natural supplement, and full-time care helped Leo outlive the vet estimate and gave us more time with him, which of course is never enough.

 
During Leo’s life he taught me many valuable lessons. Leo taught me what unconditional love was as his love the was pure (I am still working on transferring this knowledge to humans). Leo taught me how to put someone else’s needs before my own, as no matter what happened in life I would always put him first. Leo was the love of my life. He was my lifesaver, as I have had dark times where I questioned my need for living, but knew that he needed me and I couldn’t hurt him by ending myself. I loved Leo more than life itself, and told him every day. Leo was my best friend. Leo was my son. People say, “it’s just a dog”, no Leo wasn’t just a dog. I am honored to have called him son, friend, love, lifesaver. He was truly the best boy.

 
Since Leo’s passing we’ve realized how truly amazing it is that one little dog could touch so many lives, both during his life and since his passing. How one little dog could help so many strangers. We get messages on a regular basis thanking us for sharing Leo’s eye enucleation story and providing families with some comfort when it comes to their fur kids going through the same procedure. We love that Leo’s story has helped and is helping so many, it warms our hearts. We’ve also realized how important that connection with others is, that connection that helps others, that connection of family bonds…that human connection. It took an amazing little spunky Boston Terrier named Leo to make us truly think about and appreciate love, each other, others, and the connection that brings us all together.

 
Thank you, Leo, for all the laughs, the memories, the stories, the love. Though we had to say goodbye to your physical presence, we will never say goodbye to your spectacular soul.

 

 

LEOXavier

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Happy Golden Birthday Leo!

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Yesterday was our wonderful one-eyed Boston Terrier Leo’s Golden Birthday!  The big 11! I am so lucky and blessed to have this little black and white bundle of joy in my life.  Thank you Leo for being such a great boy!

Samsung Cell Photos 232Over the weekend we did our special birthday tradition where Leo gets to go to the “toy store” and pick out any toy (or two) that he wants.  Leo is yelling at me in this photo because I am not playing like he wants me to!

Samsung Cell Photos 271Early morning birthday photo!  Leo is not fully amused with me as his goal is to get some lovins and go back to bed…he is not a fan of the time change.Samsung Cell Photos 302 Samsung Cell Photos 301 Samsung Cell Photos 300 Samsung Cell Photos 299 Samsung Cell Photos 298 Samsung Cell Photos 297 Samsung Cell Photos 296 Samsung Cell Photos 295

Of course, as we all know, you can’t celebrate a birthday, none-the-less a GOLDEN birthday without your own special bowl of ice cream!  Leo got spoiled with ice cream and his very own dog-friendly cupcake.

 

Leo-9 &10 Days Post Surgery

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This is how Leo spent much of his 9th day of healing.

This is how Leo spent much of his 9th day of healing.

You can see that the swelling is pretty much gone, very little bruising.

You can see that the swelling is pretty much gone, very little bruising.

Leo's eye is healing very well.

Leo’s eye is healing very well.

9 days into healing.

9 days into healing.

Top view...looking good.

Top view…looking good.

 

Sorry for combining days 9 & 10 of Leo’s healing progress…we can blame work and a tired Leo mama.   The photos above are from Leo’s 9th day of healing.  The photos below are from today, Leo’s 10th day of healing post surgery.

 

Leo 10 days into healing and wanting to play...I am holding his Hedgy down while he is trying to get it, just so I could get a couple photos.

Leo 10 days into healing and wanting to play…I am holding his Hedgy down while he is trying to get it, just so I could get a couple photos.

Day 10-Leo & Hedgy

Day 10-Leo & Hedgy

All of the kids out on the porch soaking up some sunshine.

All of the kids out on the porch soaking up some sunshine.

Leo is usually a ham, but I think he is starting to get sick of daily photos...look at that dirty look he is shooting me.

Leo is usually a ham, but I think he is starting to get sick of daily photos…look at that dirty look he is shooting me.

Both of us soaking up some love.

Both of us soaking up some love.

Leo 10 days post surgery and looking good.

Leo 10 days post surgery and looking good.

Kuki-Everyone Needs to Smile.

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Kuki-Everyone Needs to Smile.

This is our little Kuki monster, she is a Bug (Boston Terrier/Pug mix). Kuki has one ear that flops over and the other one that is perky, her eyes go in different directions, she has interesting markings…oh, and her tongue is too long for her little mouth, so it is sticking out 99% of the time. Kuki just looks schnockered in this photo or else like she is saying “the schnozzberries taste like schnozzberries!”

Leo-8 Days Post Surgery

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Leo on his 8th day of healing!

Leo on his 8th day of healing!

Leo is very perky, alert and the goal is to play.

Leo is very perky, alert and the goal is to play.

Leo's eye is continuing to look very good.

Leo’s eye is continuing to look very good.

You can see that Leo's bruising is almost 100% gone.

You can see that Leo’s bruising is almost 100% gone.

Leo was in a love-puppy mood, yet every time I tried to take a photo of kisses his tongue wasn't out.

Leo was in a love-puppy mood, yet every time I tried to take a photo of kisses his tongue wasn’t out.

Whoo-hoo, caught a tiny tongue photo.  You can see how good Leo's eye is starting to look in this photo.

Whoo-hoo, caught a tiny tongue photo. You can see how good Leo’s eye is starting to look in this photo.

Another close-up...look how excited Leo looks.

Another close-up…look how excited Leo looks.

Even with just one eye Leo is still a very handsome boy.

Even with just one eye Leo is still a very handsome boy.

"Are you eyeballing me?"

“Are you eyeballing me?”

Leo-1 Week Post Surgery

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It has been exactly 1 week since Leo’s eye removal surgery (enucleation) and he is doing great.  Leo’s vet actually called this morning to check-in on him and she was very glad to hear about how well his healing is going.  Dr. Gayln also reassured me that Leo has internal sutures, so the two sutures that he has had come untied is not anything to worry about.  We love having a vet that truly cares.

 

Leo woke up this morning is a super good mood.  After doing his “business” he literally came into the house sproinging and doing a full body wag.  Leo then got to do one of his favorite things in the whole world, he got to go for a ride…he actually got to go for two rides this morning, lucky boy!  Leo also enjoyed quality time outside soaking up the sun, lots of tummy rubs and long snore filled naps.

 

Leo’s healing progress is still going very well.  Majority of the swelling is gone, there is still a small amount, but it looks much better.  Leo’s bruising in the last few days has gone from a dark purple (he was looking like Rocky) to barely noticeable.  Leo took his final antibiotic this morning (I think he may end up getting the special-just-for-Leo-treat every morning and evening).  Right now the hardest thing for Leo is not being able to play.  Leo loves to run, play tug-of-war, wrestle and all of the other things boys love, but being that he is just a week into his healing we can only let him do gentle play…Leo is taking this poorly, but his brother Doc seems to be taking it worse and neither one of them seem to enthused when we tell them “play gentle”.

 

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Leo-6 Days Post Surgery

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Leo 6 days post surgery.

Leo 6 days post surgery.

You can see that Leo's fur is starting to grow back, slowly but surely.

You can see that Leo’s fur is starting to grow back, slowly but surely.

The bruising around Leo's eye is lessening, you can still see some discoloration though.

The bruising around Leo’s eye is lessening, you can still see some discoloration though.

Leo still has some swelling.

Leo still has some swelling.

You can see that Leo has tear stains on both sides of is face because his eyes were watering so badly when his right eye was hurting, prior to surgery.

You can see that Leo has tear stains on both sides of is face because his eyes were watering so badly when his right eye was hurting, prior to surgery.

Leo spent his day napping, eating treats and soaking up the sunshine.

Leo spent his day napping, eating treats and soaking up the sunshine.

Leo is so darn handsome!  That's my boy.

Leo is so darn handsome! That’s my boy.

Yes, mom had to sneak and get a photo with Leo too (he actually just moved at the wrong time).

Yes, mom had to sneak and get a photo with Leo too (he actually just moved at the wrong time).

Overall Leo's eye is healing very well.  We are currently 1 week away from his follow-up vet appointment where they will be taking his sutures out.

Overall Leo’s eye is healing very well. We are currently 1 week away from his follow-up vet appointment where they will be taking his sutures out.