Welcome

I love being a woman.

I’m a woman who has experience being a wife, a mom, a student, a teacher, and a degreed business professional. I’ve traveled throughout the U.S. and have been to Europe, too, but am greatly fond of western Michigan and its beaches, and the entire Midwest region. My journey is relative to my time, of course. I’m a straight-laced conservative when it comes to education and career, yet a child of the 60’s; a hippie you might say, when it comes to enjoying life. It’s been quite a ride!

My favorite things are my grown children, Ashlee and Krystal, my Colonel hubby, Scott (retired from the military after nearly 30 years but continues to work a civilian job), my mother, Kathy (a pioneer for women who worked in the factory at General Motors from the early 60’s until retirement 27 years later – but who is first and foremost a gentle woman with a strong soul and my forever role model), my pets (Japanese Chin dogs Jake and Lucy, and my kitties, Bliss and Salem), beaches, dragonflies, hummingbirds, and other nature. I might seem complicated at times but truly love the simple things.

My little place in the world, that’s my blog. I’ll be sharing my thoughts about my life, my family, my pets, my job, and how I view the world. I hope you enjoy my stories, my sense of humor, and my insight. This is a chance for us to share that cup of coffee or tea in the morning or afternoon, and reach across the miles that might separate us, and gather close together to catch our breath and a laugh or two. Life is busy. And so are we! So let’s dive in together. And smell the roses, too.

Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Love is Never About Money

Just a quick note to say thanks so much for your support and for holding my daughter and her chihuahua in the light during these past few weeks.

As you might be aware, Krystal's chihuahua was savagely mauled by a stray pitbull the weekend of August 17th. My daughter made a police report but the police haven't really done anything and don't seem to think the pitbull can be located. So, my daughter must incur several thousand dollars of medical bills for her little 4 pound dog. The attack was completely unprovoked. In hindsight, we are fortunate that my daughter was unharmed. Had Blondie not been targeted, the pitbull could have attacked Krystal.

Instead, the putbull snatched Blondie, and the little dog screamed in agony as the pitbull clamped down on her entire body, resulting in all ribs on her right side being broken, and a deep gash ripping her open from chest all the way around her right side, up to the middle of her back; if you saw her, she appeared to be nearly chewed in two! Luckily, a flap of skin remained over her lungs to allow them to function.
Krystal's friends wrestled the little dog away from the pitbull, Krystal grabbed her beach towel and wrapped it around the dog, jumping in the car and she and her friend sped away to the Purdue ER in Westville, Indiana, a good 40 minutes or so away from Stark County where the incident happened. Krystal called her sister, Ashlee, asking for guidance, and Ashlee said, "Head for Purdue ER full speed! That's all you can do, keep going!" 
When Krystal got Blondie to the vet emergency, the ER vet thought the chihuahua would arrest at any time, and didn't give much hope.

I am so thankful my husband I were traveling from Michigan, and just an hour away when I got the frantic call from Krystal. She was at the Purdue ER vet hospital in Westville, Indiana (had Scott and I been home in southern Indiana, we would have been 4 hours or more away). My daughter said she didn't know what to do since she didn't have any money with her and I told her we would be right there.

Upon arrival, Scott sat in the car with our dogs, Jake and Lucy, and we didn't know at that time it would be about a 2-hour wait in the car. I went in and sat with Krystal in a small examination office. Krystal collapsed on me in tears, and I held my daughter and prayed aloud for God to please save Blondie. The vet came in and the look on her face was dismal. She said "It's very bad,"  and that Blondie "could arrest at any time." In addition, from the shaking that the pitbull did to the chihuahua, there was concern over possible injuries to the dog's spinal cord and brain. The vet said that the surgery would be in the $3,500 range. Krystal is not one to ask for money. She understands how hard it is to work for it, and how difficult it can be to pay bills for rent, food, gas, and other living expenses. I'm certain that when she called me she probably figured around $500 since we have taken pets to the Purdue ER before. But I'm sure she didn't realize it could be thousands. She continued to softly cry but said nothing.
 
Even though it was a lot of money, Krystal was so grief stricken and I asked the vet to please save the dog. At that point, I had no idea that the bill would triple in the next two weeks. Krystal's friend, Jaclyn, who works for Krystal's regular vet stated that she has seen dogs with fewer injuries pass away from their trauma and injuries. And another friend, Carol, whose husband has been a vet for more than three decades, and who has worked side-by-side with her husband in his office and has seen many injuries over the years, told me that if the dog makes it through surgery, we shouldn't get too hopeful for another week since anything can happen in the first week.

The ER team stabilized Blondie (who even though severely injured, tried to stand on the examining table when brought in). Further complications included that Blondie was covered in mud, since Krystal and the dog were with friends at a lake, and they wrestled the tiny dog from the pitbull in the muddy area of the lake.

The surgery began at 3am Sunday morning and took two hours. The surgical team said Blondie did remarkable well, tolerating the anesthesia and surgery. Krystal and our family held our breath waiting to hear any news. Krystal went up to see her dog Sunday afternoon, and as Blondie lay there, eyes closed and with tubes sticking out of her, Krystal continued to be emotional, and because of the trauma of what had occurred the evening before, continued to relive the horror of the pitbull grabbing and clamping its jaws around Blondie, and Blondie's high pitched screams in agony as Krystal tried to retrieve the little chihuahua.

But Blondie is a survivor. She is a miracle. She has the heart of a lion in that tiny little body, and determined to go the distance!

My daughter Ashlee has three chihuahuas, and is active in the NW Indiana Chihuahua Rescue organization.Krystal just has Blondie. And while Ashlee's little dogs are sweet and fun, they are not very active. But Blondie is different; she has always had energy! And no joint problems that little dogs can be prone to. She can leap from floor to bed, and loves her walks! She has been in amazingly "fit" condition for a little dog! This might be one thing that helped her endure the tragedy that occurred.

After surgery, the vet team was concerned that Blondie lost use of her right leg, since trauma was so close to the muscle. And during the first week, Blondie's red blood cell count fell so low that she nearly needed a blood transfusion. By Thursday evening, the Purdue team in Westville had Krystal transport Blondie to the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Indiana (also Krystal's Alma mater, and home of the best veterinarian school and hospital in the United States).
 
An additional surgery was done on Friday, August 24, to remove dead skin and have a more skilled and board certified veterinarian correct issues and infection in Blondie's chest cavity, and get close to the leg muscle. Again, Blondie did incredibly well. I drove to Purdue that Saturday to meet Krystal in West Lafayette, which is nearly 2 hours north for me, and 90 minutes south for her; both of us traveling many miles for the promise of a 20-minute visit with the dog, since this particular vet hospital is unable to accommodate longer visits. They brought Blondie to us wrapped in a pretty decorated lavender "body cast," and Blondie as always was happy to Krystal; her eyes lit up! Also that day, the vet put Blondie down and we saw Blondie limping on her right leg and trying to use it. On Sunday, Krystal drove the long commute back and forth to the vet hospital to visit with her little dog again, wanting to keep Blondie motivated to keep going and get well!
 
 
Pictured above is Blondie on Krystal's lap in her lavender "body cast" on August 24.
 
 
We were pleasantly surprised when Blondie was released to go home on Monday evening already, and was scheduled to return that Thursday for more blood tests to investigate the anemia issue that was not getting worse but still a serious concern.

Later that week, vets did more blood tests. Blondie's anemia continued and the vets narrowed it down to either a transmission of a disease that some pitbulls carry that causes it, or perhaps a reaction from Blondie's meds and steroids. Either way, it's a serious and life-threatening condition. The tests revealed it was not the illness carried by pitbulls. So now, Blondie continues to recover, and is on special medicine to attempt to correct the anemia.

Today, Blondie is so HAPPY to be home! Krystal spent the Labor Day weekend caring for her little dog, and although Blondie is not allowed yet to walk too much or run around, Krystal reports that Blondie wants to get active again, and that Krystal has to contain her in a little pen so she can continue to rest and recover gradually. Oh, and Blondie is using that right leg really well now!

This is truly a little dog who loves her master more than life! And we continue to pray for her blood issues to resolve, but it could be weeks! Please help us pray for this little "Wonder" Dog, also known as the Miracle Chihuahua. I am so grateful to my kind and loving friends who have sent me emails and text messages; one that made me especially smile was my friend Madalene, who is of Mexican descent and who said, 'We Mexicans are tough!" I love that! Thanks Madalene.

Special thanks to family and friends who gave from the heart by way of support and donations: Thanks to Aunt Patty in Florida for her very generous donation! Thanks also to my friends Marilyn and Mike from Georgia who are extreme dog lovers for their donation! Thanks to my good friend Margaret and her hubby Jeff who gave a generous donation! (Margaret is my best friend in the greater Bloomington area). Thanks to my great friend, Donna (and her poodle, Ginger who I think is half human most of the time), in Grand Rapids who not only made a generous donation but who posted the weblink on her FB site to her dog lover friends. Thanks to my mom, Kathryn, who is so dedicated to her grandchildren and often puts the needs of others before her own, and who made a very generous donation, and mom's special friend, Joe, who is a very caring and generous person, and who gave a hefty donation, too. Thanks to our friends, the Daly's for their donation. And thanks to friends Cheryl, Laura, Carol, Madalene, and Peter who sent uplifting text messages and emails expressing support! I'm also thankful for two courageous daughters, Ashlee, who continues to be a role model of strength to Krystal, and for taking her lunch hours during the week to hold Blondie in the critical care unit of the Purdue animal hospital, and for Krystal, who continues to show unconditional love for her little dog.
 
And, so grateful to live in the state of Indiana, where we are fortunate to have the finest veterinarians in the United States, especially in the Purdue network, where many gifted veterinarians are educated and trained.
 
I must say, I could not imagine the extent of Blondie's injuries since I did not see her mauled body. The first glimpse I got of Blondie's injuries were in the week after surgery, when I received a photo of her stitched up body via cell phone from Krystal's friend, Jaclyn. Jaclyn took photos of the "damage" just in the rare chance that we do find the pitbull and its owners, to document what the pitbull did to Blondie. The photo I received of Blondie's right side was horrifying. I cannot even imagine what my daughter went through. Krystal witnessed it all; the trauma of the attack, Blondie's agonizing high pitched screaming, the feeling of urgency and helplessness as she and friends tried wrestling the chihuahua from the pitbull's jaws, and the bloody, muddy, and damaged body of her little dog that she wrapped up in the beach towel. And Blondie's eyes quietly searching her own as her friend drove the long trip to the Purdue emergency hospital that evening.
 
I have had a few people chastise me for trying to save the dog because it has been so costly. I even had one coworker tell me that she made the "mistake" of trying to save her dog once and the dog died anyway, even though her story didn't even sound remotely like this situation. But -- to those people --  I say, please know that there are things that rise above money -- one involves principle -- and the greatest of all involve love.
Yes, I am so glad that Blondie is recovery well because we all love the dog.  But in addition, the thought of my daughter having to endure the grief and pain of thinking that she was responsible for her beloved dog's suffering (and potential demise), then this is too much for my child to have to bear. No mother wants her child to suffer; life is hard enough without adding guilt. Guilt brings depression and that ruins lives. For this, we continue to try to bring Blondie back to 100%, so that even though the memories of the mauling are painful for Krystal, those bad memories will fade over time, and that we do what we can to bring Blondie back to being her old self again, and ease the grief that Krystal has experienced over the tragedy. Love is never about money.
 
Krystal is one of the finest people I have ever met, and is kind, honest, and fair to everyone she meets. Krystal is happy even with few material things and rarely ever asks me for anything. Krystal works hard and is self-sufficient. For quite a while, she held down her FT job during the week and a PT one on the weekends. Currently, she is pursuing her master's degree at her own expense. I am so proud of my daughter, Krystal. She deserves all good things, especially a clear conscience.
Below is the donation weblink for those who would like to contribute or pass it along, and also, a picture of Blondie recouping at home on the couch, her favorite place to hang with her fellow chihuahuas, from left to right, Mouse, Bebe, Blondie (in protective pen, center), and Armani.

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