My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez. Part Two.August 18, 2014

My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez, commander of the Armies of the Warehouse District, General of the Houston Legions, loyal servant to all who feed me. Ooh, I meant, Need Me! Father to many murdered sons. And I will have my peace. In this life or the next!robyn arouty

 

OK. The truth is I’m just Maximus. But you can call me Max. I have seen The Gladiator movie 8 times on Netflix & so now I randomly break into Maximus-The-Gladiator-Speak. LOL. Here is Part One of my story if you are not familiar._MG_9685

 

I was a novice gladiator here. Still a common person. I thought the Gods had a sense of humor that I was still alive.10426927_10204408120188799_2239912083530538604_n

 

The day Kim drove up I was really tired. Tired of feeling sorry for myself. I barked, “Dear Gods! Allow me to go home!”_MG_9710

 

Robyn documented our Kira and the cavalry meeting very carefully._MG_9670

 

This is my foster brother Freddy. Kim bought his freedom too. (Did you catch that reference?) He stayed in his crate in my arena the entire time. He learned a lot too.

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I have seen much of the rest of the world. It is cruel and brutal and dark. I was looking for the light. I found it with Kim. Kira shined it even brighter._MG_9665

 

I’m not looking back. What’s done is done. And I have a lot of work to do here. This much I know is true. What we do in life echoes into eternity. And my life is about to change.

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Houston is a colosseum of people in pain. Doing painful things to animals. It is hard to talk about. The suffering will continue for as long as we fail to solve our own problems. The guys who arrange dogs to fight are no different than the businessmen who organized gladiator fighting for money in Roman times. They were called lanistaes. The term also meant “butcher.” Interesting. You know dirt cleans off much easier than blood. But I digress…_MG_9688

 

Kira speaks with animals. Not for them. She helps us reconnect our emotions and our hearts and souls. The soul has all the answers. She has many keys._MG_9713

 

1.2 Million of my brothers & sisters are out there in the swelter. Tens of thousands are bloodied with needles. Thousands more will never leave these places. I refuse to believe they fought and died for nothing.

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I know no fear now. Kira is an amazon. A female gladiator of sorts; conquering the walls that separate so many important things. She believes that causes and effects are related. For example, a recent “effect” in my life was that my back legs stopped working. The “cause” was my inability to accept my new life in a family environment. I’ve always had to provide for myself. Knew not of love and affection. The change was a shock to my core. But now I quite like it. And I can walk!

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We should know when we’re conquered. Our battle is within ourselves. I thought myself so elite. So busy trying to hide my unappealing parts, yet that is precisely what the world saw of me. Surrender now. Selfishness is not becoming. The chariot to our authentic lives await._MG_9676

 

Strength and honor. Authenticity and heart. End to spirits of War. Isn’t that what we all pray for? I fought the good fight. My armour on the soil. Retreated. Withdrew my weapons. Home is my reward._MG_9662

 

I think I was afraid all my life. Broken from the pack today thanks to Kira. My grip has shifted and I can march on with the swords of my soul blazing._MG_9712

 

I know now that I have talent for survival. All for the glory of the empire! My brothers and sisters. Animal and human gladiators alike. Hear our new battle cry! VICTORY!

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My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez. Part One.August 14, 2014

My Name is Maximus Decimus Martinez. Part One.

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I battled the streets of Downtown Houston for the last couple of years. I am part golden retriever, part akita, part german shepherd, part sharpei, part rottweiler and part gladiator. Quite the large empire some might say.

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On June 30th while on her way to work, instead of shielding her vision like so many mercilessly did before her, Kim stopped her chariot. She cried. And I surrendered.

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I was doing well until my back legs ceased to move. Tests show no definitive medical cause for this, although they are beginning to improve now.

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If you would like to see more of my story, please visit my facebook page.

Here is a video of what I looked like on Day One at Kim’s house.

Kira of Intuitive Pet Care came to our house last night. It was an intense meeting of the minds. I listened intently to everything she had to say. She helped me feel safe. Her wisdom will help me go far and become a more civilized gladiator. But more importantly, it will help those I love. Afterall, that is why I am here.

Here is what Kira told Kim, my foster mama:

“Max finds it very hard to accept help or affection. He doesn’t really know how and it really isn’t who he is since he is used to holding up everyone else around him. He knows how to carry the weight and be a leader. He doesnt mind much of anything. He is very subtle in his ways. He likes to do things without making a big deal about it. He’d rather not have all eyes on him.

You need a strong male supportive energy that is available to you to help you feel less alone sometimes and to hold space for you and help counteract all the worrying you do. He is so NOT a worrier and he knows that everything is ok and works to be the ground under your feet that affirms that for you.

He’s working with your husband and helping him feel more confident and strong in himself to find more balance in his life. He loves the family and the 3 boys who really inspire him to let loose and have fun and just be free of responsibility.

He was so used to surviving that he didnt have time to let loose or have fun. He was always doing something to provide and sustain. He never knew what touch was so it was hard for him to integrate at first because thats a lot of energy to accomodate and process. It was really intense because he had nothing else to compare it to, so coupled with the love of a human it was like magic. We’ve made a believer out of him.

He balances the energy with his presence and brings more calm stable energy to the house to counteract the built up tension and need for playful expression and need for affection and relaxation.

The built up tension comes out in the trio (Kim’s other 3 dogs) through excessive licking, playing, and expressive movements. Max is all about going with the flow and learning how to accept love which is also something he is working on your husband with and why he can sort of relate to his energy in a different way.

The loss of his back legs was essentially representing a rebirth that he didnt know how to accept or deal with at first, but is slowly gaining momentum and accepting his new life in a family environment.

His inner personality that was used to being on the streets is being reformed into a personality that knows what love looks and feels like so his physical body needs to to adjust and relax into all the changes.

Max is the most humble gladiator you’ll ever meet.”

Take a look at this video to see what happened just minutes after Kira’s visit. I have never felt so peaceful and free:

“Together We Made One.” By Shadow AdamsAugust 8, 2014

“Together We Made One.” By Shadow Adams

Right off the bat, I’ll tell you that I’m up here with Dukey. And I promise we are OK. Robyn had actually agreed to help me tell my story a while back. It’s a happy one too. But first I need to tell you about my Mama. Her name is Regina.

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She was taught to love animals. Or maybe she was just born that way. See?

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I appeared in her life about 6 years ago. My former Daddy needed to find me a new place to live because my other Mama went to Heaven and he worked a swing shift and couldn’t properly care for me. This picture was from our first night together.

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I became her Shadow. And she was mine. We vowed to protect each other. Soul sisters forever.

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We first met Robyn a few years ago when we had pictures done with our cat Grace. Then Mama & Robyn became good friends. They enjoy working together to help animals who need it.

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Not long after that a dog showed up in the backyard at our house. We let him stay & named him Kermit. It fits. He is goofy, but he’s my best friend.

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Then a little over 1 1/2 years ago I got sick with Degenerative Myelopathy. The short version is that it’s an incurable, progressive disease of the canine spinal cord common in german shepherds & some other breeds.

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But I wasn’t in pain at all. Still kept playing. And they gave me a cool wheelchair.

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Mama researched everything she could on the disease. She cooked me delicious meals every day that were good for my health.

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Then one day Mama saw this silly picture. She had no intentions of getting us a puppy. But she thought this puppy looked like the perfect combination of me & Kermit. I agree. And I’m so glad she brought me a baby. We named her Lotte.

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Kermit needs a best friend on earth when I’m gone. And she caught up to him pretty fast.

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Pretty soon it was time to say goodbye. The disease had really taken over my body. So Mama invited over all her family & friends one by one to spend some time with me. Last weekend my grandparents came into town with our Mamie. They brought my other best friend Lola who Mama rescued & her parents couldn’t live without. Just pretend you’re watching a movie. I hope you feel all the good stuff I did that day.

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The next day we went to see Lisa at Rummy’s Beach Club. She let me enjoy one last swim. I gave it my all for 45 minutes. Again, watch the movie. And don’t miss my rainbow.

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Be Well My Friends. Love, Shadow

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What Incredible Pet Parents Look Like.August 7, 2014

What Incredible Pet Parents Look Like.

I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting some of the coolest people over the last 5 years.

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And they all have stories.

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Meet Paula & Munchkie.

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They first came in for portraits in 2011. And we had a blast.

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Paula & Shawn own a real estate company. Their portraits were used to create fun greeting cards & ads that showed up in the most unexpected places.

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One thing was clear. They loved animals. Especially Munchkie.

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The next year we had fun creating images for holiday & birthday cards to send to their clients.

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What we see as perfectly normal i.e. photos with our pets, I’m learning is quite extraordinary to many people.

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Then I got to meet the rest of the family.

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But the star of the show. Again.

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Their dogs are their world.

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Their children with 4 legs.

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Adopted all of them. They know lives need saving & they do their part.

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Magical happy living.

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She came into their lives for very specific reasons.

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Her mission was complete. Soon after this photoshoot.

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Rest In Peace Munchkie.

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Love Stories. The Human/Animal Bond.July 29, 2014

I’m not a street photographer. Or a pet photographer. Or… I’m a photographer. Please don’t box me in because I never know when something beautiful will happen & I happen to have my camera. Or I plan something beautiful that doesn’t fit into that category you want to put me in, i.e. Teddi O’Bear.

robyn arouty pettalk aug On June 4th, I posted this photo on facebook with the following:

I walked out of the corner store near the studio & got stopped right in my tracks…

Christopher aka Yetty: “Hey, cool tatts ya got there.”

Me: “Thanks. I love your puppies!”

Christopher aka Yetty: “I found 7 down the way in a ditch the other day. Could only grab 3. Gave one away.”

Me: “I’ve got some collars & dog food in my car. Also my camera, since I just came from a photoshoot. You sure are a sight to behold, honey! Do you mind if I take your picture?”

Christopher aka Yetty: “Wow. I would love a collar for brown one if you have it. I don’t have a problem getting them food. And, sure, yeah, take our picture!”

My life got pretty magical after that. But let me back up a second…

The day after meeting Yetty, I went back to the corner store & drove around the area to try to find him. Wanted to tell him how many people loved his photo & thank him, but to no avail. I spoke to the owner of the store who reported that Yetty & his girlfriend had been coming in every other morning for breakfast tacos pretty consistently over the past couple of months. I left my card & continued to check back in. He never returned. So, it was likely he continued on his way to Mexico which was the story he had told both of us. “Just passing through town…”

Then Michael Berry, a popular radio personality of the conservative persuasion, saw the photo & freaked out & was calling for me on air to get in touch. My phone was crazy that morning. Magical. (BTW, Who knew I had so many friends listening to talk radio?? Ha!)

Michelle Mantor, the publisher of Houston PetTalk Magazine saw the photo the same day. We have worked together for years, but it’s been a while since our last project. She saw the cover & story immediately & was as smitten with Yetty as I was. Major props to her. She gave me a chance in 2010 even though my style was less than traditional…fast forward 4 years & she puts Yetty’s photo on the cover. Gotta love that woman. Magical.

So we got to work. Decided to feature some of my client portraits with their pets & tell their “love stories.” Michelle picked her favorites & each client wrote a 500ish word essay. So, the deadline to go to print happened at the same time that Dukey’s blog post went viral. She adjusted the timing a bit for me & we made it in time. Thank you xanax. They are magnificent, OMG. And what a wonderful time to share Yetty & friends & all they represent with you.. Magical.

Enjoy.

XO,
RA

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Before Duke Died, He Lived.July 26, 2014

It seems Dukey is not finished speaking. This time his words came through dog trainer extraordinaire Crystal Dunn of Austin, TX’s Leaps N’ Hounds. Wow. It’s the rest of the story. Reposted with permission from Crystal & Dukey’s family as a follow up to I Died Today.

XO, RA

Before Duke Died, He Lived

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Duke fell into the most unlucky group of homeless dogs out there. Big, black, and senior; statistically he was known as “least likely to survive” in the shelter world. This is because there are more large, black, mature dogs killed in shelters every year than any other type of dog.

Thanks to some great people in the area who work hard to save dogs like him every day, Duke’s story starts with a miracle win against terrible odds. He was given a foster home, a cute adoption video, and the opportunity to steal Jordan’s heart with his handsome dog smile.

The most frustrating thing about seeing dogs like Duke get overlooked in shelters is that they are often nearly perfect. I see families adopt puppies and struggle with pesky puppy behaviors every day. Sure, puppies are adorable and chubby little sweeties, but they grow up in a matter of weeks into big, destructive dog-sized puppies. Raising a pup from scratch is not for everyone. People can be fickle and quick to give up on them, even though our version of good behavior is a learned skill set for dogs. It takes time, money, sweat, and sometimes even tears. For this reason, if a family is going to surrender a dog to a shelter, statistically it is most likely going to happen between the ages of five months to a year. These are families who would be much happier adopting a mature dog – like Duke.

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Duke was beyond all that pesky puppy stuff. A calm and mannerly gentleman, he would never chew couches or jump on people. He didn’t need a kennel, he always eliminated outside, and he wouldn’t even think of stealing your underwear. He was the ideal dog for a family with children and other dogs, and the epitome of why dogs like him deserve a chance at life. He hadn’t done anything wrong. His first family divorced and abandoned him. He was cast out of the only family he had ever known.

It is a somewhat selfless act to adopt a dog with possibly less than half of his life left. Thankfully there are people like the Roberts Family that see the wonderful side of adopting an older dog. A dog like Duke blends into a busy family much easier than a young, needy puppy. The benefits outweigh the downside, ten fold.

Jordan and I had known each other for a while when she found Duke. I was hired to train their spitfire Min Pin named Brinks a few years before. She and I quickly became friends and we kept in contact after I moved to Austin. Then she and I got pregnant at the same time. While I was trying to figure out how I was going to manage my hectic life of dogs and people, Jordan was entertaining ideas of adopting a big dog. This came as no surprise since she is the type of person that drives a foster dog two hundred miles across Texas in mid-Summer, all while eight months pregnant.

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She wrote to me after discovering Duke:

“I watched this [adoption] video three times today while sitting in traffic… I just sat there watching and crying…. Chris has already decided to nickname him Dukey. It’s just meant to be.”

I was happy to help her with Dukey’s adoption any way I could. My biggest concern was how her dog, Brinks, would deal with a new big dog in the home. After all, even the world’s most well-behaved dog may have a hard time getting pushed around by a Min Pin who harbored a serious Napoleon complex. No offense to Brinks, but he had gotten quite used to his life of luxury with their subservient Italian Greyhound, Nuni, as his faithful minion. A big dog was going to shake things up in the Roberts house. Add to that Jordan’s soon-to-arrive daughter, Elliott, and there was plenty of reasons to proceed with caution.

Everything was fine at first with some preparation, but within a few weeks the issues started to surface. Brinks and Duke were getting into spats over food. Duke warned Brinks by grabbing him with his mouth a few times, which scared the daylights out of everyone. Then Duke started guarding Jordan. He was very protective of the pregnant human that had shown him so much kindness. His bark was big, his size was intimidating, and no doubt he could destroy Brinks in one chomp if he wanted.

Jordan wrote to me, scared for her family, detailing the scenario playing out in her home.

“I’m just nervous. No one seems happy. It makes me ill. Poor Duke. Poor Brinks.”

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Nuni & Duke were fast friends. Unfortunately, Brinks didn’t share in Nuni’s adoration. My heart sank. I could hear the doubt coming through her email. Dog trainers can easily become jaded with humans, especially if you work in rescue. I am no exception. I’ve seen far too many people suffer from Bad Egg Syndrome when it comes to their dogs reacting aggressively in any manner. Many people assume that a dog’s behavior dictates who they are, permanently. “They must be a bad egg. Gotta get rid of them.” They fail to realize that people often facilitate aggressive situations in their homes without realizing it. All dogs behave this way if they feel they must. If we are willing to learn and change our behavior, we find that most dogs have no desire to behave aggressively at all. My job wouldn’t exist if this wasn’t true.

I urged her to consider working through it and started pouring out advice to my friend. They can be helped and taught to think differently, I encouraged. It just takes some work.

Here is where Duke’s next chance at life happened. Despite a baby soon to arrive, Duke’s intimidating size, and the lack of time they had to work on these issues, the Roberts family stuck by their commitment to give both dogs a happy home and settled into the idea of making some changes. Getting these two very different dogs past their issues was a tall order and potentially risky if they didn’t follow the training protocol. I live three hours away, so I could only be present occasionally. Most of their training assistance happened via emails that started with sentences like, “this is a long one. Get your coffee.”

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There were management protocols for safety, training exercises, and changes in lifestyle for everyone. They worked through the dogs’ battle over resources, taking ownership of these things and teaching the dogs a better way to win their food, toys, space, and attention. But that was just part of it. If the family was going to make it through this, they would have themselves to thank in the end. I could tell them how to get there, but only they could make it happen.

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Needless to say, the Roberts family was successful in finding their balance. Brinks and Duke learned to accept each other. The dogs actually stabilized quickly, and life felt normal and happy again. The family even continued to foster other dogs. Baby Elliott was welcomed with wags and affection without issue. Then her little brother, Dax, eventually joined the pack too.

Duke and Elliott bonding over baby snacks. It wasn’t long after everything settled that the family found out about Dukey’s cancer. After learning that he would need an amputation and chemo, they were crushed. The incredible amount of debt they would experience while trying to give him more time, albeit with no guarantees, was mind numbing.

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And then another amazing thing happened. An unknown benefactor came forward to fund Duke’s treatment.

Three legged and a little worse for the wear, Duke mended thanks to this kind person who asked for nothing in return. No one knew how long he had been in pain. Forever the gentleman, he just wasn’t the type to complain. However, it was clear as day when the pain subsided. His temperament improved, and he joyfully got around on three legs like he never needed the fourth to start with.

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Nurse Nuni helped Duke mend after his surgery in the best way she knew how: cuddles. Duke’s story really is wonderful – not just in death, but in life as well. He overcame staggering odds again and again. He got a second chance at life when he was rescued, a third chance when his family didn’t give up on him, and a fourth chance when he survived cancer. With so many lives, we wonder if Duke may have been part cat.

In return he proved to be a pretty magical dog. The kind of dog that would let a toddler brush his teeth. The kind of dog that his groomer loved so much, she actually took him out on dog “dates.”

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His family’s love for him, pictured so clearly on his last day, helps us cope with the loss of our own beloved pets. Duke’s life can teach us how to be better people for our dogs. Because a dog deserves a kind and dignified death, just as much as they deserve every chance at life that we can give them. Only this way can we even begin to be worthy of such canine loyalty, devotion, and love.

Farewell and thanks, sweet Dukey. You are dearly missed.

Dukey Broke The InternetJuly 11, 2014

robyn arouty dukey 2014It’s been approximately 3 days, 12 hours, & 41 minutes since we said goodbye to Dukey. What has happened during this time is nothing short of a million miracles.

First, I’d like to say that many people commenting on the blog post believe that Dukey belonged to me. I’m a photographer, animal rescuer & advocate in Houston, TX. Dukey’s Mama is Jordan, a dear friend of mine & rescue partner. I was just there on Monday for moral support & brought my camera along. When I walked in & saw the hamburgers on the counter I knew some special things were about to happen. I just felt it. Funny, Jordan told me yesterday “I don’t even remember you taking pics. All I remember is you holding my hand.” Praise God for realzz cuz that’s the kind of friend I wish to be.

So, I’ve watched Jordan handle Dukey’s death with sparkling grace. And she must have read my blog post from Monday morning & learned quickly from my mistakes (wink) because it’s clear that she let him “go” in a timely manner. Blessings & messages from Dukey started happening so quickly.

To date, over 100,000 people from around the globe have come to my website to read his story. He has affected many lives in the most profound ways. Oh, did I mention, the post crashed my website & it’s server & the fine folks at Folio Websites worked their geeky tails off to get me up & running again with my own shiny new server? Yup, Happiness!

Yesterday I received an email from the editor of a very popular UK page who said, “Been sitting at my desk crying like a baby over this post.” And then he asked if he could share the story. Also wanted to know more about Dukey, how he lost his leg, etc. So, I asked Jordan to do some writing…

Dukey joined our family when we were expecting our first child. Shortly after our daughter’s first birthday, Duke was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. He quickly underwent surgery, to remove his leg, and chemotherapy. By this time, we were pregnant with baby number two.

Duke’s treatment was successful.

Just after baby number two, Duke had a swollen shoulder, right at his amputation site. This diagnosis was hemangiosarcoma. His tumor was growing rapidly and we were out of options. He would rally during the day, but his nights were increasingly uncomfortable as his tumor started to separate his ribs. We struggled with the decision to let Dukey go, but ultimately did everything in our power to protect him from further pain. With the help from our friends, Dukey had a beautiful day filled with love and happiness. We should all be so lucky.

THEN she wrote:

This is so hard to do right now, Robyn. I keep staring at my blinking cursor. I have too much to say about him and our lives together. It feels clinical and cold to just talk about how we got here instead of how he was so patient with Elliott when she’d used Chris’ toothbrush to clean his teeth. You know what I mean? I need help with this. I’m not finding my words still. Xoxo

I grabbed these pics off her facebook page from when it happened a few weeks ago. She posted them with the comment, “Note to Chris: Don’t use this toothbrush anymore.”

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The last time I was at Jordan’s house was when she was pregnant with Elliott, Baby E, as we liked to call her. We had a blast doing an Awkward Maternity photoshoot with her hubby Chris & italian greyhounds Baci & Nuni, which you can see a bit of here on an old blog post. Wow, thanks google. LOL.

And how is E handling Dukey’s death?

“She gave him a big hug on Monday. We talked about it before I dropped her off. She still asks where he is. She knows he’s not coming back. She is just asking to see if my answer changes. I told her how much I miss him and am sad and that we can talk about him whenever she wants. She said she wants him back home. I said yeah, me, too.” —Jordan

Somehow I think there will be more…but I’ll say bye for now…

XO,

RA

I Died Today.July 8, 2014

I Died Today. By, Duke Roberts

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And I ate a lot of hamburgers. We had a party.

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And I laughed.

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And I thought about how much I’m going to miss it here.

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We told jokes.

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We were serious.

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My friends from next door came to see me. They’re twins. When someone offered them one of my hamburgers, one said, “No thank you. I don’t want to take any from Dukey.”

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Kristen came to see me. She’s a hoot. She’s my groomer. And my buddy.

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While we were waiting for the vet to come Kristen said we were going for a walk. Then someone said, “How about a play in the water at the splash park down the street?” So off we went!

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“You know I’m going to miss you, right?”

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“And you too, right?”

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“I need you to help me watch over my family.”

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“Did you hear me? This is all I want!”

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We got wet today.

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We smiled today.

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We felt grateful today.

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We broke the rules today.

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I listened to the kids play off in the distance. And thought about my two babies at home. I loved protecting them.

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I relaxed today.

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I felt no pain. Even though the tumor grew so big.

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I felt the love today.

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I said goodbye to my beautiful friend Kira. She “saw” me standing over everybody before the doctor said it was time. I was excited & jumping & happy.

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Well, I didn’t say goodbye. I said ’til we meet again.

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God, I was lucky. Our time was short. But you both gave me a second chance & we lived it up together. You love when I look at you. I’ll never stop.

 

Always,

DUKEY

 

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**07/09/14 Dukey’s Mama Jordan just found his adoption video from almost 3 years ago. It sealed the deal for her. Don’t put the tissues away just yet. Here’s the real Dukey!

**Follow up to this story here.

Dog Death, Dying, & GriefJuly 7, 2014

 

maya olympia copyDog Death, Dying, & Grief

For most of my almost 48 years I’ve been scared of death. Unsure of what happens when we die. Devastated at thought of losing someone I love. I spent many years with my Maya being fearful of her death. Of losing her. I’d imagine her getting hit by a car. Over & over. Not rational, I know, but I’ve shared more embarrassing moments with you already, so fuck it…

So, then I lose 3 of my babies in a short amount of time. Boy, how’s that for God throwing some curveball lessons?

You’d think with my psychology background I’d be better at this stuff. But psychology experience is only one part of me. I’m jewish, remember? LOL. That means that my parents worked overtime to protect me from experiencing anything uncomfortable when I was young. I think death was difficult for them too. I know it was. And they didn’t want their kids to hurt…so there wasn’t a lot of talk about the process. It’s all good. Love them to pieces. This is my journey now. I wanted to be better at it…on some level I suppose…

I’ve learned a lot in the past 2 years. And knowledge is power… Two of my friends/clients lost their dogs unexpectedly this past week. Today I will be joining another while she says goodbye to her soul dog. I didn’t hold Maya as she went away. A friend needed to do it as I was in the fetal position in the corner of the vet’s office. It got easier with Beau. Then with PJ. I’m not a pro now…& I never want to be. But I know my support today is important to my friend.

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What I know about doggie death, dying, & grief:

1. The time spent worrying about them leaving steals from the time you give them while they are here.

2. They leave when their mission is complete.

3. You can love again & again.

4. Experiencing death with your heart makes you stronger. You can overcome your fears. I’m living proof.

5. Letting them go when it’s time is the most selfless thing you can do.

6. Your soul is in your pet. Just look in their eyes & you will see it.

7. Loving hard means you will lose hard too.

8. Grief is only temporary.

9. They do come back. But you have to let them go first.

10. Animal lovers are a super special breed. Accept the love & support when you really need it. It’s ok.

XO,

RA

Hank’s Heart.July 4, 2014

HANK’S HEART.

Another blog post with none of my photos. And no photography tips. Sorry. Another story needs telling.

On August 14th 2013 I received a call from Anju, a former client, telling me about a dog in distress that her husband Cory had just crossed paths with. He went to see a client in their home & saw a dog in a neighbor’s yard chained to a crate with no food or water. A rottweiler. Missing hair, skin & bones. She sent me this pic.

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We first discussed reporting the neglect, but the county that would be assigned to the case does not adopt out rotties, so he would have more than likely been put to sleep if they were actively involved. Cory & Anju wanted to take matters into their own hands & asked for my help. I reached out to my good friend Mona who is a huge rottie lover & has lots of experience working with them in rescue. Anne with St. Francis Angels agreed to take on this medical case for 8 weeks. We raised the funds for his care.

Cory received permission to rehome the dog the next morning, rushed him to the vet, & then named him Hank.

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I posted this that afternoon:

“He was breathing, but unresponsive when Cody arrived. He is in an advanced starvation phase where his body is feeding off his muscle. Miraculously, his blood profile was basically normal and he is heartworm negative, so his primary issue is hookworm anemia, starvation, and sarcoptic mange. I will pray for Hank & for the people who loathe themselves enough to allow this to happen. It’s very sad…but that does not change our job (as rescuers).”

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“His treatment plan will be obviously be one of feeding a highly nutritional calorie dense food, dewormings, and injections for his sarcoptic mange. In spite of his past he wags his cut little bald rottie nubbie and bears no grudges. He should weigh at least 85-100 pounds, but currently weighs only 59 pounds.” –Anne

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An update from Anne a few days later:

“Hank has gained six pounds in less than a week! He is now eating eight cups of food a day reduced for the original ten. Rapid weight gain is not ideal in a starving dog. He has figured out the doggie door and splits his between his room and his patio. He loves his one on one time and when it is time to come in from playtime he beats us to the gate. He does not want to be forgotten outside.”

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Then another:

“Hank, now referred to as HANK THE TANK continues to make wonderful progress!!! After 4 weeks of medical care & TLC he has gained 26lbs and is absolutely gorgeous!! Thank you so much for helping me help Hank!”

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8 weeks later. Posing with his rescuers Cory & Anju.

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I was working on several cases at the time & didn’t get a chance to meet Hank in person. But one person was there the whole way. She was his biggest cheerleader & couldn’t wait to bring him into her home to foster until we found him a forever place to be. It was Mona.

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Hank never left Mona’s home. He fit like a glove & they were all smitten with each other. He soon became an ambassador for Mona’s new project: Pulling puppies from shelters (namely BARC) to transport to places like Colorado where there is more demand than supply for adoptable pets.

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Hank LOVED the puppies up & entertained them while staying in Mona’s home for a week or two waiting for travel.

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1551520_10152494574598508_2016389953_nAnd Hank loved Mona’s prides & joy…her grandkids!

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Hank played with literally 100’s of puppies in the past year. Mona is one of RPM’s (Rescued Pet Movement) most active & respected fosters/volunteers.

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Hank wasn’t feeling well last night & Mona brought him to the ER. Tests revealed he had stones in his bladder & urethra & they recommended surgery immediately with a specialist. As Mona was about to transport him to Gulf Coast this afternoon, she received word from the vet that Hank had stopped breathing in his office.

Mona is devastated tonite.

After I spoke to Mona I contacted Kira of Intuitive Pet Care. I had to understand why he came in with such a blast & left in the same way.

“I feel his heart. He came into her life to help ground her through and help execute her project. He came in as the stability force she needed to lean on through everything. His gentle patient strength helped balance her impatient passionate emotional drive. He came in to help lay the FOUNDATION. He is a layer of DREAMS. He sealed the project and had to leave once it HIT ground. He WAS the ground before it actually could hold it’s own ground. He helped bring so much balance and heart into everything.

He doesn’t want her to feel like she’s alone in this; he is VERY MUCH still present and acting as her guardian angel now.
Because he won’t leave her side if he feels she needs him HERE.
He can better fulfill his guardianship from spirit now…”

RPM has recently secured a building that will become a temporary shelter & a small vet clinic to offset some of the costs to run their program. The board members spoke today after hearing of Hank’s passing. They plan on honoring him in a beautiful way. One of the puppy isolation rooms in the new building will soon have a plaque in his honor; called HANK’S HEART.

RIP You glorious angel. We pray for Mona’s healing & strength. And send condolences to her husband James & the rest of the family. Please help me lift up one of our sisters. It’s her turn to accept the TLC. XO

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 And for more Hank & friends, please visit my facebook page.