Sweet 16

Today is Lucy's 16th birthday. I can't believe so many years have passed in the life of this adorable toy poodle. She still gets around great for her age and keeps my wife and I on our toes as her loyal servants. I hope we have many more years together. Lucy still has the cuteness of a puppy, as evident in a photo I snapped of her peeking out from under her blanket during a recent cold spell.  She got to go on a birthday shopping trip for some special treats over the weekend and decided to sleep in until noon on her big day. Whatever Queen Lucy wants. Happy Birthday, Lucy!

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Goodbye, Chloe

This is the hardest post I've written since starting this blog. Today I had to say goodbye to the sweetest little friend a guy could have. It has been 14 years. A true gift of a lifetime in dog years yet unfairly short to me. Chloe, you put up a hell of a fight and made my days a little brighter for the time we were together. Thank you.

I'd say that my wife and I picked Chloe out of her litter but that isn't exactly true. She took a flying leap onto my chest when we met and licked my face like we'd known each other for years. How could I say no to that? Every day when I got home for the past 14 years I could look forward to that same greeting. She did her best to keep my life in balance. Work hard, play hard. Always take time to throw a ball around.

Chloe got sick about 5 years ago. We were initially told by our vet that she didn't have long due to a huge tumor wrapping around her liver. My wife and I weren't ready to let go and we reached out to a specialist who said he believed he could save her life. He was right and he got us another 5 years. Chloe bounced right back. It was a miracle.

We had some happy years together until the past few months when the symptoms returned. This time there was nothing to be done. We enjoyed her company up to the point where it was obvious she was struggling to stay with us and it no longer seemed fair to try and prolong her life. Always the fighter, her eyes told me she was finally ready to rest. We had a good last day together. We went to a few of her favorite places and made some visits to say goodbye. Chloe had some chicken strips for lunch and cookies and ice cream for desert. 

I don't know that I can sum up her beautiful life in just a few photos. It doesn't do her justice. She was our Princess. Always playful, very vocal and stubborn, quite the little clown, sometimes a pain in the butt. We loved her dearly. 

Goodbye, Chloe. I'm really going to miss your smile.

All I Want For Christmas Is You

This is the face that has greeted me when I come home for almost 14 years now. Chloe is a happy, spunky little dog with a love for life. The fact that she is still with us is miraculous. She started to lose weight dramatically about 5 years ago. Our vet found a large tumor on her liver and said that there wasn't anything he could do. We ended up finding a specialist who said he believed he could save her life. He was right. It wasn't cheap but Chloe had a major surgery that got her back to health and she's still here 5 years later. The doctor couldn't get all of the tumor out and it is starting to impact her health again, along with the natural impact of age. Chloe has slowed down quite a bit lately. She's had a few illnesses this year and it gets harder for her to rebound each time. Her legs quiver a bit when she stands sometimes. She doesn't seem to be in pain and seems to be herself otherwise. Still, I know her time left with us is short.

Chloe was laying next to me on the couch recently. As I pet her, she looked up at me for a while. She has been getting over a urinary tract infection and was feeling groggy. As she looked at me I told her I know she is going to have to leave us someday soon. I asked her if she could, to please stay with us for Christmas. She looked at me a brief moment longer and then curled up beside me. Today is Christmas and she climbed up into my lap, threw her paws over my shoulders, and licked my face. It is a Merry Christmas indeed. Thanks, Chloe.

Lazy Sunday Morning

Sunday mornings can be a little slow around the poodle ranch. Chloe enjoyed napping in a chair and basking a bit in the warm sunlight coming through the guest bedroom window. It hit the low 80's on the last day of January in the Austin area. Makes me wonder if winter is passing us by this season. This is Texas though. We could end up with an ice storm yet this year, you never know. For now, Chloe isn't complaining.

2 Peas in a Pod

This almost never happens around here. Our two poodles crawled into one bed together on a chilly morning and they both ended up leaning over the same side. I was working at my computer when I glanced down and saw them together. Luckily, I happened to have my camera with a suitable lens and flash mounted within arms reach on my desk. Knowing this arrangement wasn't likely to last long, I turned on the camera, dialed in an exposure, and quickly got down to floor level to snap this shot. I knew I'd have only one, maybe two shots at most before camera-shy Lucy would turn away. Chloe is usually more photogenic but this time it was she who immediately got out of bed to lick my face. I think it would be easier to herd cats than get these two to pose like this so I was quite happy to catch the moment before it disappeared.

What Lucy thinks of the household paparazzi.

Happy 12th, Chloe!

Today is Chloe's 12th year with us! This little girl is quite a character. It's amazing how she hasn't slowed down much with age and some health issues the past couple of years. We play fetch everyday and she jumps up to greet me when I come home from work. I don't know what I'd do without seeing her beautiful smile every day. We took her to her favorite pet store to pick up a birthday cookie and a new squeaky ball. Happy Birthday, Chloe!

Happy 13th, Lucy!

I'm officially the parent of a teenager today. A teenage poodle, that is. Lucy entered her 13th year today. It's hard to believe it has been that long. I remember bringing her home like it was last week. While she can be a bit cantankerous at times in her old age (she especially hates getting her picture taken), she brings a lot of joy to our lives. I stopped and got her a small toy on the way home from work (like she doesn't have enough already) and she seemed to enjoy it. We played a bit before she retired to her bed in our living room, finding that the new toy made a comfy place to lay her head.

Chatting with Lucy

Lucy here is quite a character. When she wants something she can be quite insistent and vocal about it. Once in a while, when she can't seem to get her point across, she'll sit down, flip her ears back, and bark in abrupt little yaps. Sometimes I'll sit on the floor in front of her and answer back in kind. I'm not sure we ever get anywhere with the conversation but she seems to appreciate the effort. It didn't occur to me until later that the issue was likely the dinner selection of dry kibble and she was probably requesting some canned food. Unable to get her point across, we ended up playing a bit before she begrudgingly ate her dinner. The next morning the Queen of the Household, as she is known around here, was back to barking orders. She finally got her favorite canned food and all was well in her kingdom. After 12 years of living with her majesty I guess I still make a poor subject sometimes.

Images were taken with a Fujifilm X-T1 and XF 35mm f/1.4 lens.