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Patches Journey

This site chronicles Patches journey through OSA

There’s a First for Everything

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 2:46 pm on Monday, April 25, 2016

Literally.  There is a first time for everything post losing your pet.  Things are getting better, they really are.  I’m able to get through a day here and there without crying or thinking about the hard things.  I can laugh and smile and look at pictures and videos and think how glad I am that I did what I did for my girl.  But there are also times when I kind of melt down and those are the times when I realize, it’s my first (fill in the blank) without my girl.  It’s getting warmer outside and for a second I thought “oh good, it’s Patchy’s favorite season”.  Oh.  It’s my first summer without her.  It’s just a thought.  Sometimes there are tears and sometimes there’s just a wistful longing that life and the world was different.  Some people think I should not talk about it and not think about it and try not to cry about it.  They can think that.  I wonder if those are the same people who are dying their hair purple and publicly mourning the passing of another celebrity, a musician, who they didn’t know personally.  It’s really an interesting phenomena.  But I don’t listen to anyone but me.  Even though some of these boneheads are in my immediate family.  Not the hair dyers but you know what I mean.  I have moments where I resent people who are callous or impatient.  It’s not their pain so they can’t relate.  Yep, you discover all kinds of things about people, you learn something new everyday.  It’s my first time losing one of my dogs and it’s the first time I’m seeing yet another facet of people I thought I knew.  I’ll be the bigger person and accept people for who they are.  I just hope they don’t expect sympathy from me.  I guess there will be a first for them too.  I hope I will soften toward them over time.  I won’t make any promises.

Rooster is doing better.  I had a talk with him and explained everything, told him how much I love him and how I will always love him and be there for him.  He seemed to understand.  I did stop buying oreos.  He stopped eating them and wasn’t going to change his mind.  We are happy summer is coming soon.  We are looking forward to doing more fun things.  We think about our girl and feel love.  We look at pictures and smile.  And yes, sometimes we cry.  But at some point we will get through a week without crying and just feel the love.  There really is a first for everything.


Debbie and Angel Patches


PS I received a hand written card from the Tripawds team and it was so touching.  I know our journey would have been different had we not had the Tripawd community.  Thank you from our whole hearts to yours.  You helped make the journey less frightening and lonely, our time more valuable and our hearts more open.  We are so grateful.

F.E.A.R., My Least Favorite “F” Word

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 12:32 pm on Friday, April 15, 2016

Hm…..I’ve read up on the stages of grief.  I think I’ve discovered a new one.  Fear.  If I do it, I go big.  Fear means one of two things to me.  F.alse E.nergies A.ppear R.eal.  OR………. F.*ck E.verything A.nd R.un.  Lately it’s been more of the latter.  As the saying goes, ignorance is bliss.  It truly is.  I’ll admit, I had no idea how much I would love my dogs.  I fell in love so hard and gave them my whole heart, no walls up, nothing held back.  Pure love.  I’ve had pets before but I think dogs are the pets who give you the most back.  Their facial expressions and actions just tell you without a doubt that they love you.  It’s magical.

To say Patches getting cancer was a complete shock is a huge understatement.  I will be honest, the thought of losing her or Rooster never crossed my mind.  Not having them was a distant “thing” that never seemed like it could happen to me.  And it happened big time, it happened and it hit the fan.  I still feel bad that as her protector and safe keeper I couldn’t help her and make her cancer go away.  I tried so hard.  I don’t doubt for one second that we did the right things for Patches.  We did everything right.    But it damn near tore my heart to pieces.  And now I look at Rooster and I’m scared that I will have to do it again.  I’m scared of the day I lose him.  I’m scared I will lose him because his heart is broken and I don’t know how to fix it.  I know that spending energy there is not value added.  But really, is there anything rational about grief and loss?  Maybe even a little post-traumatic stress?  I sit and just feel scared of the day I have to say goodbye to him.  Scared of having to make the same decision at the end for him.  I’m also scared that I will forget the little things about Patches.  I’m scared that I’ll fall in love again and have my heart ripped out again by a little angel in need.  I’m scared I’ll grieve too much.  Or too little.  I’m scared I’ll never forget her face as she quietly and peacefully slipped away.  Hell the night we had to have her put down I was scared of the dark.

I think about the fear of getting another dog and I think that It’s selfish of me to be so self preserving.  It’s what we do as humans.  If it hurts……run.  But I know that I’d rather love and lose than have one little dog, maybe even a tripawd, sitting unloved and unwanted in a shelter somewhere.  This adulting thing is really not what I thought it would be when I was young and “childing”.  It sounded so good when I was a kid.   At least if I ever get another dog I will know what I’m signing up for.  I’ll know what I may have to do again one day in the name of love.  I’ll know that they will take a little piece of my heart with them when they go.  And I’ll pray for strength.

I hope all these fears will subside with time.  I hope I can stop seeing her face in my mind as she was passing.  I hope my Rooster feels better and stops being sad.  I will choose to get better but  choose to do it in the healthiest way possible.  Time and friends are the best medicine.  I hope I don’t wear my friends out.  I hope I can just turn my brain off one day soon and feel better for a day.  I know I will.  I’m strong and I know I can but I will say, my confidence has taken a hit.  I guess this is what the books define as “living and learning”.  I’m a little fearful of what other lessons life has in store for me.

My son told me that he wants to take Rooster to the beach soon.  He wants to make sure Rooster gets all the items on his bucket list checked off.  He knew I wanted to take Patches to the beach before she was gone.  I didn’t get to and I cried about that too.  My son has done really well with all of this and he’s been a shoulder for me to lean on.  He’s mature for his age, he listens and hugs me and I thank God for him, my little angel on earth, my heart.  He said “mom, we can let Rooster romp on the sand and bring a little bit of Patches’ ashes to put on the sand and in the ocean so that we’ll know she got to see the beach too”.

Never ever underestimate a teenage boy.  I have no fears about him at all.  I know he is going to grow into an amazing man and he knows it too.  He’s already living and learning how to help mend a broken heart.

Thank you everyone for your love, help and understanding.


Debbie and Angel Patches

Everything and Nothing has Changed

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 3:54 pm on Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The last two weeks have been a blur.  I have experienced every emotion probably known to man on the “grief” spectrum.  Except anger.  And despair.  I’m a rational person and I recognize that I have a full life with a lot to live for.  I’m not one to think that my life is over because my girl is gone.  That’s my head talking.  My head and my heart often have “discussions”.  My heart says “how can other people go on eating, laughing, talking……..breathing…… can they go on with their world when mine crumbled?”.  Most of the time my heart aches for my sweet girl but breathing is becoming easier and now I can reminisce and talk to people without my throat closing and eyes welling over.  It’s absolutely a process.  This is a non-negotiable situation.  Wanting and wishing will do nothing to remedy the situation.  So I take every day as a new day, let myself feel my feelings and keep busy.  Everything seems different but everything is the same.  I’m just re-learning how life was before I got my girl but I am different for knowing and loving her.  Sometimes I hate that I have to get out of bed.  Sometimes I hate people who are laughing and unaware of my sadness.  And sometimes I talk about my girl with fondness and love.  There is no consistent from one day to the next and some days it’s cry in my car and then get out and say “left, right, inhale, exhale…..”.   I’m thankful for the memories I consciously made while I still had my girl.  I remember the feel of her velvety little ears on my lips, the smell of her soft head…..her silky cheeks and whiskers, her little cool nose.  I let myself think about her in private so that I can cry and smile and just hold her in my heart.  It’s not easy but it’s possible to come out on the other side.

I feel bad for my Rooster.  He is not the same dog.  He will go and get his ball……..once.  He is laying around a lot, not eager to eat, play, smile.  I hate that I can’t help him.  I just hug him, love him and do all the things I did with Patches to make memories.  I tell him I love him, sneak him the butterscotch krimpets (he won’t eat oreos anymore) and I make memories.  He lost his love, his sister and his protector.  She protected him so much.  Two days ago the little border collie girls that used to love him attacked him, they bit him on the back and snarled at him and they hurt him, physically and they hurt him in his heart.  Had Patches been around she would have kicked their asses with three legs.  He never even fought back.  He never does.  He is the sweetest dog ever and our sole purpose in life is to make him smile, see him happy again and let him know I understand.  Let him know he’s not alone and he never will be.  It’s all new territory.  We’re fumbling through.

I expect pretty much the same for an undetermined period of time.  But one thing I know.  I’ll make it………albeit reluctantly.  I guess everyone does.  One thing that I do now is tell people……….hug your dog, spoil your dog, make memories.  You’ll never be prepared to lose them but you will have memories without regrets.

And so it goes…..


Debbie and Angel Patches

Rain Brings Rainbows So Bring On The Rain

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 2:58 pm on Friday, April 1, 2016

Not going to sugar coat anything, this week has been hell.  And it’s still not over.  And while it’s been one of the worst weeks for me it’s brought out the best in the people around me.  If I ever doubted who was a true friend, I know who they are now.  I could not have imagined how many people would reach out to me, sending love, prayers, good thoughts, shared tears and good vibes.  The Tripawd community gathered the troops and surrounded us with love and support.   It made me cry to know how loved I am and how much people care about me, my son, my dogs, my life.  I have cried a lot of tears and I’m not done yet.  I have been thinking and reflecting on the last 7 months.  I have been trying to be strong for my son and Rooster.  I’ve had a panic attack…..let’s take a moment to reflect.

Was it only Monday that I had to make the hardest decision of my life and actually follow through with it?  The two months leading up to that decision  were the two months that I had to steel myself to accept the truth.  When my girl was first diagnosed I was in shock and disbelief.  How could God let a dog this sweet who had fought so hard to come into her own get sick?  I wouldn’t say I was in denial but my UFC fighter side came out.  I was anxious, nervous, determined, hopeful and sick to my stomach.   We made the decision to amputate on August 21st, the amputation happened on August 27th.  I don’t think I slept for the week after her surgery. We set up appointments for chemo and forged ahead.  We suffered through three chemo treatments only to find that it wasn’t stopping the growth of the metastatic lesions in her lungs.  The oncologist said we could then try Palladia, the oral medication approved for dogs.  I think at that point I decided my dog would be the one to beat the odds.  I did research on top of research and found the cannabis oil.  I believed and hoped and prayed that I would find the cure for my dog.  I never forced anything on her because in the back of my mind I knew that being aggressive wasn’t going to make her happy.  We did what we could with her quality of life in mind.  Then in February at her next re-evaluation all of my hopes were crushed.  At that point I just prayed and bargained for a miracle.  As you can see…………didn’t happen.  I never realized how much of my mental energy was focused on worrying about her, making sure she had good food, making sure she was happy, comfortable and not aware of my inner turmoil.  Here’s the thing………I think she was being strong for ME.  That little dog KNEW……… about how dogs love unconditionally.  I think they fight for us as much as we fight for them.  I realized that I was being selfish.  My desire for her to be here just one more day………was for me.  Not her.  I’ve gotten two distinct and clear signs from my girl that she is fine and happy.  Which makes me realize that I kept her from heaven.  We got 7 good months……..she got 7 good months.  I won’t lie, I am naturally second guessing myself about keeping here even for that long.  It’s what we do in retrospect I suppose. Even the decision to put her down.  The guilt.  The finality.

Putting her down had to be hands down the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make to date.  She wasn’t in any pain, I know that.  But she was getting short of breath and weak.  She couldn’t get up and when she tried she panted.  It was sad to see and I called her daddy to come home and called the vets office.  I had called them the previous week to get information as I knew it was coming.  I didn’t know how soon.  7 months and one day post amputation.  Also the day after Easter and two days after my 50th birthday celebration.  The vets office made a house call for us.  The vet at our regular office is married to our oncologist.  He came over his lunch hour. When he got to the house I wanted to throw a brick at his car and tell him to go away.  I didn’t.  He came in with his assistant.  And Rooster came in with them.  Patches was set up very comfortably, curled up on her little bed with her little warm blanky.  She barely acknowledged that the vet was there.  She was deteriorating by the minutes.  My heart was screaming don’t do it and my head was saying I was doing the right thing.  I had the war of the worlds going on in my head.  Her daddy and I were right in front of her face, the vets were behind her so she really didn’t see them.  Rooster laid down next to me and put his head between his paws, eyes fixed on her,  silent and still.  Daddy held her paw, I held her face.  We told her she was such a good, brave girl.  The last thing she heard me say was “you are so loved” and it was over.  After the vet and the tech left……..I lost it.  I hugged her, I cried harder than I ever remember crying.  I failed to realize that Rooster was still next to me.  Once I pulled myself together and he gave me a kiss he went outside and threw up.  My son had to come home from school and find out.  He got to give her a last kiss with the believe that she had fallen asleep and died in her sleep.  It has affected us all.  I’m having a hard time just being in the living room without her little bed.  The baby gate is gone from the stair case.  My son is sleeping with her collar and Rooster hasn’t touched an oreo since Monday.  Tears are at the back of my eyes and my stomach clenches.   I had a panic attack on wednesday in my car on my way to work over our decision to “give her to strangers who were going to burn her after they killed her”.  Rational thought abandoned me as the panic set it.  We went ahead with the cremation once I settled down.

And yet……..I think about the fun times.  The smiles she brought.  The stories, pictures, videos…….her life was wonderful and so was ours because she was in it.  I know it’s time to let her go.  But I want just one week to have my pity party.  One week to retreat, one week to be the weak one and let my loved ones hug me, tell me it’s ok and let me wet their shirt with my tears.  My son and I have bear hugs and sob together.  I told him there is no right way to grieve but that we have to grieve our way, we have to move through it and keep living.  It’s what she would want.  My girl was a warrior.  She fought for her and she fought for us.  As part of my grief process I’ve put together a montage of photos with music.  I have one made with videos and a song that symbolizes my girls pluck and positive attitude.  It’s raining out today.  But rain brings rainbows.  So bring on the rain.


Debbie and Angel Patches


Will You Remember Me?

Filed under: Uncategorized — careygram at 11:21 pm on Monday, March 28, 2016

I had to do a little tribute to my girl and share.  All of your kind words and thought and support do help somehow.  I feel loved, I feel understood and I feel like I’ll survive.  Not that I feel like I want to at this point.  I’m still in shock.  It will sink in as the days go on.  I will cry a million tears and contemplate buying stock in the Kleenex company.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the pictures I am sharing.  It’s therapy.

Thank you,


Debbie and Patches

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