December 16, 2011

My, how time flies...

Geez, I knew I had been slacking on updating my blog but I didn’t realize it’s been nearly 2 ½ months since I wrote last! Of course I knew the end of September was crazy busy and I had been working hard to get through a quick trip to Atlanta for the French Bulldog National Specialty and then back home in time for the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Gala and Auction. Both of these things are very important to me since I volunteer with a French Bulldog rescue, French Bulldog Rescue Network, and am a Board Member with our local Pisgah Division of the March of Dimes.

The French Bulldog Rescue Network (FBRN) always set up a fundraising table at this yearly event, have several volunteers travel from far and wide to attend, and there is always a Rescue Parade. We’ve fostered a few dogs with FBRN and we’ve adopted three Frenchies, but I also used to do some major volunteer work with them and came in to contact with a great number of people who will bend over backwards to help get a French Bulldog in to a safe and loving environment, so it’s always nice to see some of the volunteers I’ve met before and meet some news ones face to face who are able to attend. This year was particularly important to me because of our eldest Frenchie, Smeagol, health problems. You see, Smeags is a very special soul who spent most of his life living in a rabbit hutch in a North Carolina puppymill, with scummy water, rarely feed and never received any positive attention or medical treatment. We’ve been blessed to have him in our lives since October 29, 2005 and though it took a little while for him to trust us, he’s learned a very different lifestyle and shows us every day that he is a unique character.

While I was pregnant with Stella last Fall Smeags health had been concerning us. He had a few spells that made his odd body wobbly, but he always seemed to recovery quickly and look at us like we were crazy for doting on him (just another of Smeags charming attributes). In early November of last year I went o bed nervous about the lab work for the Quad Screening I was scheduled to do in the morning and it took me a while to settle down enough for me to fall a sleep. It didn’t seem like I had been a sleep very long when I suddenly woke to a thrashing noise and hopped out of bed to find Smeags having a Grand Mal seizure. It took a while for the seizure activity to pass and I spent the next five minutes clearing away foam from his mouth to prevent him from choking and then sat trying to calm his confusion. We spent the next hour sitting with him, talking and comforting him until he slowly seemed to come back around to “himself” and the fear in his eyes lessened and we all decided to try to get a couple of hours of sleep before the alarm clock beeped. We took Smeags with us for my lab work and drove him to our vets to be checked out afterwards. My horrible suspicions were confirmed by our vet and Smeags most likely was suffering from a brain tumor.

Well, that was (now) over a year ago and knowing how limited his time is with the diagnosis of a brain tumor I knew I had to get him to the French Bulldog Nationals so he could make one last Rescue Parade and see all the FBRN volunteers who love him. We first booked our hotel room last October and I thought how fun it was going to be to take Stella and Smeags. I had even come up with a plan for them to both ride in a red wagon together, so they could enjoy all the dogs, people and activity, but things have changed. However, Smeags still enjoyed himself and all the attention he received and everyone seemed very happy to see the old man doing his thing!

I wondered on our drive down to Atlanta if any of my rescue volunteer friends would say anything about Stella, since most of them had read or heard about our experience, and I wondered how I would handle that. Deep down I knew I would rather them mention Stella rather than dodge the huge whole left in our hearts, but for the most part everyone remained silent. One volunteer friend during a quiet moment took me by the arms and spoke to me about the loss of my precious daughter. I can’t even remember exactly what she said because I was so surprised and then overcome with appreciation and tears, but she said commented along the lines that she was proud of me for talking about our loss and all the information I share with others and that she holds us in her heart. Besides seeing how much love Smeags received at Nationals, hearing someone have the courage and respect to speak to me about Stella made the whole trip worthwhile! My heart was very happy as we drove back home.

Wow, I guess I’ll have to catch you all up on the March of Dimes Gala next time! Don’t worry, I plan on posting it this weekend and hope not to allow so much time to pass between posts.

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