• Ally Puppy May 15, 2017

    We haven’t updated in a while because we have gone through a loss that we knew was coming but we were still thrown off by it. We did the research, prepared as much as we could, hired hospice during the last health scare, made judgement calls and enjoyed our time together as much as we could. And even with that, life sometimes sticks its middle finger up at you and says “But can you handle THIS?” Knowing what was going on with Ally internally, we opted to drive from Wyoming to Fort Collins CO to ensure we had access to in-home care rather than taking her to a vet if and when the time came. We were hoping for a month based on previous experience. We had 4 days, but they were a fun-filled few days. She left us while laying on her Star Wars blanket, surrounded by her toys she used to bring us. Her sisters and we surrounded her as she watched birds in the trees and passers-by. She knew that she was loved.

    Ally and her “bear”

    Ally defied all odds. She was diagnosed with Cushings Disease at the age of 10 (Cushings dogs average 3 years after diagnosis). She had pancreatitis 4 times. She had an internal bleed (perhaps it was the aspirin, perhaps it was the tumor that was inoperable). Couple that with petellar luxation surgeries and a torn ACL (which we couldn’t surgically fix due to her internal issues, but had laser treatments twice per week every week), boy her medical records were thick! Every vet who met her later in life was shocked at how happy and vibrant she was, despite the world of mess that was going on internally.

    Ally poses for the camera

    That’s how we want to focus on Ally’s life of 15 years. She was a maze of issues inside, but outside she was the most joy-filled dog. She was happy to be alive, and each day we imagined her saying “Today was the best day of my whole entire life.” People who met her were so sad to hear of her passing and that’s because once you met her, you wanted her in your life. Our entire extended family was very upset, because Ally was FAMILY. Ally ate off a food mat with a ton of words that basically described her life: Play. Pet Me. Lazy. Jump. Cuddle. Eat. Spoiled. Play. Snore. Treats. Love Me. Happy. Kisses. Sweet. Sleep. Love. Dream. Best Friend. This was Ally, through and through.

    We wanted to provide her with the platform to exude that joy, and part of that was keeping her as pain-free and healthy as possible. With that, we wanted to say a special thanks to the vet practices that helped us along the way, whether it be during her crazy puppyhood or during her twilight years. These aren’t all the places Ally has been (with our travels and laser therapy sessions twice per week, the list wouldn’t ever end), but these are the places that left pawprints in our hearts with their extra care they showed our girl and us. They allowed us to focus on the joy while they took care of the health stuff, including being our crutch during her end. Thank you all.

    Cary Veterinary Hospital – Cary, NC
    West Chester Veterinary Medical Center – West Chester, PA
    West Orange Veterinary – Winter Garden, FL
    Village Vets – Decatur, GA
    Dr. Lauren Cassady, Lap of Love – Atlanta, GA
    Unita Animal Hospital – Fort Bridger, WY (note: this is where Ally met a horse, and heard it whinny!)
    Home to Heaven – Fort Collins, CO

    Lookit the lil puppy!

    So while we knew it was coming, it’s an empty feeling not seeing this amazing dog all the time. The last time we had two animals was before we were married (17 years ago), and that only lasted six months before we got the third. Not only are we getting used to two pets but Ally was always with us, wanted to be a part of the action, always. Sommer and Piper are adjusting along with us. We miss her every single day.

    With that, this is what we wrote on our personal facebook page.

    To say we’re heartbroken doesn’t even begin to cover it. Ally came to us as a crazy lil puppy and left us as our best friend. This little dog was a miracle dog. She defied diagnosis after diagnosis and shocked every vet we met with her ability to live and making each day the best day of her whole entire life. We lived our lives together for the last eleven months on borrowed time. Our borrowed time ended today but not without 15 full years of joy and love.

    Ally Romping

    Ally was the quirkiest dog who invited you into her home and with those big brown eyes, wanted you to feel as home as she did (showing you the toys she has, but would instruct you to not touch them). She was the hostess with the mostess and if you let her lick your face, she called it a success. Give her a comfy blanket and this dog could sleep every which way, anywhere, anytime, usually with a buried nose, snorting, eyes open and most likely with a kick to our ribs.

    Happy dog camping

    So little miracle quirky dog with the big soulful eyes, the one with puppy power, giver of puppy kisses, our Pebbles, Poopy Pants, Ally Puppy, you were our heart dog. Our hearts are broken but you were worth every single second of this heartbreak. Thank you for making us better human beings.

  • Views from the Road May 8, 2017

    In discussing travel with fellow wanderers, someone said to us “You’re either a lake person or an ocean person.” We don’t exactly agree but get the meaning. There are types of people who find pleasure in seeing rolling fields, or mountains, or oceans, or lakes, or other above any other. We aren’t tied to one over another, although admit that seeing 200 miles of farmland and nothing else can get boring (because we aren’t farm people). There are people who feel that “views” only equate to one type of view (ocean people seem to think that ocean views are the only thing worth seeing, for example).

    Happy to see the snow but not be in it.

    When trying to figure out our route from California to Oregon, we asked people which route to take and almost 100% said to take Route 101 due to the views (versus I-5) despite all the road closures that were going on. While we are positive that Route 101 is lovely, it is extremely tight for a 45 Class A plus tow vehicle. In addition, it turns out that there were portions of 101 that were completely closed due to mudslides and some weight restrictions on vehicles (over 9000 pounds, of which we are very much over). We’re very much into views, mind you, but “mudslide views” is something we’d like to avoid as well as “detour into a small town” views because our rig is too heavy. Some tried to state how the route was beautiful but admitted they hadn’t been on it in a few years (well before the rains that hit the west coast) and how they had a 24′ travel trailer. This is a bit different than a 45′ class A plus tow. Others stated that professional truckers do the route all the time so it must be fine. Dare we emphasize the word professional?

    I-5 has a boring view, no?

    In driving I-5, we found the views to be beautiful. There wasn’t an ocean, granted, but the mountain views (along with the interesting weather of rain/snow above those mountains) kept things interesting. The route itself had no issues. Safe and scenic. This is a “trust your gut” moment. There are people who are willing to risk your rig for what they feel is a greater reward. And yes, sometimes they’re right. And perhaps if we were retired, had an infinite amount of time, could take 12 hours to go the length of what a regular two hour drive would take us, maybe. But we have pets to consider, and a expensive rig to not ruin, and places to reach eventually, so while we’d love to throw caution to the wind, it will be for another day.

    “No view” sometimes has a view

    Ominous weather…luckily viewing from afar.

    One thing that has become our mantra has been “trust your gut”. Trust your gut with the drive. If you hear conflict with something about your rig (whether it be the safety of the drive, the navigation, things to do), trust your gut. No one would knowingly (hopefully) put you in harm’s way but they are thinking about it from their perspective. Only you know your own perspective, your rig and your comfortability with what lays ahead.

    For the record, we seem to be mountain/water/grass/hills/cool weather people. Luckily there’s a lot of those on the road!

  • The RVing You’ll Do! May 4, 2017

    You, way to go!
    You bought an RV.
    You’re off on adventures!
    So much to see!

    You now have a big rig.
    You have it mapped out.
    You can now have fun
    that’s what it’s about.

    You’ve bought your stuff via Amazon Prime
    and YOU are the folks who are prepared for this time.

    You’ll review Waze, Google, and RV Park Reviews.
    And then plan your routes you’re set to cruise.
    With your head full of maps and your rig full of stuff,
    you’re now ready to glamp and gloat that life’s “rough”!

    You! The RVing you’ll do!

    Except when you can’t embark.
    Because, sometimes, you need to park.

    Apologies, my friend
    Stuff happens to you.
    The lumps
    or the health scares
    It’s sad but it’s true.

    You can bump a pole
    at the gas place
    And your plans will stay still
    You’ll slow down your pace.

    You will scold yourself
    You will want to quit.
    Other campers will help you
    Saying “Hey, we’ve all done it”.

    You’ll get the bump fixed up
    With an nasty invoice
    You will feel uneasy about driving
    But you will have no choice.

    Somehow you’ll leave
    after that money and waiting
    You’ll find amazing people and sites
    Where campfires are awaiting!

    You! The RVing you’ll do!

    There are parties that are hearty!
    There are great places you can go with that rig
    You will go to campsites that are gorgeous
    Where you won’t be too big.
    Reviews! They’ll say what’s up and sites will be enormous.
    They’ll be awesome, ya dig?

    Except when they are yucky
    Because sometimes you’re unlucky.

    Sometimes the websites lie
    Just to get you to buy
    The reviews are kind of subjective
    Each camper has their own objective.

    You’ll move on to the next place
    Glad you didn’t prepay.
    Finding your next home base
    Next time not so easy to sway.

    On you’ll go – down roads,
    Through the rain and sleet
    And face the weather
    And low bridges to meet.

    Navigation will lie, of course,
    as you probably know.
    You’ll get turned around
    RV-unfriendly routes as you go.

    Get a trucker app
    Drive and mind the gap
    and remember that with much ground
    you can always turn around.

    You’re big, people will stop for you.
    Take your time, breathe, and phew!
    After all is said and done, will you have fun?
    Yes! It’ll be second to none!

    Nala Girl

    Except when a pet is under the weather
    But you’re in this together.
    You find a vet to help you cope
    Based on their condition, they give you no hope.

    One is a miracle pet, the other succumbed,
    Together you hold each other up.
    You join hands and paws, with feelings that are numbed.
    And be happy with the time you have together, people, cats and pups.

    When you go uphill
    and the rig is doing everything but hurry
    Know that loose wires on the transmission
    Can cause quite a flurry.
    Just pull off the exit
    take a break, restart.
    Get over that 8% grade
    And know keeping calm is an art.

    There are places to see, people to visit
    If you don’t stop to look around once in a while you might miss it.
    Ferris Bueller said that, wise guy he was.
    Quick stops, long stops, everything in between.
    Seeing family and friends because
    They reinforce why you do this, they’re part of the scene.

    Yay! Go you!
    You bought an RV.
    You’re off on adventures!
    So much to see!

    Apologies and thanks both goes to our inspiration, Dr. Seuss’ “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” explained here.