Remembering Lylee

I wanted to write today because it’s an emotional one for us.

Today is one year since we lost Lylee.

Last year we were in the last stage of pregnancy. It was freshly fall. We were in the midst of a fun & busy travel season, squeezing in those last few trips before M would arrive. We were looking forward to a baby shower and my birthday and the holiday season. There was so much GOOD going on…

And then Lylee got an infection and passed away so suddenly it took months for us to wrap our heads around it.


Ly’s passing was the second major, Earth shattering, out-of-the-blue death in my life. And if you’re a “she was just a dog” kind of person then this post isn’t for you. But chances are you’re not because our friends and family and neighbors truly SHOWED UP for us this time last year.

I am so grateful for the community of love in which we belong. My parents, K’s parents, & my grandparents gathered together with us to say goodbye to and bury Lylee. My brother and sister-in-law drove four hours just to bring us a gorgeously framed photo of the bear and sit with us in our grief, remembering the joy Ly brought us. Friends and neighbors sent cards, flowers, and food to heal our souls. My best friends had a drawing of Lylee (& Enzo) commissioned and sent to us.

Remember the life Lylee lived and the love she brought out of others is the gift she left behind.

I’m also pretty sure she gifted us Bristol and laughs about it everyday, looking down on us and thinking, ‘See? I wasn’t so bad, was I?’ Lol.


Lylee would have adored Moo. I know Enzo still misses his sister. I think about her often. She was K’s dog through and through, and I know her death still deeply affects him. But Lylee came to us by chance and we were so damn lucky to spend those years with her. She was our first baby and I’m forever grateful that we got to love her.

So the moral of today’s post is simple. Hug and squeeze and kiss on the ones you love- fur and flesh. Sit in the sun and pet your cat’s warm fur, throw the ball a few extra times for your dog, give your mom a call.

And please adopt your next fur baby. Do it for Lylee ♥

It’s Bristol, Baby

Time to formally introduce Bristol to the blog. I should’ve posted this on Tuesday for Subaru’s National #MakeADogsDay but alas…

This might be a longer post… but there are pictures so it’s worth it. Lol

The amount of doubt, second-guessing, and hemming & hawing that went into Bristol’s adoption is embarrassing. I think K felt *good* about her from the start. I loved her profile and I was the one to submit the adoption application, but I was nervous to meet her. And poor Enzo was completely blindsided.

Losing Lylee was the worst pain our little family has felt. It shook all three of us. I couldn’t fathom loving another dog like I loved her. To be completely transparent, I couldn’t imagine loving anything new. I questioned my worth as a mom-to-be because my heart just felt so broken and out of commission. It was extreme grief mixed with pregnancy hormones.

Lylee was K’s girl. She loved him SO much and in return she was his number one. When we were calculating her potential recovery cost (we were told it could be 5 figures), he was prepared to sell his corvette if we needed to. Just writing that makes me cry. When we bought that car we said we’d never sell it, but Kyle loved Lylee so much he didn’t think twice.

As the days without Ly passed we realize how quiet and incomplete and sad our home and family and lives felt. We lasted as a one-dog family for a week.

We don’t do anything on a whim. We over-talk about it. I overthink about it. I pray about it. K researches it. But once we make a decision, we don’t back down. And we knew in our hearts we needed to be a two dog family.

I decided to browse the website of the rescue where we got Enzo nearly 6 years ago. An 8 month old dog named “Butter” grabbed my attention & I sent her profile to Kyle.

We filled out an application, I spoke with her foster mom, and we made plans to meet. Enzo, K and I loaded up the car and drove an hour north with zero expectations or plans on what to do. Just needed to meet her.

It was a weird meet-and-greet. When “Butter” was unleashed in the enclosure she bounded over to K and I,  flopped on her back, and charmed us. Enzo showed zero interest in her and went to sniff the enclosure. This was weird because Enzo acts like a lunatic when he sees a dog- all he wants to do is play. When dogs on the outside of the fence walked past he reacted, but with “Butter” he simply acknowledged she was there and did his own thing. This worried us.

After a few minutes she started working on indifferent Enzo. She followed him, occasionally mouthed at his ears, and tried to feint at him. She never annoyed him or abused him or pushed him… she just made it known that she wanted to play when he was ready. After about 45 minutes of this, her patient persistence paid off and he engaged. (Enzo hadn’t played since Ly got sick.)

We had options at this point… We could pay the adoption fee and take her home (with a 2 week trial period where you can get your $ back if things don’t work out), we could walk away and say no, or we could leave without her and think on it for 24 hours.

On the drive up we agreed that all three of us needed to be sold. K and I were 90-99% on board after an hour and I think Enzo was roughly 60%… so we decided to give another homeless dog a home and adopt “Butter.”

On the way home we discussed 5 different names and settled on Bristol- which is the NASCAR race track we love & visit every year. Enzo has a car-related name (after Ferrari) & we love the little theme we have going.

The drive home.

We have had Bristol for nearly 3 weeks. She is an 8 month old Pomsky (Pomeranian-husky mix… don’t ask me about the reproductive science there… I don’t know). She is definitely still a puppy (ornery, slightly mouthy because she’s teething) but she is sweet as pie and a true testament to the love a shelter pet has to give.

We started obedience school last night and she hasn’t had an accident inside since week one. She’s a smart little cookie but dopey like a puppy, and she will put anything in her mouth just to see if she likes it (dirt, rocks, a mouse nest from under the porch… sigh). She’s a gem, though. We struck gold with her and she has gotten more comfortable in our house each day.

My dad keeps asking if she had siblings at the rescue because he loves her and wants her. Haha.

Before she came to us, she was fostered for a week through the rescue. Before that, they pulled her from the pound. The pound said she was an owner surrender… It breaks my heart that after 6 or 7 months someone gave up on her and dumped her at a pound. My guess? They wanted a purse-size husky and got a 35 lbs ball of energy. Jokes on them- now we’ve got the perfect baby.

Enzo is doing pretty good with Bristol. I think he’s looking forward to her growing up a bit. She likes to randomly nip his neck and legs, and Enzo is not a rough-housing dog… But he plays with her and chases with her and keeps an eye on her when they’re lounging around. He’s still wary, but he knows she’s here for good and he’s warming up each day.


And that’s the adoption story. Did we adopt a puppy with less than 8 weeks until my due date? Yep. And while a small part of me thought we’d regret it, I was 100% wrong. Adopting her and adding her at this moment was the right decision- even if it seems nuts.

Here’s my adoption pitch… If you’re looking to add a fur baby to your family, start with your local shelters, pounds, and rescues. And then branch out to not-so-local facilities. I can guarantee you will find the breed/temperament/age you want in a rescue. Bristol looks a lot like Lylee (which was honestly one of my hang ups) but that’s because we are comfortable with the husky breed- and we found one in a shelter at the perfect age within an hour drive of our house. Yes, there was an application process and we had to do a meet and greet, but it’s the rescue’s way of placing dogs in perfect homes. Do the leg work for a rescue dog- they’re worth it.

And that’s Bristol. When you see her on IG or in future posts, you know the story. And with a 6 year old dog, 9 month old dog, and newborn baby, there are likely to be lots of additional posts and stories with her as a key player. Lol

Things On My Mind

Hello! If you’re reading this you’ve made it to Tuesday. Way to go!

I like how Kristen did a coffee date-brain dump recently. I’ve had a lot going on so I figured I’d do the same and we could all just catch up today. I will be having some hot coffee with a splash of this creamer. So good ❤

Dogs

If you follow me on Instagram then you’ve met our little Bristol Baby. I’m going to share her adoption story here soon, but today I’m just introducing our newest addition. We’re the crazy people who added an 8 month old dog with less than 8 weeks until our baby due date. Ha.

We miss our Lylee Bear but rescuing Bristol was the right choice for us. She’s a completely different personality & just the right amount of spunk our home needed. (And I’m even saying that after she busted out of her crate and subjected our house to a puppy hurricane yesterday. SIGH.)

We love our new little handful. We were told she’s a Pomeranian-Husky mix and she’ll likely stay about the size she is now (35 lbs). It doesn’t matter what she is or how big she gets- we’re just so glad she’s ours 😊

Baby

Still pregnant and slowly starting to freak out about labor & delivery. Ha. My mother-in-law and mom threw me a baby shower on Sunday and HOLY COW. It was a beautiful party. I’m still blown away by their planning and the generosity of those who helped and the love of everyone who came. I’m going to post about that, too, but I’m still collecting pictures.

I have 6 weeks and 5 days to go. Yikes. Baby is typically an active little thing in there. I feel rounder and tired- but I’ve been tired since the test said “positive” and I’m sure I’ll be tired until I die. Hahaha.

We have a birthing class on Saturday and maternity pics on Monday… after that it’s just a waiting game. K has a business trip mid-November so we’re begging Baby daily to avoid those 4 days. Haha. (He can race home if need be.)

Organization

There is so much I want to do before baby gets here. Books I want to read. Moments I want to scrapbook. Corners I want to clean out. Photos I want to organize. Dogs I want to train (lol). I know I won’t get everything done and I’m determined not to stress about it, but these things are definitely on my mind.

I know nesting has kicked in. We still have a bunch of kid-related stuff to do: nursery needs painted, things need assembled, even more things need bought… I’d like to get some freezer meals done. I’d like to clean out the garage. Etc.

PLUS the holidays are here. We finally did the ledge for Halloween. We’re having a party this month, too. (I’m not giving that up- even if I am 35 weeks pregnant by then, ha.) Then we have Christmas decorations that I want to get up and gifts that need purchased or wrapped…

I dunno. It’s all trivial and if it doesn’t get done it’s completely ok, but these are the things on my mind right now.

So now it’s your turn. What’s going on in your world? What’s on your mind? What’s your beverage of choice on this blustery fall morning?

I don’t want to write this.

I don’t want to write this but I use my blog to record moments in my life and this past week was definitely a moment. Albeit a real sh*tty one.

If you follow me on IG or we’re friends on Facebook, you know that our sweet sassy soft lovable Lylee Bear passed away on Saturday morning. I’ve had family & friends die and I’ve had pets die. I can truly say I’ve had nothing hurt like this. You can argue that she was “just a dog” but I’d suggest you make the argument elsewhere.

Our dogs are our babies. And even with a baby on the way, our dogs are our babies. We’re torn up and lost and sad. We took Ly in just 4 months before our wedding. She has been a part of every major life & marital decision we’ve ever made. She’s lived in all our houses. I’m not kidding when I say every single thing in our house reminds me of her and has some Lylee story connected to it. Living without her sucks.

We can’t stop saying, “I just want my damn dog back.” And it’s true.

Losing Lylee was the pinnacle of crap this week. We were on vacation when she took a turn for the worst. The last vacation before baby; one that was supposed to be relaxing. We cut it short (and would obviously choose that over and over again- I don’t regret it one bit) and spent a lot of money to get home.

I’ve also been in the hospital twice this week. I am absolutely fine. I’m just clumsy and I fell two times. I know- I need to be more careful. Trust me, I know.

As you can imagine, our bank accounts took a hit this week with all this drama. But I still wish we were worrying about how to pay for Lylee’s recovery care right now.

None of this matters. I’d go through it all again to get Lylee back but that’s not an option so right now we’re just drowning in misery and waiting to feel better.

I know that we will feel better. I know our energy and excitement will come back. Honestly- all you bloggers who have lost fur babies- I knew it hurt. I didn’t know it hurt like this.

I’ve been absent from Blogland for the last week. I’ll probably be absent most of this week (although I have a scheduled post for Thursday). I’ll get back into the swing of it some day, but right now I’m just sad.

To those that reached out on other platforms- thank you. Your words have meant so much to me and I appreciate all the love more than you know.

A Tribute to Rascal

The world needs all kinds of kinds and I am the kind who has never not had a pet.

This is long but I need some written therapy so hang with me.

I was born into a family that owned a wonderful dog- my parents’ first baby, Bruno. When I was 10 we took in a stray cat. When Bruno died, we still had the cat and a year or two later my brother and I brought home a puppy (much to my mother’s chagrin). Since then, we’ve had lizards, hamsters, a bird, fish, some rabbits, and more cats and dogs pass through our door. The month I graduated college- five months before we got married- Kyle and I took in Lylee. (A few years prior to that we’d found an elderly stray dog that we took in and was living with K and his family at that time.) Obviously now, in our own house, we have Ly and Enzo. My brother has a rescue cat. And my parents have a dog, three cats, and a rabbit.

I’m not kidding- I have never been without a pet.

But the worst part about owning a pet is losing a pet. And last week I was reminded of that.

Like I said, when I was 10 my mom brought home a stray kitten. We think she was roughly 6 weeks old. My mom was a first grade teacher in the country and this scrawny little thing wandered up to her exterior door. The teachers all decided they’d take turns trying to “take her home.” The kindergarten teacher’s husband refused to adopt another cat so it was my mom’s turn. She thought Dad would send the little furball right back. Instead, he cuddled with her all night and named her Rascal.

Rascal grew to be a 19 lbs indoor cat. She’s always been jet black and a little mean, lol. She and K have never gotten along, although I think he loves her deep down. She was my cat- my responsibility to feed, drive to the vet, change the litter, play with, clean up after. She slept between my legs under the covers almost every night and she’d run to the door to greet me when I was home from college. Since Ly hates cats and Rascal was older and more settled with my parents, she stayed in the family home when I eventually moved out.

Last Wednesday I had to say goodbye to my childhood best friend.

I’ve had a few pets leave this world naturally, but I’ve also had to make the call twice. It sucks. Both times we made the choice those animals let us know that it was ok and they were ready. Rascal gave me that on Tuesday night. It’s a quiet sigh or a simple nod of the head, telling you that they are at peace with leaving the world and, while they know you are not, you eventually will be and they’ve appreciated every moment of love and affection and shelter you’ve provided.

But it doesn’t make the sadness any easier.

This is not meant to sound elitist, but if you’ve never owned a pet you probably don’t understand most of what I’m saying. (But maybe you do! I don’t know.) When you’ve loved and cared for something for 5 or 10 or 15 or 18 years you form a bond and a language. And the hardest thing that your pet will ever tell you is, “It’s time.”

I won’t lie- my head and my heart and my eyes hurt so, so much from crying. I was laying in bed last Tuesday night wondering if I’d ever be happy again and why the f*ck we even own pets when this is inevitable?

But it’s because those 10 or 18 years of pure love and joy and family are worth the decline.

So in honor of Rascal, if you’re a pet parent, love them extra hard today and give them a few more treats than normal. The most unfair thing in the world is the lifespan of a pet, but I doubt my heart could stand to love them any longer and lose them.

*This is just a PSA and my own opinion, but if you have to make the tough call to say goodbye to a furry family member, please don’t send them in alone. Sit with them and hold them until the end. It sucks and it’s terrible, but they need your love and your lap more than ever in that moment.*