Archive for Pets Posts

published in Animals, Death, Dogs, Grief, Life After Loss, Pets by Maryanne | July 16, 2019 | 18 Comments

Celebrate Good Times – Saying Goodbye to Sadie Pope


“Our animal friends teach us
More than we could have expected…
And love us
More than we could have hoped…

…That’s why we miss them
More than we could have imagined.”

– Anon

“I don’t have good news,” the vet said, after examining the x-ray of Sadie’s left wrist.

And in my heart of hearts I knew what news what coming…

Bone cancer.

Oddly enough, it was an ear infection I’d taken Sadie in to see the vet on Friday June 21st, 2019. Although I’d noticed her wrist had been swollen for the past two weeks, I hadn’t taken her to the vet to have it checked because…well, because deep down, I guess I knew something bigger was brewing and I didn’t want to face it.

But for me not to have marched Sadie into the nearest vet at the mere hint of an ailment was very uncharacteristic. That dog received better healthcare than most people on the planet.

In fact, because of her severe arthritis, as well as injuries from relentless ball-chasing, Sadie had been to so many different vets throughout the Western States & Canada that her regular vet teased me that the only way he was able to keep track of where I was at any given time was by the Sadie-updates sent to him by other vets…from Okotoks, Alberta to Newport, Oregon to Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Anyway, after telling me the news that Sadie had both a tumor and a fracture on her left wrist, the vet laid out my limited options:

#1) Cancel my trip to Equador and stay home with Sadie as she succumbed to a very painful and fast-spreading cancer.

#2) Go on my trip and leave Sadie with her caregiver and take the (highly likely) chance of Sadie going downhill on his watch (without me).

#3) Put Sadie down before leaving on my trip.

I chose the third option and, according to the vet, by doing so both Sadie & I were likely spared an extremely difficult – and painful – month or two (she likely wouldn’t have lived longer than that with her diagnosis).

And so…at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday June 22nd, I bid farewell to my beloved buddy. Sadie’s passing was peaceful…for her. But I’m not going to lie…for me, it was excruciating. As I sat on the floor of the vet clinic, petting Sadie and comforting her as she prepared to pass between life and death, I could feel the waves of hurt surging up from deep within myself. It was brutal.

And I just went through this with my dog, Soda, five years ago…and Sable three years before that! But as Shakespeare said, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

After Sadie had passed, I sobbed my home, threw my suitcase in the CRV and headed to my friend, Lynne’s, place in Abbotsford – extremely thankful I didn’t have to spend a single second more in the house without my Sadie.

But here’s the amazing thing: although Sadie’s sudden death was akin to having a Band-Aid ripped off the old heart, the emotional aftermath – the grief – was surprisingly…brief.

One day I was scratching Sadie behind the ear as she passed away; the next day I was on a plane to Equador. In hindsight, it was as if the Universe had airlifted me – literally – out of the grieving process. Maybe I’ve wasted too much precious time over the past two decades grieving?

At any rate, when Lynne and I joined up with our tour group in Quito, Equador, we hit the ground running (well, okay…walking slowly due to the high altitude). And in the days to follow, I was too damn busy having fun, laughing, seeing new sites, experiencing new adventures, eating new food and meeting new people to be sad.

And the more I thought about Sadie, the more I realized how silly it was to be sad. She’d had an incredible life (a heck of a lot better than the flea-ridden dogs in Equador, let me tell you!). Our five years together had been chock-full of fun, adventure, road trips…and many, many orange & blue chuck-it balls.

Then, one morning at breakfast a few days into our trip, Charlie (who put the tour together), said to the group something to the effect of: “This trip is a celebration of life.”

Clunk went the coin as the truth hit me like a ton of bricks: I needed to be celebrating Sadie’s life versus mourning her death. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing…or trying to, anyway.

Now that I’m back home again and have had a few days to be in the house without her, I admit I miss her terribly. But then I look at a photo of her and see her big grin (on the rare occasion she didn’t have a ball stuffed in her mouth) and I can’t help but smile myself 🙂

In celebrating Sadie’s life, here are 3 things that stand out the most for me:

#1) Her joy…she was always smiling!

#2) Her love of new adventure (which made her the perfect road trip companion).

#3) Her relentless focus. Sadie the retriever took retrieving very seriously. Some have called her ball-obsession a bit OCD. But Sadie was born to retrieve and by God, that’s exactly what she did, day in and day out. May we all learn from Sadie’s intense focus. I sure have.

Here are some of my favourite photos:

Sadie & MA in Utah


Bring back the Expos!


Always in style…


Happy times together, California


The one time Sadie WASN’T smiling (or holding a ball in her mouth) because someone was holding her dinner HOSTAGE!


The look on Kitty Meow’s face is priceless…oh the indignity of a DOG not letting me in my own home!


Serious Sadie in her Russian hat


Relaxing by the fire…


Happy campers!

I was laughing out loud, putting these fabulous photos into this blog…hooray!

Take care and have a wonderful week! I would love to hear from you about your beloved pets 🙂 

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.

published in Beauty, Dogs, Inspiration, Nell Shipman, Pets, Travel by Maryanne | October 16, 2018 | 6 Comments

Pilgrimage to Priest Lake


“Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased.”

– John Steinbeck

Howdy from Okotoks!

I hope you’ve had a grand week. Sadie and I made it, safe & sound, to where we will be house-sitting (for my brother Doug and his wife Tracey) in Okotoks, Alberta. We will be staying put here (more or less) for three months.

Here’s a quick recap of our recent travels: after Sedona, I returned to Victoria, BC to retrieve the retriever.

MA & Sadie, on the road again

We took the ferry Sidney, BC to Anacortes, WA then went for a wee hike at Mt Washington Park:


We stayed the night at the McMenamin’s Anderson School Hotel (very cool) near Seattle.  Then we headed east towards Spokane with a pit stop at Easton Lake, WA:

In Spokane, we stayed two nights at the ever-so-lovely historic Davenport Hotel (Momma Pope loved it there!):

Then we made a pilgrimage to Priest Lake, Idaho – Nell Shipman’s old stomping grounds. As you may recall, Nell Shipman is the silent screen star I have been writing a screenplay about (God’s Country) over the past decade. This gorgeous beach is very close to where Nell and her filmmaking team built Lionhead Lodge back in the 1920’s:

And this is you-know-who testing the sand quality:

This is another shot of stunning Priest Lake…I can see why Nell was so smitten (but boy oh boy, is it ever remote, even today):

After Priest Lake, Sadie and I headed north to Canada and stayed the night in Cranbrook, BC. The next morning, I went to check the oil in my CRV…and the dipstick tube came out again! Yes, it’s a great way to meet guys 🙂 but back I go to yet another Honda dealership to get it FIXED, once and for all.

We received a very warm welcome in Okotoks from the neighbourhood kids (within an hour of arriving, both Sadie and I were playing back-to-back games of hide & seek) and are happy to be hunkered down in one place again…with a freezer full of yummy food, thanks to Doug & Tracey!

Take care and have a wonderful week.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

published in Activity, Animals, Caregiving, Dogs, Pets by Maryanne | June 26, 2018 | 2 Comments

My Fish Tank Bound Hound – Canine Hydrotherapy 


“Everyone thinks they have the best dog and none of them are wrong.”

– Anon

Okay, now you’ve seen everything!

Yes, that’s Sadie in a rather large fish tank. She’s having hydrotherapy to help give her exercise that is not so painful on her arthritic joints. Her days of chasing the ball on land are over 🙁

Sadie was a very good sport about being put in the tank (treats helped). I’m not sure I would have been so tolerant of the water level quickly rising up around me…then the ground starting to move beneath my feet!

Sadie on the treadmill

Along with the hydrotherapy, she is also continuing to receive laser therapy as well as massage. She doesn’t seem to feel a thing with the laser therapy but she certainly reacts when the therapist hits a trigger point while massaging her back. Yikes! But then the next day, she is considerably more mobile.

These alternative therapies (plus the fact that she isn’t allowed to chase the ball on the ground anymore) really seem to be helping Sadie’s mobility. And (other than the massage) she certainly enjoys all the extra attention 🙂

The clinic we are going to for these treatments is Hillside Veterinary Clinic in Victoria. They have an entire rehabilitation department. Interestingly, the treatments are not particularly expensive either.

Of course, Sadie also continues to do hydrotherapy au naturelle…nothing beats the great outdoors for a swim!

Sadie at Spectacle Lake, Vancouver Island, BC

Happy Summer from me & my fish tank bound hound!

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. She is the executive producer of the documentary, Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here. Maryanne lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.