published in Animals, Death, Dogs, Grief, Life After Loss, Pets by Maryanne | July 16, 2019 | No 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 Change, Dreams/Goals, Fear, Gardening, Inspiration, Playwriting, Travel by Maryanne | June 18, 2019 | 6 Comments

To Be Happy At Home

 

“To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.”

– Samuel Johnson

Yes but now I don’t want to ever leave my home…

Just kidding. You can’t keep a good Gypsy grounded.

Not for long anyway 🙂

I am pleased to report that I am absolutely loving my new home, garden & community of Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island. Yay!

Thanks to the previous owners, who obviously had very green thumbs, my garden is an explosion of colour…roses as far as the eye can see. And best of all, I can finally putter, prune, pot and poke around in my garden…without having to wear ear protection!

Instead of the thumping bass of a neighbour’s stereo, the screech of a band saw or the roar of trucks rumbling past, I get to listen to…birds chirping. And for this exquisite peace and quiet that I have so longed for – hoped for, waited for, prayed for – I am beyond thankful.

Not a day goes by that I don’t sit in my backyard and listen to the sweet silence.

I look back now to the seven LONG years of neighbourhood noise at my Sidney home and I want to smack myself upside the head for staying way too long in that situation. But I cannot change the past. What I can do, however, is write a play about the experience…which is exactly what my friend, Lynne, and I have been doing over the past few years.

The play, Bungalow by the Sea, will be a comedy – even though in real life the relentless irritations were anything but funny. That’s one of the great things about writing…we get transform our experiences into something useful (or at least entertaining) for others.

Although the play is about noisy neighbours, what it is really about is the danger of staying in an unhealthy situation – be that a marriage, a job, a home, a way of life – because the fear of the unknown keeps us stuck.

But this much I have learned: I would rather deal with the unknown than tolerate a lousy known.

I often wonder if my less than stellar experience in Sidney is helping me appreciate the peace & quiet I now have in my new garden?

“Sometimes you have to experience the bad, so that you can learn to appreciate the good things that enter your life.”

– Leon Brown

At any rate, here are some glorious garden pics:

And now I’m off to…Equador!

A tremendous last-minute travel opportunity (with a study tour group) recently came up and my friend, Lynne, and I are heading to Equador, including the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon. The Galapagos is pretty much at the top of my travel bucket-list so this gypsy gazelle is taking this opportunity and running with it!

And yes…I strongly suspect this experience IS on my path 🙂

I would love to hear what’s on the top of your travel bucket-list…where on earth do you HAVE to go? 

I won’t be taking my laptop with me to Equador, so no blogs until I return in mid-July…and then look out – here come the travel pics!

Till then, take care and enjoy summer!!

“The opportunity of a lifetime needs to be seized during the lifetime of the opportunity.”

― Leonard Ravenhill

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, Inspiration, Travel by Maryanne | June 13, 2019 | No Comments

Tofino Gem – Slack Tide Inn

 

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”

– Mark Black

If you’re heading to Tofino and are looking for a place to stay…

I found a real gem a few weeks ago: Slack Tide Inn. Relaxing, welcoming, peaceful…my friend’s daughter, Harleigh, and I absolutely loved it.

We stayed in the large upstairs suite, which had 2 bedrooms and a full kitchen…and an amazing deck for morning coffee:

 

The Inn opened in 2015 and is a cozy, family-run enterprise situated across from Cox Bay on the outskirts of Tofino, BC (on the west coast of Vancouver Island). Nestled in the rainforest bordering the UNESCO biosphere, about 20 minutes from the mudflats, this south-facing property is home to hummingbirds, bluejays, eagles and ravens. Slack Tide Inn provides easy foot-access to surfing, hiking, walking and beach time. This small, 6-person Inn, is animal, baby and child-friendly. It is extremely quiet (very important!), clean, cozy & comfortable.

There were magical touches throughout our suite…books, photos, artwork and quotes all placed in a way that made the Inn feel like a home away from home:

 

And then, of course, there was the natural beauty just across the way…

 

 

If you haven’t been to the rugged and stunningly beautiful West Coast of Vancouver Island before, it might be time to make the trek! And if you have been, now you know of another great place to stay when you go back.

For further information about the Slack Tide Inn, please visit their website. Or you can e-mail the owner, Rachel, at: slacktidepixie@gmail.com

If you go, please say hi from Harleigh and me 🙂

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.”

– Henry Beston

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