Monday, March 24, 2014

All Dogs Go to Heaven

Ever since I was four years old, I wanted a dog of my very own.  I would dream about getting my own puppy. I begged my parents, and every year for Christmas, I would ask Santa Claus for a puppy.  Six months after Gabe and I got married, my dream finally came true.  Gabe's parents let us choose a French bulldog from a litter of puppies they had. I chose Jimi pretty much right after he was born. He was the runt of the litter, but also the chubbiest, with one little brown spot right above his bum.  I immediately fell in love! It took Gabe a little longer. :) Jimi immediately became part of our new family and we loved him so much!  Around April of last year, Jimi started to act lethargic and had a lot less energy than he usually did.  I told myself I was reading too much into things.  But once we moved to back to California, Jimi rapidly got worse.  I took him to the vet, and they said he was completely fine. I forced the vet to do every test he could on Jimi. The vet said everything was normal.  I knew something was wrong, and after going to two different specialty vets, we ended up at a Veterinary Neurology office.  They did another round of tests and found that Jimi had inflammatory brain disease.  They told us he needed to have chemo done for two days and lots of meds. They also told us that only twenty percent of dogs fully recover from inflammatory brain disease.  We tried to stay optimistic, but two weeks later, our little puppy passed away.  I can honestly say that it was the hardest thing that I have ever gone through.  Jimi was like a child to Gabe and I, and we love him like one.

I was searching through my computer when I came across a short essay that Gabe wrote for one of his classes.  He had to write about something he believed in. He wrote about how he believed all dogs go to heaven. It was the sweetest thing and it describes how we felt about Jimi so well. It also reminded me why I love my husband so much. 

                                    I Believe All Dogs Go to Heaven

          Sooner or later, every dog lover finds himself or herself faced with the reality that their dog may not be with them for much longer.  I’ve had to face this reality recently. Luckily, for me, I believe that all dogs go to heaven. Whether animals go to heaven or not is a hard thing to figure, but for me, it’s simple.  My dog, Jimi, taught me about compassion, unconditional love, mercy, patience, understanding, and forgiveness. I don’t think my Heavenly Father would make my family and I live without him in the afterlife.
         Canine loyalty and affection put human fidelity and affection to shame. I feel if anyone deserves a place in heaven, there should be a place reserved for dogs. Dogs are happy when people are happy. There’s nothing they want more than to please you. It’s like having your own personal happiness machine. A dog is always there when you need him most. He or she will never judge you, they only love, and when a dog says they will love you forever, they mean it. Dogs bring out the best in us, and their loyalty is never-ending. They feel your pain and know exactly how to comfort you.
          I don’t know about your picture of heaven, but mine is filled with the wonderful people and animals I’ve lost throughout my lifetime. I consider my pets my family just as much as the people in my life, so why wouldn’t they be included in my eternal family? My dog, Jimi, was three and a half years old when he passed away due to inflammatory brain disease. We spoiled him during his short life, but he also spoiled us with more love than we could ever give. 
          It all happened so fast for us. We had just moved back to San Diego, California from Boise, Idaho. We started to see signs that Jimi wasn’t his usual self. We took him to different veterinarians almost every day, trying to find some sort of cure for his sickness. Then came the time when I had to face the reality myself. I knew that Jimi wouldn’t be with us much longer, but my wife and I still did everything in our power to save him. 
         When Jimi passed away, we buried him in our backyard. Before we covered him up, we placed some of his favorite toys in his grave with him and said goodbye. Jake, our yellow Labrador, picked up a tennis ball, and dropped it in the grave with his friend, Jimi, to say goodbye as well, but somehow, in the midst of all of the sadness, we knew we would all see him again, and then would come a time of great happiness.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Anniston's 8 months

Anniston at 8 months weight 19 lb and is 28 inches long.  

  • She still loves being outside. It's her happy place. :) If something upsets her, we take her outside and everything is better.  Thank goodness for the backyard. 
  • Has a strange fascination with zippers. Once, I timed how long she played with a zipper on her pajamas. She was entertained for 43 freaking minutes! 
  • Is becoming more mobile, still no crawling, but she now likes to explore beyond sitting in one spot.
  • Thinks books are quite tasty. She likes when we read them to her too.   
  • Is obsessed with saying dada.
  • Loves playing catch with her daddy.  She's actually pretty accurate with her throws.  Speaking of throwing, she likes to throw everything on the ground. She reminds me of this video:
  • Is finally starting to get her two front bottom teeth in.  
  • When she gets excited, she likes to do her own version of clapping her hands.  She basically just waves her arms all over the place, but sometimes her hands actually touch each other.  Hands touching or not, it's pretty freaking adorable. 
  • Has been taking a two hour nap each day and it's seriously glorious! I can actually get stuff done during the day. Hello productivity! 
  • Is a fan of cinnamon.  Not a fan of sippy cups.
  • Has started to giggle a lot more and it's probably Gabe and I's favorite thing ever! 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Our weekly trip to the zoo

It seems like Anniston and I have ended up at the San Diego Zoo every week this month.  I'm not complaining, because it's one of my absolute favorite places! Anniston is starting to actually appreciate the zoo as well, which is really exciting for all of us! It's fun to watch her little eyes follow the direction our fingers are pointing as we show her all of the animals.  The faces she makes when she finally sees the animal are so adorable. Her expressions are a mix of fascination and curiosity. She's always trying to figure everything out and it's awesome to see her as she learns and progresses.  I swear this little girl is going to have forehead wrinkles by the time she is 10 years old if she keeps thinking so hard. I am relieved she has shown so much interest in animals.  It would break my animal lover heart if she didn't give a second thought about them. At least I know she loves dogs, which was one of my biggest concerns.  Honestly though, being a child of two animal lovers, how could she not share our love for all of God's creatures?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Cabin Fever

         This weekend, San Diego finally got some rain, and it needed it. I was so thrilled, because I absolutely love the rain! However, I've started to realize how inconveniencing rain can be, especially in a city full of people that don't know how to drive in it. On another note, I'm pretty sure Anni is teething, if you can't tell by her lovely necklace of slobber in the picture above. 
          Anniston is a nature baby. The girl loves to be outside! The backyard is usually our go to escape if Anniston is being really fussy, but with it raining all weekend, we lost that very useful distraction. It has been fun trying to keep Anni entertained while being stuck in the house, because Anni gets bored easily and likes to keep busy like her mommy.  
        While Anniston was playing with daddy, I took some time to build a fort for her to play in. To be completely honest, I built it for myself, but she still enjoyed it for a good hour before she was completely over it. Thank goodness the rain stopped when she started crying, because when we took her outside, her crying stopped instantly. I don't know about most people, but I love being outside right after a decent rain. The smell is amazing and everything looks green and brand new.  
        While we were outside, Gabe started kicking the soccer ball around and Gabe and I started up a quick little one on one game of soccer. Anni was overjoyed! Gabe taught her how to kick the ball...well, kind of. She IS only 7 months old. She mostly just wanted to hurl herself toward the ball so she could try to put it in her mouth, but we haven't come across anything that she hasn't tried to taste. Just for the record, playing soccer in rain boots and a skirt is not the best idea. 

I am so glad for all of the rain this weekend, but am very much looking forward to that wonderful California sunshine to return!