pet

Book Review: A World Without Color by Bernard Jan

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A World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My CatA World Without Color: A True Story Of the Last Three Days With My Cat by Bernard Jan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When you lose a cherished pet, sometimes the loss is so inexplicable, all you can do is cry. When I had to let go of my ten-year-old shiba inu just about a year ago, it was a painful 2-week process. It is nearly impossible to put into words for most people how you go about making the decision to end an animal’s pain, begin your own, and suffer the consequences. Not impossible tho, as proven by Bernard Jan in the second book of his I’ve read this year. Jan lost his beloved cat, Marcel, and shares the emotional turmoil he encountered throughout the process.

This book is ~100 pages covering the three days when Jan and his family know they have to say goodbye. His words and imagery are stellar… honestly… he captures all those emotions pet-parents go through trying to rationalize our decisions, understand the whys, convince ourselves we will be okay, and determine how or if we can lean on anyone around us. By showcasing Marcel’s movements and struggles, we see the pain Jan’s family has gone through. It is visceral and constant. It is harsh and definitive. It is widespread and menacing.

I had to put the book down several times as it brought me to tears thinking of my own pet loss this year. Jan is brave. He shares everything from the moment he adopted the cat to the treasures of their ~15 year life together. As a younger guy suffering through this, he’s developing all his emotions and reactions to something he’s truly not ready to handle. I say this not because Jan’s not strong enough (he is), but because this is one of his earliest life experiences dealing with death. It is never easy. But to write about it and share those feelings, notions, worries, and sighs of relief when it’s all over (even tho it really isn’t) is remarkable.

Translated into English, the creators of this version are masterful in their descriptions. The comparisons… similes… references… moments… all bring readers to experience as closely as possible what the author experienced. If you’ve never gone thru it, it’s probably not fully apparent. Human loss is different… agreeably more harsh in most circumstances, but when your pet cannot talk to tell you what kind of pain they have, you are the sole person responsible for deciding how to help them.

I felt the intensity from Jan’s writing, and I recommend this for anyone who has a pet and/or is coping with [or the potential] loss. It might not be a good idea to read it as you’re going thru it depending on what kind of person you are and how you handle grief, but it’s something you should read when you are starting to recover. Thank you for sharing this truly humbling work, Bernard Jan.

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Look For Me Under the Rainbow by Bernard Jan

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I’ve been following the author of this book, Bernard Jan, for about a year, but I hadn’t read any of his written works previously. When my shiba inu passed away earlier this year, someone reminded me to get a copy of Look for Me Under the Rainbow: A Novella as it would provide some comfort and offer a few ideas about the life of animals outside what we know. I purchased a copy last month and added it to my TBR once I was ready to deal with the concept of a wonderful animal passing away.

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Jan offers an emotional tale of beloved mammals of the sea. We love looking at them sitting on icebergs or watching them dive into the frozen ocean playing around with others of their kind, yet we also get angry when people hurt them for the pleasure of a kill or to make money off their bodies. The author’s created a family of amazing and gentle creatures who appeal to our hearts as we see what happens when a sibling is killed or a parent dies. Danny’s mom tells him to look for the rainbow when death approaches whether it be a killer whale, evil poachers, or something even more nasty. She’s a mom to all of us in many ways.

In a short work, Jan has provided an intense connection filled with love, fear, bonds, and touching moments we can easily translate as humans. From oil spills to getting caught between the ice, we understand the struggles of animals who can only do so much to protect themselves or their young. It’s not unlike our own reality as humans, but at least we are rarely hunted down and brutally mutilated just for the fun of it.

Without getting into any gory details or making it uncomfortable, Jan has truly shown a different side of life in the ocean. Death is never easy. Loss is profound. Through wonderful imagery, lyrical text, and strong emotions, he’s got a winner with Danny’s story. I look forward to reading another of his novellas in the future. I’m sure it’ll be another 5 stars from me!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Introductions: Meet Puppy ‘Baxter’

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As many of you know, I lost my shiba inu, Ryder, earlier this year. It was unexpected and heartbreaking, and I have many moments still today where my eyes tear up or I feel a melancholy about everything he missed out on. He was only ten and had such energy and love, but he was too sick to stay strong and we had to let him go. W and I had always talked about adopting another dog, but Ryder was very much an only-child and preferred to be with just us. We didn’t want to make his days more difficult, so we postponed bringing another puppy into the house.

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Around March, we started discussing the best timing for adopting another dog, as we both missed having that lovable pet to play with at night or on the weekend. And perhaps with W and I suddenly by ourselves, we thought… hmmm… can we really only talk to ourselves and each other now at night? Ryder had been such a big piece of our lives together, we found ourselves with more free time and less conversations. The void needed to be filled but we knew it would take a while to find the right one. We love the breed and looked at a few rescue shelters, puppy stores, and breeders from the AKC website. It could take 9 to 12 months for the breeder to produce a puppy and reach us on the list.  We had some specific requirements as we wanted to get a different color than Ryder so the memory wasn’t too obvious. Ryder had a red coat, so we searched primarily for a red coat female or a black and tan male. I’ve had a cream colored before, and the red sesame is adorable but hard to come by.

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We registered online with a few lists. I went to a few puppy stores and found one the day before our 3-week vacation. Timing is everything, huh? I couldn’t get him, but I also didn’t want to let him go. My mom (she’s awesome) volunteered to keep him for the three weeks, but we knew the puppy would develop an attachment to her (or vice versa?) and we might never bond the same way with him, so we said thank you, but we shouldn’t. We’ll wait to see if he’s still there when we return from Italy. The day before we returned, the little rugrat was adopted… it wasn’t meant to be. We arrived home the next day, unpacked, took a nap, picked up some groceries and did laundry. By late afternoon, we’d received an email saying we were now third on a list for a black and tan puppy from Kansas — so much sooner than we’d expected. It was too hot to ship him to the location of the person who was first on the list, so the breeder was letting us know that if the second person said ‘no’ that he was ours. An hour later, we had an email that the second person preferred a female, so we were faced with the choice: Are we ready?

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We talked about it a bit and timing really is everything… It’s summer, we aren’t going anywhere for a few months, and I haven’t completely dived into writing my next book, so I’d have some free time. His pictures were adorable. We needed something to shake up our return from Italy (pictures and stories to come next week — this news took priority) as who wants to come back to normal life after such amazing vacation? So… we said yes, made the arrangements, and the little pup arrived in NYC on Thursday afternoon. He was born on March 16th, which is right in the middle of W’s and my birthdays. The other very coincidental connection is the timing on his birth. Shiba puppies are usually born about 60 days after they are conceived. Ryder passed away 60 days before this little one was born. I like to think maybe a little bit of Ryder’s spirit was passed into the new addition, so we have a bit of a connection already.

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We’ve had him for 48 hours so far and he is every bit of a puppy. He’s voracious about biting things, way more than any other dog or puppy I’ve had in the past. I’ve threatened war with him many times. He’s successfully ripped off my glasses both mornings, torn a toy into pieces, pulled my shorts down while I was walking from one room to the other, and decided the couch legs are evil and must be sawed off with his teeth. Let’s not even discuss the corners of the carpet or any electrical cords. I’ve pulled up everything I can to keep him away, but there are a few we can’t unplug… he is my shadow or W’s shadow 24/7. We were lucky and he slept 7 hours straight the first night. Last night, he only made it 4 hours before getting restless in his crate. I might be too old to sleep on a floor again. It’s a work in progress yet one we already love!

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More pictures to come, but I wanted to share a little bit of my news since returning from vacation and finishing up this week’s blog tour for Father Figure. Meet the new puppy: Baxter! I’m sure he’ll be all over the place on the blog in the coming months, but for now, he says hello and that he plans to torture us in these first few weeks.

365 Challenge: Day 318 – Petlandia

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Petlandia: a world where Ryder lives and you can find more pets, too

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Last night, W and I returned from a short weekend getaway in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York where we stayed with friends. It was a wonderful trip, but it was even better a few minutes after we walked through our apartment door. We were both quiet and concerned, as we would normally be greeted by tons of kisses and barks. There were none, but we carried with us a small package that was delivered via mail while we were away. After we unpacked and settled in about twenty minutes later, we opened the brown cardboard box addressed to ‘Winston and Jay’ uncertain what it was or who sent it. When pulled the object from its holder, a picture book titled ‘Ryder’s Adventures in Petlandia’ stared back at us. We initially only knew who sent it because we found an email address on the shipping papers. We later found out when reading the story!

It’s a customized story where the purchaser selects the type of pet, names, locations and events. The company creates your unique picture book with images and words that connect you to your pet. In our book, Ryder leaves us a note and disappears one evening from Mew York in search of becoming a famous Hollywoof actor — adorable names for dog towns. Ryder is not picked for the latest movie; meanwhile W and Jay are very sad to miss Ryder. Ryder finds a saxophone and becomes an overnight YouChew sensation, but he misses home. He has an unusual flight, but arrives safely and into Jay and W’s waiting arms. Even the cartoon graphic image looks just like Ryder.

Today would have been a Ryder Rant. In lieu of, and as a final goodbye to this segment on Mondays on the 365 Daily Challenge, this amazing, thoughtful and touching present will stand in place. I am grateful to this special family member who took the time with her kids to search out, assemble, design and draft such a beautiful memento. In case she prefers not to be named, I’ll keep it secret in this post. But it was one of those moments where I really feel blessed to know such a person who has been incredibly kind and generous over the years. Thank you to her. Thank you to the writer (Steve Cleverley) and illustrator (Katja Hammond) of these books. Thank you to the publisher and creator of such a concept. Brilliant.

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We always cuddled on the sofa!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Book Review: Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Losing a Pet by Gary Kowalski

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Last week, my ten-year-old shiba inu dog, Ryder, unexpectedly passed away. My grief was raw and unmanageable, as this amazing creature stood by my side, offering unconditional love and support 24/7. My other half, equally as impacted, purchased a few books to try to help us understand how to find any solace or ability to move forward, as Ryder was part of every moment of our day. I picked up a paperback copy of Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary Kowalski as the first one to read this week.

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The author is a minister who approaches the loss of a pet from a spiritual perspective, but the book is carefully balanced to not be excessively religious. I bring this up, not in a good/bad way, only to point out that if you are a religious person, you’ll find helpful content, but if you’re not a religious person, you will also find many chapters focused on the emotions of the grieving process. It’s essentially a good read for anyone — without pushing any one belief or philosophy.

The author’s tone is charismatic. He shares personal stories of his own pets, those of friends and others from his congregation. He quotes verses from works of literature and various religious tomes, including outside of Christianity. All-in-all, it provides strong perspective on what’s happening in your mind and in the animal’s mind during the final days of losing your beloved pet. When he spoke of the euthanasia process, or the inexplicable appearance of pets that had previously passed on, you will shed a tear for a minute thinking about your own experiences. In these moments, I connected with the book. In others, where it was more generic, it seemed like things I already knew; then again, the reminders can provide subtle help we’re not even aware of.

It felt like the kind of book not to read all in one sitting, as there are poems and stories you can read separate from the advice and guidance he provides. There are links to other articles or books that could help you. It’s a good, basic approach to beginning to understand your grief and determine how to step forward. If you’re looking for something deeply analytical, thoroughly psychological or lengthy stories about beloved pets, this wouldn’t be the right book to read for that purpose. But I am glad I read it, as it did push me to think differently in a few areas of my mind. I’m grateful for that help.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

365 Challenge: Day 310 – Ryder (LIST: Objects I adore)

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Ryder: my 10-year old shiba inu dog who unexpectedly passed away this week

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When I took this photo 3 months ago, I never realized its meaning…

Sundays are LIST days and today is no different. While I never expected to include Ryder as an object I love, it feels appropriate given his unexpected death this week. If you are new to my blog, you should first read this message, which explains what happened to him earlier this week. This post will be about celebrating his life and my love for him.

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Ryder was born September 3, 2007. During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend that year, while visiting my parents in Pennsylvania, we took a trip to a pet store with the only intent being to visit with a few puppies. By the next day, I adopted Ryder, a red sesame shiba, who was about 13-weeks old. He was such a tiny little puppy, the runt of his litter, and looked more like a little bear.

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Ryder first lived in Brooklyn, NY with me, as I had just moved back from California that month. We had a temporary garden apartment on the first floor of an old brownstone. It had lots of nooks and crannies, and he loved to play hide and seek. I think it was being in that apartment which caused him to be a bit of a little devil. He never liked to listen to commands, even when he went to doggie training, but he passed the weekend course and learned to sit, lay down and give someone his paw. After a few weeks, we enrolled him in a doggie daycare, so he would be socialized with other dogs, but also because there were times I had to stay late for events for my job. I didn’t want him home alone for 12 to 14 hours a day.

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One of those days, the owner called me at work to tell me Ryder had an aggression problem. He would play with other dogs, but after a minute or two, he would intentionally start a fight. Seriously. He was being a little ass, and I went to watch him for an hour one day through the window. They were telling the truth. If another dog got too close, even after they happily played for ten minutes, he would growl and jump at the other dog. He would never harm or bite, just be aggressive. He’d thrown his ten-pound body against a thirty-pound dog and expect to knock it over. I vividly remember thinking…. Why me? I’m so quiet and non-confrontational, how did this happen! Needless to say, we were told Ryder couldn’t come to doggie daycare anymore. I found another reputable place and tried again. A week later, he was asked not to return. I was so ashamed! I tried a third one, and clearly told them upfront that Ryder needed training. They understood and were willing to try it by putting him in with the big dogs to let him get tossed around a few times, in the hopes it would control his behavior. They would watch him, and only do it for short periods of time… but even the big dogs didn’t scare him. He had the ever-famous Napoleon complex. So… Ryder was never enrolled in doggie day care again.

Shortly afterwards, Ryder had his first seizure around 6-months old. It was small, but I had another dog with horrendous seizures. I wanted him on the same medicine, a lower dosage, as it had worked for the other dog. The medicine controlled his seizures, and for the rest of his life, he would only have maybe 2 or 3 per year, if even that. We went for a year once without any. It breaks your heart to see it happen, but you can’t touch them during it, as you don’t want them to associate you with the feelings they get from the seizure.

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But that fear is quickly ingrained in you… and every night, if he got out of bed, and I heard the tapping of his toe nails against the wooden floors, I got up to check on him. He was a good sleeper and rarely wandered. If he was out of bed, it meant something was wrong. A few weeks later, the weather started getting warmer and spring arrived. I’d let Ryder out on the enclosed patio we had on the apartment in Brooklyn. One day, I see him chasing something… assuming it’s a fly. When I go outside to check, I notice it was a bumble bee. Ryder is barking and screeching at it, almost to the point someone thought I was killing a cat. He runs through the screen door opening and into the living room… I follow him only to see him bite down on the bee. It didn’t end there. His screeching suddenly intensified and he fell back on the floor. The bee went flying out of his mouth and he yelped as if he was hit by a car. I grabbed hold, checked his mouth and saw the huge black mark on his tongue. He’d been stung by the bee, which he of course deserved. So… an hour back and forth with the vet, as I don’t know if he’s allergic to bees, or if that could trigger a seizure… needless to say, he went unharmed, but he had that black scar on his tongue for the rest of his life. He also still chased bees whenever he saw one. He didn’t get his intelligence from me, I’ll say that for sure!

Right after he turned one, I moved out of Brooklyn and bought a house with a large backyard. He had a doggie door and could go in/out all day long while I was at work. He screamed at birds, chased squirrels and ate everything he could. At least twice a week, he woke me up tapping on the bedroom floor, not because of a seizure, but because he was yakking up whatever he’d eaten that day. If I could tell you how much lack of sleep or worry this dog has caused me in ten-years, you wouldn’t believe me. But that’s where our bond began – as much as he drove me nuts, it made us closer. He ran to me for everything. He developed a need to be near me 24/7, and although I would force him to go play by himself from time to time, I missed not having him sitting on my feet or laying against my thigh.

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In time, my job became too intense and I was away from home too much. Commuting by train took an additional 3+ hours each day, which was time away from him. I had also just met W and wanted to live in the city to be closer to him and my job, so I sold my house and moved into Manhattan. Ryder was not happy. He was going to lose his outdoor space. And he did… my first apartment was a small box, even for someone his size. He whined and yelped all day. I could hear him from the elevators which were a good 40 feet from my apartment door. Speaking of elevators, Ryder’s first interaction with one was with W. I had pulled my car up in front of the building, unloading boxes. W took Ryder to the apartment and rode the elevator. He had no idea what to do with it. He was a very young puppy when we lived in the city last time, on the first floor, so he never used an elevator before. It’s one of W’s first memories with him, and I know it’s a happy one.

It was in that first Manhattan apartment that Ryder exacted his revenge on us. He wouldn’t adapt to walking for his bathroom breaks. Instead, my living room rug was his personal wee wee pad. I tried to cage him to avoid it, but that little rascal would purposely pee in the cage, roll in it and then expect me to clean him when I got home from work. After a week, I gave up and papered the floor with wee wee pads. Eventually, he learned to use them, but he’d have accidents in the wrong place 10% of the time. I call them accidents, but they were on purpose. He could be spiteful in a fun way, and we all knew it. But that was part of his charm. You played by his rules or you didn’t play at all. W and I moved in together for a short time in his apartment where the same things happened until Ryder adjusted. A friend referred to W’s rug as a bio-hazard for a few weeks. Neighbors asked if we had a cat living there, as they heard strange whines all day. They weren’t supposed to have dogs, so we said yes, it’s a cat… and that’s how Ryder came to have his own Facebook page: Ryder the Cat-Like Dog.

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Summertime meant the beach. We rented a house off the cost of Long Island with some friends every summer and would travel there at least 10 weekends. Ryder loved it. He had outdoor space again. He could chase wildlife, even had his first encounter with a deer! He was afraid and in love all at the same time. We let him off-leash one day, to see how he’d do – big mistake. He ran everywhere, and it took almost thirty minutes to catch him. W aged a few years that day, as it was his idea to test Ryder and was so afraid to lose him. We lured Ryder back with treats and various calls, but then he never went off leash again. He loved the place so much, prancing around, except when he realized there was water at the beach. We took photos of him surfing on a board one day, getting knocked around by waves. He hated it. He refused to speak with us for days. We kept torturing him on walks by walking close enough for the waves to get him. We tried to get him to adjust, but he never would. There needed to be 20 feet between him and water at all times! But hey, after what he put us through with the bio-hazard rugs, what’s a little water torture as revenge?

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When it came time for W and I to buy our own apartment together, Ryder made the decision. We knew it had to have outdoor space. We wanted something big enough for Ryder to get in a few runs, but not ground level as it would be too easy for someone to break in. We got lucky when we found our current place… Ryder came over to test it out, and he went berserk running all throughout the apartment, in and out of the two different doors to get outside. We have a video of him seeing his new home for the first time, and he was absolutely in love. We called the outdoor terrace ‘Ryder’s Enchanted Garden,’ and W spent much of his free time cultivating a beautiful space for Ryder to have trees, bushes, flowers, play areas, and lounging area (he loved to lay in the sun). Finally, Ryder learned how to do his business outside again, as well as use pads if he was ever inside for too long while we were out.

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There is so much more I could say about this lovable little creature, but I will keep it brief with a few fun memories before I say goodbye to him. This is only 1% of 1% of the memories we have had together as a family…

  • Ryder loved beef brisket so much. The first time he had it, he wolfed down his plate, then had to immediately go to the bathroom. He couldn’t get out quick enough and while we were eating, just a few feet away, did his business on the floor. We called it the ‘brisket shits’ ever since that day, but luckily, he controlled it on a go-forward basis. As soon as he ate, he’d run to the glass door, tap on it furiously, we’d let him out while we were eating and within 5 minutes, he’d be back for more, furiously tapping on the door to be let inside. We got no rest or time to eat with his antics. His needs always came first. W and I would swap turns, so whomever let him out didn’t have to get up to let him back in. The last meal Ryder actually ate before he grew too sick last weekend was brisket — made by W that day to try to cheer Ryder up and get him to eat something. He actually enjoyed the meal and had a smile on his face for a few minutes.
  • Ryder caught his first bird on the terrace. I had already gone to work. W was in the shower and heard Ryder screeching. When he came out to check, Ryder had dropped a dead bird on the dining room floor, prancing all about – proud of his work. W was unable to process it (he can’t be near things like that) but had to. I was at work and he couldn’t leave with the bird on the floor. Poor Ryder, he never understood how scary his gift to W was!
  • Ryder was not fond of small children; whether it was height or age, anything under 10-years-old unnerved him. When W’s nephew and niece visited, Ryder barked incessantly. He tried to play, but he was just not sure how to interpret them, and they were well-behaved. He actually ran off to the guest bathroom and literally pushed the door closed so no one could get in. When they left, he wandered out, nervously, and then hid under the table for a day. He also dressed up for a few Halloweens to help give out candy for trick-o-treaters, but quite unwillingly. He’d answer the door, stare at the children in costume, lean towards them to smell them, and as soon as someone squealed ‘doggie,’ he barked and ran to the bedroom. W forced it on the poor pup, but I suspect Ryder secretly enjoyed it.
  • There was only one time when he ever willingly played with a child: Grace. She was a friend’s daughter, about 2-years-old, and chased him all over the apartment. He hated it at first, but then she sat down on the carpet with her bowl of cereal. Slowly, she won Ryder over… handing him cheerio by cheerio, until she stopped eating them and he ate the whole bowl. Grace became his new heroine that day, and he actually let her pet him, if she’d hand him a cheerio. He had intelligence that day, so I know he just liked to play W and I against one another to get what he wanted. He was quite astute when he wanted to be.
  • Ryder’s favorite thing to do besides eat, was to take your spot. Whether it was on the couch, or where you stood trying to cook dinner or unpack bags, the moment you left the spot, he went to it. He needed to be attached to one of us while sleeping. He would alternate nights staying up a bit later with W who watched a TV show while I went to bed to read for a bit. As soon as he was ready, Ryder would tap into the bedroom, paw at the bed, and I’d lean down to lift him into it. When we left the apartment, he would sleep in the front hall by the door until we came home. We left music playing for him and lights on so he didn’t feel too alone. And when we left the terrace door open, he’d stay outside the entire time keeping watch over all of nature.

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Ryder had a wonderful life. He was adored and loved by countless friends and family, everyone on the blog and all the people who took care of him over the years. Ryder passed away at 10-years old on January 18, 2018 at 12:43pm EST, in my arms with W sitting with us. Ryder will be missed more than any words this man can conjure or imagine. I don’t know how to move forward with his Monday Ryder Rants, but I probably will discontinue them tomorrow. I will always be grateful for the time we had together; you were part of my soul, Ryder… and someday, W and I will see you again. xoxo

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Sunday posts, the end of each week, have become a theme on This-Is-My-Truth-Now, often organized by groups of five (5) focused on interesting things about my life. I’m continuing the trend of the seventh day, ending the week on Sunday, as a list (we know I love them) that provides more in depth knowledge about me. Past weeks included:

  • Weeks 1 – 5: Primary ethnicity groups and nationalities
  • Weeks 6 – 10: A to Z Favorites
  • Weeks 11 – 15: Colors with an important meaning
  • Weeks 16 – 20: Cities I’ve lived
  • Weeks 21 – 25: Jobs I’ve held
  • Weeks 26 – 30: Top 10 entertainment options
  • Week 31: How to follow or contact me across all social media platforms
  • Week 32: How to help an artist with promotion
  • Week 33 – 37: Favorite Book Genres
  • Week 38 – 42: Holidays
  • Week 43 – 47: Objects I adore
  • Week 48 – 52: TBD

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Explanation for my absence this last week: an unexpected and core-shaking loss

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As many of you have noticed and commented, I haven’t been online in the last week. Given my 365 Daily Challenge and normally frequent interaction, it was unusual and unexpected. Even when I went on a two-week vacation last fall, I briefly posted each day to stay connected with all my online friends. There would only be a few things to keep me from blogging or responding to comments, and unfortunately, I experienced one of them this past week.

Ryder Reg

For anyone who doesn’t know, Ryder was my ten-year-old shiba inu dog, who had a huge presence not only in my life, but on this blog. As you can probably tell by my use of the past tense, Ryder is no longer with us. It’s taken me several days to even be able to return online and to try to let everyone know what happened. This will unfortunately be a very sad post, and if you prefer not to read it, I completely understand. I know how many people enjoyed hearing from Ryder, and I wanted to at least let everyone know what occurred this last week. You can skip this and just read a happier memorial here.

Ryder has taken anti-seizure medicine for most of his life. We ran regular tests once or twice per year to check his blood chemistry, as the medicine which prevented seizures also has the ability to destroy his liver. When we went to the vet ten days ago, as I could tell Ryder was too lethargic by normal standards, I expected to adjust his medicine and possibly add something else if he was starting to become arthritic. Unfortunately, when the blood test results came back, it showed his liver was severely impacted and that we needed to take quick action.

The recommendation was an immediate transition from one anti-seizure medicine to a newer one, but given the potential for Ryder to take on more side effects, the ideal course was to load a higher than normal dosage of the new medicine while slowly weaning him off the old medicine over a five-day period. Ryder was very ill over that weekend and stopped eating by Sunday morning. He was disoriented, vomiting and refusing to take his medicine. Both W and I were very worried, but knew it would be a rough transition. We expected him to recover within a few weeks.

After last Monday’s Ryder Rant, where he mentioned he was feeling blegh, things quickly deteriorated. When we wrote that post, I had every expectation of continuing my regular posts that week while Ryder recuperated from whatever was ailing him. Part of me knew he was going to become a different dog, but I didn’t expect the true extent as to how bad the situation had become. I checked again with the vet that Monday morning to let him know that things were getting worse. Given Ryder’s refusal to eat and take his pills, the vet scheduled an immediate ultrasound to check his liver and stomach.

At 2:30 that afternoon, we took Ryder to the veterinary hospital and had the ultrasound. When the technician brought Ryder back to us in the waiting room, I could see it on his face. By 3:30, the vet let us know that Ryder’s liver was beyond repair. I knew my worst fears had come true. I’ll spare everyone the details of the next few days, but Ryder was never able to leave the hospital. We checked him in for emergency care and tried for two days to load the medication into him, get him to eat and ease any pain. We knew there was a very small chance that things would turn around, but there were a couple of attempts made to help him, so that we could truly understand if his liver might function once the old medicine was out of his system.

By Wednesday morning, we knew there was nothing left to do. I made a few deals with whomever controls this world; I offered up a year of my life to give Ryder more time with us, and I begged for something else I loved (being a writer) to be taken away from me, instead of Ryder. I knew it wasn’t rational, nor did things even work that way – but I would have done it if were an option. When I accepted that Ryder only had a few more days, W and I focused on getting him healthy enough to bring home, so he could have a day in his own apartment where he could spend his last moments.

Throughout most of the week, W and I visited him in the hospital several times per day, for several hours. He was given extra medication, IV drips and constant attention. When we came home for breaks, we spent the time staring at the walls or the phone, in fear the call would come that he either had a seizure or things took a turn far worse. Luckily, Ryder’s last few days were seizure-free, and at most, he was uncomfortable and confused as to what was happening to him. We knew he wasn’t strong enough to make it home for even a few hours. I am disappointed, angry and sad I couldn’t give that to him.

On Wednesday afternoon and evening, he roused a little bit to give us a few lucid moments. We sat with him in a small private pet waiting room where he licked and kissed us a few times. He took a few spoons of his favorite vanilla bean ice cream, and slept next to his favorite toys. On Thursday morning, my parents came into the city to visit Ryder, as he loved them dearly. They were able to say goodbye and help comfort us. In the afternoon, W and I held Ryder for the last time, cradled in our arms, where he passed away peacefully.

I’ve spent much of the last week in a complete daze. I haven’t slept. I barely ate. My eyes have not had a moment without filling with tears. I couldn’t speak to anyone on the phone but the vet or my parents. W has been and felt the same way. We have been unable to go out or see anyone. While the rest of my post is all about how I feel or what Ryder has meant to me, it also applies fully to W, who has been the only reason I am able to function right now.

My heart is broken, and my entire core is unsteady. I lost grandparents, godparents and friends when I was much younger, and it all devastated me as a child or teenager, but this has truly been my first major personal loss as an adult. I’m experiencing everything from anger to guilt, but I know it is part of the process and will get better in time. I cannot look at his food & water bowls, bed or toys without breaking into tears; yet, I will not be able to put them away anytime soon. I haven’t just lost a pet or a close family member. I’ve lost a part of me, perhaps the single most important part of my humanity.

I tend to be quiet and shy, preferring to be alone rather than in groups or with others. I have often been told I hide my emotions/feelings and tend to have tunnel vision over what’s going on around me. Ryder changed all that. He taught me how to be selfless. He showed me how to put someone else first. He helped me realize how to care for someone dependent on you for nearly everything. Ryder has been a part of me for ten years. Every part of my day revolves around him, and always has. He was always healthy, but he took medicine twice per day – and I couldn’t easily adjust the time frames without impact. I was always on the lookout for a potential seizure. I talked to him all day long. He had a voice in our day and decisions.

I’ve decided to share two separate posts today: this one, to let everyone know what happened and explain my absence, but then a second, which you can see here, to tell everyone what Ryder meant to me. This very special dog changed me when he came into my life, and I fear he has changed me again when he has left my life. I know we all feel like this when we lose someone important, but for me, I’m scared that I will forget him, or that I will forget my humanity and my ability to love others again. Right now, seeing pictures of him, or sharing memories, doesn’t feel like it will ever be enough to connect with the real thing.

I am beyond grateful to everyone who checked in on me, or to ask about Ryder, in the last week. Despite being completely destroyed emotionally and uncertain where I was or what I was doing most of the time, it helped to see your messages. They made me cry more. They made me happy to know how much he was adored. It is in these life moments where I believe there is goodness in the world that will always overpower the negative and the evil. Thank you for being part of Ryder’s life and listening to me speak from a place of raw emotion. I’ve tried to control the extent of my words, as I want to look back on this time and remember Ryder with love and not sadness.

Humbly yours….  Jay

(It’s okay to LIKE the post, as I know it comes from a good place.)

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin