Category Archives: Dogs

How to Influence a Life

One year ago today, my husband and I made a decision that changed the course of two lives. We went to the Lynnwood, Washington chapter of the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

We had been without a pet dog for two years, and it was time to welcome that special spirit back into our home – that spirit that only a dog can bring.

From the PAWS website we found Newan and Babies – a bonded pair of dogs who had been either taken from a neglectful environment, or surrendered to authorities. They were both listed as Australian Shepherd mixes; Newan, a male of six years old; and Babies, a female of seven years old. Both breed and age were guesses, since there was really no way to know their entire history.

We were told that Newan and Babies had been so neglected that their extremely matted fur contained nails and other construction materials stuck in the mats. We had to wait a few days to finalize the adoption because they had both suffered from bordetella pertussis (kennel cough), they were underweight, and their health would need to be cleared by a veterinarian on staff.

When the day came (one year ago) that they were ready to come home with us, we were very excited.

2015-2-18 Newman and Paisley adoption
Meeting Newan and Babies at PAWS in Lynnwood 2-18-15

We didn’t know how long Newan and Babies had had their names. They had come to Washington from California. Had they been given these names from birth? Did the original California rescuers give them their names? Did PAWS give them these names? Our inquiries were not answered, so we decided to change their names to something that sounded close to Newan and Babies to avoid traumatizing their identity on top of everything else.

Newan became NEWMAN, and Babies became PAISLEY. My husband and I are big fans of Paul Newman and Brad Paisley, so it made sense.

2015-2-18 Newman and Paisley come home
Newman and Paisley on their first day in our home 2-18-15

From day one, we noticed evidence of abuse with Newman and Paisley. They did not know how to play. Let me repeat: THEY DID NOT KNOW HOW TO PLAY. In fact, both dogs seemed afraid of toys, as if balls and stuffed, squeaky objects had been used to hurt them.

Both Newman and Paisley disliked being touched on the behind. Pet his or her tail, and they would run away. It seemed as though their tails had been pulled often, and probably violently. Not to mention that Paisley would run with her rear-end down. This suggested that she’d been kicked often.

I also believe, as evidence would suggest, that Newman and Paisley had been trapped or tricked prior to an abusive human encounter. They would not, and still do not, go into a room that has no exit. It was even difficult for them to walk in front of us because I think they feared they’d be kicked.

It is sad to think about the past abuse they’ve experienced. On the other hand, it feels so good to know that we’ve given Newman and Paisley a better life.

2015 Newman content boy          2015 Paisley content girl

The biggest test Newman and Paisley had to face was our grandchildren. We worried the dogs would be frightened or aggressive toward smaller humans (let face it, we’ve all been a little uneasy with smaller humans from time to time). Our fears were quickly forgotten, because Newman and Paisley are FABULOUS with our grandchildren!

2015-5-10 Sam walking Paisley

“Paisley is just so sweet”, says Sam, our 6-year old grandson.

Sam is right. Both dogs are very sweet. Even though they don’t play with toys, and still haven’t overcome all of their trust issues, they are so much happier than they were on that day one year ago. I think they feel settled in our home, and are so happy to be cuddled, petted and loved.

2015-3-7 Newman and mom

I recommend adopting a rescue dog. We love the Australian Shepherd breed, and looked for one in our search to adopt. We didn’t get full-bred animals, but we see the best characteristics of the breed in Newman and Paisley. We are so happy with our choice.

Happy anniversary, Newman and Paisley!

The #1 Characteristic of Exceptional Leaders

Navigating your fishbowl and defining your leadership ability requires 4 skills:

  • Sacrifice
  • Empowerment
  • Love
  • Friendship

The last few blog posts have been about Sacrifice. Please see the previous posts:

Sacrifice, Seeds and Starvation

Sacrifice and Heroism

Leaders must sacrifice.  Following are examples of the way others have Sacrificed:

Transplant recipient struggles to go on after brother’s death


Miki Endo warned others of a dangerous tsunami


Dog dies saving drunken owner from oncoming train


These are stories of people and animals who have sacrificed their own lives and/or safety for others.  I don’t share these stories to suggest that leaders must be heroes.  All of us are put into positions of leadership at one time or another, and rarely do we have opportunity to be heroic.

However, I share these stories because the characteristic of sacrifice is important to be an exceptional leader.  Inspiring others can come only through self-sacrifice.

¤ “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ” Joseph Campbell (1904-1987)

¤ “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the courage to surpass others at whatever cost, but the courage to serve others at whatever the cost.”  Arthur Ashe (1943-1993)

¤ “Getting what you want is not nearly as important as giving what you have.” Tom Krause (born 1957)

True leaders sacrifice because they care about the success of those they lead.

What sacrifices have you, or other leaders made?

Rest in Play, Sweet Girl.

Bandi was the cutest puppy I have ever seen. Judge for yourself……

Her expressions melted my heart……

In personality, she was the complete opposite of Boomerang.  Together they brought so much joy into my life.


Bandi was very strong-willed, and pretty much did what she wanted to do.  And she was obedient…..eventually.  If she didn’t want to do something, you’d have to tell her twice.  “Go on,” I’d say.  “Go outside and go potty”.  Then she’d do it, even though she didn’t want to.

Bandi was a good dog.

Today, the decision was made to let Bandi go.  It was a heart-breaking reality that she had stopped eating, and was unable to get up without assistance because of her cancer-ridden leg.  I knew that her dignity was going to suffer as her limitations deteriorated day after day. 

At about 9:20 this morning Bandi passed on; but not without second guessing the whole decision.  It was only a few months ago that we watched  Boomerang pass quickly and peacefully.

However, Bandi was not entirely ready.  Once her breathing stopped, we waited for confirmation that her heart had stopped.  But when the Veterinarian continued to hold the stethoscope to Bandi’s chest for what seemed a very long time, I asked, “Is she not gone yet?”

The reply was, “her heart rate has slowed, but it has not stopped.” 

I realized that Bandi was just being Bandi.  True to form, she had to be told twice.  So I caressed her leg and said, “Bandi, it’s okay to go.  Get the ball, and play with Boomer.  Go on.”

“Her heart stopped just then,” Dr. Carouthers said. 

Bandi had been obedient.

She still felt so warm to touch, and a few moments later Bandi’s nose twitched.  Maybe her nasal passages were being bombarded with new smells in a new and exciting place?

I wanted to fill my nasal passages with the smell of her.  And for several minutes more I kissed Bandi’s head and face, and felt her softness on my cheek.  I will miss that the most.

It is heartbreaking to know that Bandi didn’t want to go.  And I feel that as much as I miss her, she is also missing me. 

The house is awfully empty now, but I feel so blessed to have had three special dogs in my life.  Three little angels at my feet. 

I’m so grateful for the last 70 days that I had with Bandi.  She knew she was loved. 


Koala T’s Bailey Blue Bandicoot
March 6, 2002 – February 27, 2013

From bad to worse. Tomorrow will be day 70.

I took Bandi to see Jill Todd, DVM on Saturday.  Dr. Todd performed acupuncture and cold laser therapy in hopes of relieving Bandi’s pain, and to readjust her spine.

Bandi laid still the whole time.  She seemed very content on the Tempurpedic mattress provided.

After the acupuncture and laser treatments, Dr. Todd gave Bandi a vitamin B12 injection.  She also sent her home with a few doses of morphine to try if Bandi’s pain increased.  I really hoped that the increased swelling in Bandi’s leg would subside after her visit with Dr. Todd.  But it hasn’t.

Since Fridays session with Rose, and her Saturday session with Dr Todd, Bandi has seemed more “there”.  What I mean is that she appears to actually be looking at me to communicate, instead of just asking for more food.  She has enjoyed my touch and presence more than she has in weeks.

But alas, those sweet and simple pleasures are taken quickly when cancer is involved.  Bandi turned a corner today, and she appears to be losing ground fast.

Although this picture is upside down, it shows the amount of swelling in Bandi’s left leg and foot.

Even after increasing the dose of Prednisone on Sunday and Monday night, Bandi refused to eat this morning.  “Bandi refused to eat”.  That might be the first time that’s ever been spoken.  Bandi has always had a good appetite, especially on steroids.

This morning she would eat her breakfast only if I fed it to her by hand, and I think she only did so because I asked her to.  Then she barely ate the little bit of lunch I gave her at noon.  Kibble still sits in her dish from dinner 5 hours ago. 

She has lost her will to eat.  But that’s not the worst part.

I came home from a meeting tonight to find no Bandi waiting for me inside the door.  Sadly, she was laying on the wood floor in the living room, apparently unable to get up.  I have brought her water to drink, and asked her several times if she needs to go out.  But she won’t get up.  It’s been an hour, and I don’t know how to help her.

It’s going to be a rough night, and possibly an even rougher tomorrow……..

Day 65 Brings Enlightenment Part 2

Today is the day that I would have said goodbye to my sweet Bandicoot if I had not had a session with Rose De Dan yesterday. 

Cancer is an ugly, ugly disease that robs it’s host of every natural happiness.  The medications used to combat the disease often cause horrible side effects, but we search for anything that will help. My search to help Bandi combat synovial cell sarcoma or histiocytic sarcoma (we have no confirmation of which cancer it is) has led to people with amazing, and often misunderstood, spiritual gifts.

The following is an attempt to describe an experience I had yesterday with a Reiki master and Shamanic healer.  I don’t understand it fully, however spiritual experiences are often understood more with the passing of time.  Therefore, I am happy to let knowledge distill upon me as the dew from heaven.

Yesterday I wanted to know if Bandicoot was ready in both body and spirit to be released from her pained and diseased body.  With Rose De Dan on the phone, and Bandi lying comfortably on the floor next to me, the quest to answer my question went as follows:

Rose made contact with Bandi, and began to ascertain any energy weaknesses throughout Bandi’s body. (During the few silent moments of this process, Bandi stopped panting and slowed her breath considerably).  Rose asked Bandi for permission, and also asked Bandi if what she was doing was painful.  Bandi replied by giving Rose permission and added, “it feels good.”

Rose determined that there was weakness of energy in Bandi’s back, and around and below her left rear knee.  Besides some arthritis at the base of Bandi’s tail, there didn’t seem to be disease anywhere else. 

At this point, Rose described Bandi as being “out of body”.  Rose explained that just as blood runs through our physical bodies as a source of life; energy flows through our spiritual bodies.  She said that the energy of Bandi’s physical body and the energy of her spirit were out of sync, or disconnected.  (I’m using my own words, as I don’t recall the exact words Rose used).  Rose explained that this may be why Bandi seems withdrawn from us. 

For several moments of silence, Rose attempted to reconnect Bandi with her spirit.  When Rose said, “okay, I’m finished with that” Bandi inhaled and exhaled
very deeply.  This brought about so much relaxation that Bandi began to
dream.  I could tell because her feet were moving as if she were
running. 

Rose could now ask Bandicoot the question I wanted to know.  “Bandi, are you ready to leave your body?” 

The answer was NO!  Rose told me that Bandi’s energy was VERY strong, and that Bandi was a spiritual healer herself and still had much wisdom to share with us.  (I took a deep breath, and could have relaxed into a dream state.  I was very happy to get an answer to my question)

At this point Rose educated me on some alternative methods I could still try with Bandi.  She was impressed to tell me that with the combination of western medical modalities (such as the medications that Bandi is already on) and Chinese medical therapies, that Bandi’s quality of life could be raised to an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10.  Rose encouraged me to contact Dr. Jill Todd, DVM for a consult.

I had explained to Rose that Bandi’s appetite was enormous, and that her focus for food has changed her personality.  Rose explained to Bandi that the medicine we were treating her with was making her feel hungry.  Bandi replied, “very hungry”.

Rose then asked Bandi if Bandi could allow her strong spiritual energy to override her hunger so that she could rest. Bandi replied, “I will try.  I am a good dog.”

Rose told her, “yes, Bandi.  You are a very good dog”.

Rose then told me that she was going to take a shamanic journey.  She told me I would hear rattles and other sounds, and that her journey might take several minutes.

I listened to the distant sounds, and watched Bandi sleep peacefully.  (That in itself has been a rare occurrence.)  When Rose returned, she shared with me her vision, described below in as much detail as I can remember:


“My guide was a tiger”, Rose said.

“The tiger took me to the African savannah.  There were antelope or gazelles running.”

“The tiger told Bandi to be sleek of foot.  The tiger took down a gazelle and presented it to Bandi to eat.  Bandi looked at it and remarked, ‘I’ve never had anything like this before, I don’t know what to do with it’.  The tiger encouraged Bandi to eat, and she did.”

“Bandi then became full of energy.  She began chasing a ball.  I don’t know who was kicking it or throwing it for her, but she was running and having fun.”

Bandi playing ball last September

Rose continues her shamanic journey….

“Then I saw Bandi digging in the ground.  She was trying to pull something out of the ground.  She was trying to rid her body of something.”

“My vision led me to some Aboriginal holy men.  Now we’re in Australia.”

“The Aboriginal healers took Bandi and were touching her.  She stood there and let them do so.  Then one of them pulled a tumor from Bandi’s leg and threw it into the fire.  Then I saw a purple-blue light.  This light represents the energy of healing.”

As much as memory serves, this concludes the vision Rose had on her shamanic journey.


I don’t know what all this means, but I do believe it’s true. Perhaps it means that Bandi feels that she can or will be healed.  Perhaps it means that I must try all that I can for my very sweet, very wise little girl.  Rose’s journey may be complete, but my journey has been set on a different path.  I have heard Bandi’s desire, and I will do all I can for her.

Peace of mind has come for me.  Bandi seems more affectionate, and less stressed.  She actually allowed me to sit next to her last night and pet her for several minutes.  This has not been the case for many months. 

Bandi will not be leaving us today.  No, not until she is ready.

“The message from the animals, to everyone who has experienced loss, is a
simple one: offer kindness, forgiveness and support to yourself first,
and all else will follow as it should”

Rose De Dan, Animal Reiki Shaman

Day 65 Brings Enlightenment Part 1

My friend, Todd Alan of LIFE MASTERY RADIO had a guest on his radio show this week.  Her name is Rose De Dan.  Rose is with Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing, LLC, and
is described as a mesa carrier in the Peruvian shamanic tradition.  She is also an animal
communicator, Reiki Master
Teacher, author and artist.

I missed the show, but Todd told me that while he was interviewing Ms. De Dan, he kept thinking of me and Bandi.  Rose shared some stories and experiences of healing animals, and/or providing peace and comfort to animals and their humans.  Todd encouraged me to look at her website and consider making an appointment with Rose in hopes of helping Bandi.

I was game for checking out Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing because Bandi has worsened in the last few days, and I have been wondering if she was getting ready to be freed from her pain and limitations.  I want to do the right thing at the right time, and as I read through some of the information on the Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing website I was interested in some of the things I discovered.  “We offer alternative healing sessions for animals and people blending Reiki, shamanism, and animal communication”.

I have deep spiritual ties, and I know that God lives.  I have faith in healing, and I have seen miracles.  Most of my spiritual knowledge comes from personal revelation, testimonies of others, and through the scriptures.  I don’t have much experience with Reiki or Shamanic healing.  These things exist in a spiritual realm that I know little about.  However, I also know that God gives each of us certain gifts of the spirit, and even though I don’t always understand the gifts that others are given, I have no doubt that they are given by a loving Father in Heaven.

So, today I had an hour long session with Rose De Dan.  She talked with Bandi through energy and a shamanic journey which Rose took on Bandi’s behalf.  I can’t describe every aspect of the session in this post because it will require great lengths to do so.  Sufficeth to say that I feel greater peace as a result, and I hope that Bandi does as well.

Please tune in to my next post to hear about the experience that Bandi and I had with Rose De Dan.

Hitting the Snooze Button: Day 55

On day 55 since cancer diagnosis, reality is hard.  News yesterday from the canine Oncologist is straightforward and certain.

No matter what treatment you choose for Bandicoot, you’ll just be hitting the snooze button“, she said.

Dr. Karri Meleo at Animal Care Specialists in Seattle was very kind, yet thorough, when explaining the four possible options for Bandicoot.  “There is no way she will be cured“, she said.  “But we can increase her comfortable level.

For one hour, Dr. Meleo wrote everything down on a white board so I could more easily digest what she was saying.

The options presented are as follows:
1. Radiation of the knee with/without radiating the affected sub-lumbar lymph node.
3 treatments would be given in a six-week period, 2 weeks apart.
She’d have a 75% chance of increased comfort.  “If she has treatment on Wednesday, by Friday you’d see a big difference in how she felt.  She’d be using the leg again“, she said.
Side effects: Red, irritated skin for 2-3 weeks.  If the lymph node was radiated, then colitis would be added to the mix, which would include diarrhea and urgency.  “If she fell into the 25% where radiation of the knee was not helpful, then her inability to get out the door fast enough to go potty could be quite messy.”  And she added, “Then you’d have a dignity issue.  For Aussies. that’s a BIG deal.
Cost: Knee: $1600-$1800  Knee and node: $2100-$2300
NOT.

2. Chemotherapy using Doxorubicin, a cross-over drug for either kind of Sarcoma she has.
Administered IV every 3 weeks for a total of 5 treatments.
She’d have a 25-30% chance that the tumor in the knee, and the two lymph node cancers would shrink.  But there’s another shoe waiting to drop.  Bandi has developed a lump on her face.  “I’ve never seen a tumor on the face that was benign“, Dr. Meleo said. “I don’t know if this treatment would even help that tumor, since it could be a histiocytic sarcoma or a mast cell tumor.”
Side effects: Vomiting/Diarrhea.  Big problems—-dehydration and infection.  These would require hospitalization.
Cost: I didn’t even ask
NOT.

3. An investigative study for a new cancer treatment being tested.
Bandi would have to meet certain criteria for acceptance into the study.
The affected lymph node in the groin would be injected with a modified bacteria that would induce an inflammatory response. It could be a cure, or it would mean certain death.
Side effects: If Bandi’s body rejected the treatment, every organ in her body would become inflamed, and it would require emergency euthanasia.
Cost: Free, if Bandi met the criteria for the study
NOT.

4.Surgery to amputate the leg, and the two lymph nodes
Would need a CT Scan of abdomen.  Based on those results, if the cancer is a Synovial Cell Sarcoma, Bandi would have a 50% chance of surviving a year.  If the cancer is a histiocytic sarcoma, then the chance would be 25% for surviving a year.
Side effects: No more pain in the leg or lymph nodes!  Bandi would feel great after a month of recovery.  Her average survival rate would be 6-8 months.
Cost: $5000
NOT.

Since none of these options are affordable based on the expected outcome, we have decided to keep Bandi comfortable, and enjoy her company as much as we can without causing more pain, stress or discomfort in her short life.

  • We will increase the Prednisone again to prevent her leg from swelling.
  • We will double the dose of Tramadol for pain
  • We will giver her an antibiotic if she develops colitis again.
  • We will wait for her to tell us when she’s ready to go.


Therefore, instead of hitting the snooze button, we will be anticipating the day when Bandi lets us know that her time on earth should end.

 Dr. Meleo said, “The most peaceful death is when the body is ready to die at the same time the spirit is ready to die.  Bandi’s body is just about ready, and letting her go now would not be wrong.  But if you want to wait until her spirit is ready, then she’ll let you know“.

A very powerful statement.  I just hope that my spirit will be ready when Bandi is

Grief minus death

I look at Bandi now……

And I think about who she was a year ago……

And it feels like we’ve already lost her to this awful cancer.

It is day 46 since the assumption of cancer was made; day 3 since the diagnosis was confirmed.  Still, the cancer (we still don’t know what kind for sure) has been growing in Bandi’s leg for some time.  She’s been on pain medication for a couple of months, and on steroids for at least 30 days.  Either the medications, or the cancer itself has already taken her.

There was a time, not that long ago, when all Bandi wanted to do was play ball.  She would run out into the yard barking with excitement and anticipation of catching the kicked ball mid-air.  She was so quick, and rarely missed.  Today, she spends every waking moment focused on her next bite of food. 

Imagine a wolf in the wild where some event has devastated his food supply.  Imagine that having to focus on survival makes him so aggressive that he will eat ANYTHING.  Would YOU want to come upon that wolf in the forest?  No way.

Bandi has plenty of food, but the medication makes her voraciously hungry an hour after she eats.  It is ONLY during that one hour after she’s eaten in the morning and the evening when she will slightly enjoy my touch, or my kisses.  She no longer seems content with any human interaction.

Because of the cancer in her leg that has forced the bones apart, Bandi can’t play as she used to.  Her daily activity is trying to find a comfortable position to lay in and pant constantly.  She doesn’t sleep more than 15 minutes at a time.  And she jumps up every time I move because she thinks there will be food involved in my activity.  It’s all very miserable to watch.

I’m already grieving the loss of Bandi, even though she’s still with us. 

“I’ve changed my ways a little, I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream, and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.”


Robinson Jeffers

Day 43 we learn a little more

We have some results regarding our little Bandicoot.  Well, sort of.  The cytology report is in, and Bandicoot has an anaplastic malignant tumor in the soft tissue of her knee (stifle).  However, the type of cancer is still unknown.  The most likely choices are a histiocytic tumor or a synovial cell sarcoma.

Her blood panel also shows that Bandi’s liver enzymes are a little high, and her liver is also slightly enlarged.  We have been assured that this is most likely due to the Prednisone.  We hope that’s correct. 

The plan going forward is to have her see a veterinary oncologist.  She is scheduled with Dr. Meleo at Animal Cancer Specialists in Seattle on February 11th.  In the meantime, we continue to give her prednisone, tramadol, and Gabapentin.  The diarrhea has subsided again.  We hope this continues.

“It’s just the most amazing thing to love a dog, isn’t it? It makes our
relationships with people seem as boring as a bowl of oatmeal.”


John Grogan,

Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

Tough Day for Bandicoot

Bandi was sedated and had an ultrasound and aspiration biopsy on her left rear leg today.  In this picture you can see the bandage on her left front leg where the IV was placed.  You can also see the knee on her left leg that has been shaved and looking rather swollen. 



If you look closer, you might be able to tell that her right rear leg is about to buckle under.  Just after I took this picture Bandi nearly fell into her water bowl.  She is extremely tired and weak.

During the ultrasound on her leg, the technician could see that there is a definite mass, or tumor in the middle of the stifle (knee) joint.  In the diagram below, if you look at the bottom picture where the knee cap has been peeled back, imagine a mass of soft tissue so large in the middle of that joint, that the femur, tibia and fibula bones are separated and pushed out of place.  That’s what has been happening in Bandi’s knee.  Ouch.

A needle was poked into the mass and some fluid was pulled out of the tumor.  We now must wait for the results of this test (cytology) to determine what type of cancer this is.  The doctor who did the biopsy assumes it is either Synovial Cell Sarcoma or Lymphoma.

No cancer is good news, but I feel like we’re getting closer to at least knowing what our possibilities are.  Peace of mind is always a good thing.

I’m sure Bandi has been in pain more than she has shown it.  She is such a trooper.  I love the following quote, which teaches me about the sweet angelic spirit of dogs.

“Dogs have more love than integrity. They’ve been true to us, yes, but they haven’t been true to themselves.”


Clarence Day,

This Simian World