Tag Archives: peekapoo

Goodbye Cassie, my beloved dog

1 Feb

Cassie the Peekapoo

(March 24, 1999 – January 31, 2012)

I’ve spent the past few minutes updating my online biographies—changing them to reflect that I no longer have two dogs, just one.  I don’t know why this seems so necessary, why I had to move her bed out of my room, asked BFF Sarah to change our four dog bowls to two, or why her favorite toy, Stinky Dog, has been carefully tucked away.  The memory of my beloved dog, Cassie, hangs over my apartment like a thick fog enveloping us all, but me most of all.

It’s been less than 24 hours…and I feel like I’m going through all the stages of grief simultaneously.  Fear, anger, denial, bargaining, and acceptance over and over and over again.  When I woke up yesterday morning, I didn’t think that Tuesday, January 31, 2012 would be the day my dog died.  She was coughing and hacking like she usually does, but it was worse, much more guttural.  As I tried to focus on my daily devotions, I could hear her gasping for breath.  I started crying because I could hear her distress, so I called the vet to make an appointment.  Then I called my mom and asked her to accompany me; I knew it wasn’t going to be good.

Cassie’s horrible coughing echoed through the waiting room.  Apparently, she could be heard all over the clinic.  An examination, x-rays, and a decision—what did I want to do?  The vet gave me some steroids that could help her breath more easily, but they wouldn’t make the large mass in her abdomen/stomach area go away.   When we got back home, I took her on a walk.  Her tail was between her legs, she looked at me for help, for relief, and I knew this was to be our last walk together on a strangely warm, pleasantly golden winter afternoon.

I called the vet and said I didn’t want to make her wait, didn’t want her to suffer anymore.  I wanted to do it tonight, after BFF Sarah came home from work and said goodbye to Cassie.   After BFF Sarah got home, we all sat on the couch—my mom, BFF Sarah, and I—listening to her labored breathing in the silence.  It was deafening.  I called the vet’s office again to see if we could move it up.

I carried my precious dog to my mom’s car, telling her that I loved her all the way to the office.  When we arrived, I held her close and kissed her head letting her know that she was the best dog in the world.  I told her not to be scared, that I would be OK, and that she would soon be out of pain.  The vet came in and I handed Cassie to my mom.  I pulled my sweater hood over my hand and put my fingers in my ears.  I didn’t want to know any of it, see any of it, remember any of it.  I just wanted her to feel my presence in the room.

 Then she was gone. 

I sat in the “doggie death” room staring helplessly at all the books with titles like “Pawprints in Heaven” and wondered if Cassie was running towards my grandparents, if my Poppy would throw Stinky Dog for her like he used to, if my Grammy would feed her from the table when she thought no one was looking.  I wasn’t sure about the theological correctness of it all.  Yet I beleive she is running and jumping and playing and begging for food like she was meant to, not like how she lived on this fallen planet.  As Randy Alcorn says in his book, Heaven, why would God withhold our dearly loved pets from us for all eternity?  When everything sad comes untrue, everything sad, I want to be reunited with my pedigree mutt.

Before I left the “doggie death” room I uttered a prayer.  I thanked God for entrusting Cassie to me for almost 13 years.  I praised Him for my dearly loved companion, that she lived and died well.  I told Him that I was grateful that death will not always have this sting, that our broken world will be redeemed.  I asked God to hold my heart, as I could feel it falling to pieces from the big hole her absence has left.

Then I went home and cried.  Now I go through cycles of overwhelming emotion.  I calm down and then cry, sob, bawl, wail, scream, wretch, and write.  Or hold a very confused Maddy the Shih Tzu with trembling arms. After that, I lose it.  Distract myself, then cry.  I imagine the next few days will be the same.  Distract, cry, distract, cry.  I know God is with me and that Cassie is with Him.  This wound will heal, and maybe my one dog family will become a two dog family again.

But not today.

Today I miss everything about her—the way she barked at nothing, how she demanded to have her food dish refilled, the way her and Maddy playfully zipped around the apartment chasing one another, and the empty little spot by my door where Cassie would lie while I typed.  Perhaps this is where I feel her loss most deeply, our special alone time when I would write and she would watch over me, in between her naps.  During these times, Maddy the Shih Tzu patrols the living room, so it was just Cassie and me, canine and mistress, just as in the days before Maddy came to live with us.  And though Maddy is here and BFF Sarah is home today and I hear Kylie the Cockatiel chirping, I feel alone without my writing buddy.

I miss her so much, loved her so much, cherished my beautiful little dog.  Distract, then cry.  Excuse me while I grab the tissues.  It’s crying time again.

Amy’s Christmas Message: You’d Better Be Good Enough!

23 Dec

“Maddy!  Stop jumping on the wrapping paper,” I yelled at my shih tzu, who thought it was playtime. I was attempting to wrap Christmas presents.  Undaunted, Maddy ran to and fro across my open roll of paper engaging her sister, Cassie the Peekapoo, in a rigorous game of “Catch Me If You Can.”

Half-amused and half-frustrated, I said, “You two better knock it off or Santa Paws won’t bring you any presents!”

It was a bold-faced lie.  BFF Sarah and I had already purchased doggie delights for the two little scamps on our mega-Black Friday shopping extravaganza. (Usually, we are the only two people running into PetSmart with unadulterated glee on Black Friday!  Half-priced candy cane bones!  Score!  Well, we weren’t the *only* two people this year because there was a hot deal on kitty litter.)  My dogs don’t know who Santa Paws is anyway.  If a bearded old man did somehow break into our house on Christmas Eve, Cassie would probably bite him and Maddy would give him a tour of the apartment.  (And I refuse to leave my chocolate chip cookies out for anyone, even Santa.)

See, they can’t even behave long enough to get a cute Christmas picture taken!  Maddy the Shih Tzu instigated an attack on Cassie the Peekapoo.

Then it struck me how often I’ve heard parents tell grouchy youngsters to behave or “Santa won’t come.” As if he really wouldn’t come!  I mean, there are a few cruel parents out there who may abide by this principle, but for the most part, it’s a lie.  No matter how terrible your kids are, like my dogs, they are going to get some awesome gifts come Christmas morning.

The “be good, get gifts” myth is further propagated by the emergence of “Elf on a Shelf.” For those of you who haven’t been acquainted with this marketing tool, let me explain.  For $30, a family can get a cheaply made freaky-looking elf that spies on kids and reports their misdeeds to Santa.  Oh, and he comes with a book. You can also buy a skirt to make “him” a “her.” But it really just looks like a boy elf wearing a skirt.  Personally, “Elf On a Shelf” freaks me out. (And it also disproves the myth that Santa is omnipresent.  I mean, “he sees you when you’re sleeping.  He knows when you’re awake”?  Is Santa stalking me?)

It’s no wonder that people think they have to earn their God-given salvation.  I mean, when everything we get is based on our behavior, how can the free gift of grace actually be free?  Surely, there is a cost for entrance into heaven!  What’s the catch to this whole “broken curse of mankind” thing?  In a culture obsessed with good works, earning potential, and extreme couponing, free only comes with hard work, smarts, time, and a bit of creativity.

Yet the gift of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is very costly indeed.  It costs everything—our minds, souls, bodies, and spirits.  But if you’re like me, you’re a mental mess, a failing body, and a spiritual disaster.  There’s not much to give a God who created everything and everyone, including me.  A renewed relationship with God, a broken curse, and spending eternity in a place where God’s glory lights the place in exchange for an earthly life given to God’s use and for His purpose?  There’s no comparison.

This awesome cake was created by Sugar Weave Custom Cakes.

And I can never, ever, ever be good enough to get that.  No matter how many dogs I rescue and return to their owners, how many times I help out my elderly neighbors, or how many Bible studies I lead, I’m still carrying the curse of Adam and Eve.  Or I would had I not accepted the hand God held out to me so very long ago.

I will never be good enough—not for Santa’s gifts or Christ’s salvation.  But, fortunately, even if I’m on Santa’s Naughty List, there will always be a heavenly scroll that bears my name and I will always be close to the heart of a God who has “Amy” written on His very palms.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who finds Santa’s Naughty List disturbing.  When looking for funny pictures of Santa, I came across Amy (doesn’t she have a lovely name?) Henry’s post, “The Flawed Theology of Naughty and Nice Lists.She says it beautifully, but doesn’t talk about shih tzus or Elf On A Shelf, so you’ll have to read mine, too.

Pretty Pets in Costumes with a Pumpkin, Take 2

30 Oct

After deciding to adorn my pumpkin with a bow, I decided to adorn my pets with their Halloween costumes.  Yes, I put my dogs in Halloween costumes–not only at Halloween, but also sometimes just for fun.  And, of course, I took pictures.  Maddy the Shih Tzu (white/gray)  loves dressing up while Cassie the Peekapoo (tan)  detests it and neither dog is fond of wearing hats.  Despite all the tomfoolery, I was able to get both dogs and the pumpkin in some pictures!

It only took 20 minutes to get this shot…sheesh! Maddy looks like she’s turning into a vamp puppy.

Cassie gives up the fight and sits nicely for her picture.

Then Maddy intruded into Cassie’s portrait.

A quick shot of Maddy before she ripped off her hat and started chewing on it. Yes, she needs a haircut!

Faith Like My Dogs

12 Dec
Maddy (left) and Cassie (right)

Maddy (left) and Cassie (right)

My dogs think I am the greatest person in the world.  While they adore my mom (“grandma”) and my best friend/roommate (“Aunt Sarah”), there’s only one person they call “Mommy” and that’s me.  As I type, one of the little ones (Madalyne, two year-old shih tzu) is curled up in the covers of my bed.  She’s  staring at me ready to follow me should I arise from my chair and head into the kitchen, check the mail, or go to the bathroom.  The other (Cassie, nine year-old peekapoo)  is lying in the living room ready to fiercely bark at any intruder that might even think about trying to enter our apartment.

One such potential intruder is J.D., the one year-old lab that lives across the hallway.  I’ve tried to explain to both dogs again and again that J.D. is not their enemy; he is merely going outside to do his doggie business.  When I’m talking to them, they look interested in what I’m saying (Maddy tries to lick my face), but my words never seem to sink in.  Sigh.

Potential Intruder J.D.

Potential Intruder J.D.

At night, I feel one little fur ball by my side and another at my ankles as they cuddle with me in my bed.  On the darkest of nights, when sleep doesn’t come easily, their presence is a saving grace.  As I lie awake, praying and talking to God, my two dogs are the only witnesses to the words uttered in the darkness.  Not only are they privy to the sacred, they also watch me get dressed (and undressed), go to the bathroom, and so on.  If they weren’t dogs, I would think they were perverts.

When I leave the apartment, they look at me with their big, sad eyes.  It’s as if I’m crushing their little worlds, and sometimes it feels like a sucker punch in my gut.  When I return, there is a canine celebration of jumping, licking, tail wagging, and toy tossing.  Hooray!  She is here!  They run around in a frenzy for several minutes, even if I was only gone for a minute or two taking out the garbage or checking the mail.  And it makes me feel worthy, wanted, and loved on the inside.  I like being their hero.

It seems slightly egotistical to enjoy being the center of their universe.  I like being needed, revered, and followed.  I can say anything–anything at all–in a certain voice, and they’ll go nuts with unbridled joy.  It can be the Pledge of Allegiance, one of my writings, or “What a good dog.”  I also delight in my dogs–the way they play together, romp about the apartment looking for mischief, and how they interact with their world.  It’s generally amusing and slightly innocent.

As much as I enjoy being fixated on by my dogs, I realize that there’s a God who delights in me.  Of course, He doesn’t follow me around like a puppy and certainly doesn’t relate to me as though I am His pet.  However, the adulation I experience from my dogs is a bit like the adulation I should give to God–I should constantly focus my attention towards Him.  While my dogs do things that aren’t “Amy-centered” like chew on bones, eat their kibble, and bark incessantly at nothing, they are constantly aware of where I am at work and what I am doing.  They live their lives around me, and when I’m not around, they know I’ll return.  I’ve always returned before and I will return again.

Why, oh why, am I so prone to wander?  I’m a lot more intelligent than my dogs, yet I am not constantly aware of where God is at work and at times, I don’t care what He’s doing in my life (or in the lives of others).  I get bogged down with the worries of the world, my own personal failings, or the crisis of the week, and I lose sight of Him.  I’ve built my life around my belief and trust in God, but when I can’t see Him, I’m not always confident He’ll “return”.  He’s always been there, even when I can’t “see” or “feel” Him, but I lack faith.

You’d think a creature who greets another by smelling its butt wouldn’t have a lot to teach us about faith, especially since it lacks the brain power to even consider deep issues of theology.  Yet as I gaze upon the little shih tzu sleeping on my bed, so confident I love her and will care for her, I feel a pang in my chest.  There’s a little voice telling me that I am just as loved and can be just as confident in my Father’s provisions for my life.  And I can wait just as rest just as peacefully in His grace.

The Bully in the Kitchen

10 Jun

My two dogs are great teachers in lessons about life. Obviously, I don’t get tips on social etiquette from them–like smelling another dog’s butt to say hello or licking myself in front of company. However, animals of all kinds are great teachers if we allow God to use His creations to teach us about Him and His people.

Lately, Cassie (9 y/o peekapoo) and Maddy (almost 2 y/o shih tzu) have had difficulty eating together. Since Cassie is a nibble-through-the-day kind of dog, we have open food bowls. Usually by the end of the day a few morsels of dry food remain. Because Cassie nibbles, Maddy also learned to nibble. Generally there has been no problem with this arrangement, until recently, when Cassie decided that she was Queen of the Food Bowls. Lying sideways, she “guards” both bowls (and the water, mind you) so that Maddy can’t eat until Cassie allows her. Plus, the dogs refuse to eat unless someone is home; therefore, the behavior is easily observable.

At one point I sat on the floor with the dogs, moved Cassie to the side, and showed them it was just fine to eat with one another. Maddy was a little nervous, shooting sideway glances at Cassie, but she ate. Cassie seemed a bit grumpy…but I’m the pack leader, not her. This worked for a while, until Maddy decided she should always eat from the same dish as Cassie. Again, I showed them their dishes and they worked it out. Today I was making lunch and noticed Cassie was being the Guardian of the Food Dishes again. I sat on the floor, and Cassie automatically moved to the side yet Maddy refused to come over. I sighed and moved the food dish closer to her and went on with my day. Maddy ate. Conflict resolved.

Then I realized something startling. I had taken the “easy way out”. Instead of sitting the girls down and talking to them about their problems (just kidding…they’re dogs), I just isolated Maddy and refused to deal with Cassie. Since Cassie was being the “bully”, I should have removed *her* from the situation and encouraged Maddy to eat at the appropriate area.

I realized this is exactly how I’ve seen bullies deal with in real life, you know, outside of my kitchen. Instead of dealing with the bully, teachers send the bullied kid to the guidance counselor. The child who is the victim is obviously the problem, not the kid who’s being cruel. Instead, shouldn’t the mean kid go to the guidance counselor? Or both kids at separate times? It’s a tough world so the kid being teased may need to learn better coping skills while the jerky kid may a smack down. Both children may be dealing with tough situations at home and it’s coming out in their behavior at school. Whatever the reason, instead of doing what’s easy, sometimes we need to truly address the situation at hand.

Right now, Cassie and Maddy are sitting by the door listening for intruders (like the FedEx guy–a real threat there) in the hallway. Maddy thinks that they should be running around the apartment like a couple of wild hooligans, so she’s jumping all over Cassie pulling her ears and her tail. Cassie growls at Maddy and puts her in her place. Dogs dealing with conflict on their own–normal pack behavior. Guarding the food bowls in the kitchen–unacceptable pack behavior.

Parents, youth workers, random blog visitors–how do you decipher between normal and unacceptable behavior in children or teenagers? What are ways you have deal with bullies–whether your kid is the bully of the bullied?

Oh, and do you have a dog? (That being the essential question in this discussion!)

Anyone want to adopt 800 puppies?

14 Mar


This is the most space these guys have had to themselves in years!


I love dogs…a lot. Given how much I talk about my two pups, I’m sure you’ve gathered that (heck, I call them my “little girls”). But, even I, who thinks more the merrier when it comes to pets am flabbergasted at this story–an elderly couple kept 800 dogs and 82 parrots in their triple wide trailer home. The 82 parrots is bad enough–I mean, my cockatiel is a pretty messy eater. I can only imagine her and 81 others.

My dynamic duo, Maddy on the left and Cassie on the right.

Then there’s Maddy, my one year-old shih tzu, who though adorable, likes to do things like steal underwear and socks for attention. Imagine her having 799 comrades to join her in these hijinks. Cassie, who turns 9 on March 24 (the day after my 28th birthday–yes, my birthday is on Easter!), would hate us if we made her put up with any more dogs in this apartment. Maddy’s enough for her. She barely tolerates my mom’s two hyper-active pooches. Last Saturday, I took Cassie and Maddy to my mom’s house for a visit. At one point, my mom’s two dogs and my dogs were all sitting on my lap–that was ridiculous. The scene becomes one of horror when I think of adding 796 more dogs to that equation.

Cesar and his pack…looks like he’s holding one of those rescued dogs.

Like me, I am sure you have questions including, how do you fit that many dogs anywhere, but especially in a triple wide trailer? How much does it cost to feed all those animals? What’s it like to take 800 dogs for a group walk? And how do you remember all their names? I know that dog behaviorist Cesar “Dog Whisperer” Milan has a lot of dogs in his “pack”, but even Cesar would consider this situation out of control. Instead of calling in the Dog Whisperer, county authorities were called in to deal with the situation.

Among the ginormous canine pack were chihuahuas (at least they’re small, you could fit a couple dozen of ’em in a duffel bag), pomeranians, terriers, and lhasa apsos, and Chinese cresteds. As you can see from the above AP photo, the dogs are a good-looking bunch, unfortunately according to the AP article, some dogs were missing paws from being attacked by other animals or getting their feet caught in the fencing outside (read full article). Apparently, the eldery owners of the dogs were breeders, but developed a habit of hoarding, unable to part with their puppies.

The good news is that the dogs have been rescued and will be up for adoption shortly. The bad news is that the pack will have to be separated because no one seems willing to adopt 800 dogs altogether. No word on what is to become of the parrots.


Look at those cuties…Sarah, can we adopt one? Just kidding.

Cassie & Maddy’s Christmas Photo Shoot

22 Dec

OK, here’s the official Christmas photo of the two cutest puppies in the world…

Here’s video footage of the whole event. Maddy’s trying to pull out her bows and then she stares at me intently.

And a cute still “outtakes” of the girls:

Doesn’t Cassie look like she should be pulling the Grinch’s sleigh into Whoville?

Cassie again…she has a nasty under bite. She’s not growling at me.

Maddy’s chewing on the flower…gotta love puppies.

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