Friday, February 26, 2016

Farewell Rachel, a Wonderful Friend

Maybe this isn't dog related enough but it's applicable for my blog. I wouldn't know Rachel if it wasn't for Vegas, our agility "career," and the world through which our paths crossed. Here is a tribute I posted to Facebook earlier today, a few hours after I learned of my dear friend Rachel's death. Rachel was just 40. She was healthy, strong, doing Crossfit, and starting to love life again.

Background: Four weeks ago tomorrow she had a swollen foot, she thought just a bit of edema from a blister that had split and gotten infected on her foot. She'd been treating it, keeping it clean, etc., but clearly it was not doing well. She was busy, thought she could take care of it, and let it go. By Thursday of that week she was nauseous, vomiting, and in urgent care. They gave her antibiotics and told her she needed to get to the ER if it got worse. By Friday afternoon it was worse and she called me. I got off work that evening, packed a bag, dropped my Poms with my mom, and Vegas and I headed to Tualatin. She was at the hospital awaiting surgery and I was to exchange cars with her, stay at her house that night, and take her dogs to her friend's in Springfield, Oregon the next day.

While she didn't bounce right back from surgery - spent almost three weeks vomiting and had to go back for another surgery - it seemed she was getting the care she needed. The foot, ultimately, had succumbed to cellulitis and morphed into osteomylitis which is why she had the surgeries. Her mom had flown out from West Virginia to stay with her while she recovered. The dogs were still at her friend's since she wasn't getting around well and didn't need their buoyant selves further injuring her.

Today, around 11 am, I checked my Facebook messages to see one from Rachel's sister. Rachel had a sudden pulmonary embolism yesterday at home that took her from this world. Rachel was mentioned many times on my blog, a blogger herself for a couple years on Boxers Do It Best.

I hate goodbyes, especially sad and too soon ones, so farewell, my friend. I hope to see you again over the bridge some day.

To put into words what seems unthinkable, what is so wrong, what should never happen.
To honor my friend. Rachel Tennant. She was just 40. She's had a rough couple years. Setting a career path and having it be so disillusioning, disheartening after so many years effort. But she was on the right track. A better job, one she could leave at the office at the end of the day, one that could give her back some freedom and allow joy and hobby and life. I saw the changes this brought in her attitude, her outlook, her spirit. I was so happy for her.
Rachel and I were fast friends, partners in crime in a sport we didn't quite fit into...because of the kind of dog we had. Agility, you see, is for people with herding breeds. But we had working breeds, she her Boxers and me a Dane. So we supported each other, entered the same trials, crated together, videod for one another, supported each other. Quite frankly like no other could. We had goals and ambitions, and we were making it happen. In between, we laughed, we saw movies, we went to Magic Mike in theater, we even went to a "live show" that shocked our socks off (and made me more than a little embarrassed).
When I fought with Ty, Rachel was there to bring a bottle of booze or to hear me rant. When he died, she was there. When I went through the most trying year of my life, moved away, and shut people out, Rachel was there anyway. When I lost my little Juicy, Rachel came out, told me what had happened, stayed while I cried and cried and cried, and she took care of my sweet puppy - even though she was a "not dog" in Rachel's book. You see, tiny, fluffy, purse sized dogs were not Rachel's thing. But loyalty and friendship? They were.
Rachel was strong and fierce and independent. She didn't ask for help. She didn't like to ask for help.
When Rachel went into the hospital three weeks ago, I had a chance to help. She resented it but I didn't. More than ever now, I'm glad I could help but wish it was more.
Rachel loved her Boxers. She achieved many things with her well known and beloved Harry Potter. Many don't know Nikita, but she started it all for Rachel. Nikita lived until 15, incredible for her breed. Rachel, I'm not faithful, not religious, but I hope you were greeted joyfully on the other side by these two. I'll miss you, my friend. I'll miss your humor, your intellect, your sarcasm, the hikes, the trials, and the unwavering friendship you always gave.
Rest in peace, dear friend. Enjoy the agility course over the bridge. Until we meet again.
Rachel Tennant
12/28/1975 - 2/25/2016

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 - A Year in Pictures

Since I'm not a very good blogger anymore despite the best of intentions... Here is Vegas' complete 52 Weeks for Dogs for 2015. This is the first year I didn't miss a single week.