THE RETURN HOME

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“Do you want to take Cody home today?”

For a moment, the question caught me off guard.  I had stopped by the vet with Magic to drop off some paperwork on his October heartworm test in Quincy, Illinois, drop off a “sample,” and check on Magic’s weight.

“Yes, Cody will be going home today…”

“OK, we just want to make sure you’re OK, it hasn’t been too long, we know it can still be painful.”

And we waited about 15 minutes for the examination room with the scale to become available.

There is another examination room behind the cashier counter and that room is used only for one activity.  I know that room.  Cody, on January 8th, Tyler in 2003, and other pets of my past have been in that room with me.  There is a large framed print on the west wall entitled, His Master’s Bed…a white Labrador sound asleep on a large bed, a window looking out on a pastoral scene, curtains blowing gently, very peaceful.

A woman, about my age, with curly reddish blond hair stepped out of that room.  She was in full grief, holding an orange cloth over her eyes…sobbing.  I know that room.  I wanted to comfort her but she moved quickly to one of the open examination rooms and was gone.

A gorgeous Border collie mix came in off-leash with his owner, a woman about 30 wearing Adidas athletic warm-ups and a Chicago Blackhawks hat.  The dog, Homer, was quite a gentleman.  His lower body was white and reddish tan ticking, his upper body was gray, black and white ticking…topped off with a large parallelogram of pure black on his back and left side.  He jumped up on the wooden bench next to his Mom and was very well behaved.

And what about Magic?  Magic always receives high compliments for his handsomeness – “my o my what a gorgeous boy, oh’ that dog is gorgeous, oh he is beautiful.  I am so lucky.  And Magic was very good, very respectful.  Just a look and he sits…amazing how that communication works between man and dog.

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Magic weighed in at 46.2 pounds.  I know that Kathy P. and the good-hearted volunteers from Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue (GLBCR) will be thrilled with Magic’s weight – he weighed only 33 when he came into rescue.

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Magic’s progress with obedience, behavior, learning and sweetness has been a joy to watch.  I have increased his off-leash time outside and he really gets it…responds immediately to “Come here, Magic.”  He pays attention, a very sharp boy!  An EXTREMELY sweet boy!

If I have one regret with Cody, I did not drive him out to Oregon to spend time with me on the beautiful beaches, the paths, the pine forests, the cool air, the great people of the area around Cannon Beach.  I believe that a beach in Oregon, the Pacific ocean to to west and fog-shrouded pines to the east, the surf, people with their happy dogs, running free will be a perfect final resting place.  Magic and I will be making the drive in summer…sometime…

“Don’t forget Cody!”

A simple square box, black, Cody (January 8th 2015).  Within, is a brass metal can and Cody’s paw print in plaster.

-Cody and Magic’s Dad

THE PASSING OF A THERAPY DOG…GOD SPEED TO YOU, CODY

Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2 Cody15DEC 001

Cody came into my life in January and he has passed from my life in January.  He was somewhere around 13 years of age.  When I adopted him from Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue, he was around two years of age.  For those of you who follow Cody’s blog, his stories are true and accurate.  CHILDREN READING TO ME and FEAR OF DOGS CLASS merely scratch the surface of his amazing and wonderful life.  With friends and family, I often referred to working with this Border Collie as, “Walking in with a Rock Star.”  His gorgeous markings coupled with an amazingly affectionate, and curious demeanor always made him a fan favorite.  In his three years of working The Fear of Dogs program, he worked with children who had been traumatized by dogs, and there were many who chose him to work with, to brush, to play with, to hug.  Cody was a VERY steady performer and an absolute joy to work with.  Unless, of course, a UPS, FEDEX, or U.S. Mail truck made an appearance.

Cody’s final two assignments were on October 11th at an Assisted Living Facility in Lake Zurich and on December 1st at a Facility for Developmentally Disabled Adults.  He was loved on, petted, and tears fell on his mostly white rough coat.  He looked people in the eye and let them know that he loved them.

For those of you who have euthanised a beloved pet or know that this event will be approaching in the near future, it isn’t the moment the drugs enter your pet’s body that carries the most anguish; it is hours and days of anguish and tears that lead up to your decision.  For me, that moment of decision was this afternoon at 3:40 p.m. when Cody and I were outside in the blowing snow.  He couldn’t walk, he was losing the use of his rear legs.  I just could not bear to watch this gorgeous animal struggle in the falling snow, looking at me,  “I’m sorry, Dad.”

I made the telephone call to the vet and set a 5:00 p.m. appointment.  They promised a team would be ready for Cody’s crossing.  Cody has always been eager to go for a ride in the car and this moment was no different.  Did the repeated failure of his rear legs from our entry door to the Scion make this decision easier for me?  I’d have to say, yes, without a doubt.  Cody, Magic, and I stopped at McDonald’s for some hamburgers.  Cody did have an appetite, and there was comfort in his enjoying of the burgers.  And yes, he did bark in the car at every delivery truck he saw.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, Cody may have given me permission to cross the bridge.  Last night, just before midnight, Cody was up next to me, placing his gorgeous head on my chest.  He has NEVER done that in the past, once he was ready for sleep, he pretty much stayed in his spot at the bottom of the bed on “his side.”  I asked him if he was trying to tell me that he was “ready.”  I knew that whatever arthritis, dysplasia, discomfort, pain, he had in his body would not be experiencing a miracle improvement.

Without a doubt, the adoption from Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue of Magic on December 6th has provided me with a buffer  in the form of another smart, sensitive, and intuitive Border Collie..  The thought of being able to reach over with my hand – anywhere – and not have a dog to love on was a burden I did not want to experience.  Magic now provides this comfort and companionship.

During the drive home from Preiser Animal Hospital, I had a long talk with Magic.  He will be continuing Cody’s work on codemanbc.com.

And, heartfelt thanks to Dr. Kristine Preiser and vet-tech Jamie for their compassion and gentleness with Cody, Magic and me.

A BORDER COLLIE’S WORK IS NEVER DONE…

Writer's cramp...does the Scion need washing?

Writer’s cramp…does the Scion need washing?

OK, OK…Last night, My Dad was watching PBS and I was feeling neglected.  My most effective method to get some attention, some petting, some scratching behind the ears, is to calmly walk over to the human in question and slowly push my head into their thigh…persistently pushing into their thigh.  Sooooo, I’m am pushing into My Dad’s thigh and I am getting some attention, some loving, some scratching and petting, but My Dad was way more interested in this program about glass than paying attention to me.

“I’m going into the office, post on the blog, any ideas?”

“You’re Mister Creative, Mister Author, Mister Popularity. You’re out of ideas?  We changed your meds, want to talk about that?”

“Do I need HIPAA clearance for that…sign a release…isn’t that sort of personal?”

Mmmm…I just got a look, the “you’re kidding” look.  OK, OK, just trying to be funny.  Watch your program about glass.  17th century telescopes are VERY exciting.

I will be thirteen years old, sometime soon.  Nobody seems to know what my real birth date is…happens with rescue dogs.  My Dad keeps telling everyone my birthday is in January but I’ve seen my adoption papers from Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue – there are THREE dates of birth for me.  No big deal though, I know I’m getting to be an old guy.  My Dad keeps telling me that I still have a very sassy personality, I love to go bye-bye in the Scion xB.  This morning, we’ll be going to the Vet to get my Adequan shot.  My Dad has been transitioning me from Rimadyl to another drug for pain management.  My hips are arthritic.  My Dad is very good about lifting me onto the bed, into the Scion, up stairs….and down again.  He is very gentle with me.  I’ve been on Rimadyl for several years and when you are taking Rimadyl, you need to get your blood tested, something about liver enzymes, the liver working correctly.  I had a blood draw last week and the important enzyme level is elevated, so no more Rimadyl.

Weather here today is sunny and cool.  Being in the Scion will be very comfy.  Post Office, the vet, barking at delivery trucks, LET’S GO!

Here is a photo of me taken by Mindy, my foster-mom in fall of 2003.  Am I NOT cute?

Here is a photo of me taken by Mindy, my foster-mom in fall of 2003. Am I NOT cute?

THE “R” WORD

I’ve had a good life, a good run.  Who would imagine a rescued Border collie serving with three Therapy Dog organizations, being invited to play a key role a children’s TV show episode, featured in several newspaper articles, Frisbee competitions, being a diplomat for Great Lakes Border Collie Rescue…AND going bye-bye in the car!?  The second organization I worked with was THE EXTRA MILE MINISTRIES (www.faceofcrisis.org).  My Dad had read about their service at Northern Illinois University…after the shootings in February 2008.  They checked me out, tested my personality, my behavior around other dogs, people, children…I like everyone.  Just don’t try to mount be from behind…that will turn into a teaching moment.  The K9 Crisis team returned to NIU in February of 2009 for the one year memorial and the candlelight vigil, and I was a member of the team.  Yes, you’re right…several Golden Retrievers (they’re sooooooooo laid back), a pointer, a beagle, a black mixed-breed, and me – the only Border collie.  We were all, very COOL.  Yellow vests, well-behaved, and we all got a lot of attention from the students.  That Saturday had been a long day and by the time the Candlelight Vigil had ended, I was the only dog left.  My Dad brought me into the Student Center and I collapsed on the cool, terrazzo floor…I was laying on my side, stretched out, time for a nap!  The students and family members slowly made their way from the candle lit plaza into the warmth and quiet of the Student Center.  My Dad had stepped away from me, I’m sleeping, I’m a good boy, I am always calm, cool, collected. Even though my eyes are closed and I am still, my senses are always working…my sense of smell, my hearing, my intuition, are always processing…I am always thinking, aware of my surroundings, odors, smells, vibrations,  aware of another’s presence.  There is no noiseless environment, even in sleep.  I knew, I sensed, that the chilled grievers, returning from the vigil were approaching me, forming a circle around me, touching me, petting me, speaking softly to me.  There is no need to open my eyes.  There is no need to move.  I know in my heart that the humans encircling me are sad.  I smell tears.  My presence, my stillness, my acceptance of their touch provides them with all that they need…at that moment.

This morning, My Dad and I were out for the second walk of the day.  A new maintenance guy, Tom, for Village Green, pulled up in his older, gray, rusty Jeep Cherokee.  I was sitting on the sidewalk, off leash.  When Tom turned off his engine, I slowly stood up and walked over to his driver’s door.  “Hey, I’m Cody, I’m cool, its OK, to pet me – just do it.”  And he did, he reached out right away, no hesitation.  He petted me, rubbed my head.

“He’s really a good dog,” Tom said from his Jeep.

“He’s a retired Therapy Dog,” My Dad said proudly.Image