Special Birthday

On Tuesday July 31st this special girl turned 13 years old!

Riva-puppy2_thumb.jpg

When certain breeds reach those double digits they are considered very senior dogs. And as the owner I consider myself very fortunate to see my dogs reach those ages.

So to celebrate this very Special Birthday I did a photo shoot with my niece and Riva.

We had a lot of fun doing this and Riva really enjoyed all the treats!

Then later that evening she had her special cake and more photos.

The life and times of Riva…

This girl is so loved by her family! Happy Birthday my Riva Diva!!!

 

Tina & the Brown Dogs

How do I say goodbye…

You may have noticed I have been absent from posting and reading all your lovely writings. I apologize for that but I have had a very devastating event happen.

On May 25th at approximately 3:00pm I had to say good bye to my beloved Cheyenne.

I am heartbroken and my emotions have been so raw I have not had it in me to write or frankly do too much of anything. But finally I feel like I just might be able to put to paper, so to speak, my journey with Cheyenne.

Although I had known Cheyenne her whole life starting from birth, she didn’t come to live with me until she was just over a year old. You see she helped ease my broken heart from losing my first Chessie, Shadowdancer, to bone cancer. So our journey began in 2004 with this very shy girl who only had eyes for me.Cheyennes first Christmas with me She would lay behind the rocking chair until I came home each day and could not be enticed by anyone in the house to come out.

She lived to please me! She was always my faithful companion, my shadow.

In the first years we did the whole dog show scene but it just was not Cheyenne’s cup of tea. She would do it because I asked her to but I could tell she hated it. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers Cheyenne and Riva.                                            This was her favorite part of dog shows!

In the ring she was always looking for the exit! So after giving it a good try I decided it was time to pursue other areas. So when she was six years old we began our field training journey.

That too started off very slow but once she turned onto the birds there was no holding her back. She loved to retrieve and swim! You could see the joy on her face doing her job.Chesapeake Bay Retriever~Cheyenne (4)Chesapeake Bay Retriever~Cheyenne (3)Chesapeake Bay Retriever~Cheyenne (1)Chesapeake Bay Retriever~Cheyenne (2)Chesapeake Bay Retriever~Cheyenneswim2

At the age of eight we tried the ACC Working Dog Certification program (WD). She did fantastic on land but missed one of her birds on water, so no pass for us that day. Although I was disappointed we didn’t pass I could not have been more proud of her. She continually followed my command to go fetch more than a half dozen times but she just could not find that elusive bird. Our judge that day highly complimented her on such good work, she could not believe she was eight years old. I will never forget what she said to me that day as she patted me on the back, “you have a hell of a dog there don’t give up”!

So we didn’t give up and continued to work and train hard and at the age of nine I entered her again in a WD. This time we did great and she passed her certification, I was so ecstatic!! Chesapeake Bay Retriever~Cheyenne1Chesapeake Bay Retriever~Cheyenne WD (1)Chesapeake Bay Retriever~Cheyenne WD1I had always told her that once we passed she could retire. I kept my word, we only retrieved for fun after that.

She spent the next few years just being a dog having fun. She was always by my side. I rarely had to leash her, she would not think of leaving my side and if she did I could simply call her back and she always came. She thought crates were beneath her, and promptly let me know her displeasure if I made her sit in one. She was the queen of the house and the other dogs knew it.

There are so many things I will miss about my best girl, her loyalty, resting her head on the bed and watching me, rooing at me, her constant barking when I arrived home, not sure if this was glee or telling me off for leaving her. The list is endless, because how do you pick just one thing when a dog such as her has touched your heart so deeply. Chesaeake Bay Retriever~Cheyenne (2)Chesaeake Bay Retriever~Cheyenne (4)Chesaeake Bay Retriever~Cheyenne (3)

So now the last leg of our journey…how do I say good bye? I say it with love, compassion and the decision to let her go with some dignity. I say it with hugs, kisses and sweet whispers in her ear. I say it by letting her know what a wonderful loyal and faithful companion she was. I say it with one last trip to McDonalds for a hamburger and ice cream. I say it while I sat on the floor of our vet’s office holding her head in my lap stroking her sweet face telling her one last time how much I love her. Chesapeake Bay Retriever~Cheyenne

So for me and in memory of Cheyenne please hug your pets and cherish the moments because tomorrow is not promised!

Tina

Senior Dogs…Senior love!

When they are puppies we think we have all the time in the world before they get old but in blink of an eye they become senior dogs.

Now this varies by breed, smaller breeds with a longer life span will be older before being considered a senior. But for Chesapeake’s their life span is 10-12 years on average so they are considered to be senior dogs when they are about seven.

I have two senior dogs, well actually they would really be considered geriatric because they are at the older end of the senior spectrum.

Cheyenne is twelve and will turn thirteen July 7th, and Riva is ten and will turn eleven on July 31st.

I look at them and think how my time is most likely coming to an end sooner than I would like but all I can do is love them and cherish every day!

Both girls are in fairly good health but I notice some things that tell me the body is aging even if the mind is not.

Cheyenne has several lumps on her body but they have all been checked out over the  years and unless they change my vet said don’t worry about them because they are fatty tumors*. The biggest change in her has started over the past six months or so, she does not have the power in her rear end she once had. She can no longer jump up on the bed with me although at times she really wants to. I could try putting some steps next to the bed for her but the problem with that is if she decides to jump off she could really injure herself. In her mind she is a young pup, she goes flying down my porch steps and sometimes lands on her side…this makes me gasp and hold my breath until she jumps up and starts barking at me. I have started to really encourage her to take her time by telling her “EASY”, this seems to work for us. She is still able to jump up in the van and loves to go. When she gets up after laying down I can hear her making grunting noises but she is a happy girl all the time.Chesapeake Bay Retriever Cheyenne 5                      Well if I can’t jump up on the bed I will just rest my head here!

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Cheyenne4                                                   Love this beautiful gray face!!

Riva has shown a couple signs of aging, the occasional grunt when she gets up and her hearing. I have always said she has “selective hearing” because when I call her she always looks behind her at the ghost dog Riva as if to say “she’s calling you again”. But one day I called and called her and she just laid there so I walked up to her and called again and it made her jump so I knew she didn’t hear me the first few times. She has very little gray on her muzzle and she is able to jump up on the bed with ease. I haven’t really noticed as many lumps on her as Cheyenne but every dog is different and she may never get many. She is still a bad counter surfer and garbage picker…age has not changed that in the least. She is and has always been my snuggler, she loves to be right next to me. Her favorite position is curled up next to me on the bed with my arm around her. Chesapeake Bay Retriever Riva1                                                   I’ll just lie here and watch you!

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Riva2                                           Just keeping your spot warm for you!

The best we can do with our senior dogs is keep them as active as possible and keep an eye on any changes we might notice such as eating, drinking, elimination. I do supplement them with coconut oil.

Cheyenne and Riva say if you have a senior dog give them a big hug and a juicy treat today!!

*Fatty tumors or Lipomas are subcutaneous (underneath the skin) masses or tumors that develop commonly in dogs. They are usually soft, with limited mobility under the skin. The overlying skin is usually not affected. Over time they can grow larger and can impede movement if they are located between the legs or low on the chest.

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