Click on any link
below to jump directly to that chapter 

The Beginning of Bubba

The Burrito Incident

The Journey Begins

Diagnosis: Death

He Knows

Hope Arrives in a Box

Bubba in the Box

'Tis the Season

An Angel in Disguise

Adiós 2005

January 2006


Holistic Help

Sticking it to Bubba


Heartbreak, Heartache

A Turn for the Worse

Sleepless in SoCal


Recovery Mode

A Big Blur

March Madness

Happy Birthday Bubba

What Happened?

Oh, Bubba!

Death Row

So Much, So Little


Hanging on to Hope

Reality, go away!

A Vision


Lessons Learned

Moving Day



Trouble in Traffic

One Lick at a Time

Bubba comes Home

Being Back

A New Day

A Roller-Coaster Ride

A Roller-Coaster Ride II

Back to the Hospital

Bubba is Dying

The End is Near

How do you say goodbye?

The Time has Arrived

4:30 P.M.

Bubba's Journey has Ended

Another Goodbye


One Week Ago

The Plan Failed

Bad, Very Bad

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Everyone Sees Bubba, But Me



Tears In Heaven


Broken Heart Syndrome

Bubba Knows Better


Two Weeks

Regret, Part Two


The Question

I Dream of Bubba

An Appointment
for Bubba

One Last I Love You

A Smile 

One Month

Lost in Time

Two Months

Still Here, Still Sad

Three Months

No Words


Tiger Surgery

The Psychic Speaks

Ruff, real ruff

You don't have a dog



Five Months

Six Months

Always Believe

It's Over!

My Journey

My Journey: II

That Last Turn

Ten Months


This is the week

Ready to Remember

One Year Later


Updated: April 28, 2007
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Bubba: The perfect gentleman who just happens to be a dog


 The Beginning of Bubba

It was the summer of 1992 when the Perfect Gentleman first crossed my path, literally.

As I approached a red light near the Burbank Airport (California) there he was...crossing the street. On a green light, of course, and walking in the crosswalk. I was impressed.

His head held high, this dog walked with determination. He was going somewhere!

As he crossed in front of my car, a ray of sunshine beamed off his metal dog tag and right into my eyes.

My heart skipped a beat, it was a sign! That's because I had implemented a new rule for myself: I would only stop for strays if they had a tag.

You see, strays were always walking into my life and as a newlywed I knew I had to stop bringing dogs home or soon I would have no home.

My newfound reasoning was that if a dog had a tag then he had an owner. It would be simple:

Pick up dog.
Call number on tag.
Return pooch.
Feel good.

I was wrong.

As Bubba walked down Victory Blvd. I raced ahead and pulled my car over.

As I got a better look at him, I realized this dog was on a mission....his four paws kept a fast and steady pace, his small brown eyes fixed straight ahead, he would have walked right by me had I not called him.

He approached very slowly....his brown eyes questioning me.

Who are you?
Do I know you?
Do you know me?

I slowly reached down to pet him as I gently reassured him I meant no harm. His dog tag read "Bubba".

Hi Bubba.

The sound of his name brought an immediate reaction. I had answered his question. His tail began to wag, he let his guard down and you could see the tension in him ease.

Hi Bubba. It's okay, boy.

You know me! You know me!

Yes, Bubba-Dog.

Finally, someone recognized me!
I don't know who you are
but if you know me then it must be okay.

And with that, the Perfect Gentleman jumped into the back seat and off into our future we rode.

Bubba's tag told me his owner's name was Candace and that she lived in Hollywood, a good 10 miles away.

As I drove, a panting and seemingly exhausted Bubba laying down in the back seat, I looked at my hands and they were black from petting him.

Poor boy, I thought, he must have been walking for a long time.

My mother lived close by and I would take him there. Bubba could have some water and eat something while I called Candace to make arrangements to reunite them and this labor of love would be resolved in an hour or so.

Wrong again.

When we got to my mother's, Bubba quickly devoured an entire package of ham slices, the only thing I had to give him, and I could tell he hadn't eaten in a long time.

Okay boy, let's see that tag of yours and get you back to your mom.

The number you are dialing has been
disconnected and there is no new number.

Okay, not good.

Candace must have moved. To the Valley. That's why Bubba was in Burbank. She moved, he got lost and was trying to return to his Hollywood address.

That's it. That has to be it.

Since he was dirty, tired and hungry I figured he must have walking for days. That would have been enough time to put an ad in the paper.

O.K., Mr. Bubba, you stay here.
Be a good boy, I'm going to buy the paper
so I can get you back home.
And soon all will be well.

The Perfect Gentleman seemed to understand and off I went.

And then I heard it.

The most heart-wrenching, bloodcurdling cry that one can imagine.

I ran to the side gate to see what had happened and what I saw, and heard, remains with me still.

The Perfect Gentleman sat leaning against the house, his head poised straight to the sky as if talking to someone higher up, as he cried.

And cried. And cried and cried some more.

I had never seen or heard anything like it.

It was the sound of a heart breaking into pieces.

It was the wail of a gentle soul pleading for help.

It was the echo of love lost, wanting desperately to be found again.

Bubba, it's okay, boy.
You'll be home soon, I promise.
Don't cry, Bubba.
Please don't cry.

I rushed out to buy the paper and there was nothing.

No one, it appeared, was looking for the Perfect Gentleman. But the Perfect Gentleman was definitely looking for someone.

It must be too soon, I reasoned. Maybe he just got lost today and they haven't placed the ad yet. After all, it was clear that this dog missed someone horribly and someone, somewhere had to be missing him too.

The following week was a blur of activity.

My mother was out of town so I had her housekeeper move in to take care of the Perfect Gentleman. I visited everyday.

Posters were printed and put up and found ads were placed

And nothing. No one called. The silence was deafening.

It just didn't make sense.

Bubba was a sweet, loving dog who aside from being dirty, looked well cared for. He'd been fixed, had a leather collar and clean tag on - someone had to be looking for him!

My husband and I decided to go the Hollywood address on Bubba's tag. Maybe someone there would know Candace.

There was no answer at the apartment number on the tag but another apartment door was open and you could see a dog staring thru the screen door.

It was there we would find the answers to so many questions.

It turned out that the girl who lived there was Candace's friend and the dog at her side was Bubba's brother, Ernest.

Candace, she told us, had just been hired as Olivia Newton-John's live-in nanny and had to give Bubba up. She had given him to a former coworker and most likely, said the girl, had no idea he was lost.

Telling us that Candace adored Bubba, she took our number and promised to have her call us.

As soon as we got to the car, I burst into tears.

"What's wrong?", asked the husband.
"Aren't you happy we found Bubba's owner?"

Incoherent sobbing

"Gigi, what's wrong?"

"I love Bubba"

The husband didn't understand. Neither did I. We drove back in silence.

Candace would later call. It was clear that this young girl loved Bubba very much and had been forced to make a very difficult decision. Her job wouldn't allow her to have a dog so she had given Bubba to someone she thought would love him as much as she did.

She was wrong.

The man, she later found out, had tied Bubba up in a garage near Burbank. He apparently was able to chew away the rope that held him and ran away...searching, I am sure, for Candace.

Candace came to visit Bubba and it was clear that their adoration was mutual.

Bubba was a year and half old, she said, and she had him since he was a puppy. They had been inseparable.

She couldn't take him with her but promised to find him a new home soon. It would be the last time we saw her.

Over the next week we spoke several times. Candace couldn't find anyone to take Bubba and was going to give him back to the same person who had tied him up. She didn't want to but she felt she had no choice.

And then she asked....

Is there any way you could keep him?
He seems so happy there.

No, no, no!
Yes, yes, yes!

In seconds all the reasons for saying no flashed thru my mind...important reasons like:

My husband will divorce me
I already have two dogs
My husband will divorce me
I promised him I wouldn't keep him
My husband will divorce me

I could only promise Candace that I would find Bubba a happy and loving home where he would be well-cared for.

Yeah, right.

After giving me all of his medical history, etc...we said good-bye.

She cried and promised to call but never did. I have a feeling it was just too painful for her and I don't doubt for a moment that she loved him very much.

I never searched for that loving home. I didn't have to.

By that time, everyone here loved Bubba, including the husband.

And the husband, who lived to please his bride, didn't hesitate in making Bubba part of our new family.

I was happier than I had ever been.

That was 1992 and almost fourteen years later, the Perfect Gentleman and I are still together.


The Burrito Incident
October 2005

It was a beautiful burrito, it really was.

A handmade flour tortilla stuffed to the bursting point with fresh "carnitas" (pork) and rice. No hot peppers, no spices, no onions....made especially for me, it was just the way I liked it so I gave it to my best friend, Bubba.

Share and share alike, I mean, that's what friends are for, right?

It almost killed him.

It almost killed me to think it almost killed him.

Death by burrito -- it's not a pretty picture.

Bubba, like all the dogs I have had, has always eaten doggy food as his main diet with human food as an occasional treat. It has never upset his tummy before. Before the "burrito incident", that is.

Clang, clang, clang

The sound of Bubba's tags hitting the side of his bowl made me feel good. There I sat, happily thinking I had made his day by surprising him with the burrito.

The burrito all gobbled up, the clanging stopped and Bubba walked towards me, licking his lips.

Choke, cough, gag

Fifteen feet from the burrito bowl to me and he was choking -- really choking.

His entire body heaving and making the worst choking sounds you can imagine, Bubba then began to foam at the mouth. So much foam and bubbles, it looked like he had swallowed laundry detergent.

Choke, cough, gag

More heaving, more bubbles. What do I do?


Up came the burrito -- in it's entirety -- looking exactly the same as it had before he'd eaten it.

Oh, Bubba-Dog!
I'm so sorry!

It's ok, Mom.
Did you see those cool bubbles I was blowing?
Can I have another burrito?
I sort of lost the first one you gave me.

All was well Bubba's world at least.

I, in turn, was a mess. I had almost killed him....with a burrito!

Little did I know that the "burrito incident" was the formal announcement of Mega-E's arrival
and that life as we knew it would never be the same.


 The Journey Begins
November, 2005

After the "burrito incident" there was the "salmon and rice incident" followed by several
"just-plain-old-senior-dog-food incidents".

In other words, almost everything that was going down was coming right back up.

There were also the "hairball incidents" where it looked and sounded like Bubba wanted to spit something up -- I thought it was a hairball -- but nothing would come out.

When the vomiting started I thought my poor old boy had acid reflux so off we went to see
Dr. Long at Roxford Veterinary....and it seems we haven't left her office since.

Test after test, everything came back normal but Bubba was still throwing up. Not everyday but
enough that we were worried.

And now, in addition to the food, there was phlegm. Thicker than anything I had ever seen, it was painful just to look at.

And that's when I heard the "M" word for the first time.


"Congenital idiopathic megaesophagus is a generalized dilation
and hypomotility of the esophagus causing regurgitation..."

Idiopathic? Hypomotility? Mega-what?

The burrito/hairball/acid reflux theory was so much easier for me to understand.

After having Dr. Long explain it to me -- over and over -- I finally understood.

Megaesophagus basically means -- and this is my definition here -- that the esophagus has lost
it's shape; it's firmness. Food no longer shoots straight down to the gets "caught" in
a now-flacid esophagus and then regurgitated right back up.

It was a lot to digest -- no pun intended.

Dr. Long recommended a contrast study and the Bubster was "fed" syringe after syringe of
barium (looks like and probably tastes like liquid chalk). He took it like a trooper.

The test results looked good...the majority of the barium had passed to his stomach and
only a little remained in his esophagus.

But Dr. Long still recommended we consult an expert, an internist, so she helped me schedule an appointment for the following week at a specialty center in Pasadena.

That night I felt hopeful...I mean if he had this awful-sounding disease he would have surely
thrown up all the chalk -- barium -- but he didn't. Not a drop.

Maybe it wasn't Mega-E after all.

Diagnosis: Death
December 2005

It is Mega-E.

It isn't Mega-E.

The more I read on the subject, the less I seemed to know. Or didn't want to know.

Meanwhile, Bubba kept throwing up. Sometimes it was dinner, other times just phlegm.

Being quite the documentarian, in preparation for our appointment with the specialist, I took pictures to show the doctor.

Yes, of the vomit.

I had never seen anything like it and couldn't do it justice with words alone.

The first appointment wasn't encouraging...and would only get more discouraging.

After listening to Bubba's story and seeing the pictures (she said it was a good idea, so no
laughing at me!) the doctor felt pretty strongly that it was indeed Mega-E but would need to perform an endoscopy to know for sure.

It wasn't an easy decision to make -- the endoscopy. Bubba hadn't being under anesthesia since
he was a child -- ok, puppy -- and at 14 it was risky but if we didn't know what he had how could
we treat it?

Something had to be done.

The procedure went well but the diagnosis didn't.

"He definitely has megaesophagus."

"What can we do? How do we treat it?"

"There is no cure.
The prognosis isn't good."

And that was it.

Basically, the conversation ended there but I kept hearing those words in my head:

"The prognosis isn't good."
"The prognosis isn't good."
"The prognosis isn't good."

We made a follow-up appointment and left....heartbroken and empty-handed.

No medicine.

No cure-all.

No hope.

And by far, having no hope, was the worst thing of all.

"He Knows"
December, 2005

Bubba didn't let on that day but he knew. He too had heard the doctor's words, felt the vibe, sensed the despair.

"The prognosis isn't good."

The endoscopy had confirmed our worst fears and from that moment on, everything went from bad to worse.

Bubba began throwing up continuosly. Everything he ate came right back up. He couldn't even drink water.

"The prognosis isn't good."

After Pinche died, Bubba lost a lot of weight but now the pounds were dropping off. From 56 pounds he plunged to 50. You could see his ribs.

"The prognosis isn't good."

Meanwhile, in between cleaning-up and re-feeding poor Bubba, I researched at a fast and furious pace - reading anything and everything I could find about Mega-E.

That was when I found out that there was hope.

And that's all Bubba and I needed...hope.

Hope Arrives in a Box
December 2005

There it was!

On Yahoo, there was an entire group devoted to the subject of Mega-E!

Post after post, from people going thru the same exact thing with their dogs. All the questions, fears, doubts I had, there they were, in black and white.

It was on the that site that I first heard of the "Bailey Chair" - created by Donna and Joe Koch for their boy Bailey who had been diagnosed with Mega-E when he was just a puppy.


Bailey in his chair

Bailey, I read, was now seven years old. Seven!!!

The chair the Koch's designed helped Bailey sit upright after every meal (in Bailey's case he actually eats in it - more on that later). Gravity could then do its thing and instead of the food sitting in his esophagus, it flows straight down.

I had already started sitting Bubba up in my arms after every meal - something the vet never told me to do -- but it was hard keeping him upright.

The Koch's creation, I kept reading, had helped hundreds of dogs.

And there they were, picture after picture of dogs from all over sitting in their version of the "Bailey Chair".

I cried when I realized I wasn't alone!

We weren't alone!

Bubba in the Box
December 2005

Thru the Yahoo site I learned that the Koch's offered a free DVD with directions on how to build the "Bailey Chair" so I immediately wrote them.

But with Bubba getting worse, I worried that they might live in another state and it would take days for the DVD to arrive so armed with the pictures from the site, I asked Dan to build Bubba his own "box".

It was perfect!

Well, at least I thought so...although Bubba didn't seem too thrilled with the contraption.

At first, just getting him in it was an ordeal but being the perfect gentleman that he is, he took it like a man. Not a happy man, but there he sat, for twenty minutes at a time, as his breakfast, lunch and dinner gurgled their way to his tummy.

We also built a feeding stand so that as he ate, gravity could help the food go down.

Bubba's meals were now pureed in the blender - mixed with water into a "slurry" like mix.

The effects were almost immediate! For the most part, the vomitting stopped and I felt hopeful that while not cured the Mega-E was, at least, under control.

I was wrong.

 'Tis the Season
December 2005

"Twas the night before Christmas and all thru the house,
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The holidays were difficult - and that's putting it nicely.

While the Bubster adapted nicely to his new feeding guidelines, he was still losing weight...and throwing up.

'Tis the season....for spit-ups and cleanups
fa la la la la,la la la la.

The cleanups were so frequent I decided to just leave the steam cleaner in the living room.

Bubba and I spent Christmas Day by ourselves and while for the Bubster it was just another day,
I was very, very sad.

The thought that this was probably his last Christmas had me in tears...I couldn't get that out
of my head.

And, as if that wasn't enough, personal problems were beginning to simmer in my life.

It was Christmas Day that I realized I was truly alone in this and the feeling was overwhelming.

I needed help.

I needed a hug.


An Angel in Disguise
December 2005

Towards the end of the year, it was more than clear that I needed help...serious help.

Since Bubba was eating smaller portions, he now had to be fed more often. Plus, he
needed to sit-up for 20 minutes after every meal.

I realized I needed someone to help me with at least one or two feedings in the
evening, while I was at work.

And that's how Bubba and I first met Sarah.

A friend at work, Kathy, had mentioned her name months earlier....telling me one day
that Sarah, who had worked at her vet's office, had now started her own dog-sitting

Sarah was walking Kathy's dogs and Kathy was thrilled she had found someone she
could trust and had veterinary experience...just in case.

I asked Kathy for Sarah's number and after ironing out the details, it was a done deal!
Sarah would come in once a day to walk and feed Bubba, and then sit with him for the
twenty minutes in the box.

Sarah, I would soon learn, is a gentle soul who loves animals and Bubba immediately fell
in love with her.

Bubba had a new friend...and I couldn't have been happier.


Adiós 2005
New Year's Eve

The last few months had been so rough that I was anxious to say goodbye to '05.

After all, 2006 would be the "Year of the Dog" - that surely would mean loyalty,
steadfastness and all that was good, wouldn't it?


In Los Angeles, 2005 was ushered out with a major rainstorm so New Year's Eve
was spent at home. A ham was cooked, potatoes were mashed and the fireplace was lit.

And that's when it happened.

It shouldn't have, I know.

He shouldn't have, he knew.

I shouldn't have, I admit.

But it did, he did and I did.

Bubba stole a piece of entire slice right of my plate.

By the time I heard the familiar clink, clink of his tags on my good china, it was too late.

And that's when I did what I shouldn't have done but did anyway.

I gave him more ham.

I was sad and mad at this Mega-E monster...this damn disease had stolen one of the biggest pleasures a dog can have...eating normally.

How dare you come into our lives and turn it upside down?

How dare you hurt my Bubba-Dog? A dog who's never hurt anyone in his entire life!!

How dare you rob the best dog in the world of his good health in the last years of his life?

How dare you! How dare you! How dare you!

An hour later, Bubba threw up the ham.

It was the price we paid for a brief moment of normalcy.

That is how 2005 ended - with a spit-up and a clean-up.

And a prayer that 2006 would be better.

January 2006

January of 2006 would prove itself to be one of the worst months of my life.

For 31 days straight, my faith would be tested; my heart would be broken and I would
face some of the most painful decisions ever -- in other words, it was hell.

Bubba would be sicker than ever and the personal problems that were simmering last month,
well in January they would come to a boil.

I wanted the world to stop spinning so I could get off for a moment and catch my
breath, but no, it wouldn't stop.

Bills had to be paid, work had to be done, fights had to be fought.

And all awhile the Bubster was getting worse.

January 2006

The Mega-E monster had been unleashed and would rear it's ugly head all month,
showing us that it was here to stay and there would be hell to pay.

Bubba would visit doctor's offices a total of nine times this can imagine
the toll that took; physically, emotionally and financially. On all levels, it was a big

The strangest thing I have found with this doggy disease is that health wise, things
can change from one moment to another -- radically. At least in Bubba's case it

One of the dangers with Mega-E is aspiration pneumonia -- when dogs regurgitate,
liquid or food can be aspirated into the lungs and cause an infection.

Symptoms can include listlessness, loss of appetite and coughing.

The night of January 6th, Bubba went to sleep his happy, normal-as-can-be-considering-
the-circumstances self....but when he woke up the next morning he was another dog -- listless,
he wouldn't eat and it seemed that overnight he had aged many a dog year.

Donna Koch, Bailey's mom, had told me that it was important to catch AP early -- her
constant attention to Bailey is the reason he's been able to live so well with Mega-E
for almost eight years now -- and that the key would be noticing any changes in Bubba.

Well, this certainly was a change so off to the vet we went immediately.

Lung x-rays confirmed that there was something developing in his lungs but it was still
small -- on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, Dr. Long calculated it at a 1 or 2.

Bubba was immediately put on antibiotics -- Clavamox and Baytril.

It would be our first scare of the month but not the last.

Holistic Help
January 2006

Years ago, I did a TV story on alternative medicine for pets and that's when I first heard
of the Limehouse Veterinary Clinic in Toluca Lake.

With TV cameras rolling, I spent several hours there and was impressed at how happy dogs
seemed to be there. There was no being dragged in, tail tucked in between their legs --
the four-footed clients all arrived tails-a-wagging, a site not often seen at the vets.

I thought then that if I ever had a sick doggy I would bring them here and a decade later,
I was on my way to Limehouse -- no cameras this time, just the Bubster and me.

For our first appointment, we made a great impression by arriving 40 minutes late.
The seven-mile trip there was a nightmare...and instead of the 10 minutes it should
have taken us, it took us four times as long because Bubster was sick.

"I think I'm going to be car sick, Mom"

"Bubster, you've never gotten sick in the car before."

Gag, cough, foam

Exit freeway right

"I'm better now, Mom. False Alarm."

"Are you sure, son?"

"Yes, Mom"

 Enter freeway left



Gag, cough, foam

Exit freeway right

I had stopped in front of a church with a large lawn in front of it (we could have used some
divine intervention at that point) and on that lawn we sat for half an hour while Bubba heaved,
gagged and foamed at the mouth.

It wasn't a pretty sight.

It was then I noticed an electric company worker sitting in a nearby van -- the man was
just staring at us.

With Bubba blowing bubbles and foaming at the mouth, I knew the guy was thinking Bubba
had rabies or something awful like that.

When the guy grabbed his cell phone to make a call, I imagined him calling Animal Services
or some other Bubba continued to heave my imagination ran wild with pictures of
uniformed agents hauling him away as I screamed "It's not rabies, it's Mega-E!"

What can I say, at that point I was beyond exhausted.

Bubba finally threw up on the church lawn and we started to leave but -- and there's always
a "but" isn't there? -- when Bubba got in the car I noticed that he had had diarrhea all the
way down the sidewalk.

"Sorry, Mom"

"It's ok, Bubba."

As the utility guy continued to stare, I cleaned the sidewalk with paper towels and the
409 I had brought with me, just in case.

The mess cleaned up, I got back into the car only to find that Bubba had thrown up inside.

That's when I started to cry.

Sticking it to Bubba
January 2006

Tears dried, vomit cleaned and poo put away, we were finally on our way to Limehouse.

Now, I never met a needle that I liked and I never saw Bubba meet a needle he liked
so I was anxious to see how the doggy acupuncture session would go.

Bubba was just anxious, period.

Everyone at Limehouse was extremely nice and understanding about us being so late...and within
moments Bubba had relaxed.

After an initial checkup and discussion about his Mega-E, Dr. Priscilla Taylor-Limehouse
brought out the needles and one by one inserted them in Bubba.

Dr. Priscilla Taylor-Limehouse and Javier

He didn't even blink....there he lay, as relaxed and happy as could be, with about a dozen
needles sticking out of his body. It was amazing.

 And then, to further show me how hip he was to this whole holistic thing, Bubba did what he
does best -- he took a nap, needles and all.


We left our first session feeling much better than when we arrived....armed with little
bottles filled with liquids, powders and pellets....things called Pulsatilla, Slippery Elm
and Mu Xiang Shun Qi Wan Saussurea.

Little bottles that held a lot of hope.



"But there never seems to be enough time to do the
Things you want once you find them
I've looked around enough to know that
You're the one I want to go through time with"

Jim Croce
Time in a Bottle

 "Mom, what's time?"

"What do you mean, Bubster?"

"You're always saying it's 'time for you to go to bed',
'it's time for you to eat', 'it's time for me to go to work',
'it's time for this or time for that'."

"It's an indicator, son, of when things have to be done"

"But what is it?"

"Time is something we never have enough of, son.
Although sometimes, it can seem like we have way too much of it.
When we're happy, it flies.
When we're sad, it stops.
When we really need it, it's not there.
It's something you can't save, only spend.
It's what I desperately wish I had more of with you,
but know that I don't have enough of."

"Why are you crying, Mom?"

"Because son, just because."

Heartbreak, Heartache
January 21st thru January 26th, 2006

The final weeks of January were by far the hardest since Bubba had been diagnosed
with Mega-E.

In a ten day period, we would visit the vet six times. It seemed that we would take
two steps forward only to be knocked four steps back.

Fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bacteria, dehydration, regurgitation -- he had one
after another -- and when one malady was cured, another would develop in its place.

Bubba was deteriorating right in front of my eyes and my heart was breaking.

As I fought to save Bubba-Dog, I was also fighting to save a longtime personal
relationship, but try as hard as I could, I couldn't.

To realize that the person we loved, trusted and needed, now more than ever, was no
longer there for us was devastating.

They say that when it rains, it pours and in my house a storm of tears were being cried.
Seemingly overnight, I was losing everyone that mattered to me. I had never felt so

Bubba felt the loss too...first it was his best friend Pinche, now his best buddy wasn't
coming to visit him anymore.

That week Bubba's weight plunged even further....from the already low 50 pounds
he weighed, he dropped down to 44.

He was eating but not enough...and most of the little that he did eat would later come up.

Even though he was sitting up in his box for 20 minutes after every meal, he gagged
continuously. His esophagus gurgling away, the choking episodes became more and more

I began holding him up in my arms for an hour or two after every meal. Like a baby,
Bubba would sleep nestled against my I would quietly cry.

My already broken heart ached.

I was losing Bubba too.

And there didn't seem to be anything I could do to save him.

A Turn for the Worse
January 27, 2006

By now, Bubba was so sick and on so many different medications that he could no longer
be left alone so Sarah began taking care of him full-time while I was at work.

It was an enormous relief to know that he wasn't I could call and check in
on him.

On Friday the 27th, things would take a turn for the worse.

After being up all night with Bubba, we had our second appointment at Limehouse.

Again we were late.

Again, on the way there Bubba got horribly sick in the car. He was gagging and
foaming at the mouth and then had diarrhea, in the back seat.

By the time we got to Limehouse, both of us were a wreck.

When Dr. Priscilla asked "How's Bubba?" I burst into tears...the only words coming
out of my mouth were "he's dying".

The Dr. hugged me..I was embarrassed, tired, and scared to death that I was losing Bubba.

Add my overall sadness to the mix, my stress level was at the breaking point and it showed.

As we waited in our assigned room for the Dr., Bubba began to get worse. He was
breathing heavily, heaving, shuddering, gagging and foaming at the mouth.

As I held him on the floor I called out to anyone who could hear me.....when the person
who came saw Bubba she immediately went to get the doctors.

From one moment to another, both Dr.'s Limehouse, another specialist and an assistant were
working on Bubba as I held his head and tried to calm him.

Everyone was working a different angle and at one point he got so bad I could hear a prayer
being whispered...silently, I too began to pray.

I thought Bubba was going to die, right then and there.

After fifteen minutes of this -- and let me tell you when someone is in distress like that,
fifteen minutes is an eternity -- Bubba managed to throw up a huge puddle of the thickest
phlegm you can imagine.

We were all drained and I immediately broke down and started crying (yes, I know,
in every other paragraph I am crying).

I was so upset, the specialist hurried and brought me some "Rescue Remedy" to help me
calm down.

Later, Dr. Priscilla would come back and sit on the floor with Bubba and me...holding
my hand and patting Bubba...making sure we were both all right.

I can never thank them enough for the caring and kindness they showed us that day.

After telling me that Bubba's "attack" was one of the worst they had ever seen, the Dr.'s
wanted me to take Bubba to my regular vet for a series of x-rays.

So after spending the morning at Limehouse, we proceeded to spend the afternoon with
Dr. Long for chest x-rays, fluids and antibiotics.

Again, the x-rays showed a little congestion in the lungs. The worst though was that he
only weighed 44 pounds.

Later that night, the same exact scene described above would play out in the living room
of my home.

Except...this time, as Bubba once again struggled to bring the mucous up, there were no
doctors to guide us, no one to hold my hand, say a prayer or offer up a hug afterwards.

It was just the Bubster and me...alone.

Sleepless in SoCal
January 28, 2006

If you think that it would help, I could stay with you tomorrow night and alternate
shifts with you, but at some point you have to get some sleep, Gigi.
You can't be in the public eye and look like you haven't slept!
Email from Donna, Bailey's Mom

When Bubba doesn't feel well he paces.

And when Bubba paces, I pace right behind him.

We have been pacing now for two straight nights.

Sleep comes only in short naps, and the toll it's taking on both the Bubster and me is
more than evident.

He is exhausted - the gagging episodes followed either by throwing-up or spitting-up
(regurgitation) going on thru the night and into the day.

The house is covered in newspapers, towels and sheets. The steam cleaner stands next to the
wet-and-dry vacuum in the living room...there is no point in putting either away.

I am touched by Donna's email -- a random act of kindness from a total stranger. But she is
no stranger to Mega-E and the hardship it brings.

Bubba continues to vomit -- each attack more violent than the other. The phlegm he brings
up is so thick even the vacuum struggles to suck it up.

The doctor had sent home some shots of Reglan, in addition to the Prilosec and Carafate.

I am alone so I have to give Bubba the injections myself -- an easy task for most I am sure,
but for me, a wimp when it comes to needles, it takes all the strength and concentration I can muster to puncture his delicate skin.

The first time I try, I end up squirting all the Reglan onto his coat. The needle never even
touched his skin.

Normally I would laugh at my ineptness but not I can only think of one thing: the
quality of Bubba's life.

He is suffering and I cannot allow that to continue.

A decision has to be made.

January 28, 2006

The vomiting and diarrhea continue.

Bubba manages to eat one can (divided into small servings) but it is not enough.

I know that the medicine takes time to take effect but patience is not one of my virtues.
I am at my wit's end.

Donna has been calling thru-out the day to check on Bubba and at 9:00 p.m., upon hearing
that he's not getting any better, she offers to come over and bring some Robitussin in
hopes that it will help dissolve the mucous.

She arrives at 10 p.m., her arms loaded with grocery bags.

In addition to the Robitussin, she has brought chicken breasts and bouillon to make broth
for ice cubes (Bubba, like many other Mega-E dogs, has problems swallowing water - for
some reason ice cubes go down easier and help keep them hydrated) and knowing that I
haven't eaten either, she has brought fresh vegetables so I can make soup.

I want to tell her what I am thinking about but I cannot bear to say the words aloud.

Later that night, Bubba would have the worst attack yet.

By that time, Donna had already left...before though, she had written out a list of
the closest emergency rooms....just in case.

The attack started just before Midnight and would last an excruciating 35 minutes,
the longest ever.

As he paced back and forth, his entire body heaved; his chest pounded so hard I thought
his heart was going to burst out; and he foamed at the mouth all awhile making this raspy,
gagging sound.

I tried sitting him up; patting his chest, his back...anything and everything I could think of.

Nothing worked.

I called one of the emergency rooms on the list Donna had left and explained that I had
a dog with Mega-E and that he was very sick - I think I actually said "dying". They said
they would call in a specialist who would be there by the time I arrived.

As I rushed to get my purse and keys, I realized I couldn't hear Bubba (his gagging
had been pretty loud and continuous).

Now, the silence was deafening.

Oh, please God, please, please, please.
No, no, no.
Please don't let him have.....

I ran outside - he wasn't there. Searched each side of the house, not there. The bedroom,
bathrooms -- the house isn't big but it seemed to take forever.

Please God.
Please God.
Please God.

I finally found him...standing in the middle of the kitchen next to the biggest puddle of
phlegm and foam you can imagine.

Thank you God!

Bubba seemed almost paralyzed -- he just stood there staring at the floor. I
picked him up and took him to the sofa where he immediately fell asleep...the poor
pup was drained.

I called the emergency room and told them that he had finally been able to vomit and
that I wouldn't be coming least not now. They were very understanding.

And then I went to sit with Bubba -- to watch over him as he slept.

The decision was making itself and I was devastated.

January 29, 2006

Bubba is not getting better, he is getting worse.

In my heart, I know what I have to do but I can't bear to make the decision yet.

But I know a decision has to be made.

So I make one...I decide that if by next Friday Bubba is not considerably better,
then I will make the other decision, the final one.

Five more days to pray; five more days to hope; five more days to find a miracle.

January 29, 2006

Donna calls -- she has spent the morning talking with Dr. Kathy, a veterinarian in
Michigan who consults on the Mega-E board.

After hearing about Bubba, Dr. Kathy recommends I immediately start him on nebulizer
treatments, using both Albuterol and Saline.

At that point, exhausted and desperate, I am willing to try anything...but where do I get
a nebulizer?

What is a nebulizer anyway?

Donna tells me she will borrow one from a family member and bring it over.

Once again, she arrives loaded with bags...more food, the nebulizer, saline, Albuterol.
So much for a dog she'd only met once.

As Donna explains how to use the nebulizer, Bubba begins having one of his attacks...
he's gagging and foaming at the mouth.

I look at Donna and my eyes say what my mouth can't.

I manage to mutter something like "If this continues, if he keeps suffering this way..."
I can't finish the sentence.

"Try the nebulizer", she says. "If nothing else works, then you can start to think about
the quality of life issue. Not now."

As I try calming Bubba down, my back begins to spasm.

It had started that weekend because, I think, I had been picking Bubba up so much.
-- either to put him in his chair or to try and help bring the phlegm down.

So there I am laying on the living room floor -- my back twitching away, the pain pretty
bad. Next to me, the Bubster foaming and coughing away.

Poor Donna! There she is, basically a total stranger, trying to calm Bubba down as she
helped me stretch my back so the spasms would stop.

I told you, when it rains at my house, it pours.


 January 29, 2006

I began the nebulizer treatments right away.

First, a vial of Albuterol for ten minutes, then saline for another ten.

It wasn't easy...but miracles usually aren't.

And yes, the nebulizer turned out to be the miracle I had been praying for...Dr. Kathy
Morris and Donna Koch the angels who delivered it.

The change in Bubba was immediate. No more gagging, no more hacking; foaming;
no more phlegm.

It was like the attacks had never happened.

It was like he didn't even have Mega-E.


Recovery Mode
January 30th

For the first time in days, Bubba and I slept thru the entire night. What a luxury!

The weekend had been a nightmare and I couldn't believe we had made it thru.

Bubba continued to show signs of improvement....but the mucousy diarrhea continued
and he was put back on Diawin, as well as having additional fluids administered

The weight loss issue was a big 44 pounds, Bubba was emaciated.

Among everything else Donna had brought over on the weekend, there were a few cans
of California Natural -- the dog food her Bailey eats. She had recommended I try
it because it has a high calorie count and could help Bubba put some weight on.

California Natural

He loved the food and at 520 calories per 13.2 oz. can it was just what he needed.

A Big Blur
February 2006

February's 28 days came and went in one big blur.

As many Mega-E "parents" will tell you, the learning curve with this disease is very
steep. There are a few basic rules but basically you have to find out what works well
for your furry friend.

There are a million and one things to figure out:

What consistency is the right consistency for their food?
Meatballs or Maltshakes?
How much do I feed at one time?
15 minutes in the chair or 20?

So this month was basically spent "experimenting" -- trying to find what would be just
right for the beautiful Bubster.

Meanwhile, he continued on the nebulizer treatments -- Albuterol and Saline, at least once
a day.

He would only make five trips to the vets this month -- and I say "only" because three
visits were for his acupuncture treatments.

Since starting his new diet and the treatments, he has gained an average of one pound
per week which is great.

March Madness
March 2006
The Year of the Dog is not looking like it's going to be a good least not for
me, it isn't.

The third month of the year finds us learning that Mega-E is one heck of a roller
coaster ride.

While I know I can't "cure" it, I had hoped to at least "control" it.

That wasn't happening.

Meanwhile, Spring showers rained on my personal parade as well and March saw me
hoping against hope that relationships could be saved.

But if there's something that both Pinche and Bubba's journeys have taught me, it's that
it always takes tango, to fight, to love.

Pinche was my partner in his fight to live. Now Bubba has joined his paws with my hands
in this new journey.

But it seemed that in matters of the heart, no matter how much I loved or forgave; no
matter how much I tried, I was alone.

And one cannot fix what belongs to two.

It was a hard lesson.

It was an even harder month.

Happy Birthday Bubba!
March 3rd, 2006

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Bubba-Dog
Happy Birthday to you!!!

Today the Beautiful Bubba-Dog turned 15 years old!

The crowd goes wild!

15 years of health and happiness -- of loving and being loved; a life well lived.

We should all be so lucky!

What Happened?
April 17th, 2006
1:00 a.m.

"What happened?
We were just talking and you said he was fine."
Conversation with a friend

Life as I knew it was about to change.


For the worse.

Bubba was much better -- the last week had been really bad but there's no sense
in writing about that now -- and I felt hopeful that things were once again returning
to normal.

Easter was a quiet day for the Bubster and I. Donna brought over a home cooked dinner
for me and all was calm.

Until 12:45 a.m. when Bubba began having an "attack" -- the gagging, heaving and foaming
that invariably leads to vomiting.

Last week had seen those attacks increase and everyone had been very worried.

Constant vomiting of both phlegm and bile aren't usually symptoms of Mega-E and I
was beginning to suspect something else was happening inside the beautiful Bubba's body.

But another round of Flagyl (antibiotic), coupled with new medications had seemed to be
working and the "attacks" had stopped.

Until tonight....

For ten minutes Bubba paced; his chest heaving, a raspy gagging sound came from his
throat as he once again tried to throw up.

I paced directly behind him.

That was when I noticed it.

Bubba seemed much "wider" than normal...he had suddenly "filled out" and looked much

Ironically, he actually looked much healthier -- similar to his heyday when he weighed
60 pounds.

But this wasn't normal...when I touched his abdomen, he jumped away but I had felt it...
and it was hard as a rock.

As he continued to gasp away, I thought for a moment that he had taken in too much air...
that maybe when he threw up, the air would be released and he would "deflate" back to

But at the same time, something that I read on the internet just a few months ago flashed
away in my mind. The article had been on "bloat" and "torsion" and how deadly these
things could be.

Seconds later, Bubba threw up two small piles of phlegm.

I ran to the internet and typed in the words "dog bloat" and as I scanned the listings
all I could read was:

Bloat is a life-threatening emergency
Dogs can die of bloat within several hours
Bloat is a stomach condition of dogs that is potentially fatal
Condition is rapidly fatal in dogs, causing shock, coma
Bloat is ALWAYS an emergency!

Oh my God!

How can so many things you had never even heard of four months ago now mean
life or death?

In minutes we were in the car heading to the emergency animal hospital. I had called
ahead so they were expecting us and took him straight in for x-rays.

At that point, ignorance was still bliss and I really had no idea of what was to come.

The first thing the doctor showed me was the x-ray -- explaining that Bubba's
stomach was four times the size it should be.

Then he told me that Bubba needed emergency surgery -- NOW -- or he would die within
the next few hours, or even sooner.

Surgery or I could put him down, right then and there.

Whatever decision I took, he said, I had to take it immediately.

Bubba's stomach was so distended, his other organs were being compressed and blood flow
was compromised.

Bubba could soon go into shock and/or cardiac arrest....and die.

His stomach needed to be decompressed (the air removed) but the doctor explained, the chances were that his stomach had flipped over; twisted itself around and that would mean surgery.

Very dangerous, invasive surgery.

How could this be happening?

Yes, I know he's old and sick but to go from wanting to vomit to dying in a matter of minutes
-- it was just too much.

The next few minutes were a blur. I knew I needed to consult this with someone so I called
Donna and woke her up.

By then, I was hysterical.

We quickly went over the options and she offered to come to the hospital.

After talking to Donna, I made one more call.

To someone who had once told me they would always be there for me.

For me...and for Bubba.

The response to my hysterical cries was brief..."I'll pray for Bubba", was all he said.

And that was it.

He would never call back again to see how I was or more importantly, how Bubba was.

It was a sobering dose of reality.

I told the doctor to go ahead with the decompression, and surgery, if needed. Again,
I was told that the chances were slim that he would make it thru the operation.

But there was a chance. How could I deny him that?

By then I was openly sobbing -- I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and so
overwhelmingly alone in that hospital.

I asked to see Bubba one more time before surgery. There he was, as perky as ever, ready
to dump that joint and go home.

Oh, how I wished I could take him back to the safety of his home sweet home!

"No matter what son, know that I love you.
I love you so very much, Bubba.
And I will always love you, boy.
Whispered words in a furry ear

I wasn't allowed to stay there and wait so I went home....and prayed....harder than I had ever prayed before, on my knees for hours.

Please God, let him make it thru the surgery.
Please, God.
He's never hurt anyone in his life.
On the contrary, he has only brought
joy and love to those around him.
Please God, just one more chance.

Unable to wait any longer, at 4:15 a.m. I called the hospital.

"He held his own" , said the doctor.

Bubba had made it! Thank you God!

The stomach had turned itself around and they had found a "hole" in the Omentum -
a sheet of fat attached to the bottom edge of the stomach - and apparently the
stomach had slipped thru that hole and twisted itself around.

The doctor also found a "mass" there which was removed for a biopsy. The Omentum
was repaired; the stomach placed in the correct position and sutured to his body so it
wouldn't flip again; and Bubba' belly was sewn up.

He had been given Morphine for pain and was now resting.

The beautiful Bubster had defied the odds and had made it thru the complicated surgery.

It was time to start praying for his recovery.

Oh, Bubba!
April 17th, 2006
2:00 p.m.

After calling the hospital all day for updates, I go there for the start of "visiting

From the waiting room, I am taken to a consultation room. My heart starts beating faster
and my mind races....why didn't they take me to see him? What happened? Did he......?

I pace.

I pray.

It turns out to be my first meeting with the dayside doctor who is caring for Bubba.

The news isn't good.

Bubba, they fear, has had a series of "embolic incidents" -- possibly mini-strokes

Doctors noticed "nystagmus" - (a rapid, involuntary, oscillatory motion of the eyeball)
and explained that it indicated a blood clot may have gone to his brain.

Nothing can be done to treat it but it was a "major red flag".

Now, we can only wait (and pray) to see how he does.

The next 6 hours would be spent with the beautiful Bubster.

Picture of Bubba in the hospital
taken with cell phone camera

As my baby boy enters in and out of one long nap, I talk to him; pray for him; caress his
head and cry.

Despite wanting to do anything and everything for this gentle soul, I can do more.

"Thank you for being my best friend,.
Thank you for always loving me, for never leaving.
For licking my tears when I cried,
for making me laugh when I was sad.
For never letting me feel alone.
Thank you Bubba-Dog.

Death Row
April 17th, 2006
4:00 p.m.

The sobbing coming from the run next door pierces my heart.

A married couple is saying good-bye to their baby, a beautiful fourteen year old
Great Pyrenees.

Their life too was changed from one moment to another.

Saturday, they tell me, he had been romping in the park.

Sunday he awoke paralyzed - his back legs can no longer move and he has no feeling in them.

There is nothing that can be done.

We are strangers, the couple and me, bonded together in the pain of loss.

I cry for them and with them.

They return the tears.

He's a beautiful boy, I say to them.

He's a beautiful boy, they say to me.

They are both beautiful boys...boys who, at 14 and 15 we are told, have outlived the odds.

Outlived the odds but not outlived our love.

So Much, So Little
April 18th, 2006
4:00 a.m.

There is so much I want to say; so much I want to tell you about the best boy you could
ever meet.

I want to write about unconditional love and loyalty; understanding; friendship; companionship:
about always being there; always being here.

All are things that could be defined with one word: Bubba.

But the updates I have been getting thru-out the night are not good.

Time, I fear, is running out.

How could it?

There are still so many things to do; so many words to write; so much love to live and give.

April 18th, 2006
11:30 a.m.

Baby boy, if you're ready to go then it's ok, son.
I love you and I don't want to let you go
but if you are ready son, then go.
Whispered softly into Bubba's ear today

Hope has not died but it is fading.

I have just spent the morning with the beautiful Bubster -- who made my day by greeting
me with kisses.

But that is the only good thing that happened.

I am returning now to sit by his beside and watch over his dreams.

It is all I can do.

Unless, by the grace of God, a miracle happens soon, then it will be time to say goodbye.

My heart is breaking.


Hanging on to Hope
April 18th, 2006

Reality, go away!
April 18th, 2006
1:00 p.m.

In my heart, hope resides very close to reality.

In between them, lies the "gray area" -- sometimes referred to as indecisiveness.

They are not immediate neighbors because, truth be told, they do not get all.

Reality can't stand the fact that Hope is clingy and holds on way too long sometimes.

Hope doesn't like Reality because it's not always as it seems.

Indecisiveness can't really make up it's mind as to who he likes and who he doesn't.

Am I speaking in circles?

Yes, because I am going in circles.

This morning Bubba-Dog was not very responsive. He was running a fever and had
made no effort to get up since the "embolic incidents" yesterday.

When I arrived, he lifted his head up to see me, gave me several kisses and
went right back to sleep.

Nothing I did could convince him to lick or eat the chicken broth ice cubes or the
fresh chicken broth I had brought him.


Reality was causing Hope to fade away right before my eyes...leaving me nothing
to hold on to...not even Indecisiveness.

A Vision
April 18th, 2006
1:30 p.m.

With hope in my hands, I can do anything; I can save the world.

Or at least I can try.

Take hope away and I am reduced to nothing.

That is how I felt this afternoon as I sobbed away to one friend after another.

All offered me words of comfort, good advice and support.

But Linda had an idea....she suggested I speak to a friend of hers, an animal
communicator or pet psychic.

While I am a believer, I just didn't think it was necessary in this case.

I mean, it's pretty clear: I have a 15 year old dog who not only has a horrible disease
called Mega-E that requires constant care but now he's just undergone major invasive
surgery after almost dying from bloat and to top it all off, doctor's think he may have
had a stroke!

I knew what the psychic was going to say: "Let him".

I was wrong.

Moments later, Cindy the animal communicator was calling me. Linda had briefly told
her about Bubba in hopes that she could offer me some guidance.

After confirming a few things, like Bubba's name, came a moment of silence...and
then her message.

"Don't do anything drastic.
Personally, I wouldn't give up on him, right now.
He's not in pain and he's very comfortable.
Most dogs, when they are ready to go,
tell me just that 'let me go'.
Bubba's not saying that."

Oh, Bubba!

That said, Cindy told me that it was important that I tell Bubba that if he does need
to go, it was all right.

From my 11:30 a.m. post (which wasn't up yet) you can see that I already done that.

I was surprised -- pleasantly so -- with this unexpected reading.

Surprised and confused.

April 18th, 2006
2:00 p.m.

Oh Bubba-Doggy, what do I do?
Is it time?
Are you ready?
Oh Bubba-Doggy, please tell me.

As I drive back to the hospital to spend the afternoon with Bubster, I try to
come up with a plan.

"If Bubba's not _______ better by _________ day, then I will __________."

The problem is I couldn't fill in the blanks.

Or I didn't want to.

If Bubba's notwhat? Much better? A little bit better? Significantly better?

By what day? Tomorrow? In two days? Three?

The last part -- that I could fill in but just didn't want to.

I was - am - so confused!

As I approached the run where Bubba was, he saw me right away and much to my
surprise --- he got up!

Oh yes, he was weak and floppy-legged but he made the effort and with a little
help from the tech and me, was able to get up.

Minutes later we were taking a slow stroll in the sunlight - very slow, but he was
walking -- I was so happy!

And for a second there, he looked happy too.

Picture of Bubba in the hospital
taken today with my cell phone camera

Then it was back to bed where he would nap away the next six hours.

I know that things are from from well in Bubba's World -- doctors have
offered me no hope.

The chest x-rays today showed the first signs of pneumonia and the recovery
from the surgery is only just beginning. He is, for the most part, listless and not
interested in eating at all.

Without a doubt, the next few days will be critical.

But today, if only for a few minutes, Hope managed to sneak back into the
picture, pushing Reality right out of the way.

Way to go Hope!

Way to go Bubba-Dog!

Lessons Learned
April 19th, 2006
6:30 a.m.

A decade or so ago I learned a very important that would change the way I did
things forever.

The details are long and unrelated to Bubba's Journey so I will skip them, but the
point is that years ago, when faced with a very important situation that was stressful
and complicated, I did not do my best to resolve it.

I half-heartedly tried, convincing myself I had done everything possible, but the truth
was I hadn't and the the opportunity was forever lost.

It is one of the biggest regrets of my life.

I will never know what would have happened if I had tried to the best of my ability and
exhausted all possibilities.

Maybe the outcome would have been the same but at least I could look back now and
know that I really tried.

Now I look back and wonder...what if?

Maybe that is why now I try so hard in everything I do...if I fail, I at least know that
I did my real best.

How does this relate to Bubba?

Well, yesterday I had that same feeling.

If Bubba is still alive and trying so hard to get better, then I must try harder to help him.

With guidance from doctors that are consulting us and friends, I will be making some important
changes in Bubba's care today.

What ever happens will happen...but at least I will know that I did everything possible for the
one I love so....Bubba-Dog.

After all, he deserves it.

Moving Day
April 19th, 2006
9:00 a.m.

I will eternally be grateful to the doctors who got Bubba thru a very complicated
and dangerous surgery.

They saved his life and I can never thank them enough for that but after spending
six hours sitting on the floor of a hospital cage with Bubba-Dog yesterday, I
realized that I needed to get him to a specialist.

We had reached the point where they could do no more for him at this hospital
and it was time to move.

So last night, in a series of very late telephone calls and emails, the details were
ironed out and the decision made: Bubba was moving.

Early this morning, with the gracious help of Linda, a friend with an SUV, we transported
Bubba to a specialty center -- the same center that helped treat Pinche.

The beautiful Bubba was looking much better today. Although still far from his
normal self, he was alert and held his head up high almost all the way there.

At ASG, Bubba was put thru a neurological evaluation and then we met with his
new doctor.

He had responded well to the test, she explained, although a strange gait was detected
when he walked -- an indication that a clot had affected the cerebellum part of his brain.
But his "mentation" (mental activity, thinking) was fine.

The Aspiration Pneumonia -- one of the biggest dangers that dogs with Mega-E face --
was a big concern and would be a priority.

As would getting him to eat again.

The doctors attitude was positive -- no promises made, they can't be when your boy
is 105 but I felt she would treat him as if he were living, not dying.

There is a big difference.

April 19th, 2006
1:00 p.m.

Reality is knocking and today I must return to work so the Bubster's second-favorite
blonde in the world, the gentle Sarah, goes to visit him.

In a phone call from the hospital Sarah happily reports that he is walking -- slightly
unsteady at times but walking -- and looks good, considering all he has been thru.

Fifteen minutes later, a second phone call arrives from Sarah...things have changed.

"He was fine but then suddenly...."

The cell phone connection is bad and that is all I hear. I tell her I'll call her back from
a hard-line.

Was she crying?
She sounded like she was crying, I think.
Oh, please God, no.

Seconds later, we are reconnected. Sarah wasn't crying but her voice had changed.

Bubba, she says, was walking around when suddenly he vomited.

There was blood in the vomit.

The visit ends there...Bubba is taken back to rest and to be hooked up to an IV
with fluids.

Sarah was sad, I could tell.

And so was I.

April 19th, 2006
3:30 p.m.

I go to work but my head and heart are somewhere else.

There is so much to think about; so much to worry about.

My heart is heavy and it aches because it is so sad. The last four months are starting
to take their toll.

But I must stay strong...if only for the Bubster.

I am all that he has.

And right now, he is all that I have.

April 19th, 2006
4:30 p.m.

"Your husband is here.
He's waiting to see Bubba.
Receptionist on the phone with me

I don't have a husband.

I had a husband a long time ago but I don't have one now.

I could certainly use a husband right now, but I don't have one.

I have a dog.

I have a bird.

But I don't have a husband.

It is Bubba's best buddy who waits to see him, for what most likely will be their final

I am glad they both have that chance.

And I pray that Bubba's beautiful brown eyes were able to communicate the love
I know he feels for his best friend.

Love and gratitude for the walks in the park; afternoons spent watching the green and gold
(or is it yellow?); talking shop; reading the paper; napping; baths (ok, maybe not the baths)
and all else that they did together.

Everything seems so final lately.

April 19th, 2006
4:35 p.m.

An update from the doctor tells me Bubba is resting.

Another set of x-rays show that the pneumonia is just starting and while having it is
never good, catching it quickly is.

Sarah had left containers with Bubba's blended California Natural for him to eat
but the doctor says he didn't want to.

Not surprising but disappointing.

As for the blood in the vomit, the doctor says it is common after stomach surgery.

I will talk to her again tomorrow morning.

April 19th, 2006
11:55 p.m.
Tonight's assignment has me near the specialty center so I decide to stop there before
going home.

I am hopeful to sneak a peek at my boy but other dogs in distress have the emergency
room busy and they cannot allow me to see him.

I understand -- three nights ago it was Bubba in an emergency room.

Was it only three nights ago that I had to make that life or death decision?

Three nights since I thought my heart would burst right out of my chest?

"Sleep well, Bubster", I whisper as I walk out. "I love you."

I am so close....and yet so far.

April 20th, 2006
4:00 a.m.

I admit it, I am scared.

Scared of the obvious; scared of the not-so-obvious. Scared of everything.

But there is one thing that has managed to scare me to the point where I start

The telephone.

Yesterday it rang at 7:00 a.m., waking me from a dead sleep that had begun
only two hours before.


The caller id said it was from the hospital Bubba was in.


My heart starts racing, pounding furiously.


Do I answer? It can't be good news.


I think I am about to hyper-ventilate.


Bubba is ok, says his doctor. He is only calling to give me an update on how he did overnight.
I am thankful but shaken.

This scene repeats itself over and over, everytime the phone rings.

Like just now.

It is 4 a.m.

It is a wrong number.

I am shaking.

April 20th, 2006
8:30 a.m

A morning update from the doctor tells me that Bubba continues to show small signs of
improvement but she is concerned because he won't eat.

She'd like to send him home but at the same time worries he will get weaker and

So later today, Sarah and I will try feeding him in the hospital.

I hope the sight of his favorite blondes will make him happy enough to want to eat.

Trouble in Traffic
April 20th, 2006
10:00 a.m.

A quick errand has me talking to a trucker.

The trucker's not listening but I am talking anyway.

You see, my mind everywhere and anywhere except where it should be has placed me
and my car directly in front of a truck trying to make a turn; a truck that has the
right of way.

The trucker throws up his hands in disgust at me.

So I use hand signals too...trying to tell him that I'm sorry.

My apology is clearly not accepted and he continues to look angry as the light
changes - stopping both of us from going anywhere.

I'm sorry, Mr. Trucker.
You see, it's been a rough week.
My Bubster is dying.
I haven't really slept in days...
and if you give me five more minutes, I can tell you
what else is happening in my life and maybe
you'll understand that I feel like the
weight of the world is on my shoulders

The light changes.

The trucker drives away.

I guess he didn't have time to listen to the rest of my story.

 One Lick at a Time
April 20th, 2006
1:30 p.m

More trouble in traffic on the way to see Bubba-Dog - I narrowily miss being part of
an accident on the freeway - leaves me seriously shaken.

But the sight of the Bubster talking to Sarah (yes, they talk and all the time) calms me down.

Between Sarah and I, we have managed to transport his entire "dining room" to the
specialty center -- the thought being that his own bowl, food stand, towels, box, etc...
will allow him to relax enough to want to eat.

It does.

But the process is slow....and it has to be done Bubba's way.

His elevated food stand has two compartments -- one for a bowl of water, the other for food.
I put his food bowl in the right compartment -- at home it's usually on the left side.

Bubba stares into the bowl; sniffs it and them procedes to put his head into the empty
compartment on the left side.

He repeats this several times until it occurs to us that he may want the bowl on the
other side.

He does. And when we put it there, he slowly begins to slow lick at a time.

Sarah begins to cry as I silently thank God.

It is a sight we did not think we would ever see again.

It is a sign of life.

April 20th, 2006
7:30 p.m.
An earlier update tells me that Bubba threw up a few hours after we left. It is
disappointing to hear but not surprising.

In the evening, he does eat again -- half a cup -- and that is good.

If all is well in Bubba's world tomorrow he may be able to come home.

Now wouldn't that be a miracle?

April 20th, 2006

"Earlier tonight Bubba tore out his IV.
Now that's a sign that he's getting better...and stronger."
A late night update from doctors

Bubba comes Home
April 21st, 2006
6:00 p.m.
Bubba is home!

They are words I thought I may not have the chance to write, so let me write them
again -- over and over.

Bubba is home!
Bubba is home!
Bubba is home!


Now I must say:

Thank you God!
Thank you God!
Thank you God!

That said:

Thank you!
Thank you!
Thank you!

To all of you who prayed; sent white light; thought good thoughts.
To those who read the blog daily for updates; wrote emails and called.
To the people that went out of their way to help me thru this.

Thank you!
I am eternally grateful.

Now the details....

Bubba's two favorite blondes, Sarah and I, picked him up early this evening and we
were both pleasantly surprised to see him walk out with no support harness or help.

He is a bit wobbly and I am not going to be letting him walk around the pool by himself
anytime soon, but he is walking.

The first order of business upon arrival home was to greet his favorite tree with a good
marking -- announcing to all the four-footed friends on the block that the Bubster is back
in business.

A small meal and it was time to rest -- although he hasn't really slept yet.

Bubba's blond eyebrows seem to be frowning a bit and I worry he's not feeling well but I
suppose that's to be expected.

Now, I must run to watch over him....

Meanwhile, please dont' stop praying.

 Being Back
April 22nd, 2006
4:00 a.m

Both the Bubster and I have been sleeping soundly now for three hours.

It's probably the first time that both of us have had so much uninterrupted sleep
since the night before he got sick.

But I awake to check on him -- he hasn't moved since going to bed, sleeping in the
same position so I wake him to switch sides.

Once up, I let him stretch his legs and as he walks around, he regurgitates. It is a small
but smelly regurg of dinner combined with a little phlegm. There is also a little bit of

Note here to people reading who do not have Mega-E dogs: Unfortunately phlegm and
regurg is an all too common topic amongst those of us living with these special pups.
I often mention the unmentionable here for the benefit of Mega-E moms and dads.

So after a short walk outside, here I am steam-cleaning the carpet at 4 a.m.

Note here to my friend who just last week was talking about what a glamorous life
I must lead: Please reread above paragraph. ;-)

But it is all good...after all, cleaning the carpet means Bubba is back!

April 22nd, 2006
8:00 a.m.
You would think I'm a compulsive cleaner.

I'm not.

But yes, here I am steam-cleaning the carpet...again.

Sarah has arrived to help me with Bubba this morning and he has started the day by

Both times it is phlegm and a Pepcid the doctor prescribed. The third Pepcid, and
later a small meal, manage to stay down.

It is a busy day here as postponed projects finally begin...I would have liked to wait
but couldn't.

Right now everything still seems so overwhelming but at least when the phone rings I
don't jump out of my skin and stop breathing.

Meanwhile, Bubba is busy staring at everyone and everything but makes no attempt to
participate as he normally would have.

Things are far from normal and I wonder if they ever will be again.

April 22nd, 2006
1:00 p.m

The Bubster eats.

The Bubster throws up.

One step forward, two steps backward.

It is time for another prayer.

April 22nd, 2006
3:30 p.m.
What goes down is not staying down.

Bubba continues to throw up right after eating.

He is hungry but is starting to associate his food bowl with vomiting.

I am hoping a nebulizer treatment will help alleviate the phlegm.

Prayers are needed.

April 22nd, 2006
4:30 p.m

The Bubster is still throwing up...he can keep nothing down.

It does not look good.

I have just given him a shot of Reglan (managing in the process to give myself a little too
with a good stab to my thumb) and now the nebulizer treatment with Albuterol and

If in the next hour he does not show some improvement, I will be taking him to the
emergency room.

Please keep him in your thoughts.

April 22nd, 2006
8:30 p.m.
I cannot bring myself to write what I am thinking for fear that it will become real.

Bubba has stopped throwing up but is still not doing well.

Donna came over to help me feed him; administer subcutaneous fluids and other necessities
to make him more comfortable.

I have spoken to the emergency room for guidance and if things deteriorate to the
point where he is in pain, then I will rush him there.

There is not much that can be done except pray.


April 22nd, 2006
11:30 p.m

My brave boy is holding his own tonight.

Since the injection and nebulizer treatment this afternoon Bubba has been able to
keep down three small meals -- by far, not enough to sustain him but with the additional
fluids it will hopefully keep him hydrated.

I am now waking him every 90 minutes so that we can take a very short walk and then
eat something.

In half an hour he will get another nebulizer treatment -- again with Albuterol and
saline mixed together.

I am not giving him the full vial of Albuterol because of his heart...doctors have
discovered a slight murmur (a 2 on a scale of 1 to 6) and since Albuterol can be a
stimulant, I am diluting it.

In addition, he is on a treatment of Baytril and Amoxicillin, both prescribed for
21 days.

As for me, well I think most of you can imagine how I feel tonight.

I know that this is part of the cycle of life -- the beginning, the end -- but endings
have always saddened me and when it comes to saying good-bye, it is difficult beyond words.

Now I will go back to watching over one of the best persons I know, Bubba, who just
happens to be a dog.

Noble, loving, loyal...a friend indeed.

That is my Bubba, my friend for 14 years.

I cannot remember being this sad in a very long time.


A New Day
April 23rd, 2006
7:00 a.m.

A new day has dawned and Bubba is here to see it.

A short walk -- where he stopped to smell the flowers -- and a Pepcid and our day has
officially begun.

In about 20 minutes, I will try feeding him his first meal of the day...the first of many,
that he will eat and keep down, I hope.

Wish us luck....please.

April 23rd, 2006

A miracle

Tonight, for the first time in a week, I smiled.

Bubba had a good day; a normal day for a 15 year old.

He napped, ate, went on lots of walks and had beautiful women visit him all day
long -- what more can a boy ask for?

A week ago today, at this exact time, a doctor was telling me that Bubba was going
to die in a matter of hours....and I thought I was too.

But after going to hell and back, here we are...the two of us.

I know the road to recovery is a long one...and we may never make it to our destination
but today we are here, together.

And that's all that matters.

 A Roller-Coaster Ride
April 24th, 2006
4:30 a.m.

Two hours after going to sleep the sound of Bubba continuously swallowing wakes
me up.

He is foaming again, only slightly, but it tells me that he may need to throw up so
we go for a little walk.

I have given him a Carafate dissolved in water so that if he does vomit, his esophagus
will be coated.

We sit up for awhile and the nausea seems to pass but he has a slight fever of 102.7
which I need to watch.

In just a few hours we have a follow-up appointment with his doctor at the specialty

This is a roller-coaster ride.


April 24th, 2006
8:30 a.m.

Hourly temperature checks show Bubba's temperature has gone down to 101.3 - normal.

Around 6, the Bubster was given a Reglan and later a saline-only nebulizer treatment in
hopes that it will help break up the thick phlegm that plagues many Mega-E dogs.

At 7:45 a.m. he begins the swallowing again and shortly thereafter vomits twice.

Both times, small quantities of clear phlegm. The second pile has some dried blood in
it -- of which yes, I took a picture of to show the doctor.

I let his stomach settle before giving him a Pepcid and letting him drink water, which I
usually don't do (he gets it mixed in with his food) because he has trouble with it -- another
Mega-E curse. We then sit in the box for ten minutes to make sure it all went down and now
he's fine.

In a few minutes, we leave for his doctor's appointment.

I need a nap.

April 24th, 2006
11:30 a.m.

Bubba! Bubba!
Bubba, come here!
Good boy, good boy!
My cockatiel Birdie-Boy talking to
his buddy Bubba, who's not here

With the exception of Birdie-Boy calling Bubba-Dog, the house is empty.

Doctors at the specialty center have decided to do an ultrasound on Bubba to
try and determine what is causing him to vomit.

In addition, they will also be taking more chest x-rays to monitor the aspiration
pneumonia, so he will be spending the day there.

The vomiting, along with some other symptoms, indicates he may also have IBD:
Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

While the best way to diagnose IBD would be thru a biopsy, that's not doable so
most likely doctors will begin to treat him as if he has it and see what happens.

Hopefully, the new ultrasound will give us a clearer picture of what's happening
inside the Bubster.

Meanwhile the Bubster seemed to enjoy his car ride there; hanging out the window
and all that other good doggy stuff.

Minutes after leaving Bubba, a telephone call advises me that there is a family
emergency that needs my

"I'm all attentioned out", I say.

Did I mention that I need a nap?

April 24th, 2006

To really know how the Bubster and I are doing, you pretty much have to ask us
every hour on the hour.

Those of you who follow the blog daily know how quickly things can change here.

Today was one of those days.

We started off worse and then got better again.

I know, it's confusing.

The important thing is that right now, at this very minute, both Bubba and I are

Well, Bubba's actually napping but since napping makes him so happy, I am sure he is
smiling on the inside.

Doctors report that his chest x-rays look very good and that the pneumonia is almost

Now there's something to smile about!

As for the ultrasound, it did not show anything abnormal.

I am relieved but have to admit that I was sort of hoping it would show something that
would help figure out why he throws up but the doctor said that in Bubba's case, "no news
is good news".

So, there's something else to smile about!

The Bubster was sent home with a paw-full of Reglan shots -- he seems to do much better
on the shots than with the pills -- and next Monday he will start the treatment for IBD
with Prednisone.

And even though he spent the greater part of the day at the doggy hospital, Bubba's
appetite was bigger and better than ever.

All that, plus a handful of other little goodies, have us smiling tonight.

Thank God!

 A Roller-Coaster Ride II
April 25th, 2006
4:30 a.m.

I don't even need to look at the clock to know what time it is.

The sound of Bubba swallowing away tells me today's ride is starting.

A short walk; a small vomit of the clear phlegm and a shot of Reglan later, the nausea
has passed and Bubba is sleeping peacefully again.

The entire episode lasts less than 10 minutes.

Until later.....I have to go vacuum now.

April 25th, 2006
10:30 a.m.

In the upside-down world that my life is right now, things are holding steady with the
Bubster this morning.

And that is a good thing.

The shot of Reglan seems to have calmed his nausea and he has not thrown up again.

So, in TV-speak, "the patient is in stable condition and resting comfortably".

Back to the Hospital
April 25th, 2006
3:00 p.m.

Bubba hasn't stopped throwing up.

I am taking him back to the hospital....sorry to ask again, but can you please say another

It just isn't looking good.

My heart is breaking again.

April 25th, 2006
4:45 p.m.

Doctors are keeping the Bubster overnight for observation and to administer fluids.

More and more it is looking like IBD is causing the continuous vomiting but doctors
can't start him on Prednisone yet because of his recent surgery.

That is really the only hope that I have left...that it is IBD and that once he starts
the new medication he will feel better.

If you'd only seen him yesterday, he was great!

And then today, yet another setback.

On another note, there is so much other overwhelming "stuff" going on (unrelated to the
Bubster) that I would need another blog just to tell you.

But now and always, my priority is Bubba.

I will be talking to doctors later and will post their update.

Again, please say a prayer for Bubba, one of the nicest "boys" you could ever meet.

And if you have a prayer to spare, could you please say one for me too?

April 25th, 2006

I woke him up to check on him and now
he's standing here looking at me saying
'Are you going to take me out or what?'.
An update from the Vet's

Several updates thru-out the night all tell me the same thing...Bubba is well.
It is music to my ears.

According to doctors, he had one vomit or regurg at 6:00 pm and nothing more.
He's been fine ever since.

See what I mean about the ups and downs?

Bubba is Dying
April 26th, 2006
6:00 p.m.

The Bubster is dying.

There is only one small chance that he will pull thru. The next 12 hours are crucial.

His fever is raging at 106.8 and doctors have started the Prednisone. They don't know what is happening to him but say he is not in pain so they want to give him one more chance to rally back.

A cold bath and wet towels helped lower the fever to 103.8 while I was there but then it went back up to 105.4...and then down again to 104.5.

If there is no improvement by tomorrow morning, then it will be time to say goodbye to my best friend.

Please pray that if indeed it is the time to let him go, that the Angels guide him gently to the other side.

And that I will have the strength to say goodbye to my boy.

My heart is no longer breaking...tonight, a part of it is dying.

The End is Near
April 27th, 2006
10:40 a.m.

It looks like today is the day.

The day I hoped, and I know all of you did too, wouldn't come for awhile longer.

I prayed all night long for Bubba's fever to break...and finally around 5 o'clock this morning, it did.

I thought it was a miracle.

Maybe it was, maybe it is, but the truth is now I need another one.

The problem is time has run out...and now doctors tell me that Bubba just doesn't look well.

They have done all they can do.

I am now leaving to the hospital where the spiritual counselor to animals and other friends
will meet me.

I must still decide on whether or not to bring him home first and then say goodbye here.

So, with the heaviest and most painful heart you can imagine, I again come to all of you for prayers...this time for the Angels to guide my boy back home.

And an extra one for me, please.

Updating the site is very difficult now as the web server is experiencing difficulties so
there may not be anything here until tomorrow.

But please know that all of you and your prayers are what got us this far.

And for that, the Perfect Gentleman and I will be eternally grateful.

April 27th, 2006
6:45 p.m.

Tonight, the Bubster is back home.

If only for awhile.

Minutes after I saw him walking at the hospital this afternoon and when he kissed my face hello, I knew his final journey must be made from home...his home.

When Donna picked me up to go and see Bubba, I had made my was time to let my boy rest.

I had gone there to say goodbye. Even the arrangements for Bubba's burial on Saturday had been made...but he just wasn't ready.

Cindy Well, the animal communicator, felt the same thing.

Bubba needed to come home.

Later, I will explain what the doctors said; the medical terms, etc...

It is not good and he is not well. What is killing him, doctors don't know, but it is not the Mega-E or the result of the surgery for bloat.

Bubba is hungry and eating but throws up minutes later.

Just a little while ago he devoured a "Frosty Paws" (doggie ice cream, of sorts) only to return it after.

So unless a last minute miracle finds us here, then tomorrow morning a veterinarian will make a house call.

Until then, I will sit with him, hold him, and tell him over and over again how much he is loved.

And I will say one more prayer.

How do you say goodbye?
April 28th, 2006
3:00 a.m.

How do you say goodbye to one whom you love?

How can you can goodbye to one whom you love?

As I write this the beautiful Bubster sleeps. His chest gently rising and falling in a steady pattern.

It is a sign of life.

Tonight I have told Bubba a million and one times how much I love him and how proud I am of him.

I thank him over and over for always being there; for caring; for loving me so.

And tonight, as he has done so many times before, he licked my tears away.

And I wonder, who will wipe away my tears now? Who will care as much as you, my dear friend?

Who will lay at my bedside when I am sick? Who will protect me now?

Oh, Bubba-Dog! You mean so many different things to stand for so much.

And that is why, as you sleep so gently, I can only cry at the thought of saying goodbye to you.

I cannot stop crying for you.

I cannot stop crying for me.

All day, everyone has cried for you, my darling Bubster.

Cyndey-Sue cannot stop crying...leaving your bedside only to get home and call right away to see how you are and cry some more.

Donna missed an entire day of work to be with you and tonight she cannot sleep with worry.

Linda sets her alarm for 3:00 a.m. -- calling as I write this. She knows I cannot sleep and offers to come hold your paw while I get some rest.

Across the country, people are praying for a dog they only know as the perfect gentleman. My in-box is filled with tear-stained emails and they are all for you Bubba-Doggy.

But a counter-top filled with medicine no longer seems able to make you feel better although I continue to give you each and every dose with so much much hope.

Just like you eat everything I make for you with so much much hope.

But your body rejects the love and hope we are pouring into it and pours it right back out.

I have prayed so hard, on my hands and knees. I have cried a river. Searched for answers here, there and seemingly everywhere.

Yet I cannot save you.

Oh, Bubba-Doggy.

Do you know how hard I tried, son?

Do you know how much I love you?

The time has arrived
April 28th, 2006
11:00 a.m.

I think it is time to make that call.

Oh, God, how do you schedule an appointment with death?

I don't think I have the courage, the strength.

The night has been long but oh so short.

There is not enough time.

Bubba sleeps in my arms, his heart beating loud and strong. His brown eyes occasionally
glancing up at me filled with so much love and trust.

There comes a moment when suddenly his heart seems to slow.

It's okay, son.
Pinche is waiting for you.
You can go and meet him now.
I love you, I love you, I love you.
And I'll be okay son, don't worry.

I am lying.

I will not be okay but I know he needs to hear that for he is hanging on for me. I know that.

But no, it was not the time.

All night, the Bubster and I fight his goes up, it comes down. Cold towels go on,
they come off.

I spend the night laying next to his bed on the floor, my face in front of his. I want him to know that I am here for him, that he is not alone.

His breath is warm and it gently blows on my face.

How can something so alive be dying?

I must make the calls now.

Oh God, please let me be doing the right thing.

Oh God, please give me strength.

4:30 p.m.
April 28th, 2006
1:00 p.m.

The decision has been taken and the arrangements made.

Bubba will be leaving us to meet Pinche at approxiamtely 4:30 p.m. -- Pacific Time.

There are no words to describe the emotions I am feeling right now.

Bubba is all that I have and I am about to lose him.

Please pray for him.

Please pray for me.

This is truly the saddest day of my life.

Bubba's Journey has Ended
April 28th, 2006
4:50 p.m.

 Bubba died today at 4:50 p.m.

At that exact time, a huge part of me died too.

The Bubster just went to sleep in my arms as I told him over and over again that I loved him.

It was very fast and painless and Bubba was surrounded by the love of Cyndey-Sue, Donna and Linda, who were here with us.

Bubba's last day on earth was filled with visits from all the women he loved and who loved him.

Women like Claudia who lived here with Bubba for more than a year...he was her baby then, her companion and running partner. She cried as she thanked him for all the memories.

The gentle Sarah spent some quality time with the Bubster too. Talking, like they have for
the last five months.

And the phone never stopped ringing as friends and family from afar called in their love.

It was a powerful show of emotion for the perfect boy, my son, my pup.

There is more to share but right now I can't even breathe my heart aches so much.

For the Bubster was so much more than just a dog to me...he was my friend, my boy,
my confidant, my protector....Bubba was all that more.

He loved me more than any one else...and now he is gone and my world is empty.

It has been an incredibly painful year...marked by sorrow and love lost.

Before today though, no matter what, Bubba was here for me. He was the only thing
I could count on always being here.

But now I am really alone.

My house is empty, as is my heart.

Tomorrow, I will bury a piece of my life...and say one more goodbye to my baby boy.

I am devastated beyond words.

Oh, Bubba...Bubba...Bubba.

Another Goodbye
April 29th, 2006
9:00 a.m.

The day is gray here in Los Angeles, as is my heart.

In a few moments, I will be leaving to go and bury a part of my life, a part of my heart.

14 years of memories, of love and devotion.

How do you put that into the ground?

I know, I know....the memories aren't being buried, they never will be.

It is so final, nonetheless.

It is so heartbreaking.

April 29th, 2006
10:00 p.m.

At 1:00 this afternoon I buried the Bubster.

It was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.

And there are no words that could ever convey my sense of loss and the pain I am

Bubba was sent on his final journey lying on a blanket that Linda had lovingly made for
him just a few short weeks ago.

In his paws, a beautiful rosary given to me by Dan. I cannot tell you how often I held
it in my hands these last months as I prayed for many a miracle.

Next to Bubba's heart, a picture of Pinche because knowing him, he's off on a cloud
somewhere eating a milkbone....the picture will help Bubba and the Angels find him.

Around the Bubster's neck, his purple collar...his name tag still attached in hopes that
an Angel will read it and say "Hi Bubba!" like I did 14 years ago.

Bubba will say "You know me!" and the Angel will take him under his or her wing.

The tag also has Bubba's address and phone number should he ever need to come home

Next to the tag, a gold-colored Angel hangs.

I had bought it from a lady in Wisconsin for a few reasons. One of them being the artist
signed it on the back with the name "Gigi".

I hope the Angel will guide him safely to heaven.

In life, Bubba wore a Guardian Angel medallion around his neck...with a dog on it.

I am now wearing it...having traded my angel for his.

In his box, his leash because just the mere sight of it brought Bubba so much happiness in life.
The leash and the word "walk" could make him jump so high he could reach the stars.

I hope his Angel will walk him...for old times sake.

Oh, how I wish I could walk him again!

I also sent a ball in his box.

Now Bubba wasn't the ball-playing-frisbee-catching kind of dog...I used to always say that
he preferred to curl up with a good book instead.

Truth be told, the Bubster just wasn't good at chasing a ball.

He was all left paws...but boy did he bring a smile to our face when he went for it.

And the few times he actually caught the ball?

Well, he was the happiest, proudest dog you had ever seen.

So, his ball went with him. If anything, I know Pinche will like it.

On the inside cover of his casket, a stamp of St. Francis who had watched over his bed since
he got sick. Next to him, St. Charbel to whom I have asked for many a miracle.

There was also a cross made from straw and blessed just last week, a gift from his Aunt Claudia.

I wanted to send so many of his favorite things so he could have them on his journey but
what I really wanted was not to send him at all.

I want him back home where he belongs.

Accompanied by Cyndey-Sue and Linda, we spent just over an hour with him. Then they
left me alone for awhile to say my final good-bye in private.

I prayed with him.

I prayed for him.

I told him again how much he meant to me and how proud I was of how hard he fought to live;
how much I loved being his "mom"; and how much I loved and missed him.

And I told him that many people were crying his loss many that didn't even know him
but had grown to love him too.

I scratched his ears....oh, my baby Bubster's beautiful ears...and how he loved to have them
scratched just so.

Then I ask Bubba to watch over me from the other protect me as he so valiantly did
for our 14 years together.

And that if he could, to send me a sign that he was alright.

Then I gave him one last kiss.

And my heart - the pieces that are left of it, crumbled even more.

Oh God, I miss him so much.

April 30th, 2006
7:00 a.m.

For the second night in a row I have slept with all the lights in my house on....fully dressed
and on the sofa, the TV blaring.

The last few weeks of the Bubster's life I had begun sleeping in sweat outfits, tennis shoes
by my bed...just in case I had to rush him to the hospital in the middle of the night.

I leave the lights on because I am scared to turn them off.

Scared of what?

I don't know but I am scared.

Maybe it is because Bubba is no longer here to protect me. Even at 15, with his hearing having become selective and his sleep so deep, I still felt safe with him next to me.

I no longer feel that.

I sleep only because I am exhausted - drained emotionally and physically from everything that
has happened this year.

So much loss, so much pain and it all happened at once.

I do not dream -- nothing, not one single image yet I awake several times breathless.

My heart aches continuously; often skipping a beat.

It happens now a million times a yesterday when I arrived home to find that
workers had all the doors of my home standing wide open and for a fraction of a second
I worry Bubba has gotten out.

But I just buried Bubba.

There is no more Bubba.

In every room, there are reminders of a life lost.

Obvious ones like a kitchen countertop filled with medications and the blender standing
ready to blend the Bubster's breakfast.

The steam-cleaner next to the wet-and-dry vacuum stand silently in the corner...waiting to
be called in to use.

But there is nothing to clean anymore.

The not-so-obvious empty space on the couch where the Bubster would have
been curled up; his favorite tree, standing dry and unmarked this morning and an emptiness
in both heart and home that cannot be filled.

The reminders are everywhere.

But Bubba is nowhere.

One Week Ago
April 30th, 2006
11:00 a.m.

A smile says a thousand words

My smile could not have been any bigger a week ago today.

Bubba had a 100% better-than-normal day!

It was exactly one-week after his surgery for bloat and everything was on track.

No vomiting, no gagging.

The Bubster had eaten 8 meals -- small meals but eight of them!! A total of three cans
of California Natural....more than 1500 calories.

Stitches and all, he had taken Sarah for several walks that day...napping peacefully

How much better could it get?

I remember that night so well...while at work I checked in with Sarah often and each update
was great.

I remember walking down the street, realizing that I was smiling for the first time in weeks.

Life seemed so filled with hope, so promising.

I came hope to find a bouncing Bubba...inspiring Sarah and I to take a series of pictures of
the Bubster.

I was so happy!

How could then, seven days later, Bubba be dead?

It just doesn't seem possible.

The Plan Failed
May 1, 2006
7:00 a.m.

After another night on the couch, lights and television blaring, I am off to an early start today -- on the road by 5:30 this morning.

Conspicuously absent, Bubba-Dog.

He should be in the backseat...that was the plan, after all.

But the plan failed.

It failed me..

It failed Bubba.

So, there is no Bubster in the backseat...wind blowing thru his hair as he enjoys a car ride.

It is in the details that make up the mosaic of our lives that I most notice his absence.

Last night was particularly hard.

My first day back at work finds me reaching for my cell phone many times over.

"It's time to call Sarah", I think, "for a Bubba-Update".

But there is no Bubba.

There will be no more updates.

It's over.

The plan failed.

Bad, Very Bad
May 4, 2006
1:30 p.m.

I woke up this morning gasping for air; my heart beating so fast I thought it would burst out of my chest.

The stress of this week has been unbelievable.

So much has happened -- none of it good -- that I haven't even had time to grieve my darling boy.

I don't know what's in the air or in the water but all around me there are problems...and so much pain.

A family emergency continues to take center stage and has been draining beyond belief.

Close friends are facing horrible problems of their own and I have to be there for them -- this as another close family member suffers a painful accident and has to be rushed to the hospital.

And then today, more bad news...a flood of telephone calls as headlines report that a close friend of mine has unexpectedly died.

Valentin Trujillo, a legend in Mexican cinema, leaves behind his wife and four year old son, in addition to his grown children.

Although distance and years separated us, the love he and his family showed me will always be treasured in my heart.

I am devastated by the news.

And Bubba....oh, my baby Bubba!

The main reason my heart aches so much.

I cry for him in-between crying for everyone else.

But this weekend I will spend grieving my baby boy -- alone with my pain.

It is all still so overwhelming.

Wherever You Go, There You Are
May 8, 2006

In other words, you can run, but you can't hide.

If I had a dollar for everytime I said that to someone, I would surely have enough to pay for Bubba's medical bills.

But never being the kind to take my own advice, this weekend I ran.

The pain followed.

It shared a suite with me; laid next to me by a lake and had dinner with me everynight.

The facialist couldn't extract it; the masseuse couldn't knead it away and the mud bath didn't drown it.

My heart still ached.

The feeling that I need to call and check on the Bubster haunted me.

The realization that there is no one I need to call and check on haunted me even more.

As I walked a beautiful tree-lined path to my room, I wondered if Bubba was there with me but a glimpse of my shadow told me no.

The first day away was harder than I imagined.

There are couples everywhere. I feel out of place.

I don't even own a dog anymore.

By Saturday, I begin to appreciate the solitude. It is what I needed. It has given me time to think, to prioritize what is really important in my life.

It gives me the silence needed to mourn my friend who, far away in another land, was being buried.

I am there, if only in thought and prayer.

And I mourn my baby boy.

Oh, how I miss Bubba!

I want to remember our last day together but I cannot go there yet. The memory is still so raw, the pain so real.

His picture stares back at me so alive -- how then, could he be so dead?

Sunday comes and I must return to empty home, an empty heart.

Oh were my constant...the one I could count on always and now you are not here and I feel so lost.

So, so lost.

Everyone Sees Bubba, But Me
May 9, 2006

If you've read Pinche's Journey you know that I am a great believer in "signs".

And while I don't live my life based on them, or the lack of them, they have in the past given me both hope and comfort.

When Pinche died suddenly in 2004, I asked for a "sign" from above...a sign that he was okay.

And just like he had been in life, a real talker, Pinche sent me a flood of them.

So many and so obvious that they were, even the non-believers, non-spiritual people I knew begun to believe.

The night I finally realized Bubba was dying -- one of the hardest nights in my entire life -- I asked him to please send me a sign from the other side.

Actually, I think I begged him..

Please, Bubba.
Please, son.
Send me a sign that you're alright.
Send me a sign that you're watching over me.
Please, baby boy.

But there has been nothing.

Nothing at dreams, no signs, nothing I have seen or felt.

And no, it is not that I am thinking too hard or too much about it. It just hasn't happened.

But Bubba has appeared to others...both near and far.

Here are their stories.


I woke this morning at 4:48 a.m. wide eyed and alert with
a strong sense that I was in Bubba's presence.
It was an amazing, peaceful feeling.
Bubba was healthy and strong, licking my face.
I never experienced anything like that in my life.
I know I was awake.
I hugged my pillow as if it were him, falling back to sleep.
He crossed the bridge and he's doing well.
He sent his love to us.

With Dan's permission, I have copied above the email he sent me the day after Bubba died.

Bubba loved Dan very, very much.

As I have written before, they spent many a day and night together -- a man and his dog -- a dog and his man.

It is my belief that Bubba needed to say goodbye...a final goodbye to one that he had loved so very much.

I thank Dan for sharing his story with me and allowing me to share it with all of you.


Three days later, a friend of mine also has a vision of a happy and healthy Bubba-Dog.

The details of her sighting are very personal but I can share that he guided her out of what was a very delicate if not dangerous moment.

In life, she had helped him so much.

In death, he had wanted to return the favor.

Dreaming of Bubba

This next story is probably the most easily understood...the most easily explained.

Sarah has seen Bubba...if only in her dreams.

The gentle soul who took such good care of my baby, continues to protect him even as she sleeps.

In one dream they are together, she says, during a horrific tornado.

She hides behind a tree and shelters the Bubster with her body...holding him tightly to her so the fierce winds won't blow him away.

We had both held on to him tightly but the winds of life, the winds of death, finally took him.

But thank you, Sarah...thank for you for protecting him.

Bubba en Español

An email from Mexico arrives.

It is from a friend...a frequent guest on my radio and tv shows.

Bubba is sending smoke signals.
You need to pay attention.
Call me.

There is nothing like an email with the word "Bubba" in it to get me dialing so I phone Mexico right away.

"Bubba knows how alone you feel.
He will soon send you someone."

"I don't want another dog."

"It's not a dog. It's a person."

"I don't want another dog.
It's a what?"

"A person, Gigi."

"If I don't want a dog, then I definitely don't want a person."

"Well, want it or not Gigi, Bubba doesn't want you to be alone.
That's the message he gave me...he will soon send someone
with the same qualities that you loved about him.
The qualities you keep telling your friends about.
You must keep an open mind and heart.
You must recognize the smoke signals Bubba will send you too."

Oh, dear.

Bubba is sending me someone who likes to nap all day; slurps and burps when he eats and occasionally has gas that can make your hair curl.

All kidding aside, the man and his message are very serious.

The qualities I keep telling my friends about?

Bubba's undying, unfaltering love and loyalty, dedication and adoration.

A million questions and answers later, I know more of Bubba's vision.

"Don't worry, Gigi.
The Bubster's busy taking care of business.
Time will show you."

So, that's why he hasn't written or called?

The thought of Bubba being a matchmaker brings a smile to my face but I am skeptical.

There is one more story...that may or may not be a "sign" but I have been asked to wait a few days before telling it.

Meanwhile, I will continue to wait for the Bubster to talk to me.

May 11, 2006


It's not a word but it should be.

Two years ago this month, I was whying away.

Two years later, I am whying away again.

The only difference is that this time I have more why's to deal with.

So what is "whying" you ask?

Or do you know because you too have spent countless days and nights whying?

Dictionary of:
"Death and Dying - Loving and Losing"

Whying (noun, adjective and/or verb):
when faced with unexplainable loss,
the art of asking 'why?' over and over
with no answer ever the right one;
often confused with whining - not the same

Two years ago I created the above definition to the word I made up and posted it on Pinche's Journey.

The "why?" stage is an often-visited place during the mourning process.

And it's usually followed by the "what-if" and "should have; could have and would have" periods.

Yesterday, I spent all day "whying and crying" over baby Bubba.

Then, hit with what a friend calls a "sucker punch" in my personal life, I spend the entire night "whying and crying" away the things people do that I will never understand.

After being up all night, exhaustion forces me to sleep at 10 am and I only awake hours after I was supposed to have been at work.

Hours...I am panic-stricken as phone messages show that everyone is worried...this isn't like me, they say.

No, it is not.

It is, I explain to those who need to know, just too much at the same time.

Too much pain, too much loss. The last months have been draining and the real toll is only now beginning to show.

It is normal, say the wise ones I go to for guidance.

But this normal feels so abnormal.

May 12, 2006

Bubba died two weeks ago today.

And today the reality of it all is really hitting home.

My empty home.

The day he died I was surrounded with friends.

The next day, I buried him...again with my friends nearby.

Then I worked...and then I ran.

I ran away from the memories, from the pain, from everything and everyone.

But today, reality has finally sunk in.

And while my friends have offered to be here right now, holding my hand and listening me to ramble, I must be alone.

It took way too many days and way too many hits to the heart to realize that there is no more hope.

The last five months haven't been a dream. There are no miracles to pray for anymore. There is no more hope.

Bubba is gone.

Bubba is dead.

And so is everything he stood for.

I miss him so much...his beautiful brown eyes, his love....oh, how he loved me so!

I must let go of the pain, my friends say...the pain of losing everyone I loved.

After all, they remind me, Bubba's resting and as I write this, others are living their lives to the fullest... and I must too.

So, tomorrow, I will most likely run away again...but today I will face my grief head-on.

And it's arrived with a bull-dozer....charging into my heart full steam ahead.

So bare with me, my cyber-friends, because today there may be a slew of posts as all the grief comes pouring out.

And read fast, because when the grief subsides I will most likely hit "delete" on many entries for there is only so much I can leave up here about myself.

This blog was never intended to be about was about Pinche, then about Bubba.

But right now, this and Bubba's tags that I wear around my wrist are all I have left of him.

May 12, 2006

I just logged on to my dog blog email site and again I am overwhelmed.

So many of you are still writing, so many of you care about us. What used to be "us" and now is only me.

You write that you are crying for me and for the beautiful Bubster, an old dog you never met.

But if you had met him, I promise you that you would have loved him. He was such a good boy, such a good son. So noble, he loved and trusted everyone.

Except for cats, possums and squirrels.

You write that you are praying for me...that I find peace and someone who will love and cherish me.

I am crying so much I can barely read your words but they are being read by my heart.

From Alabama, one family tells me that thru Bubba's Journey I have become the daughter they never had.

You have no idea what those words mean to me.

You have no idea.

Many of you have written sharing your own stories of loss...both of your furry friends and others you have loved.

Thank you for confiding in me...I promise that I will write you back. Meanwhile, stay strong and know that you are not alone.

We will work our way thru this...together.

So thank you...thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.

Tears in Heaven
May 12, 2006

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong
And carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven.

Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?

I'll find my way
Through night and day,
'Cause I know I just can't stay
Here in heaven.

Time can bring you down,
Time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart,
Have you begging please, begging please.

Excerpt from "Tears In Heaven"
Eric Clapton and Will Jennings


It is a beautiful song.

Inspired by the unbelievable grief of losing a child.

I cannot imagine that pain.

But after l listen to the song for the millionth time, I wonder 'Is there a Heaven?'.


I know Bubba had to die.

After all, he was 15 years old-- 105 in our life time, give or take a few decades.

And I was so lucky to have had him all these years...happy and healthy.

But death often brings with it questions, doubts, insecurities.

I have had to face so many disappointments this year...everything I thought was true, wasn't.

And it really is no one's fault but my own...for believing so blindly.

It's like if an earthquake came and cracked the foundation of my life into a million pieces.

My stability shattered and my faith tested to the point I fear it no longer exists.

And then, as if that wasn't enough, God made me send Bubba home.

The only good thing I had...the only thing I could really count on....gone.

Now what do I do?

May 12, 2006

I should have tried harder.

I should have done more.

As I watch some short videos we took of Bubba moments before...I realize I shouldn't have done it.

There had to have been something else I could have done.

Maybe that's why I have no peace.

Maybe that's why there have been no signs.

He wasn't ready to leave and I made him.

It's a feeling I have had now for days but haven't wanted to write about.

The Bubster didn't want to go and doesn't understand why I made him leave.

And I don't either.

Broken Heart Syndrome
May 12, 2006

I wasn't going to write about this but something I just watched on television changed my mind.

At the insistence of several good friends, last week I made an appointment with a Cardiologist/Internist for this coming Monday, the 15th.

The persistent ache in my heart, shortness of breath, leg spasms and general stress makes it a good time for a check-up.

I know there is nothing seriously wrong with me and that's why I didn't want to mention it.

Like many others, I am just going thru a stressful period in my life and my body is reflecting it.

But just moments ago, I tuned into the last five minutes of ABC's 20/20 program which was about "Broken Heart Syndrome".

For years I have believed that people can indeed die from a broken heart.

I know that lately I have felt like I would.

On my radio show, I spent countless hours talking to people who had a lost a loved one for apparently no other reason than their heart had been broken -- or stunned into silence.

According to the ABC report, doctors have found that a "broken" heart can bring on physical maladies...many even mimic a real heart attack.

And since I know that many of you who have found my site are in the process of grieving too, I thought you should read this article.

Broken Heart Syndrome

Bubba Knows Better
May 13, 2006
2:00 a.m.

April 8, 2006

Oh Bubster, you were so beautiful.

Even the rose seems to bow in your presence. Beauty staring at a beautiful soul.

You gave so much, Bubba-Boy, asking for so little in return.

All dogs do, really.

That's because they have it right. They get it.

We don't.

Ever notice that dogs fall in love but never out of love?

After all, how can you fall out of love, if you were in love?

Dogs know that.

Their love is genuine...the real deal.

They don't care if they're 7 or 12. Or if you're 20 or 60.

They don't need to keep up with the Jones', be it Fido Jones or Rover Jones.

They don't worry if the dog next door has a bigger bowl, bed or bone.

They could care less if the owner next door is younger and thinner than you.

They don't need their egos stroked or to be told how wonderful, smart and
young looking they are by everyone who walks by.

They don't need someone else's attention to make them feel important.

After all, they love you....and that's enough.

A nice pat on the head, belly rub or good ear-scratching will do.

And if you don't have time for it, that's ok too.

Because once they love you, they're in love with you forever.

When they turn 7, they don't have a "mid-life crisis" or a "seven-year itch".

They don't "fight" with their feelings...what's there to struggle with?

They love you. You love them. Let's go for a walk! Or take a nap!

They don't spend hours wondering if the grass is greener next door.

They don't wake up one day and rip off their tags and collars.

On the contrary, they wear them proudly. The "clang-clang" of their tags
telling the world that they belong to someone. And someone belongs to them.

No filet mignon tonight? No problem. Dry will do.

What counts is that we're together.

Now, how great is that?

Humans, take a lesson.

Be more like your dog and you'll be a better person.



"Dear Gigi,

Here is your horoscope for Saturday, May 13:

You might be sinking under the burden of some old emotions.
The sooner you take the time to address them,
the faster they'll resolve themselves.
Think about doing something physical to help release them.
Embrace the love, happiness and respect you deserve"


Now there's a good verb to describe the feeling that I have had since about last October, November.

For eight months, I was sinking.

Not a life preserver in sight.

I've finally stopped sinking.

Now the word is simply "sunk".

Two Weeks
May 13, 2006

This is where I ran to today.

Too exhausted to go any further, plans are canceled and this is where I spend my afternoon.

Grief can be draining.

Guilt even more so.

For now, there is nothing that anyone can say to me that will bring any consolation.

I feel like I made a horrible mistake and there is no taking it back.

Bubba wasn't ready to go yet I pushed him over to the other side.

He had kept up his end of the fight to live.

I didn't. I let him down.

Euthanasia is not all it's built up to be.

And that's why there have been no "signs".

Why would he come to me if he thinks I didn't want him around anymore?

I spend the afternoon apologizing...begging for forgiveness.

I try to explain that I thought it was time...doctors had said there was nothing they could do.

I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders and maybe I wasn't thinking clearly... emergencies suddenly were everywhere and love was nowhere.

I thought I saw him crying...I thought...I shouldn't have thought, I should have waited.

I should have tried harder.

I am so sorry, Bubba.

Oh God, I am so sorry.

Regret, Part Two
May 14, 2006

Sometimes, in a desperate attempt to elicit a response from a loved one, people (especially us women) do and say things that make no sense.

For example, a woman may suddenly blurt out to her husband "You don't love me."

Does she really think that?

Most likely, no. But for whatever reason, she needs to hear that he does indeed love her.

My posting yesterday about guilt joining forces with grief was not written because I needed to hear that I did the "right thing".

It really wasn't but it had that same effect.

The posting elicited many a beautiful email - for that I thank you.

And while I value and read each email you send me - and one day I promise to reply to each and every one - there really are no words to console or make me feel better right now.

One day your words may make sense to me.

Right now though, after spending a tormented weekend after yet another horrible week, there is nothing much in my life that makes sense.

Most of you reading this have had more than one dog or cat....and while we love "all our kids" the same, there are some with which you just have a different kind of a bond.

I had a beautiful Beagle named Loli who lived to be 16 years old who I had that bond with....and then there was Bubba.

It was a feeling.

It was a look.

It was love.

And now, it's all gone.

It's like he never existed.

And I don't know why.

Maybe adogblog reader Sheila is right when she says it is because I am still tormented by too many other things.

Only time will tell.

Only time will heal.

May 14, 2006

Thank you.

Support for Bubba

The Question
May 14, 2006

"So, has everyone been asking you the famous question?"
A Co-Worker

A co-worker made the mistake of asking me how I was the other day.

So, feeling the need to include absolutely everyone in my pity party, I told him.

It turned out that he was also an animal lover so he understood -- sharing his own story of loss with me.

And then he asked me if I'd been asked "the famous question".

The only question I have been asked lately is "what credit card will you be using today?"

The question he was referring to was "So, are you going to get another pet?"

When my co-worker lost his beloved cat, he explained, he kept hearing that "question".

"Funny", he says, "When my father died no one asked me if I was going to get a new father"

I had to was so true.

And yes, many people have asked me if and when I am going to get another dog.

And no, I am not offended by the question or bothered by it. I know it's well-meaning and comes from people who care.

The answer, for now, is NO.

Because Bubba was so much more than a "d-o-g".

He was my boy, my baby, my friend and loyal companion.

Thru thick and thin, Bubba was here.

He loved me and I loved him.

It was as simple as a little song that I took to singing to the Bubster while he sat in his box.

"I love you.
You love me.
It's as simple as...

Everyday, for almost five months, I sang that song to the Bubster.

And then, paws in hand, we would pray.

Love can be so simple and yet so glorious.

So, the answer is no.

Bubba cannot be replaced.

True love can never be replaced.

I Dream of Bubba
May 18, 2006

I do dream about the Bubster...but only when I am awake.

In the technicolor world of the stories I dream when I am asleep he is seemingly nowhere.

I have always been a big every sense of the word.

I dream when I am awake.

I dream when I am asleep.

And I usually remember most of my dreams in vivid detail.

For days after Bubba died, I could not remember a thing. Sleep was one big blank. Not an image, not a sound.


But I have started remembering my dreams again.

As always, they are complicated...convoluted

There are people I know in them and many that I don't.

I dream of a woman who died decades ago...I know of her but did not know her in life, yet she brings me an important message; an explanation of sorts...but it is not related to Bubba.

And there are dogs in my dreams...yes, dogs abound.

Especially a pug.

And that's why I write this entry today...because while the pug means nothing to me it may meaning something to one of you.

The first dream I have is that a pug has been living outside my home (in a boat that is really there) for a long time....going without care or food.

A man I don't know is telling me this as he wipes him dry with a towel.

The dog's back is turned to me but I know it's a pug...although he is dark in color.

The second dream is much more detailed and seemingly has nothing to do with a dog but the pug is there again.

I am at some kind of party or event with someone from my past.

He is about to take a picture of me with a group of TV stars but the camera does not work so I leave the group to check the camera.

The man from my past is angry at me and it is obvious to all there.

As I approach him, I notice his fingernails are very long...especially for a man.

I comment that to him and we have a conversation of a personal nature but as we talk I notice that around his neck he wears a silver chain with a silver medallion, the size of a dime.

Etched on the medallion is the face of a pug with a small diamond next to it.

I can still see it clearly in mind.

Another dream has me being greeted by dozens of dogs...they are all happy and healthy.

I am not looking for mine but I know they are not there.

I awake feeling that the dogs I have seen are yours, the dog blog reader's.

Now, I have seen Bubba in my dreams twice but it just doesn't seem to count.

One dream, I am sure is a direct result of thoughts that torment me.

A good friend of mine is petting a beautiful Bubster as he says to me "but he looks so good, so healthy..."

The unfinished sentence an implication of 'why are you putting him down, then?'.

I awake startled and in a cold sweat.

In another dream, Bubba is lying in a bed next to my grandmother (who died years ago).

Sitting on the edge of the bed, a very handsome man with the most beautiful smile.

I barely have a chance to touch the Bubster, who seems uninterested, when I wake up.

Later that same day, I come across a movie poster with a picture of my friend Valentin, the actor who died recently.

It is from a time long ago, when I did not know him, and shows a handsome Valentin in his twenties...when he was one of Mexico's leading men on the big screen.

He looks so much like the man sitting on the bed.

But the dream was so quick, so fleeting it really means nothing to me.

There are many more dreams...but no dogs in those.

Meanwhile, there have been no "signs".

No word from the Bubster.

So I continue to wait.

An Appointment for Bubba
May 19, 2006

"Hi Gigi,
This is Dina with the mobile pet grooming service.
Just wanted to confirm Bubba's appointment tomorrow at 11 a.m.
See you both then."

Message left on my voicemail today

To most, they are trivial things.

An appointment made in better times that now needs to be cancelled.

Last night, it was the pharmacist asking me if the prescription I was filling was for Bubba or Gigi.

I would get Bubba's Albuterol for his nebulizer treatment at the regular pharmacy so now we are both listed there.

"No, it's for me", I find myself saying.

There is no one else left but me.

"Bubba died."

That's another painful sentence I find myself uttering at least once a day lately as kind-hearted friends and co-workers ask about "my boy"...the one who had me so worried these last months.

"Bubba died."

It hurts me to say it for more than one reason.

I make people feel so bad when I say it.

Most know how much I cared about the Bubster.

They know how much I have cried the last few months.

They have been silent witnesses watching as one of the happiest people around went to being the saddest.

So now, I will return the message...cancel the groomer that did such a beautiful job on Bubba just last month.

They were so delicate with gentle with my gentleman.

"Bubba died", I will have to say once again.

And so did a part of me.

One Last "I Love You"
May 19, 2006

In my business, I unfortunately see a lot of death and destruction.

And as a television reporter I often find myself talking to those who have just lost a loved one.

More than once I have been with families as they received the bad news.

It is, needless to say, heartbreaking.

Over the years, I have kept in contact with many families because while the story may die, their grief and our bond does not.

That was the case just a few weeks ago as an entire family arrived at the scene of a murder that I was already at.

They did not know that the man they called son; brother; boyfriend was already dead.

I did.

The sound of their heartbreak will most likely live with me forever.

It was there that I heard something that I want to share with you.

And again, just two days the scene of a horrific crash that cost a nineteen year old his life, someone told me the same thing.

"I didn't get to say goodbye.
I didn't get to tell them how much I loved them."

Death comes way too suddenly; way too soon for most...leaving in it's wake so much unfinished business.

I cannot compare my grief; my loss with theirs but at a time when all I feel is loss, their words make me appreciate the chance that I had to say goodbye to someone I loved so much.

One last "I love you".

Had Bubba died in the hospital or somewhere without me next to him, I would have been even more devastated than I am now.

Actually, fearing that I would lose him at any minute, I took every opportunity I had to tell the Bubster how much I loved him.

I remember thanking him over and over for being the best friend a girl could have; the best son; the best companion; the best everything.

And while I would give anything to talk to him again, I know I left nothing unsaid.

I just hope he understood.

Since Bubba died, I notice that most of my conversations with those close to me now end with an "I love you".

It either comes from me or from my friends. We are all so much more sensitive now.

Or maybe they just know that I need to hear it.

So, at the risk of preaching to the choir here, may I humbly suggest you all do the same?

Hug both your furry friends and your human loved ones a little tighter tonight.

Tell those you love that you love them.

The other day, while speaking to a friend's husband about matters of love and loss, he said to me "I wish it was that simple".

It is that simple, my friend.

Don't leave an "I love you" for later....because later may never come.

A Smile
May 22, 2006

Yesterday, for the first time in a very long time, I smiled.

I even laughed.

It was an amazing feeling.

One Month
May 28, 2006

Lost in Time
May 30, 2006

One month and two days.

Where did it go?

For that matter, where has almost half of 2006 gone?

With the exception of a minute here and a moment there, I can't even tell has now become one big blur.

Maybe it's because this year has been filled with so many moments that I want to forget.

Maybe that's it.

There are some new things to report though.

One, at the suggestion of a friend, I had a very interesting interview with a "pet communicator" from Pennsylvania.

More details on what Bubba "said" later this week.

And I just realized I haven't told you about the "white flour/flower and biscuit" message.

Or the chewed up tennis ball that appeared.

Meanwhile, the Bubster has yet to phone home directly.

Two Months
June 28, 2006

60 Days - still gone - still missed - no signs

Still Here, Still Sad
July 20, 2006

Well, you would think that after disappearing from cyber-space for almost two months, things would have gotten better.

They haven't.

But before the update, an apology for the disappearing act.

I tend to "hibernate" or go on "mute" when I am sad and that's why I haven't been here lately.

During the last few months, I was focused on trying to remedy personal problems. Today, I have finally come to terms with the fact that there is no remedy and now I must really move on.

It's scary and overwhelming and now I don't even have my old best buddy next to me to remind me that I am loved.

And love is what it is all about, isn't it?

But sometimes all the love in the world just isn't enough.

Just like I couldn't save the Bubster, I couldn't save this either.

On both fronts, I tried so very hard but I just couldn't.

And here I am in tears again...this most recent realization taking me back to April 28th when Bubba died.

I miss him so...his bed is still in my bedroom; his medicines are still on the kitchen counter and his feeding stand is where it was when he last ate.

It's all still there, including the pain.

Three Months
July 29, 2006

I wasn't going to post a picture of this month's visit -- I mean, nothing really changes much at a cemetery, be it the human kind or at the one for furry and feathered friends.

And after awhile, it seems every picture starts to look the same...a new batch of flowers to mark an old batch of memories.

But I took my camera -- just in case.

Flowers left last month had long ago wilted and today things just seemed in disarray.

Sort of like life sometimes.

Sort of like the stuffed bear on Bubba's grave.

Raggedy at the edges, slightly scruffy and maybe not quite the way we want it to be, but there nonetheless.

Three months have passed and not much has changed.

The Bubster is still very much missed.

Good friends, like him, are hard to come by -- they are few and far-between and usually can be counted on one hand.

And while I am blessed to have true friends in my life, I still wish that more people could be like Bubba.

It's that whole loyalty and trust thing...but no litany on loyalty from me today.

Today, I am a little like the bear in the picture...slightly worse for wear but still huggable.

Moving thru things slowly but surely.

One step at a time.

No Words
August 1, 2006


August 2, 2006

Sometimes, a mere fraction of a second can be enough to alter the course of our day; sometimes, the course of our life.

For example, if I had driven just a little slower or maybe a little faster and if Bubba had moved those four paws at a different pace, we never would have crossed paths and paws at that intersection in 1992.

Last night, a mere fraction of a second coupled with a last minute decision to go in one door and not the other, brought me face to face with something very important.

I say "something", because it is so much more than just "someone".

"Something" that awhile back, if only for a brief moment, I thought was the sign I had been looking for.

"Something" that again arrives when I am at a crossroads.

"It's a coincidence", says my best friend, "bound to happen considering where you were last night".

"It's a sign, an obvious sign", says another really close friend. "There are no coincidences", she says, "you'll see."

Two very different ways to interpret the same event.

So, being the profound thinker that I am, I began to wonder about chance encounters, coincidences, signs and other assorted happenings.

Are they real or are they random? Or both?

So today's post is a question to all of you you believe in coincidences; signs?

Or does everything have a reason and rhyme to it?

Tiger Surgery
August 11, 2006

Click here to watch Gigi's story on the surgery of a Bengal Tiger

There is a lot that I want to write about tonight but it is very late and I am very drained.

So for now, I leave you with a link to a news story that I did tonight on a Bengal Tiger who had surgery.

What does Mia the tiger have to do with Bubba?

So much, that it made me cry.

More tomorrow.....

 The Psychic Speaks
August 17, 2006

"I looked hot in red"
Bubba speaking thru a pet psychic 

Back in May, while I was still obsessing over the fact that the Bubster hadn't sent me a "sign", a good friend recommended that I get a "reading" with an animal communicator in Pennsylvania.

Linda said that she often consulted with Marlene Sandler and had found that she had great insight.

So I made an appointment with Marlene and on May 23rd spent 30 minutes listening to what she said Bubba had to say.

While no great secret that Bubba and I might have shared came thru, I was impressed.

Marlene spoke of some very specific things; things that wouldn't necessarily apply to any and all dog and/or dog owner but certainly to Bubba and I.

She did not have a picture of Bubba, and as far as I know, she did not know about the existence of this blog.

The following is what Marlene told me, in the order that she said it...her words are in blue, followed by my comments in red.

"Bubba liked to recline on something that was beige or brown."

Bubba's nickname was "the napster" and his favorite napping spot
was on the sofa in the family room which is beige.

"He's telling me that there's something red that he looked very cool in.
He says 'I looked hot in red'".

I am not big on dressing dogs but Bubba did have a red raincoat and a red sweater
that he wore during our last Christmas together. See picture above.

"He was a real gentle soul. He said he was appropriate with his barking.
He had two previous owners before you."

In describing Bubba, I often use the words "gentle soul" for that is what he was.
Bubba did have two owners before me, Candace and the man she had given him to.

"He says he found you. He was very scared and tired when he met you.
At one point he was rural but you found him in a suburban area."

Yes, Bubba was very tired when we met and probably scared too.
While I found Bubba in a very busy intersection of Burbank, California,
not far from the airport, many refer to the area as a 'suburb of Los Angeles'.
As far as I know, Bubba spent the first year of his life living in Los Angeles but his
first owner did mention that she had taken him on a trip to the country in Oregon.

"When you were twelve you had a white animal.
That same animal's spirit was in Bubba.
He came back to help you with issues dealing with the abandonment by your father."

When I was 12 I had a white Toy Poodle named Bambi.
My parents divorced when I was four and I never really knew my father.

"Bubba taught you how to watch stillness; how to honor wisdom.
You gained great wisdom from learning how to watch."

"You helped him cross over.
You did a compassionate thing. He blesses your name."

Yes, I did "help" Bubba cross over. See April 28th.

"I believe he had lumps growing inside of him.
On the lower part of his left lung. They hadn't been discovered yet.
He was also struggling with his kidneys.
He was beginning to have arrhythmia."

"He says that when he was 11, he didn't look a day over 5.
But after he turned 13, he started to lose his hearing.
You might have thought that he had selective hearing."

No, Bubba dear, you truly didn't look your age.
And yes, I always said that Bubba had "selective hearing".

"He was always very polite."

That's why I called him the "perfect gentleman".

"He loved you. If he could have been 'velcroed'
to your left hip, he would have been very happy."

"He wasn't fond of boys around the age of 12.
These boys, they threw something at him.
They might have hurt his right eye. He had a problem with depth in it"

One day about three years ago, I noticed that someone had thrown a dozen or more lemons
over my front gate and into the area in which Bubba and Pinche spent most of their day.

When I walked outside to check my lemon tree,
which was directly in front of the gate, it was bare.
Someone had picked all the lemons off and had thrown them at the dogs.

As I stood there trying to figure out who would have done something like that,
a neighbor came over to tell me that she had seen the two little boys
who lived down the street throwing lemons at the dogs.
She had yelled at them to stop and was very upset about it.

Moments later, I caught the boys walking by and loudly gave them more than a piece of my mind.
They admitted picking and throwing the lemons at the dogs because, they said,
the dogs had barked at them when they walked by.

"About two weeks before he died, Bubba started talking
to you about giving him permission to go."

Bubba and I started "talking" about his leaving right after his bloat surgery,
exactly twelve days before he died.

"Bubba's body was unraveling. He said the vet was great.
He's finally resting after four very rough months.
He said that's when it started, about four months ago."

Bubba was diagnosed with Mega-E five months before he died.

"He fought as hard as he could. He was no quitter.
But he's pleased that I honored him. He was also having difficulty with his hind legs.
He didn't want to lose his dignity. He was also having problems with his right eye.

Bubba did have problems with his hind legs and a few weeks before he died,
his right eye began to sink into the socket.

"Bubba comes to you in the middle of the night. He comes to your right side.
He wants you to play with his ears the way you used to with your left hand."

Bubba always approached my bed on my right side.
As for playing with his ears, see April 29th, 10 pm entry
and the picture of his ear in my left hand.

"I knew how to play ball!"

"He felt that he was the superior ball player but he always let Pinche win.
Plus, he says, you didn't know how to throw the ball and he wasn't really trying to catch it."

See April 29th, 10 pm entry -- comments above the picture of the ball.

"Bubba has definitely connected with Pinche. Pinche was more intense.
He was surprised that Pinche passed first."

"He says he was good. And that a girl was very nice to him."

"I can see the vertical blinds, they would get stuck when he put his nose in them.
Four days after he died, the blinds were moved -- they were bent. It was a sign.
The blinds are the ones to the right of the center of your space."

Bubba would always be peeking out the front blinds when I came
home and they would always be bent out of shape.
The blinds are to my immediate right when I sit on the couch
in the family room which is the room I spend my free time in.
I did not notice if the blinds had been moved immediately after Bubba died.


As my time with Marlene wound to a close, she added that Bubba would send me more signs but that they would be subtle. Maybe a crease on the bed or in the blinds. Something as gentle as he was.

Thru-out the reading, I both laughed and cried. Sometimes both simultaneously.

The comments about Bubba thinking he was a good ball player; looking "hot" in red and "not a day over 5" made me laugh out loud.

Was it worth spending thirty minutes and about $65.00?


PS: After writing this, I decided to make another appointment with Marlene. It's next week and I will let you know if the Bubster had anything to say or not. ;-)

Ruff, real ruff
August 25, 2006

I am so glad this week is over!

Now, if only 2006 would end too.

For more reasons than I can list here, this has been a sad week.

One of the stories that I had to do involved hundreds of dogs and cats being removed from a rescue center by animal control officers.

Talk about heartbreaking!

And talk about making a case for spaying and neuturing.

The link to the story is on my personal website, if anyone would like to see it.

I can tell you that it made me very, very sad to see all those furry faces.

But since I'm not ready to adopt (yet) all I could do was come home and make a donation to one of my favorite animal organizations.

Though in the big scheme of things, it feels like so little.

Earlier in the week, a TV special on the orphaned children of Africa also had me in tears.

And again, rushing to my computer to make a donation to a group that helps them.

Back to the doggy front, I did speak to Marlene again (see above entry).

Unfortunatley, there is not too much to report regarding the Bubster.

Most of our time was spent talking about personal issues on which she did tell me many interesting things -- most of which I didn't want to hear, yet know in my heart are true.


The little there was about Bubba, I will tell you about later.

One nice thing did happen this week and it came in the form of a gift from a good friend: a medallion with the image of Saint Roch or San Roque on it.

I had never heard of this Saint but the story is very interesting as many consider him to be a patron of dogs.

I will try and post a link with the story.

You don't have a dog
August 28, 2006

"I'm tired and I want to get home to my dog."

Yes, I said it.

Last night.

I was tired and I did want to get home, that much was true.

The part about my dog...well, I guess some would say it was "wishful thinking" while others might call it a "Freudian slip".

The fact is that old habits die hard and true love, well, that never dies.

It's been four months since the Bubster died.

Four whole months and I still miss his furry face in the window or that funny bark/yelp of excitement coming from the backyard as I got out of my car.

I miss seeing him outside my bathroom door.

I miss him following me from room to room.

I miss him jumping up to the ceiling at the mere mention of the word "walk".

I miss the sound of his snoring.

I miss our slow walks around the cul-de-sac.

His friendship, companionship, understanding, love -- I miss it all.

I miss him.

August 30, 2006

It's not the first nightmare I have had this year.

I have had so many that I've lost count.

But it is the first with Bubba in it and after awaking in a cold sweat, it has left me shaken.

In my dream, Bubba lies in the wooden box he was buried in.

He is dying, yet still alive.

I cannot let him go.

I keep taking him out of the box, carrying him around with me as I sob hysterically that I can't let him die.

He's awake, alert but unable to walk.

The dream goes on and on...the scene repeating itself over and over.

It is draining.

I am drained.

September 19, 2006

No one was moving - no one in this case being Birdie-Boy and me.

It was Saturday night.

Rick and Ilsa were about to say goodbye for the last time and my eyes were glued to the love story that is Casablanca.

A large teardrop welled in my eye, held there only by the fear that its release would unleash an avalanche more.

And that's when it happened.

Immediately to my right, the blinds started moving.

Hitting pause on the recorder, I blinked several times, releasing the teardrop in the process.

The blinds were moving - swaying back and forth, left to right.


Less than two feet away from them, I looked closer…was there a fly caught in the blinds? A cricket, maybe? Nothing.

I looked at a hanging lamp to see if it was moving, after all I live in earthquake country. It was still.

I looked at Birdie-Boy - somehow hoping the poor Cockatiel would confirm what I was seeing.

He just looked at me.

The air conditioning was off.

The window is new - double paned and was closed.

The blinds continued to gently sway back and forth as I just stared, that single teardrop still rolling down my face.


Marlene had spoken of the blinds (see August 17th entry) - the ones to the "right of my space".

Slowly, they came to a stop.

With Rick and Ilsa's faces frozen on the screen, I just sat there in silence.


Waiting for something else to happen.

Nothing did.

Five Months
September 28, 2006

Two neighbors have painted their houses.

One planted a new lawn.

Another has created a beautiful rock garden with exotic looking plants.

In the five months since Bubba died a lot of things have changed on my cul-de-sac...proof positive that life goes on.

Today I walked the cul-de-sac for the first time in over five months....Bubba's red leash in my hand with a Chocolate Lab named Reese on the other end.

Yes, I found a dog.

Or a dog found me.

Before you get too excited, no, I am not keeping him because he has an owner.

His name is Reese and I found him last night on a Helicopter Base near where the Day Fire is burning.

If you haven't heard about the Day Fire on the news, it's the largest fire burning in the United States right now. It started almost a month ago on Labor Day and has burned over 160,000 acres with no end in sight.

I was in the area covering it for the news when I first spotted the Chocolate Lab wandering the airstrip.

He's a very friendly boy who was lost, hungry, thirsty and tired.

Reese had no name tag, and my photographer Dave (another dog lover) and I knew we had to help him so it was into the news van for him, where he promptly fell asleep.

And there he slept for four hours...waking only to make a brief cameo appearance with me on the 11:00 news in hopes his owner would see him.

Then Reese came home with me, ate a few cans of Bubba's food (which of course I still have in the pantry) and slept in Bubba's bed (which of course I still have in my room).

After a little detective work this morning, I was able to find Reese's owner who is thrilled to know he's ok.

And I am thrilled to know that he will be going home soon...back to those who love him.

Five months ago today I lost my boy, my best friend.

Today, I will return someone else's best friend.

You can watch the story of Reese's reunion by clicking on the link below:

Reese's Reunion

Six Months
October 28, 2006

For the first time, today I didn't cry when I visited the pet cemetary.

Not a single tear welled up. Not one.

Maybe it's because I am cried out.

Maybe I am getting stronger.

Or maybe I am too drained to cry.

I don't know what it is.

I do know it's not because I have forgotten or love any less.

On the way to leave flowers, I try and revisit what was happening six months ago today.

I can't.

Oh, I remember each and every painful detail but I just can't go there.

I want to because I want to think about the last time I saw Bubba alive.

But I can't.

Not yet.

Always Believe
December 24, 2006

One year ago today


What is worse, knowing you are losing something, someone?

Or having lost them?

One year ago tonight, I knew that I would be spending my last Christmas with both the Bubster and the Boyfriend.

Of course, I hoped I could stop both of my best friends from leaving but in my heart of hearts, I knew I couldn't.

I knew that no matter how hard I tried or how hard I loved them, there was nothing I could do.

But I tried anyway. I tried so hard.

I believed.

I believed until the very end.

But fate ran it's course and both left.

This year I lost a lot and while my heart is still broken, I now realize that what I didn't lose was my faith that things will get better, that things have to get better.

My faith has been shaken and stirred, tested and tried, but it's still here.

Always believe.

It's my new motto.

I miss Bubba.

I really, really miss him.

But tonight, I wish and hope that all of you are surrounded by the ones you love and that love you.

Furry friends, human friends, any kind of friends -- may your home and heart be filled with love this holiday.

Merry Christmas.

It's Over!
December 31, 2006

In exactly twelve hours, 2007 will be here and 2006 won't.

Twelve hours to go and I am counting every minute, for I have been waiting for this year to end almost since it started.

I cannot tell you how excited and hopeful I feel!

For as long as I can remember, I have always felt that each new year brings with it a clean slate; an opportunity to start all over...and I can't wait!

2006 will go down as one of the worst years of my life and it can't end soon enough.

Oh sure, there had been some pretty bad years before, but 2006 takes the cake for tears cried and dreams lost.

While on many occasions, I saw the best in people - most of them total strangers rushing to my aid when I so needed help - unfortunately, I also witnessed some of the worst qualities in mankind.

I lost Bubba - my best friend and loyal companion for over fourteen years.

The best boy you could ever meet, the Bubster was a joy to live with and I thank God I got to share my life with him.

Bubba defined the words loyal and noble. He was a kind soul whose quiet strength still inspires me.

Bubba was the perfect gentleman.

And not a day went by when I didn't feel that he was somehow thanking me for bringing him home.

I will never forget Bubba and the lessons that one old dog taught me.

That final goodbye I whispered in his furry ear on April 28th was one of many that 2006 would hear me say.

Just a few days later on May 4th, the day before my birthday, my friend Valentín Trujillo died in his sleep in Mexico City.

Valentín Trujillo

Having starred in hundreds of movies, Valentín was a legend in Mexican cinema. A teenage sensation and heartthrob, he continued to make movies until the day he died at the age of 55.

We became friends in 1996 when he accepted my invitation to appear on a talk show that I hosted and produced, "El y Ella". It would be his first television interview in 14 years. I was both honored and thrilled.

The following year, I was again honored when he asked me to star in a movie with him. It was a wonderful experience and one that I will never forget.

But most importantly, Valentín was my friend. A kind soul, he will be remembered and missed by many.

In 2006, I also said goodbye to a co-worker, Sam Chu Lin, a veteran reporter at FOX 11 News and a pioneer in journalism.

Sam Chu Lin

Another kind and gentle soul who left us much too soon.

Just a few weeks ago, on December 6th, death knocked again…this time on the door of Juancarlos Ortiz, another good friend and former co-worker.

Juancarlos Ortiz

For over a decade I knew Juancarlos as an extremely smart, witty and charming man who always made me laugh.

He was a published author, theologian and radio host who could talk intelligently and coherently about anything.

Diagnosed with Leukemia at 45, his friends and co-workers rallied around him in Intensive Care… we prayed and whispered words of love and hope in his ear but he died just weeks later.

And yesterday, a text message from a friend informed me that yet another death had occurred in 2006.

This time it was someone I didn't know but felt like I did - Los Angeles TV critic Ron Fineman had lost his battle with colon cancer at age 54.

Ron Fineman

Fineman's critiques were sharp and often acerbic and while I didn't agree with everything he wrote, I admit that I learned a lot from him. His website was a must-read for those of us who work in television news.

There were other losses too…losses of the heart and the spirit. The kind of disappointments and heartbreaks so painful they leave a scar on your soul.

Soon though, 2006 will be history…the pain, sorrow and goodbyes a distant memory.

2007 brings me hope and gratitude.

My New Year's resolutions include loving and laughing more, crying less; forgetting the bad, remembering the good; and celebrating each and every day with a smile on my face and thanks in my heart.

So cheers, my friends! ¡Salud!

Thank you for sticking with me thru thick and thin, thru bad and even worse.

Now, let the good times roll!

Happy New Year!

My Journey
January 21, 2007

"We noticed that you are writing less and less now.
Of course, we understand but wanted you to know that we still check your blog daily for updates. Please know that we care very much what happens to you and would like to continue reading about you. Hopefully you will keep updating us."

Excerpt from an email received from Lois Graham, North Carolina

Thank you.

This blog was never supposed to be about me, but looking back, I now see that just as Bubba and I were inseparable, our stories and journeys are too.

I know that my grief, loneliness, exhaustion and so many other adjectives that could describe the roller coaster of emotions I have felt is no stranger to all of you.

If you are reading this it is most likely because your best friend is or was sick and you have felt all of the above and more. That is why I wrote of it.

Please know that everyday, in my thoughts at least, I update the blog.

But since most of it is not about Bubba, only about me, I don't publish it.

I have found writing to be my outlet...a necessary part of my life. So much so that I am thinking about starting a third blog (the second one is my work blog) about my journey.

Right now, it's a just thought and we'll see.

Meanwhile, I will share that today marks an important anniversary for me.

One year ago today, on a chilly Saturday night that found me home alone taking care of the Bubster, my eyes were opened and life as I knew it would change drastically.

I wish I had the valor to spell it all tell you exactly what I found out that night that changed my life forever, but I don't.

More than just being personal and oh-so-painful, it is deeply, deeply humiliating.

It would turn out to be only the tip of the iceberg and the first of many humiliations I would see in 2006.

It suffices to say that night and thruout the rest of the year, I would find that someone very close to me wasn't who they pretended to be...that heroes are far and few between and that I had placed on a pedestal of integrity, honesty and honor, someone who did not deserve to be there.

That lesson took me a very long time to learn and cost me very dearly because for almost an entire year, I continued to believe, to love, to pray, to fight and forgive; thinking that everyone deserves a second chance.

A second chance, yes. Eight second chances, no.

What can I say? I am a slow and stubborn learner.

A year later, the lessons learned are many.

The first and most important, no one can hurt and humiliate you if you don't let them.

I should have walked away that Saturday night and never looked back.

But I didn't and allowed myself to be hurt and lied to over and over again.

I am to blame for all that humiliation and pain because I allowed it.

Never, ever again.

The second lesson is that love cannot change or save it all.

People only change when they want to...when they truly realize they are wrong.

One year later and I still lament that the person who hurt me so never made an honest effort to be honest.

It was so simple, so easy.

"Be honest", I begged, "be transparent. Lead your life without lies. It is not hard."

But one year later, they are still living a lie.

A lie that includes telling anyone who will listen what high morals and standards they have; how they are made up of "pride, integrity and guts".

They continue to live in a fantasy world that includes thinking they are the object of desire of anyone who looks at them twice and/or asks them for career advice; people who have absolutely no interest in them beyond the professional kind.

It is funny, and as someone recently said to me "they have gotten exactly what they deserve", yet at the same time it is pathetically sad.

Truth be told, it still brings tears to my eyes to see someone who I admired, trusted and cared for so much, someone who had such great potential in life, continue the same destructive and deceptive behavior.

Mired in unhappiness and loneliness, yet they continue to make the same mistakes over and over again.

One would think that after decades of the same behavior, a person would take a long, hard look in the mirror and say "It is me that must change" but no, some people just cannot do that.

The third lesson learned is that when something or someone appears too good to be true, they generally are.

It's pretty basic and something that over the last few years many people reminded and warned me about.

I didn't listen.

One year later and so much remains the much, yet so little.

One year ago I sat in front of this computer absolutely stunned as tears rolled down my face.

The same scene would repeat itself over and over.

Today, I sit here stronger...twenty pounds and one huge heartache lighter, I am stronger.

I am in a better place and very, very proud of myself.

Proud not that I wasted three years of my life on someone who did not deserve them, plus an additional one waiting for them to come to their senses -- but proud of my capacity to love and to forgive; my commitment, loyalty and the strength of my word.

On many days and nights, consumed by pain, I wrote here that I was losing two of my best friends.

I recently repeated that line and someone corrected me -- saying that I had not lost two best friends, but one.

Bracing myself for a battle about Bubba indeed being my best friend, this person stopped me mid-sentence.

"Bubba was your best friend", they said. "But the person who repeatedly betrayed you; lied to you; hurt you? That person, was not your best friend. They weren't even your friend. Friends don't do that to friends."

Boy, did that hit home! And hard!

Betrayal is a bitter pill to swallow. It hurts beyond belief and can leave you devastated and empty, not to mention heartbroken and sick.

"Ashen", said a co-worker to me just last week. "That was the color of your skin...ashen. You really seemed to be in a lot of pain last year."

I was.

But I realize now that everything I thought I saw in the person I placed on that pedestal was but a reflection of everything I stand for and everything I am seeking in another soul.

Love, integrity, loyalty, commitment, respect and honesty.

It is what I give. It is what I expect.

I found that in the brown eyes of one old soul named Bubba...but his eyes have closed and so now I continue on in my journey to find that again.

Hopefully this time, I will find it in a human's eyes.

Hopefully this time, it will be real and not merely a reflection.

My Journey: II
January 25, 2007

Today I was going to delete the last entry.

But since the response to it was, let's say, overwhelming, I decided to update it instead.

From your emails, I know that many of you have lived thru the grief that betrayal brings.

Like any form of grieving, there are many stages one goes thru, which can include denial,
guilt, sadness and anger.

All stages which I have been thru twice over and more.

They are the same stages I have gone thru over Bubba's death.

Four days ago I wrote that I was stronger and in a better place, which is true.

But just writing the post, reliving the hurt, brought back a lot of memories.
All of them, unfortunately, painful.

And last night, because of something so stupid that I once again found,
I realized that I am not over "it" yet.

Just as the person who hurt me is stuck in the same cycle, I am stuck in allowing it to hurt me.

I know the truth but occasionally I still feel compelled to prove it. And "he who seeks, finds".

Last night, I found.

I think deep inside I wanted to prove myself wrong. No one likes to be lied to and hurt
and I think we all wish that those who hurt us could feel the depth of our pain and learn from it.

But some people don't learn...they go on their merry way as if nothing ever happened.

There is no remorse on their part. There is no guilt or period of grieving over a lost love,
because they feel no grief, because they felt no love.

Like killer storms that sweep thru, they plow thru people's hearts and don't look back.

If they did, they would see the long trail of devastation and destruction their actions left.

They would see lives changed forever because of their betrayal and lies.

So, I admit it, I spoke too soon.

I may be twenty pounds lighter -- which is always a good thing -- but that heartache?
Well, it's still here. The hurt as raw and as painful as ever.

One year and four days later, the tears are still flowing at a fast and furious pace
and the need to heal continues.

It continues.

That Last Turn
January 29, 2007

Photo: Garry Jones

For eight months I followed his story.

I prayed for him; held my breath when he was down and silently celebrated when he got better.

I laughed when I read that he was back to "flirting with the mares" and I held back tears when he faced yet another operation.

But he was the little horse that could...he was a fighter and I admire fighters.

Truth be told, he reminded me a lot of Bubba.

And that is why today I cried when I read that he had taken that last turn for the worse and was now gone.

Barbaro, the handsome horse with such an amazing will to live lost his fight today.

After so many close calls, so many miracles of recovery, his owners had him euthanized when it was evident that he could not win this race.

I feel for Barbaro but I really feel for the people who had to make the painful decision to let him go.

They have my admiration and gratitude for trying so hard to save their "boy" -- pouring thousands of dollars and no doubt much love into caring for him, even though he would never race again.

I can relate, after having spent five months fighting the horrible disease called Megaesophagus that struck Bubba. The fight was hard, both on the heart and on the pocketbook but there are no regrets.

Like Barbaro's surgeon Dr. Dean Richardson said about the bay colt, Bubba too had many, many good days.

While both Barbaro's and Bubba's stories did not have that happy ending we all prayed for, I hope that their fight to live and the many miracles that did happen along the way, will inspire people.

And while Bubba never won a prize in his life, he was my champion. A true winner in every sense of the word.

Nine months and one day ago, I too had to let my champ go after he took that last turn.

It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made.

I only hope and pray that he knew I did it for him.

So, goodbye Barbaro.

Not only were you a champion colt but one hero of a horse!

Long after we have forgotten the names of the races you won or how many millions you made, we will remember your fighting spirit, we will remember you.

As we will Bubba and Pinche. And all our furry friends who fought the fight to the very end.

They did it for us.

We did it for them.

As Barbaro's owner Gretchen Jackson said, "grief is the price we all pay for love" -- and because we loved you, we are now paying that price.


Ten Months
February 28, 2007

Photo: FOX News

They say time flies when you are having fun.

I can tell you that it flies even when you're not.

They also say that time heals all wounds, all hurts.

That I can tell you firsthand, it does.

Ten months have come and gone since the day that I still cannot bear to remember...not even for a moment to write about it.

No, I still cannot go there nor do I want to.

Maybe on the one year anniversary. Maybe that day I will let my mind wander back and have a good, well-deserved-if-I-do-say-so-myself cry.

But today I want to tell you that things are better. Time truly does heal all.

I am keeping to my New Year's resolution of laughing more, crying less and it feels so good, so needed.

Twice in the last few weeks I have awoken from a sound sleep in the middle of the night laughing out loud.

Now that's a sign. ;-)

Bubba is not here but his memory lives on.

Bubba is not here but I still am.

Ten months later, I am finally starting to smile again and that my friends, is a good thing.


April 17, 2007

Dear Friends,

You are cordially invited to join me in celebrating the:

"First Annual Bubba Love-Fest"

A gathering to commemorate 105 years of a life well-lived and well-loved
on the anniversary of Bubba's leaving us to join Pinche.

Bubba's Place
Saturday, April 28th

On the agenda:

A visit to Pet Haven

Lunch, of course.
It was after all one of Bubba's favorite events

A recital by Birdie-Boy of his all-time favorite tune:
"Bubba, go pee-pee"

Topics to be discussed:

Bubba, Bubba and more Bubba

Including, but not limited to:

What a wonderful boy Bubba was
How handsome Bubba was
How smart Bubba was
What a good soul Bubba had
How skinny Bubba's mother has gotten
How much we all miss Bubba

Time allowing we can briefly discuss your pets although any
non-Bubba related items should be limited to 60 seconds or less.

Attendance is mandatory

Kleenex will be provided

Bubba's Mom

The above invitation was sent out to four of my friends who were with Bubba and I that last day.

It was one of the saddest days of my life but one year later I want to honor the Bubster with a celebration and a smile.

After all, he did bring me so much happiness!

Hopefully all of you who have faithfully followed our journey will join us that day, albeit in spirit and thought, as we remember Bubba Dog and all our furry friends who left before us.

Say a prayer -- simply smile -- give those you love an extra hug -- light a candle -- just remember, any way you choose to do so.

For we must never forget those that we loved and those who loved us.

This is the Week
April 22, 2007

Like most women, I have the memory of an elephant.

And while sometimes I can't remember the name of the person I met five minutes ago,
just ask me what was happening a year ago this week!

This of course is the week that Bubba died.

A year ago today I felt full of hope and oh so happy.

Bubba was back home; he was eating, walking and yes, talking! At least to Sarah and me he was. ;-)

But my happiness and hopefulness would not last long. Bubba's life was about to end
and one of the saddest days of my life loomed ahead.

As I look at the dates on the calender, I cannot help but remember every single detail
of what was my life one year ago.

So much has changed, yet so much remains the same.

I am, thankfully, in a much better place. I have grown immensely and changed
so much since that week.

The lessons I learned last year were of the bitter, hard-to-swallow kind...the life
changing ones that stay with you forever. The kind that change your outlook on life.
The kind you never ever forget.

But slowly I have moved on, making the most of what I learned as I promised myself
to never feel that way again, over anyone or anything.

That said, a few weeks ago I decided that soon it will be time to "adopt" again.

Yes, I will get another doggy.

I wanted to wait for a full year to go was my way of marking Bubba's importance in my life.

It was my way of mourning all the love lost.

There will never be another Bubba, just like there will never be another Pinche, Loli, Pepito,
Bambi or Joia.

But there is room both in my heart and home for some love.

It is time.

But please, no puppies on my doorstep; no pictures of heartbreaking furry friends
needing homes. Not yet. It will be a slow process.

Slow because just writing the above lines brought tears to my eyes and an ache to my heart.

It may be time to move on but it is still a difficult journey.


Ready to Remember
April 27, 2007


One Year Later
April 28, 2007

Until today, I had never thrown a dog-themed anything.

My dogs did not have birthday parties nor did they marry each other wearing
cute little outfits.

They never went anywhere with me in my purse and, with the exception of a sweater
and raincoat, I did not dress my dogs.

But today, I wanted to both remember the Bubster in a special way and thank the friends
that were here with us when he died.

The ones that held my hand while holding his paw...the ones who showered him with love
that last day...the ones who dried my tears and listened to my sobs.

A simple lunch can never repay what Cyndey-Sue, Donna and Linda did for us not only that day
but thru-out the grueling months he was sick but I wanted to do something.

And that's why today, on the one-year anniversary of the Bubster's departure, I held
the "First Annual Bubba Love-Fest".

Party pins, a swag-filled "Doggy-Bag", lunch and laughter -- it was a complete event!

Doggy-Bag with gifts and the "Official Bubba Pin" all guests had to wear

There were no tears this year -- I just didn't allow myself to go there although I've been
on the verge all day -- just friends getting together to remember one old boy who loved life.

Oh, how the Bubster loved life! Especially his walks and naps.

So we spent some time at Pet Haven where the Bubster is buried alongside my five other dogs.
It is a peaceful park -- filled with loving tributes to friends who have gone ahead.

L-R: Me, Cyndey-Sue, Donna and Linda

One of Bubba's best friends, Dan, had been there earlier to leave flowers, a card and a
box of "Frosty Paws" -- frozen doggy-treats which Bubba loved. As a matter of fact
it was the last thing he ate, a cup of "Frosty Paws" one year ago today.

(I write stuff like that and the tears well up.)

Thank you Dan...for all that you did for him before he got sick. Bubba loved you very much.

Then it was off to lunch at home and the grand opening of the doggy bag which included
a Bubba-Dawg (that's really his name) for each of my friends - wearing a special
bandana I had made to mark the passing of my boy, who to me was an angel, fur and all.

Bubba Dawg's meeting before the party started

And that, my friends, is how I spent my day; Bubba's Day.

A big part of me wants to have a good long cry and who knows, after hitting "upload" maybe I will.
There is no need to tell you how long this last year has been for me -- I think I lived it in dog years
and it really was equal to seven!

Thanks to all who wrote today...and thanks to those who didn't but still remembered.

Even without knowing each and everyone of you personally, you all were a big part of
the Bubba love-fest.

Thank you for your support and love thru-out the most trying of times.

Oh, one more thing...

"Bubba, son, wherever it is in the heavens that you are tonight,
please know how much I love you and miss you boy.
You will never know just how much, my dear Bubster."

I think I'll go hug my Bubba-Dawg and have that cry now.