When Life Hands You Lemons

When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemonade. We’ve all heard the phrase.  But how many times do we put it into practice?  Do we throw our hands in the air when things go sour, or do we use those hands to take action?  Lord knows I fall short of the mark; I’ll be the first to complain when I feel like c-r-a-p. But occasionally I manage to make use of what the Big Guy has given me.  And these times, above all else, are the true triumphs of my life.

I am someone who has been dealt both a fabulous as well as difficult hand, not unlike most people. Although blessed beyond measure with an amazing family and friends, fed, clothed and most days happy, I struggle with a disease that often has no rhyme or reason. When I was diagnosed with Meniere’s 6 years ago and put on a salt free diet, I thought okay. I will deal. But that acceptance quickly dissolved into anger, frustration and resentment. I felt as though I’d been cursed.  Thankfully, instead of giving up and accepting LIFE WOULD SUCK, I sucked it up and spit it out.  I already had the skills to solve the problem, I just had to DO IT.  And thus this blog and its twin (The Daily Dish) were born.

When my dog Max died a month ago, it was like I’d aged 10 years overnight. My world seemed fractured. I knew before he passed how much his loss would eventually affect me, when it came, but until it actually happened I’d never have expected its depth. In the past weeks I’ve tried to figure out where to go from here. It can never be the same, but should we get another dog? We tried. I’ll spare you the gory details, suffice it to say, we adopted an adult dog who was with us a mere night before return, leaving me to accept we’ll have to get a puppy if we get another dog at all. My kids & their safety, no matter what, come first.

Do you ever feel like you’re trying to squeeze a cantaloupe into a coffee mug?  No matter how hard you try to make it fit, it ends up exploding in your face, sending seeds and soggy pulp everywhere.  So you clean it up.  And try again. and again.  Regardless of how impossible the task is, you don’t give up.  Friends, I’m here to tell you to PUT THE F*CKING FRUIT DOWN ALREADY.  Sometimes it isn’t meant to be.  And other times, you can’t see the answer staring you in the face b/c you’re too covered in melon guts.

The past few weeks have been like that.  Trying to shove a big ole melon into a tiny glass.  I spent hours glued to Petfinder.  Checking Craigslist.  Cruising websites looking for the PERFECT DOG.  But you know what?  He’s dead.  Gone.  I know, I know.  Cut myself some slack already, but it’s true.  I was so intent on finding the way out of my grief, I failed to see what I was doing wasn’t helping.  It just made me miss Max more.

Two nights ago, I found the answer.  I guess I shouldn’t fault myself for checking Craigslist obsessively, b/c that’s where I found it.  I saw a post about a puppy and automatically clicked it.  But it wasn’t about re-homing said puppy (and trust me, this whole ‘re-homing’ business & its accompanying fees is another blog post altogether) but rather about finding this puppy a SITTER.  Hmmm.  If you can hear the gears turning, then BOY ARE YOU RIGHT.  This person has a young puppy and needs to find someone to watch said puppy during the week while they are away at work.  Said puppy is cute, and small, and furry, and loving and Oh By the way, You get paid to watch the puppy.  CHA-CHING!

As someone who is home full time, needs money and is in desperate need of dog, I wiped the melon pulp from my face and replied.  And guess what?  They wrote me back.  And said I sound perfect.  And you know what?  I wrote them back and hopefully this (now clean and illuminated) soul sitting before you will be squeezing lemons and soon, making lemonade.  With a puppy on her lap.

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26 thoughts on “When Life Hands You Lemons

  1. I honestly don’t know how I am going to feel when our pets pass, but they are family. I was so sorry to hear about Max but am happy that this situation worked in just the way it needed to.

    Puppies make good lemonade.

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    1. Hayden, the only advice I can give is DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME THINKING ABOUT IT. Death is an inevitable part of life, and life is for the living. As much as my heart still aches for Max, I can’t spend every day dwelling on it. (Though it may seem from the blog I am, and if so, sorry for being a downer.)
      As for puppies, they make a ton of lemonade, & let’s hope it’s not on the floor. hah! Love ya babe!

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  2. Several years ago I had to make the most difficult decision in my life. We had gotten a red (female) doberman pincherat the tender age of five weeks old. Now, after sixteen and a half years of being a member of our family, it was time for me to do what was best for HER. I just couldn’t wait any longer for nature to take it’s course. She was just miserable. I had to take her.

    I’m almost embarrased to say I’m not sure if I cried more that day or the day my father died.

    Good luck with your “Foster Puppying.” Don’t try to hid the puppy in the closet and telling the owner she got off her leash and ran off. 😉

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    1. Hah! Mssc54, thanks so much for your honesty and humor – you always have just the right thing to say / share. If this fairy godpuppying stint works out, you KNOW I’ll be blogging all about it! WOOF!

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  3. When we had to put our sheltie, Duncan down, I was so devestated. After a couple of weeks though, I knew that a puppy in my life would never replace Duncan, but would be so cute to look at and would give me lots of laughs. I was right. I followed Kiltie from being born, to 10 weeks old when I brought him home. He is another sheltie, and so wonderful. They say that Golden Retrievers are the No. 1 family dog-extremely great with children. They are active for the first two years,as is any puppy. It is SO WELL WORTH IT! Don’t worry, Max would want you all to move on and be happy. Plus, there is a puppy out there that NEEDS a loving family like yours, and a wonderful home like yours, and a wonderful world in which to roam-like Doles Mountain and the marsh. Abbie

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    1. Thanks Abbie! So glad you have another loving dog in your family. Each one is different, but they’re all wonderful in their own way. I met my (hopefully soon to be) puppy charge today, what a cutie pie. I’ll enjoy having him with me all week, even if he’s not technically “mine.” Should be great practice for our next addition, right?! 🙂

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  4. I lost a dog earlier this year too. She lived at my family house, a couple of hours away with Dad, but hearing she’d died nearly killed me. It’s awful when pets die, because people seem to think that since you can buy them in a store, they’re easily replaceable. The opposite is true!!

    Congrats on finding the perfect situation for yourself though! I look forward to seeing many gratuitously cute puppy photos.

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    1. Welcome leaf p ! I couldn’t agree more – from fish to dog, each of our pets has been or is a unique family member and I can’t think of any of them as easily replaceable. As for the puppy sitting idea, it seems to be a real WIN-WIN. And who knows, maybe it’ll may turn into something bigger? We’ve got plenty of space, maybe I could parlay this into a business. If nothing else though, it should be fun for now!

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  5. I am so sorry for your loss. Grief is one those snarly things that bites at unexpected times. Max was a part of your lives for so long…he won’t be “replaced”, you will have your fabulous memories and I truly believe…families (including pets) will be reunited in the next life. You will find each other 🙂 Hugs and Love to You…
    Doggy Day Care…How Cool!

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    1. I firmly believe that too, Connie. Some may scoff, but I can’t imagine heaven without them. As for doggie daycare – so far, so good! My puppy charge enjoyed an hour long walk yesterday and lots of tidbits from the dinner table. (I’d forgotten how voracious they are at that age.. !!)

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  6. in my child (and into adulthood) my family had two dogs: sasha (1982-1991),an american eskimo miniature, abby (1992-2007) a cocker spaniel, who my mom got when i went to college.

    when those dogs died, it was like a family member died–and that’s what they were to us. every christmas eve from 1992 until 2007, i’d spend the night at my parents’ and abby would sleep with me, under the covers. it was our holiday tradition.

    i could never have a dog now because i’m not home enough and it wouldn’t be fair, but i know my mom wishes she could have another dog–but it’s too hard for her with my dad and sis right now.

    there is nothing like a pet and i hope that this surrogate puppy works out for you guys.
    xoxo

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    1. Nat, thanks for the story. I love hearing about other people’s pets. It just reinforces how unique each of us are — animals included. I think having a new puppy in the house is a good thing. Reminds me how exhausting they are!! Makes me appreciate being able to give him back; sort of like being a grandparent – LOL! XO

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  7. SO, in an interesting turn of events, my job as puppysitter lasted exactly ONE DAY. I rec’d an email yesterday letting me know my client’s car had been booted. Car boot = no way to get here + no cash to pay. So I guess that’s that. Maybe I should just update my “Stuff I’d like to have page” to include PUPPY.

    Sigh.

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  8. I just found your blog, and I chuckled when I read you had a disease that makes you dizzy and have been obsessively looking for a pet on petkinder and craigslist. Now, before you go thinking I’m being mean, what I am trying to say is that I have both of those problems, too … and I laugh because I can totally relate to the whole when life hands you lemons thing.

    While I have Dysautonomia, it’s really the same thing–I don’t get enough medical advice other than being told to exercise, drink water and eat salt rather than staying away from it. I haven’t heard of your disease before, but I’m going to research it after posting this. All I can say is I am so sorry you have something that sucks and you can’t get enough help for it. I know what that feels like!

    As for my obsessive pet looking-I just want a baby and since I can’t have one, I am looking for the next-best solution. Yesterday I found a pet-sitting job as well, and finding your blog today just made me smile. It’s nice to know in a entire world two blond women with black glasses can be diuzzy and obsessing about animals at the same time!

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  9. Hey GG!! Always great to meet another dizzy blonde (NO PUN INTENDED) So sorry to hear you’re plagued too, but good to know you’re putting a positive spin on things. (Could these puns get any worse?) Anyway, best of luck on your pet quest. My poor husband has seriously tired of me fluctuating between tears & euphoria. I get swept up in the “latest find” far too quickly (read: immediately) and by the time my mind catches up, my heart’s already been re-broken. Take yesterday for instance. I found “Snickers” at a local refuge, got the green light from my husband to go check her out, but by the time I arrived was told she’s going home with someone else. Didn’t even get to pet her once. This dog finding business is exhausting.

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  10. Sorry for your loss of Max. It is hard when a treasured pet dies. We are currently facing the loss of both of our cats, the speed that age has caught up with them is frightening. We now face a difficult judgement call, how to make sure that they retain a quality life and aren’t suffering.

    We would love a dog but as we both work and are out of the house for long hours we made the judgement call that it was not fair on the dog. As our cats are too old to take up dog sitting I was beginning to lose all hope….but now I see there is a service….so how long will it take for you to get from Maine to the UK, what hours can you do?. I’m afraid you will have to fly Redneck First Class (You can blame “But I still feel unusual” for this) we are not made of money and the world is in recession after all.

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    1. Hah! Sorry BlackLOG, apart from the fact I don’t fly, at this point no one could pay me enough to tend their pet. Cute or not, far more hassle than it’s worth.

      So sorry to hear about your cats. My parents recently lost 2 and are still grieving. Hang in there.

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  11. I never would have thought that having a foster puppy could be such a cool idea. Kudos to you for giving it a try. I hope it helps fill the emptiness. As great as it sounds, I don’t think I could do it. As much as I missed Bodie, I wanted a beagle that replaced him. I wouldn’t make a good foster pet owner.

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    1. Tammy, I tried my best, but the puppy sitting lasted all of one day. Not my fault – my client’s car got booted and she couldn’t get here. I was initially upset, but now think it’s better that it didn’t work out. If I’m going to invest that much energy caring for a pet, it’s going to have to be MINE. *hint hint*

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  12. Christy & family, The new puppy is adorable. What beautiful markings! Roxy is fitting in well with the Ellington menagerie. The tree is perfect; you’ve decorated it well. So glad that Christy’s family could share quality time with y’all walking the marsh & trails. Boy, it’s cold outside. Snow will make it feel warmer. Enjoy Roxy and the Christmas holidays. Kate

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    1. Thanks Kate! We are in L-O-V-E with Roxy. Max was half Rottie / half Shepherd, so it seemed fitting to go with one or the other. Kind of like having his little sister around. The tree smells great and it was wonderful being able to decorate with our family. Maybe we’ll have a white Christmas this year? Either way, wishing you very happy holidays!

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  13. After our previous Poodle Misty aka Missy Moo died at age 10 we were devestated. She was one in a milion. We decided not to get another dog, at least for a while anyway. We felt that we’d never find another one like our much loved little girl. 6 months later being dogless was really starting to suck big time. I had been volunteering as a weekend dog walker for the RSPCA but having that brief dog company made me miss Misty even more. Our Poodle breeder friend who we had got Misty from had a recent litter of black puppies at the tme & offered us a good deal on a girl. We finally decided to get her & are so glad we did. Dixie is the most wonderful little girl & her nature is so sweet that she could pass as one of Misty’s pups. We have had her 2 years now & are both so glad we decided not to remain dogless. A dogless life just seemed so empty, especially now our kids have grown up & flown the nest.

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    1. Tony, Thanks so much for sharing your story. I agree 100%. Just b/c your beloved pet dies doesn’t mean you should live a sorrowful dogless life. If a dog’s greatest pleasure is bringing happiness to his or her owner, I can’t believe they want less for you after they pass. My daughter asked, “Mommy, do you think Max is jealous of Roxy?” I said, “Honey, Maxi only ever wanted us to be happy. I know he is happy now.”

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