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Chiot’s Rest

August 11th, 2014

Our gardens were named after Lucy, the original chiots. “The Chiots” name was inspired by the French section of the dog food bag and the name stuck. Chiots, which we pronounce “chee-oats”, means puppy in French. There were many nicknames: Stinky Chiots, Brown Chiots, The Brown Wonder, Big Brown, The Luce, etc. She was a large part of the gardens, always being out and about with me as I weeded and worked, following me here and there. Yesterday was her final day in the garden, now instead of our garden being a place where the Chiots can run, it’s a place where the Chiots can rest.  A place where she can rest her weary, painful joints and enjoy peace.
Over twelve years ago we stopped the local dog pound on a Friday afternoon and spotted a lovely lab/hound mix with a few puppies. The puppies were born at the pound, their mama was dropped off a few days before she had them. We knew right away by the mom’s temperament that the puppies would end up being wonderful dogs.  With all the craziness that is the dog pound, barking, jumping, running, whining, she was standing quietly at the front of her kennel watching us, almost begging us to take one of her babies to give them a nice home. That day a little brown chiots came home with us, she rode in a cardboard box on my lap and she whined the entire way back to the house. She was covered in ticks and fleas, so we settled her into a kennel in the garage.
lucy (1)
At only 10 pounds and around 7 weeks old, she was a wee little thing. That night she got very, very ill with parvovirus. After reading that 95% of puppies with this virus die, we mourned the loss of our puppy and called the vet, who told us to try to keep her hydrated over the weekend and to bring her in on Monday if she survived. She managed to make it through the weekend and Monday morning found us at the vet’s office with Lucy in a box. They kept her for a few days and gave her IV fluids and we picked her up a few days later, full of spunk and energy. She only weighed 7 lbs at that point and was super skinny, but she had pulled through, we had our puppy.  We knew then she was going to be a tough dog, and she proved she was, many times throughout her life.
Lucy was a terror as a puppy, as most dogs are, digging up flowers, making a mess and generally being way too energetic for her own good. I’d be up every morning walking with her for miles trying to use up some of her boundless energy. That never really happened until a few years ago.
lucy (4)
Lucy was also a lover of cats, always enjoying when they slept and snuggled with her. She loved rubbing her nose in their soft fur.  Luckily all of our cats have always loved Lucy, except Dexter, who was leery at first but learned that she wasn’t so bad after all since she warned of visitors and other things with her barks. Every now and then you can even find Dexter sneaking in a rub on Lucy’s legs.
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lucy 6
Dressing up was also one of her favorite things, which is good because her cousins LOVED to dress her up. She had many costumes throughout the years and loved every single one.
lucy 3
lucy 9
Lucy 2008 3
lucy 12
dress up lucy 1
A Reindeer Chiots
Lucy ballerina 1
Chasing and biting at snowballs was a favorite winter activity. She really enjoyed winter and seemed to have extra energy whenever there was snow on the ground.
lucy 10
lucy 11
Snow dog
Lucy also loved hanging out with her cousins (my sister’s kids).  We got her six months after our first niece was born, they have known Lucy all of their lives and have loved playing with her. One of her most favorite things was to go trick-or-treating with them every Halloween. No doubt they will feel her loss deeply as she is woven throughout their childhood memories.
Lucy 2008 1
Lucy 2008 2
lucy and the kids
lucy at halloween 1
lucy at halloween 2
lucy at halloween 3
Lucy ballerina
Lucy’s arch nemesis was the UPS man, she’d sit in the front yard all day waiting for him to drive by. When we finally came she barked ferociously and then jumped in his truck to greet him with glee. I’m fairly certain he liked her as much as she liked him. He had dogs of his own and we even gave him homemade dog treats every year at Christmas.
lucy 13
Lucy 2008 5
lucy leashed up
Lucy ballerina 2
lucy 14
lucy nose
Lucy & Daffodils
Lucy ended up being a large part of our lives.  She traveled with us, walked with us and was involved in many of our adventures.  She stole everyone’s heart when they met her “She’s the best dog” everyone always said after being around her. They all loved “The Luce” and so did we.  Though we are sad she is gone, we are happy that she is no longer in pain.  The last few months have been tough for her and for us. We knew when she stopped wagging her tail constantly that the pain was getting worse, even with increased doses of her pain meds.  Last Friday she had a stroke or a seizure and it became very difficult for her to walk. We knew, and she knew. We gave her the weekend of her life, she feasted on bacon, cat food, popcorn and ice cream.  She laid in the cool grass under her favorite tree and talked to her cousins via FaceTime.
Lucy 2014 1
Lucy 2014 2
We took her on a last car ride, something she loved very much. Monday morning our vet put her to sleep, right in the back of the car. It was fitting really as it was one of her favorite spots. “Wanna go to gramma’s” was one of her favorite things to hear. She’s get excited and jump into the back seat. Though for the past couple years there has been no jumping into the back seat, she still gets very excited when she thinks it’s time for a ride. She was laid to rest in one of her favorite spots, the very spot she’d spend hours sleeping while I worked in the garden.  Next spring we will plant a tree here to always mark this special place.
So Long Lucy
Lucy 2014 3
So long old friend, we’ll miss having you in our lives. You were larger than life, woven through almost every memory we have from the last twelve and a half years.

The episode that never will be…

December 3rd, 2012

Mr. Chiots here filling in for Susy. As I write this it is midnight, in six hours we are climbing in moving truck #2 and heading back to Maine. This past week has been intense. We celebrated two Thanksgivings and one Christmas. I harvested 3 deer which yielded around 130 lbs of meat. Susy picked up 50 chickens and a turkey for the freezer. We visited with friends and family. I picked up the worst cold I have had in years. To top it all off, we signed our end of the closing papers and had to have the place cleaned out as we will not be back in Ohio until long after the buyers give us the check (or someone gives us a check).

Today as we loaded the last piece of our lives on the big yellow truck, we had full intentions of recording a podcast from our empty house, sharing memories that had been made there over the past 10 years. It never happened, and therefore will never happen. Time was too tight and we were WAY too tired.

But Susy and I took a few minutes and walked around. We shared memories of each room. Of ding and dents. Of projects past. Of changing careers, and doing it again. Of building a successful business in the office. Memories of friends that dined with us and family that visited regularly around our table. Of the gardens and the transformation of them. As the memories folded over me I began to weep. Susy hugged me and asked “Are you sad?”. I shook my head but could not speak. After wiping my tears and catching my breath I replied, “I am not sad. I am happy we have these memories and I realize this house is not these memories nor are the things on that truck. Our memories are us.” I hugged her again and we both told each other, “I love you.”

One other thing that happened in the last ten years is this blog and all of you coming and reading about our simple life. So thank you. Thank you for sharing in our lives as we share them with you. You don’t know how much we appreciate the encouragement that you give. We are excited to continue this journey with you.

Here’s to the next memory!

Next week we will return to our previously scheduled program.

So Long Ollie Bud

September 24th, 2010

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

Our good friends had to say goodbye to their little dog Ollie yesterday. It’s such a sad thing to have to make that decision when your pet becomes ill. It’s definitely one of the worst parts about having a pet. Ollie had his moments when his Jack Russell blood came through, he could be obstinate and annoying, but he was also energetic, loyal, and entertaining. No doubt after some time to grieve this loss, good memories of Ollie will fill the painful void left now that he’s gone. As C.S. Lewis writes above in his book about love, pain and loss; you can’t have joy without sorrow. When we open ourselves up to love by bringing people and pets into our lives we not only open ourselves up to great happiness and joy but also to the deepest sadness and pain as well. Here’s a tribute to our friend’s little dog Ollie, Lucy’s dearest friend.

So long Ollie, we’ll miss you sitting in front of the TV grumbling while we try to watch a movie, we’ll miss your excitement every time we came over to visit, we’ll miss you chasing the bean bags when we played corn hole, and of course we’ll miss you’re optimism that someone was always going to drop something delicious on the floor for you to eat!

Have you ever had to say goodbye to a pet?

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.