13th Birthday & our Farewell to Lochrima

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And so we catch our breath.

In the last two months, life here has changed. When I started composing this post, the date was April 10th, and it was the day before our beloved greyhound, Lochrima’s, 13th birthday. But before I could finish, she starting limping and on April 13th was diagnosed with cancer. While we knew she was old for a big dog, nothing really prepares you for those words. The vet said it could be days or weeks, that she had a tumor in her chest so advanced, it was pressing on her heart, lungs, intestines and stomach. It felt like Doc kicked me in the gut. The tumor caused her limp because it was restricting blood flow to and from her legs. This was the only symptom of a cancer that was at least months old, if not a year.

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Our sweet greyhound, age 12, on what became her final road trip, October 2014. This was at a farm stand on the way home from Rehoboth Beach DE.

Basically, the DH & I dropped everything and spent time with Lochrima. Work and clients waited. Chores were set aside for another day. We found out how amazing our friends were, as many of them showed up with food for us and treats for Lochrima. There were visits from dog pals, with whom our girl enjoyed a sniff in the yard and her birthday cake. There were visitors from far and near. Turns out that other folks loved Lochrima, too, and wanted to say goodbye.

That awful day came on May 1. That morning the tumor opened up and started to drain into her lungs. We had the choice to basically let Lochrima drown in her own tumor-fluids and blood, or to put her down quickly and spare her the painful dying process. And we chose euthanasia. May 1 was one of the most difficult days either of us have lived through. On the drive to Doc’s office we looked down at her crying – and she was looking up at us with tears rolling down her face. We didn’t even know that dogs cried tears, or that any moment could be so painful. That day, we also learned how much we could cry.

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Lochrima loved the beach. Here. at Dewey Beach DE, above right, and Jekyll Island, GA, right. She also loved a nap, and was expert at finding comfy spots like this papasan.

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Flashback to when we drove a convertible – Lochrima loved to ride in the backseat, with Doggles of course. At right, she’s wading in the waters near Taughhannock Falls, NY.

Many people say companion animals are very special friends. That’s got to be the understatement of a lifetime, really. Companion animals fill the spaces that humanity cannot. They know a depth of love that brings true acceptance, forgiveness and compassion – one that people rarely offer to each other. As I type this, sitting beside the empty sofa with no hound on the fuzzy red dog blanket, the vacancy serves to remind me of how much joy, spirit and devotion Lochrima selflessly gave to us. I frequently wish I was more like her.

DH & I  have taken time recovering, getting back to work and daily life. We are both still broken-hearted and are no where near ready for a new dog in our lives. Yes, we know how many dogs and cats and rabbits and more need loving homes. We know our house is empty and that there is an unoccupied dog bed next to the desk. But we’re not there. Sometimes, you need space to exhale.

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Sometimes, she reminded us how good the simple things in life really are – like an afternoon walk or just sitting in the garden to enjoy the spring breeze. Lochrima loved being in the garden and would sit outside for hours while we pulled weeds and did other chores.

As a tribute, we plan to create a collection of the homemade dog treat recipes we have made for her. Some are already on this blog; others are still in our notebooks. If you have never baked treats for a dog (yours or a friend’s) you should get on that immediately. Nothing compares to the appreciation of a dog who has waited patiently by the oven, sniffing homemade cookies – and then eating them! Stay tuned for that later this year and if you’re local, we can use some canine taste-testers.

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Snow hound! For a skinny dog with very little body fat, Lochrima LOVED the snow. She was originally from Massachusetts, after all (she raced there in her pre-rescue days). Yes, she had several coats and sweaters. The pink was her favorite.

Until then, here is the birthday cake I baked for our sweet hound for many years every April 11th. She adored it with vanilla coconut-milk ice cream. Or as-is.

As a final gift for Lochrima, I ask you, beg you – please celebrate every damn day you have with those you love – dogs, cats, horses, birds, people. We all get too wrapped up in nonsense sometimes to focus on what is really important – loving the way our animal friends dounconditionally.

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This one was of her final days. Dog pal Rummy came all the way from Philadelphia to share birthday cake and say farewells. They both enjoyed the cake. 🙂

Carob Chip-Peanut Birthday Cake for Dogs

2 Tbl. flax seed meal mixed in 4 Tbl. warm water

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 Tbl. non-aluminum baking powder

1 Tbl. carob powder

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1 cup applesauce

1/2 cup brown rice syrup or molasses

3/4 cup carob chips

Preheat oven to 375. Mix together flax seed meal and warm water to gel into a binder, set aside.

Stir together whole wheat flour, baking powder and carob powder. Add peanut butter, applesauce, brown rice syrup or molasses and flax seed meal mixture. Stir by hand until well combined, about 60 strokes. If the batter seems too dry, add a little water (this can vary based on your peanut butter brand!).

Spray a cake pan, springform pan or muffin tins with non-stick spray. Pour in batter, distributing evenly.

Bake cake for about 20-30 minutes or “pupcakes” about 10-15 minutes until batter is set and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and serve to birthday dog – or any dog you love and want to celebrate for just being your pal!

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These pawprints will never be gone from our hearts…

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A sweet sunset with Lochrima. We miss you!

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15 responses »

  1. She will forever be in your heart. I was fortunate to be a client greeted at the door by her sweet curiosity and loving wet nose. What a beautifully written tribute for her.

  2. Lochrima was a wonderful pup.

    I know it’s a small thing but her and Zoey helped save a lot of other greyhounds by inspiring people, including me to adopt.

  3. Dear Nate & Rissa,
    I feel your pain. I also feel the love you both shared for your sweet dog. We are so blessed to feel the emotion of Love. And Being able to extend that loving feeling to others is a gift from the heart. The joy you shared in your family, between one another, will ALWAYS BE WITH YOU. I pray that your love for one another will fill the sadness you are feeling in your heart. My blessings and Love to you all.
    Xo Cindy

  4. My heart breaks for you. We’ve lost three greyhounds to various cancers, and it never gets any easier with each passing. Thanks for all the love you gave her over the years. Greys are incredible dogs.

  5. My husband and I know exactly what you are going through. We lost our beloved Greyhound, Doreen, to osteosarcoma . We had five wonderful years with her. She was diagnosed in June and we opted to do infusion therapy to keep down swelling and pain. She had infusions every two weeks. It was only palliative but she was her wonderful self for six months. In December she quit eating. The only thing she wanted was peanut butter so I cooked her chicken breast and cubed it and rolled it in peanut butter. Finally, we knew she was in pain and would pant so we made the decision. We shed more tears than we thought humanly possible those six months and beyond. A year later we felt ready for another. Daffy chose us and we have been so blessed. He is a very gentle but playful and loving companion. We felt Doreen sent him to us.

  6. Rissa and Nate, I am so sorry to hear about Lochrima. I know your hearts are broken. She was such a special lady and so much a part of your lives. You adopted her when I adopted Brett, seems like only yesterday! He is still with me but at 13 he is feeling his age.
    You gave her such a wonderful life and she gave you that unconditional love. Her tribute is beautiful and made me cry. We have them such a short time. May your hearts heal in time and her sweet memories remain forever.
    Love, Bev

  7. Oh, Nathaniel, and Rissa,
    Words are inadequate to express how sad we feel about your loss of dear Lochrima. I can’t believe that we won’t see her at Grapehounds or Dewey. We remember at Grapehounds last year seeing her taking a nap with Rissa in the sun. We lost our dear Celia three years ago to that devil, osteosarcoma, and it broke our hearts, so please know that we understand how terrible you feel.
    She had a wonderful life with you, and she knew how loved she was. The only downside of having animals is that they don’t live as long as we want them to…….
    With much love,
    Keith and Georgia

  8. Such a beautiful goodbye, in your thoughts, words, and photographs. She has left a paw print on all our hearts and will be missed. ❤

  9. Beautiful post and the recipe sounds great.
    Lochrima looked so happy… so beautiful!
    Such a sad experience. I’m sorry you had to see her in such pain. “Animals fill the spaces that humanity cannot” wow that is such a true statement.

  10. I’m so very, very sorry. I didn’t know you had lost Lochrima until Grapehounds. I can’t imagine how painful the event was for you both. Know that you’ll see her again when we’re all over the Bridge and that all animal lovers understand your pain.
    Cindy, Lochrima’s masseuse some years ago —

    • Thank you Cindy! She loved you and always loved a hound-massage! So good to see you this weekend, even if only in passing!

  11. Pingback: January | the dirty hippie & the bohemian girl

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