Our turn. Joy and pain, like sunshine and rain.

Chloe_7_yrs_old_2005

 

Her name is Chloe’ von Musehaus. She was the best. She was amazing to our household.

Chloe’ – Greek name for a German beauty…”rustic beauty”.  In keeping with tradition and with the breeders request, I had to name her with a name that started with a  “C” since she was from the 3rd litter of the bitch. Her name has changed over the years with nicknames the boys have given her. Right now we call her “Poe” for some reason.

She was born in June of 1998 to a fine bloodline. Her Mom was a certified “tracker” – her Dad was a Schutzhund 3 ranked bad ass. I’ve had her since she was 9 weeks old. I trained her for a couple of years with a local group of enthusiasts in “Schutzhund” which means Protection Dog. In Schutzhund, the dogs are put through stringent obedience, tracking and protection drills. It is the standard training for the German Shepherd Dog. Many go on to be search and rescue, and police dogs.

Chloe did well with obedience and bite work, but she was too soft. She was more of a Labrador love hound than protection dog. That’s ok. She’s been the best dog ever to our family and to my two sons and all of their friends.

She’s been through a lot with us in 12 years. Numerous “Marley & Me” moments like raiding the refrigerator and garbage-then throwing it all up, lots of dog sports, camping in the mountains, lots of swimming, sitting on the sidelines watching the boys play soccer, show & tell safety classes to teach children how not to get bitten, violent scraps with other dogs and a couple cats …even a copperhead. In the last few years she started winding down; bad back, bad hips, bad breath…great love.

She is a part of our family DNA. We adore her. She adores us. Just like it’s supposed to be.

February 11, 2011: 12 years, 7 months of love. Over the past few days Chloe’ suddenly started showing signs of listlessness and loss of appetite. Blood work and radiology showed an enlarged heart and mass on her spleen. Doctor recommended we let her go. As you know, that ain’t easy. But we did. 

Rest in peace my friend, my companion, my furry daughter. You were the best. We loved you with all our hearts.

The Boldest Thing I’ve Ever Done: My kids

Me_austin

I was once asked what the boldest thing I’ve ever done in my life was. At the time I wasn’t sure.

Up until today, I’d say it was a decision in 1998 to alter my domestic life. I broke up my family of four. Without delving into the sorted details, I took the kids – she took the house.

One of my biggest concerns over the years as a Single-Dad raising two boys was how they would be affected.  How they’d adjust. Yes, often the concern was how to feed, clothe them and how to keep the power on.

Today my oldest son Austin walks the stage and receives his High School diploma. A monumental moment because it marks the end of his basic training and the beginning of his advanced learning as a young man…more or less on his own.

It’s a proud day for all parents on graduation day but here’s a BIG verbal “high-five” for single parents that have sacrificed, scraped and succeeded to manage a life, career and household on their own. Fortunately, for every single parent there’s often a network of close,  understanding friends, Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents that make the road less bumpy.

The tears rolling down my face today are from the guilt of not being able to provide more over the years and for the things I still feel I need to teach him. At the same time my tears are from the pride and joy I feel for how remarkable my son has turned out without a lot of “those” things. He’s a fine young man. He melts me.

To borrow from the cheesy but true line from Sandra Bullock’s “The Blind Side” I hope we all relate as parents…I didn’t change their life. They changed mine.

My children are the boldest thing I’ve ever done.

Congrats Austin. Thank you for making my life so rich and my job raising you as easy as you have.

You’re going to be just fine.

Love,

Dad