Monday, June 30, 2008

It's another sad doggie day



Uga VI To Be Buried In Sanford Stadium On Monday
Courtesy: UGA Sports Communications

ATHENS, Ga. --- Private burial services for Uga VI, the mascot for the University of Georgia, will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, June 30, in Sanford Stadium.

Uga VI died in his hometown of Savannah, Ga., on Friday from congestive heart failure. Uga VI will be transported along with his owners, the Frank W. "Sonny" Seiler family, to Athens via a University of Georgia plane. He will be buried in a marble vault in the Southwest corner of Sanford Stadium with his five predecessors.

The Georgia football teams compiled an 87-27 record during Uga VI's tenure, which officially began in 1999 with pre-game ceremonies prior to the South Carolina game. The Bulldogs captured both the 2002 and 2005 SEC Championships as Uga VI became the winningest of all Georgia mascots. Uga VI's record surpassed the previous best mark of 77-24-4 by Uga IV.

All of Georgia's athletic teams enjoyed remarkable success during Uga VI's reign. All told, 19 of Georgia's 35 national championships were secured under Uga VI, and Bulldog athletic teams won 35 SEC Championships. In addition, Georgia recorded six top-10 finishes in the Director's Cup, the annual all-sports competition ranking the nation's top athletic programs.

A successor to Uga VI will be announced by the Seilers and the Athletic Association at a later date; however, the Seilers have stated that the lineage is secure.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Goodbyes and Hellos

I was recently invited to join the My Military Life blog. It's a group blog in which all the participants are military spouses. I'm really excited to be a part of it and think it will be a neat experience. Here's the link to it: http://mymilitarylife.wordpress.com

Today the post on there was about a Coast Guard family who has a daughter with terminal cancer. Her story touched me so much I just had to share it.
It's the post currently at the top of the page and it contains the link to Hadley's Caring Bridge page. Go learn about Hadley and her family - you'll be glad you did.

On a happy note, some friends of ours had a homecoming today! Bryan went to college with Cope and Tara and we both love them. Cope deployed last fall and Tara gave birth to their son in December. Cope arrived home for R&R today and was finally able to meet his son! I'm just so happy for them and hope they have a wonderful few weeks in which the time passes VERY slowly!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Misha

In the fall of 2001 I moved into my first apartment that would allow pets, and I was determined to get a dog. I already had my heart set on getting a Pekingese, and I just needed to find the right one. A pure bred Pekingese is an expensive purchase for a college student but I had saved a little money to be able to buy one. I was looking through the Atlanta paper at their dogs for sale ads, when I came across a very strange one. There were 2 Pekingese dogs that were being given away for free. I immediately called the phone number listed and agreed to meet the person halfway between Athens and Atlanta. I met a lady who was not the owner of the dogs but was helping to get them adopted. The dogs were 6 and 8, but the 6-year-old was already spoken for so the 8-year-old was all that was left for me. Ideally, I had wanted a new puppy but when I saw this dog I knew I couldn't leave without her. She was in bad shape and didn't look at all as beautiful and well groomed as most Pekingese. Her hair was matted and she looked frail. Her name was Misha, and her owner had been an elderly lady who couldn't take care of her anymore. It was apparent that she hadn't been well cared for in quite some time.
I took Misha back to Athens and to the vet. She was indeed underweight and had gum disease throughout her mouth. She immediately had to have many of her teeth pulled because they were in such poor condition. I ended up spending in vet bills more than what I would have paid for a new puppy. There were times when I wondered what I had gotten myself into, but I adored this sweet little girl. It took a while for Misha to warm up to me, and I think she had a hard time adjusting to a new home. There was a mirror that sat on the floor in our apartment and in those first weeks she would always go over and lay in front of the mirror. I often wondered if she thought the reflection was her sister.
Misha was with me through the remainder of college, and we became a family of three when Bryan and I got married. Misha was always around Bryan on the weekend but never quite took to him. After living under the same room with him, she finally became as attached to him as me. We were basically the only people she was comfortable with.
Misha was with us for all of our moves. We went from Greensboro to Dahlonega, to Ft Sill, to Germany, back to Ft Sill, and back to Greensboro. She even traveled with us sometimes on our weekend trips around Europe. She kept me company through all Bryan's field exercises and our first deployment. It was always nice to know that I wasn't alone in our home.
Misha started to have problems about a month ago. Her back and back legs just weren't able to go like she wanted them to. We tried medicating her but in the end there really wasn't anything that could help her. Her body was finally just giving out after all these years. During the last week she refused to eat, and that was difficult to handle. Mama was able to get her to eat a little bit of food by hand so that's what I started doing. I would hold her and feed her a little bit of anything I could get in her mouth. We tried a few different dog foods, cooked chicken, sandwich meat, hot dogs, etc. We had a small victory on Saturday when she decided to eat a little bit of strawberry yogurt!
Saturday night to Sunday morning she spent most of the night whining and yelping. Misha never barked or made a peep unless something was very wrong. The fact that she was constantly vocal that night was an obvious sign that she was miserable. I made the decision that I would call the vet and make arrangements to have her put to sleep on Sunday afternoon. On Sunday morning when I got up she was sleeping and I was glad that she was finally able to relax some. Around 10am I checked on her again and noticed that she didn't appear to be breathing. I spoke to her and petted her but there was no response. She was still very warm so I knew it had just happened.
Not only do I have a friend who is a vet, but one of my best friends was actually a vet tech for years. I called her and she insisted on coming right over. She arrived and checked Misha for any signs of life. She felt a faint heartbeat but said that this was definitely the end. She helped me put Misha in the box that we had planned to bury her in. I am so thankful that I didn't have to be the one to end her life, but that didn't make losing her any easier.
On Sunday afternoon, we buried Misha in a nice spot at my parent's house. I'm going to order her a small stone grave marker to place where she is buried. Most of the time this all seems surreal and it doesn't feel like she's actually gone. Then I will have moments where it hits me hard.
Ever since I got Misha I've said that having a dog is a good way to learn how to be a parent. You can't just get up and go without making arrangements for them. You have to clean up after them when they have accidents or get sick. There are so many other ways in which having a pet and caring for a child are similar. Maybe Misha taught me everything she could to help me take care of Marlie. Of course Marlie will never have her own memories of Misha, but we will always consider them sisters. I had never taken a picture of the two of them together so I made it a point to get one last week. It's obvious that Misha was not feeling well, but Marlie was so excited to have Misha sitting right beside her.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Decisions

My heart just keeps getting heavier. I want to be able to help Misha get better, but I know that's not realistic. We went back to the vet yesterday because she has gotten where she won't eat. I knew there was nothing they could really do for her, but I wanted to at least take her in to be seen. Brent gave me a different food to try that's basically their "go to" food for animals that won't eat. He said that at this point, he was okay with her spinal problems but he's not ok with her not eating. We're going to try this food for a couple of days but if she doesn't start eating then we need to think about making some decisions.
I've obviously already been considering those decisions. I'm someone who has a hard time deciding what to eat for dinner so I can't even wrap my mind around making a decision about a life.
Misha is having a very difficult time. She can barely walk and when she does, it's not long before her back leg gives out. She'll then whine or bark until I can come help her up. I usually just carry her and lay her back on her bed. Lately I've been getting up 2-3 times a night to help her when she's fallen. Last night it was 5 or 6 times. I read that you should consider putting your dog down when their bad days outnumber their good days. I can't even remember when the last time is that she had what I would consider a good day.
After typing all that, I know it seems obvious how we should proceed. I know deep down that I wouldn't be killing her but that's certainly what it feels like. I don't believe in "playing God" when it comes to a human's medical care so I have a hard time choosing to do that with my pet.
I'm holding out hope that she will start eating a little bit and get stronger but I don't feel like that is likely. For now, I'm just going to try to keep taking care of her and being the best mom I can be to her.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Newest blog

Yes, I have yet ANOTHER blog!
Since I'm really trying to get some training going around here, I figured I should have an internet presence. I didn't want to fool with trying to create a true website, and blogs are just sooo easy. So here is my fitness blog. I'm not real creative when it comes to something like picking out a name so I just combined my initials with 'fitness'. I'm still working on it, but I would love some feedback on how I could improve it. I've had pictures suggested so I'm going to work on that.
Check it out here:
http://csfit.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Debt Free Car Owners...again!

A week or so ago we paid off the last of our car loan. We got our car in October 2006 so we were able to pay it off in about 20 months. We didn't have any debt when we bought the car so we have been anxious to get back to being debt free. We received our title/release of lien in the mail yesterday so we now officially own our car and have no debt! Yay!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kodak Moment



I learned about this picture yesterday. I think it's awesome. I guess it was chosen by the Kodak gallery website as their Kodak Moment for June. You can click here to learn more about the picture. http://www.kodakgallery.com/galleryexposure/kodakmoment?UV=807310650127_807832165605?UV=807310650127_807832165605&view=1

Monday, June 09, 2008

Another busy weekend!

This was another busy weekend for Marlie and I!
Friday night I went to my first girls night in a long time. I believe the last time I did something like that was during Bryan's last deployment. We just all got together and hung out at my friends house but it was nice to be able to spend time with so many of my girlfriends that I grew up and went to school with.
I had a fitness workshop to attend in Macon yesterday so we originally planned to go down there on Saturday and spend the night. Our plans ended up getting changed and we just stayed in Greensboro Saturday night. I took Marlie swimming for a little while that afternoon, and she had a great time as usual. On Saturday morning we were in Marlie's room playing on the floor and she had what I consider to be her first official crawl. She's been doing a crawl/roll/sit combo for a little while but she did a true crawl to get to a toy she wanted. She probably would have done more but she accomplished her objective so she stopped there.
Yesterday I left for my workshop before Marlie had woken up in the morning. I ended up being gone a total of about 10 hours. I had a little anxiety as that was the longest I've been apart from her. She did well though and I know it was harder for me than her!
Finally, I must share a picture of my little rascal this morning. She was eating her bananas while I washed a few dishes. I turned around and she had apparently decided to style her hair with the bananas. She looked so funny!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

2 Years Later

On Bryan's last deployment, he and one of his NCOs were the first people in his brigade to be engaged in combat. Unfortunately, that was only the beginning of a lot of "excitement" to come for Bryan. His Combat Action Badge (CAB) award recommendation packet was submitted by his command and fell through the cracks over and over again. It is insane how many times it was lost. Finally, two years later he has received the award orders. Bryan appreciates the award but is one of those who considers everything that happened "just doing his job". However, as his wife, I want to make sure he knows how proud I am of him for everything he did his last deployment and is doing during this one. Here's some info I found on the CAB.

DESCRIPTION: A silver badge 2 inches (5.08cm) in width overall consisting of an oak wreath supporting a rectangle bearing a bayonet surmounting a grenade, all silver. Stars are added at the top to indicate subsequent awards; one star for the second award, two stars for the third award and three stars for the fourth award.

II. SYMBOLISM: In keeping with the spirit of the Warrior Ethos, the Combat Action Badge provides special recognition to Soldiers who personally engage the enemy, or are engaged by the enemy during combat operations. The bayonet and grenade are associated with active combat. The oak wreath symbolizes strength and loyalty.

III. AWARD ELIGIBILITY: The Combat Action Badge (CAB) may be awarded by any commander delegated authority by the Secretary of the Army during wartime or the CG, U.S. Army Human Resources Command and will be announced in permanent orders.

(1) The requirements for award of the CAB are Branch and MOS immaterial. Assignment to a Combat Arms unit or a unit organized to conduct close or offensive combat operations, or performing offensive combat operations is not required to qualify for the CAB. However, it is not intended to award all soldiers who serve in a combat zone or imminent danger area.

(2) Specific Eligibility Requirements:

a. May be awarded to any soldier.

b. Soldier must be performing assigned duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized.

c. Soldier must be personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement.

d. Soldier must not be assigned/attached to a unit that would qualify the soldier for the CIB/CMB.

(3) May be awarded to members from the other U.S. Armed Forces and foreign soldiers assigned to a U.S. Army unit, provided they meet the above criteria.

(4) Award of the CAB is authorized from 18 September 2001 to a date to be determined. Award for qualifying service in any previous conflict is not authorized.

(5) Subsequent awards:

a. Only one CAB may be awarded during a qualifying period.

b. Second and third awards of the CAB for subsequent qualifying periods will be indicated by superimposing one and two stars respectively, centered at the top of the badge between the points of the oak wreath.

(6) Retroactive awards for the CAB are not authorized prior to 18 September 2001, applications (to include supporting documentation) for retroactive awards of the CAB will be forwarded through the first two star general in the chain of command to CG, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, ATTN: AHRC-PDO-PA, Alexandria, VA 22332-0471.

(7) Wear policy is contained in Army Regulation 670-1.

(8) Soldiers may be awarded the CIB, CMB and CAB for the same qualifying period, provided the criteria for each badge is met. However, subsequent awards of the same badge within the same qualifying period are not authorized.

IV. DATE APPROVED: On 2 May 2005, the Chief of Staff, Army, approved the creation of the CAB to provide special recognition to soldiers who personally engage, or are engaged by the enemy. HQDA Letter 600-05-1, dated 3 June 2005, announced the establishment of the Combat Action Badge.

V. SUBDUED BADGE: Subdued badges are authorized in metal and cloth. The metal badge has a black finish. The cloth badge has olive green base cloth with the bayonet, grenade, oak wreath and border of the bar embroidered in black.

VI. MINIATURE BADGES: A dress miniature badge, 1 1/4 inches (3.18 cm) in length is authorized for wear on the mess uniforms. A miniature badge, 1 3/4 inches (4.45 cm) is also authorized in lieu of the regular size badge.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Full Hands

Things have seemed really busy lately. When I arrived home on Sunday evening, I noticed small puddles of urine on the floor. Misha is getting older and having some bladder issues so this wasn't entirely surprising. The problem was that it was tinted with blood. Thankfully I have a good friend who just graduated from vet school. We were actually roommates my senior year of college so he knows Misha well. He assured me that it wasn't anything urgent and probably just a urinary tract infection. He asked me to bring Misha in to see him at the clinic on Monday morning. Unfortunately things got worse overnight. About every 2 hours all night long, Misha would start yelping. She was trying to get out of her bed but couldn't walk. We've known she has some spinal problems but now she was obviously in a lot of pain. Each time she would do this, I would have to run and help her before she woke up Marlie! By the time morning rolled around I was very glad we had already made arrangements to go to the vet clinic. My friend examined her and did an x-ray. He said the best chance for her to get better would be surgery on her spine at the UGA vet school. That would be A LOT of money with no guarantee that she would get better. We decided that for now we would just try to manage her pain with medication. For the past few days I've been having to carry her around a lot and pick her up each time she tries to walk but can't. She is also on 5 different medications which I have to give her orally twice a day. This is a lot to deal with in addition to taking care of a 9 month old. Misha was my first "baby" though so I really hope that she will start feeling better soon. I don't have any recent pictures of Misha, but here is one from last summer. She joined Bryan and I on a weekend trip to Switzerland, and this is her in the car.

On a more positive note, I started teaching a new fitness class last night. Only a few people attended, but I hope they enjoyed it and will spread the word. It's been a while since I've done any fitness instruction so I definitely felt a little rusty. I did enjoy leading the class though and hope I will continue to learn and gain some good experience from it!