Happy Trails, Mumford…

I’ve been putting off this post. So, I’ll keep it short and sweet.

On Sunday, April 2nd, Mumford passed away peacefully at home. Derek and I were at his side, and he fell asleep on our bed with the sounds of our favorite music in the background.

I would be remiss to not thank my network of support. My wonderful vet, Dr. Edgar Rodriguez at Portola Plaza Veterinary Hospital, who helped me feel at peace that it was time. Dr. Robyn from Gifts of Peace At Home Euthanasia in Pasadena for her kindness and compassion during the most difficult day.

To everyone who texted, emailed, called, listened to me, helped me through. I read every note and was grateful for every post. To my work family, who incredibly gave me the time the last week of Mumford’s life to be with him all week long until the end. I will be forever grateful for that most precious gift: time.

I plan on keeping this blog active for when I feel as if I can share more, in a healthy and not depressing matter. I’m sure memories will spark that will be shared here. And, Mumford’s eventual successor, when he or she comes into our family. Because I absolutely know that Mumford would want me to continue loving another pup.

A Mumford Update

Well.. Mumford isn’t doing so great.

Over the weekend, he didn’t eat much, but still seemed in good spirits. I had a feeling on Monday, when I went to work, he was a bit off. He was extremely slow on his walk. He wasn’t excited by his food. He woke me up Monday morning at 4 with diarrhea, but I was used to that now.

Monday afternoon I felt in my gut I needed to go home to see him. He was extremely lethargic and didn’t eat much.

I spent yesterday home with him. ¬†I did get him to eat a pig ear as a treat, and a puppachino. ūüôā

We went to the park together Рit was a beautiful day! Рand drove around Hollywood with the sunroof open and windows down. I think he liked that! He only ate half his breakfast, around 5pm.

Today is more of the same. Low grunts when he moves. He hasn’t touched his food. Laying on the blanket I made him on the floor. He woke me up last night around 2am, but didn’t go outside. He’s not barking at the door when I go to take him out, like he normally does out of excitement.

Work is letting me take the rest of the week to be home with him. I’m so fortunate for such a supportive and loving environment, I can’t thank them enough. I have a call to an at home vet, to see what options I may have if he continues to decline through the week. I would like to spend the rest of the week with him, and if we can time it, possibly say goodbye Saturday or Sunday.

I have read many articles online which continually talk about, “I would rather do it a week early than a day too late” in regards to euthanasia. I am just so worried his pain is becoming too much. I don’t want him to suffer, and I don’t want to cut his life short. This is seriously the most difficult thing I have ever had to figure out in my entire life. I keep thinking that I don’t know if I can do it. I just want to do the right thing.

 

Mumford’s Photo Shoot With Stacee Lianna Photography

The weekend that Mumford was diagnosed with his tumor, I immediately contacted my wonderful friend, Stacee Lianna of Stacee Lianna Photography. I knew that I wanted a shoot with him, and she would be the perfect person to have one.

It’s been almost 5 months, and I can’t imagine not having done this shoot with her. I was so fortunate that she had an opening that weekend in her special mini-sessions, which she only does once a year for the holidays. The photos she took I will cherish forever!

I had initially wanted to hold off on sharing these, as they were really just for me. They’re throughout my apartment, and I thought about sharing them after Mumford has passed on. But now – I want everyone to see them! Stacee is amazing and I just can’t thank her enough for this wonderful gift.

Visit her at http://www.staceelianna.com and enjoy the gallery below. ūüôā

Mumford’s Wisdom Panel Results

One of Mumford’s widely held nicknames is “Mumford the Wolf Corgi.” That’s because it’s one of the first things people think he is. In all honesty, it’s a rare day if I take him out in public and¬†someone does not ask me, “Is that a corgi husky?” And I always respond with, “He’s a corgi-something.” The Downey Shelter said that he’s a Norwegian Eklhound-Corgi; much researching via friends got me thinking he was possibly Swedish Vallhund.

Every so often I would tell someone that’s what I thought he was, and they’d argue that it was wrong. Who the heck knows!?

I ordered the Wisdom Panel kit from Amazon Prime and it came the next day. I swabbed Mumford’s cheeks that night and dropped it in the mail the following morning. It was logged as received a week later, and my results came in 2 1/2 weeks. Total time was 3 1/2 weeks from sending the kit back in until receiving my results.

So… here come the Wisdom Panel results. Scroll down to see their take on what he is.

The above is a screen shot from Mumford’s final report. My initial shock: no corgi detected!? How can that be!? But, I read on…

German Shepherd: Not a surprise at all. His colored coat, his face and ears, and temperment are definitely that of a GSD
Lhasa Apso: This was very surprising to me, however, I have had a few people who are familiar with the breed say they absolutely see it Рparticularly in his short legs and the softness of his fur
Samoyed: This is the one that I can see the most easily. The body shape, the tail, and especially the face Рdefinitely look like Mumford
Chihuahua:¬†I don’t see Chihuahua at all. Additionally, the Chihuahua breed had a notation in the online report, “*Breed detected, however at a lower confidence.” This lends me to believe the Chihuahua was a false positive.

Something else interesting to note about the test is that 25% of Mumford is still considered “mixed breed.” So, while corgi didn’t show up in his testing, it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Of course, this doesn’t “change” anything in how I view Mumford, but it was fun to test! I would be curious to re-test him to see if the Chihuahua shows up again or if Corgi is detected. If anything, when people ask his breed now, I will probably still give the short answer of “Corgi mix” because it’s just easiest. If asked “mixed with what?” (which I usually am) I’ll say German Shepherd/Samoyed. They are the easiest to account for his appearance, and without the Wisdom Panel, I would never have said GSD nor Samoyed.

I can see the Wisdom Panel being great information for someone to understand their dog’s personality traits and potential health issues. They also test for some genetic markers that could be helpful to a veterinarian.

Again, I’d love to run the test again just to see what it says, but I would definitely recommend it! To this day I would love to know what kind of dog my childhood dog, Maggie, was. Now I love that I can have that information for Mumford.

Hello From Mumfordland!

Boy – I’ve had a huge list of things to write about when it comes to Mr. Mum, but just no time. But this weekend is a long weekend, so here I am!

Here’s the Cliffs Notes version…

– Got Mumford’s Wisdom Panel Results back – and boy are they not what I expected! Full blog post coming soon. (Ish.)

– I’m still working on developing my idea for donating blankets to shelters in the Burbank/Hollywood area. I have been crocheting away and almost have my 2nd blanket done. Also going to look into fleece blankets, if I should become a nonprofit to take donations, and enlisting the help of volunteer groups. It’s a large undertaking, so it’s going slow. Have any suggestions? Leave them in the comments!

– Mumford is still having good days and bad days, but they seem mostly good. He has a compromised immune system so he’s been picking up bugs when it rains which probably are causing his diarrhea most times, but the antibiotics help.

– He is still very happy and seems to not be in pain. ūüôā

– Now that his double ear infection has cleared up, he seems to be able to hear again! Amazing!

Here’s a picture from Valentines day. His Auntie Krista made him a new bandana – which is reversible for Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day!

Mumford is Culturally Relevant

Last night, I posted a picture of Mumford and captioned it “Jedi Mum.” What I missed, until my friend Angela pointed it out, was the true¬†poignancy of my dog…

 

It all makes sense.

Mumford: You have to get up for work

Also Mumford: Stay in bed and snuggle. Be late to work.

Easy Forgetting

It’s easy to forget, as the¬†time goes by, that I’m caring for a terminally ill dog.

It’s also really easy to let it seep into every thought of every moment with him and dwell on it and just try to hold onto each second – to let it get to me, and overwhelm me, and be really difficult.

But lately, as I’ve been busier, it’s been much easier to forget.

The medicine and the special diet food are no longer purchased with the hope of “maybe this will make him feel better” or the thought of “here’s a thing I can do to help,” as it felt in the beginning – as if it’s a one-time thing. Now, the extra $200 expense a month¬†takes on a feeling of normalcy; almost an annoyance –¬†ugh, this food is so expensive. Why do you need such expensive food. Ugh – your pills are so expensive, what a pain. They’ve become a way of life.

I try to balance my budget and freak out when I realize that the extra $400 I had to spend this month in vet bills, food and medicine really¬†wasn’t accounted for. Of course, at the time (and in reality) I’ll suck it up and, as always, “find a way.” But again, it was easy to forget that expense is real, just like the cancer.

Without getting into too many details, I’ve found myself in a position where I need to figure out ways to make up the extra costs for Mumford’s care. In addition, other life expenses are piling up – student loan payments increasing, I stepped back from my part-time job to spend more time with Mumford, and so on.

Toinght, while texting Derek about my financial situation (because all I seem to do lately is stress out about it –¬†hard), he said to me, “I want to say something, but it’s really shitty.” And I replied, “Go for it.”

He said, “You know that in a couple months you will have less pressure on you [monetarily].”

In all honestly, I replied, “Why???”

The response of, “Are you really going to make me say it?” hit me like a punch to the gut. Because, in that prior moment, I truly had forgotten. It didn’t even occur to me that a few months are, most likely, all I have left.

It’s as if the normalcy took over and I just accepted the current state of what we’re in as how things are going to be now. I know that I probably became overly optimistic at Dr. Rodriguez’s analysis last Saturday that his tumor is growing less rapidly than he anticipated.

And then, in a sort of¬†cruel cosmic way of reminding me, when Mumford and I made it home tonight, he became sick all over the sidewalk. A kind of a — yeah, this didn’t go anywhere. Ignore it all you want, but it’s still there, just waiting to rear its ugly head just as soon as you get comfortable and forget about it.

I would take paying an extra $200 a month for the rest of my life in a heartbeat if it meant this dog would be there beside me.

Sorry I’ve Been Away…

Sorry I’ve been away. Life has been kind of hectic post-holiday break. I meant to write last weekend, but it was pretty hectic and didn’t happen.

So, let’s see. Beginning of last week, Mumford’s ears were bothering him more than usual. I try to clean them pretty often, especially when they start to smell funky. He’s always seemed to have ear issues, so I try to keep the flare ups at bay. He was scratching more than usual, so I cleaned his ears. By Wednesday, they seemed really horrible – the worst I’d ever seen with him. Both were intensely bothering him. I went to work and made an appointment with our amazing vet on Saturday. By Thursday, the entire apartment smelled horrible! I was seriously worried about him.

Fast forward to Saturday. Turns out he had a raging double ear infection caused by what’s most likely an allergic reaction. When I was asked if he ever gets table scraps, I had to admit yes (of course he does – the dog has cancer, he can have whatever he wants!) They then asked if he could have gotten into old meat, or the garbage… my one “issue” I’ve ever had with Mumford is that he ALWAYS gets into the garbage. It’s my own fault for not taking it out enough!

So, he’s now on a strict prescription-food-only diet for the next month. Not a single treat or table scrap. Which was really hard to resist at the Starbucks drive thru tonight when the Barista asked if he’d like a Puppacchino. ūüôĀ

The great news that came out of that appointment, however, was that my veterinarian seemed quite surprised – and very happy – that his tumor on his head has grown as little as it has! It’s grown slightly, but isn’t sensitive to the touch. A couple of the office staff remarked the same thing. So, this is great news!

Happy New Year!

Mumford and I had a great holiday break – and we hope you did, too! ūüôā He got to visit Orange County, explore Litte Tokyo, try a Sprinkles Pupcake, and do a lot of sleeping and movie watching.

I’m so thankful that he was able to enjoy the holidays with us. It was really hard at times to think that he most likely won’t be with us next holiday — but I tried to cherish every minute I had!

Now, back to the grind of me going to work and him hanging out at home. I’m still trying to spend all the time with him that I can possible.

Overall, he’s had good days and some not as good days, with little scares like throwing up water or being lethargic, but nothing he hasn’t bounced back too quickly from. Right now, however, he has what seems to be a raging double ear infection, so he will be checking in with our amazing vet in the morning. It just started up yesterday – but it’s pretty bad. Given where his tumor is on his head and the fact that this is bothering him so much, I need to make sure nothing else is going on.

Thank you to everyone who’s been asking how the little man is doing. Your thoughts and well wishes are very appreciated!
Happy New Year!

Netflix “Holiday Favorites” Review

Mumford’s new favorite spot – my niece’s Frozen bed.

Christmas chick flick watching time!

**Update — added one more Christmas movie the night of 12/28… “Christmas in the City”!

I was so fortunate to be able to take two (yes, two!) WEEKS.. not days, WEEKS.. of time off this holiday! Work completely understood my desire to spend time with Mumford (and, my boss was out of the office as well.) The week before Christmas was time off, and this week (the week between Christmas and New Years) I’m beyond fortunate enough to work at a place that is closed to give us all time to spend with our families.

I haven’t had two weeks vacation in.. well, ever (I don’t think??) and it’s been simply amazing. I’ve gone from working two jobs up until about a month ago, when Mumford got his diagnosis and I asked for time off from the weekend job, to now having more free time than I could imagine. I’ve cleaned, I’ve organized (the closet, the “catch-all” drawer, every space of the car that was holding onto junk), and most importantly… I’ve sat on my butt watching Netflix.

As a lover of all things Christmas, I was pretty disappointed when I saw the selection of Christmas movies available to stream. Sure, there are a few classics, but nothing close to what I had hoped. So, over the past week, I’ve made it Mumford’s and my mission to watch through as many of the made-for-TV cheesy chick flick Christmas movies as possible and review them. They’re definitely not our normal TV fare, but, they’ve totally grown on me and are kinda’ like Christmas-themed visual junk food. They’re just feel-good and, again, super cheeseball. I’ll take it.

Here’s how they stack up so far, order from worst to best:

A Holiday Engagement

¬† ¬† ¬†“A Holiday Engagement” originally aired on the Hallmark Channel. I had noticed it in Best Buy before due to its Love Actually-esque¬†cover. It’s nothing like Love Actually, but it was fairly cute. ¬†A woman is dumped by her fiancee’ just days before she travels home for Christmas, and she’s too scared to tell her family – so – she hires an actor to play her fiancee’. It’s highly predictable, the acting isn’t great, and of course it’s far fetched. 2/5.

Naughty and Nice

“Naughty¬†and Nice” aired on “UP,” the Uplifting Channel (which I’ve never heard of.) It involves a DJ being reassigned from Los Angeles to Colorado to assist with a Love-Advice radio show, hosted by Haylie Duff. This movie actually took me a couple tries to pay attention to and get through, but once I got into the movie, it wasn’t half bad. Haylie definitely makes the movie, but it’s not terribly unrealistic, even if it is predictable. 2/5.

 

The Christmas Card

So many people seem to have enjoyed “The Christmas Card.” It had been recommended to me a few times, to which I’m sort of surprised. It’s another Hallmark Movie, which was released in 2006 (to its credit, I hadn’t realized it was as old as it was until I checked IMDB.) A US Soldier receives a Christmas card from a town which mails them to troops – and it ends up being greatly meaningful to him. So, he visits the town once he has returned from deployment. He eventually meets the woman who sent the card and falls in love with her, despite her dud fiancee’. My favorite part was Ed Asner – who plays the father – and his very cute desire to matchmake the soldier, Cody, and his daughter, Faith. My biggest gripe was that¬†Cody was bland. Don’t get me wrong, he was decent to look at (which I’m sure is a prerequisite for these movies,) but boring as all get out. This one gets a 3/5.

A Christmas Kiss

¬† ¬† ¬†“A Christmas Kiss,” which I believe was from ION Television, was¬†super unbelievable and corny – but I really liked it and thought it was cute, if you can get past some of the ridiculousness.¬†sub par acting. Wendy, an up-and-coming designer, falls in love with her boss’s boyfriend after a spontaneous elevator kiss. It helps that Wendy is played by Laura Breckenridge, and her boss Priscilla is played by Elizabeth Rohm. Brendan Fehr, who plays Adam, falls a bit flat to me. All in all, this one gets a 3.5/5.

Christmas in The City

¬† ¬† ¬†“Christmas in The City” is a Lifetime movie that revolves around a single mother, Wendy, who takes a job at a department store in the city to help save her late father’s business back home. Ashanti plays the antagonist, Teanna Musk, hired by the department store to turn around profits. In doing so, she removes¬†the real Christmas from the store – and it’s up to Wendy, with some help from Santa, to restore it. In classic chick flick fashion, Wendy starts falling for the heir to the store, the handsome Tom. This movie was very cute, not¬†terribly far-fetched as far as these movies go, and the acting was pretty decent! I laughed out loud at a couple parts, and Ashanti plays a good villain. 4/5.

12 Dates of Christmas

¬† ¬† ¬†12 Dates of Christmas is a close second to the number one pick. Of course, it’s very unrealistic, but it was actually very cute. It took me a little while to get into the movie, but about 30 minutes in, it started to hook me. Stay with it to the end, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Suspend reality, and enjoy a cute holiday story. This one was produced by ABC Family, so it has a slightly higher production value than any of the other movies. Oh – and it’s got Mark Paul Gossler as the love interest, so how can you go wrong? With Amy Smart delivering a very cute performance as the lead, this one was a win (as far as made for TV movies go.) 4/5.

The Spirit of Christmas

¬† ¬† ¬†Ahhh, the Spirit of Christmas. This movie was quickly disregarded when I read the synopsis on Netflix. However, I had multiple friends recommend it – so, why not? And it moved into the #1 spot on my Christmas list. The movie revolves around an old inn which is in needing of being appraised upon its owner’s death. With no heirs, lawyer Kate travels to the inn to ensure its sale after multiple appraisals fall through under the pretense of the inn being haunted. An unbeliever herself, she quickly is convinced that the ghost is real (and real hot.) She takes it upon herself to help the ghost, Daniel, solve the mystery behind his death and why he is cursed to spend 12 days a year trapped at the bed and breakfast. It ends up being very charming and sweet. It actually, and unexpectedly, ends up being the least corny of all the movies.¬†I really enjoyed it and will watch it again next Christmas. 5/5.

Overall, I think the only one of these movies I probably¬†wouldn’t re-watch next Christmas is “A Holiday Engagement.” All the others were good enough for a repeat viewing – even if just to have on in the background while hanging up Christmas decorations. Each is festive enough to get you into the holiday spirit, and are lighthearted and enjoyable. Cheers!