(I tried posting earlier but had problems so if this is a duplicate, I'm sorry!)
I had 3 dogs until the holidays: my 13-1/2 year-old Shih-tzu male named "Chibi" (means "little one" in Japanese) and my son's and his wife's two 12-year-old rescue pooches, a little girl Shih-tzu named "QP" and a little boy Malti-Poo mix named "Sammy." I've had Chibi since he was 3 months old and he was a real momma's boy to me, a typical empty-nest filler after my 2 kids left home. My son asked me to take in his dogs a couple years ago because his wife was expecting their 2nd baby and they were still living in an un-fenced rental duplex, and didn't want to take care of them any more. Both Sammy and QP were sweet little dogs and inseparable buddies so of course I took them both. They lived in another state. Unfortunately and not too surprisingly, my Chibi didn't take to these new dogs very well and while they didn't fight, he always kept his distance.
All 3 dogs had various health issues that required frequent vet visits, medicines and watchfulness. Then there were the grooming visits and costs. I loved all 3 of them and my days were filled with their care. Right before and right after I got the 2 dogs, however, I experienced several health issues with my family and myself. My oldest brother had just died of colon cancer; my older sister died of advanced uterine cancer after 15 months of illness. Before that my husband was diagnosed with and survived lymphoma. I was the primary caregiver for all 3 and also had to manage the affairs of my 2 single siblings. Then last summer I was found out I had early-stage breast cancer and had to undergo major surgery. The reason I bring these up is because I found myself torn in all kinds of directions and always had to balance my dogs' needs with whatever else was going on!
Things came to a head around Thanksgiving of last year. My husband and I took our dog with us on a road trip to visit our kids. The other 2 dogs were supposed to board in a local kennel but at the last minute, a friend offered to dog-sit QP who is a sweet, lovable pooch. He recently had to put his 16-year-old Shih-tzu to sleep and expressed an interest in adopting QP. It turned out he really loved her and decided to keep her permanently. I knew she'd adapt well and I was thrilled she found a new home/owner but it was sad because we didn't have a formal good-bye, especially Sammy didn't get to see his girlfriend one last time.
During our trip home, Chibi got violently ill and we ended up having to take him to an ER in Minnesota. He improved by the time we got home but was definitely weaker. Sammy in the meantime didn't seem to perk back up after his boarding -- maybe he was heartsick? -- and we found out he had a large mass on his spleen. The vet didn't recommend treatment due to his age (he also had few teeth left) so I had him put to sleep on Dec. 8th. A couple of weeks later on Dec. 21, just days before Christmas, Chibi followed.
Losing all 3 dogs around the holidays and within the same time frame was terribly hard. I had a hard time hosting Christmas at my house although it was a good distraction keeping busy with the activities. Afterwards, I cried my heart out so much, it hurt so deeply and badly. I miss my little friends and while I'm grateful QP has a new family, I ache for Sammy and Chibi. A neighbor gave me a ceramic windchime in the shape of an angel that had this inscription: "You left your pawprints on my heart!"
I'll try to post pictures of QP and Sammy later. This picture is of my dear sweet Chibi.