The Cross

The definition of a cross is an upright post with a transverse bar, as used in antiquity for crucifixion. 

When we visualize the cross, most if not all of us think of Jesus – the pain and suffering He endured for the sake of mankind, to wash away our sins and offer us salvation.

“The Cross is a great contradiction. Death and life; hate and love; violence and peace; accusation and forgiveness; sin and purity; brokenness and wholeness; all is lost, everything is gained; destruction and restoration; defeat and victory. Once the cruelest form of execution, yet now, a symbol of abundant life.” – Sarah Coleman

Let’s delve deeper into that fateful day when Jesus lost his earthly life through the “Sorrowful Mysteries
The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden
Jesus went to pray in the garden of Gethsemane. He prayed to the Father agonizing what He was about to endure, knowing what He was going to endure. But alas, “Thy will be done.”
His friends fell asleep on Him, although He had asked them to keep watch, not once, but thrice.
Let us not fall asleep on Jesus or our faith. He had faith and love for His/Our Father to pray and trust with the knowledge that The Father knows best.
“Thy will be done.” We don’t always know what our Father has in store for us, but we need to learn to trust in Him, like Jesus.

The Second Sorrowful Mystery: Scourging at the Pillar

Scourging is the worst form of punishment; Jesus, innocent and sinless, was tied to a pillar with no type of cloth layer between Him and the whip. Here, He was flogged over and over again.
Jesus went through the worst kind of torture for us. He did this as prophesied. He gave up His pain to the Father in accordance to His will.
When we are suffering physically, we need to offer up our pain and suffering to the Lord.
Think about Mary, our blessed Mother, and what she went through during this horrendous time: watching her innocent and only Son, tortured, watching Him being scourged, and not being able to do anything to help Jesus.     
This is much like when we watch our loved ones suffer, and we cannot ease their pain. I thought about this a lot when my mother suffered through her intense pain from the cancer that was slowly eating away at her. I wanted so much to take that pain away from her, but I couldn’t. I felt Mary’s pain then and what she endured while watching what her dear Son, our Savior, went through.

Third Sorrowful Mystery: Crowning with Thorns

Jesus is “crowned” with thorns, however these thorns weren’t just a wreath upon His head. These thorns were like nails being pounded into His skull!

Notice the spiked thorns in the “Crown of Thorns” plant

The soldiers continued to mock Jesus by giving Him a staff made from a reed (like a scepter), and clothed Him in a purple cloak. The PURPLE cloak symbolizes royalty, wealth, and status. 

Jesus offers us courage as He was brave and courageous to go through these last moments leading up to His death.
Christians are persecuted every day for their faith in our savior, Jesus Christ.
Believers in Christ are mocked by those who do not grasp what Jesus went through to wash away the sins of mankind.
Those with mental illnesses can offer up their sufferings to Jesus.

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: Carrying of the Cross

The carrying of His Cross was extremely burdensome especially since He had just been  scourged and had thorns practically nailed into His head. He fell, and although others around Him tried to help Him up and carry His cross up the steep rocky incline, the soldiers did not allow this. They even whipped Jesus to get Him to move faster.
We all have our crosses to bear, and they may seem, at times, too heavy to carry, let alone lift, BUT this is when we need to ask our Lord to help us.
Carrying the weight of the world upon our shoulders is very tiresome. It is extremely frustrating when we keep stumbling upon our path. This is when we need to turn to Jesus, and remember what He went through.
We are not alone in our suffering, we have loved ones and authority figures to help us out. We only need to ask for help. We don’t need to fall over and over again, and get up without help like Jesus did.

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion

The ultimate sacrifice, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ being nailed to the cross, to His Cross. The Five Wounds of Christ healing us. 
The soldiers nailed Jesus, pure and innocent to a cross and then lanced Him in His side to check if He was still alive – blood and water gushed from Him. 
He died on the cross to save us from sin. We are lucky to be able to go to confession and have our sins erased. completely forgiven so we can start anew.
Christ dying for us and then being resurrected, promises us that a life of faith will lead us to eternal paradise, in the Kingdom of God where there is no strife, no pain, no suffering. We are reborn!

The CROSS is the symbolism of our Lord being crucified for the sake of humankind to be ultimately saved. 

*** NOTE: The images are mostly from the movie, The Passion of the Christ which is a very difficult movie to watch as it closely portrays what Jesus Christ went through to prepare the way for us to live within Him. I highly recommend this movie!
#SorrowfulMysteries #TheCross #FinalDaysOfJesus #JesusSaves

Halo, My Golden Shadow

Searching for Mirrors

I was looking through a Facebook group looking for mirrors, table top ones for craft shows, and I came across the photo above. It stated that the owner couldn’t keep her any more and was looking for a free home.

😡 People should know better than to offer up their dogs (or pets) for free to strangers. I messaged the gal and gave her my references and let her know I used to work at a veterinary hospital and gave her this as a reference too. I don’t know if she called my references or not, but she did call me to let me know I could come and get “Zoey.”

Drive to Hayward

My friend, C (who’s also a veterinarian,) came with me to pick Zoey up. The drive was very long and oh my gawd, I had to drive across a bridge! This is one long a55 bridge, and I have a serious fear of bridges. 😬

We finally made it to Hayward and met the woman and her daughter at a park. Zoey wanted nothing to do with us. The lady told us Zoey’s heart wrenching story.

Her original owner had died, and then she went to live with the lady’s sister who had two boys. These boys tortured Zoey. They would pick her up and drop her, lock her in a drawer or closet, and who knows what else may have happened.

So, the lady was Zoey’s third home in less than two months… and my house became her fourth home.

Zoey was very attached to the lady’s daughter. I had bought a big crate which C and I had to put on the ground and lure Zoey in, but she wasn’t having any of that.

So, we had to gently drag her into the crate and leave her leash on because she was a land shark.

This is actually an image of her in mid-bark, but you get the idea of what she looked like with us.

Home in SC Mountains

I had set Zoey up in a smaller crate within a pen with pee pads, water, and food in my living room. It took a lot of coaxing and a few days later, I was finally able to remove the leash from her collar. Removing her collar took about 1 1/2 weeks.

Zoey to Halo

I didn’t really like the name Zoey. Too many people name their pets this, and I didn’t think it really suited her. Plus, if she has any bad memories associated with that name, I wanted to quell those right away.

Since this little blonde dog followed me everywhere, I thought of her as my golden shadow, and then was thinking of a name that summed that up. Halo stuck.

The Facebook ad had said she was spayed, but she wasn’t. So, I brought her and my cat, Felipe in to be spayed and neutered, respectively. Spayed usually refers to ovarian-hysterectomy, but she ended up only having a hysterectomy.

The photo above is after she had her surgery and was licking at her incision. Tsk tsk.

Miscellaneous Photos

Here’s Halo sitting in a chair beside me. For a long time, she wouldn’t let me out of her sight. She had severe separation anxiety.

When I first picked her up from Hayward, she came with her bed, brush, food, and shampoo, but not a toy.

This little duck is the first toy that she received from me, and she immediately started chewing on it and playing with it.

Here she is in her parka. It gets super cold in the mountains.

You cannot really tell, but she has an underbite.

Living in Pumpkin Center

After the fire consumed our home, we moved to Pumpkin Center, a small town outside of Bakersfield. She, my dogs Lance and Gwenyth, and my three cats: Blur, No Mar, and Abygayle were my companions.

Here’s sweet Halo resting on my bed. She is sleeping on her pillow.

Halo in her bunny 🐰 coat that I picked up at Ross.

IMHA

IMHA is abbreviated for Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, which is also known as AIHA or Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia.

IMHA is a disorder where the body doesn’t recognize its own red blood cells and starts destroying them. Without red blood cells, the dog becomes listless and can die.

When Halo first started vomiting, I gave her an antiemetic, famotidine, also known as Pepcid. I didn’t take her into the hospital right away because she has been known to eat strange things in the yard and then get a tummy ache from it.

But her urine was bright yellow, and her gums were pale. I brought her into the emergency clinic, and the doctor said she had a heart murmur and also did some radiographs on her. Her intestines were full of gas. But the doctor also thought it’d be best to run a PCV (packed cell volume) on her to check her red blood cell percentage because her gums were so pale.

Her PCV was 20%. 😮 It should be about 45%! Then he ran a full blood panel on her – liver enzymes were high, and although her red blood cells were low, her reticulocyte count was high, which means she didn’t have non-regenerative anemia. Her body was making red blood cells as fast as her body was destroying them.

Prognosis and Treatment

Her prognosis was very guarded, and the doctor suggested hospitalizing her and starting a blood transfusion. 😮

From working in the veterinary field for over 20 years as an ICU/emergency vet tech (animal nurse) and running many cross matches, I knew that you cannot check to see if the blood donated would be a good match for the recipient.

Why? Because to run a cross match, you need to check to make sure the donor blood doesn’t agglutinate with the recipient blood. If the blood does agglutinate, then the animal will have a reaction to the blood. Plus, it’s not always recommended to give a dog with IMHA a blood transfusion because the body will go into hyperactive mode trying to destroy all of the red blood cells.

So, instead, I opted to take her home and start her on the prednisone, a corticosteroid. The doctor also gave her an injection of dexamethasone.

On the next recheck, her red count was up. I did a lot of research on her condition and asked the doctor if we could start her on an antibiotic and liver support medication.

He said that we could start her on this, but he didn’t think this would help at all because usually AIHA caused by infection is from ticks, and there aren’t a lot of ticks in this area. However, where we used to live, ticks are very prevalent.

Halo is Recovering

She chose the smallest blanket in the house to cuddle up on.

Last Recheck

Halo’s PCV went up to 56%, and she’s off of her prednisone! 😮🙂 But because her ALT (liver enzyme) is still high, she went back on her Denamarin (a liver support medicine.)

It’s now 2020, and Halo has not been on any medications for her IMHA and has not had another relapse. (Knock on wood.)

Last Chance Lance

Lance was a Shiba Inu X that I got from a colleague of mine.

She had told me his heartbreaking story… he was dumped off near her sister’s house, who took him to the San Jose Animal Shelter. The shelter did a “behavioral test” on him and decided that he should be euthanized. Why? Because Lance failed their “pinch test.” This is where they grab his sides and see if the dog bites them. Well Lance didn’t bite them, but he did get mouthy with them.

When my colleague heard he had less than 24 hours to live, she got him out of the shelter, and asked me if I wanted him. (I had wanted a Chihuahua, but I took Lance in and named him, ‘Last Chance Lance.’

He was hesitant at first, but he was just dumped by his owner(s), and being at that shelter didn’t help either.

He was neutered at the animal hospital I used to work at – a state of the art veterinary hospital, open 24/7, every day of the year.

Lance took to my dog, Toby, more so than my dog, Gwenyth. He didn’t mind the cats either!

He was a great dog! (He passed last night hence I’m writing about him in the past tense.) 😭

Periodontal Disease

Lance has severe periodontal disease. The first veterinarian I took him to (to save $$$) said he didn’t need his teeth cleaned. 😮 What?! He had built up tartar on his teeth and he was missing some teeth too… and knowing his previous history, those roots may still be retained in his gums. The veterinarian said she may have heard a heart murmur too. Hmm 🤔 he either has one, or he doesn’t. She also said this about Gwenyth, whom I knew had a heart murmur.

So, I scheduled Lance to see the state of the art vet, Adobe. Sure enough, he had stage III periodontal disease. Another colleague of mine cleaned his teeth and did multiple extractions. And many of his teeth were retained in his gums. He had a heart murmur that would get worse.

Heart Murmur

A heart murmur is a swooshing sound heard between the beating of the heart. It is caused by turbulent blood flow within the heart. Some murmurs are harmless, and some are indicative of something wrong with the heart.

When a veterinarian auscults the heart and hears a murmur, they’ll want to do diagnostic tests to rule out any potential heart problems. Usually this is done by radiographing the heart and checking the size of it. In Lance’s case, his heart did appear to be enlarged.

The next diagnostic test is a cardiac ultrasound. The veterinarian will look at your pet’s heart, take measurements and also look at the blood flow.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation

The mitral valve is a valve on the left side of the heart between the left atrium and ventricle that keeps the blood from flowing backwards.

How the Heart Works

Blood that isn’t oxygenated returns back to the heart (from the body) and enters the right atrium, then the right ventricle. From there, it is pumped into the lungs to become oxygenated, and then flows into the left atrium and ventricle, respectively. Then the oxygen rich blood is pumped throughout the body via the aorta and arteries.

Mitral Valve Regurgitation is caused when the mitral valve wears out. And this is when a heart murmur is heard.

It can be secondary to periodontal disease… this is what happened to Lance. 🙁 His teeth were so bad. But after he was diagnosed with this heart condition, it wasn’t advised for him to have any more dentals. Why? Because he could die under anesthesia.

Here’s Lance with his flying squirrel, but his favorite toy is Lamb Chop. He adored that toy so much that I bought quite a few of them.

Here’s his collections toys before the fire consumed them. Most of his toys are missing limbs.

Lance wearing some too large for him Doggles. 😂

Lance yawning.

Lance eating his Frosty Paws ice cream treat.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

When a dog has heart problems or an arrhythmia, he can suddenly die. And this is what happened with Lance.

Before I had left to go pick my boyfriend up from work, I had given Lance some milkbone cookies. He was acting normal. I would have never thought that he’d be dead when I arrived back home. 🙁😮😭

Symptoms

Lance not only had a murmur that continued to increase (started with stage I and ended up being a stage VI in only a few years,) but he also coughed a lot. This was from fluid in his lungs.

He was on medications for his heart: pimobendan, enalapril, and furosemide. The pimobendan was by far the most expensive of his meds.

Here’s Lance with his Hartz orange squeaky bone that he loved to chase.

My sweet boy, I love you and miss you! I have your lamb chop that now sleeps in bed with me because you’re not there. You were a great dog, and I’m so glad I was able to spoil you.

Margaret Madeline

In 2008, one of my colleagues from the veterinary hospital we worked at was walking her dog when she came across a cat half dead in some bushes – this calico cat was covered in maggots. She brought the cat in. The cat was scanned and had a microchip – she was owned by someone. This poor cat who my colleague named Maggie due to the sheer number of maggots on her could not be euthanized, although that would have been the most humane treatment for her. I only say this because this poor cat not only had fly larvae on her skin, but they were on the inside of her! As soon as she had an intravenous catheter placed and fluids were started, copious maggots were removed from her. She was then taken straight to surgery where my friend and veterinarian, Callalily, had to amputate her tail and lavage Maggie’s insides. Maggie had at least two more surgeries to rid her of all of the maggots and the intensive damage that they did to her. The owners were never located. Instead, the microchip had been registered to an animal shelter.

Maggie was in the ICU for a couple of weeks and then she was in the boarding ward. She was right across from the barking dogs. She was extremely scared. My colleague was trying to find a home for the cat, but nobody was interested. Maggie wasn’t a very loving, cuddly cat. I remember trying to do her treatments one time. I had to give her her pain meds and without warning, she bit me! I kept thinking about this poor cat.

I am known as a cat whisperer. I would rather deal with a frightened cat any day over a frightened dog. I can handle a fractious cat. A biting dog scares the hell out of me. After Maggie bit me, I knew that where this cat was – right across the way from barking dogs wasn’t the answer for her. She needed to move. But where? She was very timid. I asked my colleague if I could foster Maggie at my house, thinking that this might help the cat out.

I’m a foster failure. I ended up keeping Maggie and changed her name to Maddie. She didn’t have maggots any more, she had mats and lots of them! Her fine hair tangled up. After taking her home, I eventually moved her upstairs to my bedroom with my cat, Spritzer, who didn’t get along with one of my cats downstairs. Maddie didn’t seem to mind Spritzer, so all was well.

I found out that Maddie had a diarrhea problem. More tests and it turned out that she had inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). She was placed on a special food for this – Natural Balance duck and green pea. But this is why she had the maggots because they were attracted to her diarrhea.

I lost Maddie in September of 2017. I had her for nine years. She never became a lap cat. But in those nine years, she did allow me to pick her up, brush her, trim her nails, pet her, love on her, and she did purr for me. I am so glad I took her home and became her owner. She was a love in her own special way. She never took to any of my other pets, but seemed to tolerate Spritzer and even allowed him to groom her a couple of times.

Funny Story about a Finch

There was one time when I was cleaning my finches’ cage and one of my finches got out. Peepers was flying all over my room. Ack! With two cats in the room, this wasn’t very smart on Peepers part for getting loose. Well he happened to fall in Maddie’s food dish. The look on her face if she could talk would have been, “That’s my food! Get out of my bowl bird!” 😂

Moving from Nightmare Rental

I absolutely hate moving. Of course, I don’t know anyone who really likes moving as it’s very stressful. First, you have to pack up everything to make sure nothing breaks. Second, you have to pack up the similar stuff together as you certainly don’t want to pack the dishes with the bathroom rugs and shower curtains, or pack the baby gate odds and ends with the sheets and blankets because then you’ll never find what you’re looking for. Sigh. Lastly, you need to label the box appropriately. Maybe even assign it a room – master bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc. Is is fragile? Does the box need to be kept upright? Of course, you also have to make sure you have enough sturdy boxes, packing materials, tape, and a sharpie. Yep, I definitely dislike packing and moving! 😕

What’s worse than packing is when you have to pack up an entire house in less than five days time. Now, that’s a killer! I was packing the appropriate stuff together, but as the hours dragged on, the days running into the evenings, and there was still so much left to do… I started throwing stuff in whatever open box. (I don’t recommend this.) My body ached from packing and moving boxes from one end of the house to the other.

A typical day consisted of getting up at the crack of dawn, driving my boyfriend, Dick, to work (40 minutes one way,) driving back home, feeding the pets and me, packing for several hours, driving back to pick up Dick from work – then he’d want to go grocery shopping, then back to the nightmare rental, packing some more, eating dinner, feeding the pets again, and collapsing into bed, to repeat the process the next morning. We were supposed to have finished packing up the house in three days. Nope, there was no way to do this with just me packing. Dick stayed in the garage the duration of the time. There wasn’t even that much stuff in the garage to pack. What was he doing?! He said there was nothing of his in the house to pack. But what about helping me pack? He said it wasn’t his stuff. But did he not use my pots and pans to cook his food and my dishes to eat his food? Did he not use my bed to sleep in? Did he not use my stuff on a daily basis?! But it’s not his stuff and therefore he’s not going to help me pack?! 🤔 Why am I driving him to work in my vehicle then? Why am I wasting my time picking him up? Why have I been doing this for months now?!

Moving Day

I hired a guy on Facebook to come help us pack the U-haul truck I rented. He said he had a truck with a trailer – perfect! Between his truck and trailer and the U-haul truck that I had rented, we would be able to pack up the whole house in one trip. Except the guy was late and he didn’t bring his truck or his trailer. He drove a smaller vehicle with his grandpa in the passenger seat and also brought his young friend who didn’t really care if boxes were fragile or not. 😡

We were able to at least get the major appliances out of the house and most of the bigger boxes, but a lot of the boxes wouldn’t fit into the U-haul. It’d be another couple of trips, for certain. The guy I hired said he’d come back the next day, but he never showed. 😕 This was after I had paid him more than what we had bargained for, had given him a work bench for free, paid for his, his grandpa, and his friend’s lunch, AND gave him an extra $20 for fuel!

With the U-haul truck rental and storing my stuff at a U-haul storage facility, the first month was free. The only reason I decided to store my stuff was because I thought Dick and I were going to look for another place for us. Little did I know…

Back at the nightmare rental, we packed up more of my truck, and left the cats there and then brought both of the dogs with us. Back to the storage facility to drop off more boxes and then to the motel to collapse. It was now about 5:00 in the morning. We were both zombies. 🧟‍♀️🧟‍♂️

I had reserved this extended stay motel for the week. They allowed two pets. Dick paid for half the stay minus the deposit of the pets. He was not willing to pay for anything over his share, but he also didn’t pay anything towards the U-haul or the moving even though some of his stuff was moved too. After we woke up, I fed and walked the dogs – oh my gosh, I thought my limbs were going to break. I don’t remember ever being so tired or painful. I just wanted to crawl back into bed and sleep for the next three days. But we had a house to move out of, and another house to look for. What a nightmare!

I loaded up the dogs, waited for Dick, and then we drove the 40 minutes back to Taft to get more boxes – back to Bakersfield to drop the boxes off, and back to Taft again. It took about two more trips because that guy flaked on us. I also had to find a pet sitter to board Roscoe, my dog and ended up boarding my cat, Blur, at Bakersfield Veterinary Hospital. Before our last trip back to Bakersfield, I needed to drop the pets off, then we had to clean the house, and then take Halo, my Pomeranian and Aby, my other cat back to the motel with us. Unfortunately, when we went to lock up the house, I couldn’t find my keys. I don’t know if I accidentally packed them up or if I accidentally threw them away. Luckily, I had a spare key for my truck.

Email to Ethele May 4, 2019 – we moved out of the nightmare rental

Ethele didn’t get back to me until the 7th of May! The following was her text to me.

I immediately texted Corinna to get a picture of the sliding glass door. I already knew we weren’t going to get our deposit back, but for someone to say that I broke something… oh this made me mad! I’m not that type of person. Never have been, never will be.

It’s interesting to see the sliding glass door broken from this angle because it’s intact from the inside. It’s only shattered from the outside. When we left, the backyard had grass. Dick had spent a day cutting down the grass with his weed-whacker. Ethele had hired someone between the day we moved out and before this picture was taken to have the backyard completely redone – all of the grass is gone. My guess is that the gardener, when mowing the backyard, kicked up a rock into the sliding glass door. That’s the only way a double pane glass can have a single glass pane broken. Then they decided to blame it on us.

Another image of the broken single pane
The backyard (with Roscoe) before Dick cut the grass with the weed whacker.

Next up: Shame on Me

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