12/14/2016 4:30pm MTZ

Bridgette passed away due to an Hemangiosarcoma of the heart. We were both at work and she was in a nice and heated Dogtown HQ relaxing in a shor-line cage. I received a call on the radio that she was whining and had soiled the cage (they could smell it). I dropped what I was doing and made my way to DHQ. When I rounded the corner I could see her laying on her side in distress. I scooped her up in my arms and told the receptionist to call the clinic because I had an emergency. One of my coworkers (with the closest car) drove us across the street to the clinic. Bridgette was visibly distressed and scared about what was happening to her. We both were. I cradled her in my arms and told her to hang on, daddy loves her, and we're getting her to the people that will help her. "Please hang on baby!" was my one plea I repeated. We arrived and rushed her inside to the exam table where two of our best vets immediately began working on her. I was asked to wait outside. It was just as well because I saw Bridgette was starting to slip. About 5 minutes later one of the vets came out and almost immediately began apologizing. This was my worst fear coming true. I was in shock so the tears hadn't started yet. She explained that they had lost her and made several attempts to resuscitate but she was unresponsive. The other remaining vet was performing an ultrasound on her to see if that would reveal what had taken place. I was asked if I would want a post mortem in the event the ultrasound did not yield an answer, and several choices on what to do with her afterwards. I requested the post mortem if the ultrasound was inconclusive, and that she placed in cold storage until I could make arrangements for her burial. We have a cemetery at the sanctuary, and I learned the day after that the cost is waived for employees. I was also asked if I wanted to view her body. At this point I lost my composure, but my answer was yes. When she returned I was informed that the ultrasound yielded an answer which turned out to be the angiosarcoma. She explained exactly took place which I greatly appreciated as my analytic side wants to know the full answer.

What followed during my viewing was pretty much how you'd react if you lost one that was near and dear to your heart. The first night home without her was worse and I did not sleep at all.

My parents were already scheduled to come out that weekend, but the tenor of the trip changed with her unexpected passing. They arrived the evening of the day after she passed. I was (am) totally devastated and their arrival definitely helped. My sister had obligations on Friday and would have been here were it not for them. Instead she arrived with the kids and her Fiance on Saturday.

On Thursday morning I got dressed and drove into work. I was given the day off for Pet Bereavement (a perk with my organization), but did not want to stay in an empty home. My first stop was the clinic to make sure that her body remained in cold storage (I could not recall what I had requested the day prior), and asked who I needed to speak to regarding her burial. I was assured her body would be kept safe and the extension. As I left I called but the person was on vacation until the 26th of this month, and that I was to leave a msg. Not knowing what to do I sought the help of a friend who is in administration who was able to get the wheels turning for what Bridgette needed. After that I made my way to our cemetery to survey it as well as visit the graves of many of the kids who had passed (for various reasons) in my care. The person who got the wheels turning was the temp acting lead for the administrator who normally handles the burials for the sanctuary is already a friend of mine. I went to see her next and she informed me that everything had been taken care of. Bridgette's burial was scheduled at 2:30pm on Friday 12/16/2016.

Me, my parents, and 17 other people turned out to celebrate her life. I arrived early bringing her favorite bed, and blanket in which she was to be interred with. The turnout and ceremony was the best I could have ever hoped for. My sister and her family arrived late the day after. They avisited and said their goodbyes to sweet Bridgette.

I'm devastated by the sudden loss of my baby girl. I love you forever Bridgette!

On this note I'm ending this blog. I know that I made an attempt last year but it was unwarranted based on the events in my life at that time. Everything I'd done when this blog was started and what followed were made with Bridgette in mind. Now that she's gone it doesn't make much sense for me to keep it going. I mean on top of how my posts have wanned over the past two years. Especially over the last 8 months.

I want to personally Thank those who've followed me, and apologize for my sudden departure. I hope that you all understand that losing Bridgette was more than I could bare and that moving forward with this blog no longer makes sense to me.

Saying that, Please do not lose hope if your plan is to hit the open road and live the fulltime life. Do it!  My journey ended only at my choice at the loss of my girl, and my path without her is something I'm rediscovering now.

Thank you for following me at all, especially to those of you whom had been with me from the start. Find your happiness, hold on to it with both hands .... LIVE!

Goodbye from Haven106
- Steven Lee & Bridgette


passing time

Winter is almost here but I'm raring and ready for it. A lot has happened since my last post so I'll do my best to catch everyone up on what's what.

Things at work were kind of rough because of reviews. I didn't do as well as I did the year before, but it wasn't a surprise. I was well aware of how difficult things have been lately, but they've improved drastically since. I'm currently working on accomplishing the requirements for me to make Tier II Caregiver. I've not had a decent vacation per se, but I've made good use of my accrued time off and given myself a couple of 3 or 4 day weekends. I think a vacation is in order once the new year hits. I need to get outta Dodge for an extended period.

I got back into martial arts with a focus on a particular weapon. The staff. I chose it mainly because of how inconspicuous it is for where I live. I'm surrounded by national parks/hikers. I also learned a few things about it that I'd never known before. The staff is called the father or grandfather of all weapons, and has a Buddhist leaning in that it is non lethal (at least the way the Shaolin monks used them). I've been training for a couple of months now and surprised myself in how much I've improved from when I started.

Remember way back when I was going to start making videos for this blog. I learned in my first couple of attempts that I may need a little more time to work out the kinks so it went on the backburner. I had a lot of life in between then and now as well as working out said kinks. The video project is moving forward but unfortunately it will not be associated with this blog in any way. The only reason I mention it is because I mentioned it and didn't want people thinking I flake out on stuff I start. In this case it's taken on a new life of it's own and I wish to keep things separate. Sorry.

Home. This is the bigger news. Now that I've been living here for over two and a half years I've decided to finally stake a claim. Yup, I'm going to be joining the exciting world of home ownership. I'm in process of getting the numbers together to buy land, and build a home on it. I realize that this is a complete 180 from full timing, but I'm not giving up my travel trailer. Not unless it's in exchange for a different or newer one. For now I'm staying the course life has led me into.

The biggest news I have to share is Bridgette turning 12 on Thanksgiving day. Yup, my little monster is still with me and doing great. Her birthday dinner consisted of chopped turkey, ham, gravy, and green beans. She passed out on the bed shortly after dinner and did not move until the following morning. B comes to work with me every day now, and has even pulled her own weight a few times. She's helped a few puppy mill dogs out with how to socialize, as well as participating in play dates with other dogs who needed a change of pace. Even the best sanctuary/shelters can still be stressful for dogs. For her birthday I got her an orthopedic dog bed which she absolutely LOVES!


the blowout

A few weeks ago I had returned home from work, turned on the AC, grabbed the trash, stepped outside, and closed the door. Ok, I slammed it but I swear I didn't do it that hard. No matter, it was enough to cause one of my windows to shatter outward. The combo of the AC being turned on and my slamming the door created enough positive pressure to shatter the window. RV windows are made from tempered glass which is supposed to withstand this on a very regular basis. I've only driven twice since purchasing it, and the second drive was just around the block. I guess that this was simply the time for that window to go. My neighbor provided me with the picnic tablecloth and some Alabama chrome to effect a temporary repair.

Getting it repaired, however, took longer than expected. It was a total of three plus weeks from the day it happened to the day the new pane was installed. No one in town could handle or was willing to even try. My insurance company had to go through a second party to handle it, and they were unable to find anyone. I had actually found a nationwide company on the day of, but had to wait for insurance to run their course of trying with locals first before expanding to nearby cities, and then finally giving up and going with my original suggestion. There was some back and forth regarding their wanting me to drive almost four hour drive (to/from) the shop for a measurement, with a repeat trip to install the window. Luckily they understood how much of an inconvenience this was and sent out someone to handle both parts of the repair. Everything is fixed and I'm happy that my home is back up to snuff again.

If this ever happens to you I highly recommend using Mobile RV Glass as they were professional in every way possible. The shop in question that did the repair is a partner and they were the ones asking me to drive in. In the end they worked with me and my living situation to get this done, and the repairman did an excellent job!



I've been working and playing hard a lot these last two months. Too tired to talk in detail but I'll give you a mild account of them.

My project dog Lego went to his forever home last week. I miss him dearly, and had hopes to give him a home myself but it didn't work out that way. Eight months of my life was devoted towards helping him overcome his fears and learn the tools to make the right choices in life to succeed. I know he'll do great!

I was finally was able to afford a new toy thanks to recent price drops. I got myself an Xbox One for half it's original cost as well as Halo 5. Most of the cost was absorbed via a $100 visa gift card from work, along with cash gifts from various family members as holiday gifts. I blew thru the game in about 15 hours (not contiguous though) and loved every minute of it. I'm looking forward to the next Halo release as well as taking advantage of other games made for said platform.

I've reached a point where I'm accruing way more time off than I think I possibly use, but I'm giving it my best shot. I'm allowed to carry over 100 hours into the new year, but taking time off isn't as easy here as one would think. A max of 5 people are allowed to take time off in my area so I have to very selectively pick and choose. I've gotten pretty good at giving myself 3-4 day weekends each month, but am feeling the need to take a week off.

On that note, I need to take off and take care of dinner.


the visitors

So after two years of living here my father finally decides to pay me a visit, and it had nothing to do with me. Go dad! We've not had the best relationship and I prefer our interactions keep to a bare minimum. About a month ago he had called and left me a voice mail. It's the usual call to ask how I'm doing despite his really not caring what my answer is. This time was different though and he asked me to call him back because it was important. Ok, so I called him back to see what was so important. He starts asking me all about my work at the sanctuary and wants to know more details. Who is this man? Turns out he has some real estate clients (Chinese Nationals) who are buying houses through him who also happen to love and have dogs of their own. Most of what he'd told me was fairly innocuous, but things started to get fishy with the story as he went on. Over the course of their getting to know each other they had both learned that they had kids (who are unmarried but well into a marry-able age). Oh really!!! Here's where the fishiness began. The part about what I did and now do for a living came up after my unmarried existence was revealed, and that's when they had said they would like to visit. "When!" I asked with absolute dread in my heart. He said he didn't know and that it would probably be months later. Hearing that put me at ease, but it was sooner than he'd guessed I would come to learn. Now to be fair to everyone this may have been exactly as intended. Animal lovers coming to see a sanctuary through someone who has an in there. But if you've picked up on what I did, you're probably wondering if someone is hoping for a love connection here. Just so you guys don't think I'm jumping to conclusions my father had told my sister about all of this and she smelled it too. I had even explained this to a few close friends/coworkers. One in particular said that I should give it a chance. I told her she was freaking high and there would be no chances. I don't let my parents even pick out a stitch of clothing for me much the less a wife.

As a side note allow me to explain a few things. I think my father is desperate for not just a grandchild from me, but also an heir to carry the family name forward. I'm the only male born into this family. Without reliving any painful details of my childhood my father was mostly physically abusive, but on occasion also mentally abusive during my childhood. Hence why we've not had the best relationship.

A little over a month after our initial conversation I received another call from dad. His message stated that they were coming in a week'ish. I called back to learn that they hadn't booked a hotel, or set a hard date. Great! I'd explained to him in our last convo that I would need at least three weeks to put in for, and see if I get the time off for whatever date I'd requested. We managed to work it out and they would come out on my weekend off. I explained that the tour would only allow them to interact with one dog, and that they would have to volunteer if they wanted to work with more. I also explained about a dog sleepover program we have that volunteers can do, so that they could get a hotel room that allows for dogs. He had to find out if they wanted to do this and would have to call me back. When he called back he said that they'd only be doing the tour. Dad also said they'd only be here two nights and would be headed to spend time in Vegas. Ok. I'm used to "animal lovers" and this wasn't what I'd expected.

D day arrives. They arrive late evening where most everything is closed. This was expected and we meet for dinner at the only place in town that's still open. I arrive and say my Hello's to everyone. The mother asks if I can speak any Chinese. I reply in english "only the bad words" he said, and point to my dad. They laugh. The father makes a gracious offer to put me up and provide me with a car/driver should I ever go to Bejing. I thank him for the generous offer but won't be able to take him up on it. I explain that I can't afford it based on what I earn for a living now. Dad translates, he replies "anytime". I know what you're wondering. Yes, the daughter was present. No. Very simply, no. By the way, did I mention just how awkward I was feeling throughout all of this. So after dinner I go home to pickup B so she can see my mom and dad. She loves them. We arrive at the hotel and B goes emotionally ballistic at the sight of them. The family is also there and they meet B. What was telltale was how they were and interacted with her. They barely touched her after explaining that she's bombproof with people and dogs.

The following day I met up with everyone after breakfast and we wound fitting in their SUV. I drove. It was a new Mercedes Benz alphabet class something or other number. I don't recall. What I do recall was how much of a nanny state vehicle this was based on all the safety features installed. As I write this a recent news story broke about how an autonomous car claimed it's first human life. Skynet is born. I digress. We go on the tour and dad translates a bunch of questions/answers throughout. In short they learn and have fun. After the tour we have lunch at the cafe, on premises. Mom suggests/springs on me that we should go to Zion. I explain that I need to return home to potty walk B and maybe turn on the AC since the temps are well into the 90s. My travel trailer sits under a lot of tree cover so things don't warm up until after 1pm. We do this, and then go to Zion.

All we did was drive thru the park, stopped at the visitors center, and then back the way we came. Everyone returned to their hotel rooms to rest before dinner. We ate at the local Chinese restaurant. I warned my parents that the prices were too high, the portions were too little, and the cooking was alright. Everyone agreed with me on all counts. Everyone following me already knows how active I am and as a result consume a lot of calories to keep up with the demand. At dinner I pretty much ate all the leftovers. The initial part was hunger which was satiated, and the latter was that I didn't want it to go to waste. The family thought I really loved Chinese food in light of my fathers lack of translation that I didn't want it to go to waste. This prompted a question about why, if I liked Chinese food so much, didn't I live back in SoCal. My dad was good with letting them think I just liked the food a lot. I explained again that I didn't want it to go to waste, I like Chinese food but no more than any other kind of food. I also explained that there's no way I would ever move back to SoCal because I hate large cities, crowds, and prefer living someplace where it takes me minutes to exit it. I love being able to walk with my dog and not run into another living soul. Dad obviously took the cheap way out and didn't bother explaining all that. I'm glad that their daughter understood english despite not being able to converse in it well. I'm trusting that she explained in better detail at a later time. The looks on their faces sufficed as they at least understood that I would not ever return to live near or with my parents.

Over that last day there were many questions and comments designed to get a feel for me which I'd answered honestly. Unfortunately I had to trust my father's accuracy in translation. He's can be very selective in that regard. I spent a mere few moments talking to the daughter. She is a nice enough person, but as I'd stated earlier. No. My body language and otherwise total lack of interest should have been clear indicators to put that hopeful connection to rest.

In summation, a couple of Wong's does not make me Mr. Right. I'm just sayin'!


two years

First off. My two year anniversary of employment at Best Friends was last week Thursday. I know! When I arrived I had no idea how things would play out for me. I arrived half expecting to bomb out during the interview only to return to everything I tried to leave behind. Instead I was given a shot by way of the two week working interview, and ultimately getting hired. This journey has been one of the most rewarding ones I've ever undertaken in my life. I've learned so much in this new endeavor and continue discovering new things every day.

Now that I've come this far I'm thinking in terms of what my next move will be. I'm not looking to leave this organization or what I currently do so much as start to plan how I want to proceed in this organization. When I arrived I did a mini assessment and came up with either moving into training or medical as a vet tech (possibly more). I've had immersion days in both now and am no closer to a decision than when I started. That's ok though. I think spending more time in my current role as a dog caregiver will not hinder and only help me in the long run. One of the parameters I need to consider now which wasn't something I had to deal with before, is my advancing age. Ok, I know you ancient ones out there will say I'm still young blah blah blah. The reality is we all age differently and I may start falling apart sooner than you did, or worse, die. However, while I'm still full of piss and vinegar I intend to do what drives my passion. Albeit in my now signature calm, cool, and collected overall demeanor. I know that I'll never truly stop learning in anything I do, but it's simply a matter of finding the right path.

There are some potential changes due to come into my life soon, but I'm not at liberty to discuss them yet. I will, I promise. My next post will be, humorous. Mainly for any audience willing to read it. For me it was a slow familial torture which I'll be sharing with you in my next post. Until then ... I void warranties!


the shuttle ride

Last month when family was visiting I was showing them the sites at one of the nearby national parks. Zion to be exact. For anyone who hasn't visited yet, they have an excellent shuttle service. There are roughly 9-10 stops from beginning to end and the wait is (at worst) approximately 15 minutes between them. I know this because I live less than 20 minutes away and have a national parks pass. So I'm there with the uncle and aunt and we've seen everything we want to see and catch the shuttle back to the main visitors center. I pull out my smartphone to play a little Ingress. Yes there's signal (sporadic) out there, and portals I can interact with. During the ride back a brother and sister in their 20's board and sit on the bench behind me. He notices I'm into what I'm doing and can't resist saying something we both know is well within earshot of me. It turned out to be a piss poor attempt at shaming me. I wish self righteous pricks would learn to keep their mouths shut when they don't have all the facts. To be fair to the guy he might've thought I was a visiting "Asian" tourist who doesn't understand or speak english. Although in retrospect that makes him more of a prick for talking about people who are unable to defend themselves. Here's a transcript (based on memory) of what was said.

SRP: Why would you want to do that when ... look at all this scenery. 
Me: *thinks to self* Here we go
SRP: On the way in I saw a lady playing solitaire on her smarthphone. I mean why come out here if you're gonna do that. She never looked up once.
Me: *turns around* I live here, and have for two years. I also happen work in this scenery year round.
SRP: *stunned silence*
Me: I have a national parks pass and hike here frequently so forgive me if I use my smartphone while riding the shuttle. 
SRP: Sorry.
Me: I see this scenery all the time and never tire of it but that doesn't mean I have to stare at it every waking moment each time I'm here. 
SRP's Sister: Hey ... 
Me: *cuts her off* I was minding my own business before he chose a course of action firmly aimed at me which I had to endure. At least I have the courtesy of addressing him directly instead of pulling that passive aggressive bullshit!
SRP's Sister: blah blah 
Me: *wasn't listenting and cut her off again* Do you have anything else you need to either say to me or passive aggressively say about what I'm doing behind my back, if not I'll go back to quietly minding my own business!!!
SRP & SRP's Sister: *silence*
Me: Thank you *turns back around and resumes playing ingress*

I didn't hear a word uttered by either for the remainder of the ride. My uncle and aunt didn't hear the exchange despite being seated in front of me. Not that it would've mattered. When we arrived at the visitors center I waited for everyone behind me to exit. Neither of them would make eye contact with me as they left. I did catch a few toothy grins from the people who saw this final exchange. 


tick of the clock

My vacation couldn't come soon enough as I was really starting to burn out from work. I had nine days of doing virtually anything I wanted, and it was mostly nothing. I did that with the exception of the three days that my aunt and uncle were in town. We spent two days sightseeing the national parks and one day where we toured the sanctuary I work at. They really enjoyed the sights but really loved learning about the work we do at the sanctuary. For me it's always great to be able to share the things that I love with family. Don't get me wrong, I also had six days completely to myself and the beagle and we thoroughly decompressed in that time.

Getting back to work was easier than I was on myself. I wound up weeding almost the entire front area of my octagons. I paid the price the following morning when I encountered some minor difficulties getting out of bed. Luckily that was the worst of it and there were no further issues.

I also celebrated my birthday this month. I wasn't able to get that day off due to it being all staff week at work, but am taking a day off tomorrow to make up for that. My sister surprised me by contacting my team lead and having her pickup a cake for me at work. Grace wasn't about to let me quietly turn 50 without it being celebrated. Even though I've made it to the half century mark, I certainly don't feel, look, and often times act it. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to act at this age having lost the manual. I'm having fun and loving my life as it is now and hope it only continues to get better. 


i'm alive

My exam turned up only that my blood pressure was slightly high. At my request we took a lipid panel and also checked for diabetes since my father has type 2. The panel came back with my cholesterol and triglyceride levels as being high. I'd thought that they would be starting me on statins but instead prescribed something called Lovaza. This is basically a fish oil pill available only via prescription due to how strong it is compared to over the counter fish oil pills. I've been on it a little over a week now. The week I wasn't feeling well I had changed my diet to being almost all vegetarian and have kept it that way. Those two things and the onslaught of exercise I had to perform at work has helped me feel a whole lot more normal that I've felt in a while. Funny how you sometimes don't realize what's missing until you get it back.

Things are going great at work, not that they've ever been bad. Difficult at times yes, but not bad. One of the nicest things is that there isn't pressure to turn out a product like there was in my former career. It's understood that the goals we're working towards will take as long as they take. Resources notwithstanding we usually have what we need, but are resourceful enough to come up with (creative) alternatives.

I was on the verge of writing a post about how lonesome I've felt lately; even though it's been a partially self imposed thing. In the end I felt that it would be a woe is me post and I want to steer away from indulging in that kind of a feeling. It makes for a shitty read and more importantly has often and historically led me nowhere.

I'm coming up on my one year anniversary of my new trailer. I've had a few things break that weren't built as sturdy as I'd thought, but my repairs are definitely improvements on the original design. I remember reading about how much better your rig will be after living in it for a few years. This has proven to be the case both times.

Looking forward I've got an upcoming visit from my aunt and uncle next month. This aunt in particular was the one who heard out my reasons for wanting to change not just careers but my entire way of life. She encouraged and got me to ask the right questions whenever I would start to doubt myself. I can't wait to show her where I live now and the work I'm doing.


time time time

. . . see what's become of me.

I've had so many things enter and slip away which I've been meaning to write about, but never seem to find the time to do so before it slips away into the ether again. Most has been life happening while making other plans, but part of it is my (fault) re-immersion into the world of Eve Online. The recent upgrades/changes/rebalancing has made it too good to resist playing again. Which leads into why my social life has taken a total dive. I've not tried to keep/maintain more than the bare minimum of relations over this past winter. I feel only slightly guilty over my total lack of social interaction effort.

In all of this my health has been wavering despite my healthy physical activity. A lot of somethings have been happening to me and after a lot of discussions with coworkers and some deep self evaluation. I'm getting fucking old and it sucks. My body has been handling most of what I do fairly well, but I'm realizing that I need a little more time than it used to take to recover.

In the immediate future I've got an appointment scheduled in a few days. Seems I may have contracted a bug that's going around which, in turn, has led me to make an unexpected discovery regarding my health. Nothing life or death, as far as I can tell now, but am going to get checked out all the same.



Late in 2014 I started using the Google Fit App to track how much walking I was doing. After a few months I had enough data to get a decent baseline. From that I learned that I walk three to eight miles a (working) day. My average total walk time is roughly three hours where I also average 14,000 steps. So just for fun I decided to track the year of 2015. In that year I walked a total of 1040 miles. This is based on a conservative estimate that I walked at least four miles a day. It also doesn't take into account all the weekend hikes that I'd done as well as the occasional mountain biking excursions. The actual mileage is probably closer to 1500. Like a mailman I walk regardless of weather conditions. This terrain here is made up of soft sand and/or rocky ground during the warmer months, but hardens in the winter until it snows. Walking in sand/snow makes you work harder which equals better health benefits. I've also worn out three pairs of shoes, not that this helped my health per se but I felt it relevant. I really need to find something more durable to invest in for the warmer months. During the winters I break out my Muck Chore boots which have held up beautifully after two winters. I'm not sure how much I'm in the sun, but I know it's more than the recommended 30 minutes per day to get your daily vitamin D dose.

All of these things add up to a very healthy year for me from the simple act of walking. Wow!


california screamin'

 "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious."
Obi-Wan Kenobi

The drive in wasn't too bad. I mean up until we crossed the state border. I drove through the Mojave Preserve instead of camping there for the night as planned. Turns out the northern route into the campgrounds I was headed for was closed off. This wasn't posted anywhere on or offline so I drove in most of the way before discovering this. My only other way into the campground was to go through the entire preserve drive eastward and then back north again. I opted for plan A because the detour costed us a little over an hour. Plan A was Joshua Tree. I was too tired to bother setting up camp and opted to just sleep in the truck.

Driving into OC we were greeted with the first of many stark reminders of why we loathe and left the state years ago. By we I mean myself. Bridgette could care less about where she's at so long as she's with me. She has been far more emotionally expressive about seeing the people/dogs/places that she's familiar with. I didn't expect how much I would want to leave after only just arriving. I don't mean to sound like a total shit. I'm insanely happy to see my nephew/select family members/friends (soon), and am already partaking of the foods I miss most dearly. 

My sister informed me today that she and my nephew are officially sick and contagious. His birthday party for this weekend has been postponed until next week. I feel bad for the little guy because he's been looking forward to this. 

This place has already started to damage my calm. 


can't find my way home

In a few days I'm headed to CA for my nephew's sixth birthday. This is going to be the first time I've gone any further than Vegas in almost two years. I'm thrilled about getting to see the little guy, select members of family, friends, all the food I can't get here, but it's balanced out by how much I hate large cities (especially one as large as Southern California). Bridgette, as always, will be accompanying me on the trip. She loves her visits with cousin Oreo and they're ever so more important now that they're both golden gals. The route is all planned out and I've even managed to sneak in a night of camping in a place I've not yet been to.

Quick update on B's hardened lipoma. The hard parts are being reabsorbed by her body and the lipoma is starting to soften up. The scar tissue from her biopsies are also fading away as her coat grows back. Bridgie has been her usual happy go lucky self. She's back to spending time in the staff runs and having playdates with various coworkers kids.

Something occurred to me recently. When talking to coworkers/friends about my trip I realized that this was the first time that I didn't refer to it as "going back home". It's not that I'm fully convinced that this town is now home to me so much as it's where my home is parked in. Funny but I don't recall when I turned that corner. Growth. Yay me! I'll let "home" work itself out as I continue down the path I've set myself on.

Speaking of work. Work with my kids and project kids has been moving along. The ante is being upped and I will be working under the wing of some of Dogtowns longest term Caregivers. This is on top of all the things I've already learned and use daily from my coworkers and the Trainers.  My newest project kid (Lego) has been coming along nicely. He's still terrified when meeting new people, pulls when walking on leash, and tries to chase cars when they pass. He now knows that he has choices to make when any of those things happen. Also, my first blog post about his progress was published (Click Treat). Take a look at this first entries to see just how terrified this poor guy was when he first arrived and compare it to this recent picture.


it's not a tumor

B's results came back earlier than expected and both the original tumor and the lipoma are benign. The explanation for the lipoma is that it suffered from something called crush syndrome and is currently infarcting. I'd forgotten that about 3-4 weeks ago B got under foot, tripped me, and I landed partially on her. This was despite my best efforts to not do so, but I'm living in a travel trailer so there are only so many places I can fall where she's not. I am so utterly and completely relieved at this point. B is also getting her stitches removed a day earlier where the vet and I will tie up the loose ends on what may or may not come next.

I'm glad that this chapter is ending on such a good note in lieu of the challenges we've endured these last four months. For (four also) months I've been meaning to talk in greater detail about the work I've been doing in my new profession. A few weeks ago a new kid arrived in our area.

This sweet boy is named Lego, and is my new project dog. His issues and needs area different than the ones I've learned to work with so far, and I was up for a new challenge. For anyone wanting to keep up with his story I urge you to follow his story here ... Lego's Story. I and my two other teammates will be writing updates about his progress in the coming weeks/months.


this ain't over yet

Bridgette's surgery was last week. She came home very ouchy and neither of us got much sleep the first few nights. The tumor was removed successfully and sent off to the lab. The day before her biopsy I had discovered that one of her lipomas had begun to harden which is never a good thing. The Dr aspirated it and found a more than just fatty cells, but biopsied part of it to send to the lab as well. The results are due this Friday and I'll be sure to let you know.

I remember reading where another blogger was saying something about never apologizing to your audience for one reason or another. I still feel I owe it to you since you've stuck it out with me this long. I'm sorry my updates haven't been quite up to par lately. As I stated last month things have been a bit rough, but are improving again.

My tiny electric heater wasn't enough to warm up this trailer so for a few weeks I went with using the furnace instead. I figured since it took me approx two months to burn thru a single tank that I could splurge during the winter. At first I was going thru a tank every two weeks with a cost of $15 to refill. This was fine for the first month, but when it got really cold I burned thru a tank in a week. Yeah! I jumped on Amazon.com and bought the bigger brother to my electric heater. I'm not sure what I've spent in electricity since they're billing about a month behind atm. It's nice that we're back to a quieter way of keeping warm again.

No I'm not moving away from blogging because I've blogged less these last few months. Here's what's been keeping me.Work  has been great but rough also. I haven't mentioned this before, and it was for no other reason that my need to mourn. At the end of October one of the kids in my care had passed suddenly on us. Her name was Jersey and she was a hurricane Katrina survivor. She was a sweet albeit very shy and selective about whom she allowed physical contact with. The morning it happened was no different than any other and her end was swift. She passed in my arms on the way to the clinic (across the street). She was eleven and finally had a potential adopter. In the midst of this one of our teammates moved to another area leaving only two of us for about a month and a half. I even had a week where I worked alone. Solo days are extremely taxing when you're caring for roughly 20-24 dogs. Our third teammate joined us in Dec but already had a week scheduled off then, as well as another in Jan. As if that wasn't enough we had another loss to bookend this period of suck. One of my favorite kids, Desmond, had to be crossed. He was 12. He was not shy and but a real loving and goofy boy.

Jersey with a volunteer

Desmond's hero shot
With all this going on I needed to do something a lot more cathartic than writing. By that I mean anything to take my mind off of the things that have plagued my well being, so I hope you understand why. I've kept busy by getting back into cooking, Eve Online, Marvel's Jessica Jones series on Netflix, freaking out over the possible loss of Bridgette, discovering new and exciting ways of keeping warm on a budget, and helping others out in any way I can. I think I'm just about back to normal. Meaning whatever it is for me.

Talk to you soon ...