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!